Walking Around Menlo Park/ Foothill Writers Conference

On Sunday, self gives two seminars: one about learning from poets and another about revising “voice-driven” pieces. Self isn’t always too clear about her “process,” as she tends to make most of her editing or re-writing decisions intuitively. How is she going to illuminate her process for the class? Self has been getting ready by reading all kinds of articles and essays by various writers, but hasn’t come upon a sure-fire, fool-proof formula that she can easily teach.

It is the weekend. Hubby is home. Son will soon be home, and he has prepared some tri-tip steak that he and Kramer will fondue in the backyard. Self prepared some fresh corn for the boys (from the Mountain View Farmers Market — these are the sweetest ears of corn self has tasted, ever!).

Earlier in the day, self and son went to Menlo Park and strolled up Santa Cruz Avenue. Self introduced son to her favorite store, Reclaim, which has the most gorgeous, yummy selection of bio-degradable household products (including flooring and paint, which — self is suddenly reminded that her trellis badly needs re-painting. Hopefully she’ll get around to it later this summer, when her life calms down a little). She took son to Sugar Shack, a store that opened only a few months ago. This store is crammed with all kinds of candy, and with pillows shaped like Reese’s peanut butter cups and all kinds of chocolate bars: Nestlé’s Crunch, Milky Ways, you name it. Self’s favorite is the silver pillow shaped like a Hershey’s Kiss. Self bought six chocolate malt balls with peanut butter centers. Oh my God, even before we had walked three blocks, self had finished all six.

Then, self left son at home and went to the evening reading at the Foothill Writers Conference. The readers were great: three poets who really know how to give a performance. Self has heard Floyd Salas read before, but the other two readers, Doren Robbins and Al Young, surprised her by their energy. She was nearly helpless with laughter over certain wry anecdotes that Young told, while introducing one or other of his poems. In particular, she enjoyed the stories of his watching “Tarzan and His Mate,” and his salacious memories of the gorgeous Maureen O’Sullivan, who wore shorts slit up the sides so “you could see she wasn’t wearing anything underneath.”

Self remembers those old Tarzan TV shows. In particular, she remembers having a desperate crush on a character named “Bamba,” who was probably Tarzan’s son. But she’d forgotten about it until this evening, when she heard Al Young reminisce.

Also, self thinks he is the best story-teller. He told a hilarious story about having to take Latin as an undergraduate in UC Berkeley. One day, the teacher was expounding on the “word for a female dog,” which of course was bitch. The teacher asked the class if anyone knew what the male equivalent was. At that point, a “sleepy young woman” who’d had her head down on her desk since the start of class, suddenly roused herself to utter, “Bastard.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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