Saturday

…binge


I’m well aware of the side effects of giving in to gluttony. At some point it’s going to come back on me. Despite the claims of the little purple pill,[1] when one overindulges, there is no short-term fix, only long, hard consequences. At some point in the near future, I will have to pay for my writing excesses with the all-too-familiar pangs of regret.

To me
I think fast and write quickly; there is no time for temperance. Write, write, write, and suffer the ill-effects later. I regurgitate every random thought that passes. There must be some value in the worst of it. How much? Well, that can be decided later in the trim-down-to-svelte phase.
Insatiable me, T.

The rough draft process of writing is so exciting! I feel such success as I watch the manuscript expand with each addition. The contents are dubious in origin and even more doubtful in merit, but I judge them the same way I evaluate the contents of my refrigerator.[2]

I first try to recall with fond memory, what it once was originally and then I move past that image and try to imagine what it could become with a few new additions, judicious blending and a new appealing title.

To me:
The children are again wondering about my version of bangers and mash. I assure them that it is a delicacy in England as I wonder to myself, “Is there anything delicate about England?”
I just throw together last weeks leftovers and heat it good. Blimey, it can be delicious, but it’s never boring, neither the food nor the accompanying conversation.

Like the contents of the fridge, writing has such potential, but the quantity of the ingredients is no guarantee for success, particularly when I toss everything from the larder into the mix. While it doesn’t always result in gourmet, the usual outcome is surprisingly palatable and depending on my level of desperation, I am pleasantly surprised at what I can stomach.

To me
Dinner tonight was fast food. The black jelly bean rolling around the floorboards counts. I snagged it up! Yum! T.


Realty Bite: Stress feeds on stress

[1] Whatever it is, I’m convinced that I must get it—more of it! I need it!
[2] There is special consideration given to items whose tentacles unwrap from the container long enough to scream, “Don’t use me.”

Friday

Gorge

Hi me,
I notice that that my eye to belly ratio is off and that once again, I have bitten off way too much. Writing is a bigger mouthful than I ever imagined. Munch, munch, T.

I feast from life’s platter by literally wadding each day full and then chewing through it frantically trying to gulp down everything before I run out of breath. Prudence and caution are not part of my living vocabulary.
I am one of those persons who thirst for excitement, devour challenge, and gorge myself on new ideas, projects and people. And when it’s over, I sigh deeply and then mop the plate and hope that my enthusiasm hasn’t left everyone around me nauseated.

Reality Bite: de gustibus non disputandum[1]
[1] There is no accounting for taste.

Thursday

…reality bites

The process of writing is a unique experience. I have always envisioned the inveterate author sitting before a desk, in cardigan and tweed, leaning back amongst leather in a contemplative pose, eyes vague and distant, elbow on armrest and chin in hand, waiting to record the details of each brilliant thought.

In my reality, the pathetic writer is usually clothed in contraband that was either stumbled upon or wandered by. Pajamas hang below the hem of the decade-old sweat shirt with “Buy two, get me free” on the front. I have cadged a pair of circa 1990 stirrup pants, not ratty enough to be thrown out, but not fit for public consumption either, and on my feet are one yellow and one green sock. These are worn primarily because they are the same size and because they have each languished mate-less for eons in the sock box and have earned some time out.

At some point in the day, desperation adds ankle-high boots to the ensemble, and I’ve felt no equal nor pressing reason to remove them, so here I sit, teetering uncomfortably on the bottom step of a three-tiered stool whose top step is currently being used by a kindergartener to storm the castle walls.

In my twin role as dueling despot and plagued penman, I flail a sword with one hand and ruthlessly disembowel my journal, page by page, with the other.

“Somehow,” I muse thoughtfully, with the chin in the hand and elbow on the knee, “this is not what I envisioned.”

Reality Bite: It’s your delusion. If you don’t like it, change it.

Wednesday

…malnourished

To me,
Yes, I’m still writing a book … after I fix a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Oops, first scrounge in the freezer for bread, put in a load of wash and start supper. I’ll turn on a video and call about car repair, then I’m back to … oh yeah, the book.

This task is not too daunting if I remind myself that this is merely another New Year’s get-organized project. I’m compiling all the little sound bites of reality that I’ve written over the years from primordial pen-and-ink to high-tech e-mails and it’s no more of a task than reorganizing a pantry that’s been moldering for three decades.

I’m writing a book twenty minutes at a time amid intrusions, so that’s what I’ll write about; Life—that thing that keeps interrupting while I’m working on my dreams.[1]

As I read through the torrid missives of my life, I find me asking myself the same question my children hate to hear: “Wow. Did you learn anything that time?” I appear to be a connoisseur of failure who is only blasted with enlightenment amidst the trauma of the current life drama and when the gust finally subsides, I’ve forgotten.

No good ever seems to come from trial and tribulation, so I have resolved that when I experience a beam of pure understanding, I will take note of it, right there on the page—a reality bite—so that there is some remote hope that I might remember!

Reality bite: Just for my information, there is no vacuum made that will suck up wheat berries. If the sucking level is changed to mow, you can hear it hit the top of the vacuum and ricochet back to the carpet, being driven ever deeper by the beater bar. That’s what I get for praying for patience.

[1]Who knows who said it? The first 100 of 308,000 hits didn’t know either.

Tuesday

…a quazi life


To me with love and chocolate.
I’m now living my own version of starving writer. Meals are no longer a relaxing sit-down affair. I savor scraps like a starving scavenger. I lap morsels from plates as I clear breakfast to prepare lunch and wash the lunch dishes to free up spoons and forks for dinner. It’s been weeks, and I‘m still cataloging the journal (after I check on a child, call the husband, fling the bread in the oven, dash upstairs, play another game of Candyland,
[1] toss in a load of wash and fold the last one).

Reality Bite: Chocolate. It’s profound and I’m noting it here so I’ll never forget.

The most important coping mechanism that I learned from my mother, is the phrase “That’s Life.” It is her way of saying, “Just get over it and move on.” I remember Mom using the phrase, “That’s life” to end our lively, yet futile debates. We took aim and lobbed off a few stray test rounds, but before we could really hone in on the target, with the subtlety and panache of a sniper, she shot from her arsenal two words and just like that, the issue was dead.

“That’s Life,” were the profound words that meant, “That’s just the way things are,” “Get over it” and finally, “I’m not discussing this with you any longer!”

I’m finally getting it. It’s taken me over thirty years and a lifetime of self-inflicted wounds to realize the significance of those two words. “That’s Life”—the secret to all of life’s mysteries and the answer to life’s deepest questions. Life is not fair; not even, nor equal. So get over it, adapt and amidst the confusion, laugh and make the best of it.

To me,
Today, I slipped to the end of my rebuttal rope and was swinging near to breaking. The words “That’s hard, tough luck, and too bad,” dangled near, but I grasped the old stand-by, “That’s Life!” The sage wisdom of that two-word phrase carried me through the tumult and put an end to the bitter banter.


Reality Bite: I am indebted yet again to Mom.

[1] Note to self: Research trademark laws and investigate possible product placement.

Monday

…my expertise

I’m never very far into a book when I turn it over to read the back flyleaf. What qualifies this person to write a book, what is the author’s background and education? What can I learn from this person? Is she an expert?

Yo me,
I don’t really have any time to learn be an expert at writing. I’m too busy honing my expertise in every other area. This is crazy. What makes me think I can do this?
I think that it’s Mommy power that makes me think I can do anything. My life affirmations originate from the notes on the fridge. Today, it’s the one that says, “Because I said so.”
There’s something to be said for absolute power corrupting absolutely.
[1]
So I’m writing… still. T.

So what qualifies me to write a book? I should say right up front—I’m self-proclaimed. Watch and listen closely. Here goes: “I’m an expert; a specialist with opinions on life.” I just said I am, so I am. “And I am writing a book.” See, there it is again, because I said so. You can skip over the back cover because it’s right here in black and white. I am an expert.

Television fuels my delusions because “expert” no longer means anything, particularly in the area of tags on unmentionables. If a professional sports figure or a martial artist can be a BVD professional, then I guess I can be an expert on life! Who knew!

Truthfully, I don’t know everything about most things, but I know enough to be dangerous and sometimes that’s funny. Naiveté and ignorance are bliss and can prove to be hilarious.
In my effort to validate myself and refine the word expert, I consider all the brilliant businessmen whose expertise is in fraud and deception. If those are necessary attributes to being successful, then here I am—again uniquely qualified because I’m a Mother.

And I’m writing a book because I am an expert!

To me,
It’s okay to say I’m an expert. An amateur fears he’ll make a mistake, but an expert plans on it and can fix it, or at least put a good spin on it.
[2] And boy, am I spinning, T.

The world abounds with self-proclaimed experts like me; doctors of theology that are experts at family therapy and actors that are experts on political events. When they appear on talk shows discussing the topic of the day, I listen avidly, particularly to the actor/doctor. I never know what valuable medical tidbit I might gain.

I do harbor doubts once in a while. If they are reputable actors, haven’t they spent most of their time honing that expertise? If notoriety validates, I’ll be even more reputable!

Sunday

...transcengendering

As I transform my memoirs into basic readability, I imagine the words lending themselves to a progeny-thanking moment. It may be that I will create words that will transcend generations, like those on the one page that my great, great, great-grandma Eliza wrote about her life, describing her loss of home and hearth to Indians on the prairie. “All of our possessions were scattered and broken, but we escaped with our lives and one lone, unbroken dinner plate.”

That note from that 19th century pioneer has had a major impact on my 21st century urban life. The possibility that my progeny may find the same power in one of my essays spurs me onward! Unfortunately, I expect that the one page that survives me will be on potty training.

If I expect any of my work to be as profound and life-affecting as my grandmother’s letter, then I’d better get writing! There must be at least one other person in the world who could benefit from my life-lessons. (The husband, who has dedicated his life to deciphering the mystery of me, doesn’t count!)

So, can I do this? Can I write a book? Good grief, if I have the patience and courage to live my life, I should be up to it! I sit at the computer, in the midst of my unkempt world of pestilence and pitfalls and I think, “This is it! I’m doing it!”

I’m compiling it all into a book, maybe even several books… but then I’ll have to start a printing house and a publishing company …

Reality bite: Grandiose delusions are treatable.

[1] The daughter says give credit for this one to the writer of Animal Farm.
[2] According to Dad, the expert.

Saturday

...notoriety or name tags

I recently read an article, (or perhaps not so recent,) from a newspaper, (or perhaps it was a magazine,) about a man, (or maybe it was a woman,) who decided to wear a name tag for a year.  The article described the life changes brought about by breaking down the barrier of anonymity in society.  It went on to discuss what a positive experience it was, and the individual decided that he/she may continue to wear the tag long after the experiment was over. 
Upon reading that article, I felt weird about having one’s name front and center everywhere you go, but after my most recent experience, I’ve decided that there could be benefits. 
I was at one of those Holiday Christmas parties frequented by those who go "To See and To Be Seen."  For me to be seen, it takes most of a week to search for and retrofit the outfit.  Trashy to classy is a major overhaul these days and the ensemble had to blend nicely with what every well-dressed man wears on his evening out, an everyday suit gussied up with a glitzy tie.   
We get to the party, the husband and I, accompanied by our teenage daughter, who has been asked to act as a coat check girl.  We are offered nametags at the reception table, but I am ultra cautious, as my outfit has been glammed with teensy-tinsy beaded flowers on velvet and I worry about pulling the tag off later and leaving a barren rectangle.  Rather than being left with a barren space for nametags into perpetuity, I stand and ponder my options. 
As I shift the tag from finger to finger, hand to hand, I glance around and notice that the husband and daughter have been greeted by the boss—the big boss and they are quickly ushered over to meet his wife and rub shoulder-to shoulder with the other of the To-Be-Seen crowd. 
Another guy, also a member of the un-seen, wanders by and stops beside me.  It appears that he has bypassed the nametag table in favor of the open bar.  We make small talk over his wine glass while I surreptitiously flap the tag behind my back to see if air drying would weaken the glue’s grip.  I send the sonar blip and detect the husband and daughter still with the “In” crowd and looking very convivial.  Their circle has grown and I can tell the husband is guiding her in formal introductions with his hand at her waist. 
I am still trying to decide whether to fold the tag in half or affix it when another couple completes their nametag drama and steps toward me.  I’m relieved that it’s someone I know because I realize that Wine Man is shortly going to introduce himself and it will be necessary for me to free up a hand to shake.  I decide to stick the tag on, but then I am stumped by another quandary, left side or right.  I vaguely recall that the article stated explicitly which, based on hand-shaking procedure, but I can’t remember.
I greet the other couple by first name and it’s apparent that they are also on first name basis with Wine Man as pleasantries are exchanged.  He’s fine, the children are fine, the night is fine, and as the conversation dwindles. Wine Man glances around and then comments, “Wow, look at what Dave brought with him!  Is that his new wife?”
The couple and I glance in the direction to which he is goggling but I recognize only one Dave in the group. Mine.
The couple’s eyes also shift to the group, but their eyes flash back to meet mine as his next words, “Wow, he has traded up!” cause their stunned mouths to drop. 
 A flush of angst forces my words out, “That is Dave’s daughter and last I checked, I’m still his wife,” and I slap the name tag square in the middle of my chest—most definitively. 

            Reality Bite:  The latest psycho-survey says that adults laugh as a response to fear… fear that a situation may happen to them.  This book should be hilarious!