November 30, 2014 § 4 Comments
I am at the age of ponderousness.
The age of frivolousity (How’s my hair? Does my butt look fat in these jeans?) is over.
I cede those petty concerns to the unwrinkled.
I sit and I ponder, I walk and I ponder, I lie in bed and I ponder:
Does God ever roll his eyes and wish he’d rigged evolution in favor of some other, more deserving species?
Why (unless cake is involved) is “moist” the most reviled word in the English language?
Why are “smirk” and “cuddle” my personal least-favorite words (followed closely by “snuggle”). And why am I so okay with “moist?”
Why is “different” almost always synonymous with “bad?”
November 24, 2014 § 3 Comments
As a fiction writer, that’s easy to say.
I make my own hours.
If I want, my Monday can act like your Saturday (although usually my Monday and Saturday both come down on the Monday side of things).
But it isn’t Monday’s work-week baggage or rep I’m responding to, it is the newness, the feeling of a fresh beginning.
Give me a Monday and I have a whole new week in front of me!
I feel the same about New Year’s Day—squared. A new year is a snowfall no one has yet tracked with footprints, a blank page begging a story.
I know the markers we pin to the twisting ribbon of time: today, tomorrow, Christmas, three o’clock are human conveniences.
We measure time so we can coordinate our comings and goings—imagine planning a committee meeting if we had no common Tuesday or 10 AM—but how we perceive and manage the passage of time is personal. « Read the rest of this entry »
November 17, 2014 § 6 Comments
Every November I lead a women’s writing retreat on St. George Island. I spend the days before we sequester ourselves in the ultimate “room with a view,” inventing the writing exercises we will do when we gather around the sprawling dining room table.
Here is one of the exercises from our latest retreat.
Begin every paragraph with the words Where I come from… Then choose nouns from the provided list to write about.
I wish you could read your way around that table, but you’ll have to settle for looking over my shoulder:
Where I come from the dogs are mostly pit bulls with vacant eyes and mangy collars. They hit backyard fences hard, or wander, a few links of chain jangling. Their damp noses are the color of pencil erasers. They slink across yards stopping only to lift a leg on an azalea bush.
Where I come from the older trees that convinced us to choose this neighborhood are quietly dying. Live oaks and water oaks drop limbs on cars and swing sets. Something about the changing climate; too wet. too dry, too hot, too cold is felling these giants that have held up the sky for so long. Dismembered, they sit in piles by the side of the road in chunks too large for firewood. « Read the rest of this entry »
November 10, 2014 § 7 Comments
And then there was Uncle Cy, the uncle who paid the bills, kept us in medical insurance, sent me, my sister and brother to college, and gave my father the generous retirement plan most workers now have to engineer for themselves.
Practically unknown in this era of shareholders-first, this benevolent patriarch who made my family secure, upwardly mobile and ensured that my father, a chemical engineer, achieved his full potential, was a big corporation, American Cyanamid.
With the exception of his first couple of years in the workforce my dad worked for Uncle Cy for his whole career—“Uncle Cy” was what he called his place of employment.
It is anthropomorphizing to turn a corporation into a close relative, but just a little.