My brother Bryan has been complaining that I never blog anymore. I kind of blew this off, then I see that I have one blog in the month of February, one in April, and one so far in May. He did not take any of my excuses.
What excuses? Life is crazy. All I do is work. Lately, work is mostly writing.
This last week I had an interview with a lady in Brawley who immigrated from Italy in the 1950s to avoid an arranged marriage. I knew that the article was to be about Italian cooking and I had suggested that the photographer take pictures of the lady cooking. I thought the interview would take an hour. When we got there it became clear that this was a lunch meeting, and it was an Italian lunch meeting. We had pasta Siciliana. As Bryan will remember, I knew this was going to be a pork dish because of a dinner we once had in Culver City. But unlike that day, which is a story only the best of friends, and four family members, will know, this was the best Italian food I have had in California. Three hours later I had heard story after story and had eaten two plates of pasta. It took two more days to edit my notes into 1000 words.
I use to say that on Grand Turk you had nothing but time. Whatever you wanted to become, you could become on Grand Turk. Because there was nothing to do, you could devote your time to learning something. And this actually became what you did for fun. I knew people there who were working on contract who became fluent in Spanish. Or who moved from working a cruise ship excursion to being the leading marine biologist in reef reclamation.
I had all these plans. I was going to finish two books. I was going to learn French, Italian, and Spanish. What I did was cook and blog. But then, as I return to the states something amazing happened. I can cook really well. And I can write.
I did not see this coming, but all the writing I did on Grand Turk for free, has turned into a second job in the Imperial Valley. Within the first few months of being here I was hired at the Imperial Valley Press to write advertorial copy. I sent the editor there a link to articles I had written for the Turks and Caicos Weekly News and a link to my blog. The next thing I knew I am getting writing assignments to travel around and write about cool stuff you can do in Southern California. That blossomed into writing for the Winter Shopper magazine, the Valley Women Magazine, and Abundant Opportunities, the magazine of the Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation. All the time I use to spend in the evenings blogging, I now write travel articles. Or in the case of Valley Women, stories about women.
Most people I run into now, here in the Valley, know me from the Valley Women's magazine. I basically interview women and write their stories. Typically, I set up interviews at Starbucks, talk to someone for an hour, then write their story and email it to an editor. I have never seen the magazine. The other day, Deneen made fun of me by telling me she had read one of my articles - at the hair salon. I asked if it was the one on wedding planning, she said no, it was the one about wearing a condom (in all fairness, that was an important story on the county director for AIDS awareness).
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Update: and here is a picture from Budapest, July 2017, one of the three summers Lucas spent building inhabitable art in Hungary!
I will be the first to admit, when you look at the pictures it is a little hard to listen to the complaints. I guess we have worked hard not to let school get in the way of his education.
Tucson, Arizona, April 2012. Lucas took two days off school to go to Tucson to see TuneYards and the Sonora Desert Museum
Monday, May 28, 2012
Lucas has four days left in his Junior year of high school. This has not been the easiest year. And he has not been as excited about going to high school in California as, lets say, Davis has. Today, Lucas says, "I have not learned one thing this year. Well , maybe one thing - don't let school get in the way of your education - Mark Twain said that. And the ends justify the means - Machiavelli said that."
Lucas has had an interesting high school experience. He attended HJ Robbins for a year on Grand Turk, in the British West Indies, where among other things he played in the steel drum band. He attended Ft. Hayes Arts and Academic High School, in Columbus, Ohio, for two years. And he is just about finished with his Junior year at Southwest High School where he is in the Southwest Academy of Visual and Performing Arts (SAVAPA) program doing visual arts. He has passed the state graduation exams in both Ohio and California.
You can say he has had a high school experience that was full of diversity, but he will tell you that is not true, there was no diversity. On Grand Turk he was one of two Caucasian students in the whole school (the other was his brother), the student body at Southwest is 86% Hispanic, and Ft. Hayes was a very urban pubic school. Lucas has complained a lot this year, especially about having to take another state graduation test, but when you write this down, it really seems quite remarkable. And given all that, he has risen to the challenge of moving somewhere new, and he has excelled. This month we have had to go to a half a dozen awards banquets. Lucas received an award for having the highest score in the county for his Mock Trial character. He received the Shining Star award for being the second best art student in the SAVAPA program. And after placing second in the Sub-regional and Regional, Lucas came in second at the Rotary District 5340 4-way Test Speech Contest, the highest anyone from Imperial County has ever placed.
On Thursday, we had a big Rotary event at the museum. I stood up and gave a talk about everything that was going on. At the end I asked if anyone had any questions. No joke, someone raised their hand and said, "Tell us about Lucas."