Archive for December, 2012

Thank You, Bay Area

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Today is the 15th anniversary of my arrival in the Bay Area.

I’d love to write a long and loving piece about everything that this exceptional place has given me, but I’m cramming in more than a reasonable number of end-of-the-year projects before we head east on Monday, not to return until 2013. So instead, I’ll write a quick little gratitude list.

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THE BAY AREA

1) The weather. True, it’s funny to write about climate when it’s currently 55 degrees inside my home, but that’s more about the lack of central heating in 100-year-old structures. The weather here is glorious, almost all the time—and it’s (almost) never too hot. In 2012, we had one day above 90 degrees. (My dear friend O will remember this day as coinciding with her 40th birthday party.)

2) The people. What I sought when I came here was a community of open, compassionate people who were interested in looking at themselves to uncover depths of feeling and live according to their values. Done. Thank you, friends.

3) The culture. It’s not just that we have fantastic theater and performance of all kinds—although we do, and John and I certainly partake—but that there’s a pervasive, kind-hearted social consciousness that makes living here feel rich and connected. So many people are working on important issues, from social justice to the environment. And if you’re interested in doing personal growth work, you’ve come to the right place.

4) The work. I write, as you know. And in the Bay Area, I’ve been able to make a living doing that—and in more than one way. I’ve also been lucky to find clients who value my work and treat me beautifully. Thanks, clients.

5) The geography. Marin Headlands. Mount Tam. Twin Peaks. Berkeley Hills. When you’re in the flats, you can see these gorgeous heights. And when you’re on top of them, you can see the Bay Area, laid out before you like a bumpy blanket of beauty. Almost never a bad view.

6) The food. Mexican, Ethiopian, Burmese, Vietnamese, Korean. Raw. Macrobiotic. And vegan all-of-the-above. Is there another place in the world with so many vegan restaurants? And oh, the produce. Satsuma mandarins—and Satsuma sweet potatoes. Hachiya persimmons. Fuji apples. A bazillion types of lettuce. And melons. And tomatoes. Honestly, if we ever move away, I may miss the produce most of all.

7) The Mr. Yeah, maybe there were other guys in other cities. Maybe. John was in Berkeley, and that’s where I found him, and I’m keeping him. In a month, we hit our 11-year mark, and I’ll be ordering up about 100 more.

Yes, there are a few elements of life in the Bay Area that I would love to wish away (earthquakes, parking, housing costs), but they’ve all been worth it. I came into my own here, and I could not be more grateful.

Gratitude to all of you for reading, and Happy Holidays! See you in 2013.

In Which I Must Assert, Once Again, That David Denby is Emotionally Illiterate

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Sometimes I have a fantasy that I write a novel, and it gets made into a movie, and smart people like it. (Like I said: fantasy.) Anyway, recently I had the realization that if that miracle were ever to come to pass, I would have to actively wish for a poor review from David Denby. Because the man DOES NOT UNDERSTAND FEELINGS.

Witness:

First, his capsule review of The Sessions, in which he not only misidentifies the era as the 1960′s (it’s the 1980′s; fact-checking, New Yorker?) but completely fails to experience the sweet, sweet wonder of the sex scenes and instead calls them “sanctified” and “creepy.” WRONG. My guess? They’re too emotionally intimate for Denby, and that makes him squeamish.

And second, his cap of the hilarious and compassionate Silver Linings Playbook (yet another winner from David O. Russell, who is incapable of making a bad movie), which Denby calls a “miscalculation from beginning to end.” Has he never met a person with bipolar, or at least someone in the grip of mania? Does he not understand the immense energy that Cooper’s character is expending in the attempt to manage his outsized feelings while also behaving in a way that people can tolerate? Has he never heard of obsessive heartbreak?

I’m sure I would mind less if Denby were a mediocre writer. But the man can put a sentence together, and he often looks at things in ways I wouldn’t—and which I therefore appreciate. But OH MY GOD I want to shake him awake. His heart is a walnut!