We all have quirks, our own neurosis, tics and flaws.
Without them I'd have nothing to write about.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I Love Your Eyeballs. And Fire.

Last night, Z sweetly professed his love for me. At least that’s what I chose to hear. Now, with the perspective of time, I’m wondering if it might have been a warning that certain body parts are the only thing between me and a puncture wound. He delivered the love morsel via the following unintentional haiku:
Looking a little tired, but still not stabbable.
I love your eyeballs.
I love your tongue and your hair.
I will NOT stab you.
Fitting, as SJS is now going to a Japanese immersion school. His accidental poem inspired the following, also in haiku. These are actual phrases uttered by my kids. They needed a little poetic adaptation to fit the form, but not much.
Lookit! Lookit dis!
I need to show you dis! Cool!
It came from my nose.
(Get a tissue. And if you don’t stop, you’re going to get your finger stuck up there.)

Have you ever seen
a guy with a face on fire?
That would be cool.
(This is from a kid who says he wants to be a “flamer guy” when he grows up. Whatever makes you happy, dude.)
And one from SJS,
Shoes worth begging for.
I need those new shoes.
Please! I only have 4 pairs.
Well, you have a lot.
And finally, me,
No, no! I said truck!
You must have heard me wrong.
I’m sure I said truck.
(I don’t think I need to explain myself. We’ve all been there.)
Do you have any of your own?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I (sort of) WROTE (a rough draft of) A NOVEL (unfinished)!!

On a bit of a whim - which is how I tend to do most things - I decided at the end of October to participate in this year's NaNoWriMo. For those of you who don't like guessing at acronyms, that's one for National Novel Writing Month. Admittedly, before October, I didn't even know there was a NaNoWriMo. If you had asked me what it was, I may have even said "I don't care," and just walked away. Which is exactly what my husband did when I first asked him (he wasn't trying to be mean, my timing was just really bad).

Anyway, the goal is to write the first draft of a novel, the equivalent of 50,000 words, in November. I started the month thinking that I would be happy with half of that. But now I'm at 50,248 words. I won!! And in NaNoWriMo terms that means getting access to this cool button!!

Okay, at least it's not nothing.

The story isn't done and it needs a lot of editing, but here's an exerpt:
I spent the next couple of days in my room, by myself, allowing myself some self-pity, but I knew that it would be short-lived. I tried to call Peter a few times, but got the maid, who promptly hung up. Once I got his mother, who snorted before hanging up. I think I heard her say 'trollop' before she hung up. I heard the phone ring a few times, and I knew it was Peter. I think I found that I was glad when my mother or father hung up, as I was not prepared to have a conversation with him yet.

Did I mention the story isn't done and needs a lot of editing? Keep in mind that the purpose was just to get the free-flowing words out on paper. And that there was some alone time and hanging up involved.

By the way: That husband who was grumpy at the top of this post? He spent a lot of evenings putting the kids to bed solo. Not always an easy task in our house. And he was amazingly supportive. He's even started researching for me. He's the coolest and I couldn't have done it without him. Also, he's never online and not on Facebook, so I can say things like this without him getting embarrassed.

Is December NaTerNoEdMo? (National Terrible Novel Editing Month?)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Dancing Jacket

It seems appropriate that I post this on Father's Day. My Dad, who is fabulous in his own right, learned from one of the greats: my Grandpa Mal. Yesterday I went to a great writing workshop where we were tasked with writing a very short piece about an article of clothing. The most obvious, for me, was a certain blazer that took on a persona of it's own at my wedding. It became an ode to Grandpa. So, to the wonderful fathers in my life, Dad, Grandpa, and John, Happy Father's Day!!

The blazer was the life of the party. It had its beginnings a long time ago and was reborn at my wedding.
I was the first of my cousins on my Father’s side to get married. Just before the ceremony, my Mother said, “Grandpa was going to wear a terrible jacket. I told him he could not!”
I didn’t know what coat she was referring to, but I knew that my mom was misguided in admonishing my Grandpa. I was disappointed that it wasn’t making an appearance.
Later, after the ceremony, as we were making our way around the reception, Grandpa mentioned something wistful about the coat.
“Your room is close. Go get it!” The bride had given her blessing, so he did.

The Blazer in Action
On the dance floor a handsome, mustachioed gentleman appeared. He sported a blazer of the finest polyester. White background, shades of red and blue weaving together into a plaid pattern that, sadly, you just can’t find today. Silky(ish) brown lining. A wide collar that has probably come back into style and will again.  
“Grandma and I used to go dancing every Saturday.” Grandpa’s friendly tanned face pulled into a grin, white caps showing.
He wasn’t dancing, just standing with the smile. “So, let’s dance!” I said. And we did.
When he got warm Grandpa Mal needed to take the jacket off, but the jacket didn’t seem to want to leave the floor. It quickly found its way on my brother’s shoulders. He insisted it had climbed onto his back of its own accord. Todd, once wrapped in the blazer, seemed to need to dance. An uncontrollable urge took over. He danced like he was on Soul Train, with a continued performance out of Solid Gold. His exuberant dancing tore a little bit of the seam in the lining.  
I put the blazer on. It compelled me to dance like a moron and like it.
It had become magical. It stayed on the dance floor, the center of attention all night.
And when the blazer made its way back to its true owner, Grandpa Mal, that’s when I could see the real magic of it. This amazing man was getting all the attention he deserved and had earned in his long life. Sure, it was just dancing after a wedding, but everyone knew who the star of the night was.
The blazer has made its appearance at several more weddings since then. Each time the lining is a little more worn, and it smells a little more like body odor. But also, each time the coat’s magical owner has strutted his stuff and by doing so has taught us so much about how we want to grow old: Happy, surrounded by family, and still willing and able to dance. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

3 Minute Fiction

I finally submitted an entry for NPR's 3 minute fiction contest. The rules are: 600 words or less, one charachter has to tell a joke and one has to cry. I had two entries, but could only submit one. Here's the one that didn't make the cut:

The Big Wheel                                    
“I might pass out,” I gasped.
“Don’t think about how high up we are,” James tried to reassure me. “What a beautiful view.”
James had been hesitant to go to Paris at first, not being much of a traveler. But I had dreamed of this trip, and any time he would suggest a city in the States my one word response was: “Paris.”
Finally we arrived. James was clearly in love.
I was shocked at the garbage, graffiti, panhandlers. Despite parts of it being beautiful, it was still a city with the same challenges we saw at home.
I tended to do this – to build up my expectations too high, and so I occasionally managed to create devastating disappointments for myself. I always thought the grass was greener elsewhere and didn’t seem to learn that lesson easily.


Despite my acute fear of heights, I let him talk me into going up in the Ferris wheel, La Grande RouĂ© at Jardin de Tuileries, in an effort to renew the romantic mystique I could no longer find. But it was too late, the curtain had been pulled back.  
James began to tell jokes to distract me. “What do you get when you cross an elephant and a rhino?”
“Elephino,” I gulped. “New one, please.”
“Okay.” He thought for a moment, “What’s the quickest way to a man’s heart?”
“Don’t know.”
“Just smile. That’s how you won my heart.”
I rolled my eyes. “I was already fighting getting sick.”
He gave a weak grin and I realized guiltily that he was being earnest. “Any others?” I asked, trying to sound upbeat.
“What do you get when you cross a donkey and an onion?”
Just then the big wheel lurched to a halt. We were nearly at the top. I groaned as the car we were in swung like an autumn leaf threatening to part with its branch. I tried to focus on the Arc de Triomphe instead of failing bolts.  
“You know, it was only meant to stay up for a year.” During our stay James had developed a habit of conveying what we called factlets. This one was particularly ill-timed.
I must have turned white. “Not appreciated.” 90 feet below us other lucky riders were disembarking.
“I’m sorry!” He said “That was bad. I didn’t mean…” he trailed off.  
He put his arm around me through more stops and starts. Just the day before we had skipped the Eiffel Tower – James didn’t like the long line and I couldn’t face the spindly, looming frame. Now I was controlling my breathing, wishing to be earthbound, sad about Paris, mad that James insisted on this ride. I wiped the tears off the bridge of my nose.
 Out of the corner of my eye I saw James fumble with something in his pocket. Somehow I knew what it was as he held the little velvet box against his thigh. Not now, I thought. Maybe not ever.
“I feel like I’m going to be sick,” I said hurriedly, not giving him a chance to place it before me, pretending I hadn’t seen. “This is the worst idea,” referring not just to the ride.
We had finally reached the end. The attendant opened the door as James put the little box back in his pocket.