The Fine Art of Trying
It took me a long time to stop waiting for everything to be perfect in life to just go for it. We all have a different series of “it” to go for. For me, quitting smoking and starting writing were two forms of “it” I went for, but before I could do either of these things I had to decide to stop waiting for the perfect time.
We always wait for the right time, but there is never any perfect, right time to do things. Life can come and go in waiting for everything to be just so. It is a rather new way of looking at things for me: the idea that it is more important to live, than it is to wait for everything to be just right. To do. To strive. To be.
Because time is so heartbreakingly short. Life is what you do… it is what you put your time into. It is a sharp kick in the ass when you find that you have a limited life: you will not live forever. Life is short and you’d best get to the doing part of things.
So when I started to write, it was because I knew suddenly that my parents would not be here forever. It is a revelation, really… similar to when parents understand that kids are growing up fast and they won’t be little forever. There is only so much time, and so we do things while we can do them: we go to the amusement park with our nieces and nephews while they are not yet too old to want to be seen in public with us. We decide who is important to us, and what is important to us… and we try.
We try while we live.
And I say this to preface the statement that: I am not perfect. Neither is anything I ever do. I feel upset when I find out my self-published books: self-published because I was too afraid of rejection, still have typos flying in the face of the editing, still are flawed and far from perfect. I cringe. But I just keep on going, trying to make things better, because they can be made better. They just can’t make perfect.
Which is why yesterday was so PERFECT. Really, truly, sweetly, perfect. It was a moment: the kind you freeze-frame in your mind and you know it will remain with you forever. Because I was one of five women who read at Blow Salon, at an even organized by a sixth woman, Jil Girvin. The original ad copy for the event was “Five Fabulous Female Writers!” but we changed it as two more writers, not all women, were added. At one point there were eight, but Life Happens. People had to cancel and deal with life, but even so… we ended up with a Fab Five… Five Fabulous Writers.
And I realized as it all moved forward how we wrote about various aspects of the feminine experience. The scenes I read from “Warmth” all directly or indirectly related to my angst over infertility and impending menopause, where the Undead are mysteriously vexed by an affliction of hot flashes and both villain and hero are perplexed by the horrors of an unnatural pregnancy. Patty Overland followed me, reading two moving pieces of personal poetry expressing her love and solidarity with other women: other lesbians, other disabled women, other women… all women joined together in our struggle.
Next, Rebecca Wilson read her piece “Ice Cream” while charmingly surrounded by her two young sons – her beautifully written ode to the ice cream man and the challenges of motherhood, the battle between her will and the wills of two little children answering the Pied Piper call of the Ice Cream man. Rain Graves followed, reading a piece about death… the final foe of each of us in this mortal realm, man and woman alike. And finally, Serena Toxicat read a piece from her novella “Evangeline and the Drama Wheel” about a character named Vanillaglitter and her issues with body image: the way she felt about her body and the way others perceived her being in conflict. I thought about what it meant… such diverse women, reading such diverse pieces.
This was the event….
October 14 (Sunday) @ Blow Salon
Sunday Streets Berkeley Blow Salon Reading
It took place at the Blow Salon, 2112 Berkeley Way in Berkeley.
It went on in conjunction with this:
And was hosted/took place here:
And the bands played… Tara played the music of Protea, accompanying Serena’s prayer to Bast and her book reading. Ronzoni Calzone played an awesome set of covers and originals, that memorably included one rockin’ rendition of Ziggy Stardust.
And my band Stagefright played it’s first show in three years.
We stopped playing after we lost our guitarist, Reggie, to oral cancer. We stopped playing when my mom developed and entered into intensive treatment for cancer of the bones. So this show… it wasn’t our best show ever, but it was an unforgettable show. My mom and my brother and both of his daughters were there, and it felt like music was putting together the family that cancer tore apart. Both of my parents are fighting cancer now: and my dad told my niece that when his aunt Helen, my great aunt, found out she had cancer she “never had another fun day in her life”.
So you see, that’s what it’s about.
The fine art of having more fun days. Of living. And loving. and being together.
Of all of the times that have been or will be.. the only one you can live in is NOW.