Walking in the hills of Tiburon, CA

Yes, it’s Fall….and I fell.  I slipped at the gas station and fell face down in a puddle of oil as I stepped out of my car.  It was a messy site. 

Even though I escaped with only an ugly deep cut and sore muscles, I felt fragile. It’s interesting how one day you feel invincible and the next you recognize how vulnerable you are – in more ways than one. 

After the fall I had trouble sleeping plus digestion problems.  It was like placing that last block on top of a pile of blocks and toppling the whole tower.  In California, on top of the virus and the election, we have fires, smoke, wind, economic fears, plus more.  Sometimes it’s too much.  You know what I mean.

So, I needed to regain balance.  I looked at my to do list and started paring it down.  There’s not enough time to work, do physical therapy exercises, practice the guitar, paint, garden, hike, bicycle, read, do housework and be social. 

I let go of few things.  It’s funny though.  As my calendar opened up, it got filled with new activities, including recording video for the Master Gardeners YouTube website.

Surprise!  Learning to shoot and edit video took my mind off my problems.  I felt a sense of accomplishment.  For me, the way out of sadness was learning something new.  Try it.  Let me know what happens.

Here in Marin County I’m overwhelmed by the beauty of the changing foliage and waterways.  But, it’s also a confusing time.  Suddenly there’s so much to do – Fleet Week, the Symphony, bonfires at the beach, classes to teach – and, yet, as the days grow colder and shorter, I want to quietly hibernate and create something new.

Time to Reflect and Read

This feels like a perfect season to reflect on the past months and the past years.  I’ve been inspired by some of the fabulous memoirs of recent months.  “Educated” by Tara Westover is a must read, even if you feel she’s exaggerated aspects of her life.  Michelle Obama’s “Becoming,” is also uplifting and insightful.  If you like audio books, I recommend Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime: Stories form a South African.”  You’ll love hearing him speak African languages and dialects.  This is the story of his journey from apartheid South Africa to hosting “The Daily Show.”   For a fun read, don’t miss  “Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows” by Balli Kaur Jaswal.

Now What?

So, what’s next?  I plan to teach a memoir class at a local bookstore.  It’s called, “Writing your Story.”  I know everyone has a story to tell, and I can’t wait to hear the stories.  In the class, we’ll discuss our favorite memoirs and apply the authors’ best practices to our own writing.  Writing our stories will help us understand ourselves better and, hopefully, enlighten others.