Dear Writers of the world. As many of you (who read this weirdo blog) know…I’ve had my share of dry spells. I’ve vented about a few of them here–expressed my frustration thoroughly by making promises I can’t keep because frankly the world is pressing down on me with REALITY (snore!). I have to keep feeding this machine with my artsy part time jobs — take my money rent/phone/gas/commuting/school loans/loan sharks/etc. etc. etc.
A las, writing has become a luxury. It comes and goes like waves upon a sand…leaving treasures in a nearby tidal pool. And I have to be careful not to forget about the treasure, for it can easily be taken away by some John on the beach with a metal detector.
In order to maintain my inner writer happy, I’ve been doing some mini-write ups about my experiences as a human being. I have focused some of these mini-encounters and stories in San Francisco. My city exploration of cafés, movie theaters, restaurants, Bart train experiences, and even taco truck conversations have contributed to some late night insomnia dabs on the key board. It’s like building a little bank of situations, people, and dialogue.
As days go by, I find that there is little to nothing that cannot be written about. This entire planet is full of interesting folk, awkward situations, sexual tension and sibling rivalry. Even the simplest things can be catastrophic or life changing in a story. Watching a man stir chocolate powder in his hot water, for example — it can be like watching fireworks in Utah! Then come the questions, why is he alone? What is he thinking? Why does he not use milk? What kind of magazine is he reading? And why is he drinking hot chocolate in summer? All those things that can lead to a good juicy story, a background, and that is how you can build a life for a reader.
Nowadays, there is so much free wifi everywhere, it’s hard to knock it off and just focus. Which is why I’ve been bringing a pen and a little mini creeper notebook with me to write down interesting things I notice as I go about my day.
I am fascinated by the human experience: how we interact with each other and how we manage our time with other people. This is a great way to do some self-to-self and self-to-other observation, for example. What we say. What we do. How we act. When we lie. When we exaggerate. When we laugh. When we hide emotions. Why we fight back. Why we back down. When we give up. What makes us get up and try again? When we take that risk and lean in for a kiss. Everything: wondrously dangerous and sprinkled with chaos. Beautiful human chaos.
My “people study” has become my “Interesting People” posts on this blog. These encounters have served me as a source for character and plot development. When I speak with other writers, I encourage them to do the same. I am calling it – My Tactile Writing Experience. Although I am not necessarily TOUCHING these people in a physical sense, I feel that living in the moment with them does stimulate the five senses in my imagination. I have to see it to recreate it, in a way.
One of my recent tactile writing experiences was in a lady spa. Being that it is a private space, I did not take notebook with me. I am not that big of a creeper. Below is an example of my observation practice, from memory…
Interesting People Post: Naked Spa Ladies
I am a pretty shy person when it comes to my body. I don’t really expose much, and I leave a lot to the imagination. To put it mildly, I wear a lot of sweaters. Going to a spa is always an adventure to me, but I usually go to the ones where people just mind their business and walk around in robes and bathing suits. This was not the case in the Kabuki Spa in San Francisco. I entered the locker room ready to take in the quiet experience — and was quickly greeted by a couple of big butt cheeks bending over to pick up something that the person belonging to the buttocks had dropped on the ground. I must admit it took me aback, but then I reminding my brain that I am a grown a$$ person and that seeing as a$$ should not be so shocking — so I kept walking and thanked the butt for being open, exposed and unapologetic. And I thought to myself, Right on lady! If you could let it lose that way, well – all power to you!
To my embarrassment, as I disrobed in the actual pool area, I was the only one wearing a bathing suit. I walked around feeling like a football player among flowers, but I kept my chin up. Until finally, I was called in for my massage.
There, under the care of a woman who looked like Katherine Zeta Jones, only blonde — I pondered my desire to wear a bathing suit. I pondered the lady’s freedom to have her body so exposed as she bent over. I tried to remember that one time I went skinny dipping in my aunts house only to be discovered by my sister.
After my massage I decided to fully disrobe and take off the hot pink bathing suit. Off it went, and slowly my towel dropped and the pores in my skin opened up to the steam. My hairs all over stood up in the hot sauna room. And while I was in the pool, I admired everybody and their ability to be free with their bodies. I struggled there in the water, thinking about how different my body is from everyone else’s. I let it go a little bit, but I realized I have so much more work to do.
I need to learn to be naked again, I thought to myself. I need to be vulnerable , and this got me thinking about my writing. I need to learn to be vulnerable and share my writing without having to mask it behind a bathing suit.
In honor of this wonderful butt experience that opened my mind, I am sharing a butt video I found on YouTube.