Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Years later, when my daughter reached the age where they get those little kitchen sets with the rubber food, she would own a rubber pizza slice that reminded me a whole lot of that petrified pizza. Have you ever found mummified food?
Friday, March 25, 2011
But first, thank you to new blog followers Margo Benson, who is very clever with writing prompts, and Sandra Davies, whose blog is richly layered and artistic. Welcome!
The brochure promised dinner and an exciting melodrama performed with audience participation onboard the “Romantic Railway’s Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre.” Jane Miller thought it would be a fun way to celebrate her 40th birthday—while putting a little excitement back into her stale marriage to Tom. Little did she know that they would plummet into adventure like a runaway train….
When the character named Miss Eliza Pettypants turned up murdered in Berth 19, everyone marveled at how realistic the actors had made it look…until they realized that the unfortunate Miss P. wasn’t acting. Worse, the authorities seemed to suspect…Tom. Good old trustworthy Tom? What Jane would uncover while trying to solve who really killed Miss Eliza Pettypants was more remarkable than any theatrical production. And worst of all, Jane kept arriving back at the same destination like a circling train: Was Tom really a murderer, after all?
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
When she discovered that her first name is French, we had to check out language books at the library. One year she wanted a computer language course so she could study over summer. To this day we still speak what I call “Pepé le Pew”—a mix of the words and phrases I remember from junior high and high school liberally interspersed with English and made-up words that I’m sure should be French. But over the years she grew to instructing me, gently and politely, and recently I’ve noticed that her Pepé is completely lacking in Pew….
One year it was the Madeline books, the dolls, and the clothing. She painstakingly constructed a replica of the Eiffel Tower out of tongue depressors for a school project, and I found myself going on late-night emergency tongue depressor quests.
Once when she was little she proudly announced, “I know how to French kiss!” I stared at her gap-toothed grin and tried to sound nonchalant. “Oh?” She leaned in and gave me a peck on each cheek. “That’s how French people kiss!” she chirped. How I smiled back at her, bigger and bigger! “Yes,” I said. “It is, isn’t it?”
She is no slacker, working hard as she has at various jobs to earn money for the trip (in addition to paying for things we can’t afford since the divorce), while still putting aside some for her college. For nearly a year now, she’s been getting gifts with a decidedly French theme. She’s slowly accumulated new cameras and passport holders and luggage tags and gadgetry. We’ve been through the paperwork and the checklists again and again.
Now I hugged her close in the dark parking lot. She has become La Tour Eiffel, this thin, strong girl who towers over me, and I now am L’Arc de Triomphe. It might be her bank-of-life, but I was the one who felt rich at that moment. And I kissed her cheeks au revoir, and I sent her off to become her own fine (French!) future self.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
So today’s improper poll question is…am I the only one with gross sofas? Or have you ever found anything interesting under your cushions?
Friday, March 18, 2011
But first, welcome to new blog followers Tony Benson (who is giving away books in a blog contest), Ellie Garratt, who currently has some great advice for writers, and Dominic de Mattos, who writes science fiction and so much more!
Here’s my #3 at 114 words:
Now this veritable stranger needs a life-threatening favor of Stellah, one that she doesn’t know if she can deliver.
In this delightfully gripping exploration into identity, responsibility and growth, the reader is invited to embrace this complex cast of characters as they struggle with the question of what it means to have a rich life. Meeting Eddie is more than a tale. It is a date with the human spirit.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
So anyway, once in a small, intimate college classroom during a particularly quiet discussion, my evil borborygmus tenants decided it was a major holiday.
“What is the significance of the peach in that scene?” the professor asked. “Bbbllllorrrgglllorrrglorrgeeewww?” my intestines answered.
Really. What can you do? I couldn’t blame it on someone else. They all knew it was me. If I’d sat there just turning various shades of red to red-purple, that’s just pathetic. I had no choice but to laugh. I also apologized. People smiled and nodded. Ah yes, close to lunch time…but of course we all knew they were really just being kind because it wasn’t my stomach growling, but my intestines. My borborygmus. And it wasn’t so much of a growl as it was a drunken-sounding shriek.
The professor waited politely for the topic of my noisy digestive tract to die down and took another stab at it. “What does the narrator mean by saying….”
“Bbluggglelugglelugglegrrrrorrrrglloorrrg?” my intestines interrupted. This time, everybody else laughed. Except the professor. He didn’t laugh.
Should I have excused myself? I still wonder this. But that just seems like running away, which is exactly what it would have been, and all I could think of was that if I ran away, at some point I would have to show back up. And then I would be the Girl-With-Borborygmus-Who-Also-Ran-Away. Because-of-the-Borborygmus.
So I just sat there and laughed again—while turning various shades of red to red-purple—and mentally stomped on the floor of my intestines to warn them to shut up and stop throwing wild keggers because the rest of us were trying to have a quiet, serious discussion up here. Alas, the intestines paid no attention though the classroom became focused on nothing else. Everyone was eventually engaged only in listening for the next entertaining noise my digestive tract would make. The professor released the class early in disgust.
So I have the enviable distinction of possessing intestines which are able to cancel school. And you’ll be happy to hear that’s not my only bodily function story. So today’s Improper Poll Question is: Do you have a story about bodily functions, either your own or someone else’s?
Friday, March 11, 2011
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Am pretty sure the candy striper who finally removed it, whose name really was something like Debbi, was a sadist-in-training who was eventually hired by a lesser known dictator to extract military secrets from prisoners of war.
I did learn to juggle in my late thirties. Not well, but to me it fulfilled enough of a lifelong dream just to learn to keep three balls in the air at once. Now if only I could do that figuratively....
I thought you’d think I’m too much of a “Carol” to have partied with Grace. This was not her heyday, by the way, and I was young enough—and she was sedate enough—that at the time I didn’t fully appreciate who she was.
When I picked the lie that I did, I forgot to consider that some of you might think it was impolite even to suggest that I can’t sing. I've had a long time to reconcile myself to it. My non-singing is so legendary that I giggled guiltily even typing such a whopper.
When my oldest was a newborn, I decided I would sing him to sleep just like those nice TV moms. I mean, how could he have any taste about the quality of my singing voice? Tabula rasa, right? So I took that swaddled baby and I rocked with him in the rocking chair and softly sang “Desperado,” because besides my horrible voice, I can never remember words to songs—except that one. And it didn’t sound too bad, if I do say so myself.
Even more amazing, it worked. He fell asleep in my arms. I was so proud! And then I noticed under the blanket…yes, I promise this really is true…his tiny fists were mashed firmly against his ears.
Plus I later read that newborns often respond to horrible noises by falling asleep.
As they grew, darned if those little “blank slates” didn’t moan, “NOOOO! Mom, STOP SINGING!!!” if I sang around them. Except during renditions of “Happy Birthday to You,” when they only snickered.
Monday, March 7, 2011
And thank you to Jules of Trying to Get Over the Rainbow, whose posts always seem to touch me deeply whether they are funny, serious, or—amazingly enough—both at once. In her case, I understand that I am supposed to tell you four truths and one lie. See if you can guess the lie:
1. I once partied with Grace Slick.
2. People have always told me I should be a singer.
3. I was on a show called Romper Room when I was four. The teacher had a mike around her neck with a long cord, and I remember tripping on it and choking her a little bit and almost pulling her over. At the end of the show, she had that Magic Mirror thing she’d look through and say, “I see Johnny, and I see Beth, and I see….” And I squinted and stared and searched, and she couldn’t see anyone. She was lying! I was horrified.
4. I didn’t grow hair until I was about three. Once I finally got hair, though, no one touched it. Maybe they were afraid it would fall out again if they messed with it any. So my hair just sat there, unbrushed, and grew longer and longer. A knot formed at the nape of the neck that became legendary in my family as “The Rat’s Nest.” As the hair grew longer, the rat’s nest grew bigger.
My sister called it “circus woman hair.” I was enormously flattered. I thought circus women were the most beautiful creatures in the world, and in fact aspired to be The Lady Who Dangles from Her Hair. She had this big, boofy hair, and they attached something to it and hoisted her up and spun her around in her sparkly costume like a human disco ball. It was the coolest thing in the whole world.
I figure The Rat’s Nest existed from age three until I was hospitalized for pneumonia at age ten and an ambitious candy striper insisted on combing it out. In addition to the agony I went through, what she extracted from my head resembled a small poodle and looked big enough for a whole family of rats. My hair was half its size when she got done. I figured there went my career.
5. I learned to juggle as part of a midlife crisis and still have a bit of a circus fixation.
And now, I pass these awards along to:
Valthevictorian at Unbagging the Cats. I’m so proud that my nose-picking post inspired deeper analysis. And her Toenail Rug made me laugh so hard, my whole screen shook because I forgot to take my hand off the mouse. And the malcontent story….
Ella over at Ella’s Edge is a mother, poet, artist, and probably lots more I haven’t discovered yet...but I'm looking forward to reading more.
Sioux of Sioux's Page is either a kindred spirit or maybe that's just wishful thinking, but I always get a refreshing laugh at her clever, fun posts.
There were more I wanted, but I currently can't see anyone's followers including my own, and it's very frustrating that this has happened on top of not being able to see a lot of pictures. If anyone knows what the deal is, please let me know!
Sunday, March 6, 2011
I think I have the wrong look for a nose piercing, anyway. When my daughter was in middle school, one of her friends told me I look like my name should be Carol. I was shocked. No offense to Carols—it’s better than looking like a Tammy, mind you (because of course Tammys wear frosty blue eye shadow and tend to burn down the trailer court when they throw flaming frying pans at their common-law husbands)—but still. A Carol? The horror—she was right. And a nose ring just wouldn’t go on a Carol. If I had even halfway-good abs, though, I’d definitely get a navel piercing.
So today’s Improper Poll question is a multiple, and you get to pick (ha, get it?!) one or more to answer:
Would you get your nose pierced?
If your nose is pierced, is picking difficult for you?
If you had to have one piercing other than the ears, what would you pick and why?
Friday, March 4, 2011
And now I'm excited to try a new meme begun by Lisa Ricard Claro of Writing in the Buff. Every Thursday evening she'll post a photo of a pretend book cover. In 150 words or less, we are to write a blurb that should go on the back of the book. Then we link from/to her site.
I thought I would play with this too long, but when she posted the photo (below), I wrote up something right away and giggled my way through it. Thanks, Lisa!
Envie Prideland was a sixteen-year-old shoplifter who was tired of living in the poor part of town…until she accidentally stole the diary of snooty classmate Sinclair Greedly.
The secret that Envie discovered about Sinclair and her charming surfer boyfriend, Luston Slothby, would not only cause her to rethink her kleptomania and her struggles with poverty, it would leave Envie struggling to save the life of the unfortunate new girl in town, Gluttoni Angership.
This must-have young adult novel…will steal your heart.
And welcome to new blog follower Ella of Ella's Edge! I'm so flattered you stopped by and decided to come back!