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I Collect Rejection Letters Like Franklin Mint Plates

ImageHey guess what?

Remember that poetry contest I entered a few months back? The one with a hefty cash prize, a trip to New York City and a meeting with an editor about publication?

They rejected me.

Eight times.

EIGHT.

I find that pretty comical. As if they couldn’t just go with one standard, “We regret to inform you, but out of 7800 entries…”  I didn’t cry or anything. MD gave me a mini pep talk and my darling husband expressed his disappointment in my behalf.  I tucked the letters away in a special place to remind me of why it is that I write.

Why is it that I write anyway? The same reason I knit:  A) to have a post apocalypse skill and B) to not kill people.  Seriously.  I knit in public because it keeps me from throat pinching idiots in cut off, acid washed booty shorts.  I write in private to keep myself from laying on the floor crying in some sort of mess.  These two traits we need in a post apocalyptic time too. It’s true! Well, wait, maybe not the crying part. However, you need clothes, right? You need people to write about the history of what happened, right? SEE?! Skills yo.

So I have a tendency to keep my pains close to me. I do this so that they can manifest themselves with words. Sometimes it works. Sometimes I do open up. I suppose it’s better than drowning myself in a bourbon while trying to write.  Although that sounds pretty delicious.  I kid, c’mon.

Last night I was laying in bed with the Hubs, we were snuggled up (which is one of my favorite parts of my day) and I said, “I guess people just don’t read poetry anymore. Maybe it’s just me? Or maybe it’s just the circle I run with.”  Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

Perhaps I could combine all my poems into short stories, then incorporate the rejection letters somehow and then finish off the book with some sort of smut that requires a trip to Home Depot and the Fire Department to come rescue you because you don’t know how to properly take off handcuffs or treat rope burn. Amateurs, sheesh.

With that being said, here’s a few snip its of some starter poems:

Your eyes staring, remind me of dried and broken leaves in swirling stacks.

I sway like a boat. Your hands, the wake, that licks at my thighs.

My thoughts never make a sound, tip toeing through an open plain. This goes here, that over the counter. You on a shelf, you.

Also, if you ever chance upon me, curled up in the fetal position hugging a pen and some paper, just give me a pat on the back and a bottle of Basil Hayden’s.  I’ll be alright.

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What My Wednesday Night Will Look Like:

ImageBehold! The power of the internet provides images of crazy ass experiments you never knew existed! Also, I just typed the word experiments four times before I finally got it right.  Then, when I noticed I did get it right, I put my glasses on and said the word out loud: “Ex-peri-mints. Ments, not mints.” Then I noticed I say experiments like that little girl from National Lampoons Christmas Vacation when she mentions Sant-y Claus.  

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes! Blowing up highlighters in the microwave!

Is it wrong that I want to use PTO time, race home to MD, grab all our highlighters and spend the next hour doing this to home appliances? I mean, it’s not like I bought the microwave, it did come with the house.  Okay, so maybe in a way I did purchase it.  Although, in thinking about doing this, I also thought about the fact that I haven’t really made enough mortgage payments to justify the microwave.

When we first moved to Atlanta, we rented this apartment that DID NOT have a microwave.  After we’d sat down, huffing and exhausted, it was then that I realized the err of our ways. No microwave? How will we cook popcorn? Frozen veggies? How will I reheat the same cup of coffee fourteen times? Oh and just so you know, reheating cold coffee on the stove? Not a good idea.

We managed close to two years without a microwave. It was pretty cool, until I’d go to a thrift store and see a book dedicated to microwave cooking. Imagine! WHOLE MEALS cooked entirely in your microwave! FUTURE! I should’ve bought that book. Hold that thought…. I just looked it up, I still have my chance HERE. 

Without researching too much, I’d really like to know how Marie cooks that prime rib that she’s showing on the cover.  How long do you think that would take anyway? Seventeen minutes? Thirty five? Hour and three? Hm.

Okay, so what I want to know about the above highlighter experiment is this:

A) How long did it take

B) What camera did they use? iPhone? Cannon Rebel?

C) Cleanup: a snap or disaster

D) How long was this person grounded?

Let me tell you a little story right quick.

When my brother and I were kids, they made prepackaged microwave s’mores.  God Bless 1992, yknow? Anyway, you only had to zap them for 30 seconds, tops.  Every afternoon, Mike and I would crouch and watch the marshmallow expand and then the microwave would beep.  We’d take the snack out and eat it.  Then one day, and I’m not sure who came up with this, we decided to see how long it would take to blow up the marshmallow.

1:25 seconds.

Then it turns black and maaaaay catch on fire.  I can neither confirm nor deny this. 

Then you know what happens? PANIC.

After the panic subsides, you then ask your brother to grab the air freshener because your Mom is on her way home and man, is she gonna be pissed about the smell.  Before something like this happens to you, make sure your brother knows what the air freshener can looks like.

Because oddly enough, it also comes in a similar can to tub cleaner.

Also, if you are doing any experiment on linoleum floors, just stop. Stop right there and walk away.  Not only does tub cleaner not mask the smell of burnt, possibly on fire prepackaged food, it also turns the kitchen floor into what I can only describe as slick.  Slick like lubing up a slip n slide with Crisco slick.  It’s also a good idea to make sure your Mom is not wearing pantyhose. 

All of these were factors in our near death experience.

So!

With that being said, I still want to do this.  Only my plan is to pick up a used microwave and proceed to do this in the backyard with plenty of extension cords and a possible facemask.

What’s the worst that could happen?

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Meddling Words, Pesky Progress

Ahh, the dreaded “Work In Progress.”

This little tag, which I’ve always shorted to wip (I’m sure many have), has followed me for years now.  I think it began back with NaNoWriMo (I even winced when I just typed that by the way) and continued on through everything I’ve ever started. Included knitting, quilting, short stories, yard work, laundry… you get the idea.

Back a few months ago, I submitted several poems to a contest. Grand prize is 3K and a trip to NYC to meet with an editor. So naturally, I waited up until the last possible minute to polish up my words. Is this where I should say I made a turd shine? Probably.  Writing is difficult. Anyone who says it’s easy is either lying or writing horrible Mommy porn books (you know which one I’m talking about).  I’m won’t know the results of the poetry contest until October- how horrible! Who would want to wait month on end? Wait- I’m currently doing this.  Duh.

Most of you know that I write everyday. I’m not sure if I have any new lurkers/peepers/readers out there, so there are times where I feel like I’m rehashing the obvious.  Anyway, let’s keep this train rolling.  I write, everyday.  In the past two months I’ve filled three smallish notebooks, I have a stack of napkins with scribble on them and thank God for Twitter.  It’s the perfect platform for me to punch out a fleeting thought when I can’t scramble fast enough to pen and paper at the bottom of my purse.  The beautiful thing about writing poetry is that I am the only one who knows who it’s about, what it’s addressing and what pain I’m trying to mask. Otherwise, it’s all on you and what you take from reading my words.

As far as the pain in writing, isn’t that where the true beauty in art (any form) lies? I believe so. I have to, at times, remove myself and tap into a side of me that I keep hidden from everyone in order to write.

The thing is, I’m looking at all these notebooks, napkins and receipts and I just have no idea where to begin with them.  Lately I’ve been imagining myself squaring away a meeting with a publisher and showing up with a box full of paper and saying, “Well, here it is! Have fun!”  Kinda like how you do your taxes! Or is that only me?

Maybe, and this is a huge maybe, I’ll take the latter part of this year to organize each notebook and scrap of paper. That’ll be the first step, then I can move on to the next step- putting the box away forever. Okay, I’m kidding. I’ll only put it away until I remember what’s in it.

How do some of you organize big projects/daunting tasks? Do you just dive in and get at it or is there some secret formula that I wasn’t given? Please, by all means, let me know your secrets!  In the meantime, let me share a few wips’ with y’all:

This garden of despair, these rows of sickness

They grow deep within my bones

There is no spring or summer

inside me

I am, internally,

a desolate tundra

Okay, that one was kind of a Debbie Downer. Let’s try that again:

I’m wading mouth deep into stack of paragraphs that make me want to undress and have you growl into me.

THERE.

Now that’s a serious work in progress! I’ll let you know when/if I ever finish it.  In the meantime, don’t forget to tell me your trade secrets on organization and even what your Work In Progress might be!

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Gas Up

ImageLiving in Atlanta, there’s one thing you learn about rather quickly: traffic.  Or rather, how to plan your entire day (see: life) around it. When you first move to the city, you’ll lose your shit somewhere on the interstate at some point.  It happened to me one afternoon.  I’d already been sitting for an hour, at times creeping along at a mere 6 mph. As I was trying to merge onto a different interstate system, a tractor trailer cut me off.  Instead of continuing to scream obscenities at him, I did the next best thing- I threw a can of Diet Coke at the trailer. From my sun roof.

Not my shining moment of glory. Yet, that’s what the traffic does to you.

Anyway, the longer you live here, the easier it is to get your commute down to a science. For me, this means filling up my car at lunch. There’s just no way I’d stop after getting off work- which would essentially bump my drive time from an hour to an hour and a half, two hours, easily.

So this afternoon, I swing into the gas station and start filling up.  I wasn’t quite at empty, so I’d guesstimated that I’d need close to thirty bucks to get to full.  I’m pumping and pumping. And pumping some more.  I smile at the dude filling up next to me. I watch traffic go by. I enjoy the breeze. After I’d passed the thirty dollar mark though, I thought to myself, “Man, maybe I was closer to E than I thought.”  At forty dollars I knew something was up. 

I let go of the handle and removed the gas nozzle. 

And then….

The gasoline waterfall began.

Now look, you all know there’s some sort of mechanism that’s suppose to CLICK when the tank is full. Regardless of whether you’ve propped that metal piece up so you can lean on your car and wait or if you’re an old school holder- there’s a CLICK.  There was no click.

For a brief moment I panicked. Then I started looking for some paper towels- like I’m at home. Because anytime there is a spill or an emergency (cut finger, spill, guest bathroom out of TP), I’m looking for paper towel.  There wasn’t any.

So as the gas continues to shoot out of my car, I’m holding onto my flowy pants (best friend says I look like I should be teaching pottery at the community center today) with one hand, I’m desperately trying to figure out what to do. I’m pacing and turning in circles while saying, “Shit! Shit! Shit! Oh my God… wait… whaaaat!!!”  

Looking down at the pool of gasoline, then back to the pump, then back to the gas tank barfing up toxins, I do what looks best-

I grab the squeegee.

Before I soak up gas with it, I have a flash back to the intro of Zoolander. I pause, think about what I’m going to do, make sure no one near me is smoking or talking on their damn phone and then simply reach out and put the cap back on.  Then I take the squeegee and wash the gasoline off the side of my car.

While I’m standing in a pool of gas. 

While wearing flip flops.

And holding onto my pants with one hand.

Sigh.

 

 

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Weird, An Extension Of Being Awesome

ImageGrowing up, I knew I was “off” a little.  I’ve talked about this at length over on my now defunct blog, Do What Now.  I mean hell, my Mom let me purchase and wear a coral colored leisure suit from like 1973.  I knew she didn’t want me to wear it. I knew she was cringing and probably somewhere prepping herself for what would happen next:  Me, coming home from school, in a fit of tears.  No one understood why I would wear such a thing. No one ever “got me.”  Yet, I kept on.  Wearing crazy tshirts with skirts.  Tights came in bright colors and I wore them often (still do in the winter time).  Jewelry was (and is) always mixed matched.  It’s just how I was and how I still am today.

The thing is, if you wear what makes you feel beautiful and confident, then that shows. The courage to push the envelope in fashion gives you a boost to say, “Hey. I am ME. Deal with it man.”  Besides, who doesn’t want to wear things that they love? Exactly.

I’ve been labelled “weird” my whole entire life.  It’s an extension of who I am.  Sure, I’m a kick ass Mom, wife, sister and best friend, but there’s more to me than that.  I am compassionate to a fault and it’s also this compassion that tends to keep my emotions on my sleeve.  Simply put: my feelings are easily hurt.  Over the years, you know that whole growing up process, it’s gotten easier to deal with.  As in now- writing this somewhat quasi passive aggressive post.  Okay, maybe it’s not passive aggressive.  Or it could be.  Either way.

So-

In dealing with the “weird” label growing up and learning to embrace it, I promised myself that when I was pregnant with MD, I would teach him to embrace each special quirk. Whether that was with me, with him, his friends or even people he’d meet in the streets.  It’s these little oddities about individuals that make the world that much more interesting. It’s the very thread that keeps you involved in a conversation. Or makes you pick up a book.  Or keeps you researching and learning.

A few short months ago, while at dinner with Mr. B & MD, I realized that this small lesson that I taught my son had indeed stuck with him.  As he talked about a situation at school, one in where a group of boys had been teasing him in regards to a girl he liked, he spoke up. For her, for his choice, for what he thought was important.  “That we are all the same, it’s how a person treats you and how they treat others that’s important.”  Exactly. What really struck a chord with me though, was the compassion I saw in my son’s face. How I could hear it in his voice as he continued talking. My son wasn’t just rehashing a story, he was telling me that he got it.  That no one should be made fun of or called names.  That you should always be kind to people because you never know what path they’re on or how they’re feeling.  That simply being nice to someone could change their entire outlook.

I cried after that conversation.

There before me, was my own child, an extension of my weirdness. And he was being awesome and he will continue to be awesome.

I’d like to think that’s because I had the balls to buy a coral colored leisure suit, wear it, and then live to tell about it.

Being weird, is quite simply, awesome.