Wednesday, August 16, 2006

fork in the road

I made it to the all raw retreat in San Diego.

I'm doing everything to the letter. I eat food that's possibly not really food, drink wheatgrass and truckloads of purified water. I meditate, practice conscious breathing, alpha techniques and yoga. I know the names and colors of all of my chakras. I use all toxin-free products, and gather herbs in a garden that will help me sleep. The only poision in my blood is the Interferon every Friday, and it still kicks my ass from here to the stars, turning my body inside out.

Maybe living here will heal me, and maybe this is just the sugar/white flour/meat/processed foods/caffiene withdrawl talking, but I can't help feeling that I ran away from something to come back to something calming, familiar and grounding. Truth is, my heart is in Indiana, with this fantastic man who I blew off...(in a letter!?!)...stupid!...for wheatgrass, yoga, and my avocado facial classes with the new crop of raw food retreaters each week. I thought I wanted to really take in this wholistic lifestyle ... and "give back." But I suck at yoga, poked a woman in the eye with a cucumber accidentally, and the smell of wheatgrass is making me hurl.

I'm making a lot of friends, studying for the GRE, having fun in the quantifiable sense. Something is missing, and I'm not clear about what to do about it yet. So I paint. Garden. Meditate. Prepare raw food.

I got a call from my patron, Greg in San Francisco. He asked if I wanted to hang out while he was out of town at his loft for part of September. I am tempted. I could live with my mural, and that fantastic sunlight. There's good friends in San Francisco. And they have food in San Francisco. He also told me that I have to come back and sign Zoe Heights- I had planned to sign it at the reveal party, but there was so much happening that night, so many people, and I lost track.

I met a writer/producer yesterday at a coffee house. (I was drinking water.) I told him about my novel, and he got pretty excited about it. He wrote for TV for years (think crime drama) before writing screenplays. I could tell he was a real writer, because he seemed to be somewhat introverted and smart. We talked about our projects, fellowships, New York, and grad school for a couple of hours. He gave me the name of Amy Tan's literary agent. Last night I completed a proposal for what I am tenatively calling my novel, "Coats." I'm inspired after meeting this guy to start shopping it around.

In other news, as if my literary world couldn't get any brighter after Iowa, Port Townsend, and into the completion of Coats, I have more concrete news on my residency status with the Atlantic Center for the Arts. In April, I submitted an excerpt from my novel, as well as a short story about Generation X to the ACA. They are a non-profit artist residency on the central east coast of Florida, 6 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. Artist studios sit on 69 acres of lush palmetto and pine forest in the midst of 2,000 acres of an ecological preserve, on the richest tidal estuary in North America. (The copywriter in me didn't think that up, it's all at:

Last month, I got an "You're accepted!--kind of" letter. It named me as an Alternate Artist. I didn't know what that meant so I called the ACA. Imagine being the guy who had to take that call. Well he was the director, and he was cool. He told me that they only accept 8 people into their Writer Residency Program, and I was number 9. He told me that so far, no one has declined their spot as a Resident Writer, but as soon as they do, I'll be notified. I'm starting to wonder if these residencies are competitive. Since this would be a complete interruption to what I am trying to achieve here at my raw food retreat and overall healing experiment, I had to ask, very respectfully, of course: Is this residency competitive? He answered very emphatically, "It's very difficult to get accepted. Since 2000 we've been getting over 500 applications a year." The critic in me thought, only 500? Well then why am I a lousy #9? But if I was #4 I'd want to be #1. That night, when my head hit the pillow, I did the math--I became content, and I slept very well.

I hope that my health improves, with more good days than bad, and I hope that I don't worry about things I can't control, and am able to live in the moment, which for the timebeing is nothing short of glorious. The weather is amazing, my car is beautiful (and fun!), and when I apply to the universe for what interests me, it takes care of me in unexpected ways. I just have to have faith, and be willing to leap. Some people think it's risky and too adventurous in a time when I should be more settled. But, THIS is life--when life dictates its twists and turns and adventures and loves--not a job or illness or most restrictive of all: ourselves.

In the coming weeks, life will step in and give me some chances to take if I'm willing. I have to remember that nothing is permanent--the only consequence to making the wrong choice is that there will be more choices to make. Still, my heart argues with my head, which fights my gut. My head helps keep Indiana out of my heart, even during hours when my hands and legs and arms are cement, and the only thing that seems to be healthy and functional is my heart. A lot of people here like to remind me that the moon is moving through venus, or it would've never worked out anyway or that I'm just behaving according to my astrological sign. The chakra that no one here talks about is the one I've always trusted, with the least sexy name, and a color that's probably a shimmery hue of black: my gut.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

48 hours in San Francisco

• Drank iced tea with Peter at the Grove, and got a tour of his new BMW.

• Ran into rocker Samantha on Fillmore, discussed sending sketches of my heArtwork for her tattoo design to an illustrator. Briefly discussed the Pirate she’s dating.

• Dined on a home-cooked organic meal at Jorge’s new loft apartment in SOMA. Ate the most extravagently sweet tomato ever from the farmer's market. Wore new champaigne cami and broke in painful but beautiful BCBG shoes. Discussed an exciting new project.

• Mani/Pedi at Lavande. Tried to eavesdrop on gossip in Taiwanese. Was able to make out "Brad Pitt."

• Lunched with Jim at a charming hole in the wall Mediterarrean CafĂ©. Drove around in my new wheels.

• Saw my estethician Tricia, and got an update on her lovelife with a state prision guard.

• Ran into spring “fadeout” Justin at Peets in Pacific Heights. Managed a smile and wink while apologetically rushing off to therapy.

• Broke up with my therapist without saying, "Really, it's not you. It's me."

• Saw my hospital crush, Dr. Could-be-Gay and realized after the fact that "hospital gown" just isn't my color.

• Beat the rush hour at Trader Joe’s and bought Apple Struedel. (a Kalle and Paolo favorite!)

• Contacted Lucinda Williams peeps about upcoming tour art. Informed Lu that my eyelashes are real, and Christian Dior makes them look so irresistibly fake.

• Parked illegally under a crane in downtown San Francisco just long enough to catch up with my old roommate, Katy who broke away from blueprints or floor plans to see me.

• Found pictures of last marathon and was reminded by Renee of my now-gone Madonna arms. (Ate another piece of struedel.)

• Partied through happy hour on Polk Street in Russian Hill. Heard the familiar ringing of the Hyde cable car and was not even a little bit nostalgic.

• Was offered a piece of chocolate by my dentist, and told me he couldn’t make any money off me because my teeth are *perfect*

• Washed my car and was greeted by Renee's neighbor. (Call him, Renee. He's single.)

• Arrived for my coffee at Ritual and was greeted with: “Where have you been! We’ve been just worried sick!”

• Accidentally dropped a sleeping pill in my printer, and now it literally will not power on.

I made it to my new apartment in San Diego. It's huge. I crashed with a friend in The O.C. last night. We had a blast. I had never been there before: land of gated communities, botox, palm trees and streets that look like a moving Mercedes Benz showroom.