When I swim I don't count laps. I was never good at arithmetic (never got to the level where they call it math). I mean, watch me try to add a tip. "Carry the two? Then take away..." What?
So, swimming. That's where we are. I am excited for when Equinox is over the "refurb" holiday break and has reopened the pool.
What I do here instead of 'laps' is pick a letter in the alphabet and let that letter lead me to a word. Then I'll swim along to thoughts about words beginning with that letter. I never know what the letter's going to be until I slip right into the pool.
You don't dive at Equinox (unless you're a hulk of a guy in which case you do whatever you feel especially if also in Congress).
So I climb the steps to the pool; it is cold in L.A. this morning. Cold in L.A. really? So there's no global warming after all. (Not true. Mr. O says there is. Therefore true. I shudder as I come into pool's loft. (Think glass walled basketball court). Slipped in the water fast.
"God!" It's cold. I mean, this is L.A. We like our pool's warm as a good cup of tea. We have that tie to England, you know -- that's why we welcome their Jaguars and their actors with such open arms -- I mean Englishmen talk, really talk. Stop it. I tell myself as I start my swim. God! Today's letter is G. I Guess. Another word: Guess I'll get used to this cold water if I swim fast and find a little grace in my attitude. Don't usually have much Grace before 9:00 a.m. and this is 7:30 a.m. God and Grace. Not a bad start. Grace, I turn into a backstroke. Think Esther Williams, she always smiled and curved her arms back. (She was the swim star.) Married to Ben Gage. Why do I remember that? 'G' Yes. Gable. There was a star, also Grant, Cary and Grace Kelly. My father said he wanted to give her Prince a bottle of Lavoris for their wedding. Why do beautiful women marry unappealing men? Grace, backstroke -- more charming when you smile. Why am I practicing charm and smiles at 7 a.m. in a pool full of surly unsmiling hulks?
Now Gabriel, a young man, (not hulk, has charm. Does smile.) Is going to be a star at whatever he does -- he lit up the Santa Monica High stage at 18 playing the Ezio Pinza part in South Pacific. Talk about Some Enchanted Evening!
No bike kicks. Smooth.
Generous, long kicks, God gives (yes! Gives' has the G.) Moving with Grace makes you think up generous thoughts; (rare for you.) Waking up cranky fuels the hype you need to get you here to begin with.
So God, grace, generosity. Ghosts. Yes, real phantoms, spirits of people you love who slip into the pool, they're here in bed, next to you. My Grandmother stands by, guiding me when I make chicken soup. You know that story. But you have to tell them you need some Guidance -- Gee (does anyone say 'Gee' anymore? Gee whiz? Ask Gabriel) I switch lanes there's a lummox here splashing hard next to me yes, spirit guides exist, real as global warming, a lot more real to our lives now than guns. (A word not accepted in pool.)
Guides will come when you have a goal. Such as three pages, double-spaced, every week. That's how the writers I know guide each other. That's how you write, a goal you can manage. When I started writing, I'd gear myself up to finish a whole book. I'd give myself tough goals, unreal deadlines. No grace -- meaning the mulling and brooding time we need, like swimming, giving words a generous space to roam, to go wherever they want. I got a gallery to slide through right now, getting me to the glory I feel when I sit down, pick up the pen and write.
Not unlike the glory of the first strokes in the pool; I got to be here to get the gist of what I need to say. Like you got to be here even when it's cold, you got to write words -- they'll come together. Goals are great (nice 'g' word) -- but we like to make them so big -- we get these images of glory up there on our mind's home page. That's not much use when telling a story. I used to write with an image of myself on Good Morning America (thinking more of what I'd wear, than what this character was doing (usually waiting for her wake up call.) Goodness knows why.