Berkeley has had two 3.7 earthquakes in the past two days (Did you feel them? I did.), which has me researching foreshocks because I live on the Hayward Fault, which is due for a big one (6.7-7.0) within the next 30 years. Should I wrap up the crystal and store it away where it will never get used, or should I just take a chance? I am convinced that I’m going to be around for this big earthquake, and for some odd reason, I’ve had a feeling over the past months that we are going to have an earthquake (how big I don’t know) this winter. So these little ones are kind of freaking me out, making me want to review my notes from an emergency response class I took five years ago, and making me want to buy more water and dry foodstuffs to store in the basement. For information on earthquake preparedness, click here.
Update: Make that three. We had another, 3.5, this morning. Is the big one coming?
Ugh, I’m so tired of hearing about missing climbers! One man dead in Oregon and two more missing there, and two famous Colorado climbers missing in China. “They’re chance of survival is slim,” said a Chinese spokesman. And while listening to the report about the Mount Hood climbers during my carpool ride to the city the other day, the woman driving said, “My brother died climbing, too. He was struck by lightning on a peak in Colorado.” I think the key is to stay OFF the mountain during bad weather. Of course, you can’t always predict the weather.
If you love Oakland and need a new T-shirt or a hip holiday gift, check out my friend’s, Adam’s, website, The Girl and Rhino. Adam is a graduate of the Mills MFA program, so support a starving artist!
I’m two days behind on congratulating my former thesis director on winning the 2006 Guardian First Book Award. I think I need to just change the banner on my blog to “Congratulations Yiyun.” It’s kind of ridiculous how many awards she’s won. And I heard one of her short stories is being made into a movie?? (“Immortality,” I assume. I haven’t looked into it.) I can’t even imagine writing a FIRST BOOK that wins that many awards. Crazy. And very rare. We who were/are at Mills are lucky to know her.
Well, at 506.5 pages, the first draft of my book is complete. It’s really rough. Really rough. The end, especially, needs a lot of work, but I’m happy to finally print it out, read it, and come up with a plan for revision. It needs more than editing. The characters need more complexity, the narrator’s voice needs to change, and the ending needs reworking, but I feel like it will be much easier for me to see the big picture once I read it straight through. And no you can’t read it. It’s not ready. But thanks for asking.
Before I started rock climbing four years ago, I was really into ashtanga yoga. I still do ashtanga, but I go once a week instead of three or four like I used to. Pattabhi Jois, the founder of ashtanga yoga (who lives and teaches in Mysore, India. I believe he’s 91 now), has a saying, “Practice—All Will Come.” In other words, don’t stress about it, don’t compare yourself to others, don’t worry if you can’t do a pose as well as you’d like or even as well as you did yesterday. Just show up every day and, eventually, you’ll see the results. Derek Ireland, who was a student of Patthabhi Jois and my ashtanga yoga teacher in India and in Greece before he died of cancer, used to say “The hardest part is getting to the front of your mat,” in other words, showing up to class. Because once you are there, you are going to do the whole series the best you can. And the same goes for writing. Whether you get published or not, win a contest or not, make any money or not, I really believe the key to success is showing up to the front of the mat day after day after day. For me that’s three hours a day, five days a week. For you it may be 1000 or 2000 words a day, two or three or seven days a week. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you keep doing it. And if you stray for a few days or a week or even months, don’t stress about it. Just get back to the front of the mat and write. And eventually, all will come.
I think I’m the only one who can see the pictures on my blog. When I transferred it from Blogspot, it looked like all the pictures transferred, too, but Martin said they’re not showing up on his computer. I guess I’ll have to re-import them one-by-one 😦