Archive - 2007

The Red Room, Old Theaters, and Writing

Mon, 12/31/2007 - 10:53am

I was staring at the ceiling of my gym yesterday after an hour of jump rope and yoga. I took even took a picture of the ceiling from where I was lying on my back:

My gym is at the old Alhambra movie theater, which opened in 1926. It used to look like this:

Not only am I inspired by the flamboyant Moorish architecture, but in the late 80s when I moved to San Francisco, you could smoke in the balcony while watching art house movies (such bliss!). At first I was disgusted that a gym (A GYM!) was going into one of San Francisco's historical art of the last of its kind...but in fact, the place has been completely preserved (unlike many of the other beautiful art house theaters that once existed in San Francisco). In fact, they've done maintenance on it, improving its beauty while insuring its longevity without changing its structure or original details. At least in the building itself. The movie seats are gone. In their place are treadmills and barbells. And the old projection room is a yoga studio. And, truth is, a yoga studio and cardio equipment is much more in line with my current lifestyle. As much of a match for me now as the smoking section in the balcony was in the late 80s. 

I love finishing my workout and then lying on my back, breathing, getting lost in the ceiling's design. Often I gaze at the stars and get ideas about new directions for my novel or other creative projects. 

My job after that is to actually get home and write. It doesn't always happen. The demands of being a lover-of-life and organic food means I need to make a living. It requires discipline and determination I sometimes lack to make sure I work on my own writing as much as I take care of students, clients, the blog, or any number of other things. To that end, a friend sent me a link to The Red Room. I've been hearing about it for a long time. They offer a bunch of different services, so check out the site. They seem to share my philosophy that the number one block writers have isn't something about their childhood or their first teacher who told them they sucked. It's that they don't actually sit down to write. In my private classes, I always make sure writers have time to write, not just polish their bull-she-ite about what they think about writing. 

Apparently so does The Red Room. I might just go and do one of their intensives when I get back from my self-imposed Russian River writing exile. This is from their site. I think it's brilliant: 

A class or instruction on writing…is not writing.

Group therapy for blocked writers…good, but isn’t writing.

Attending interesting lectures about writing…is not writing.

Reading books, about writing or anything else…is not writing. 

Networking with editors or publishers…is not writing. 

Making friends with other writers…is not writing.

Completing writing "exercises"…is not writing.

Discussing published or unpublished work…is not writing.

Learning about writers, writing, the industry…is not writing.

Attending a peer critique writing group…is not writing.

Getting feedback on your unfinished work…is not writing.

Talking about your writing or writing ideas…definitely not writing.

Feeling guilty all week for not writing…is not writing.

Attending a Red Room Writers Studio…is you actually writing.


And if one historical theater wasn't enough for me to write about today, tonight I'm going to see Sandra Bernhard at The Castro Theater to ring in The New Year. I hope it's fun.