Monday, August 06, 2007

'How I Spent My Summer' or 'Intuitive Living'

Well, for the few readers out there who have never found themselves with a little freedom from most major responsibilities.. I'm here to tell you, it's really great. That doesn't even come close to how good it is. I think along with all the other built in milestones in your life as an adult, taking off a few months (or years) to just live intuitively should be at the top of the list. A few weeks ago I attended a creative writing workshop at Omega institute. Lynda Barry was the teacher, and she was everything a teacher, friend, parent should be, but mostly she was extremely entertaining which allowed all 70 of us to relax enough to let the writing process flow. I'm going to share three stories I wrote during the class. They were all part of a simple writing exercise where you have 7 minutes to write on some chosen theme.

1. Walks I've taken..
I am 18 years old and living on a kibbutz. It's a six month program called an ulpan for young people interested in Israeli culture and kibbutz life. My roommate's name is Tikva. (It's really Hope, and she's from Chigago, but she goes by Tikva while she's in Israel). She's invited me to come on a walk of the kibbutz' date groves. Her friend Tzvi offered to take her. He's about 80 years old, and for some reason I question his motives, to myself. I guess it's just that Tikva seems extremely naive, and probably wouldn't know a come on if that's what it was. So I went, and was kind of glad to have something to do. As we were walking, Tsvi had a huge smile on his face as he played tour guide, explaining easily the various flora. We arrived at the orchards, and were standing in front of a huge open truck with crates of dates that'd been picked that day. We sampled them. They were really good, they had a nutty-buttery flavor that I'd never experienced in a date before. We walked further. Tsvi talked on and on about the kibbutz history, Israel's history. I started feeling really sad that I didn't have a boyfriend and couldn't concentrate on a thing he was saying. Before I know it I was crying hysterically. He turned to Tikva and said in response, 'Aw, he mitga'aga'at l'ima shelah'. She misses her mother. That made me cry harder.

2. Bad Food
You are sitting on the couch listening to Anna's call to the vet. Jennifer, her big fat black cat who you love but doesn't love you, is acting strange. She's not eating. She's not using the kitty litter box. 'Yes, Hi, this is Anna Lane? My cat Jennifer has been shitting on the floor'. You can't hold back a burst of laughter. Anna just said 'shitting ' to the vet receptionist. Anna looks nervously at you, and corrects herself. 'I mean she's going to the bathroom on the floor'. She answers some more questions. Then Anna grins, remembering she just said 'shitting' to a stranger. When she gets off the phone, you have a little conversation with her about the cat. How much you love her. Anna's happy you love her, eventhough Jennifer is such a bitch, she says. 'She's not a bitch', you defend her. 'She's just shy'. You love it when you're watching TV for hours and after a very long time of cowering, Jennifer stealthily sneaks a tiny corner of your lap to rest her front paws on. Then you and Anna discuss how you can tell if meat is bad. Anna says if she's not sure if her sliced ham is bad, she'll give Jennifer a little piece. If she refuses it, she knows it's bad.

3.(This story was based on photos of people sitting in impoverished conditions)
I am sitting around the table with Jasmine, her friend Charles, and many children that have appeared from nowhere, and may live in the house. The children are Cuban, and do not understand English. Charles passes around a plate of sliced bread for us. The bread reminds me of this story my mother told me of when I was five, and she baked a loaf of white bread. She took it out of the oven and cut the end off to let it cool. I walked by the bread, and when noone was looking, grabbed my hand into the loaf and pulled out as much of the insides as I could grasp, and shoved it in my mouth. When my mother returned to the loaf, she asked what had happended to her bread? My seven year old brother Josh explained it was probably an air bubble. I asked Jasmine to translate this story for the kids as I told it. She looked very sour at me, and resentfully agreed to the task. She translated into Spanish with her English accented annoyed voice as I excitedly told the story. At the punch line, only one adult laughed. The kids looked off in different directions, not seeming to have heard a word of it.


Mike said...

Intuitive living certainly seems to agree with you, Tamar! I'm happy to hear that you're putting your time to such good use...I trust plenty of training is part of your days as well. I enjoy the diversity of your writing and how you take everyday events and turn them slightly to expose something a bit unusual and interesting. Hope all is well with you.

Jon said...

I loved the cat story. That was too funny.

...and I'm glad you're still here

tamar said...

mike~ Thank-you! That class was really amazing, I highly recommend it.. Yes, this is the best life.. Running is a big part of it too, lots of speed.. How's it going? How's your running?

jon~ Thanks for your comments.. Good 'ol Jennifer, may she RIP.. Hopefully, it wasn't the ham..

Just_because_today said...

I enjoyed your post. I used to sneak and eat the inside of bread loaves. too bad now we buy sliced, that certainly takes the fun out of it.
Now, is that how you say "she misses her mother???

tamar said...

just because~ and I thought I was the only one to do that! There is this delicious white Italian bread w sesame seeds at Shop Rite that I could eat in one sitting, sliced or unsliced.. You have to try it!
Yes, that was Hebrew.. It sounds strange, especially w Tszi's German accent..

smokin' horse said...

Hi Tamar,

I'm glad that you're enjoying your new-found freedom. Creative writing is a great thing for you to do.

Just one thing - who is Jasmine, of the sour English-accented Spanish?

L said...

Hey, Tamar. I've felt sluggish on the run. Hopefully it's been the difficult weather which has slowed me down. Today, however, the weather was beautiful and I think my 20 miler reflected that. At least I didn't feel totally exhausted and depleted at the end.

Any good races of late? Best, Mike

Just_because_today said...

not only you get people to comment on your post but you have some of them running 20 miles? I don't know how you do it. It must be the use of that Hebrew...gotta do that on my blog.

tamar said...

smokin' horse~ Jasmine is a beautiful, brilliant, kind friend of mine who is very grouchy before she has her coffee in the morning, and doesn't appreciate being asked to perform tasks on queue..
Hey, is that really you? I think about you all the time! Where are you now? Please write me.. xx

mike~ well, the heat doesn't help with the running, but maybe you need 2 days off in a row.. I've been running lots of x-c, which is great for strength/terrible for your ego..

just_because~ nah, don't worry, you don't need Hebrew.. Just join a nyc running team and make a few friends that happen to also be writers..