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.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Book Blurb Friday #57

TGIBBF! Every week, Lisa Ricard Claro of Writing in the Buff posts a meme with a picture for a pretend book jacket. Our challenge is to write a blurb of 150 words or fewer to go with it. I am in love with Sandra's work of art, below.  My blurb this week has 128 words.

~The Naked Ape Exposed~
By Dr. Darence Clarrow

The year is 2053, and the research is complete. The conclusion? Not only is society becoming more detached, we may actually be returning to our roots: evidence now suggests that our ancestors “planted” us here when they crossed their own hairless, big-headed, bug eyed genes with those of the warm and social apes of our own planet.

But a flaw in the alien gene means that the more we evolve, the more we become like our alien ancestors—and thus lose what it is that makes us most human. Could this paradox of enormous proportions really be true? And how delicious is the irony: what makes us essentially “human” is really due to our ape genes.

“A ‘Monkey Trial’ to end all Monkey Trials.” ~Sci Fi Journal Monthly

It is the creative potential itself in human beings that is the image of God. ~Mary Daly

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Improper Poll: Not Quite Pinned Down

It’s clear that many of you were impressed by last week’s Slut Pin. Some of you even asked how one obtains such a thing…because you were obviously hoping to run out and get one for yourself.

As much as I hate to thwart a fashion trend in the making, I don’t think slut pins are still available. They were given out free before a movie I saw years ago with a friend and my daughter. I can’t remember the name of the movie, but it was about high school. The attendant held a basket of pins as we entered the theater. The idea was to choose one that represented the group we most identified with. My daughter and I both reached for the one that said, “Theater Geek,” so I let her have it.

I didn’t want the same pin, so at that point my hand hovered over the basket. There was a group of creative writers at my high school, but we were so diverse that we never could have formed our own cohesive group even when we worked together on publications. And what do you call that, anyway? There was never a group that seemed to encompass all of the arts, and besides, I never felt edgy enough to be considered one of the cool artsy people. It was one of the great plagues of my high school years that I identified with a bunch of groups, but none, really, in particular. I even made friends with that kid in the back whose name no one else knew, and I learned those people can be undiscovered gems.

I sit at a lot of tables at reunions, and at last I'm happy about that.

So this was what I was thinking as my hand hovered over the basket of pins and the movie line waited patiently behind me. “Here, take this one,” my friend teased, and scooped up The Slut Pin. There were a whole bunch of them. Apparently the coolness hadn’t yet caught on.

What pin would you wear?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Book Blurb Friday #56

Time for Book Blurb Friday! Every week, Lisa Ricard Claro of Writing in the Buff posts a meme with a picture of a pretend book cover. Our challenge is to write a blurb of 150 words or fewer to go with it.  My blurb has 150 words.

Photo courtesy of Scott Liddell

Ty was in for a shock when he awoke for school…and it was a paw the size of a baseball mitt—with claws—that hit his IPod radio.

Ty Munson had enough problems. He was thirteen and not exactly one of the popular kids. Now he had to come to terms with the fact that he was a weretiger—like a werewolf, but a tiger. And werewolves, Ty learned, have it easy in comparison. They have the predictability of a full moon and the night as a cover.

Ty went into weretiger during increased sunspot activity…which meant it was during the day, and with very little warning.Now he seemed destined to spend his time hiding out, often in the school’s science storage room, trying to avoid trouble.

Then a classroom was taken hostage and no one knew what to do.

Except, that is, the tiger in the storage room.

Have to say I was jazzed about this one. In my mind, none of the kids have cell phones because of a recent crackdown, which middle schools do in my area.  And the teacher’s phone is in her purse locked away. And Ty, of course, can’t dial or text with those gigantor paws of his, so it’s up to him to save the day. Oh, by the way, can you see his initials to the left of his eye? The “M” is easier to spot, and the “T” is above it.  Have a grrreat weekend!
If I were asked to give what I consider the single most useful bit of advice for all humanity it would be this: Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and when it comes, hold your head high, look it squarely in the eye, and say, “I will be bigger than you. You cannot defeat me.” ~Ann Landers

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sub Notes: Fill in the Blanks

It was summer school, and it was in a rough part of town. I had them filling out pretend job applications.

A girl’s hand went up. “Under ‘Father’s Name,’ what do you put if you don’t know who your father is?”

Even for a tough school, some of the kids acted a little shocked. “You don’t know who your father is?” someone asked.

She lifted her chin several inches and looked him straight in the eyes. “No,” she said, a little too loudly.

I liked this girl. She was tough, yes, but she had a core of goodness in her. I felt a flash of protectiveness. If anyone was going to mess with her, they’d have to go through me first.

“Oh,” I said. “Yes, thank you. I forgot to mention that. If you don’t know who your father is, put N/A.”

N/A? It was a ridiculous thing to say, I know, but I was desperately improvising while trying to sound casual, and I’ve never been a quick thinker.

But at least nobody gave her a hard time after that. Maybe they sensed they would have had to go through me first.

Oh, and she inexplicably mails me a cactus every Valentine’s Day. And I’m like, “Thanks a heap, coyote ugly. This cactus-gram stinks even worse than your abandonment.” ~Juno MacGuff of her biological mother in the movie, Juno

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Hope you're having a wonderful St. Patrick's Day.  I'm off trying to get in some celebrating that I feel as if I've earned.  This is a re-post.  

Ten Seven TEN Things for Losers to Do on St. Patrick’s Day!

1. Don’t go to the bar on St. Patrick’s Day. Go to the dentist.
2. Wear a t-shirt that says, “Kiss me, too, I’m Portuguese.”
3. Kissing the wearer o’the green is so trite. Kiss the wearer o’the brown instead.
4. Kissing is so germy. Instead, go up to everyone wearing green and simply stroke their sleeve a bit. Don’t forget to use hand sanitizer afterwards!
5. Beer is so...working class. If you want to be REALLY classy, sip green wine instead. Make sure it's an Irish one. If you want to impress people with your wine drinking technique, gently gargle with it. Smack your lips and exclaim, “Ah!” This is called “embibing in the brogué.”
6. Parades get so darned crowded. Instead, stand on a street corner and wave at random people. When an interesting vehicle or weird looking person goes by, clap.
7. Instead of wearing shamrocks, wear a leaf associated with your ancestry. So if you’re Canadian, wear a maple leaf, and if you’re from Guam, wear a banana leaf, or if you’re from Nebraska, wear a corn husk, etc. Or if your ancestry is really mixed, simply wear salad. Or better yet, wear a fig leaf and explain to people that we’re all descended from Eve.
8. Can’t find your shamrock pin to wear? No worries! Simply wear your “slut” pin instead.
9. Spontaneously giggle at the dentist’s office because you suddenly remembered that you own a “slut” pin. Don’t ask.
10. Take a picture of your “slut” pin for your blog.

May the best day of your past be the worst day of your future. ~Irish toast

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Improper Poll: Television Tribulations

For some time now, I’ve been forced to deal with television providers who seem to have decided that the way to deal with the bad economy is to trick money out of their customers.

I dealt with a company I’ll call Charmer Noncommunications, who not only boosted its prices every year while their packages shrank, but they overcharged my bill for eight—yes, EIGHT—months in a row. Every month they’d give me a convoluted excuse for why my bill was wrong—which essentially meant,“your bill is wrong this month because it was wrong last month.” One young customer service rep even sighed that…tsk…DUH!…if I’d just pay the wrong bill, I would straighten it all out!

Now I have one I’ll call Dish It Out Netword. Last night I saw a commercial where Dish It Out Netword was making fun of Charmer Noncommunications. Are you kidding me? They taught them everything they know. Because even though Dish It Out's salesman told me they “haven’t had a price increase” in just ages, my price went up after a year. Now they tell me what the salesman neglected to mention: It was a one-year deal only. So they’re not raising their prices! They’ll give me a new package! According to this salesman, the new package includes taking away CNN, A&E, and ABC Family (etc.) and replacing them with Hunting Channel, Country and Western Channel, and Gospel Channel.*

Nothing against folks who’d like those channels, but this caused me to try to think of

TEN CHANNELS I WOULD WATCH EVEN LESS THAN THE ONES DISH IT OUT NETWORD IS OFFERING ME (I have to say this was hard, because, although I’m not a big TV watcher, I will watch almost anything):

1. Animal Abuse Planet
2. Colicky Baby Wars: The Loudest Screamer
3. Hell’s Bathroom
4. Ice Loves Cocoa Krispies Way Too Much
5. Stuart Loves His Goat, Ester (Okay, I would watch this once but wouldn't admit it)
6. Grooming for Old Folks TV
7. Say Yes to the Pajama Jeans (This one’s for my critique group)
8. Shopping for Dickeys (Ditto)
9. Taxidermy TV
10. Nothing But Boils

What channels would you refuse to watch?

*Post note:  I contacted the BBB, and within two business days, Dish It Out Netword remedied the situation by giving me my agreed-upon package back.  Hooray for the Better Business Bureau!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Book Blurb Friday #54

Hooray for Book Blurb Friday! Every week, Lisa Ricard Claro of Writing in the Buff presents us with a picture for a pretend book jacket. Our challenge is to write a blurb of 150 words or fewer to go with it. I hope Sandra Davies will forgive me for the liberties I took with her beautiful and inspiring picture. My blurb has 150 words.

~The Upstairs Window~

1812: It seemed so long that she had dreamed of his return. Daily she watched for him, but all she saw was people who looked so strange. Occasionally they shouted and pointed up at her until she hid.

If he didn’t come back, she would jump.

2012: It seemed he had dreamed of her so long. Now he was looking for his first house. And when he looked at the upstairs window, there she was looking down at him. He turned to the Realtor. Someone was up there! A beautiful woman. Had she seen?

Oh, there’s a legend that the place is haunted, she said. A woman named Georgiana had supposedly waited in vain for her true love to come home and then threw herself out the window. Silliness, of course. What did he think—was he home?

“Home,” he whispered, looking up.

“Home,” Georgiana gasped, tears in her eyes.

"Of all the ways to lose a person, death is the kindest." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Improper Poll: Evolution of The Purse

I just switched purses…which means I cleaned out the old one. I had to announce this because it is, in fact, that big a deal.

When I got my first purse in junior high, I had nothing to put in it. So I stuffed it with tissues the way I’d heard some girls stuffed their bras. (Which I never did, by the way—only because I can think of too many potential disasters created by tissues-gone-awry.  And let's face it, I just seem to attract that type of disaster.)

In high school and college, The Purse became a place of sanctuary. Mysterious things may or may not have hung out in there, but I wasn’t willing to let anyone else see it. Except my female friends, of course, because theirs were just as bad.

When I had children, my stuff disappeared and the children’s took over. The Purse morphed into a diaper bag. It was huge—a mini suitcase, really—and contained all of the provisions necessary to sustain a toddler for one day while preventing as many tantrums as possible. It contained clothing items and snacks and toys. The only thing I carried for myself was money, and even then I can remember forgetting my checkbook once because I was so concerned with loading in emergency backup Nuk-Nuks. I still remember flailing madly in my purse with one hand as I drove because one of my children needed a tissue NOW—and it turned out that the emergency was that Barbie was cold and needed a blanket.

Now I’m embarrassed to admit that The Purse is becoming a traveling pharmacy. Granted, I’ve been sick lately, but I have medications to manage almost any imaginable illness, discomfort, upset, or eruption. I have glasses that make up for the fact that I can’t see close up and ones that help me see farther away. I have little note pads for jotting what I can’t remember, because, although my phone probably has an app for that, I'd have to mess with finding my glasses in order to see it.

But weirdest of all is the pens. I can never find a pen. I will dig, flail, and rattle around—nothing. Yet…guess how many pens I found? Just guess! Five? Ten?! NO!! FIFTEEN pens I found in there. I found them in crevices, under flaps, and in pouches I didn’t even realize were in there. I’d find some and think it was a lot and then discover another hidden cache of them. It was like a magician pulling rabbits out of a hat—impossibly large numbers of rabbits that just keep going and going. There were disposable pens and rhinestone ones and flowered ones and cheap and expensive pens and ones that attach somehow and little ones designed just for purses.

So I dumped all fifteen into the new purse where they magically submerged and disappeared, only to reappear the next time I switch purses.

What weird things do you carry with you?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Book Blurb Friday #53

Book Blurb Friday is a wonderful meme from our Southern Hostess-with-the-Mostest, Lisa Ricard Claro of Writing in the Buff. The challenge is to use the picture provided in order to “write a book jacket blurb (150 words or less) so enticing that potential readers would feel compelled to buy the book.” I am late this week because the storms that passed through were not exactly kind, and the resulting power loss left me without a computer. Or a backyard fence.

But others have it much, much worse, so am sending my best to all those who’ve suffered as a result of those storms.

Today’s blurb has 150 words.

~Tea with Miss Nabbity~

Lunden Tate was in trouble. At 18, she’d crossed the country in order to follow a man who promised to make her a famous model. Now here she was with nothing.

Miss Florence Nabbity of Wildwood Bed and Breakfast had a place for her to live and work…if Lunden could stand to live in the middle of nowhere with a woman in her sixties. Lunden had been searching for excitement. What on earth did she have in common with this woman?

Not much, it turned out. Because Miss Nabbity’s life had been far beyond anything Lunden ever could have imagined. She began looking forward to her afternoon tea with Miss Nabbity.

“Is this you in the picture, Miss Nabbity? Dancing topless?”

“Well…yes, sweetie,” she shrugged, sipping her Pomegranate Antioxidant. “I never should have done that.”

“Taken your shirt off?”

“No, dropped that much acid. But that’s how Woodstock was….”

And maybe one day, when the kids go to college and I get a divorce, I’ll embark on a journey someplace to which JetBlue does not fly. I will get a job as a foreign correspondent, wear hiking boots and a tan vest with many pockets. There will be others of my kind, smart-talking women, and probably, hopefully, men with English accents, and we will sit up at night in foreign hotel bars, drinking whiskey and trading outrageous anecdotes. Oh, the stories I’ll tell. ~Cynthia Kaplan, Leave the Building Quicikly