After her last show Oprah’s agent asked, “What are you going to do now?”
Normally, the response is something like I am going to Disney World, or I am going to have a bowl of Wheaties Cereal’. You can imagine my surprise when she said, “We’re going to interview my non-stalker writer friend in San Francisco.”
I’m sure her agent advised against meeting me and suggested instead she get started on that memoir Oprah is thinking of writing now that the she’s ended one major chapter of life, and I would too if I were her agent, but who am I to complain.
We settled into my living room. Thankfully, her Taser holding bodyguards remained out front and it was only she and I, her assistants, and my fat cat. The family, I had locked in the closet so they wouldn’t interrupt, asking me to make lunch, or where the yellow sock were left, or have I seen the iPod, or this or that…
O: What a lovely home, have you lived here long?
B: Thank you, about fourteen years. Are you OK, I’m sorry that cat has no manners.
O: He’s a bit large perhaps you could move him. How much does he weigh?
B: He’s been on a diet, but give or take 20 plus pounds. He thinks he’s a kitten. You should be able to breathe now that I moved him off your chest. Sorry about that. You were asking me earlier about my letter.
O: Yes, and thank you for moving the cat. You’ve never been to Harpo Studios or watched my show, and yet you wrote me a letter. Curious.
B: You’re welcome. No, I’ve not been to Harpo, and well no, I’ve never watched your show. I work outside of the home and honestly, I don’t watch my television. I write letters. It’s a hobby of mine.
O: My bodyguards would not have tasered you, by the way.
B: Opps. That was for effect.
O: It was funny. So, tell me about your writing. What inspires you?
B: Inspiration, hmm, tough one. Now I know what Stephen King meant when he said that he has no idea where the stories come from, they just come. There isn’t a single answer because inspiration is not definable, like falling in love really. You never know if you’re in it or if what you are feeling, is love. All you know is that you have something going on. Writing is like that. I don’t think about writing because if I do, then my head is void. I assume this is what writer’s block feels like. My writing, I don’t have a one-size fits all answer for that question, either. I write. I play. Sometimes I tackle a tough subject that makes me weep, but other times, like now, I play. Again, a lot like love. Writing about writing, writing about love, writing about music, writing about life, writing about my struggle with the journey, writing about letting go, writing, see what I mean, it’s discovery.
O: I understand. I read your post about unleashing your dreams.
B: YOU DID. Sorry, I didn’t mean to scream. Thank you thank you thank you, so what did you think?
O: That’s OK, it happens. I thought it was an interesting way to tell a life story, experimental.
B: Thank you, I think. It was the writer in me playing. I don’ take myself too seriously, but the topics sometimes are. Does that make sense?
O: Yes it does. I see how writing letters has influenced you. Your passion for writing letter started when you married and moved to London, correct.
B: Yes, every Saturday morning I’d go downstairs, brew a pot of coffee and put on Nanci Griffith’s Late Night Grand Hotel, CD. It’s one of my favorites. Once the mood was set, I’d write my letters to family and friends back home. When I didn’t have anything newsworthy to say, I made things up. There is nothing worse than receiving a dull letter.
O: This is true. I enjoying writing letters, but today it’s mostly emails. I also keep a journal. It is important part of my life. Do you keep a journal?
B: Not really, well yes, no, not in the traditional sense.
O: You seem flustered. Want to tell me about it?
B: It’s more a confession. I have journals and pens, all the makings for a perfect romance. But we don’t get along so well, and usually bicker about which topics to write about, love letters, what I did today, the color of the sky, how I feel, did I really, etc. What to journal about is a subject that has plagued me since reading Why I Write, by Joan Didion. I don’t write about what I do during the day, rather where my head and heart are sitting on the subject of me or the life around me. The e-journal is different. It’s my writer’s journal. I frolic. I play with voice and topics, usually the mystery of life. I keep the blog for this journal.
O: Ah, that makes perfect sense.
B: Would you like some tea, or coffee?
We took a break for Jamaican Mountain Blue and chatted off record before returning to the sofa in the living room.
O as me where I find inspiration, where do you find your daily artist inspiration?