Sunday, January 27, 2013

Swimming Pool

If it were just my cup running over, it would be one thing. But it is my salad bowl, my kitchen sink, no, my imaginary swimming pool that runneth over today.

This is my life.

Earlier this month, I spent two days in Vancouver with my film righting partner Joan Macbeth, working on a treatment for my novel When She Flew. Her condo is across a narrow strip of water from Granville Island, where we ferried to buy groceries and Indian food for lunch. We ended our time together excited and buzzing with new ideas.

The following week, I took the ferry again, twice, to Whidbey Island. The first time was to enjoy the company of a dear friend from the Bay Area, and talk about creating a writers retreat space in her home. The second time was to appear at Hedgebrook's production of a scene from my forthcoming book, Love Water Memory, and scenes from my friends' books as well, Carol Cassella and Erica Bauermeister. My words came out of actors' mouths. I was astonished and filled with a kind of joy I had not yet experienced as a writer. I imagine it's something like what songwriters feel when the audience sings along to their songs.

This past week, I performed with our new band, The Rejections and the Trailing Spouses, at Elliott Bay Books for Erica's launch of her gorgeous new novel, The Lost Art of Mixing. Along with Stephanie Kallos, Garth Stein, Ben Bauermeister, Paul Mariz and my hubster Matt Gani, we played "Paperback Writer" (although Erica's book is in hardcover) and the old Robert Johnson number "Come On in My Kitchen," to honor the cook heroine of the book. Playing in a band is my first love, creatively. I was always in one from age 16 to 30, when I met Matt and we became an acoustic duo. Full circle doesn't even come close to how gratifying this experience has been for me.

And then our wonderful collective, Seattle7Writers, invited 100+ writers to join us yesterday for a one-day writing intensive, filled with mini lessons and individual consultations, strong coffee, donuts, chocolate, cookies, popcorn from the brand spanking new S7W popcorn machine . . . and lots and lots of people writing. Joy is too small a word for what happens when you gaze over the crowd and hear: clickety tick tick tick x 100.

At the end of the day we decided to shake it up and presented our Q&A session as a game show: Ask an Author. All of our participating authors were funny and fun and informative as Garth led us through our nerve-wracking paces, answering surprise questions in under 30 seconds.

And then I thought, here comes the coup de grace, when we give our end-of-year donations to two organizations we love: 826 Seattle and Powerful Schools. But before Garth handed over the big checks, he gave me such a lovely shout out, and I couldn't very well hide or pooh-pooh him, and then Teri Hein of 826 said another nice thing from the stage, and I let it all in, and my eyes filled, and I was exhausted and drunk with having accomplished so much, and so, so grateful for my life and my friends, and for the community I live in, and for all the things I get to do.

Amazing grace. How sweet.


  1. So happy for you, Jennie. All well deserved, and I can't wait to read Love, Water, Memory.

    Love from Oregon,

  2. I would say that grace comes from your own very hard work, my dear. The seeds you planted have grown flowers, but it was you tending them all along. You give so much. xox

  3. Aw, thanks. I'm so tired from all of it I wrote "screen righting." Heh heh. I are a righter!

  4. You, my dear, are living proof of Karma. I count myself blessed to know you and so many other generous authors in our area. I aspire to be part of the worthy irregular auxiliary of the Seattle7Writers. Your generosity inspires me. Thank you.