Fabulous feature in the San Francisco Chronicle today. It's about a portrait exhibit at the Homeless Prenatal Program where I teach the Community Health Workers, such as the women featured in the story (I am in the background of the second photo, having just come out of class). In fact, I focused on Carrie for my story on HPP in The New York Times a few years ago. Reporting that story is how I met the magnificent Martha Ryan and fell in love with the organization.
The CHWs I am working with in creative writing class are preparing essays for display at the annual fundraiser in a few weeks. That has me hopping again after this strange interlude with the dreaded Shingles Zoster. I've missed weeks of work and am still dragging, so I'll be focusing on this project until we're finished.
It's also my great pleasure to work with other employees, who are former clients, on professional writing such as case notes, letters, resumes, and school papers and applications. Never have I met a more extraordinary group of men and women. They enrich my life. And I am grateful to be a part of theirs.
Thank you all for your kind comments about Shingles. What a zoster, huh? I feel like I've crawled out of a hole of sorts. Has two weeks really gone by?
I am fortunate to have not been hit quite as hard as some of you though I understand that the pain can arrive 3-4 weeks after the rash disappears.
At any rate, I'm still pretty worn out and not doing much. I've missed two weeks of teaching and I am far behind on everything else. So I won't be blogging much here till I get my sea legs again. And until my brain un-fogs.
But again, I appreciate all your kind and poignant comments. Chicken Pox came back to bite me in the neck all these years later. Who knew?
And for what it's worth, it hasn't been a high stress time for me, especially compared with other times in my life. I guess my body figured that the horrible cold that was brewing in my head and chest were an opportune time to introduce an old virus friend.
Be well my reader friends. Good health, solid rest, and kindness to you all. Now I'm going to lie down again!
It's cold and stormy here. The vet just left because the surviving cat is ill. I have a crick in my neck and can't turn it to the left. My inbox is bursting and I owe a few of you emails. But enough about me...
Since I have nothing else prepared, I thought I'd post this for a rainy Saturday (and most likely Sunday): I am a huge fan of the Coen brothers. As a family, we can actually quote much of The Big Lebowski aloud. But what I love about this film below, is how in the inteview on Special Features following, the brothers reduce this film to its essence, or maybe even its "log line". They say it's the intersection of government intelligence and physical fitness. As I build the plot to my current mystery, I have to stop in awe at how much fun it must be to come up with something so hilarious, and so absurd, and then build a fabulous plot around it. A must see movie if you haven't already.
I have a lot of ambivalence about the common usage of the word "santorum" (is it capitalized as a noun?)
In 2003, I was an avid reader of the East Bay Express
and had even written a very popular, 7,500 word cover story for them.
My secret pleasure was reading the sex column in the back pages written by Dan Savage
Wow, did I learn things! Savage was so outre, so bold, so progressive in his sexual advice. I simply had no idea...
I recall clearly the day I read the answer to the question about what Santorum
really means. And as most of you know by now, the answer wasn't pretty. Little did I know that sitting there in that cafe, I was looking a phrase that would go viral and enter our modern lexicon.
To this day, I don't know how I feel about this definition. Don't misunderstand me: Rick Santorum's position on gays is repulsive. Bestiality? Excuse me?
My husband thinks the new definition of the man's name is hilarious and justified. I don't know. I just don't find my self laughing out loud about it. Santorum's political positions are insane. His character is creepy, as are some of his past actions, in my opinion.
But the word. Really, must we? How do you feel about "santorum"?
A wonderful Bay Area writer named Heather Haven who is a maven of mystery stories, is doing a series of fun interviews with authors this month. She ran my answers earlier this week and I am delighted to share my Q & A with you on her website HERE. Are any of you Russian history or ballet buffs?
It would be really fun for me to hear your own answers to these questions.
Give it a whirl and toss us a few tidbits about yourself.
Otherwise, my heartfelt thanks again to Heather for inviting me to participate on her blog. It's always a delight to interact with such a talented writer as Heather.
Take it away, "This and That!"(This is a better LINK to Finding Clarity!)
This weekend we lost our beloved feral cat who had become like a baby to us. It was a violent but quick end and we are in such shock and mourning, we can all barely think straight. What began with a starved, near death cat nosing around in the dirt for food five years ago, ended up with a 12-pound big baby boy who got into bed every night and slept under the down comforters for 8 or 9 hours - most often with this head on my arm and his paws in my hand.
He survived horrible injuries and many doses of antibiotics, which he loved swirled in heavy whipping cream that we called "smoothies." He also loved warm sponge baths and being brushed and hugged and squeezed with way too many kisses from his mom on top of his head. But then that feral thing kicked in daily and he loved to hunt and maim and kill and then belch up fur and feathers. That's when he wasn't eating organic beef or poultry off his own dishes next to the dinner table with us.
We named him Jeeves Hussein Novak because he wore a white tuxedo shirt. And he was black and skinny with a little more white mixed in. And of course he was a Democrat. But our notched-ear, neutered feral ended up with myriad nicknames and a thick coat just like an otter. He was ridiculous and funny, and still nervous but pliable and still learning how to live in a house. And he was so full of love it hurts. My Jeevsie left way too soon.
The vet will bring back his ashes this week. And then I'll always know where he is and that he's safe. But I already miss him more than I have words to describe. And I can't believe he won't walk in my office door any minute now and crunch on some kibble before tossing me a look and heading back outdoors.
Feel free to keep going on the previous thread, or here. I don't really feel much like writing right now. I'll check in again when I'm ready.
In local news today...I was saddened to be sent this news from a friend about a very wealthy family (or so I thought) in our community. Click on the Madoff
link to the left to see the story on KGO-TV. I was room parent for four years for a child of the guy in the yellow jump suit and it distresses me greatly to think of how the boy and his siblings are doing through this ordeal.
The dad is charged with nine counts of fraud for allegedly swindling dozens of people out of millions of dollars. The allegation is that he "made off" with their money, including kids' college funds.
I recall the fantastic birthday party for the son who invited the entire 7th grade. The magnificent house, located behind electronic gates, was dressed up as a casino, replete with blackjack tables, roulette wheels and professionals to man each station. I recall the Range Rover and designer duds, and the fact that the boy had an iphone before even my husband did! The family seemed close knit, lovely, well-mannered and oh-so-prosperous.
But I gotta be honest: I also recall handing homeroom rosters and volunteer sign-up sheets to the parents for four years in a row, and not once did they look me in the eye, sign up for anything or mutter a word of thanks. Evidently, there were bigger fish to fry.
Now we find out that the District Attorney intends to prove that the man in the cuffs and yellow jail suit managed little more than a house of cards, a ponzi scheme of the type, though perhaps not the magnitude, that put Bernie behind bars.
Clearly, people in the community are angry, and some have even begun culling information into a BLOG. That tells me one thing: there is more info coming down the pike about these alleged activities.One of the recurrent themes in my new novel - Finding Clarity: A Mom, A Dwarf and a Posh Private School in the People's Republic of Berkeley - is that the appearance of altruism is often a disguise for deceit. And that goes for the fat cats who fund your kid's school, be it public, private or parochial.
Doesn't matter if your six kids do go to private school or if your vacations are grander than that of the average bear. What matters is that things don't always add up and they aren't always what they seem. As I said, the kids always seemed well behaved, gracious and fond of one another. The father? It never made any sense to me. No matter how wealthy or what a big shot investor I always heard he was, his appearance, his comportment - none of it added up. None of it.So, the moral of the story might be that when it doesn't make sense, it doesn't for a good reason. You know of what I speak.
I am thrilled to announce that my novel that I just uploaded as an e-book on Scribd, is featured on their new iphone app launched at 6 this morning, Pacific Time.
Click on the book cover to take you to the Scribd page where you can read the first two chapters and then purchase Finding Clarity for $4.99.
Then click on the Float logo above to read Fortune's great rundown of Float and all it can do.
I've been fortunate enough to beta test the Float app throughout the weekend in anticipation of the launch, and I am here to tell you that the folks at Scribd are on to something great.
This is what your new "desktop" on Float will look like:
Float essentially aggregates the reading experience, putting your favorite apps and social feeds onto one screen. Read articles, blogs and literature on your desktop or mobile device.
Find me and "Finding Clarity" under Favorites; Books; Books & Lit. Multiple reading fonts and styles are available for excellent readability. And where ever you leave off "Finding Clarity", you pick right up again.
The Scribd feed is more active than ever, pulling in from Twitter. That's how I found THIS MURDOCH ARTICLE. With a keystroke, I emailed myself the article, linked here and then sent further into the social media sphere.
For now, find the Scribd Home Feed here on this icon. You'll see "Finding Clarity" featured in the right hand sidebar.
Scribd truly is "where the world comes to read." If you're a writer (and you know who you are) or make excellent videos (ditto) consider posting your work to Scribd and then Float your work between all the social media networks. I have 45,000 followers and more than 100,000 reads of my fiction, essays and news articles on Scribd alone.
More to come as I learn more about the new Float interface. Meantime, I am beyond thrilled to introduce Clari Drake and her zany cast of misfit friends as they lurch through a school year, wreaking havoc, uncovering dirty truths, and investigating dark secrets among the wealthy elite at a posh private school in the People's Republic of Berkeley. In fact, it all reminds me a certain story we've all been working on for a while! "Finding Clarity", $4.99 now on Scribd.