Thursday, January 27, 2011

Up Here

Blog-neglecting busy lately, but in the best possible way!

For the first time ever, I feel like a real writer, and though I know that blogging and journaling and poetry are all valid forms of writing, there is nothing like seeing my name in print. Fingertips smudging the words I labored over at my kitchen table for days. Even more thrilling: getting to conduct interviews, chase down stories, sort the truths from the half-truths in the deep well of Internet research.

On Tuesday afternoon (thanks to a glorious day off of school) I got to interview Pulitzer Prize-winning nationally-recognized animated cartoonist Mark Fiore, at his studio in an undisclosed location in San Francisco. I thought I might melt with anxiety and anticipation. We talked for an hour, my papers sprouting notes like weeds, and when it was over, I drove straight to a cozy cafe and pounded out my story. Now it just needs some serious tinkering, which my obsessive mind sometimes takes a wee too seriously. I know I'm being overly dramatic here, but I don't want to wind up like poor Joan Rivers, driven to do nothing but work for some idealized perfection, too consumed to enjoy the fresh air and birdies.

Luckily, my other life as a teacher keeps me grounded and humble. On Monday we took a field trip to San Francisco and had a grand time cruising the botanical gardens in Golden Gate Park before heading to the marina beach and the hyped-up House of Air, a giant warehouse filled with interconnecting trampolines. We jumped until we were sweaty, played trampoline dodge-ball, then jumped some more. By the end of our hour-long session, I'd learned how to literally jump off the walls. Afterward, on the way back home, In and Out Burger never tasted so good.

The pinnacle of relaxation happened a couple of weeks ago, when M and I went to Osmosis spa for enzyme baths (the perfect wedding gift). We drank tea in a private meditation room overlooking a Japanese garden with a waterfall. Then we sank into a hot bath full of pencil-shavings (not really, but that's what it looks like) heated to 130 degrees by the natural fermentation of enzymes eating away at the sawdust. Like fancy, detoxifying, skin-enriching compost. An attendant came by with cool cloths for our faces and sips of water. Afterward I felt light, smooth, and ravenously hungry.

We ate a four course Italian meal at Negri's restaurant in the perfect 19th century village of Occidental. I sipped grenadine and munched on salami and pickled cauliflower and felt like I was on vacation. We climbed the hill above the white church, breathing hard in the cool evening fog, a huge lit-up peace sign reigning over everything. No success in the world like feeling peaceful and content in your own body, your own life.

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