September 7, 2006|Posted in: Uncategorized
Aren’t we supposed to be having Indian summer? Where is it? Out here at the Point, it’s like Scotland (or London) — grey all the time. And when the sun shines, I sprint outside to work in the garden or soak up some brief summer rays. Gotta keep this California glow…keep the vitamin D flowing in my veins…catch a few winks under the sun.
Started teaching my new creative writing class last night and loved it — I was prepared for (yet another) class to be cancelled for lack of students, when wham-bam-alakazam…I had about three hours to prepare. Eek. But — pleasant surprise: fun people, smart and ready to write. Can’t wait to see what we do over six weeks.
I thus opened Eats, Shoots and Leaves to read up on my punctuation because it was near to hand (took it to class last night) and remember how much I love the apostrophe. I do, shut up. I could write a paean to the period, a love letter to the ellipsis, a cornucopia of compliments to the comma — but I digress. You know how it is, you lovers of Latin roots, you logophiles, you. Me. You.
My eldest and I spent the morning wandering the hills above the Land of Oak, wandering labyrinths and stumbling over rocky outcroppings. The poison oak is blushing red now, the brambles and thistles dry as dust. Even the dust was dry as dust. The dirt is reddish brown, and last night the sunset left a golden-red light in the air. From our point on the Point I can’t see the hills — the red light shining on them — which is why I named the zine the Red Hills Review. But today we walked in those same hills and talked, wandered the stony mazes and listened to the silence which is not silent: bees buzzing in the thistles and balm, mockingbirds in the eucalyptus, manzanita rustling, its red bark shearing off in delicate curls, and the weird empty creak of the earth and sky. It was hot, too, about 20 degrees hotter than the grey land at the Point. We came back and put on sweaters. Heated water for coffee. Ate a hot lunch.
A lesson for travelers: Microclimates: they’re real.
Outside now, a huge ship is passing by. The house rumbles. It looks like a building is moving past us; I can see this huge black side, these red stacked boxes, drifting past, about two blocks away. Between our house and the water: a basketball court, a road, a dog park, a chain link fence. Not much to impede the view. I stand in my kitchen window and the sailboats slip past. The big ships. The ferries. I can stand in my window and see my man, waving from the deck. I can blow him a kiss from here, the heart of the home.
I just put on a sweater and another sweater on top of that, and wrapped in a blanket, am eating ice cream in the light of the sun that comes through my window. How Alameda is that?
Advice to Aspiring Writers: Ice cream is good for the fingers and the brain.
And, watch your commas and periods. And bow to the apostrophe. She is your new goddess.
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.