October 31, 2009
Interesting day, it’s the day before my daughter’s twentieth birthday, so I drove to Santa Barbara to spend with her and my friend Tracy and we went to a spa which was something my daughter wanted to do. I thought it was a lovely extravagant idea. We picked a spa right by Isla Vista called Bacara, a rather ritzy place but nice. It was so nice that I felt so guilty I could hardly stand it. Way out of what the Kate would normally do, but I’ve only once taken my daughter to a spa when she was eighteen. My daughter, for the record, felt no guilt at all. My daughter enjoys her life, she moves through her life with a joy I cannot imagine. She can just suck up whatever experience she is having. It is lovely to see her enjoying herself.
Isla Vista has some crazy parties over Halloween weekend and when I dropped her off, the cops had descended on the place. Last year between 50,000 and 60,000 partiers descended on that town of 20,000 partiers to make one massive party zone. I suppose those cops imagine they will keep it under control. There were people in costume everywhere, dressed like hookers and aliens, dressed in saran wrap and paper bags, and Gumby suits, Superman suits, and Spiderman suits. It looked like a lot of fun. I got the heck out of town.
Writers and poets who I know don’t normally go on vacations, eat decent food or ever go to a spa with their daughter. The fact that I have done each of these things some of this year has made me feel a lot of guilt. My husband too. We feel guilty together. We can’t believe that we are the sort of people who just went on a vacation this summer and had a good time. Should we have done that? Should we ever relax? Ever eat out? Ever watch movies? Ever stop working on writing our books? When we are not working on publishing, we constantly are writing. Is it okay to break away from this? I don’t know. Whose permission should we ask?
Writers used to feel like they could travel whenever they wanted to or at least the famous ones did. T. S. Eliot was always traveling to take the waters or go on vacation with Vivienne for his health. Back in the day, you could work that. F.Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda traveled, Robinson Jeffers traveled. Molly Peacock and Dana Goodyear travel even now, so maybe Molly and Dana are the 21st century version of T.S. Eliot.
I think the ideal is that we can breathe, travel, give room for our imagination. Breathing… dreaming, no guilt.. but then I’m not much of a fiction writer, so I don’t know if this kind of stuff could really happen. Any thoughts, readers?