May 28, 2008

The Story of Polly

It happened like this: David and I were walking down my favorite-est street in San Francisco. Valencia has the cutest little stores with homemade stationary and organic cotton t-shirts and super neat people. Just walking into their shops (I have no idea how they made enough money to pay the rent) made me feel almost “cool.” There were stores with handmade jewelry fashioned out of Legos and rainbow-colored, hand-knitted scarves and coffee shops that also sold used books. One of my favorite used bookstores was on Valencia and there was an alien cat that greeted all the patrons of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy bookstore. It is also where 826 Valencia calls its home. 826 Valencia is a pirate store, equipped with traps, glass eyes, and frolicking fish. It also is a writing, tutoring, and publishing establishment, created by the geniuses behind Believer magazine.

I’m getting a little side-tracked. Anyways, David and I were simply relishing the eternal fall of SF when we happened upon a sidewalk sale. And there it was. Practically glowing amidst the discarded clothing and VHS tapes was a metallic blue bike that looked like it had time-traveled from the 60’s. It was in perfect condition except that one of the tires was flat. I oo-ed and ah-ed, but when David asked if I wanted it, I said no, no. I just couldn’t. It was too much money.

We walked half a block away when David stopped and told me to wait. He then walked back, haggled over the price, and bought the bike then and there.

After much consideration, I named her Polly.

Polly and I have been on many adventures. She took me flying down the SF hills. I walked her up those same damn hills. My calves grew strong and hard. When I was with Polly, I felt free and alive.

Of course she came with us to Chicago. The winter was hard on Polly. She got rusty. She lost some of her shine. But I still loved her.

Last week, someone saw her locked behind the apartment. Who knows why they did it. Maybe they felt the pull that I did. Or maybe they just wanted to see if they could get away with it. But what I do know is that they couldn’t break the lock so they broke the fence to get to Polly. They rode her away under a cover of darkness and out of my life.

I only hope that they treat her well. I hope she doesn’t get dismantled and sold for parts. I hope that maybe, someday, she will make another girl as happy as she’s made me.

P.S. After two days of scouring Craigslist, we found a new bike for me. Her name is Tilly.

May 23, 2008

On This Memorial Day Weekend...

A couple of weeks ago there was an unusual interview on NPR with a rap artist. His amazing story can be found here:

I am more of an indie music girl, but this singer/songwriter's passion and courage is something that I can celebrate and stand behind. I'd like to give a shout out to him and his hardcore message of peace.

During the next couple of weeks, I will be hammering and chiseling out these last few (and by few, I mean sixty) pages of my rough draft. The goal is to have a first copy of CTFS available on my website by my twenty-eighth birthday in June. So, I may not be posting very many blogs until this is done. If you think of it, send some good vibes my way. I'm gonna need them.

May 18, 2008

"Oh, my ears and whiskers, how late it's getting!"

I know I haven't posted anything in awhile. Here are my excuses: it's been deliciously warm outside, I've been trying to get a prof's permission to take a fiction writing class this summer (and I'm in!), I just started tutoring ESL to a lovely Korean mother and her eight-year-old daughter, and I've been revising that pesky novel. So there.

I do have a few recommendations for this week. If you haven't watched Juno yet, what the hell are you waiting for? Seriously, you must watch it. Check out these writers: Sherman Alexie, Emma Donoghue, and Lorrie Moore. They have short stories or poems or essays that you can read on the internet. You don't even have to go to the library. Also, if you haven't discovered Emmy the Great on YouTube yet, you really, really should. It'll be good for your heart-strings, I promise.

Okay. If you've got some recommendations for me, please leave me a comment. I'm just starving for good reads and muses. And, thanks, as always, for listening to me rant.

May 9, 2008

Sharing is Caring (says one of my favorite Rainbow Brite t-shirts)

This is an invitation to take a moment and read a beautiful and intimate posting by my friend, Bob Messerli. Bob was an icon of our little clan during the infamous summer of 2003. (Think The Great Gatsby meets small town, Oklahoma.) His words written here are brave and true.

Bob, thank you for sharing your musings with us.

May 5, 2008

Better than Ice Cream

This past weekend, we had a very good friend visiting from the Bay Area. We played so hard (the Art Institute, Hemingway’s birthplace, Frank Lloyd Wright’s home, excellent beer at the Hopleaf, and a frighteningly awesome flight on a 1979, four-person, Cessna, over Michigan City) that we pooped out Sunday evening.

But the very best part was spending time with our friend, and it got me thinking. Friend is such a marshmallow word: fluffy, sugar-sweet, and empty. The word just doesn’t have the right connotation linked with it. Camaraderie is a bit better, but still doesn’t quit fit what I want it to mean. I bet there’s a fantastic German word for it. Something like: “betterthanicecreamperson” or “firstcallImakewhenIamintrouble” or “shehasgotmyback.”

This is really what “Cast the First Stone” is about. Deep down, past the literary descriptions and universal themes (poverty, that in-between place of adolescence, and finding God), this story is about that distinct, uncommon, hard-to-find connection between two individuals.

I consider myself pretty lucky to have the kind of friends that are not seen in most popular media. The chic-lit friendships in so many books and television shows are composed of spiteful, back-stabbing, flat, and/or solitary characters that wouldn’t lift a manicured finger to help their supposed friend. I see the kind of “friendship” that I’m talking about mostly depicted by guys: men in combat, brothers, teammates, school chums. This is true, it seems, in a lot of coming-of-age stories as well.

I wanted a story that was true to the type of friendship (there’s that word again) that I’ve experienced: tried and true, loyal and feisty, tough as nails friendship. To this day, it’s these resilient relationships (through many are miles and miles away) from which I draw my creative muscle, my tenacity, and my faith.

P. S. Thanks for the amazing weekend, Maggie-D!