MONDAY April 10, 2006
Left Coast Writers Reading and Networking, 6pm
Book Passage, Ferry Plaza, San Francisco, CA
For info: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Citizens for Local Control, Corte Madera, a small but determined group who appeared before the Corte Madera Town Council and who are working behind the scenes to block the Barnes & Noble lease have organized a peaceful, nonconfrontational protest at the Town Center on Saturday, March 25 between 12pm – 2pm. The goal is to show the owners and managers of Town Center the opposition to their decision to the Barnes & Noble lease.
>From the Citizens for Local Control, Corte Madera:
“We expect a crowd of at least 100 people at the March 25th demonstration, including senior citizens, mothers with strollers, families and students from local schools, and various members of the community.Â There will also be a strong media presence.
Meet us at one of the following entrances to Town Center:Â the one on Madera near Washington Mutual Bank; the one on Madera in front of Safeway; or the one around the corner near IL Fornaio Restaurant and the Bay Club. Please wear colorful clothing (our signs will big and very eye catching) and bring noisemakers if you have them; pots or pans and spoons.”
For more information or to let them know you’re coming, email: email@example.com
Can’t come but want to get involved with CLC? Send an email to
“firstname.lastname@example.org” mailto:email@example.com today to
join the Call To Action distribution list!
IT’S ABOUT TIME!
Four or five years ago, TONI WEINGARTEN wrote a feature story for “Cruising World,” a sailing magazine. They paid her for it but she never saw it in print until….she opened the October 2005 issue of the magazine and saw her story! Now, that’s being in the writing game for the long haul!
Joyce Jenkins is a noted Bay Area poet and the editor of “Poetry Flash,” the producer/sponsor of the Northern California Book Reviewers and the Northern California Book Awards. “Poetry Flash” is a non-profit literary arts organization and an important communication forum and vehicle for generating audiences and interest in literary issues and events. They publish quality reviews, poems, interviews and essays, as well as trade, submission and award information for all creative writers of both poetry and fiction. “Poetry Flash” also carries the most comprehensive listing of literary events in the West; their Calendar is an indispensable guide to the literary scene in all of California, as well as in the Southwest and the Pacific Northwest.
Tess Uriza Holthe
Publisher: Penguin Group(PB)/ Crow/Random House (HC)
Distribution: Penguin Group
A short blurb: Once in a great while comes a storyteller who can illuminate worlds large and small, magical and true to life. When the Elephants Dance introduces us to the incandescent voice of Tess Uriza Holthe, who sets her remarkable first novel in the waning days of World War II, as the Japanese and the Americans engage in a fierce battle for possession of the Philippine Islands. The Karangalan family and their neighbors huddle for survival in the cellar of a house a few miles from Manila. Outside the safety of their little refuge the war rages on—fiery bombs torch the beautiful Filipino countryside, Japanese soldiers round up and interrogate innocent people, and from the hills guerillas wage a desperate campaign against the enemy. Inside the cellar, these men, women, and children put their hopes and dreams on hold as they wait out the war, only emerging to look for food, water, and medicine.
Through the eyes of three narrators, thirteen-year-old Alejandro Karangalan, his spirited older sister Isabelle, and Domingo, a passionate guerilla commander, we see how ordinary people must learn to live in the midst of extraordinary uncertainty, how they must find hope for survival where none seems to exist. They find this hope in the dramatic history of the Philippine Islands and the passion and bravery of its people. Crowded together in the cellar, the Karangalans and their friends and neighbors tell magical stories to one another based on Filipino myth and legend to fuel their courage, pass the time, and teach important lessons. The group is held spellbound by these stories, which feature a dazzling array of ghosts, witches, supernatural creatures, and courageous Filipinos who changed the course of history with their actions. These profoundly moving stories transport the listeners from the chaos of the war around them and give them new resolve to fight on.
With When the Elephants Dance Holthe has not only written a gripping narrative of how Alejandro, Isabelle, Domingo and their community fight for survival, but a loving tribute to the magical realism that infuses Filipino culture. The stories shared by her characters are based on the same tales handed down to Holthe from her Filipino father and lola, her grandmother. This stunning debut novel is the first to celebrate in such richness and depth the spirit of the Filipino people and their fascinating story and marks the introduction of a talented new author who will join the ranks of writers such as Arundhati Roy, Manil Suri, and Amy Tan.
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
A short blurb: In 1972, when she was seven, Firoozeh Dumas and her family moved from Iran to Southern California, arriving with no firsthand knowledge of this country beyond her father’s glowing memories of his graduate school years here. More family soon followed, and the clan has been here ever since.
Funny in Farsi chronicles the American journey of Dumas’s wonderfully engaging family: her engineer father, a sweetly quixotic dreamer who first sought riches on Bowling for Dollars and in Las Vegas, and later lost his job during the Iranian revolution; her elegant mother, who never fully mastered English (nor cared to); her uncle, who combated the effects of American fast food with an army of miraculous American weight-loss gadgets; and Firoozeh herself, who as a girl changed her name to Julie, and who encountered a second wave of culture shock when she met and married a Frenchman, becoming part of a one-couple melting pot.
In a series of deftly drawn scenes, we watch the family grapple with American English (hot dogs and hush puppies?—a complete mystery), American traditions (Thanksgiving turkey?—an even greater mystery, since it tastes like nothing), and American culture (Firoozeh’s parents laugh uproariously at Bob Hope on television, although they don’t get the jokes even when she translates them into Farsi).
Above all, this is an unforgettable story of identity, discovery, and the power of family love. It is a book that will leave us all laughing—without an accent.
Author Name: Jane Strauss
Cover Art: Yes
Book Title(s): Enough is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life
Distribution: amazon.com, Barnes & Nobles
A short blurb: Are you hindered by fearful, limiting thoughts?: I’m not smart enough . . . It’s too late for me . . . I can’t do this alone. Do you long for more joy, challenge, or fulfillment? Does life just feel too difficult? When you merely endure life, you are surviving, not thriving. You feel resigned rather than inspired. And chances are you know something is missing . . . but you don’t know what to do about it.
Using Enough Is Enough! as your guide, you will discover how your unique symptoms of endurance came to be and how they are holding you back. And you will learn how to calm your fears and let go of the self-judgments that keep you stuck in your rut. By aligning with your deepest personal truths instead of repeating fear-based patterns, you will be released from needless suffering. In fact, you will be inspired to manifest the extraordinary life you were meant to live.
Enough Is Enough! takes you on a compelling spiritual, emotional, and intellectual journey toward a rewarding life that is truly worth celebrating.
In this remarkable book, Jane Straus tells her own transformative story with vulnerability and humor, and shares experiences from clients, friends, and seminar participants who have broken free from the shackles of endurance. Enough Is Enough! offers encouragement, insights, and powerful exercises to ensure that the next chapter of your life story is about celebrating life and thriving joyfully as the unique person you have always been . . . and the extraordinary one you are still becoming.
Your website/links: www.stopenduring.com
by Robin Sparks
There are the plans you have for your journey, and the plans your journey has for you.
Things to do in San Rafael, Argentina:
1. Get an appendectomy.
We were watching the gauchos gallop into town when it was decided that I should see a doctor. I’d felt queasy all day, but, when it began to hurt when I breathed, I knew it was more than the bottle of Malbec wine we’d drunk the night before.
During the 30 mile ride on dirt roads to the hospital, I had time to think. I’d entered that travel place where you go from being captain of your itinerary, to tossing the itinerary out the window. Its very possibility keeps many would-be travelers at home, but it’s a place that travel writers secretly love to go.
The on-call doctor at the private clinic looked like he’d stepped off the set of General Hospital. He called the surgeon to come in, late Saturday night or no. As an interesting aside, each doctor from that point on, the lab doctor, Dr. Castro, the surgeon, was more Calvin Klein model-esque than the next. What are the odds? The only way to explain it is that in Argentina you get into medical school based on your looks.
The nurses have an entirely different set of requirements.
A handful of expatriates and a couple of Argentines, some of them strangers an hour earlier, had gathered in the examining room to help. There was Johnny from South Africa, who had survived 14 heart attacks at the age of 35. There were Annette and John, Brits who traveled the world on motorbikes before ending up in San Rafael to try their hands at farming, and there were Angel and Rosie, he Argentine, she Mexican, along with their daughter Candy. They’d recently moved to San Rafael, Argentina from Las Vegas. Did you get all that?
Fifteen-year old Candy was unflappable as my interpreter until they got to ”medical stuff”. Great. Argentines speak Castillano. I speak uh, Spanish. It was a Three Stooges comedy of mis-translation.
The surgeon checked me in for overnight observation, whereupon I paid $30 per day extra for the one air-conditioned patient room in the clinic. I couldn’t see how anyone could heal in this nearly 100 degree heat. Through the partially open doors of rooms up and down the hall, I’d seen visitors standing over beds, vigorously fanning patients. At the Policlinica patients are required to have a friend or family member stay in their room at all times to help with their basic care…an ingenious solution to health care costs, but a tricky one when you are a stranger in town.
As it turns out, my new friends fought over which one would remain in my room throughout the night.
Next morning the pain had subsided, so I figured I’d be heading home and was a bit embarrassed that I’d caused such a ruckus over nothing. The docs came in to make rounds, said a few words to each other, and suddenly I was being loaded onto a gurney and wheeled down the hall to surgery. I tried to talk Dr. Castro into letting me fly to Buenos Aires for the operation. He assured me that it wasn’t an option.
Under the operating light, they strapped me to a table, tied both my arms straight out at my sides, stuck IV needles into my arms and I lay there like Jesus Christ.
My last thoughts as the gas mask came down? A story I once read about a surgical patient who was paralyzed by the anesthesia but remained wide awake throughout the surgery, able to feel everything, but unable to let anyone know. I ran a quick inventory: Hearing? Yes. Sight? Yes. Speech? Nope. Sensation? No…Except, I discovered, my neck and head, which I began to wag violently back and forth with a look that I hoped shouted No, No! No! I’m not asleep yet! Your anesthesia isn’t working!…
The upside down face of the anesthesiologist came into focus. ”Robin?
”Fineeshed?” I couldn’t think of the Spanish word for ”Over.”
Ow. I’d been hit in the gut, hard. How much time had passed? I asked. (In my groggy post-surgical state, I spoke fluent Spanish). Thirteen minutes. Had it been my appendix? Yes. Had it burst? No.
”12 centimeters long!” someone announced as if I’d given birth to something wondrous. Which in a way, I guess I had. My appendix, an organ normally around 2 inches in length, had been found poking up into my chest cavity, a fully erect 7 inches. Yes, I’m proud.
The next morning, Dr. Novak, I mean Dr. Gonzales, stopped by my room, and after checking my stitches, said, ”You can put on your makeup now.” I chose to believe that he meant that my prognosis was good. Dr. Castro came by too, and announced that he’d made the scar small enough that I could still wear a bikini.
A few hours later, a nurse summoned my friend, Susan, out into the hall. She returned carrying a package wrapped neatly in white butcher paper. “What’s that?” I asked. “Your appendix.”
We left it sitting there on my nightstand until the next day when I summoned a nurse to please take it away to la basura.
”La postal?” she asked. ”No, no. Don’t mail it, throw it away!”
It may be a global world, but it’s still a babel world in lots of ways.
Two days later, and I’m back ”home” on the ranch surrounded by the warm people of San Rafael, Argentina and doing well, thanks to everyone here.
Robin Sparks is in Argentina as the new editor of EscapeArtist Travel Magaine (www.escapeartist.com) to be launched in April, 2006. She’ll be back in the Bay Area in April. In June Robin will join Larry Habegger in Turkey for their writing workshop, The Personal Travel Story. Check it out under the Journal link at Robin’s website www.Robinsparks.com.
By Deborah Griffin
I pressed the bumper sticker onto my dashboard. Good Girls Go to Heaven, Bad Girls Go Everywhere. It was my mantra for the trip I was about to take. For the first time in my life I would be on the road with no destination. Every other trip I’d taken was charted to within an inch of its life, mapped and reserved ahead with a quota of miles per day. Not this one. Part spiritual quest, part art journey, this would be a trip with time to think, to make decisions about the rest of my life. On the passenger seat lay a new journal, its smooth pages ready to record with words and sketches the adventures that lay before me.
As I drove west toward the unknown, the idea of â€˜bad girls’ kept playing in my brain. Bad girls, as opposed to good girls who never got dirty, never quit their jobs or left their husbands; who raised good little girls just like Mommy, and worked hard to get into heaven. But what if bad girls really do go everywhere, including heaven? I was about to find out.
My first stop was a buffalo preserve in Medicine Park, Oklahoma. I set up my tent and tried to sleep despite the calls of wild turkeys and the wailing of a fellow camper’s violin that out-screeched the birds. Outside my tent the raccoons provided percussion, creating a sloshy rattle of ice against the inside of the cooler they couldn’t quite break into or drag away. I sat up in the cocoon of my sleeping bag and by the light of a flashlight wrote the first words on my fresh new pages. What in the name of heaven am I doing? Hunched over my journal, I wrote until my hand cramped, then spent the rest of the night rolling from rock to rock.
Blurry eyed over coffee the next morning, I made a decision. If I was going to spend weeks in my tent, I was going to have a comfortable bed. I broke camp and headed to the nearest shopping center. A friend would one day christen the little pavilion I put together that day The Taj. I purchased a blowup mattress, foldable cot, table and chair, a Persian design rug, luxurious comforters and linens in jewel colors. My lantern wasn’t pierced tin and amber, but it provided sufficient light for reading and journaling. I hit the road again, wallowing in my luxury and in the glory of having no agenda or schedule, no friends, husband, or family with needs to satisfy. I had only to satisfy myself. I stopped at gila monster museums, Route 66 diners, wigwam curio stands, and natural wonders. I visited caves.
I loved the caves best. I loved the coolness, the thrusting stalagmites and the clinging stalactites. For me the caves were a physical metaphor for the emotional place I occupied — a going-inside place with a view to the world from the entrance. My favorite caves were the ones I could hang out in alone. In one I sat and traced the name of a former occupant. Margaret Marion had written her name in pencil on the surface in 1912. Years of limestone deposits had slowly covered it over until it lay sealed beneath transparent layers, unerasable. Was that what I sought? Some way to leave my mark?
One morning at dawn I sought spiritual enlightenment in the mouth of a cave above the campground at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. The valley below was filled with a plethora of purple, lime and scarlet tents, which the early morning mist and campfire smoke obscured then revealed at the whim of the wind. The veil of time seemed to thin, the colors faded and the encampment below could have been this century or during the time of the Anasazi, a thousand years before. I closed my eyes, sat crosslegged and heard a raven cry and a mother calling her child. I smelled food cooking, breathed in juniper, sagebrush and the cool, damp smell of time that permeates all caves.
Here in this holy place, where people had come through the ages to seek answers, I was ready for the Spirits to speak to me. I tried to concentrate, then tried to just be. And I found, not sustenance, light or counsel, but a sudden realization. I was done with caves. I was ready to go back and deal with my life: end my relationship, find a job, move out of stasis and do the next thing. I wasn’t empty-handed, though. I would take with me pages and pages of observations and sketches and forty days of experiences that would take me years to assimilate.
I made that trip in my thirty-fifth year, and even now in my fifties I sometimes go back to those journals. I find insights, or maybe a descriptive memory — birdshadow dancing on peach canyon walls, the giggly sound of white throated swifts, the tinkle of goat bells rising 1000 feet to crenellated cliff edges. I smile at the story of the woman who brought me leftover cake and anecdotes about her artistic granddaughter. I see again the conference-bound executive who shipped his suit ahead and rode his motorcycle across the desert, telling me his life history late at night while sand dunes leaned close.
Mainly I go there for the memory of days and days without agendas or plans, for the joy of simply being, with nothing to do but whatever shows up. Today, with every hour filled to the brim, that is my current version of heaven.
Deborah Griffin is an artist and writer living in Alameda. She exhibits regularly at the Alameda Art Center and the Frank Bette Art Center and has been published in Goddess Magazine and Skirt! Magazine, and will be included in the upcoming Hot Flashes II in 2006.