There are clouds and snow coming down. I am very happy being here with Mark and my friends in Nebraska at the MFA. We’re talking about writing while we’re here, because when we are not here, we are writing. It’s snowy cold outside and yeasty warm in here by the fireplace. The martinis are good. Loyal friends in this wintery hotel as we tick tock toward the new year. A good way to end to end 2015.
I don’t know yet whether I’ll go swimming in the ocean. The waves are big and the water is 45 degrees, which is going to feel pretty cold any way you slice it. I’m having coffee now and later, I’ll have a pear. There have been many changes in my life in 2015, and next year there will be more. A wedding. Red Hen is in a great place; the press has really taken off, we feel lucky to be in this business. Two great Kirkus Reviews in the last week for spring books by amazing women authors.
The waves keep coming in, but today, there’s no rain. Might be a good day for a swim. You can swim and sail in the rain. Some people think you should go back to harbor and call it a day, but there’s no need. Keep sailing, flying, swimming, I tell myself. Later, you’ll find out where you’re going.
Much of the day there was a rainbow; now there’s falling sky around the Haystack Rock, rising mist. A crowd of sea rushing up the sand, all this white water. The ocean will beat against the sand long after any of us are here. The sun is long gone, all we see is a heavy cool blue and thick white waves coming in. Cannon Beach, Oregon the family threads together story at the beach, and why is it the California beach and the Oregon coast and the Jersey shore? Why is each story different? Why is the lighthouse nearly invisible in the fog?
I feel the rush toward the end of this year and the beginning of a next. I’ve met some new amazing friends this year. Every time I slice a pear in the raw morning light, I try to be present. I feel great love from so many people and I’m reading, writing, thinking. And I’m about to go on a journey. In all the myths, a journey opens the heart.
Off to the beach.
The winter beach.
The slow times at the winter beach.
The winter beach weather coming in like soup.
Like the winter weather pouring in off the bay spilling the fog back.
The sun threads through the ocean air but doesn’t warm anything.
It’s cool light.
Winter beach light.
The frozen light of a person looking at you who doesn’t really love you. They say they do but they don’t want you to think they do so you will do things for them.
They want you to work for them.
You are reading and walking on the beach in the winter light.
Winter light doesn’t hold any brightness, just a creamy yellow space around you like the light in a room when you waken and you don’t know what day it is.
I remember waking as a child under the stars when there was a meteor shower and holding my hands open hoping to catch them. I’m waiting still to catch stars.
Rita Wilson can sing and gather groups of performers to make magic. It was a liquid evening, Rita’s laugh, her long hair, a completely authentic spontaneous fun time. The whole night was what I want the literary world to be: The lilt of music inside story, an authentic delightful evening where creators were sharing rather than competing. We sat at a small table right beside Tom Hanks and their three children.
The show currently on stage at the Geffen is Liner Notes, a singer songwriter round table. Each musician tells stories about songs and then perform them. We heard Richard Marx , Andrew Doolittle, Michael Farrell, Jessi Alexander, Jon Randall and of course Rita Wilson. Since I have heard very little country music in my life, I didn’t even know the song, “I drive your truck,” and I kept wondering what Karen was going to say when I told her I’d been listening to country music, but actually, I loved the whole performance. Richard Marx has three sons, all musicians, and one of them, Lucas Marx performed a song which was fabulous, and he is as gorgeous as his father. It was a liquid evening full of joy, and it ended with Richard Marx singing, “I’ll be right here waiting for you.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_E2EHVxNAE
If there are any tickets left to Liner Notes, you want to get one.
Staff Party tonight at Mijares—yummy Mexican food and a tumble of margaritas.
We had a great dinner with Jean Valentine, Maxine Hong Kingston and her husband Earl on the weekend, and a dinner with Mark’s brother Saturday and a fancy fun dinner with this whole fantastic lesbian crowd on Sunday.
We are in the thicket of finishing our end of the year projects and planning for the next year.
We have more than thirty titles coming out in 2016. We have events, parties, and the life of ideas and imagination rolls on. I’m working on a new book. Our tree is decorated, and our cats have already broken some of the ornaments.
The Red Hen Christmas party is this Friday, and our good friends are coming to it to celebrate, love, passion, dreams and magic.
This weekend we saw Bridge of Spies which we really liked, and Martian which I loved. The scenes in space were great, so 2001 and Matt Damon was so much fun to watch. Wadi Rum, Jordan, where Ridley Scott filmed this, is absolutely breathtaking and made me want to rush off to Jordan to go hiking and camping there.
We also saw Going Clear at Kim’s suggestion and there were frightening parallels to High View Church Farm. One man who is the boss of everything, a lot of true believers who give everything to the “cause.” The Farm wanted to have us all set sail around the world, but we never finished building the boats. It’s a good thing we weren’t Noah, or we would have been flooded. L.Ron Hubbard took his flock to sea. I liked the parts of the movie where celebrities are taken in by the cult, but the most compelling part of the movie was Paul Haggis who I’ve met. He is a brilliant guy and in the movie you can tell that, and you get the sense of what it takes for someone of his grace and intelligence to admit that he fell for something that was a fraud. It was very moving. He has a deep wisdom about him that makes you understand how we can all dive into things and then find out they aren’t what we thought.
I recovered from some of my exhaustion, went to shiatsu treatment twice, went on long walks and drank a lot of green juice with my turkey. Altogether a very good Thanksgiving break, and I have so much to be grateful for.
Lauren Groff’s book Fates and Furies continues to haunt me. The story of a long marriage and its unraveling. I like to think about what makes a long marriage stay together. It’s creating a long story with another person that becomes one big story. Well, our story this weekend is going to involve rest, movies, and writing. I’m all ready for it.
We walked the dogs in the soft cool twilight. Zooey always needs to be in front of the other dogs. She looks back at them with this look that says I’m in front, do you see me?
She nearly pulled my arm out of its socket when she was chasing a cat. She wanted to kill the cat, but that calico sneaked up a tree in the dark.
We didn’t walk far; I’m still shaky on my feet but getting better every day. It’s an odd feeling after illness like you’re floating.
I am writing this weekend and getting ready for a great Thanksgiving. I feel life like a swarm of bees, like honey, and I do like honey.
The best parts of life are sweet like honey. You are loved. Don’t focus any energy on the people who don’t love you. Focus on the big love in the universe and walk around in it like a child walking in a park under a sky full of clouds that could be any kind of animal, any kind of creature; the sky is magic, you are magic.