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, September 28, 2014

Succinctly Yours #184: Not So Subtle Hint

Thank you to Grandma’s Goulash for hosting Succinctly Yours! The idea of this meme is to use the picture as inspiration to shout out a story of 140 words or 140 characters or under. The bonus word this week was “yodel.”

Smart festival-goers held a parade in honor of the Tonedeaf family’s butter churning abilities. It got them to give up on their attempts to enter the yodeling contest. 140

The townsfolk were so worried when the Tonedeafs decided to enter the Yodel Contest again that they changed it to a NOdel Contest and crowned them grand champions. 136

Little known fact: the first homecoming float featured queen and king Fanny Nabor and Eustace Nye. Eustace was picked for his yodel, but Fanny was picked for her rye. 138

Life can be wild, hard and sweet, but it can also be wild, hard and cruel. ~Anne Lamott, Stitches

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Down the Line

It was a dingy little storefront in a questionable part of town with a blue neon hand over the door. All it said was “Palm Reader.”

“We have to go!” my adventurous high school friend said. So of course we did. The medium looked like the lady down the street, only more tired, like this might be the end of her second shift. And she wasn’t named Madame-Somebody or Serenity or Natasha or even Lilith. It was something like Mrs. Palmer.

I refused to pay the full $20 for something I didn’t believe in. So Mrs. Palmer read half my life for ten bucks. No kidding. On-sale palm reading. Half my life for half the money.

Here is what you don’t want happening when a palm reader looks at your palm: she looked upset. She sort of had an upset-looking face, anyway, but I’m certain it got worse. More frowny.

And she told me something sort of negative. Then she said she was feeling tired and not very psychic, and she gave me a coupon to come back. I didn’t even get my full half-a-life. Of course I didn’t go back, either.

Much later, I was sorry I didn’t. The negative thing not only came true, but it came true in a big way. In fact, it could be said that it became the bane of my life for a long, long time.

Last weekend, my more adventurous friends exclaimed, “We have to go!” So of course I did. It was still $20 after all these years. Ironic that at my age, I paid for the whole life this time. But here’s the weird thing: I was a little nervous. Silly or not, I was scared that my palm, my fate and my life were tainted somehow.

Instead, this happier-looking palm reader—named Bree—immediately announced that I was a writer. “It’s like you have to write,” she said. I found myself looking at my clothing to see if I had on anything that might give it away. Not a hint. Then she told me that I’d been through some bad stuff, some of which she described so accurately that I felt shocked and raw. How odd it feels to have a stranger tell you your secrets!

But then she told me I’d changed course, and now I was back on track. She predicted some good things. Very good things. “The lines in the hand change, you know,” she said. Did she make that up? I don’t care.

When I was young and smart, I viewed the life I hadn’t yet lived through the safe, logical theory of black and white rules. Now that I am old and silly, I view life through the reality of experience—experience that tells me life is wild and colorful and risky and full of broken rules. I no longer worship logic because I no longer want to explain everything. Life is much more fun with a little mystery. The question is no longer, “What do I believe?” The question is now, “What makes me happy to believe?”

This does. Having adventurous friends who go to see palm readers makes life better. I love knowing even at this age, I have a new hand.

 Not all those who wander are lost. ~J. R. R. Tolkien

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Succinctly Yours #183: Writing on the Wall

Thank you to Grandma’s Goulash for hosting Succinctly Yours! The idea of this meme is to use the picture in order to paint a small story of 140 words or 140 characters or fewer. The bonus word this week was “macabre.”

When Helena invited her macabre friend Yvette over to help her with the hanging, she didn’t have any idea Yvette had hoped to help with an altogether different kind. 136

Yvette was surprised macabre Helena liked her idea of a Buns of Steel calendar. Until she saw the skeletons and realized Helena had thought she’d said “Bones of Steel.”  140

Helena had a wicked and macabre sense of humor, hanging an x-ray of Yvette’s gallstones on the wall as art. Yvette was galled all over again. 116

It is truly a great cosmic paradox that one of the best teachers in all of life turns out to be death….While someone could tell you that you are not your body, death shows you…death instantly makes us all the same. ~Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Succinctly Yours #182: Little Tykes

Thank you to Grandma’s Goulash for hosting Succinctly Yours! The idea of this meme is to play with the picture in order to create a story under 140 words or 140 characters. The bonus word this week was “deal.”

I don’t know what the deal is. Every time Billy the kid gets on the playground equipment, he has to climb to the top and play King of the Hill. 114
It sounded like a good deal for the toy company to advertise for kids to test the new equipment, but it seemed politically incorrect to tell Billy he was the wrong kind. 138

“…very often a risk is worth taking simply for the sake of taking it.”  ~Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

When Jane Austen Meets Overzealous Copywriters: Comedy of Not-So-Nice-Manners

It was on sale for something like $5.99—Mansfield Park! It was an older version of one of the movies made from a Jane Austen novel, but it starred Frances O’Connor and Johnny Lee Miller and was filmed on location rather than a soundstage. I was sure it would be good.

When I got it home, I bragged about my find to my daughter and invited her to watch it with me. And then I turned it over.

“Passionate!” it exclaimed in big red letters. And lower down on the case: “The Hot Young Stars Bring Erotic Heat And Stinging Humor!” Passionate? Erotic heat? Good golly-Miss-Crawford, did I get the right thing? Or did I accidentally get some sort of porn? Like Fifty Shades of Sir Gray?

I was more than a little worried about what I was about to watch with my daughter going on between cousins Fanny Price and Edmund Bertram.

Turns out they’d spiced the story up with a little innuendo, a shot of a wet corset coupled with some girl-on-girl unhooking action and some very dark commentary on slavery—something Jane herself undoubtedly wasn’t exposed to and never wrote about. I think there was a kiss, too—the regular, male and female kind. Pass me my smelling salts!

But as least we didn’t see Fanny’s fanny and the cousins didn’t do more than kiss. Is it me? I just can’t help but wonder what this world is coming to when Jane Austen goes semi-porn.

I was going to end with ten Jane Austen Movies-Turned-Porn, but I even grossed out myself. So here are the five I can list here. Let’s just say I hope no one ever makes 

  1. Mansfield Parking
  2. Sense and Sensitive Body Parts
  3. Pride and Porn
  4. Naughty Northanger Abs and More
  5. Emma Does Edinburgh

Either that wallpaper goes, or I do.
~Purported last words of Oscar Wilde, writer

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Succinctly Yours #181: Up the Road a Piece

Thank you to Grandma’s Goulash for hosting Succinctly Yours! The idea of this meme is to use the picture to build a story under 140 words or 140 characters. The bonus word this week was “panel.” I struggled a bit this week, but at least I came up with quantity:
When a panel of kings was surveyed, four out of five said they wanted to live on the edge of the world.  81
It took a panel of Realtors to deal with the castle fixer-upper. It was remote, drafty, high-maintenance, and a little too edgy for most buyers. Or was that, “ledgy?”  137
It took a panel of real estate agents to deal with the property on Edge of the Earth Road on the Haunted Forest Mountain Top. Nice view, but daunting location.  130

If we shadows have offended
Think but this, and all is mended.
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear. ~William Shakespeare