Friday, August 30, 2013

If I Can't Have Vonnegut...

Twenty novels, twenty students.

Pick one, she said, and hands started shooting up all over the classroom as students began shouting out their preferences. I wasn't quick enough to get Cat's Cradle or The Giver, so I snagged The Stand.
One of the other students had already scoffed at it, claiming it was too long and wasn't the best Stephen King choice for a Dystopian Lit class. I agreed with him, thinking The Long Walk would have been a wonderful choice, but he countered with The Gunslinger. I still think I'm right, but it doesn't matter because neither of those books are on the list.

He opted for The Stand in the end, not realizing I'd beaten him to it, and I felt a little childish  popping off and saying, "Too late. I already got it, so HA!"

I've already read The Stand about five times, maybe more. I could write a twenty page analytical paper on it right now without ever opening the book or looking up critical research, but those aren't the terms. Dr. Dodson wants four pages, typed, double spaced with at least two outside critical research sources. Darn those college professors with their ethical research and their proper MLA style.

I pulled my old paperback copy off the bookshelf. It's like saying hello to an old friend. I first read this book when I was pregnant with my third child, Jacob. I was a shift manager at McDonald's and I was temporarily separated from the kids' dad. I had that two bedroom apartment with the bright red carpeting and the swamp cooler that had to be manually drenched with a water hose because the pump was broken. I don't know how I found the time to read this enormous brick of a book with a full-time job and two toddlers running around my swollen feet, but I did. And then after that, I found time to read it again and again and again. I guess I liked it.

This copy has been used and abused, and today I have discovered why I shelfed it and forgot about it. It's covered with candle wax on one side, is stained by a coffee spill on about thirty pages near the middle, and the last three pages have been ripped halfway out. The spine is broken; it's dog-eared, full of margin notes, and it smells slightly of oranges. (I don't have an explanation for that last thing. Maybe the candle wax is scented?)

Sadly, I realize I'm going to have to get a new copy. I've opted to get dressed and drive myself to the bookstore rather than to click through Amazon to have one conveniently delivered to my door. As I slide my old friend back into his home on the bookshelf, I understand that he should not be so easily or nonchalantly replaced.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The only serious writing I'm going to get done this morning:

A Family Drama, written especially for Lyric Cole:

The house had been declared an official  disaster zone once the infamous Lyric Cole had spent a solid hour in it. Grandma Nessa was frustrated with the situation, but not necessarily intolerant. She was, after all, the grandmother and (luckily for everybody involved) not the mother.

Go Fish cards had been scattered across the living room floor, under the couches, and well into the kitchen. Tiny, green, army men had fortified the reading nook, and bits of an abandoned PB&J were finding comfort in the cozy spaces between bare toes.

Lyric kept asking whether or not Little Cousin Damon was going to show up that day, claiming there was nothing to do. He needed a playmate. Grandma Nessa had a sneaky suspicion that if Damon had dared to make an appearance, Lyric would have found a way to blame that tornadic mess on him.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Dream: There Won't Be Clean Panties in Hell

We knew we were dead. You and I had been standing in line for a hundred and fifty-seven years at the checkpoint where the dead are admitted to the non-living world .  You busied yourself smoking cigarettes, and I busied myself wondering about the children- yours and mine, both.

Some stowaways from the living world were always trying to sneak in, so everybody had to be looked over and checked off the list before they could enjoy one moment of the afterlife. I complained that it seemed to be taking forever, and somebody up ahead warned me against advertising those types of opinions. If the souls in charge heard me, they'd bump me to the back of the line, and I'd have to take you with me, since you were my "afterlife buddy," whatever that meant.

Once we were approved, we began to understand the differences we were facing. We had our bodies and our personalities, but little else. The living would fade in and out. We might see a glimpse of them at the strangest moments, but for the most part, they remained obscure.

I have an eccentricity about clean underwear. I must have them at all times. Even in the living days, I spent far too much money maintaining a certain level of newness in my panty drawer. The problem with the non-living world is that you have to scavenge for the items you want to hold on to. New panties...not easily found.

You followed me around, teasing me about my craziness, but I located a chest of drawers, and the top drawer was chock full of  pressed, white bikinis. I thought I had hit the motherload, but as I pulled them out, I noticed a stain on each and every pair. I tossed each to the side, and when I reached the bottom of the drawer I turned to you and declared that we must be in Hell.

"We're not in Hell," you insisted, your Green Eyes twinkling. "Not if we're together."

My heart started beating in my chest, and I had to look away from you to hide my face and the realization that nobody had ever said anything so sweet to me until just that moment. I collected myself and thanked God that he had stuck me with you for the duration of Eternity, but even in Eternity, I couldn't openly commit to an attachment to you.

"Well then... I must be in Hell," I told you matter-of-factly, pointing to myself. For a half a second, I wanted to retract those words, but you being you, they slid right off. No worries.

"You're so full of shit," you told me as you spun me into your arms. "You know you're loving this."

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Ten Pounds

I went to Walmart and bought one of those digital scales so I could weigh myself, get depressed, then eat my weight in ice cream. (Yes, I can spell "counter-intuitive" just fine, thank you.)

Truth be told, I think the scale might be defective. I've been staring at the picture on the box, and there seems to be a discrepancy. The digital display in the picture doesn't match the one on my scale at all.

I need to quit buying cheap shit at Walmart.

I need to quit going there ever.

The last time I went there, I was accosted by the seventy-year-old, one-armed door greeter. I defended myself by shoving him backward and telling him if he touched me again, he was going to draw back a bloody stump. (That's probably how he lost that other arm to begin with. Some people just don't learn.)

side note: I felt like an idiot later, pushing a helpless, little, old man around, but seriously, he needs to keeps his hand off me.

Did you know that Walmart doesn't sell tiramisu? They don't even sell everything to make tiramisu. I had to go to the liquor store and spend twenty bucks on coffee liqueur. (and also vodka, because, let's face it, there's going to be some Kahlua left over, so we might as well make bulldogs, right?)

 Every time I go to the liquor store (and it really doesn't matter which one) I see somebody I know. Every time! It's  awesome how they giggle and snort when I try to convince them I'm just making a cake.

(They know me too well.)