So, I spent the weekend in beautiful, warm, some might argue overly sunny (if some are used to concrete and shadows and Nor'Easters, such as I) San Francisco, taking a writing workshop with my literary idol, Lynda Barry!
That's me, with her! She made me give a "thumbs up" sign, by the way -- that is not, generally, how I roll. But I didn't care because she is so incredibly rad. And I don't use the word "rad" either! Wow!
My Dad gave me the trip and the class for my birthday. I came across the photo below while I was downloading my photos from the weekend, and it seemed to fit the celebratory nature of this post.
Thanks, Dad! You rock.
My class was in the Mission District. In fact, I never left the Mission the entire time I was in San Francisco, since my hosts live there, too. The Mission is sort of indescribable, but I spent a lot of time trying to put it into words for any New Yorkers who have never seen it: It's like mixing 1 part Bowery (pre-gentrification) with 1 part Coney Island and 1.5 parts Chinatown, except substitute Latinos for the Chinese. Except of course the neighborhood could never exist in New York; it would immediately cost a million dollars to buy a loft and Trump would build a tower.
The building my class was held in is called The Women's Building (or Edificio de Mujeres), a multicultural center for ... women! Here is the awesome mural covering the outside:
Taking a touchy-feely writing class in this building from a woman who espouses the wonders of "magical hippie love" made me feel a little inferior. I wish I was unselfconscious enough to be a free-lovin' hippie child (and I imagine my devout misanthropy wouldn't do me any favors if I tried to convert). Also there was a girl in the class named -- I kid you not -- Flower Frankenstein. So the competition for best feminist nonconformist was pretty much already won.
On Easter Sunday, we had an extra-long lunch break so that we could partake in the festival going on in Dolores Park, held by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. The Sisters are a group of drag queen nuns. I didn't get to see them up close, but I did meet some very colorful attendees:
I saw a few Hunky Jesuses (or is it Jesi?) getting ready for the official Hunky Jesus contest, but sadly I had to go back to class before the festivities began. I still want to know what that strap-on was used for (to anyone who doesn't know what I'm talking about -- that's what you get for not reading my blog regularly! Strap-on mysteries!)
I will eventually post some of what I actually wrote during the workshop ... it was an interesting experience, since I wrote by hand and was not allowed to pick up my pen or re-read what I wrote. The result is much more raw and unpolished than what I usually write, and devoid of the self-deprecation and attempts at wit that I tend to view as my signature style. Most of the stories are brief childhood remembrances (we were limited to seven minutes per piece), and since I had a pretty happy childhood they deal with things like school lunches and peeing my pants. I know you can't wait.