New News and Less of the Same

January 24, 2007|Posted in: Uncategorized

Catching up on the past few days — it seems there is drama, Drama, DRAMA at every turn. Every day there is some kind of excitement or tragedy or activity or scheduling fun that gives me heart palpitations. I could detail them here but my children are old enough that they don’t find their personal foibles on my blogspace to be that amusing anymore. In fact, they prefer much more anonymity. In other words, to be left alone. And who can blame them? So unless it’s praiseworthy or otherwise significant, alas, the fun days of blogging about wacky multi-family life are over.

That leaves you with me. HA HA! You’re gonna have to really really love me in order to keep reading. Put your fan-club sweatshirt on and get ready to sing the team song: “Jooooooooolia, awesome child….so I sing a song of love for Joooooooolia.” (That’s the best I could do at short notice, sorry.)

This week’s writing agenda:

  • Pick up the student packets from each of the local high schools for the top-students story I’m doing for Alameda Magazine.
  • More background research and planning for the major feature I’m writing on the new Oakland cathedral for The Monthly. This is a huge piece, something I’ve wanted to write for about three years and I had already given up and said I couldn’t do it and offered it to other writers, and then in an ed. mtg the other day, my delicious wonderful co-ed Andrea encouraged me to pick it up and write it, because I alone know the inside story of faith and the cathedral and what it means as a symbol — it’s my story so I should write it. This also dovetails very nicely with my Salon aim to write more spiritual stories/essays/articles. This will be the main feature in an upcoming issue of the magazine. I am very excited as well as daunted by the task ahead. Watch my heart flutter as we speak.
  • Write 1 (or 2, or 3?) columns for the Alameda Sun. I haven’t done a Modern Muse in some time. I think my last one was in November. I did do several stories in one week back in December, though — on the lost and reclaimed Jane Austen library book, and a play review. But I owe some columns — I mean, I want to write them and the editor wants to run them. A match made only in Alameda.
  • Write more poetry. The world needs more poetry. Why not? (see below, result of last week’s classroom exercise)
  • Teach my creative writing class Wednesday night (tonight). Lather, rinse, repeat. (see next entry yet to be posted for current assignment. Home viewers, you can play along, too!)
  • The Music Sceneack! Deadline was Jan. 20 and I have oodles of editing and writing to do. I’ve listened to more than one terrible CD and will commence writing about them soon. Probably will find myself suicidal this weekend as print deadline looms.
  • Plan ahead for next week’s Salon meeting (my writing program) at my house. Sweep up dust bunnies, rinse wine glasses, light candles.
  • Continue with study for Salon: The Red Book, Julia Cameron’s The Sound of Paper, The Mist-Filled Path, and more. Jane Austen looms large in this program. I have more than one paper to write on the beloved authoress and her work over the next two years.

That’s all I can think of, though there is more on the list. Really. I wouldn’t lie. Just want to stop because the sight of all that to-do makes me want to lie down and putt a blanket over my head.

Because that all fits in between stretching, making breakfast and lunches, feeding cat, shower, dropping off kids, work, picking up kids from school or afterschool activities, trips to the dentist, orthodontist, pharmacy, doctor, lab, grocery store, drugstore (for school supplies and Burt’s Bees lip balm), the fabric store (more yarn, more beads), the sewing machine for holes-in-pockets and holes-in-knees, the kitchen to make cookies and banana bread and vast belly-filling suppers, the computer for e-mail catch-up with friends/business and mapquest directions, the bank and the post office and the drycleaners, and mad drives across town to personally deliver electric bill payments before the inevitable slam of the power switch, and then reading aloud and feeding the guppies (I keep breaking into my best Cruella DeVil accent, saying, “The guppies are here, how marvelous, perfectly marvelous!”). Then, after dinner, dessert, bathtime and more story, plus a few diverted moments in earnest heart-sharing with a teen, it is maybe maybe time for bed, maybe a few minutes of catch-up with my man before we die the sleep of the truly exhausted.

All this and a multivitamin will get you through the day. It’s no wonder I crave the weekend, and downtime. Where are my smelling salts?

Advice to Aspiring Writers: Make list, check twice, keep up. Deadline’s a-coming.

Poetry for your perusal and pleasure follows.

Pilgrim’s Progress

Now, in the night,
a book instead of
a doll,
my woman’s magic glows
with candles, incense
glittering in the window,
beads and talismans;
I look out, facing never,
yesterday, tomorrow,
wicked and sad,
potent and terrible,
hedging my room with my power
twisted in my hand like a rosary.

People are mules.
How the threshing of their
sin burns.

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Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, author, and blogger. She is the author of six books: three novels, one poetry collection, and two women's history. She was the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California, in 2014-17. She's also the conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, the diaries of her great-aunt Doris Bailey Murphy. She has a BA in journalism from San Francisco State University, and MA in Early 20th C. British Literature from Cal State Hayward. Julia's articles have appeared on Salon, Thrillist, Paste, Scary Mommy, Narratively, Yahoo News, Your Tango, and Sweatpants & Coffee. Her articles have also run in Redbook, Woman's Day, Country Living, House Beautiful, Town & Country, the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Magazine, Quill, and MadeLocal. She was the founding editor of weekly Alameda Sun and literary zine Red Hills Review. Her poetry has been in The East Bay Literary review, Postcard Poems, Americus Review, Cicada, Tiferet Review, and many others. Julia has been recognized several times by the San Francisco, East Bay and Peninsula Press Clubs as well as the California Newspaper Association for her blogging since 2003.

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