July 5, 2004
Digging It…

Across our back yard, a trench snakes its way. A foot wide, 14 to 18 inches deep. It goes the width of the house, then curves through the garden gate, down between raised beds, and the length of the back of our garage/studio, then under a massive tree root and down to the street. It’s the beginnings of a French drain, in preparation for the rains of winter. Soon we’ll be wheeling loads of gravel to line the bed, then a pipe enclosed by fabric, a bit of whipped cream on top, and it’s done. Still a hard twenty feet to go, with repeated apologies to roots I must clip and old rocks reluctant to leave the digs they’ve lodged in as long as they can remember. That’s my chief output for the month of June.

A diverse month. Heavy work on two features for the July radio show, with eight actors (including our son Eli) recording pieces of “Abbie,” and an intense process of editing a show about our friends Jeff & Pat. Finished the show last week, took a CD up to their house in the hills over Healdsburg to play it for them–a story of grief, but a joy to share.

And a chain of interviews for shows in the fall–down to Oakland for a musician, to San Rafael for blind students training to receive guide dogs, a Sebastopol story of expeditions through the storm drains of a great city, and other memorable planning meetings over coffee–though I’ve not found on the West Coast quite the right texture of muffins to go with the coffee.

Talking with a theatre about a collaborative production of our new play about Francis Drake, and that seems likely–more news as it takes shape. A glorious two days manning our booth at the Health & Harmony Fair, meeting new people and a sizable number of people coming up to say “I listen to your show!” You don’t get curtain calls on public radio, so we’re hugely gratified to discover that people are actually listening.

Writing is proceeding well. Still in the redraft mode on our new novel Realists, but that’s done in a couple of weeks. Two new pieces for the radio, both to be heard in September: an update of Alice’s Adventures Underground in 12 minutes of madness, and a memoir of seeing my stepdad start to die–both kinda funny in their own weird way.

And a fundraising party in El Sobrante: 20 people, good food, 40 minutes of performing to a reverberant audience, and $985! Not a bad way to live life.
And now on a cramped flight back home from Washington DC, where I did one of my periodic NEA site visits–your tax dollars at work–and had a welcome reconnection with our friends and kindred spirits Steve & Elle. A couple of late nights talking about the intensities and impossibilities and quirks of life, some forgivenesses, some resolutions, some fervent dreams, and a reminder of the precious, amazing grace of life.
Peace & joy–