Changes Great and Small: Preparing for Provincetown

Life, as we all know, is unpredictable and that has always been part of its joy and sorrow. Recently and very suddenly, we lost a very good person from my daughter’s school community and today my husband and I went to the memorial service for him at a beautiful Jewish temple. I sat with other parents from school and felt grateful to be there in the warmth of so many families. I learned about the depth of love and the life our friend had lived. I felt the great dignity and sorrow of his family and friends. The music, a woman singing acapella, was keening and sad, yet somehow an expression of the joy we had with our friend. We were there to witness this change in the world and in our lives.

So, I am thinking a lot about change as I prepare to go to the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. I’m grateful to have a Fellowship to attend and I was going to work with Kahn and Selesnick on an installation piece, but the workshop was canceled and now I am going to concentrate on writing personal essays with Ariel Levy instead.

For some reason I have been writing more memoirish pieces recently, one of which is going to be published by the Writing Without Walls Reading Series on August 29th. Jeff Von Ward asked for a story on second chances and I wrote about having to drive my daughter across town to the pediatrician’s office in a panic when she almost died from an allergic reaction when she was 14 months old. She’s 12 years old now, but the immediacy of the memory grabbed me and I couldn’t stop writing until I finished the essay.

So I’m taking the cancellation of one class and switch to another as a sign that this is what I’m supposed to be writing. I have some material about my trip to China with my father last year and the stories he told about his father, who was an extra in “The Good Earth” when it was filmed in Hollywood, as well as an opium dealer.

I’m a little scared, but it will be good to delve in to all those notes and maybe take a walk on the beach. This will be my first trip to Provincetown–and it’s during Carnival! If anyone has suggestions on what to do and places to eat, I’d love to hear them. Best wishes to all–wherever your lives are taking you.