Santa Fe today

Santa Fe today, Friday the 13th. Listening to soundtrack of Man & a Woman, my lyrics, my movie. The end is what I imagine mine. The day was blowing cottonwood  and white wisteria  in a blow glow of dance.  There is a certainty about my movements, different than yesterday. I declare this day of summer, sandals,pedicure, trying on my bathing suit, making a palette change, and putting on the ritz. The gloss and bronze, and maybe even going outdoors.  Shopping and going to the Lowriders Day in Santa Fe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A PITCH FOR PUBLICATION


IN NOVEMBER OF 2005 I reserved a space at the San Francisco Writers Conference. I was nervous and edgy when I boarded the plane. My pitch proposal, pitch suit, and pitch necklace, were tucked inside my suitcase. The pitch convinces an agent or publisher, that you know your subject well enough to feel one hundred percent confident.  It may sound irrational that a writer could work five years on a book and not know what it is about. As an emerging writer I view my work through a kaleidoscope lens. I see multiple themes, subplots, and messages, and they change with each reading. Then there are loose knots of personal misery, lost versions and rejections ringing in my ears. My pitch has to convince an agent, that at least 5,000 people will buy my book. The pitch suit is the outfit you wear for an interview; only for writers, the guidelines are very loose. Some writers wear their narrative. I brought my tailored, looking successful, pants suit. My pitch necklace is a gold Buddha medallion that my father had designed for my mother. I wear it for good luck and because I know the necklace has survived all the family tragedies. The conference is at the St. Francis Hotel at Union Square. From experience, I have learned that choosing a conference because of its alluring location is meaningless; I never pay attention to past experience.

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It was pouring when I arrived. The staff at the front desk greeted me with musical familiarity. Every time I swished by they called out, “Hello, Ms. Smiley.” I imagined them as a chorus singing my name. I arrived one day early to pace the galleries, cafes, museums and Saks. After the first night, I had to switch rooms. I was directly above the street dumpsters, where for hours the chugging of trash kept me awake. I moved frantically, to scoop everything up and not miss a moment of San Francisco. After switching rooms, I dashed over to the Espresso Bar. It faces the corner of Powell and Sutter. Outside, the streetcars clanged by, passengers dangling from the bars like vines on a tree. In between the tracks, workers both blue and white-collar, and some without any collar at all, jammed the sidewalks on foot, bicycle, moped and skateboard. With phones and iPods attached, eyes alert, they buzzed on the vibe of Saturday, moving like musical notes in a symphony.

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In the café an elderly woman wearing a SFWC name tag was seated next to me. I noticed she positioned her book on the corner of her table. She looked overwhelmed and frightened. As I introduced myself she smiled courteously, and said she was a neurotic housewife all her life and didn’t have much to write about, so she wrote about her husband’s war stories. I told her she should write about the neurotic housewife. Just as I was leaving, she stopped me and thanked me for speaking to her. “There’s always a guardian angel around.” Her voice lingered in my thoughts all weekend.
At six o’clock that evening, I was gliding around my room dressing for the gala. I reached for my jewelry bag. It was gone. The weekend was ruined! I would never get published, I’m too wired, too reckless, too distracted. I called the front desk. Heather said she would call me back. Bang, bang, bang, went my shoe against the bed frame. Then the phone rang.
“Hello, Ms. Smiley. I’m sending the bellman up with your jewelry.”
I answered the door recoiling with pained joy. The bellman listened attentively. I rushed upstairs to Harry Denton’s Starlight Room. There I began wine tasting with Maggie, Peg and George; three new comrades in a room of hundreds.
I spent the next day among more comrades, writers with unpublished stories, books, and works-in-progress. I listened to panels of writers; agents and editors discussed the fateful downward spin of publishing and upward battle towards reward.  We sat in our chairs looking overly anxious, taking copious notes, and waiting for answers to our questions. At the end of the panel discussion we all lined up to meet the agents and editors. While we stood in line we met each other.
“What’s your story about?” the woman behind me asked.
“Growing up with gangsters,” I replied.
“ Oh well! That will get you an agent.”
“ I hope so.”

During the conference, I experienced a lucky throw of the dice. I met one of my mentors; Joyce Maynard. Her book, “At Home in the World,” is on my beside table. Joyce was published in the New York Times when she was sixteen years old. JD Salinger read the piece and invited her to live with him. Joyce’s story will send you back to reading Nine Stories.
As I progressed through the circle holding my pitch stick, the fear and apprehension subsided just a tiny bit. Three agents responded; ‘send me your manuscript.’ Naturally when I returned home, my hands were tied to editing. I rushed through, did not employ someone to copy-edit, and then ran about announcing my almost to be signed contract. Three months later I recovered from the rejections and began another rewrite and another until today, when I am on my fifth manuscript. This one feels right because I am not rushing through it expectant of publication; this time I know it will be published.

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LIGHTS ON SANTA FE


 

A NATIVE AMERICAN  LIGHT SHOW.

YOU CAN BECOME WHO YOU DREAMED OF, DO WHAT YOU DREAMED OF IN SANTA FE , because Santa  Feans do not care.

I heard this slogan a lot when I first moved here seven years ago.  My understanding was vague, unrealized, and I didn’t think much about it until  this winter.   I began to  approach strangers,  walk across the street to the spa in a robe,  or  leave my pajama top under my sweater because I like the texture of it.
I’ve  given  up the diving board of scrutiny and plunge into the dreamy, stony,  outdated, simplistic extravagance, and unrealistic vibe of Santa Fe.

I keep dreaming, and preparing,  with a face blotched red by cold, that THE LIGHTS, SHADOWS,  MOON AND CHARACTERS ARE MY BROADWAY FOR NOW.   NOT FOREVER. EVERYTHING CAN BE TEMPORARY IF WE TAKE ADVENTURES IN LIVINGNESS.

ANAIS NIN ON PARIS


anais-ninwww.famousauthors.org

THE DIARY OF ANAIS NIN VOLUME SIX 1955-1966

“All of Paris is caressable, La ville caresse, la ville caressante, with its outer life all grace and wit, at heart a mystic lover, a philosopher, a man of taste.  In its ancient decor, it is always youthful because its source of life is inner, and always renewed. The past is so vivid that it fills the streets. It is full. the magic of its unity and harmony of colors and textures and styles. When there were contrasts, they were contrasts between medieval somberness and modern gaiety.  “

THE ART OF CONVERSATION – FRANCE VS THE USA


SANTA FE, NM.

LAST NIGHT  AT LA POSADA,  the hotel across the street from where I live,  I cushioned myself  fireside to read the newspaper.  The circle of conversation across from me was loud enough to hear and so I listened.

” The rental rates of vacation rentals has skyrocketed. We have a vacation rental in Colorado and it is always occupied.  You know you can make a lot of money, it is very hard work.”  It has taken many years to listen objectively rather than critically. I’m not underlining the narrative as much as why would they discuss finance in the midst of terrorist mayhem.

I sat there for at least forty-five minutes and the conversation thread did not waver from personal income.   I’ve approached the subject of terrorism with friends and acquaintances since Friday the 13th. Only one couple who’ve just relocated here engaged. The gentleman was born in Belgium and he was eager to share his European opinions.

Over the last few days I’ve been watching Sky News.  http://news.sky.com/watch-live. This is an international online station. The journalists report news, they do not debate, criticize, or condemn those they interview.  During the program the scenes in Paris, London, and around the world capture the public’s activity, conversations, triumphs and tragedy.  What this illustrates is that  conversation  in many US arenas must pass the political censorship exam.

I understand political discussions strike fiery bantering and this may cause a rouse and attract attention, and that is  unacceptable in respectful society. Not so in France!  For me, this truly illuminates the difference between our cultures.  They are educated in the art of conversation, and in love with expression.

When I lived in Malibu last summer, most of the guests of the owner were Parisians.  This artistic and  talented group talked without pause from dusk to dark, drank bottles of wine and smoked,  a mise- en- scene from the French salons of the thirties.   They raised their voices, shouted, laughed in unison, teased and taunted without restraint.  At the end of the evening cheeks are kissed, hands held, and appetites satisfied.

Discussion with the Queen of Conversation

Harriet Dautel Funk. San Diego Opera 2006

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PARIS WILL NOT PERISH


I watched coverage today in Paris from an online British station. It is important to me. More important than writing or dressing or going out. The journalists were sympathetic, the interviews soulful, the images–silencing. I don’t believe prayers are enough. President Hollande declared war.

Last night I watched a French film, Lola, before I heard the news. This was a film of Paris as golden and grainy as autumn. I thought I must go to Paris. Today I still must go to Paris.  BN-LG537_1114FR_J_20151114151709

RUDY & THE RATTLER


RUDY & RATTLERS

RUDY & RATTLERS

Every ​ so often I get some time off and immediately set my sights on looking at the wind and smelling life that went before. I get it about your Uncle and Dad.”Rudy Funk

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SOMETIMES I GET MY PRIMITIVE MOOD, which unfortunately gets easier and easier as time goes. I pack my little belt sack with water and a bag if Frito’s (and i love my freakin Fritos) and off to the desert i go, just to see my little friends that scurry around out there in a World that time forgot. One day i was up on the Mesa, before dropping down into the desert and i looked down into this ravine far below me​ and saw a rather sandy looking area with 3 poles sticking up. It was to far to make out exactly what it was, but looked like it needed to be explored. So i climb down this rocky hillside past all those beautiful desert plants and cactus in bloom and follow the waterfall area down as i made my way to those posts.
As i rounded a turn, there in front of me were the posts i had seen. All in a row, extremely weathered and about 5 feet tall. One had a metal sign on it from the State saying that proceeding past that point could be hazardous to your health and to not proceed as it was against the law. The next post over, someone had stuck the full headed mask of a gorilla on it, all weathered and cracked with the fake hair a burnt red…..the next post had nothing.
You probably already know that nothing inspires me more to proceed that a sign that says, KEEP OUT. Especially one that has the word DANGER on it. That, and the Gorilla mask said, this could be a very exciting hike. So off i go, rounding the posts and alternately climbing down boulders, waterfalls and along sandy washes as i made way down to the desert floor. I came across an oasis with Palm trees and reeds with some water and i kept going. Just a beautiful day.   The wind I could hear as it brushed past the fronds. Continuing on for another mile or so, i came across a small stream that meandered along a beachy type area with sand that spread out for almost 20 feet. In the sand by the stream i could see the little feet prints of the creatures that come for water. It was surreal down in there. No trace of civilization. As I’m walking along, just as i stumble on a rock protruding up from the sand i hear that familiar rattling noise that I’ve heard before.  At that point, i was already loosing my balance and falling over and there was nothing i could do, but put out my arms to brace the impact on the ground. I had no idea where the snake was…..all I knew was that it was way to close and i was just hopping i didn’t land on top of it. So I hit the ground and i don’t hear the rattle anymore and I’m thinking I must have been hearing things. I slowly lift myself up and peek over this small boulder and there it was, right freaking next to me, all coiled up and ready to strike, eye level, but oddly enough, not rattling. So i stand up and we both just checked each other out. Then i made my way back up the wash and waterfalls and back to my car. I was thinking later, that maybe that empty 3rd post had some type of meaning…………………..