Posts Tagged ‘Todos Santos travel’

Going Jack Torrance

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

I once had a friend.

He was an ex-boyfriend, actually, but we became and remained very close friends for more than a decade after our split.

Then he died.

I may be losing my mind, but at least I look good doing it.

But that’s not the story. The story is that for many years, he worked for the Swiss postal service (oh, he was Swiss, by the way), a duty he called ‘going postal.’ I could never fully discern if he understood what we meant by that, but it always amused me either way. You’d be talking to him on the phone, and he’d notice the time and announce, “I need to go postal.” or “Time for me to go postal.”

So anyway, I bring this up because originally, this was going to open with a quote from the artist Guagin, but I decide to cut instead to the chase with a full confession that THIS SOLITARY CONFINEMENT SH*T IS MAKING ME CRAZY.

You heard it here first: I am beginning to tilt in the direction of a Stephen King novel. And by that I mean my mental state, not what I myself am working on.

Mexican desert finches keeping me up all night

That tree behind me is one of the main desert finch stomping grounds. I may have to blow it up.

Seriously, how do people do this?

It’s a real double-edged sword.

I’m getting lots of work done.

But I’m starting to really wish someone else was here so I could chase them around with an axe through a snow maze.

At least it’d be a change of scenery.

Hell, I’d play Big Wheel with some evil dead twins or chat with the mildly intimidating Lloyd for hours if the opportunity arose.

Yeah. All work and no play make Vanessa go something something.

In other news, and to make use of what’s already been typed:

“Go on working freely and furiously and you will make progress.”

–Paul Gaugin

Note that progress does not mean that you will have ultimate success or that said product will be viable. That stated, I agree with Monsieur Gaugin wholeheartedly. I have made progress.

The accidental homewrecker upon the magic stairs.

I have not stopped to edit jack sh*t (despite my pledges to myself to the contrary), but as of today I will have written seventeen chapters. Out of 30. 57%. Heinz 57. (I don’t think I’ve ever tasted it, but how can there really be 57 flavors in that? What is it anyway? Some kind of ketchup? Barbeque sauce? Besides, who would even put 57 ingredients in something? That’s absurd. What, do they think we’re stupid?)

Anyway, as I mentioned, 17 chapters assuming I lather, rinse, repeat as usual today. So there’s that.

I think I saw a movie on Gaugin once. He was the one who went and lived in Central America and the Carribbean in kind of a strange and primitive manner when that was totally unheard of and super uncivilized for a European, right? And he may have looked like Keifer Sutherland?

Meanwhile, greetings from Day 18.

Out of 26 days.

Well, 26 complete complete days, if you’re counting only complete days.

Which I am.

woman with guitar on crazy couch

Playing guitar, trying not to stare directly at the psychedelic sofa, and slowly turning the color of the walls in this joint.

The reasoning for doing so – as I barrel toward the end of this time – is the dawning realization that  30 chapters in 26 days is too much.

Especially as it seems that every weekend (last week being on Sunday, this week being on Saturday) my brain goes on strike, and I don’t even get a whole chapter done. And I have an increasing desire to at least see a little of the area (La Paz, Cabo beaches, etc.) before I’m gone. And not be here next Saturday night when the owners are around.

So I figure if my brain is going to be non-cooperative, it may as well have some fun.

To whit, the two lost days have sucked big time. Last Sunday I was in a total funk (hormonal, in hindsight), and on Saturday the interruption was caused by my landlord.

I’ve mentioned him before. And I’m pretty sure I mentioned that I wasn’t a big fan.

sunlit ocean

Beautiful ocean on a sunny day. I will say, the weather here kicks some serious ass.

Now I’m less of a fan.
Let’s just say it’s not worth the time to explain in detail, but in general it has to do with widespread inadequacies in the rental situation and rust stains and motor vehicle issues topped off with his coming over here Saturday to announce that he’s apparently getting a divorce and I – the woman renting this house who doesn’t particularly enjoy his presence and has spoken to him a collective 40 minutes in the nearly three weeks I’ve been here – is in some part the cause.

Yeah, you read that right.

He basically interrupted a short-term rental tenant on a Saturday morning to blame his impending divorce on her.

I mean…what???

Apparently the Mexican wife thinks it’s a ‘set up’ that I’m staying here and is upset, and has moved out, and left their two and ten-year old boys behind, and (he implied) thinks we’re having an affair.

I’m not even going to get into the last part of that sentence because, to be completely honest with you, it makes me feel ill, and it’s too early in the morning to be all nauseated.

Mexican desert finch

One of those bastard birds.

However, if Senora Einstein wanted to check her facts, I would pose but one key question: “If it’s a set up, why in god’s name have I paid you guys all this money?”

Hell, I think I’m the one being set up.

Anyway, lame and unwelcome and unwelcoming and gets my mind wondering why is he telling me this? Is it to be like, “Hey baby, I’m single now.”(And note: I may be going The Shining crazy over here, but not that crazy), and if I have to hear one more word about it, I’m going to run out into the yard and bite the head off of one of these noisy ass desert finches Ozzy Osbourne style.

Actually, I might do that anyway.
Those f*ckers have ruined my sleep for weeks now.

They let out these blood curdling shrieks at all hours of the night that wake me from a deep slumber and scare the living crap out of me and they make this other noise like a jackhammer and they then launch into what I can only assume is a mating call at sunrise (roughly 6:30am) every morning, and I”m over it. They’re dead to me.

Done.

Fini.

Kaput.

tan woman eating

Eating some banana bread I made (and without any way to measure and no baking pan and in a Celcius oven...but still it worked out. Must be the magic stairs) and totally matching the walls. You see it too, right???

Those babies’ days are numbered. I’m taking them out Mexican drug lord style, whatever that means.

Anyway, that reminds me, the other day I was talking to Grady, and I was trying to figure out how long he’d been staying at the casita and he was like, ‘I’m not staying in the casita, you live in the casita.”

And I was like, “No, I don’t live here. I’m just visiting for a few weeks while I write this book.”

And he’s all, “”You have always lived in the casita.  I should know. I’ve always been here.”

And then I looked at some pictures of myself and noted that I have started to match the walls of the casita in an apparent concrete Mexican shack/human chameleon spooky-ass oneness, and I realized that Grady was right.

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If this is true, then I’m golden

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

All man’s miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone

- Blaise Pascal

Audrey Hepburn lookalike

Channeling my inner Holly Golightly.

In the last week and two days I have proven – in spades and in excess – that I am capable of sitting quietly in a room alone.

Hell, I thrive quietly in a room alone.

I’m like a low-maintenance houseplant.

Or a cat with access to a dripping faucet and an open feedbag.

Go about your business and don’t worry about little old me. Just leave a light on and let a neighbor know I exist, okay?

All the same, I’m kind of appalled at my own absence.

Five days?
How did five days get by me?

Well, for starters, I’m sitting quietly – minus the ticky tacky tapping of Macbook keys – in a room alone all the livelong day (and night).

I could be on Mars for all I (or you) know.

Secondarily, I’m writing a chapter a day.

I should be proud of this, but the thing of it is, my (overly, I now realize) aggressive schedule had me writing two a day.

Two!?!?

Who do I think I am?

Joyce Carol Oates?

(I once read that on a real roll she writes 40 pages a day, so she is my Parthenon of big-time page quota writing)

Mexican laundry on the line

Doing my laundry old school. Feeling very salt of the earth and wondering to myself, "Do I own any clothes that aren't gray?"

Anywho, I’ve been writing a chapter a day, which honestly isn’t easy, and due to my own strange (inspired?) idea to have the first ten chapters be parallel and modern-day retellings of the life of Christ ages 30 to 32, they’re tedious as well. In addition to the time spent doing said writing, I spend about two hours a day reading Biblical interpretations.

Which I kind of hate.

Okay, I hate it a lot.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I hate Jesus…but when you’re dreaming about the man in a scholarly kind of way, you’ve possibly/probably/definitely gone too far.

Anyway, I’m working like a dog and making daily progress. Despite this, I’ve been growing increasingly despairing.

“Why?” you ask.

Well, if you’d been paying attention, you’d know I’m growing increasingly despairing because I thought I could write two chapters a day, and it just ain’t happening.

So self-admonition and “mañana, mañana” kick in until today, when the landlord sneeringly asks me, “So are you getting any writing done? Or do you have writers’ block?”

“No,” I told him, “I’ve written nine chapters.”

The sheer look of shock was enough to make me realize that although I may not be JCO (see above for secret decoder ring), but I am doing pretty darn good.

And then he stammered, “Wow. You’re a disciplined writer.”

Giant box of Special K

I only buy cereal that's at least four times the size of my head. And yes, the house really is as round and pink and freakishly fluorescent light lit as it seems here. I've grown accustomed...

And THEN he went and made my day (sort of) by adding that he’s happy if he writes a chapter a month.

I don’t have any clue what it is that he’s writing, but whatever.

Doing some quick math, I calculated that on his ‘aggressive’ plan, it would take me three years to write this book. So two or three months instead of one ain’t too shabby.

And it certainly isn’t three years.

So yay me.

In other news:

  • The first day I got a funky tan from my ever-present necklaces, but I have hence removed now-not-so-much-ever-present necklaces and evened that mess out.
  • Last night, in a fit of “I’m sick of corn tortillas and beans” I made cabbage rolls (any of you with any kind of Eastern European or Russian heritage know what I”m talking about), and they were wonderful. And I ate more for breakfast. And more again tonight for dinner. And there are still five left. Happiness…
  • I was trying to trim an errant hair with oversized scissors and cut a chunk out of my eyebrow. Oh well. It’s hair. It’ll grow back.
  • I have a girl crush on Ellie, the fast-talking Mexican maid. Not my maid, mind you. I do my own laundry and dishes and sweeping and cleaning. Not that I mind. It’s kind of a simplified, hand-hewn Little House on the Prairie-type existence. Anyway, back to Ellie, she’s so sweet and doesn’t seem to care a lick that I only understand about 30% of what she says. And she’s willing to try all kinds of words until she stumbles into some vocabulary I recognize. The same cannot be said for everyone…  Enough said.
  • I miss TV. A lot.
  • I am really damn tired (it’s a little after midnight here) due in large part to the aggressive ray of sun that shines directly on my face every morning at 7:00am and my persistent very late night bedtimes. In other words, I couldn’t let another day go by without posting something, but in just a few more words that’s all there is to say. Be good. More soon.

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What’s Been Going On

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Not to be confused with the Marvin Gaye song of a similar but slightly different title, I am obsessed with the Amos Lee tune (particularly the live version) “What’s Been Going On.” I can do a decent job with the guitar, but I can’t sing that low to save my soul. Which is fine in general, seeing as I’m a woman, but a bummer in that I really love the hell out of that tune. Oh well. Download’s Amos’ version. It’s worth the $.99.

Writing a novel in one month.

Writing. What else would I be doing?

Anyway, I’m just sitting here watching Old School and drinking some horribly sweet, overly dyed apple soda (Just a small bottle. I couldn’t help myself. I had to know…) and thinking about anarchy.

Not really.

I just threw that last part in to see if you were paying attention.

So anyway, as is often the case with me when I get myself into remote locales with very little human contact and even less English, I have been wallowing in my own habits and taking an excessive amount of self-portraits. Luckily, my habits tend to be pretty healthy and self-driven and I’m rather photogenic, but then again maybe I’ve already been alone too long to judge?

Mexican sunset

Me in front of tonight's sunset

So here’s a random smattering of stuff in my life circa 9:48pm Mountain Time:

My back hurts

I’ve been brushing my teeth with tap water since I got here on Thursday. I suppose I just like to tempt fate. Or prove that I have a superior immune system. Or lose five pounds the painful way. Time will tell…

I’m already sick of corn tortillas.

Mexican horses

Random horses.

I was sitting out front today and four horses just came randomly sauntering by.

My only tie to the modern world is a super flakey dial up 3G connection that occasionally makes the touch pad on my MacBook freeze up and stop working and which delays incoming emails as much as two days and isn’t even powerful enough to run a YouTube clip. I am completely cut off. With 25 days to go. But I’m still sane. Mostly.

I’ve written five chapters of the new book. It’s going pretty smoothly, which either means it’s inspired gold or total drivel. Time will tell here as well…

Todos Santos sunset

Tonight's sunset all by itself.

I don’t like the American landlord and his Mexican wife is really unfriendly. I could bitch about this at length, but a) who wants to hear me bitch and b) he knows about this blog, and I hate to be a jerk. Sufficed to say, he went to Stanford 25 years ago, and works it into EVERY SINGLE CONVERSATION. Whateves, dude. It’s ancient history now.

There’s a mosquito on my thigh.

I tried to take a bath last night, and got about two inches of hottish water into the giant tub before it started to come out of the spigot cold. So basically it was like splashing in a hot puddle. Not so much…

Todos Santos Las Tunas

Me in front of the only walls in this joint that aren't pink.

Special K is different down here than it is at home. It’s somehow kind of corn flakey or something. It’s not bad. Just different.

Topes are those giant, unexpected bumps in the road and totopos are what they call tortilla chips.

The ocean is literally 50 yards away (over a sand dune covered with some seriously prickly stuff), and I can hear it roaring all the time, which is super awesome.

It’s been cloudy and raining all weekend and barely 10 degrees warmer than back home…but tomorrow all that changes when the sun comes back out! (The sun had better come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there’d damn well better be sun…)

I’m driving around in a 2000 Nissan Frontier with plates from South Dakota and expired tags. I’m basically begging to get pulled over. See “not so keen on the landlord” above.

Todos Santos beach

The beach here in Todos Santos by day

I am definitely in the early stages of Carpal Tunnel or some other forearm overuse problem, which totally sucks. I actually woke up in the middle of the night last night my right arm hurt so much. This happened when I was writing my graduate thesis a few years ago. And when I was finishing the first book. Basically, it’s like an overuse injury I’m still using. Ow.

I bought some bagels at the corner store and despite the fact that they were frozen, every last goddamned one of them was molding, and I just threw them away rather than drive them back and fight about it, because I don’t know enough Spanish to explain that “These bagels are molding, and I don’t want a replacement because I am now afraid of your food. Please just give me back my 550 pesos, thank you very much.”

Footprints in the sand

Getting all artsy.

Will Ferrell just said my favorite line of the movie, “I think I see Blue. He looks glorious!”

As mentioned above, there are 25 more days to my literary experiment.

And there ain’t much going on but me, my daily workouts, my writing, and trips to buy overpriced spoiled foodstuffs.

Happily, I have yet to go totally Ernest Hemingway, but I am pretty isolated, so I guess we’ll see what happens. I am half-Irish, you know.

Da da da da da da dum dum

Da da da da da da dum

Tequila!

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