So for a while last week I was nibbling around on the Seven Killings of Marlon James and messing around with a freaky horse scribble by Gaitskill and they were innovative and moving and…then I bought another book. (The other two titles were library loans by the way…I’ll go back to them when I am done with their interruption.) The book is mainstream and smacks of Tales of the City for Parisians and it’s not cutting edge but sometimes…sometimes you just need a bright and sweet French dessert. The Little Paris Bookshop is just such a dessert.
It’s got sex and lots of love and lots of literary references and rich descriptions of rich food and magic and I needed this book about six months ago. Sometimes the soul is stubborn. I probably could have bought this book six months ago and been healed of all of this hassle. But books show up when I most need them: not before, not since.📚
So I’m spending my independent Independence Day reading it. Then we’ll go back to Bob Marley and the crazy horse.
I spent nearly the entire day writing today, which is something that I haven’t done since my San Francisco writing group used to hold Saturday and Sunday writing marathons at a cafe in Duboce Park. Those sessions were surreal; I always had to go home and ice my hand after (I was the only long-hand operator), but I burned through to the point where I would walk out smiling at everyone. I’d take the N back to my neighborhood and get a repasado margarita at Pacific Catch and watch a Giants game and feel my soul shining like an empty drum.
Today, though, there was no light rail anywhere after, just a diabetic cat that needed his evening insulin and a leftover pesto sausage in the fridge and some sweet cherries for desert. I still felt empty but for the first time not quite so lonely as I have since leaving the Bay. That’s not to say I’m endorsing SoCal, but I felt as though I traveling through and not trapped for the first time in months. I had put the phone away today, and wrote about legends that pass, even if the legends are just in a corner of the world and not global. I was inspired by a movie that I rented for 99 cents from iTunes, a lovely little indie and romcom called Tumbledown. I saw it last night and the legends idea hit me and I wrote half the night and all of today. I didn’t care of the idea was gonna get tossed later, I didn’t care if it had been done before, I just played with fiction all day, not in a sense of working on existing projects but in a sense like I used to in college or in writing group. Just get some magic on the page. Just write something that isn’t therapy.
When I first moved to California in 2004 and lived in Silicon Valley, my brother and I would go to the ocean on the weekends: him to fish from the rocks, me to sit at picnic tables or in the Jeep and write. I had a collection of gel writer pens in jelly-like colors and I would listen to the soundtrack from Practical Magic on my pink Nano and write about wonder and how to keep it. Today all I could think about was one of those fishing trips to Sonoma, just north of Point Reyes, where the Jeep was at a dangerous slope and I knew that if I tripped the emergency break I wouldn’t ever be homesick for anything ever again. I was homesick for Missouri then, for knowing where stuff was, just like I’m still homesick for the Bay now, but felt that I could overcome with a bright green Uniball and Nick Cage.
The only thing in common with both that day and today was no social media. I checked a Snapchat from a friend a moment ago, but other than that I haven’t touched the phone all day. Reading, writing. If I stay off the FOMO trip I feel more connected to that person in Sonoma. I find more wonder. The sweet cherries are better, the cat is more loving. I pick up one of the Stabilos pictured above and the legend continues. I would hate to give up social media entirely (after all, that’s where this ends up, too), but I don’t know how to do it anymore. Maybe I do it a whole lot less until I figure out how.
Happy Independence Day, from whatever you are breaking from.🎆