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Showing posts from January, 2012

Shoveling sh**

I don't like today -- my stomach hurts from last night's Chinese food; my head hurts from the Care Bears' sick-sweet voices chattering in the background; my face hurts from frowning; and my ass hurts from sitting.


I woke up at 4:45 a.m. to the insurrection of Jerod's coat thrashing around the drier like a fistful of pennies.

He had most of Sunday afternoon to launder the garment, but it made more sense to him to get up early and disturb his wife who'd fallen asleep on the couch a mere 15 feet from the laundry room.

He might have had the whole of Sunday afternoon to wash and dry his coat, but he neglected to shake the sand off his work clothes before he washed them on Saturday. So I found a thick coating of grit and mud inside the washer and all over the clothes I laundered first thing Sunday morning.

Maybe that's why he waited until 4:45 a.m. to throw his heavy Carhartt coat in drier, because he didn't cause me enough grief with the laundry the day before.

good reclusive v. bad reclusive

I require little from the world beyond my front door. Minus a damned good reason to venture outside -- to get in my car; to deal with human beings who aren't on my short list of things that are tolerable -- I'm not leaving, because I'm a recluse, and I like sitting in my ratty sweat pants practicing my acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Literature. 
This is something I've struggled with all of my adult life -- I was quite content as a child spending long stretches away from home so long as I wasn't at school or ballet. But starting in college I developed this anxiety towards the world outside my dorm room. I scurried to and from classes with my arms crossed around my middle and my eyes focused on my feet. I wandered out again only after dark to buy food and cigarettes. I jokingly tagged myself the Girl in the Window, because that's where I spent the majority of my free time if only to keep the frat boys from pissing there -- I felt a bit awkward when the…

Magic Band-Aids

In case of an emergency, the average Joe carries a Swiss Army Knife, a first-aid kit, an endless supply of hand sanitizer ... I'm partial to safety pins and baking soda.


My mother's go-to Band-Aid is of the less-typical variety. It's a virtual encyclopedia of Seinfeld tucked discretely in her memory bank -- always handy should a friend or family member or complete stranger fall victim to any number of life's little mishaps.
Mom's remedy for everything from scraped knees to grape-juice stains begins like so: "Did you ever see that episode of Seinfeld ..."
"She's a real sidler!"

I was taking a cup of juice to Ashlyn the other morning, and Lily -- in a hurry to get to the sofa -- made a shortcut between my legs. It wouldn't have been a problem had she scurried on through, but she stopped  right in front of me.

My pinkie toe caught the heal of her boot, and -- snap-crackle-pop -- I was flat on the floor gritting my teeth; reminding Angry Me t…

It's snowing

The world sort of ends in Seattle when it snows. People get incredibly antsy, because they need to be at this place or that place, and they hop in their cars and crash into other cars and buildings and people and trees ... Some people park their cars on the freeway and vanish -- you never see them in their business suits jogging down the express lanes. I've always wondered what happens to them?! This is all normal winter behavior for Seattle-and-suburbs -- the white fluffy stuff falling from the sky throws us into apocalypse mode.


It's been rather nice at my house -- which worries me to say, because it feels like I'm daring God to throw a tree at me or something. But we've really had a wonderful week here. The transportation department closed the road to Jerod's job site -- he's stuck here -- and Lily's school district gave the kids a snow week.
It's like someone answered my wish that time would stand still. I've had five writing days in a row -- t…

Rebellious minds

My brain's a piece of work.

I tell her we're writing, and she takes a vacation to the Boringest Place on Earth. It's a theme park dressed in khaki khakis, where everyone has two well-behaved dogs and two equally well-behaved children; they all eat coffee ice cream in sugar cones; the soundtrack alternates in 12-hour shifts between instrumental 80's ballads and NPR cooking specials; the carnies have perfectly manicured teeth; and there's nary a tattooed grandma wearing magenta spandex or a bedazzled tube top.

That's my brain saying "go to hell, bitch face." And then she takes me there, because she's my brain, and she can make my arms and legs move in whichever direction she chooses -- I'm her $2 knockoff Barbie, the average-looking variation of the perfectly built beauty queen doll that you buy in the bargain bins at craft stores.

Some people's brains are obedient and disciplined. My brain thinks she's special, because Attention Defici…

Word pictures

I love authors who paint with their words. Harper Lee (aka Nelle Harper) mastered the word picture in To Kill a Mockingbird:

"Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o'clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft tea cakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum."

I feel like the luckiest person alive when I read that sentence. And though I committed it to memory ages ago, I stare at the words for long stretches of time like they'll creep inside me and snuff out the prose-pilfering troll who lives in my brain.

Elizabeth Strout (Olive Kitteridge; Abide with me; Amy and Isabelle) is another author I'm quite fond of:

"Through her closed eyelids Olive sees a red light slanting through the windows, she can feel the sunlight warming her calves and ankles on the bed, can feel beneath her hand how it warms the soft fabric of her dress, which really did come out nicely. It pleases her to think of the piece of blueberry cake she managed to slip into her big leat…

The mirror

Ashlyn discovered the funny mirror at the park today. I could tell you all a long, silly story about our adventure -- the chasing after crows, the falling (me not Ashlyn), the rc plane crash, the dog poop and the climb to the tippy-top-top of the play structure -- but the pictures in this case are funnier.




Get your priorities straight

I know I've been on the computer too long when Ashlyn climbs onto my lap and puts herself between me and the keyboard. It's already happened twice since I sat down to write this.

It's important that I pay attention to these hints she drops, because they get more and more destructive the longer I ignore her -- hence the Koolaid stains on pages 578 and 579 of The Order of the Phoenix. (Reading also is scratched from Ashlyn's list of approved activities for Mommy.)
I set out with the best of intentions today to write and be brilliant, but Ashlyn had a different plan.

"Hiya Mamma," she chanted repeatedly, tossing Lotso Huggin Bear at my computer screen three -- now six ... eight, nine times since I started this sentence.
We spent some time at the park, which I thought would run down her batteries and improve my chances of writing Something Wonderful this evening. 
She did sleep briefly, but now she's running her usual route around the kitchen and living room…

Dialogue

Lily: "Daddy, why do you have to holes in your ear?"

Jerod: No answer -- he's checking his Facebook.

Lily: "Daddy?"

Jerod: "WHAT?"

Lily: "I said, why do you have two holes in your ear?"
Jerod: "Because I got shot with a bb gun."

Lily (mouth open wide): "You got shot?"

Me: "Yes, Daddy got shot in the head. Someone tried to kill him."

Lily (mouth open wider): "Who did it?"

Me: "Uncle Paul shot daddy."

Lily: "Daddy? Your own brother shot you?"

Jerod: No answer -- still on Facebook.

Lily: "Why did he do it?"

Me: "Your daddy tried to eat him."

Lily (hands over face, head bowed in shame): "Don't eat people, Daddy. They aren't food."

Cabin fever

We're all still sick and depressed and miserable sons-of-bitches who need a break from one another -- SERIOUSLY. The sickness and the sadness and the lack of breathable air has robbed my will to write. I want one thing -- to get away from my crazy, smelly cellmates.



Writing is work

I'm writing a book this year -- whether it's the project I'm already working on or something new -- I'm going to finish something in 2012.


There's just one problem:  He stands about 5'11" and he'd happily carve out my writer bits with a melon baller -- I really think so. 
How do you make a nonwriter understand that writing ismore than a hobby -- that it's work? 
How do you make a nonwriter understand that writing is a process that can't be tapped on and off at will?
This is a recurring battle in our household -- hubby is a scheduler, and very little that I excell at is conducive to a spreadsheet.
Today, for example, my dad took the kids and Jerod went to work -- excellent opportunity to hammer out a few dozen pages, right?
Wrong: I gave it my all, but I haven't spent much time with my characters this month, and it turns out -- rightfully so -- they weren't very happy to see me. They gave me the silent treatment all day. 
My husband won…