A Writer's Closet

Welcome to the weird flotsam of a writer's mind . . .

Location: Southern California

Monday, October 31, 2005

Vocation Vacations

Ever wondered what it's like to be a chocolatier? A choreographer? A farmer? Now you can find out from Vocation Vacations, a company that offers just that in the U.S. and the U.K. It's a short term mentoring program that offers sneak peeks into over 70 professional fields (with more in the works) without making the actual committed plunge. You'll learn the daily ins and outs of each profession, which may or may not disabuse you of your romantic notions of say, being surrounded by vats of melted chocolate all day as a chocolatier (my personal favorite), or strolling through the vineyard on a dewy morning to commune with your grapes in your wine maker fantasy. Vocation Vacations aims to help you get down to the nuts and bolts of the business, the daily reality minus the dream. What is life without mystery, you may ask. How many business owners would have taken the leap if they really knew what they were getting into? So many businesses fail because the owner didn't know what was involved in running it. You simply can't until you get into it. A little foresight can go a long way toward success. Doing a little extra research to see if your beloved job is really for you will save you money and years off your life.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Elmo in Chains

It's a parent's guilty dream come true! Impersonators dressed as Elmo, Mr. Incredible, and the villan from "Scream" were arrested on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for harrasing tourists for tips after posing for photos. Having been previously warned by police, they were handcuffed at gunpoint and officially charged with "agressive begging." I'm begging for some photos of my own of a life-sized Elmo in handcuffs. Does that make Mr. Noodle and Dorothy his accomplices?

In other news, November is National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write the first rough draft of a 50,000 word novel in one month. My very brave best friend is undertaking the challenge, but I'm not even considering it. Mommy-dom waits for no novel. Cub Scouts first, fiction second.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Of Monks and Moms

A recent article in the Los Angeles Times speculates that there is a neurological link between meditating Buddists and moms caring for their children. Say what? I'm a mom and I use yoga and meditation as something to help me recover from my childcaring activites, not something I would have compared them too, so I was slightly skeptical. Apparently, according to Richard J. Davidson, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconson, brain scans of meditating monks and moms looking at pictures of their babies both produce elevated activity in the left prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with deep happiness.

Apart from the biased fact that Davidson is an avid meditator and linked closely to the Dalai Lama, that's a pretty measly cross section for an entire study. If you want a full scientific picture, try scanning the moms when they are dealing with a full blown tantrum for the fourth time in six hours. I don't think I'll be meditating on this theory anytime soon.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Leaf peeping

I grew up in Massachusetts and I don't miss the freezing rain and snow but I do miss the leaves changing. My neighbor had a maple tree with leaves that started out purple and changed to flaming red in the fall. Leaf peeping season is in full swing back east and I wish I could teleport there for a day to see the riot of color.

Here in California the trees do lose their leaves, but it's pretty pathetic. They shrivel up, turn brown and get blown off by the Santa Ana winds--a hot, dry wind you might find in hell, that whips through the southland in the fall, raising temperatures and plunging humidity levels into the teens or single digits. After living on the east coast, then Ireland, I never thought I'd live in a place where I'd need a humidifyer to breathe comfortably at night!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Apples vs. Oranges

Websites like Fallen Fruit is why I love Los Angeles. It's devoted to maps depicting locations of public fruit trees, where you can help yourself without fear of tresspassing on someone's property. To anyone who has ever snuck produce out of a stranger's yard under the cover of darkness (or wish they had the guts to) it's a godsend. They take new submissions and encourage contributors to include photos of themselves alongside the tree. I thought of my best friend who lives in Silver Lake and pines over her neighbor's fruit trees. I'm lucky enough to have access to an enormous lime tree that hangs over my back fence. Limes are great for fish marinades, and of course, a long, tall Corona.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


How important is journaling to a writer? To anyone? For anyone who wants to examine themselves and their lives I believe it's vital. It gets things out, onto the page and the writer begins a never ending journey of self-discovery and personal indulgence. Journals are a forgiving medium. They are not to be edited, critiqued, or much of the time, even seen by anyone other than the author. I've tried to keep journals in the past but got tired of the trite writing prompts like, "Write about a bed," or "Lunch." These can be good jumping off points for fiction, but if you are interested in plumbing the depths of your own soul, try Journalution by Sandy Grayson. It's a journal guide and self-help book all in one. What comes out on the page may not be pretty, may hurt like hell, but it will be the truth and it will be you.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

What a week

My third grader asked me the other day for help with subjects and predicates and I froze. Me, a writer. Well, I have three different grammar books including Eats, Shoots & Leaves and they are all gathering dust on my shelf. It never occured to me to crack any of them open. After scratching my head and promising to ask his teacher tomorrow he declared, "Mom, I think you should go back to school." I've always dreaded the day when I couldn't help my son with his homework but it might come sooner than I think. Just don't make me do algebra.

To top this off, after a two month search for the out of print How Babies Are Made by Steven Schepp, I finally worked up the courage to read it to him this week. Better late than never, and yes I was a wuss by having to use a book to explain everything. It was an excellent reproductive guide, starting at flowers, then moving along to chickens, then dogs and finally people. I don't know if this progression was meant to ease the parents into the "talk" or the kids, but I really appreciated the gentle approach. Parents can be such fragile creatures, especially when faced with the sex talk. I've been feeling so guitly about putting it off, but now I can forgive myself and feel relief and pride at having passed this particular parenting milestone.

I did get a wonderful belly laugh over the fact that my son thought the whole thing was "gross." Ah, wait a couple of years, pumpkin.