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.

1 comment:

Adam said...

Wow, what a moving blog entry! I blushed. And nearly cried.

Congrats on earning the alternate position for the ACA residency. You deserve to be there. And even if no one ends up declining, ninth out of 500 is still like the top 2% or something. That’s superfantabulous.

But don’t lose hope because when I read this I dragged out the old voodoo bag and whipped up a little hex. I’m predicting “bad things” in store for resident number eight. Though, if you could get me one of the writer’s names it might help; I’ve found my hex’s to be more effective when I can direct them at a particular individual. Also, a note of caution – when I cast my voodoo net wide, as is the case here, there can be some unwanted side effects. So, if you notice anyone in your family shrinking, or developing a green tinted rash, LET ME KNOW ASAP! Such are the hazards of amateur black magic.

Your bold moves continue to inspire me Jaynel. In the short time I’ve known you, I’ve observed the quality of your writing skyrocket. Keep plugging away and you’ll be rewarded. Take those dreaded GREs and send that novel out. You’ll have your pick of MFA programs; I’m certain of it.

You’ve got the right attitude about your future baby, but I’ll offer you this: if your heart or head ever fails you as a guide, try my father’s favorite advice and follow your nose. You may end up lost, but at least you won’t starve!