riding bitch

The life of a writer and survivor of loss.


12 Comments

Bruised But Not Broken

Riding Bitch is back from Vermont! But like the title says, not exactly in ship-shape. Remember the loose tooth? That manifested into 4-hour oral surgery this past Saturday. I’m now on pain medication, antibiotics and sleeping with an ice pack on my face every night because the right side of my face is swollen. I also have a sinus cold and the puppy is on meds for a skin condition that she developed on our travels (otherwise, she’s good).

I won’t lie. It’s been a tough re-entry back to Los Angeles. At the residency I got to write all day and was responsible for nothing except my laundry. Now, it’s “back to life, back to reality” and I’m struggling to adjust to our old lives and get re-focused. Being under the weather isn’t helping, but as my mother used to say one thing at at a time.

The good news is the residency was fantastic and very productive. I finished a draft of my book, started my pilot, met some incredible artists and writers, all of whom reacted very favorably to the excerpts I read out loud. I also got to know Vermont, which, despite the cold, I totally fell in love with and would move back to in a heartbeat.

Now, there is much to do. I have to tidy up the most recent draft, finish the book proposal, solicite an agent, editor, publisher, and get published. I am also producing a script and directing a play this spring. Just a few little things.

Many thanks to the readers who checked in and left words of encouragement while I was away. I have missed you, missed blogging, and am looking forward to making my way through your posts to catch up.

Here are some images from Vermont. More to follow.

This was the view from my office.

This was the view from my office.

The building where I wrote, called Maverick.

The building where I wrote, called Maverick.

Another view from Maverick, during snow fall.

Another view from Maverick, during snow fall.

One of the many beautiful winter skies

One of the many beautiful winter skies

Another beautiful sky

Another beautiful sky

Winter vista

Winter vista

The Vermont Studio Center's Red Mill Lounge (where we ate all our meals) and the bench where I did most of my thinking

The Vermont Studio Center’s Red Mill Lounge (where we ate all our meals) and the bench where I did most of my thinking

The cemetary I passed every day on my way to visit puppy

The cemetary I passed every day on my way to visit puppy

An inspirational quote that was on a studio wall of a fellow artist in residence

An inspirational quote that was on a studio wall of a fellow artist in residence


Leave a comment

Room with a View

Some images from Vermont.

My room is on the corner of the building, so I face the street and the sunrise.

Left window view

Left window view

Right window view

Right window view

The image I woke up to this morning. Icicles and a pink sky.

Icicles at sunrise

Icicles at sunrise

This is the road I drive every day to visit the puppy. It’s less plowed than the other roads.

Mountain road, late afternoon

Mountain road, late afternoon

Mountains w:truck
snow

Still working on getting settled in my office, so pics of that later.

I’m loving the snow and cold so far. It’s bringing back many memories of growing up near Philadelphia, going sledding, shoveling snow, “snow days”. But I’ll save that for another post.

Hope everyone is good. Happy Tuesday!


3 Comments

First Impressions (aka Got Popsicle?)

So, I’m here. In Vermont. Today is the fist official day of the residency, but I’ve been in the state since Friday night. My mind is mush. Partly because I’m slightly overwhelmed (to put it mildly). Partly because it’s 5am and partly because I’m hungover. They gave us wine last night at the reception, but I also had a bottle of my own (a parting gift from my sister), which I brought to the traditional “first night bonfire.”

I’ve said one phrase more than any other in the past 24 hours: “I’m a writer.” Since VSC accepts people from all disciplines, the first question people ask is “what do you do?” Or “where are you coming from?”

“I’m a writer,” I tell them. “I come from LA.” I might as well say I’m from a distant planet, because that’s how it feels. I’m in another world. A very white world – the ground, the trees, the sky, the people (I’ve seen one person of color in 3 days).

Other impressions:

Everything is made of wood. I’m sure there are exceptions, but I don’t recall seeing a concrete or brick building yet

The rural roads seem to go on forever… long, gently curving two-lane roads with few stop signs and even fewer stop lights. Someone mentioned that I would want to come back and ride a motorcycle in the summer? Absolutely.

People are super friendly, but in a pragmatic, no-bullshit way. I think that’s called  being genuine.

There’s a quirkiness too.  Or a sense of humor. Or both. All I know is I passed a handwritten sign on Route 15 that said “Got Popsicle?” followed by another sign for “Popsicle Contest.”

It’s really quiet. No sirens. No buses or trains (or planes for that matter). No helicopters. The loudest noise so far is the snow plow, which passes by at least once ever 30 minutes. There’s  A LOT of snow.

Perhaps because of the quiet, it feels safe.

It better be safe. Our rooms don’t have locks. Rather, they only lock from the inside, so when we’re away the room is protected only by the moral code of our neighbors. I heard a couple of people quietly fretting about it at dinner. One lady was especially concerned because she has a bunch of computer equipment. I told her, “Well, they’re not going to suddenly put locks on the doors. I think we just have to trust. Maybe that’s the whole point.”

Coming from the person who wrote “Packing for Paranoia-ville”. Ha!

There is definitely an aspect of letting go. The founder of the studio, who wore a tunic and several beaded bracelets, mentioned this in his closing/opening remarks last night after dinner. He encouraged us to not only let go, but forget our past lives and disconnect from all our electronic “lifelines” to fully be present with our mind, body, soul and art during our stay here. He was very eloquent and compelling.

After dinner I asked a couple of others if they were going to heed his advice and turn everything off. One lady said, “I can’t. I have a baby at home.” Another said, “I’d like to, but I’m sort of addicted to that stuff.” A third lady said she was going to compromise by leaving her phone in her room while she’s working in her studio. We all agreed the founder’s suggestion was valid and everyone has to figure out what’s best for him/herself.

I had said I would try to blog daily, but we’ll see. It might be less frequent. If you don’t hear from me, it’s because I’m zoning out.

Until next time.


2 Comments

Safe and Sound

Well, the puppy and I made it to the East Coast. Flight was smooth and uneventful. The most exciting thing was that we had a female pilot, which still seems rare. I asked one of the stewards to pass her a message, “Please tell the pilot there’s a 6 month old puppy down below and this is her first flight ever.” He said he would tell her.

I was a nervous wreck during take off and landing but the puppy managed just fine. When I left her she was falling asleep. When I picked her up, she was happy to see me but not traumatized or overly anxious. I was very impressed with how United took care of her and told them so.

Now we’re in Brooklyn, visiting with family and taking care of some business before heading to Vermont. Though I’ve been here countless times, this time I’m experiencing a bit of culture shock just because the dog is with me. It’s just so weird to be so far away from home, in New York of all places, where it snowed tonight. Nothing major, just some flurries, but still, when we took a walk it was pretty surreal. Mere hours ago we were walking in Hollywood under the palm trees!

I’m amazed at how easily she’s adapted to the new surroundings, a house full of people, including two teenagers and a large German Shepherd. Does she realize we’re 3,000 miles away from home? Maybe it doesn’t matter.  Home is wherever we are.

I’ve decided to keep blogging while I’m on the writer’s residency, daily if I can manage it. Hopefully, this won’t distract from my other writing (there’s so little time). But blogging has become a bit of a lifeline. I enjoy sharing the journey,  and feel like blogging actually keeps me on my toes as a writer. I also want to get faster at it, and less attached to the outcome.

I’m going to just post and let it be. People will either read and respond, or they won’t. I can’t think about it too much. The only way to make this residency work is to be as efficient with my time as possible. This means I won’t be responding to comments or checking in on other blogs as much as usual. I promise to follow up with people when I get back to LA in early February.

The residency officially begins January 6. In the meantime, there is much to do.

I wish for everyone a good night, and hope you are safe and sound in your part of the world as well.