It is a beautiful day here in LA. Since the girls are away, I get to go out dancing (at the Moby concert last night), sleep late and eat chocolate chip cookies for breakfast. Here is the preferred obsession of the moment:
Trader Joe’s isn’t paying me to promote their crisp, delicate and delicious cookies, but if they want to say thank you by sending me a box or two, I won’t say no.
From breakfast today I moved on to writing a pitch letter for a freelance article. Fingers crossed. I am moved to say publicly that while I’ve enjoyed the interviews that have come my way from blogging for the Huffington Post (follow the link for my archived articles), I am just a teensy bit fed up with giving away some of my best work for no pay. Let’s hope the paying jobs roll in. Let’s hope I figure out how to play the game a bit better.
My lovely friend Athena blessed me with her pink beach cruiser before she left LA for NYC. I promised I would ride it and today was the day. I pedaled over to the Farmer’s Market and picked up goods for the week. The ride home was all downhill–a phrase that’s actually a sweet discovery when you’re on a bike.
Reading more Joan Didion. Her essay, On Keeping a Notebook reinforces the necessity of both observation and then writing it down.
It all comes back. Perhaps it is difficult to see the value in having one’s self back in that kind of mood, but I do see it; I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not… We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were.
My notebooks are always black and white composition notebooks. Anything fancier and I’m paralyzed by the need to be perfect and erudite. I usually have this notebook with me. I buy purses large enough for my notebook and a book. Now the iPhone can substitute and the Notes I record go straight to my email. A nice feature and I feel secure in being able to capture things whenever and wherever, but it’s not the same.
As I sat eating lunch, I read a New Yorker piece, The Hunger Diaries, with notebook excerpts by Mavis Gallant. She was living on the edge of poverty and even hunger as she traveled around Europe working on her novel and short stories, waiting for checks from New Yorker to arrive.
I have no right to call this [work-in-progress] “a novel” when it is so abstract. It is an abstract idea I have held, or been held by, rather, ever since Austria–six months. Two notebooks stuffed with it–stuffed with an idea. I must be mad.
Worked from coffee to dinner, ate very little, then too tired and ill to work again…
Found a place where I can have meal for ten pesetas. Brown tiled walls, greasy soup I can’t get down, but a good cutlet. Place full of single, sad, youngish men, clerks from the look of them, gulping greasy macaroni. I glance twice at my wrist, forgetting the watch is gone.
Gallant’s diaries are being edited for publication. Keep on the look out. They’re sure to be good. The thing I took away from Gallant is that no matter how much self-doubt gnaws at you, you keep trying. You keep writing. Didion describes herself as neurotically inarticulate, but keeps writing. Who will read this piece or that story? Will it sell? I say that I want to write a book. What does that book look like?
I don’t often have days stretch out like today has. But what a joy when they do. Now back to Slouching Towards Bethlehem to crack the code of how she structures the book…