Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Jerry Garcia has been following me lately. And even though he's dead and I'm not (a deadhead), this is not difficult here in Marin County where those dancing teddy bear stickers are pasted on every other car bumper, where the guy behind you in line at the grocery store used to do sound check for The Grateful Dead, where dried roses gather dust on windowsills in memory of a time, a show, a man, our youth. Where it gets tricky is that Sun*Maid Raisins have been following me, too.
Don't think I've gone crazy (again) and yes, maybe I've been looking too hard for a sign, but I take solace in the fact that lately whenever I turn on the radio in my car it's always playing "I Will Survive." Wait, no, that's not right. That's Gloria Gaynor and the anthem for jilted girls in sticky bars everywhere. No, what I keep hearing is "Touch of Grey" with the distinctive guitar picks and the whiny gravel of Jerry I know the rent is in arrears/The dog has not been fed in years/It's even worse than it appears, but/It's alright/I will get by/I will survive... and even though I have always held a certain disdain for The Grateful Dead I turn it up and sing along anyway because I want to believe I will get by. Because even though it's not the right song, not the right fight even, I want to be that jilted girl in the bar with a buzz, lifting her beer high over head to shout out the lyrics right along with Gloria, at first I was afraid, I was petrified, twisting and twirling, dizzy and scared, free from a boyfriend who did me wrong, not that chained up little person/still in love with you.
It's like when I was 14 and my friend Christine and I were listening to the radio and we said that the next song that came on would predict who she would be in her life, the song after that would be me. She got Rick James "She's a Very Kinky Girl," and me? I don't think we ever got the answer. A boy called on the phone or my brother came to pick me up, honking for me outside her house in his Datsun B210, something made us stop listening to the radio and I never found out if I would live my life "Hungry Like a Wolf," or always "Blaming it on the Rain."
I still look in the stupidest places for the answers. Zoey loves raisins, eats at least one mini box a day. Last week I discovered a quote on the underside of each box flap. Yesterday it read "give it a try." The day before "enjoy today." And I cannot help but think those raisins are trying to tell me something. But what? Can't I just lift up the flap and it read "write. keep writing. have faith. someone will pay you and you won't lose your house." But I guess that would be too long to fit on the underside of the box flap. So instead they're just telling me to enjoy today.
I got my first freelance writing job yesterday. It pays a pittance of what I used to make and a mere smidge of what I would like to charge. But it's a start, a glimmer of what my life could be.
Yesterday I also started writing my book. And I spent the night tearing it apart in my head. It's not good enough. Who cares? I'm not good enough. I'm not a very kinky girl, never have been, never will be, not the kind of girl to write a song about much less a book. But maybe it's high time I turned off the radio, stopped touching the grey, stopped looking for direction inside a box of wrinkly old grapes. Maybe it's time I just shut the fuck up and start writing.

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