Back from the Trenches
My friends at the writing group Who Wants Cake are winning over the world with their good writing group mantras. If you need to be in a writing group, it should be named after dessert. It should include them. They are all goodhearted, smart, hard working. It's terrible to be in a writing group that pegs you for some upstart arro-girl, or is full of fierce wannabes. you want something in the middle. you want people who let their stories be freaks but are themselves decent as they come. decent as dogs.
But if we ever needed a reason to feel proud to not be American as this -- a Fox news reporters gets her yah yahs off by shooting a machine gun off the roof of a bus. It's all just pretend, right.
Ne'er Do Evers Doing Well
Chris Buckridge has a great band. He was starting it when I lived in Carroll Gardens, a hipster obsessive with a sweet streak from Ohio. Brooklyn, of course, that area of Brooklyn, back then, was full of that. It was in full play at the Fall Cafe, where Chris held court while making coffee and peanut butter on tosts. The Fall was where so many of us wrote and didn't write and talked and didn't talk, and there was a strangely greasy feel to everything, but a marvelous scruffy sense of happiness. People could sit there for hours. I sometimes did.
We could smell it coming over the mountains in High Falls, that dreadful dry and crispy smell, a few thousand acres of wildlands burning in the heat, 30 fire companies trying to contain it. Nothing like this in 50 years. Not since the Minnewaska hotel itself burned, which I remember. It had already closed. My mother bought plates at the closing sale. I have them now, with a little green sketch of one of the rustic little bench houses they'd built all along the lake, up on the Shawungunk rock. There was always a smell there, of pine needles in the heat, of very clear mountain air. I went there often. I don't remember it ever raining. Then it was gone, as they say.
Of course there was a lot more to it than that. Arson was suspected. There was a bitter story with a bitter, charring ending. The land endured, the giant clapboard hotel didn't, the stories, of course, did.