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Writing from the hip

Just sit down and write whatever is on your mind: this is the advice nearly every successful author tosses out to us struggling tadpoles who've yet to see our work on the bargain shelves at Barnes and Noble.

Nothing and everything: that's what's on my mind. I am -- surprise, surprise -- rather gloomy today. It's cold and gray and incredibly noisy like hundreds of bratty children are pelting the house with rocks and basketballs, and my inner witch is groaning, "chase them down the street screaming with a broom in one hand and a cat in the other." But there are no children outside; just rain drops and leaky gutters.

I'm sitting on a legion of maniacal impulses that I mustn't entertain because doing so would make me a sociopath. Being a writer, however, I can invent any number of disgustingly perfect characters, and torture them just for fun. Take beautiful Patty Mayhew, for example.

Ms. Mayhew woke up this morning -- cheerful and rested in a climate-controlled bed that smells of roses and lavender -- to a choir of birds singing just for her. The children were gone at school and Mr. Mayhew wasn't expected home for at least a week.

Patty began the day like any other, jotting down all of the things she was thankful for in a silk-bound notebook that sat on her nightstand. Her pen ran out of ink before she got to her children -- they know I love them, oh well. And she stumbled over a Barbie doll on her way to the bathroom -- Damn those little brats. They know they're not allowed in my bedroom.

She threw the doll in the garbage and began to undress, but just as she was stepping onto the scale Patty noticed something horrible in the mirror. There was a monstrous yellow pimple on the tip of her nose, and -- what's this -- according to the scale, she'd gained 20lbs in her sleep and her bust line appeared to have dropped five inches.

There was no soap in the shower. Patty used shampoo instead. The hairdryer went berzerk, inhaling a large section of Patty's bangs which she was forced to saw free with a razor blade. It took her 10 minutes to button her pants, and then there were no shirts big enough to camouflage her muffin top. A bird shat on her head on the way to the beauty parlor. And she ruined her favorite Louboutins walking through a freshly patched pothole that masked the trade-mark red soles under a sticky coating of tar and gravel.

She staggered through the salon entrance like not-quite-dead road kill and waited in the bathroom for her hair appointment, but Marquez -- her usual stylist was ill. And the bleached-blond bimbo who took over Patty's cut and color announced in front of everyone -- "I'm real sorry, Sugar; your credit card has been declined."

So Patty borrowed money from her daughters' babysitter who just happened to be there for a septum piercing. It was all so terrible. She was muttering something about her misfortune -- how  terrible her luck had been -- when she came to the place where she parked her car and found a downed tree there instead of a pink Mercedes convertible.

Poor Patty Mayhew: scary, unfortunate, over-processed, former cheerleader Patty Mayhew -- "You look like shit, sweety."

And that's what happens when I write from the hip.


  1. I think I love it when you write from the hip! Thanks for the laughs.


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