Dinner, Authors, and Book Recommendation #2

Geek Love

Well Blog Land, a lot has happened since last I wrote. A friend of mine needed help at work. I went to help cover for her at a home near Tisdale Lake. Her boss needed to move boxes of books from his home to the garage. It seemed like an easy job, so I agreed to go. I am trying to save up for a camera and loans.

So I get there and it turns out, this boss of hers is a pretty prolific and well known writer who happens to teach at Cal. Not only that, but he lives in this cute place which is pretty much my dream home. Small house overlooking some water (at a safe distance in case of a tsunami, my second biggest fear btw). The house is small but big enough for love and life. There were book cases everywhere, and tall pointy Dutch ceilings. I walked in and instantly wanted to sit down and write.  I need to find my own space, I thought to myself.

He gives me a quick tour. He tells me a poet used to live there, and proceeds to introduce me to his multiple libraries around his home. It was the most incredible collection of books I had ever seen in a single home.   Needless to say he was getting rid of some of his babies (books) because of remodeling and changes to the house. I could tell he was having trouble parting with them, but I made sure to give him time. He pulled down the ones he wanted to keep while I collected the ones he left standing to put in boxes. The books ranged from critical theory to science fiction. He had an incredible fiction collection, including Geek Love by Katherine Dunn.

I had a small break between my hours, and as he handed me some carrot juice all I could think was, man … what I wouldn’t do to be in your shoes. Seeing his lifestyle and his care for his babies reinforced the idea in me that without being well read you will not be very good at writing at all. There is a reason why this man is published and hangs out with amazing artists. He puts in the time. It was a small job in the end, but I walked away with a free book (compliments of the author) and a hunger for my own cottage in the woods someday.

Later on that evening I went to a dinner party. I was surprised to learn that a poet from South America was going to join us. Blog Land, you could not even imagine how stupid I looked all night. I could not stop smiling!  At the dinner party I ended up eating and talking with amazing dancers, artists, and writers. We talked about politics, being women, the power of art and how it can change society. All I kept thinking was, wow…this is my life right now and it’s pretty amazing.

I can’t wait to keep on learning more things from this town and its people. I wonder what amazing things await in my future.

 

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La Peña on Shattuck Blvd. & COuNTeRPULSE.org

Just a quick update regarding my last post:  I have two options with the writing partnership. Either (1) I write up a contract saying, HEYO–let’s get published and split the profit, or (2) Pay me up front per page and you can have the book. What do you think? I’m still debating it.

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Anyways, this post is about a place I recently went to. It’s called La Peña. I was there with a group of performers, and the event was a potluck/creative writing workshop with a whole mess of people. Our facilitator was Marvin K. White, and the event was organized by dancer extraordinaire, Amara Tabor-Smith, and the non-profit organization, CounterPULSE.

Blogland—-it was so amazing being in a room with writers, non-writers, people, cooks, food enthusiasts, regular folks, Berkeley students, etc. We wrote on spoons, plates, cups, notebooks, and shared our recipes and meals with each other. It was the perfect hippie Berkeley moment, but with the bonus addition of Creative Writing.

I wanted to share some cool exercises we did as a group with Marvin K. White‘s guidance, of course.

1. Draw a line down the center of your page, and over the line start your prompt: “I come from a long line of…”

This exercise was fun because there was a range of possibilities.
Someone got deep into their history and roots and wrote about family.
I wrote, “I come from a long line of bullshitters…” and etc. etc. etc.
Try it, it’s fun.

2. Stone Soup Story. This one is tricky. You have to come up with 4 dry ingredients. 4 wet ingredients. Then you have to come up with how to prepare, how many people does it serve, and the name/purpose of the recipe.

People in the room got really creative with this one.
Someone wrote about high heals as one of their  dry ingredients,
and wet slushy sex as one of their wet ingredients. She ended the
whole thing with, “A recipe for disaster.” Everyone laughed.
And as writers out there know, you laugh when you can relate.

3. Since the whole event surrounded the potluck we had some cool exercises around our utensils. (1) On the spoon we wrote “Love tastes like…” , (2) on the knife we wrote about what cuts or divides us, (3) On our plate we wrote what feeds us, (4) On our napkin we wrote what protects us, or what can wipe our story away? (5) On our cups we wrote what do you thirst for? (6) And in the back of our plate we wrote the names of people who could not enjoy this meal with us.

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One of the most important messages I got from Mr. White last night was to always do these fun games because it clears your mind, and after you clear your mind, you can write anything. Writing is a practice. After you write, look back at your words and investigate what these words mean. How do they connect with the world or community you are in? Why are you writing them? What is the history of a word? Etc. etc. etc.

The whole event surrounded and celebrated food. It was great. It was to commomerate Amara Tabor-Smith‘s dance show, which I have seen and totally recommend–OUR DAILY BREAD. Their show will be up again in La Peña on Shattuck Blvd. Come support these artists and check out this community space. It’s beautiful!

Long live Art.