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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Haunted Memories

I used to live on the edge of a forest just outside of Savannah, Georgia. On Halloween, especially, I miss the eerie beauty of the place, where acorns falling from monster Live Oaks sounded like Sasquatch crashing through the woods.

I still cling to the Spanish moss, tillandsia usenioides. It drapes my sunroom—my own way of remembering the way it dripped from those sprawling southern trees like the cobwebs of an ancient and ghostly past.

We had what Southerners called “Black Widdahs,” beautiful spiders, shiny black and leggy and delicate. I watched one once. She folded herself over that lipstick-red-hourglass almost protectively.

But my favorite thrill was watching the migrating blackbirds descend every fall. There were so many thousands that they darkened the trees just like a scene from The Birds. The sound was deafening and the air itself felt electrified. It was eerie and exciting and awe inspiring all at once, like National Geographic-gone-Goth. But the real magic came when they suddenly rose as one to leave. Every single one suddenly fell silent, as if someone had flipped off the volume switch, and they lifted in a hushed, magnificent cloud so thick and black that it momentarily blocked out the sun.

Happy Halloween wherever you are!

Conversation between two trick-or-treaters (as I opened the door while they were walking away): 
Trick-or-Treater 1: Told you that’s not what ‘No Soliciting’ means.
Trick-or-Treater 2: Then what does it mean?
Trick-or-Treater 1: It means hanging around and stuff.
Me: It means I don’t want people trying to get me to buy stuff.
Trick-or-Treater 2: Oh, we don’t want you to buy stuff! We want to take stuff. Your candy.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Improper Poll: Adventures in Reading

I grew up in an old, 2 ½ story colonial that was known among the neighborhood children for “The Attic Man,” the ghost who stomped and slammed around our third floor. My copy of Amityville Horror came with floor plans of the house in which the tale took place. Except for the fact that we had a second-story sunroom addition, it was the mirror image of my house.

But my favorite adventure with scary books was when I read ‘Salem’s Lot, by Stephen King.

I was in high school, and I had the good luck to be reading the book during a violent thunderstorm. My house was groaning under the assault of the driving wind and rain just as the vampires in the book were sneaking into the main character’s house. I seem to remember the vampires couldn’t go upstairs because the lights were on. So they cut the power.

At the exact moment I finished reading about the lights going off, there was a loud crash of thunder outside my window and the lights went out, leaving it so black you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face.

It was the most perfect timing ever. I’ve read a lot of scary books, but that one will forever stand out to me because of that freak incident. What’s your favorite scary book?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Improper Poll: Let Us Pause for A Word from Our Past

It seems there’s been an influx of lime green hatchbacks in my area lately. What this means, of course, is many opportunities for me to quote from one of my all-time favorite commercials advertising Car.com: “Oh, sweet mercy! A lime green hatchback!!! It’s a thing of beauty!”

Unfortunately the YouTube seems to be unavailable, but the following one is. This was my first favorite commercial. The line, “Madam, how do you do?” definitely helped spur my love of quotes:

What is/was your favorite commercial?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Ten Good Things About Having All of Your Computer Equipment Fried in a Lightning Storm!

1. No way to access the internet means more time to read books!
2. Many valuable opportunities to learn lots of new things about computer equipment. Even if that sort of thing makes you want to hurl.
3. Bonding time holed up at children’s colleges stealing internet and borrowing equipment.
4. Experience with other cultures while spending hours and hours (and hours) on the phone with outsourced techs in Pakistan.
5. Many opportunities to remember about writing in longhand.
6. Learn valuable lesson that surge protectors apparently do not work.
7. After much thought about how to pay bills, remember that there used to be such a thing as paying bills by mail, using stamps. Bonus: remember to buy stamps!
8. Unaccustomed trips to basement reveal need to spray for spiders.
9. Frequent trips to basement reveal whereabouts of diminishing pen collection.
10. Frequent frustrations necessitate need for “mental health outings,” such as hanging out with friends in a beer garden at Oktoberfest and relearning to polka.

I'm borrowing a tiny laptop for emergencies but am hoping to be back next week!

 …life's like an hourglass, glued to the table /No one can find the rewind button, girl. So cradle your head in your hands/ And breathe... just breathe, Oh breathe, just breathe… ~Anna Nalick, “Breathe (2 A.M.)”