“How was your writing class tonight, sweetheart?” asked my adoring boyfriend Dana, as we drove from L.A. to our home in the desert. “It was really interesting,” I said. “How so?” He asked. “Well, at first I was upset that we had to write from a journal in class and then read it out loud, but it turned out that stuff came up.” “What kind of stuff?” asked Dana. “Oh, I ended up writing about Chris, you know, my friend Cristina’s boyfriend. He is just soooooo fascinating!” “What? You’re kidding me, right? You’re fucking kidding me.” “No. I’m not. Cristina had told me about him and she mentioned he had been in the Mongols motorcycle gang. I guess at one point he had actually pummeled the leader of the gang and he had been worried about the repercussions, but then he faced everyone in the gang head on and it turned out he had won the respect of every single member. I just pictured this terrifyingly mean, enormous man walking into class, spitting into a trashcan on his way in, wearing a thick motorcycle jacket and boots, with a daunting goatee and a tattoo on the back of his shaved skull that said “fuck you.” I imagined him intimidating all of us frail wimpy writers who thought they had some kind of life experience. He would cut right through our sheltered facade and expose us for the frauds that we were. I mean, the mongols motto says “Respect few, fear none” so I was sort of petrified, wondering what gaining his respect would entail. He walks into class and my expectations were blown to smithereens. On the physical level alone and then the invisible level. He was thin, with blonde hair, and wore a backwards baseball cap, a flannel shirt and glasses. He told everyone they could call him C.C. and he was shockingly open and connected. He told us about himself and the hard life he has had but that he is guided now by forces within and without to tell his story. He grasped ferociously at external events and internal revelations. I was blown away by his honesty and vulnerability. The whole class was, not just me. I was sobbing and our instructor felt the same way. Our teacher was practically choking back tears and said he’d been teaching this class for 40 years and couldn’t believe he still had so much to learn, and that CC should be teaching the class instead of him.” Continue reading “CC RIDER”