My Story, Yours Too.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Woman on the Verge of Paradise: A New Chapter

Sign reads: "May you find Paradise to be all its name implies"

“You can’t afford to doubt yourself.”
-Nora Profit

“I’d like you to open your book to any page,” she instructed the group. “Then, randomly point to a word or phrase. That will be your prompt.”

I wasn’t thrilled with Joan Marie Wood. My first writing mentor, and a deeply intuitive soul, she nonetheless handed me the novel, She Had Some Horses. Horses? What do I know about horses? I never had horses, don’t particularly like them, and merry-go-round music drives me bonkers. I was just itching to write about Nora. Instead, I sat nervously amongst the other more calm Temescal Writers last Wednesday evening, pondering the relevance of horses.

My compliant nature trumped the fact that I live in a free society, and I begrudgingly obliged. Upon flipping the book open, I watched my right index finger land on the word, “Nora.” The sentence read, “Nora and I go walking down 4th Avenue.” Goosebumps rushed my spine. How did Joan Marie know? She’s good. Really good. See, ever since I met Nora at the Writer’s Retreat in October, she’s all I could think about. If, in fact, we end up walking down 4th Avenue, my dream will be realized.

“Nora will be a day late,” Dale announced, when I arrived at the workshop site. “Her assistant is leaving the job, and she’s pretty taken aback.” This meant nothing to me, until I sat beside Nora during lunch the next day. In her sincere and humble manner, she asked if I have kids. I explained that I’m just out of a divorce and the kid window is closed, perhaps cemented shut. In fact, electrical barbed wiring and a highly sensitive alarm system surround the premises, with glow-in-the-dark “No Trespassing” signs every few feet. Thankfully, Jay spared me the need to further elaborate on such intimacies.

Pulling a chair towards Nora, he offered compassion. “I’m so sorry Karen left. Is it definite?”

“It’s 99% likely.”

Then, without an ounce of forethought and in nothing but a half-asleep, matter-of-fact tone, I vocalized these words as they popped into my head: “If you lived closer, I’d sell myself on you. I think you’d be great to work for, and I need a job.”

Indifferent to this verbiage that flowed without inhibition, we turned our heads to refocus on the food on our respective plates.


What did I just say? I’m never opportunistic, never self indulgent, never so bold. The seed was planted, though. There was no turning back.

“Um, well, you need someone good with computers. Right? I stink at that.”

“Yes, I really do,” she affirmed.


“There’s something about you, though,” she added.


We realigned our eyeballs on the pasta. Or was it pizza? Wait, was it even lunch? It might have been breakfast or dinner. I bet it tasted like chicken. Oh, I don’t know. I just remember every fraction of a millisecond of that conversation.

Our faces snapped back to glare at each other.

“Well, just how bad are you with computers?”

We shared a laugh, knowing my answer didn’t matter.

Last week, I visited Nora Profit in Paradise and began my housing search. I spent a fair amount of time at The Writing Loft, a creative writing program in Northern California. Nora Profit is its founder and Executive Director. I am her new Assistant.

As I face the uncertainties and challenges of this life overhaul, I feel safely assured that:

     (1) I’m bound for Profit in Paradise, and
     (2) I can’t afford to doubt myself.


  1. See what happens when one takes that scary step into the pit of change? Happy for you!~Ames

  2. YAY for Paradise! Oh, I am feeling some GNR Take me Down to Paradise City coming on, but I will spare you, ah ha ha!
    Sounds like a wonderful opportunity, and a great new adventure! Sounds like your new year is off to a wonderful start!
    gi gi
    ps, glad your still WILD!

  3. I'm happy and excited for you. I look forward to exciting unexpected new openings for you.

  4. Marlene, thanks. I don't know any of the rules and have SO much to learn, but I'll be in a great place to learn it. xo

    Ames, thanks much. I'm as nervous as I am excited. ;0)

    Gigi, you're so sweet. Yeah, I've been thinking of all the songs with the word "paradise". In particular, Christopher Cross's Sailing comes to mind. I don't know the GNR (What's that?) one. xo

    Genice, thanks so much. When I have a grip on things (The housing search is challenging because the writer's assistant salary is microscopic), we'll get together. [-:

  5. Wow, this is all very exciting! Cheers to you, new year, new beginnings. :)

    Fourth Grade Nothing

  6. Well, I'll be darned. Wonderful things happen when you take a deep breath and go with your instincts. Timidity gets you nowhere.

    Go, Robyn, Go.

    Betty Auchard

  7. I need clarity...are you moving north or is this a writing exercise?

    If this is a move and you're immersing yourself in a place devoted to writing and are the EX Asst to the founder, it sounds wonderful.

    Congratulations and I am sincerely jealous!

  8. Awesome! You are a good writer! That is so cool! Say, I used to know Nora Profit's older brother Non.

  9. Cool stuff, Robyn!
    And Pat's joke is bad...

  10. Congratulations Robyn! You are going to love it there! It sounds like a wonderful opportunity for you and I know you will truly shine there as you do in the blogosphere! Best of luck!

  11. One giant leap womankind, one small step for my-favorite-Jewish-lady.

    Congrats, way to start the new year.

  12. I hope you attack this opportunity with all the passion I know you have. Is it chance that you are moving to a place called 'Paradise'? I think not. Sometimes taking a hint is not subtle. I know you will do great. Remember me when you hit the bigtime. I got first dibs on living in your pool house. Keep us posted.

  13. Ally, thank you, sweet friend. xo

    Betty, it's all about the "small but mighty" thing. Right? Thank you. :0)

    Pat, Alex is right. But I initially got excited that you had a contact for me. LOL. Heck, we all know Non Profit. I'm getting to know him even better, now that I'm downsizing from a social worker's to a writer's apprentice salary. xo

    Tgo, I appreciate your sweet words. :0>

    Noelle, thank you. I'll keep you all posted. I'm sooo excited for you and Jason. xo

    Thanks Alex! See above re: Pat's joke. (-:

    OT, you're so nice. I actually met up with one Jewish group there. There's one. Just one. xo

    Kal, who loves you? Pointing at self. Yep, that would be me. Funny that you mention pool house. I made a call today about a pool house that's being rented out as a studio. It has no bathtub, though. That's one of my few requirements. I can inquire for you, though. Just let me know. =-}

  14. I think I missed something. I have no idea what is going on. I need explained to me like i'm a five year old.

  15. This is a dream sequence, right? You don't meet someone called Nora Profit when you're awake.

  16. A great quote and an amazing Chapter is about to begin :0)xo

  17. Congrats!! Sounds like an amazing opportunity for someone I know will excel at it! Just one question – will you be paid in chocolate?

  18. Ooo yay!! Congrats!! I'm so happy for you!! :)

  19. VERY cool! Love how this life works sometimes! Congrats!

  20. Cheeseboy, thanks. xo

    PTM, I've been quiet about it, but now it's a sure thing. I'll tutor you after class. ;0)

    GB, it only seems like a dream. I did meet Nora Profit, who lives in Paradise and has offered me a job there, while I was awake. Let me check. Ouch. I just pinched myself too hard. It's not all roses, as I need to leave the Bay Area and live off of a writer's apprenctice salary (i.e., equivalent to the days when there were apprentices). xo

    Marnie, thanks for all the cheering on. [-:

    CB, now that's an idea. Thanks! xo

    BabySis, thank you, hon. =o]

    BB, yes, sometimes exciting things help even out the rotten. xo

  21. Congrats and hope the time spent in Paradise is
    as dreamy as it sounds.... ;)

  22. Wonderful! Congrats!
    Here's to new beginnings!

    B xx

    P.S. Loved this post.You have a way with words!

  23. So we're gonna almost be neighbors. Welcome to the real Northern California.

  24. Paradise, where every writer wants to go. Nirvana, what every reader wants from a writer. Keep trying, and don't worry about anything else. ;-)

  25. Robyn, you are on fire!!! (And not because of some faulty electrical issue on the barbed wiring.) There IS something about you, and I'm thrilled for you! Way to go! PS: Say hello to Slash and Axl for me in your new stomping ground. :) Hugs, Jenn Bridgman

  26. I'm so glad you went with the self selling without much thinking. Things are going to work out great in Paradise! Maybe someone there will find a way to cut through the wire. :)

  27. I'm eating celebratory chocolate by the handfuls in your honor!

  28. Robyn, 2011 is beginning beautifully for you--you're a lightning rod of karmic blessings! Let's toast the new project in double-dense cocoa with whipped cream on top. :^)

  29. Rek, thanks, hon. xo

    Betty, thanks for the compliment. It means a lot. ;0)

    IT, exactly. I will be clarifying that often; San Fran is NOT Northern Cal. Glad we'll almost be neighbors. Thanks. xo

    AFare, great words of wisdom. Thank you. [-=

    Jenn, you crack me up, and I love ya. I'll give Axl and Slash a big hug for both of us. Then again, maybe not. xo

    Sarah, thanks for all the cheering on, my friend. ;-b

    Daffy, perfect. Keep celebrating. I appreciate it. xo

    Baygirl, thanks so much. [o:

    Marg, you're sweet. Let's make sure there's a maraschino cherry on top too. I like those. xo

  30. How exciting! What a great change for your life, and I'm glad OT led me here so I can share in your new adventures.

  31. I don't drop by for a few and you up and find paradise. Way to go girlfriend!!! I am really excited for you Robyn. Taking risks is the only way to win big.

  32. Wow! You got it? It's happening? How fantastic! Well done Robyn.. I can't believe it.. You are so deserving ofit.. I hope it all turns out the way you hope...
    Don't worry about money... who needs it if yr doing what you love? well, guess you gotta live too right? Guess its bread and water for you for awhile.. lol.. and NO CHOCOLATE!@ Doh! Hopefully it will lead to bigger things and then you can get back to what you love doing almost as much as writing.. Dating sites.. hahha.. i meant CHOCOLATE!@! haha

  33. Krissy, thanks so much for the comment and follow. Great to meet a new blog friend. xo

    Marla, thank you. You'll come visit me in Paradise. Yes? :0)

    Anthony, thanks so much, friend. I won't stop the chocolate (Even if it's all I can afford, I'll have to live off of it. Oh well.) or dating sites. The fodder will be
    through-the-roof. xo