Saturday, July 23, 2011

Thanks, Phyllis. Thanks a Whole Bunch

Today I went to the memorial for Phyllis Gebauer, a writer and well loved writing teacher. I took a class with her in 1999 at writing conference. It forever changed my writing life. She gave me hardcore literary techniques on how to write. She was a dear friend to the amazing writer Thomas Pynchon, and gleaned writing advice from him.

From that class, I also bonded with several other writers. Phyllis created a safe, unifying space for us to learn. Recently, we had a gathering and toasted her memory.

I have no shame in saying that in my own life as a teacher, I've stolen many of her techniques. I sat in a church in Pasadena listening to others memorialize her. I took it all in and teared up. I'll miss this lady.

She'd taught many writers, and her legacy will live on in us.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Idyllwild, Where Have You Been All My Life?

Friend and Author Eduardo Santiago started a reading series in Idyllwild, a small town up in the San Jacinto Mountains. I was invited to read my work. I'd never been to Idyllwild. I don't know why. I'd always heard about it, but never had the gumption to go. Now that I'd been there, I wondered what took me so long?!?!?

I had a great time in this small town of four thousand people. And the residents make it a point to keep it a small town. No chains stores are allowed. No 7-11, no McDonalds, no Ralphs.

A nice crowd came to the event, including a book club from Palm Springs.

With Eduardo and Lauren of B's Mountain of Books, the store hosting the event.

It was a wonderful experience. Spending time in the mountains was truly restorative. I'm already planning my trip back.