Writing 101 Challenge Day 2: A Room with a View


A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.

– Joan Didion


Regular readers of my blog know that I am always in search of finding my Inner Chingona — inner peace if you will. Sometimes it is much easier to find myself, or better yet, hear myself in certain places. Day 2 of Today’s Writing 101 Challenge is to describe such a place…

The most relaxing places for me are always around the water. Crazy since I never learned to swim!  Water feels so cool, cool water that refreshes instantly upon touch.  When it’s hot outside, running my hands through water, splashing it onto my face, throwing my shoes off to put my feet into the water, love it!

A few years ago, I had just moved back to California and was going through an incredibly stressful time readjusting and read that getting out in nature would settle my nerves and relax me.  I remembered from my time in Colorado that the views were so incredible.  I used to say that it was hard to have a bad attitude when surrounded by beautiful scenery.   As I drove, I would look up and see the awesome snow-capped Rocky Mountains daily and my attitude would be placed in check.

Upon returning to California, I had still not found anything in nature that had the same effect on me as Colorado had.  So one day I was working and decided that I had to get out of the office for a while.  I wanted to find nature so I looked online and found that there was a beach close by.   Ok, so how to get there?  Public transportation was not an option as I only had a limited amount of time.  Driving there?  I was nervous as I hadn’t been in San Francisco that long and to get in the car and drive across the city in the middle of the day was daunting.  Especially in the beginning, as I seemed to get lost, really lost, every time I got into the car.

But off into the car I went, directions in hand, both hands on the wheel, and excited as I started this new adventure.   Although there was really only one way to head to the beach, I went off of my directions so that I wouldn’t get lost.  Finally, I see the sign with an arrow pointing toward the beach.  It was a long street to the beach and, every time I got to a stop sign or stoplight,  I would think to myself, ‘am I going the right way?’  At one of the stop lights, as I look up, and I think I see the beach.  As I’d never driven toward a beach, I didn’t know what to look for.  I was still far enough away that it was like I was looking into an illusion.  What did I see?  It looked like the blue sky and the water merged to form this awesome blue wall.  I remember saying, ‘wow’ and could feel my heart pounding as I got closer and closer.

I could now smell the beach air and could see the waves moving back and forth as I drove closer to the beach.  You better know that I wanted to jump out of that car and run to the water but there was so much traffic.  Finally, I get to the beach, park the car, and realize that I am so not dressed for the beach and had no towels, blankets, or anything to sit on but I did find a book, some chanclas/flipflops, and my music — threw it all into a bag and walked onto the warm, dry, sand toward the water.  The sand was so heavy that I couldn’t run it at first.  Once I got close to the water, I threw my bag down and, once I felt the water flow over my feet, I was instantly calmed.  I stood there for a very long time letting the waves soothe my feet, my nerves, my stress, and my bad attitude.   The sound of the waves began to lull me into a pleasant trance as well and wouldn’t you know it?  I could actually hear myself THINK!

After sitting there for a while, I decided to go for a walk before heading back to the office.  I put the music on and off I went, as I looked back, my car was farther and farther away and I was having the time of my life.  After walking and walking, I turned back toward the car and was amazed to see that I had walked really far and the time had passed, so much so, that it looked like the sun was going down!

I got to witness an incredible sunset on the beach that day and, by the time I got back into my car, my attitude had completely adjusted, I was calm, relaxed, and ready to finish my work projects before I left for home that night.    On this day, I lost one of my chanclas and found my inner Chingona for the first time.   I remember making a promise to myself as I drove back into the City, that I would visit the Beach as much as possible.   I now have a bunch of places I love to walk near the water but this beach remains one of my favorites because it was the first of many escapes — OCEAN BEACH in San Francisco…



Writing 101 Challenge Day 1: Unblock the Mind


Writing Challenge Day 1:  This entry may not be that organized as my assignment was to Unblock the Mind and to write, just write, for 20 minutes without stopping.  Looking forward to having fun

Today is my first day of Writing 101, where I will be challenged daily to stretch my writing capacity.  What do I  want to learn from this challenge?  I would like to be able to write cleverly and more concise, so that not everything sounds like a rant or a journal entry.  I like to keep journal entries and rants in my personal journal where I write it out in my hand and write out my stress, sadness, joy, etc. until my hand gets tired.  I’ve been so amazed to see the power of writing things down.  Many times, I’m all caught up in the emotion of the moment and I forget what I wrote, it’s like I just needed to release the stress, then I look back and read past entries and am stunned to find that I accomplished this or that goal.

I’ve also been trying to take my writing more seriously and, after a period of writing nothing for months, I now have designated a ‘writing day’ for myself.  I’ve done what I call “copy days” for years in my job — copy days are the designated days that I try to write all of the commercials, promotional announcements, web updates, social media posts, etc. that I need to submit for the week.   I found that once I designated a copy day, that my week was much more efficient and I was able to handle the mountain of other tasks and, as one of my assistants told me once, “no matter where you look in that case, there is always work” referring to my work briefcase.

I would love to be able to translate the excitement that I have for writing into other areas of my life.   Once I start writing, off my fingers go on the keyboard and, the next time I look up, like 3 hours have passed!   For years, although I loved writing, I would discount it, saying to myself that it wasn’t really about anything, that I had more important things to do, that it was boring.  Then I realized that I was seeing the task of writing through others’ eyes, or what I assumed that they thought about writing.   Now it’s so different.  I can actually feel when it’s time to write, it’s like I “have” to write, I guess that means that I’m finally listening to my Inner Chingona voice.  Writing was the first way that I could truly hear myself, what I was thinking, what I want, what I need.  Now it’s all about fine-tuning my passion for writing so that I can learn to develop my writing and take it to the next level.