Journaling Turkey-Paris

I managed to fit some writing into my Turkey travel. Most of the time I was talking to my cousin about our childhood traumas and helping her watch after her baby. I honestly felt like a straight up aunty while I was there. I was able to write, but it was mostly journaling about the dynamics between the men and women in Turkey. I have to say, most of the men I encountered in Turkey are remarkably handsome. Part of me wondered why? Part of me enjoyed the view.

Now I am in Paris, trying to get some work done but finding it hard to focus. Had a spiritual conversation with my friend today and it was very intense.

But do I have tons of writing material? Oh yes. Plenty. My journal is full of mini-stories and encounters I’ve had with people and or environments.

Here’s one of my favorite ones thus far:

I went into a garden store and asked a man if he could let me wander and take pictures. He said of course in his mannerisms – I walked in and found a lighthouse clothes hook and instantly fell in love with it. I asked him how much on a notepad, and he wrote down 30 L, then I wrote down 25 L? and gave him a goofy smile. He laughed and said “Okay!”

I am sure he overcharged me. I am sure it was a restaurant with lots of plants, and I just grabbed one of his ornaments to take home with me. But it was his graciousness that was absolutely wonderful to be around.

The lighthouse now will live in my luggage until I reach the states later this month.

I arrived in Paris yesterday, and wandered the streets with my friend. She got flirted on by some waiters as I stuffed a crêpe into my mouth. But overall, it was a magical night.

Now onto some plain working time. Then maybe tonight, some serious writing inspired by my journaling travel stories.

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My Tactile Writing Experience & The Naked (Womyn) Body

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.

Hurt

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Dear Blog-Land, I have learned a valuable lesson this fall. One must never hide their true emotions and feelings. One must always express what they truly feel without fear. Even if it means it will hurt someone else for a little bit. It’s always better to be honest than to keep things hidden.

Hurt is part of life. Sometimes we carry the scars with us forever, and sometimes we don’t.    I want to take this moment and thank Neosporin for helping me clear my scars throughout my life. Thank you Neosporin.      But all joking aside, I am grateful for a personal scar from a few years back (the one that runs real deep) because I learned so much from it. I hope it never disappears. It’s a constant reminder that life is a journey, that nothing is permanent, and that we are continuously growing and shifting in our bodies and minds.

For all the good, the bad, the funny, the sad, the grotesque, and the beautiful anything…I am grateful. Our hurt can make us into really interesting people. People with likes, dislikes, desires, fears, etc. etc. etc.

Above all, hurt gives us a reason to write.

To anyone out there who has been hurting for a while, ask yourself why. Are you perpetuating the hurt, or are you doing something about it? Sometimes hurt is optional. It’s up to you to make that change. There are all kinds of support for people who are hurting, and no one is alone. Never forget that. Just do the research and reach out if need be. You’ll be surprised how many people have your back.

Here’s my food for thought today—–> Scars are okay. As long as we learn from them.

I leave you with a Nine Inch Nail song covered by the irreplaceable Johnny Cash. It’s kind of depressing, but if you look real deep into his crinkly eyes…you’ll also see life/adventure/history/love/sweetness/desire/reflection.

The Boy Who Ran Home

Paris nightlife can be pretty wild.

However, this interesting person post is not about Paris, but about a boy who ran home from a nightclub. I am traveling with a group of people, but I am going to talk about one of the gentlemen we are traveling with — who for all purposes we will call COURIR. 🙂 

A little bit of information I have collected from the source himself: he loves to travel, climb, talk to strangers, sketch, and basically share his many cool adventure stories with whoever wants to lend their ear. He’s pretty rad, actually. He’s a Latino surfer dude from Souther California, and well, basically, the epitome of ChiLL. The type of person who hates to hold grudges, etc. etc. etc.

BUT the most interesting about this guy is that he’s kind of the lone-ranger-type. Sometimes, he likes to part his way from the group of us and do his own thing. Another interesting thing to know about this world traveler is that he hates nightclubs. I imagine it has something to do with nightclubs usually being a meat market with hot air and sweaty bodies rubbing up against eachother. I imagine this, but I don’t know the real reason. However, the group of travelers managed to convince him to go clubbing with us because…well, that’s how this group bonds. We dance together in a large circle, and scream like banshees when American songs come on. Songs like: Starships, California Love, and Hit the Road Jack (the French do love Ray Charles). And we sing along to

“New York!
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of,
There’s nothing you can’t do
Now you’re in New York!

And the Parisians look over and say, “Oh, that’s where the Americans are” or “No, stupid, you’re in Paris!”   Well, if you can imagine, we Americans can get pretty darn loud.  Well, we convince him is the point, and our night starts out like any other night.

We make it to the club and boogie. There’s like nine of us all together, and we’re going from first floor to basement trying to get a feel for the atmosphere. The basement has cool lasers, but the first floor has reggae. You can’t beat reggae in my opinion. I stick to one other Latina girl who happens to like the same music I do, and we see COURIR from a distance. He’s boogying down with the large group—dancing the night away. Maybe he was just trying to make us happy–or–maybe, he was actually enjoying himself. All I know is that I look away, and all of a sudden he disappears. As if he was never there, as if a ghost had been present in our lives for two weeks and then suddenly decided to evaporate. Poof! Gone!

Reader, you know me, I get curious, imaginative and inventive. So here are some ideas I came up with (as to why he left the club last night):

1. He realized his socks did not match and he had to go home.
2. The girl who he wanted to dance with shot him down.
3. A large male bouncer threatened his life with a broken glass bottle as he went to the restroom.
4. He got the runs.

Later on that night, perplexed and with tired feet we walk up the flight of stairs to find out that COURIR had run all the way home. The man was wearing a nice white button-up shirt, a black tie, and nice shoes—-and he ran in all of them. We were by the Arc de Triomphe and he ran about 10 kilometers home alone at 2-something in the morning.

We don’t know why he did it. We don’t even know how he beat us to the hotel, but he did.

Do you ever get the urge to run away from some place, Reader? You feel like there’s nothing for you at one place, and you get this urge to run as fast as you can in the other direction? I think that’s what happened to this chap. Maybe in the end, the night was just a confirmation of how much he detests nightclubs. I would have been thinking: my body will hurt tomorrow. What if I get kidnapped? Who’s going to know I’m gone at 2-something in the morning? Etc. etc. etc. I suppose some people don’t concern themselves with doubt, they just do what they feel like doing in that moment. So interesting.