Saturday, February 24, 2007

The theatre, the theatre, what's happened to the theatre?

"Ladies and Gentlemen!" Cookies bellowed, sweeping his imaginary top hat in front of him. "Boys and Girls! I present to you, the one, the only, Owlorfico!" Cookies disappeared behind the blanket he had hung between the spa doorway.

The seals applauded enthusiastically. Hairy applauded politely. Pumble clapped once and yawned.

"I delayed snacktime for this?" he muttered. "Be polite," Hairy admonished. "He's worked hard on this all weekend."

The blanket rose, and Cookies strode dramatically into the room. He looked beyond his audience, squinting into the horizon.

"Hawk, who goes there?" he yelled in a loud voice. "But it is a raven. For if a rose had any other name, it would be as sweet. Out, out damned spot! Be gone from my sight for eternity. Boil, boil, toil and trouble. If thoust were to simply whisper, nay utter they name, it would forever linger on my lips, sweeter than the ripest peach--"

"What is this?" Pumble asked in horror. "He's gone and mixed up half a dozen Shakespearean plays."

"Shhhh," Hairy hushed him, as he tried to figure out what the devil Cookies was doing.

"To be or not to be!" Cookies bellowed in an attempt at a deep baritone. "O Romeo, Romeo, where for art thy Romeo? This above all, to thy own self be true! The lady doth protest too much, me thinks. All the world is a stage, the men and women merely players. The fool doth think he wise, but a wise man know himself to be a fool."

Cookies than staggered dramatically across the stage, holding a broken doll and speaking lovingly to it. "It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say goodnight until it be the morrow."

With that, Cookies bowed his head and the curtain fell.

Uncertainly, the seals clapped their flippers. Politely, Hairy clapped. Pumble looked at the stage in confusion.

"What the devil kind of play was that?" he yelled. "I have no idea what it was."

Huffily, Cookies strode through the closed curtain, throwing his cloak to the side dramatically.

"That was true theatre!" he bellowed.

"That was crap!"

"That was true theatre and culture!" Cookies retorted. "You wouldn't know culture if it bit you in the face."

"That was a mish-mash of quotes!"

"That was the brilliance of Shakespeare!" Cookies flung his arms out dramatically. "So sorry it wasn't printed on the side of a cereal box for your understanding."

"I could do a better play than that!" Pumble bragged. "I could do better than a bunch of quotes."

"You want to bet on that?" Cookies said angrily.

"Yea, I do!" Pumble said. "Winner is declared a true actor! An authentic member of the theatre!"

"You're on!" Cookies said, narrowing his eyes. "Hairy and the seals will judge."

"Fine!" Pumble snapped, stalking off the other direction.

"Fine!" Cookies said, not to be outdone. He stalked off the other direction.

Hairy and the seals remained in their seats, looking at each other. Hairy sighed. "The theatre, the theatre," he said, shaking his head. "What's happening to the theatre?"

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Back in the flowers again

The cold has been blown back to the north where it belongs, and the sun smiled down on the Pond today as I skipped about outside. It was much too pretty of a day to spend chained to a computer and a ringing phone. This day, a perfectly cool day with warm sunshine, was perfect for chasing grasshoppers.

As I walked on my daily walk, I squatted down to see the grasshopper hopping through the dead grass. I followed him closely as he crawled through dead leaves and small patches of weeds. You see, I was determined to catch this grasshopper, or at least try. I had determined he could live on my desk in a jar as a pet and keep me company.

Waddling along on the ground in a demented ape-like fashion, I heard a faint whisper in my ear. I grinned, knowing what was coming.

"Would you mind telling me exactly what you're doing waddling about on the ground?" the butterfly scolded in my ear.

"I want to catch this grasshopper and put him in a jar for my desk," I said. "It gets lonely sometimes."

"You should know better than that," the butterfly said disapprovingly. "He does not want to be in a jar. He wants to spring through the grass freely."

"I know," I sighed as I stood up. The butterfly fluttered up to my shoulder and delicately clung to the fabric with it's tiny feet. "It just got so lonely this winter. There were a few animals, but everything was dead, cold and grey."

"That's no reason to put animals in a jar," the butterfly chided. "Would you put a puppy in a jar? Would you want to be in a jar? You can barely sit at a desk for two hours, let alone be confined to a jar."

"I got your point!" I said, rolling my eyes. "I understand."

"You do," the butterfly said, lowering and raising his wings in approval. "You do more than most." His tiny feet grazed the silky material of my shirt.

"I missed you, butterfly," I said, turning my head so his wing could skim my cheek. "Are you back for good now?"

"Perhaps," the butterfly said. "That all depends."

"On what?" I asked.

"On many things." the butterfly ventured into the crook of my neck. I leaned my head into the side.

"You always say that," I sigh. "You always show up long enough to give me hope, then disappear again. It's as if some mystical force is controlling you."

"Perhaps one is," the butterfly said. "Perhaps one isn't. We come and go as we are intended to, and as we wish. Some things, one must take on faith."

I turned and began walking back toward the building, my steps slowing. I looked at the sky.

"Sometimes I wish I could just live in a field," I said dreamily, feeling the sun warm my face. "I wish I could live on a tree, swimming in a creek and living off of berries and homemade breads."

"It is not meant to be," the butterfly said gently. "Dreaming is all well and good, but there comes a point where dreaming about what can not be becomes a source of bitterness rather than fantasy."

"But why?" I asked longingly. "Why can I not sit under a tree and tell stories to raccoons and possums? Why can I not braid flower crowns for my hair and dip my feet in a pond that wouldn't kill me to drink?"

"Why does the grasshopper not wish to be in a jar?" the butterfly traveled between the wisps of my hair. "If you lived outdoors, you would want to live indoors and be waited on. You're simply wishing for an escape. Besides, you would be as ill-suited to living in a tree as a grasshopper would to a jar with a few blades of grass. You are what you are. There is no changing that. Though you come closer than most."

"I just wish I was more connected," I confessed, sighing as I approached the building. "I don't belong cooped up, and I don't need to live outdoors."

"Then fly," the butterfly whispered gently. "Float, and fly."

With that, the butterfly released his clutch on my shirt and floated gently into the breeze. I watched him in wonderment, feeling my face break into a grin.

"When will you return?" I asked, knowing what the answer would be.

"Soon," the gentle reply came, as it always came. "Soon. We will be back soon."

****Land of animals of flowered bed coming soon **********

Monday, February 19, 2007


There are some people in the world that without knowing why, you become instantly connected to them. It doesn't have anything to do with blood or relation, love or any other emotion. It is a instant connection when one walks in the room, a utter fascination. That is how I felt when I met Mrs. McGill.

A quiet old woman with a white-blond bob and a fuzzy and wrinkled face, Mrs. McGill appeared to be the model of submissive dignity. When she opened her mouth, however, humorous bits of wisdom floated through the air as they drifted into our ears and settled into our brains for emphasis. An artist known through out San Antonio, her paintings are as detailed as the stories I tell. Unlike my stories, her medium knows no bound. She paints Styrofoam computer packing and turns milk cartons into castles. She paints on paper bags and canvases. She even paints on walls.

I'm not quite sure why I'm so drawn to Mrs. McGill. A part of me feels as though I need to protect her--she's such a sweet woman that seems so vulnerable and alone. Another part of me is drawn to her sense of humor, her dry wit that comes out of such a unexpected source. Another part of me feels that I understand her need to tell stories, just as I understand my need to tell the stories I create. I just know I haven't been this fascinated about anyone since I met Ben.

When I met Ben, I was fascinated about him. I had this burning curiosity to know about him--where was he from, what did he do, what was he like? Did he like puppies? Did he like trucks?
Like Mrs. McGill, his exterior completely hid what he was really like. Instead of the "popular" guy his exterior painted him as, he was a compassionate and kind person with a generous heart.

It occurred to me that the reason I am as fascinated by Mrs. McGill as I was to Ben are for the same reason: their kindness and generosity. As a prickly sort of person, I have never understood how people can give freely. Ben gave his heart and emotion freely, while Mrs. McGill gave her hopes and thoughts freely. Every time I've visited, she's loaded me up with food, conversation and art work. For an artist to give their art away is a personal thing, just as giving emotional support is a very personal thing for a man. Yet, both Ben and Mrs. McGill gave freely and easily, out of love and confidence. Awkwardly, I tried to reach out to them both in a stumbling manner. It was no surprise they both gave me the same soothing smile.

Which is why, I suppose, I shouldn't have been surprised Ben and Mrs. McGill connected. He was drawn to her paintings and colorful home, while she adored that he fixed her computer and worked in insurance like her late husband. Even as they watched them, I realized how lucky I was to have Ben in my life, and how lucky I was to have met Mrs. McGill. Their kindness inspires me to want to do better, to sometimes pull my head out of my bubble to good for others. Sometimes, I spend so much time in my own head I forget to think for others.

For these two, that was never an issue. Generosity, a talent I envied, was given as freely as oxygen. I sat and watched silently, watching the two people I was fascinated by converse easily. The whole process fascinated me.

**Don't worry Invisible Friends, I can hear you whining from here. Land of Flowered Animals to follow in a day or two. Besides, I have to keep you waiting. What fun would you have otherwise?***

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Lament to my Peanut Butter

Dear Jar of Peanut Butter Sitting Sorrowfully in the Trash,

Peanut butter, oh peanut butter, why have you forsaken me? What foreign bacteria has entered your vats of creamy goodness and made it impossible for me to eat? Rather than tantalizing my taste buds with your salty delight, you risk rotting them off my flesh! Why, oh why, have you done this to me?

Oh Peanut butter, throwing you in the trash was the hardest thing I had to do. As I stared down at you in that lonely trash can, tears can to my eyes. You looked so pitiful there, open and exposed in the depths of the trash bin. Instead of sitting on a counter, ready for the making of sandwiches and delightful cracker spreads, you lay forgotten in a plastic wasteland.

Please don't give me that pleading look. This is not my fault. It is not my fault you were recalled for risk of salmonella. It is not my fault your goodness is rotting out in dumpsters across the country. However, it is my fault that you have been replaced. A jar of Jif sits in your spot that you used to occupy.

Don't give me that snide remark! What am I supposed to do until you're cleared again? Am I just supposed to not have peanut butter? Why should I be punished for your poisonous ways?

As much as you have wronged me, peanut butter, I still adore you. I will miss your salty goodness that Jif can't seem to match. Until the bacteria is purged from your thick goodness, I will be waiting. Until then, dear peanut butter.


The Blonde Duck

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day Part 2

Continued from part 1

"It's very simple," Cookies said. "First, you need a cloak. You can't be mysterious without a cloak. You need a single flower. Roses are too overdone, perhaps a daisy. Daises are sweet and innocent. Then, you need to arrive about fifteen minutes early and sit in a public spot. That way, she can see you and know you've shown up. Where are you supposed to meet?"

"At the patio doors in the moonlight," Pumble answered.

"How romantic," Hairy sighed. The seals sighed as well, blinking dreamy black eyes. Cookies rolled his eyes.

"You three make me want to gag," he muttered. "Well, what you must do is go to the patio doors at 11:45 and sit in the direct moonlight. She can't miss you there."

"Are you nervous?" the first duck asked.

"What do you think she'll look like?" the second duck asked.

"I'd be terrified," the third duck confessed.

"I'm not scared," Pumble said, trying to put a jovial tone in his voice. "It'll be great fun! I'm sure I'll have a great story out of it." He suddenly had a thought and narrowed his eyes. "Unless one of you jokers wrote this note and is setting me up."

"We would never write a note!" the first duck protested.

"It's not our thing!" the second duck explained.

"It would be very mean," the third duck whispered. Pumble looked at Cookies and Hairy.

"Don't look at us," Hairy said. "We've been with you the entire day. And the seals delivered the note."

"True," Pumble said. He stretched and pulled himself out of the now cool hot tub. "I say we celebrate my midnight rendezvous with a snack!" he said cheerfully. "Who's up for honey and biscuits?"

After the people had come home and gone to bed, the hours crept by. Pumble watched the time carefully, feeling as though midnight would never get there. Finally, at 11:37, he wrapped himself in a sweatshirt for a cloak and crept out of the bedroom, careful to open the door so it didn't squeak. The boy slept lightly, and Pumble couldn't risk getting caught.

Carefully, Pumble crept down the hallway. He heard noise behind him and turned sharply. He could only see a dark outline in the black that surrounded him. "Who are you?" he hissed. "Identify yourself!"

"Good Lord, it's us," Cookies disgusted voice whispered. "Don't be so dramatic. Who did you think it would be? A robber?"

"We want to come support you!" Hairy said sweetly. The seals yipped quietly in agreement.

"What about the ducks?" Pumble asked. "They stayed behind to act as an alarm," Hairy said. "Good," Pumble nodded. "Let's go."

They crept carefully into the living room and around the kitchen cabinet. The seals kept giggling in excitement and clapping their flippers lightly. "Shush!" Hairy would say gently. "We have to be quiet on a rendezvous."

"You stay here," Pumble said. "I'm going to go stand in the moonlight."

"Be sure you have your cloak!" Cookies advised.

"Have fun!" Hairy said cheerfully. The seals gurgled and wished him well. Pumble crept silently into the kitchen and plopped down on the vinyl floor. It was 11:47.

At 11:52, Pumble began to play with his cloak. First he made it into a hat, then into a loin cloth. At a indignant hiss from Cookies, he fixed his cloak and sat sulking on the floor.

At 11:56, Pumble began to play with the daisy. He balanced it on his nose and tried to balance it on the stinger. It fell and he tripped on it, falling and squishing it with his belly. He got up and hastily tried to reattach some of the petals. Hairy smacked his forehead and Cookies began to beat his head into the wall.

At 11:59, Pumble stood anxiously holding his tattered daisy in his crooked cloak, growing nervous. What if she didn't show up? What if she didn't come? What if she wasn't a she? What if this was all a cruel joke? He felt the adrenaline course through his veins. What if---

"Hello, Valentine," a sweet low voice said. He could hear Hairy and Cookies gasp and the seals giggle. "Happy Valentine's day!" the shadowy figure said. A small hand held out a Valentine.

"Happy Valentine's Day!" Pumble said, holding out the tattered flower. He stuttered, "I'm sorry, I accidentally fell--"

"It's beautiful!" the figure exclaimed. She pressed it to her nose. "Thank you so much for meeting me. It was nice of you. See, I've admired you for months."

"Months?" Pumble said, confused. "I don't believe I've ever met you before."

"I stopped by a long time ago," the figure reassured him. "We never actually met, but I saw you through a window."

"I must admit, I'm quite flattered," Pumble said. "I've never had a secret admirer or a midnight rendezvous before. I was actually nervous."

"Told you," Cookies muttered to Hairy softly.

"I was nervous too," the figure admitted. "But, I figured there was no harm in trying. So, happy Valentine's Day." The figure turned to leave.

"Wait!" Pumble said, rushing towards her. "I haven't seen your face!"

The figure turned and slowly walked back into the light. Pumble gasped. "You!" he cried. "I can't believe it!"

"It was nice to see you," the Ladybug said softly. "I must go now. I have to get back home before it gets too cold. Thank you for being my Valentine."

"When will you come back?" Pumble said, taking another step forward. "I'd like to see you again."

"Soon," the Ladybug smiled. "Soon. I will return to you, Valentine."

With a smile and a wave, she gently flew out the patio doors into the midnight. Pumble heard her faint whisper in the cool wind that blew by his ear, "Maybe you'll have a story for me next time..."

Pumble stood grinning dumbly at the doors as Cookies and Hairy rushed forward. "Who was that?" they cried. "We didn't recognize her at all."

"Was she nice?" Hairy asked.

"Was she pretty?" Cookies demanded. The seals barked and whined, wiggling their tales.

"Yes, yes and yes," Pumble said dreamily. Cookies stared at him in frustration. "Who was she?" he cried.

Pumble smiled serenely. "She was my Valentine."

Monday, February 12, 2007

Valentine's Day

Love had filled the air. The seals nuzzled everyone and stared up at them with adoring eyes, Cookies had become a bit nicer and Hairy had taken to watching movies on Lifetime in the middle of the day and crying.

"It's just so romantic!" he would blubber, blowing his nose on the Kleenex. "So romantic!"

Even Pumble had gotten into the romance of it all, as he sat in the spa feeding himself chocolate covered strawberries. "You know," he told the ducks as they floated in the bathtub, "I had a girl once."

"Be serious!" they cried, leaning in for the juicy gossip. Pumble nodded, pleased at the response, and paused dramatically.

"Her name was Petunia," he said romantically. "Petunia the Bee. But you see, it was never meant to be." He giggled at the rhyme.

"What happened?" the third duck cried.

"Well, her mother was the Queen Bee of another hive. She was in line to the throne, and had been bethrothed since eggs to this loser." Pumble narrowed his eyes. "We dated all through bee school, but it was to no use. Her mother wouldn't let me marry her. She kept her locked up in the very top part of the hive. One night, I begged her to elope with me and presented her with the finest honey in the land. But she was too scared of her mother's wrath, and turned me away." Pumble looked at the anxious faces watching him and felt pleased as a storyteller.

"Well that's horrible!" one of the ducks cried. "So that's it? Just this tragic ending?"

"Well, she got to be queen and I got to come here," Pumble said, grinning. "Honestly, why would I want to sit around a palace and have to solve problems when I could eat chocolate strawberries in a bathtub. I do believe I got the better end of the deal."

"So what are you doing for Valentine's Day then?" the second duck asked. "I'm going to--" Pumble stopped as one of the seals delivered and envelope to him. "What the devil is this?" he asked as he tore it open. He pulled out a red card and opened it, reading it in shock.

"What is it?" the first duck asked.

"What's going on?" the second duck asked.

"Is it Petunia?" the third duck asked eagerly.

"It's a secret admirer!" Pumble said in amazement. "My admirer wants to meet me on Wednesday for a midnight rendezvous!"

"A midnight rendezvous?" Cookies exclaimed, eavesdropping from the doorway. "Why that's romantic! This woman is in love with you! Only women in love crave midnight rendezvous."

"What if she just likes him?" Hairy asked practically. "Perhaps she gets off work at midnight."

"As what?" Cookies asked scornfully. "A bar maid?"

"I suppose I should pick her some flowers," Pumble said thoughtfully. He wasn't quite sure what to think of a secret admirer. He'd never had one. "I could brush my teeth to."

"That's a brilliant idea," Cookies snorted.

"What exactly does a secret admirer do?" one of the ducks asked. Cookie laughed at him and said, "You poor silly duck." Pumble was glad he hadn't asked.

"A secret admirer is someone that sends you secret notes and gifts because they care about you," Cookies said. "You always know someone's in the distance, watching and pining for you."

"That's so romantic!" Hairy cried as he blew his nose. He felt all weepy. The seals nuzzled up to him and barked happily. "I love you too!" Hairy squealed, petting their soft heads. "I love everybody!" He buried his face into their squirming body and cried tears of joy.

"What is wrong with him?" Ccookies said in disgust. "Get ahold of yourself man."

"He's just feeling the love," Pumble smiled. "Just like me."

"It's just so wonderful!" Hairy cried. "Everyone's so happy! I just feel all squishy inside."

Cookies rolled his eyes.

"We must get you ready for your secret rendezvous!" Cookies said, checking his watch. "There isn't much time!"

"What should we do?" the ducks asked. "What do you do for a rendezvous?"

"It's very simple," Cookies began.........

To be continued

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Transformation

After staring at a computer screen for hours, trying to ignore the screaming muscles in my back and the tenseness in my shoulders, I push away from my desk. The white and black words have run together in my mind into a jumbled mess of a headache. The air hums with the buzz of machinery. The recycled air is stifling as I type a one-word e-mail and press send. Pulling on my coat, I smile as we walk outside.

As soon as the cool air hits our cheeks, we are transformed. Instead of two women dealing with the drudgery of office life, two girls scamper through the parking lot. When people look out their windows, they see a lanky girl with wispy white ringlets and a shorter beaming girl with short black pigtails and rosy apple cheeks. They giggle as they walk through the grass, kicking at rocks and picking up acorns of interest.

They chatter excitedly, ignoring the stares from the workmen around them. The dark haired girl plays with her toy pig, who is fond of swimming in mud holes and prancing in clovers. The blond looks at the sky with her wide blue eyes, completely in her own world. The other girl's giggles interrupts her reverie, and she follows grinning. She'll have plenty of time for her own world when she's alone again.

They circle the building, inspecting the clovers and gently touching the red and brown leaves. The dark haired girl's grin causes the blond to show off, crushing the fallen nuts from the tree with her over-sized pink cowboy boots. With her friend she is confident, bossy even. The dark haired girl's peals of laughter fill the air, and the blond smiles in shared happiness. The freedom they share sings in their hearts. They skip down the sidewalk, and slow as they walk to the door. Their smiles fade into pouts as they pull the door open.

Once they pass the threshold, they return to women again. Sharing one secret smile, they both sit back down at their desks, waiting until they can be transformed once again.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Smell

"What is THAT?" Cookies bellowed, retching in disgust. The seals gagged and choked as they crawled on their bellies to the window, desperate for a fresh breath of air. Pumble lay on the ground wheezing.

"This is it," he wheezed. "This is the end. The end of the honey jar. I can smell the cold hand of death coming to wrap his bony fingers around my neck."

"First of all," Cookies choked out. "Your neck is too fat for anyone to wrap their fingers around, even death. Second of all, that smell isn't death, it's putrid. It's inhuman. It's more disturbing then fat women wearing pleather mini skirts."

"Quit being mean," Hairy grunted as he pulled and jerked on the window. "You're just cranky because of the smell."

"I'm cranky because I can't breathe!" Cookies bellowed. "You'd be cranky too if the air in your lungs was green and rotting!"

"I can see the light," Pumble cried. "It's coming towards me! I can see castles of honey and biscuits!"

Hairy jerked the window open as the seals gasped for air. They lay on the floor, sucking in deep breaths of fresh air. The stench slowly seeped from the room. Cookies quit bellowing and Hairy felt the burn in his sinuses cease.

"The tunnel is closing!" Pumble cried. "The castles of honey are fading! It's--it's gone!" He sat up beaming. "Hooray!" he cried. "Guess what? I'm not dying anymore!"

"I'm so thrilled," Cookies said sarcastically.

"Oh hush," Hairy said as Pumble pouted. "What do ya'll think the smell was?"

"Pumble farted!" Cookies announced immediately.

"The seals didn't throw away their raw fish!" Pumble retaliated. The seals barked in disagreement, crossing their flippers over their bodies.

"Now, now, there has to be a reason for the smell," Hairy said. Suddenly, his eyes grew wide. "I know what it is!" he cried. "A skunk?"

"A skunk?" the others cried in shock. "Where?" Pumble leaped to the top of the pillows while the seals dove under the bed to look for him eagerly.

"Well think about it," Hairy said logically. "What else smells that bad?"

"Pumble's farts," Cookies replied promptly.

"Oh stop it," Hairy said in exasperation.

"But wouldn't the smell have gotten worse when you opened the window, if it was a skunk?" Pumble said thoughtfully.

"That's a good point!" Hairy said. His eyes grew wide. "That means the skunk is in the Land of the Flowered Bed."

"That's all we need," Cookies rolled his eyes. "We already have three ducks in the bathroom. Of course we need a skunk as well."

"When are the ducks leaving?" Pumble asked. "They tend to hog the hot tub."

"Don't stand there arguing!" Hairy cried. "We have to find the skunk."

"Oh, right," Pumble said. "The skunk." The animals looked under the bed, and found no skunk. They looked in the spa- no skunk. They looked in the refridgerator and under every nook and cranny--no skunk. The seals were sniffing frantically to locate the smell. The others were confused.

"How can it smell so bad and not come from a source?" Hairy asked. "That makes no sense."

Suddenly, the seals began barking and hopping up and down. They pointed their noses to a pair of socks. Hairy went over to sniff the socks and turned green within three feet of them. "That's it all right," he gagged. "It's nauseating. It's completely awful!"

"We have to get rid of it!" Cookies demanded. "Pumble, get rid of the socks."

"No way," Pumble said. "I want to be able to eat again. My hands will fall off."

"I'm not doing it!" Hairy cried. "I found it!" As the three argued, the seals rolled their eyes and used their tails to kick the socks in the toilet. One of the ducks flushed, and the seal barked in appreciation. The three interrupted their arguing.

"Well then," Cookies said. "That's done. Onto the next adventure of the day."

Later that evening, I opened the screen door to take out the trash and froze once again. There on my patio stood a tiny skunk.

"Hello," he beamed up at me. "I heard there was a skunk in the Land of the Flowered Bed. I came to join him."

I stared at him in amazement and shook my head. "Here we go again," I muttered.

Monday, February 05, 2007


The sun was shining, the sky was a bright blue and a cool breeze blew through the air. As I went on one of my daily walks, enjoying the warm sun on my face, I heard a familiar voice.

"Hello, Lady!" A small voice greeted me. I turned to see Ernie the Earthworm laying in the shade of a leaf that had been propped up on some thick grass. His little acorn hat shaded his eyes so all I could see was his glowing pink body.

"Hello, Ernie," I greeted him. "What are you doing today?"

"What does it look like I'm doing?" Ernie asked, tipping his hat up so he could narrow his eyes at me. "I'm sunning myself."

"But you're in the shade," I said.

"Well then, I'm shading myself." Ernie retorted, relaxing under his leaf.

"You never struck me as the sunbathing type," I said. "Aren't you worried about getting sunburned?"

"I'm more afraid of the birds," he said, creeping closer to the edge of his leaf. "If I lay in the sun too long, they think I'm a scrap of ham."

"Do birds eat ham?" I asked, looking confused. "I would think worms would be tastier than ham."

"Shhh!" Ernie whispered, looking around carefully. "Don't give them any ideas. I've managed to convince them I'm an Earthworm God. So they don't mess with me."

"Is that why you needed your hat?" I asked, trying not to smile. Every time he turned his tiny pink head, his hat spun around like a top.

"Of course not," Ernie snapped, acting as though I was dumb. "I need it so I won't get freckles."

I just stared at him. "I have sensitive skin, you know," Ernie said defensively. "People pay money for this shade of pink."

"I'm sure they do," I said, trying not to laugh.

"Lady, where is my hat?" Ernie demanded, trying to see if I was holding it in my hand. "You promised me a spring hat."

"It's not spring yet," I said.

"What do you call this?" Ernie said, looking up at the great blue sky.

"Gorgeous weather," I said.

"Gorgeous weather is the definition of spring," Ernie said triumphantly. "Give me my hat!"

"I don't have it," I said. "You'll have to wait."

Ernie scrunched up his face and his thin pink body began to tremble. The next thing I knew, he was throwing himself all over the ground wailing. "Gimme gimme gimme gimme!" he screamed.

The birds perched above my head didn't miss this new action.

"Is it a worm?" one pondered.

"No it's a ham," another said. "Dummie!"

"You're all wrong!" the third bird said. "It's a french fry!"

"It's pink, stupid!" the first bird said.

"Duh," the third bird said. "It's pink for Valentine's Day. Isn't it romantic?"

"It's not romantic because it's a worm!" the second worm argued. "Only cockroaches are romantic. Now that's elegant cuisine right there."

While the birds argued over dining choices, I bent down and whispered to Ernie, "They think you're a pink french fry."

Ernie quit flopping and sniffled. "I might as well be," he sobbed. "You don't even care about me enough to make me a spring hat." He began to wail again. Rolling my eyes, I took his pre-existing hat and tied some flowers and tiny clovers to the top of it. I bent down and handed it to Ernie.

"How's that?" I asked. Ernie stopped wailing and eyeballed his new hat. "Marvelous!" he cried happily. He put it on his head, causing the flowers to flop over in different directions.

"Don't I look darling?" he beamed up at me. Once again, I couldn't break his wormy little heart.

"Darling," I said, trying not to laugh. And with that, Ernie the earthworm returned to his sunning, the birds continued to argue regarding the romance of worms, and I took a few more minutes in the glorious sunshine. After all, it was a wonderful day for sun.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Focus in

Writing is a terrifying prospect at times. I've re-written a story I plan to submit for publication three times.

Ben thinks I'm nuts. The animals in the Land of the Flowered Bed think I'm obsessive. Anyone who has met me knows I'm eccentric in the least, so this should be no surprise.

Sometimes I worry I focus too much on things. I rabidly await the weekend to work on writing and getting publication stuff out. I manage to get writing done, but something always comes up for sending stuff out. The spacing is off or this envelope looks tacky, or an event comes up that derails my schedule. Realistically, I know that waiting a week, or two, isn't going to be a earth shattering event.

To me, however, it is. I feel as though I'm operating on borrowed time. I'm running down a highway that's eventually going to run into a cliff, which may or may not have a bridge. I know within five years, we may look into having children. At that point, I want to have enough "street cred" and connections to launch a career as a full time author.

Still, on the same hand, I can't freeze my life for five years. I am married, I do have friends and I do have a family. It's not fair for me to ask them to freeze for five years while I chase this dream. At the same time, it's hard for me to be there at a late dinner on Saturday night or going out when all I can think of is the characters in my head. There's so many stories to be told, and it feels as if my fingers can't type fast enough to tell them all.

If you were to go inside my convoluted mind, you would see a room with several doors. Each door would be a different part of my life, and a different story. These stories I write: the blog, the Christmas stories, Lint gremlins, peanut monster all have a different door. Work has it's own door. Home has it's own door. Friends have their own door. For the past month, the doors have all been opening and slamming quickly or remaining cracked. I'm standing in the middle, running from door to door to door. I peek into a door just to see a sliver of light before it slams shut again, sending me to the next door down.

All I know is, I need to close some doors before I open some more. I want to get these stories, out, get them seen, get them published. I don't want to see another week, another day of focus slip by. Even if it is somewhat terrifying to risk rejection, I feel like I can't afford not to. So here I go.