Home is a good place to be—when I come back from a trip it takes me at least a week to get sorted out…laundry, suitcases, calendar, chores, weight management, etc. Add to those stressors (?) a trip to SAT to let Mom know I wasn’t killed in Mexico…or that I didn’t run off with a bandito(s)…Since the beginning of time I have felt burdened by the most mundane chores. If I put something on a list, I’m shackled until the task is completed. It is ridiculous…and inherited from my Dad. IMG_2339.jpg

So, home it is. Today I did lab work at 8:00 am. I took a NAP from 10-1!!! The magical world of San Miguel is in my rear view mirror…I am already clouded by the dust of my memory machine. This was the second trip to the San Miguel Writer’s conference—which wasn’t as absolutely fabulous as last year’s event. The weather was brrrrrr cold and wet, which meant I had to squeeze all my shopping, and exploring into two days. Dennis and Gay met us for dinner one night…they are a big part of my SMdA context. Camie and I ate at Berlin and also Café Rama and the three (including Larry) of us ate at The Rosewood the last night. This was a quiet trip—soothing and still. I read Girl on the Train obsessively and took wonderful long siestas with cats and dogs on my bed. Larry cooked for us the best of comfort food. He also brought us BOTH flowers on Valentine’s Day! Sure is divine to be a guest in their casita.


And why would anyone want a guest room if they could have a casita? No sitting on the side of a bed with the door closed so not to be under foot. No interrupting hosts to ask for a cup of tea. No noise. It is just perfect. I enjoyed the great bedroom and vanity, a bed with a heating mattress pad, cats and dogs for naps, lots of electrical outlets for my beauty paraphernalia, my own garage opener, fireplace, WI-FI, a kitchenette complete with snacks, a view, flowers, koi, cable TV, movies, great natural light for makeup application, and a complete bathroom. Added to this, Larry is a fabulous cook, florist, banker, and advisor. Yep, I want a casita for my infrequent guests or I want to live with Camie and Larry, et al in the casita.IMG_2325.jpg


Once home, I made a quick overnighter to see about Mom. Well, she is never going to be better and will only get worse–a sad commentary. I focus on how she was and her big contributions not only to her family but also to her country. I love that my Mom is a vet. Billy has arranged for a helper to come in three times a week….Ada does laundry, cooking, bathing and dressing. Mom seems to be OK with it because she knows the alternative is a nursing home. Mom is moderately interested in my Mexico experiences…well, she can’t hear so maybe she is more interested than I think. Because of her hearing, she just fills in the blanks… this is dangerous.

My new vocabulary words: kümmerspeck, brotberuf, jeremiad, and Misophonia. The first two are German idioms that I looooooove. I can remember German words easily compared to English. I struggle with words like cat in my mother tongue. So, kümmerspeck is a condition…getting fat from grief with bacon in the mix and brotberuf is another idiom for a daily work…like a blue-collar job, I think. The first I can work into idle chitchat but the second will be more of a challenge. Jeremiad is a prolonged lament—I am thinking like a filibuster. The last word: Misophonia is the visceral response to sounds like smacking lips, sniffing, sneezing, and I imagine farting. Mosophonia will be easy to talk about but what I really want is to snuff Susan Lawson by using it in Words with Friends! I live to beat her!!!IMG_2274.JPG

My impressions of the conference: I won’t be writing a book, and probably not even a short story, and definitely no poetry….well maybe a tasteless limerick. I might be able to conjure up enough sentiment to write an essay. If I have any writing talent it is the ability to convey my VOICE. Referred to as POV-point of voice not privately owned vehicle. I attend the conference like I do cooking classes. The experience is a floorshow…not necessary to come back an epicurean but better able to make clever conversation. Of course, clever conversation requires an audience—so that means either at Mah Jongg, Happy Hour, or in the chemo center where listeners are captive. It is hard to break away from a bore when you are attached to an IV pole. My audiences are not sufficiently enchanted with my antics and always hope for the short version. I wish I had a talk radio show. Live on Riotous Radio, Salado’s KOFF or WDUM, Susan Krals Speaks.

OK, back to the conference. My workshops-Telling the Truth in a Memoir Writing and Selling a Killer Short Story, Finish Your Novel the TV Way, Using the Tools of Journalism to Write the Memoir, See the World-Craft the Story: Composing the Travel Essay, Building the Bear: Evoking and Organizing the Fiction Draft, and How to Write Funny. So, I sat and listened as a reader and watched people. I did learn and I felt scintillated by the originality of these people….I mean it, I spend most all the time around people that are not too different than I am. Yes indeed, the conference is a stimulating and a safe experience for me. Whereas Camie, often attends writing classes and knows all this stuff, I never have and surely won’t. I don’t like accountability or practice. Just as I secretly think I could paint one great oil on canvas, I prefer to think, I have the POTENTIAL to write one clever essay….but I sure don’t want to risk failure…so I just fancy myself capable and that is satisfaction enough.

I saw the iconic Gloria Steinem who looks fab for a woman in her 80s. She is just as liberal as expected and I give her credit for being a maven. I think she said, ‘The Kardashians are a set back for the women’s movement. They will be embarrassed if they ever get smart. Like Donald Trump.’ I think Steinem said that. Alice Walker was interesting too….I think she is a new lesbian and an activist opposing female genital mutilation. Like who wouldn’t? At the end of her interview, we could ask questions. After a series of anticipated questions, an African (I think Muslim?) man asked how it was that it is ok to circumcise males but it isn’t ok to ‘circumcise females.’ Hello. He asked this in a room of about 90% females…I am surprised he wasn’t eviscerated on the spot. Tracy Chevalier, author of Girl with the Pearl Earring seems like a gal who would be fun to know. I can’t remember any of her talk…she just seemed like a normal gal.

Some things I wrote down….I don’t know that I even know why.Screen Shot 2014-12-28 at 11.47.21 AM.png IMG_2340.JPG

• Writing is making the invisible-visible.

• Consider the politics of language

• Brains are organized around image and narrative.

• Laughter is an orgasm of the mind

• You can’t pray unless you can’t laugh

• The way people look does not tell how they think

Hmmmmm, what else? Oh yes, Doc Severenson also uses a CPAP machine. I queued up directly behind him to get on the plane. He was about to trip over the shoulder strap when I made my move. “Doc, be careful you might trip on your CPAP machine.” He looked up and smiled. I showed him mine. This was a very intimate celebrity moment.

Anne Lamott said, “…no one needs to watch the news every night, unless one is married to the anchor.” I need to tell Len this. Amen.

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One Response to “Home”

  1. Lou Snn Weaks Says:

    Wonderful report. I feel like I have been to the conference without actually having to go! Now I can think about all my potential(????) without feeling guilty about not fulfilling it!!!!

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