Summer 2007: Nine Months In a Nutshell

I guess it’s been more than 9 months since some of you have heard from me. And I’m not even writing with any exciting travel stories. I am in Vancouver, but I’m sorry to say I have no exotic Canada stories as of yet. But I thought I’d send a note anyway, just to let y’all know what I’ve been up to.

The most notable thing is I finished my book. It was kind-of hell at the end. I was so close for so long but losing inspiration to finish, and the light at the end of the tunnel seemed to get further away with each step, since I kept adding things like the Colombia stories and Brad’s death. And I was just tired of sitting by myself every day in my house working. I really need a shared office space where I can work around other people. If any of you have suggestions, please let me know.

Anyway, I was just about to take a break from it all to cycle down to Big Sur and back, then fly to Vancouver for a festival and maybe travel up north a bit, since I didn’t want to let the summer go by without getting out of the city. But no, the universe (or my subconscious or whatever) wasn’t going to let me off the hook that easily. My first day on the road I developed an intense pain in my neck and shoulder, which turned out to be either a herniated or bulging disc (I never had x-rays, I opted for chiropractic and acupuncture instead.) It was so bad that we had to call a friend to come rescue me from Half Moon Bay, and I spent most of the next month at the Highland House, since I had already subletted my room out and couldn’t really take care of myself anyway.

I couldn’t stand for more than 5 minutes, couldn’t cook dinner or do dishes or drive myself anywhere. There were pretty much only 4 things I could do: talk to friends (in person, the phone was uncomfortable), watch movies, read books and… yes, write. There was one computer that, with some ergonomic restructuring, I was able to sit at. And it just so happened that computer mysteriously stopped getting the internet, except in brief flashes.

I took it all as a good hard kick in the ass to finish the damn book, so I did. Begun with a broken toe and finished with a tweaked out neck, the first draft is written. But you won’t see it on your bookshelf next week or anything. I’ve got some fact-checking to do, gaps to fill in, and then the editing process. But I’m past my block, and I really like editing, so I don’t think it will be all that long before I’m looking for an agent. If you know any good ones for spiritual/political true travel stories for a mainstream audience, let me know. And if you’re one of the people who offered to help with editing, now’s the time to send an email and let me know if you really meant it.

So that’s the big news. What did I do with the rest of the year? Well, I had some tedious financial stuff to deal with for the collectives, which took a huge chunk of time. Affinity group actions about the Iraq Oil Law, climate change, and such, which a lot of you got emails about. My parents both had difficult surgeries (they’re doing well now), so I tried to stick around and lend a hand. I got sick a lot at the beginning of the year, along with everyone else I know, and lamented how cold my apartment is in the winter. I escaped for 3 weeks in February to cycle around Kauai and Oahu with Emma, which was great.

I planted a rooftop garden in the spring and was reminded how much I hate landlords when the new owner took it down just as the tomatoes started to ripen. That incident, another Waking our World workshop in Maine and The Artists’ Way among other things all contributed to the sprouting of a new project idea- buying a space in SF and creating a community resource center with housing- which I’ll tell you more about if I decide to commit to it. I’m still in the research phase. I am starting a foundation, though, which the travel projects will function through.

What else? A trip to New York. A bunch of local and California excursions. The usual assortment of fun San Francisco happenings. I had a great birthday party. I’ve been making art again. I started building a website, finally. And now that my neck is healed and the book is finished, I’m finally having my summer vacation. I went to Burning Man for the first time, and had a great time. We had a group of about 30 friends and friends-of-friends, so we set up our own camp, The Noah’s Ark Petting Zoo (not to be confused with the other Petting Zoo on the corner, which didn’t even have a single person in a silly animal costume).

That’s the abridged version of my last 9 months. I’m sure I’m forgetting things. My next big travel adventure will probably be southeast Asia this winter, so hopefully I’ll send you fun stories from there that don’t involve robberies, injuries, or accidents. But then, maybe the stories (i.e. life) wouldn’t be as interesting without them.
If I haven’t heard from you in a while, send a note and say hi!