Monday, August 06, 2007

the cave electric

Have I been in Berkeley too long if I feel inclined to kneel in the mud and thank my mysterious stars for all this great good fortune? Well it has been a long, often arduous, and sometimes miserable road getting to this here happy ranch. And everything's temporary, even grace, even productivity. So no, I’ll just go ahead and snarfle happily in my simple heaven for a spell, if you’ll brook the bliss.

Something about this new place has my mind roaring. This latest story I’m developing is writing itself, coming more smoothly than the last bloodletting experience I called fiction writing. And I’ve got a skeletal plot (some good bones, at least) doodled right here for a damned funny screenplay. (Who said that? Did I say that? No way. Well as M. says, perhaps it is finally the era of Yes Way.) Tonight I finished an article on the dinner party business (see July 22) and am about to begin another on a guerilla art movement here in the Bay Area. I’ve brought a couple solid authors on board at work and a regional paper sponsoring the Brattleboro Lit Festival just invited me to write a review of the latest book by one of our country’s best critics, Sven Birkerts. That’s an odd one—the book is a collection of reviews itself. So this will be a very metacritical review. And I feel not a little challenged by responding at such a distance from primary texts. But it’s not just about the reading; it’s the reading life, after all. So sure, I think I can handle that there horse.

But here’s the simplest crazy beauty. It’s always been one or the other in my life: writing or cooking. If I’m writing, I order pizza. If I’m cheffing it up, I skip the laptop. To my amazement, the benefit of being cracked-dirt poor (unexpected emergency vet bills flit and nip at my head like paper-cranes-gone-bad), I now have no choice but to cook. And people, necessity has rendered me a tricksy good cook. The frayed-thread-from-my-old-shoestring budget is, as it happens, the mother of all invention. My fridge resembles that of the Alpha Kappa Beta Abercrombie boys up at Cal, yet the miracles of spices, cheap farmers’ markets, and careful selection have me eating easy smoked paprika chops w/young broccoli and fresh corn tonight. Artist, sure. Starving, eff no!

(Sidenote: thanks for asking about the dear troubador, Rufus. I did mean to post a review of that sparkling starlet and his knockout eight-piece band. Suffice to say he made me come close to wanting to be a gay boy he was so talented and glamorous and prettyprettyprincess. Princess with gravitas, that is. Mountain Winery is like a Tuscan mirage and I’ll just say that being six rows back for the Judy Garland drag bit at the end with the cabaret jacket and the fishnets made me swoon. Welcome to the Cult of Wainwright, Kennedy. Indeed. He even made me wonder if I shouldn’t own more brooches. A chance to shine, after all, never hurt anyone.)