Panorama of San Bernardino

Friday, February 28, 2020

Time Enough At Last

I have been working on a piece for a storytelling showcase. I’m on my upteenth round of edits. Even when I think, hey this is good, I’m done, I’m not. The coach’s response email of, “here is the feedback” and “more arc” is a humbling, learning process for me.

I’ll admit, finding the “arc” has never been my strong suit. Dialogue is something I’m good at along with character development. I’m adept at finding comedy in tragedy and unresolved, non-cliffhanger endings with someone frying up a pork chop for dinner.

Those are my go tos. But arc, not so much.

These last few weeks, I’ve had to do much growing, both personally and professionally. I’m learning to put my ego aside and just do me. It’s a fine line walk between confidence and arrogance and to be a writer you have to be confident in your voice and know it matters. You have to be passionate and tenacious, and seek opportunity. It’s called “putting your work out there.”

But maybe, what’s also important is growing and improving even when you’re good. That’s how you get to be great.

People often ask me, how do you do it? You have a more than full-time career as a deputy public defender. I usually respond by saying, “I use my early mornings, weekends, vacations and I don’t have kids.” (Not having kids was not by choice.)

But the truth is, and I’m wearing my heart on my sleeve here friends, I don’t have a choice. I must write. It sustains me and calms the anxiety in my brain, but I am also just listening to the whispers of my father in my head saying my name. Perhaps, it’s the only way for me to bring him back to life.

Or maybe, I have to capture my family, my friends and my life or it won’t mean anything. I know in my head that my life means a lot, I know this, I do, but I need to see it on the page and in the world at large.

There’s that old Twilight Zone episode (the title of this piece) where a man, played by Burgess Meredith, loves to read more than anything and hides at work and home and escapes into his books. I know this feeling well. The H bomb drops and in a post Apocalyptic world, the man is despondent and all alone. He is about to kill himself until he finds a library and he is overjoyed. The man has enough books for a lifetime. Then the rub. He shatters his glasses. The man cries out,

That's not fair at all. There was time now. There was all the time I needed… It's not fair!"

That’s exactly how I feel most days about writing. I fall into it and could do it forever and I don’t want to run out of time or lose my way (or my glasses). If I wait until I have all the time I need, it might be too late. We are all just blind people looking for a purpose I suppose and this is mine.

Now, it’s “time” to go work on my “arc”.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020


I woke up at 3 am to the sound of Chewbacca whining. My shih tzu is spoiled and anxious and after 10 years together, he knows I’ll get up. I did.

We padded downstairs and I checked Facebook and an announcement for one of my favorite bands popped up. Sleaford Mods were playing at my favorite venue, Pappy and Harriet’s in Joshua Tree. The venue is amazing. It’s in Pioneertown and the feel is more small county fair than rock venue. Plus, they have an amazing restaurant with killer barbecue.

And the band. Punk meets rap meets electronic with social commentary. The lead singer Jason’s voice reminds me of the first time I heard John Lyndon sing. It was love. It is love. I know all their lyrics and sometimes they’re not easy to figure out. That guy is a master at puns. Almost better than James Joyce. Almost (there is Finnegan’s Wake ya know).

I adore the band to sum it up my friends. Like my espresso in the morning adore. They’re butter on toast for me (margarine for you vegans).

So don’t judge me, but I screamed! Then I literally jumped up and down, like a teenager. Unlike my teen years, where money was always the issue, I bought my tickets and even disregarded that it’s on a Tuesday. Mentally, I said fuck it. This is my band.

Tossing and turning back in bed, I couldn’t even go back to sleep. That’s how excited I was. I started thinking about all the shows I’ve seen, since that first Loretta Lynn show in elementary school that my dad took me to.

In high school, me and my besties went to shows as often as our pizza restaurant paychecks would allow. Yes, I saw The Smiths live on stage and Siouxsie and many others. Music is memory for me. It is life. It is happiness.

It is where I lose myself then find myself all over again. So here’s to finding myself again, one show at a time.

Friday, February 7, 2020

The seer

I have had the flu all week. It’s been wicked and my chest has been wracked with coughs. So when I fell asleep at 7 pm tonight, I was not surprised.

What was surprising was that I had the most lovely dream. I was half awake and half asleep and dreamt of my book release party. Because I was in that super special place of half-awareness, I could influence my dream. I imagined the party at a crowded venue, the reading, the restaurant after and all of my family and friends there supporting my book come true.

Imagination is everything with dreams. More than two decades ago, as a junior college student, one who had no car, no money and no prospects, I used to doze off in class lecture thinking about walking a podium in a cap and gown with all of my family cheering loudly.

No longer would I be the high school dropout, the waitress, or the loser. I would make it.

Mere years later, I walked across not one stage but two. First at UCR with an English Literature degree, and then in a red and gold cardinal gown at USC Law. From high school dropout to corporate lawyer at the largest firm in Texas, that usually doesn’t happen. But for me it did.

When the corporate law gig didn’t fit, I put a sign over my corporate litigation desk that said “IWBAPD”, short for, I will be a public defender. Within 6 months, I had a job in Riverside, and there I would stay to this day.

So while some may say I’m a dreamer, I say I’m a seer. I see it and eventually, it comes true. This time with the book party, here’s hoping it is sooner rather than later because I was sad to open my eyes tonight and look at the ceiling with blinking eyes.

I thought to myself and maybe even whispered, “Oh how I wish that was real. Oh how I wish.”