Thursday, October 07, 2010

40 in 40

A little over a week ago, I turned 40. I never particularly figured myself for being the type to get hung up on age issues, but I definitely had a reaction to the advent of this milestone. In fact, turning 39 set off a year-long slow simmering mini-crisis just because 40 was approaching. All the usual things came up: Is my youth gone? Did I waste it all? Is it all decline from here on out? Should I be further along than I am in terms of career? Finances? Achievments? Will women stop looking at me now? Wait a minute, did women ever look at me? Should I get a walker and start looking in to rest homes now?

And the verdict so far…?

Eh, it’s not so bad. The other day, when I overhead a young girl telling her friend that she had $14 dollars in the bank and $16 dollars in her pocket, I felt positively giddy about being in my age demographic instead of hers’. I even had the chance to do some journaling last week and realize that what I have in my life now is everything I wished for during despairing years in my early 30s. It doesn’t all look like I thought it would then, but it’s pretty damn good.

Even the year-long marination in low grade existential crisis had its benefit: I came up with a list of 40 things I wanted to do while I was 40. Kind of a proof to myself that life, far from being over, is full of as much richness as you want it to be.

Full disclosure: I got the inspiration from fellow Mortified performer and all-around superstar Sara Faith Alterman, who did a blog about her own Dirty 30 list to mark her transition to the decade that starts with 3. I figured it would work just as well for 4. So here, without further ado and in absolutely no particular order, is my own Forty in 40:

1. Take rock climbing lessons.
2. Try hang gliding.
3. Go to Burning Man.
4. Visit Nashville & Memphis.
5. Learn to ride a bike.
6. Do a mini-Triathlon
7. Do a 10-K.
8. Finish my 9th Step.
9. Swim in the ocean.
10. Start regular yoga.
11. Go to the Fringe Festival in Scotland.
12. Take a cruise to the Farallons.
13. Go sea kayaking.
14. Kayak on Elkhorn Slough.
15. Do a silent meditation retreat.
16. Ride in a helicopter.
17. Visit a haunted place.
18. Go to the Eureka Springs Arkansas UFO conference.
19. Take a DJing class.
20. Publish a zine.
21. Get some boots. Big ‘ole shitkickers.
22. Do something to explore Native American Spirituality.
23. Finish a draft of my new novel.
24. Finish a poetry collection and submit it for publication.
25. Finish my full-length screenplay.
26. Ride in a hot air balloon.
27. Write a song.
28. Take part in a dream group.
29. Get hypnosis.
30. Go to the hot tubs at Esalen.
31. Try Rolfing.
32. Go to a service at an Orthodox Church.
33. Go to a Santo Daime service.
34. Go to a Spiritualist service.
35. Come up with a career transition plan.
36. Let it all hang out at a nude beach.
37. Visit Alcatraz.
38. Visit the Marin Headlands.
39. Have a show in the San Francisco Fringe Festival.
40. Experience a psychic phenomenon.

I’m also giving myself permission to be imperfect. In fact, I think I’ll be doing very, very well if I can get to half of these. However it plays out, I’ll keep you updated along the way!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

August 2010 Writing News

Greetings friends! I haven’t sent one of these updates out in a while. I could tell you all kinds of reasons involving holiday travel, the time and energy-draining misadventure of being both a director and producer on a short film, work getting annoyingly more hectic throughout the year-to-date, etc., etc. But I’ve found I’m usually best served by getting back into action. So here we go with a new update on my latest creative doings!

In June, The Buddhist News, a film that I co-wrote and helped produce, screened as part of the latest round of Scary Cow, the independent film co-op I’m part of. Don’t be sad that you missed it, you can watch the film (and my brief appearances therein) here. Meanwhile, I’ve been working on post-production of Ave Maria, the film I wrote, directed and produced (hence being too batty to post much the first half of this year). It will be screening at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco on Sunday, October 10th. I want EVERYONE there, so I’ll be letting you know when tickets go on sale.

Per my being distracted, batty, overworked, etc., I haven’t done any readings in months. But the drought is about to be broken when I take the stage to read tortured poetry from my teenage years for Mortified. You can get tickets here for the performances at the Make-Out Friday August 20th and Saturday August 21st.

The biggest news: an essay I wrote on my student experience at Berkeley, “Bachelor’s of Armageddon”, has been published in the anthology When I Was There! Should you be so inspired, you can buy it on Amazon. Since last you heard from me, my prose poem “Young Karl Marx” appeared on Opium’s website. I’ve also been writing song reviews for the website Song O’ The Day.

I’ve submitted my novel Out in the Neon Night to a few independent publishers over the last few months. While they review it, I’m considering getting more input from a freelance editor and/or starting a new round of inquiries to literary agents. In the meantime, you can read a sample chapter.

My blog has not blogged overmuch so far this year. Perhaps it will more now that I’m sending this out and feel some pressure to have content for people to see!

Chris out for now, but I look forward to sending you more updates soon!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Hello again...

So here’s the deal: I’ve only had one blog entry so far in 2010. While in previous years I never quite met my goal of having an entry a week, I was strongly into double-digits for 2008 and 2009. Not so much this year.

I understand how it happened. I started the year out of town, visiting Abbey’s friends and family in New York for Christmas and New Year’s. Which was delightful, but did get me out of my regular routine. I then jumped feet-first into Ave Maria, the short film I’m writing, directing and producing. In case you’ve never done it, let me save you the trouble and tell you NEVER to both direct and produce something. One or the other is fine, but both simultaneously will suck out your soul and leave you a hollow-shattered shell of a person. And so it was.

Simultaneous with this, my back went out in a spectacular (usually anxiety-provoked) fashion that it tends to do every few years. Credit clean living that I hadn’t had one of these since December 2006, but this one got me out sick from work for several days, and doing chiro and pilates for a month (shout outs to the fantastic Drs. Randall and James at Embrace Health in the Marina!) before I was functional again. And speaking of work, my quiet stable little non-profit job became unaccountably busy this year. Apparently doing an annual budget, long-range projections, finalizing financing for relocation and implementing a new financial software at the same time is a bad idea. This is why I left the for-profit sector!

The upshot of all of this: 39 entries in all of 2009. 1 in the first 4 months of 2010. UNACCEPTABLE. Forthwith, my pledge to you is that I’m going to post at least one entry a week for the rest of the year, even if someone has to die. Maybe me, maybe you. So be careful. I’m just saying…

Friday, January 08, 2010

10 Books in 2010!

Happy New Year all! I can't believe I didn't post at all in December. The holidays always throw me for a whirl... Well, here's to turning over a new leaf.

I'm working on some general intentions for the year, which I'll write about soon, but in the meantime, I have finalized my list of 10 books for 2010. Here are the 10 "long been meaning to read" books I'm going to attempt to get through in 2010, in the midst of other assorted shenanigans (in the order I'm going to read them, corresponding to when they were written):

The Epic of Gilgamesh (c. 2000-1000 BC)

the Illiad c. (Homer, 700 BC)

Paradise Lost (Milton, 1667)

Short Stories of Dostoevsky (Dostoevsky, 1862-1872

the Varieties of Religious Experience (James, 1902)

Letters to a Young Poet (Rilke, 1903-1908)

The Big Sleep (Chandler, 1939)

Catcher in the Rye (Salinger, 1951)

Godel, Escher, Bach (Hofstader, 1979)

Please Kill Me (McNeil) 1997

I'll let you know what they're like as I finish them...