You know those times when something really big is happening in your life and all you can manage to do is just hold open the space for it to emerge? I’m pretty sure I’m in the middle of one of those times.
Something very important in my life transformed itself over dinner last night — which means it ended, and it’s about to begin again. It’s something confidential, and one day I’ll tell you more about it. For today, I’m in kind of a quiet mourning place, and a place of enormous gratitude. (Thank you & love you!)
Also, feeling nostalgic, and missing home; and by home, here I mean the land, the way Omaha smells (and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way), the way the people sound. I would like to be able to be there today. We could rent a three bedroom house in Dundee for less than half (way less than half) of what we pay for our place here. Don’t get me started (Jen, don’t get started) on the brutality of the Bay Area’s cost of living.
Have you read Tim Redmond’s essay that introduces the latest Guardian? It made me feel like crying. What’s true is, when I moved here 7 years ago, I thought maybe all the excellent radical artist dyke/queer culture and survivability that I’d been reading about since the early 1990s still existed in San Francisco: but it’s gone. So many of us can’t afford (For as much as I could pay for a house to rent in Omaha, I couldn’t even get a room in an SRO) to live there and do our art, do what we love, without a patron (be it in human or govt form) or student loans or many jobs. Even if the people are still there, the culture, the city, looks/feels so very different from what I expected. I expected difficulty; I didn’t expect a community that could hardly manage to get together because it was so damn busy scrambling/working to pay the fucking rent while also jealously guarding tiny bits of time here and there for its art. Maybe that’s just my experience — maybe others are managing to do it better.
I don’t honestly know if this is a place I can stay; I don’t mean I’m leaving tomorrow, or even next year (because how could I go away from this ocean?!); I mean that I’m broken-hearted. The cost of living feels personal, feels like, why don’t you want us here? I know I’m protected from most of the worst of it: I have a good-paying part-time job that leaves me with energy for my workshops, and during the workshops, I can get some writing done. And yet, I’m getting tired. And I just don’t see things turning around here — now that the developers know they can take the city, why would they give it back?
I just discovered there was a TEDx in Omaha just last weekend — please don’t make any jokes about that, just go check it out.
Today’s my two-workshop day: first, I meet with the MedEd Writers at UCSF for an hour of creative writing-as-professional development, and then I head to the Flood Building for tonight’s Declaring Our Erotic meeting. The writing that always emerges from these spaces will fill me up — I can’t wait.
I’m sorry I don’t have very much this morning. I can’t tell what exactly I’m feeling. Some days are like that. If I were at a cafe, in front of a notebook, I would pour it all out — but for right now, it feels too intimate, more of my insides spread all over the blog. That doesn’t mean I don’t trust you; maybe it means I’m scared of being much more visibly messy than I already am.
Maybe a prompt for today: Take 10 minutes or 20, and write about mess, about things that get messy (spaces, people, relationships, landscapes, cities…). Follow your writing wherever it seems to want to go.
I’m grateful for you today. I keep on being grateful for you.