“It Never Rains in California, but It Pours, Man It Pours” – A Writer’s Tale

Books Inc., book store, author reading, rain, trafficOne of my stories was published in an award-winning book, yet I didn’t attend my reading debut in a California bookstore on a wet Friday November evening.

Sad, but true.

Author Lynn Henriksen had chosen to include my story, “Traveling to the Ocean” in her book TellTale Souls Writing the Mother Memoir: How to Tap Memory and Write Your Story Capturing Character and Spirit (http://www.amazon.com/TellTale-Souls-Writing-Mother-Memoir/).  A long title for a smart, emotional guide to writing memoir.TellTale Souls: Writing Mother Memoir

Lynn’s book helps writers of any level access memory and tell true tales in just a few pages. And in each chapter, she adds poignant mother/daughter (or son) stories written by selected contributors.

My story was one of those, in the section entitled “Using Descriptive Imagery.” How exciting is that? And then, to top it off, Lynn asked me to join her and some of the other writers to read at the Catching Spirits Event at Books Inc. in Alameda, a book store known as “The West’s Oldest Independent Bookseller.” (http://www.booksinc.net/Alameda)

So did I send the news to my 500 closest friends?

No.

Did I proclaim my publishing success on Twitter and Facebook?

Well, yes, but just two hours before the event began. I may be a writer, and I may want readers, but I’m still shy about my ‘stuff’ (yes, my fingers shake every week before I hit ‘post’ on WordPress), and I didn’t want people to brave the highways and byways of the East Bay just to listen to little ole me read a story.

I was so glad of that decision when my guy and I left our home an hour and a half before the event. Normally a 45-minute ride, we factored in that (a) we’d be driving in Friday evening commute traffic and (b) the rain was falling hard enough to make my hair frizz, all the better that I’d not encouraged family and friends to attend.

An hour later, we were still in bumper-to-bumper, rain-soaked, slick streets racing (about 3 minutes per hour) toward our destination. Since I tend to motion sickness, I opened the window every so often, allowing sprays of spittle-like moisture to soak my face and my hoped-for straight hair, which now resembled an SOS pad.

7 p.m. The event was beginning, I was supposed to be the first reader, and yet my man and I were still enmeshed in a sea of moving metal bodies. My head throbbed in motion distress, and my stomach thanked me for not eating anything.

Finally, we reached the city of Alameda, sighing that our journey was almost at an end. I texted Lynn to not give up on me. As we got closer to the treasure – the bookstore – I searched desperately for a parking place, seeing nothing but parked cars on the metered spaces and red brake lights in the dark drear night.

We followed directions for a parking garage, two blocks away, and followed a line of similarly wandering souls. Turning into the small garage opening, we drove UP, and around, UP, and around, UP and around, until my head pounded in protest.

“Must be space at the top,” I murmured hoarsely to my man, “look at all the cars coming down the opposite way.”

Well, four more times we went UP, and around, UP and around, until we reached the top, the sky, and not one open space. All those cars we passed going the opposite way? They’d had no luck either. What kind of garage has no sign that says: FULL?

Didn’t matter. At that point in time, my body was full of motion sickness. I couldn’t walk, much less talk or smile or hold a book for sale.

“Take me home!” I croaked.

The rain stopped for our drive back. So did the horrible traffic. In fact, we soared home, and I crawled into bed like a sick child.

But stuck in my head, all night long, was the 1980s tune, “It never rains in California, But it pours, man it pours.”

[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/a/albert_hammond/it_never_rains_in_southern_california.html ]Songwriters: HAMMOND, ALBERT/HAZLEWOOD, MIKE

Got on board a westbound seven forty-seven
Didn’t think before deciding what to do
Ooh, that talk of opportunities, TV breaks and movies
Rang true, sure rang true …

Seems it never rains in southern California
Seems I’ve often heard that kind of talk before
It never rains in California, but girl, don’t they warn ya?
It pours, man, it pours

I’m out of work, I’m out of my head
Out of self respect, I’m out of bread
I’m underloved, I’m underfed, I wanna go home
It never rains in California, but girl, don’t they warn ya?
It pours, man, it pours

SIX WORDS, THAT’S ALL I NEED!

Ernest Hemingway, memoir, writingErnest Hemingway was once challenged to tell a story in only six words. His response:  “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

I’m sniffling already, and it’s only a six-word story!

Since then, similar challenges have been thrown out in magazines, books, and blogs:  can you tell your life story in six words?

Well, can you?

Here’s a few I’ve come up with:

WHO IS THAT IN MY MIRROR?  writer, story, memoir

Well, that’s not my life story, but sometimes it’s what I scream to myself in the morning.

 

LIFE’S HARD, LOVE SOFTENS IT UP grandkids, love, family, memoir

Life IS hard, I think we all agree. But can you imagine how much harder it would be without your loved ones? Your friends, your spouse or significant other, your children or nieces/nephews? Since I’ve been old enough to wonder about the meaning of life, about why we’re even here, I’ve figured out that it’s all about the love.

I’M STILL 30, KIDS CATCHING UP

That’s how I feel – like I’m 30 years old and having a heck of a time each day making it through my job, my joys, my fears, my … but wait. My son tells me he’s 30? How’d he catch up to me like that?

I love the title of a book that published six-word memoirs by “Writers Famous and Obscure” (2008) called Not Quite What I Was Planning.

I imagine that’s how most of us feel by the time we’ve reached a certain age. Are you nodding your head? Did you plan to be where you are, who you are, years ago? Doubtful!

Oh, here’s another one I just thought of:

BORN. EDUCATED. MARRIED. FAMILY. NOW FUN!

Spoken like the empty nester that I am. Yes, Virginia, there is life after 50 (um, and even later!)

My turn now to challenge YOU. I dare you to send me (in the comment section) your six-word story or memoir.

Come on, you can do it!

6-word memoir