Archive for October, 2009

What would balloon boy do?

Saturday, October 24th, 2009


Oh, balloon boy, I’ve been thinking about you. I’ve been imagining you in my memoir workshop 20 years from now,  30 years from now.

In the derby of fucked-up childhoods, you just might win.
Oh, balloon boy. I grew up among Californians who waited for aliens. Sometimes I thought they were so crazy, so blood-thirsty. But the reality-TV vampires wait for you with much more anger, much more zeal.
Balloon boy, I hope you didn’t get in too much trouble for blurting the family secret to Wolf Blitzer. You were only six. And, you know what? They had it coming. 
Someone had to stop the madness, stop the bullshit. You were only six, balloon boy, but you did it. You are my hero.
Speak truth to power, as the Quakers say. Speak it on CNN, kid.
You are my hero, balloon boy.
Whenever I think, Wow, it would be easier to lie right now, I will think of you.
What would balloon boy do?
Balloon boy would tell the truth.
I just heard a beautiful and fucked-up song about you, balloon boy.  You might like it.
You can listen to it HERE.
But of course it isn’t really a song about you. It’s a song about the rest of us. It’s a song about all the CNN-watchers and the CNN-reporters and the people who cannot deal with the pain of their own lives looking, watching, hoping for the worst.
But you are the best, balloon boy.
You are the very best.

Cancer doesn’t really have a bright side

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Looking for that space between false cheeriness and existential depression

The idea for the happiness journal came from a little book called A Life of One’s Own written by the British psychoanalyst Marion Milner and published under the pseudonym Joanna Field in the 1930s. Milner’s idea was that if she recorded the best moments in her daily life, she might begin to trace patterns from those moments and discover the conditions for lasting happiness. 

My own habit had always been to write about the things that ticked me off in a given day. If I kept a journal at all, I kept it to vent.

I had learned to analyze the darkness beautifully. Why not try the opposite? 

read more

It’s time to register for the Winter writing class – CLASS FULL

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

This is best writing class I have ever taken! Almost painlessly you got us to write, write, write. And for me got at some new great material.
–Kitty Torres

Eight-week class starts December 4th

ONLINE CLASS LIT STAR TRAINING
Taught by Ariel Gore

(December 4th – February 5th… so it’s actually nine weeks, but we’ll take the week of December 22nd – 28th off for a little winter break)

This class is the creative jolt we all need — for writers wanting to work on either memoir or fiction — we’ll make time to write, create new material with weekly deadlines, and improve our craft with practice and critique. Appropriate for writers working on longer projects as well as those who want to write to assignments and produce short essays and stories. The pace is quick and energizing–you won’t even have time to worry about creative blocks.

Class combines online discussion/critique, email, and telephone conference call. Class size is limited, so please sign up early. $275

$85 deposit saves your spot – balance due when class starts



gnash your terrible teeth

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Maurice Sendak is cracking me up.

from Amy Graff at sfgate:
Maurice Sendak tells parents to go to hell

This Friday, October 16, the movie adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are opens in theaters.

The poignant 10-sentence book about an angry boy who is sent to bed without supper and sails to a magical land overrun by wild creatures has been made into a full-length feature film with a script by director Spike Jonze (recently interviewed by the Chronicle) and local boy Dave Eggers.

Ever since the media got word of the film, reporters have hounded Sendak, Eggers, and Jonze. One of the main questions reporters are asking is, Will this film based on one of the best children’s books of all-time be appropriate for children?

The creative minds behind this film have seemed to dance around this question in most interviews, but Sendak freely spoke his mind for a Newsweek story, appearing in the October 19 magazine. Sendak, Jonze, and Eggers were all interviewed for the story.

Reporter: “What do you say to parents who think the Wild Things film may be too scary?”

Sendak: “I would tell them to go to hell. That’s a question I will not tolerate.”

Reporter: “Because kids can handle it?”

Sendak: “If they can’t handle it, go home. Or wet your pants. Do whatever you like. But it’s not a question that can be answered.”

Jonze: “Dave, you want to field that one?”

Eggers: “The part about kids wetting their pants? Should kids wear diapers when they go to the movies? I think adults should wear diapers going to it, too. I think everyone should be prepared for any eventuality.”

Sendak: “I think you’re right. This concentration on kids being scared, as though we as adults can’t be scared. Of course we’re scared. I’m scared of watching a TV show about vampires. I can’t fall asleep. It never stops. We’re grown-ups; we know better, but we’re afraid.”

Reporter: “Why is that important in art?”

Sendak: “Because it’s truth. You don’t want to do something that’s all terrifying. I saw the most horrendous movies that were unfit for child’s eyes. So what? I managed to survive.”

women & happiness blog

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Read my new blog at Psychology Today.

If you want.