You know what? This has not been my favorite season. (And the hits still keep comin’!) But here’s the thing— ultimately I know what things I can control and what things I can’t. And what I could not control during this trip to Big Bend with my friend D. was this person who kept stomping his brakes in front of us on a curvy basin road in the rain. Are you ready now? Tale my hand and let us go together into this story. Read on, Reader!
Can you visualize color without reference? Can you recall sequenced sound? Does the smell of baker’s chocolate bring up a complete memory, unpacked, of your childhood? Which of the five senses unlocks your world? Read on, Reader!
When you try to learn a new skill, remember this: Learning how to fail at something new, takes you halfway to learning how to succeed at it. Really. Read on, Reader!
First you take the fabric and boil the chicken broth and examine your light sources when you consider the built in furniture potatoes are a good source of potassium and don’t forget to press your seams, students. Read on, Reader!
You’re never in repose, you see. Because you’re writing, or thinking about writing, or you have written, and now need sleep. Read on, Reader!
Of all the instruments Moondog played, he didn’t seem to want to learn how to play the big blatty trumpet of self-publicity with his lovely artist friends in New York. Moondog was busy learning to be Moondog. Read on, Reader!
Here’s the hard truth about writer’s block as I had to learn it: You’re going to have to write anyway. Read on, Reader!
I was on the phone with a friend of mine earlier this year, and I admitted to a fault.
A really bad fault.
And I laughed at it.
My friend caught her breath.
She said, “You can’t say that about yourself.”
“Oh, yes, I can, ” I said. “And what’s more— ”
I kept on going on about this fault of mine, and laughing, until my friend laughed, too.
At first, she was hesitant. Then, she roared.
You see, I’ve got some bad-awful faults.
Traits. Parts of my personality. You get the picture.
And, like everyone I know, I’m used to tucking these awful traits behind a cupboard in my heart where no one can see them.
They’re still there, just out of sight for the moment.
It’s like the quick clean up you do right before your friends stop by.
You stash away the normal debris of everyday life into an away space.
The newspapers. The handful of change. The laundry you didn’t get around to folding. You cram it into a cupboard, and hope it stays put.
That’s normal, right?
That quick spit-shine clean never works out for me.
Something happens. Always.
Right after you come inside and just before I offer you a glass of water, a door will creak.
And, like a joke in a slapstick movie, those parts of me that I don’t want you to see, are going to come tumbling off the shelves of my private self, out of the cupboard and onto the floor between us. The horror!
CLANG! My forgetfulness tips out of the cupboard and clatters on the wooden floors.
CLUNK! My fury towards reckless drivers lands at your feet.
ClACKETY-CLARP! My nonsensical crabbiness rolls off the shelves and bounces!
All of my teenage years— all of them— can be summed up in a singular scene.
I am standing backstage in a dance costume, trying to keep my muscles warm.
On stage are the two people in my competition I will need to beat in order to win the first place trophy.
These dancers are my friends and companions anywhere, but here.
Here, we are competitors.
My biggest competition today is a girl whose slender, tan frame floats midair in front of me.
Her face carries no emotion— she is a cipher of articulated postures and pretty legs.
I know what she is capable of doing. She is capable of beating the tar out of me. I watch her for a second, and turn away to keep stretching.
Watching her right now is not going to put me midair on stage.
In twenty seconds, she and the other competitor, a boy with problematic posture, will finish. They will stand still while the judges write down their marks.
Backstage, you will not hear a single cough or the rustle of fabric. The bell rings for the competitors to bow.
Now freeze the frame.
Here are my choices— I can either a) congratulate them both quietly, b) ignore them as I prepare to go on that same stage in front of those same judges, or c) goggle and smile and give a really goofy thumbs up gesture to my competitors before I go on myself.
Keep in mind that the competitor, the girl coming off of the stage regularly kicks me down a notch.
We take similar terrible flights to the same competitions, sleep on …. Read on, Reader!
One day you are going to wake up and your face, your beautiful face, is going to look, you know, a little more peaked than usual. All the way peaked to Nosferatu territory. Read on, Reader!
One December a number of years back, I was curled up like a sick kitten in my doctor’s office and he told me something that was going to change my life forever. Read on, Reader!