Had you stopped by my place during the last two weeks you’d find me in a closet, my behind in mid-air, cursing in both languages while hauling out a dozen cement heavy cardboard boxes and crates of vinyl albums, or perhaps standing still, adrift in memories, after unearthing kindergarten art and a wooden throne from a grade school play.
Days later I emptied out my office closet, relieved to find undisturbed rat traps, and was surprised to find forgotten containers from another life. I sat in the middle of my office floor, rummaging through wicker storage baskets where a twenty and thirty year old me had stashed travel souvenirs, love letters, and a file folder from my first writing workshop.
I had begun struggling with infertility in the early nineties and longing to create. A flyer at the Santa Cruz Public Library caught my eye and, soon after, Maude Meehan greeted me at her door with a wicked moon beam of a smile and her signature embrace.
Little did I know that I’d met a grand matriarch, community activist and poet who’d recently published Chipping Bone, her first of many books of poetry. Along with fragrant herbal tea and cookies, she welcomed a small group of writers, into her home, for a supportive, yet demanding weekly writing class of prose and poetry. From one season to another, I never missed a class, and learned to listen to poems and short stories, in a variety of voices, but most importantly to honor my writing and listen to myself.
There I learned to let loose and write it down, for me. And for me alone.
There I thrived among the raucous and sometimes painful stories, which informed my writing and challenged my understanding of craft.
There, I finally gave voice to a handful of stories gleaned from my childhood and would later turn into Guacamole with Feta Cheese, a work still in progress.