The Quest for Re-Inspiration or the Importance of Stopping the Quest and filling the Well

img_5769I suppose I have been on a quest of sorts. It has been a while since I have felt the connection I used to feel to the world of words. It has been a while since I have had the time, space, etc., to fill the well. I take the blame for that. I have spent a better part of the past many years wanting, wanting to be a writer, wanting not to have screwed up my undergrad experience, wanting to have a career that offers some kind of stability, wanting, wanting, wanting. I used to feel like I was treading water, biking up a steep, steep hill, whatever the overused metaphor, perhaps you get the idea. I internalized the stress of thinking I needed to be something other than what I was or what I am, and I ended up in some kind of endless cycle of doing all these things I felt I should do to meet an end that was abstract at best. Of course my creative suffered. I shoved it aside with the thinking that I could create the perfect scenario to be able to create.

Not so long ago my husband and I did something nothing short of crazy. He being the Trekkie that he is would call it blowing up the Enterprise, and I would agree that it was a blowing up the Enterprise of sorts. We quit our jobs. We sold, donated, or tossed out nearly three quarters of our stuff, sold our home in Michigan, and crammed what remained of our belongings into two U-Haul trailers that we hauled across three states to Colorado.

Here I am. I finally have space. I have some job prospects, but I am learning (not so naturally) to embrace the space and time. I am using it to write again. I started this blog as one step, and I have been engaging in some writing-related activities in my new home. Bit-by-bit I am connecting with writers in my new home state. I even took time to take a real vacation, one where I could explore and be inspired. I visited San Francisco to hand out with family and to explore the city that has such a storied literary tradition.

I came away with the understanding that what I really want is to embrace the process now rather than to push it away. Part of that is due to the trip, but part of that is also because of the time I am taking to read more than I was able to before, at least read the things I want to read. The trip, though, is where I found The Poetry Deal by Diane di Prima, a book I read cover-to-cover while on the plane ride home. Some books appear at the very time I need them and this book is one those and it did appear. Out of all the books I could have come away from City Lights Bookstore with it was the one I needed most. Her inaugural address for her term as San Francisco Poet Laureate, her subsequent poems, should be read out loud everywhere right now. Something in all the poems touched me. Maybe because she dared to do so much of what I was afraid to do. She dared to be her strong, amazing self. She dared to commit to the poems and not much else except for her children.  “Memorial Day, 2003” is one poem that comes to mind with lines like “Remember it’s not a safe time & all the more reason/To do whole-heartedly what you have to do” and “remember/that all you need to remember is what you love/Remember to Marry the World.”

So, I’ve learned from di Prima and from blowing up the Enterprise that the quest is not important, the journey is. Now, I just need to keep remembering that.

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We Are Here, Here being City Lights Bookstore

Yesterday was exhausting in all of the best possible ways. It was just me and my mom, though having my siblings along would also have been fun. We decided to hit North Beach because that is where the Italian section of the city is and that is where City Lights img_5685Bookstore is, but that all sort of comes a bit later in this post. This post really begins at Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture.

Our intention was to be dropped off somewhere near Fisherman’s Wharf, but we saw a sign on the way that read something about an Italian American Museum. My mom had been telling me there was a museum. I wanted to check it out, but the sign was small and it was a bit hard to tell that Fort Mason was anything but a giant series of warehouses on a pier that jutted out into the bay. We had to check it out, so we explored and found that the warehouses did in fact contain some pretty cool cultural things that included the Italian American Museum, an art space that features works by Italian American artists and offers cultural events such as lectures and Italian classes. If that wasn’t enough, next door was the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library Bookstore, where I scored books on wet felting, something I’ve dabbled in and want to explore further, and for my mom there was a wonderful art supply store that carried all the paints she uses for her work.

That was the first part of our day. We had a great bit of lunch at the Goody Café, which is adjacent to the library bookstore. After lunch we made the long haul by foot to Columbus img_5697Ave. and then all the way down following the lampposts painted with the colors of the Italian flag. On the way, I saw a trolley, the first an only trolley I’ve seen while here, though I have ridden quite a few busses. My mother wanted to show me the Italian part of town, because she knew I’d love seeing it and she knew I’d want to see City Lights Bookstore, which is right there as well. We walked a long way. We were pretty beat by the time we reached the Italian section. We stopped at Mario’s Bohemian Cigar Store Café for an espresso and a short rest before moving on to the candy shop and the deli where my mom bought salami for sandwiches we ate later that night.

The last stop was City Lights Bookstore, the place I couldn’t wait to see, though by then I’d blown my book budget at the other three bookstores I’d already been to in my jaunts around the city with my mom and sister. Really, the store came upon us more than we came upon it, and there was a man in a white beard standing casually out front kind of chuckling at us as we realized we were there. “This is it,” my mom said. “Oh, this is it,” I img_8096said. “This is it,” the man said. In my exhausted, overwhelmed delirium, I knew on some level I recognized the man, but in that moment I admit it didn’t register that it was Lawrence Ferlinghetti talking to me. I said to him, “This is all there has to be.” He sort of chuckled and we walked into the store. Inside, I was still overwhelmed. I didn’t know where to begin, especially with the vast poetry collection upstairs. Ultimately, in a relatively short amount of time, I found a new collection of poems by Diane di Prima. I knew I’d likely never find it anywhere else, and I thought it fitting that I buy her book of new poems at City Lights, so I did and that was our day, exhausting, fun, even a brief moment with Ferlinghetti. I won’t soon forget any of it.

 

Back to the Blog (but New and Not Necessarily Improved)

img_5649I’m blogging again. I’m blogging out of want and kind of out of necessity. I’m blogging because this is the real me and the other Cristina Trapani-Scott blog is not the real me, so no I don’t write about the benefits of Acai or whatever. I write about writing and about change. Yes, I said change. I have been through some lately, like changing from lifelong Michigan resident to Colorado resident. I could say change is scary, but change is always happening. Nothing is static and that is for the most part good. Yes, there has been change, like changing from being a steady working chick to dropping everything and having no job. That’s change. That’s scary change. I’m getting used to it, sort of. I’m not planning on making that permanent. Still, right now I’m using the free time to hang out here in San Francisco where I am visiting family and riding buses and running on the beach, or in the ocean as Map My Run likes to show. Really I’m here to find myself as a writer. I guess I lost that part of myself for a while. It has been hard to find in some ways, or maybe like everything else that part of me has changed and grown a bit as well. I am not the writing child anymore. I am the brooding writing teenager, growing pains and all. Well, I have said all I have to say for today. I will be heading to North Beach tomorrow, the Italian section of San Francisco. I am sure I’ll find inspiration there. Maybe the ghosts will speak. I will be listening. img_5672