Gloria’s in the Attic (30:30)
Ah – the magic typewriter. The magic of the typewriter, the magic falling and spilling and exuding from her keys, and I say her because I am sure she is a girl and I have (long ago) given a name to my typewriter which sits quietly on a small table in the attic room with three windows and my typewriter’s name is Gloria. And I could type those letters out like in the song but that’s not any need now, up here in the attic, I didn’t get the name from that song, nuh-uhn, I went to school with a Gloria in the junior high and you wouldn’t call her a raving beauty or anything, not on the outside though I’m here to tell you she was maybe the most honest and decent and kindly compassionate person you might ever meet, if you were lucky to meet her,
And that is probably not happening now because shortly after eighth grade her family moved away from Santa Monica and nobody ever knew where and I thought she might send me a letter because she did have my address and in fact had sent me a few while we were in school because we were something of a secret couple, neither of us being embarrassed of the other it felt more like a cool game to be secret lovers and I say lovers but so not to give the wrong impression I want to tell you that we never had sex, not all-the-way sex, though we did have a bunch of wicked make-out sessions, mostly down on the beach after dinner time and it is my opinion that when the California sun is going down out over the ocean and the sky begins to turn different colors in a row like orange and pink and light purple and you and your kissing friend sort of push down into the sand and make a little private space and the sound of the waves is your background and it’s dreamy and feels like a meditation a little, which I have taken up later in my years and long after Gloria was gone, and there we are on the beach and our parents just know we’re ‘out’ somewhere and we kiss for something like a half hour with barely any breaks and it’s not all saliva and moaning and pushing because sometimes out kisses are slow and soft and we spend time looking at each other, really looking, when you stare into someone’s eyes and don’t stop,
So we did and do have that history and then her family moved and I did not get a letter and I had to be okay with it, I did hear from another girl we both knew that she (the other girl) had one time been on a vacation down to San Diego and run into Gloria and they got to talk a little and so she told me Gloria was alive and mostly well though a little quieter than usual so at least I knew nothing terrible had happened to her and I always figured if she felt like writing she would and if she didn’t she wouldn’t and that’s the case so far and now I’m a sophomore so it’s more than two years but one thing for real is we have all those times together, which also included school times and café times after school for milk shakes and walking on the Venice walkway and I will always have that, it’s part of me because isn’t that how it goes you kind of grow into who you are by adding up all the stuff including people and events and powerful strong feelings you’ve had up until now,
Which getting back to the typewriter I think I have painted a clear picture of why – when for my birthday in April of my freshman in high school year – Santa Monica Commercial – I had a little ceremony by myself up in the attic room and officially named the typewriter Gloria and I bowed nine times (which I read somewhere you were supposed to do if you were or considered yourself a Buddhist, which I do even at my young age) and that was a ritual thing and there are hardly ever any times when I come up here to type when I don’t say out loud “Hello Gloria” and that feels pretty good and it is kind of fun and then after I feel comfortable on the chair – and sometimes I sit on a pillow on the chair and sometimes I don’t, that’s a decision I make that day just on how I feel, it’s not like I have a sore butt chronically or anything, and either pillow or no pillow and I have said hi to Gloria I begin typing and I want to tell you some about what I’m typing but first I mentioned this room has three windows which are pretty big for so high in a house, and our house is down off Ninth Street three blocks off Ocean on the north side and I guess if you think about it houses which are square or built on rectangle plans face all directions, north, south, east, and west, but you can probably pick one and say your house faces that way by the front door and some of the main windows too and the three windows up here in the attic room all face to the south, like down toward Long Beach and San Clemente and even though our front door faces west (since our house is on the east side of the street) I know I have a southerly view which means unless I squinch way over to the very farthest of the glass on the way left I do not have any ocean view but it also means the sun moves around (well, it’s the earth moving but you get that picture) and so the hottest late sun is off to the other side and it means I have a softer light when I come up here after school and my favorite time is late afternoon, like between quarter of four and five when I help my mom get dinner ready,
And that’s my favorite time to type and by then my brain has de-schooled which I think means I’ve gotten smarter and my brain has cleared out from all the (so-called) wisdom we’ve been fed all day and I’ve probably been out walking or maybe gone for a run because in addition to being a writer I’m also a runner and a getting-better surfer though not real good like my two best friends, but I wanted to say that the light is softer and you can remember where the dust motes were floating a little earlier and it feels very inviting for me to place my fingers over Gloria’s keys and begin typing and now here I come back to what I type and a minute ago I said I was a writer, which I am and that’s all I’ve ever wanted to be and it’s for sure what I always will be — I’m a kid who knows what he wants and knows that’s all there is to it,
And I write detective stories which I have made up and I have three main characters – different detectives – which I have created and it depends how I’m feeling or what’s going on in my life which one I write about on any day, and I sometimes also write science fiction because I love that stuff but what happens quite often is that my science fiction stories begin having mysteries in them and all of a sudden (which I did not plan) there are science fiction characters and this includes aliens and people and creatures not from here and they are detectives or acting like detectives and sometimes I stop and read what I typed the last hour and laugh out loud because no way I planned that and it’s a little spooky that sometimes the words fall out, like I said way back that words fall out and spurt out and exude out through my fingers on Gloria’s keys and I read stuff which is like someone else wrote a story I am now reading, and when that happens with the science fiction stories usually I’ll go down to help mom a little early and stay later doing dishes and putting dishes and leftovers away and the next time I come to write it’s back to one of the detectives and one of them lives in San Diego – Chet Longley Detective Agency – and I picked there because of Gloria, so you see Gloria may not be around anymore and we don’t get lunches or shakes together, but still – she kind of is.