Friday, December 17, 2010

On the Subject of Losing Your Nerve, Part Two -- SoWhat Does Riding Have To Do With Writing?

I started this blog on a dare from two friends. I obliged them, but I did it as a joke. I heard Dionne Warwick singing Do You Know The Way to San Jose on the radio and I said to myself, okay, that’s what I’ll call my blog, and I’ll write something each day mentioning the words San Jose.  I thought I was so clever. That notion lasted for exactly four posts and then? I strayed, which really is what should happen if one is following their stream of consciousness honestly. I began writing stories that were important to me. And this served two purposes: one being that I was writing down stories that had been in my head for years and two? I was distracting myself from the fact that a book I had spent four years writing was going nowhere with publishers.

Then one of my stories got noticed and I went from this being a joke and a distraction to the idea that my blog might cause me to be Discovered! Yes, I admit it! Like a beautiful girl on a stool at the counter of a roadside diner . . . Famous Hollywood Director comes in, he’s on the road from Vegas back to LA and he needs a hot dog, with sauerkraut, can he get that kind of thing in a diner in the desert? He’s going to demand it, its been a terrible week, his starlet, the girl on every billboard in America, ran off to Argentina with some polo player, and his ulcer is kiiiiiiling him, I mean killllllling him, and what he needs is the food of the gods, a New York Dog with sauerkraut, the kind his German immigrant grandmother used to stew in the kitchen for hours and hours, til the neighbors complained of the smell.

But wait, where was I going with this? OH oh, yeah, I’m the girl on the stool at the counter in the diner and Mr. Big walks in followed by no less than 8 or 9 minions and they descend upon the waitress, the one with the auburn beehive, they’ve got her surrounded, and she’s standing there holding two orders of Banana Cream Pie and she’s a little worse for wear cause she spent the night with that Goddamn Cowboy again last night, so her patience is as thin as the the rain clouds over the desert, and now she’s got these Fast Talkers demanding Sauerkraut on a Hot Dog. She doesn’t have time for them, cause the only other girl working the diner today is the New Girl, and she’s a real doozie, can’t carry a tray, can’t remember the specials, blind in one eye, can’t see past those big tits of hers that got her hired in this Godforsaken place, so its all up to the Auburn Beehive to keep the truckers from rioting and now, now she’s gotta stop the world and find some Sauerkraut for Mr. Big?!

Oh dear, I did it again . . . okay, I’m the girl on the stool at the counter, the stool that spins, its covered in chrome and red leather. And my elbows are on the counter, my chin is in my hands and I am staring at the back of the man who is making my grilled cheese sandwich, thinking that if I keep staring at him then my grilled cheese will be done faster. I have already finished my Coca-Cola and I’m weighing the possibility of ordering another, but the Auburn Beehive has already snarled at me, I mean WAT is her problem anyway? And I notice all these yuppies coming in the door, with cell phones sewn to their hands and their ears and they are all talking to people who aren’t in this diner, they aren’t even talking to each other, but they are in a cohesive formation which tells me they are Together, plus I saw them all get out of the stretch limo outside and I think they must think that they are Pretty Damn Important. I kick the the counter with my boots and the dust from the ranch where I work, yeah, I’m a ranch hand of sorts, I’m a girl, but I spend my mornings with cattle, cattle that just came in on trucks from Montana and Wyoming grazing lands, and they get here and I record the numbers on those tags on their ears before they go in for slaughter. Its good money, but I take a lot of shit from the cowboys, I mean those boys can’t spell, and they give me shit for not knowing every single brand that goes by me, do you know how many brands there are? Alot. So finally the man making my grilled cheese slides the spatula under that golden piece of cheese and white bread and he flips it onto a plate and turns around lookin’ for Auburn Beehive, who is surrounded by all those yuppies, chewing her gum, cocking her big old hips, and he can see that there is no way that she’s going to come and get that grilled cheese on the plate and serve it to me, the Girl At The Counter, so he brings it to me himself, “Here ya go girlie!” and I want to ask him for another Coke, but I know that would bring the whole place to a screeching halt. So I decided to suck on the ice left in my cup and eat my grilled cheese and then go home and take a nap, cause I gotta be back at work a 4 a.m. in the morning and they say we got a double shift tomorrow.

And there I am eating my grilled cheese and thinking about my nap when Mr. Big comes over. He sits on the stool next to me and he looks me up and down and hands me his card. Really! I mean doesn’t say a word and he hands me his business card and next thing I know the cook comes out of the kitchen and says, “Mr. Big! I’ve seen all your movies!”
“Yeah? Well, you got any sauerkraut in this joint?”
“Have I got Sauerkraut? I got some sauerkraut that’ll knock yer socks off!”
So Mr. Big is thrilled and he turns to me and asks me, “You like movies?”
“Yeah,” I say, “I like movies.”
“What’s yer favorite movie?” He takes off his sunglasses and looks hard at me, like I’m gonna reveal my greatest sin.
“Petrified Forest” I tell him. Straight up.

Next year comes and I’m at the Oscars with Mr. Big. I’ve just received my golden man for Best Actress and the press can’t believe I used to work in a slaughter house. That’s Hollywood for you, larger than life, truer than fiction. Or something like that.

So that’s one of the reasons I gave in to the idea of blogging, to further my career, but Mr. Big hasn’t gotten a hankering for sauerkraut. Yet.

That brings me to now -- I no longer write here to get discovered, now its a daily (well almost daily) habit, a ritual, an honor to my muse, who goes missing sometimes. And that’s where the Riding is like Writing part comes in. Its nervy for me to get on my horse and steal off into the woods alone on a cold gray day. And its nervy for me to keep writing -- sometimes I don’t know why I’m doing it, and my muse tells me Keep Writing, good muse that she is, and she gets mad at me when I tell her No, I can’t go on, I can’t do it anymore, she stomps her beautiful feet, and swings her head, and says, Damn You, Keep Writing, I’m Serious. So, I keep writing and riding, just because I have to, that’s all. I have to.

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