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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Three Truths and a Lie

How well do you know me? Can you pick the lie out of the truths? Maybe the question should be, how well do I know myself? Can I tell the truths from the lies anymore? It all starts to run together, doesn't it?

Anyway, here goes:

1) I know which one of these, variorum or variorium, is a real word, but I had to ask a lot of people to find out; 2) I love alternative rock music, even though I don't really know what it is an alternative to; 3) One of my students told me she died her poodle's fur pink with Kool-Aid, thus making a punk poodle (she swears she stopped short of clipping it a mohawk); 4) Oysters on the half-shell make me swoon, or at least that's what my husband likes to think.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

"You're completely alliterate."

I'm in a marathon of editing one of the final proofs of If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny. This morning, I sat at one end of the kitchen table and my husband sat at the other. We both, with red pens in hand, marked up copies of the proof.

He broke my deep concentration with a low chuckle. I looked up to see if he needed my attention or wanted clarification on something. He stared at the pages, however, feverishly (a little too feverishly for my personal comfort), working his pen across the page.

Minutes passed. Again, my helpmate laughed out loud. This time I looked up to see him shaking his head back and forth. He took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes. I decided that for the sake of our marriage we may need to conduct these sessions in individual privacy. But for the time, I said nothing and continued with my work.

Suddenly, he belted out guffaws that brought the children running to see what was so funny. Knowing I had given him strict instructions to carefully search the manuscript for typos, misspellings, and other errors, and not to read the stories, I became very self-conscious. I bore my eyes into him until he raised his head to return my glare.

"What?" he asked.

"What are you laughing at?"

"Nothing. It's just that you're completely illiterate," he replied.

"Well, thanks a lot," I huffed, slamming shut my copy of If Mama Don't Laugh. "If that's what you really think, you can stop right there!"

Baffled at my intense irritation, he stammered and muttered a few unintelligible syllables. Then his eyes lit up with amusement (which, quite naturally, miffed me more). "No, no, no. I said alliterate, as in alliteration. You know. Lucy laughs long. Mama makes muffins. You have a knack for creative alliteration. It makes your stories so interesting."

Okay. Give me a compliment and all is forgiven. I didn't even fuss at him for indulging himself in reading the manuscript while he edited. I'll save that for later, when I need him to butter me up again.

Saturday, August 4, 2007


This week I go back to the real world - my real job as a 2nd grade teacher. Yet, I'm still in the throes of book publishing here in my fantasy wish-I-could-do-this-full-time life. It's causing me so much overflow angst that my oldest son had to have his appendix removed last Saturday.

On top of that, I have insomnia. I lay awake mentally reviewing my book contract, and all of its intricacies, for If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny. I pre-worry that I will choke in interviews or that I will forget my best friends' names when they ask me to personalize copies of my book . I think about my classroom and my new students and whether or not I can prepare in time for the first day of school. I hope that I won't forget to show up for the first day of school like I did in a dream back when I could sleep.

From there I ruminate on grease fires in the kitchen, and escape routes from my house, and how many of my sleeping children I can carry out a window at one time. I fear I've lost the nail clippers, again, and that my toenails will grow long and gnarly and I'll end up in the Guines Book of World Records for an embarassing hygiene problem. I rehearse my Parents' Night speech. I think about my checking account. I chew on ideas for my newspaper column that I will never remember in the morning.

Driven mad by my own musings, seeking a way to stop the thoughts from coursing through my brain at bullet train speeds, hoping to find relief, I decide to pray. I start out well enough, asking for help with my anxiety, requesting assistance with achieving balance in my life, pleading to be soon lost in sleep. Thanksgiving for a thousand enumerated things follows: my children, my husband, my house, my car, my dogs, my cat, the fish, the bird, flowers, rain, clouds, pillows, porch swings, parakeets, friends, my job, creativity, corkscrews, doormats, sofas, shag carpet, the color green, dice, my health, frozen pizza, ice cream, elevators, electricity, mice . . .

Before I know it, my mind wanders and I'm on a tangent, wondering if I left the rice open, or a door unlocked, or forgot to turn on the dishwasher, or if someone will try to break into my auto to get the dollar bill I may have left on the front passenger seat, or did I put the dollar in the pocket of my pants which are now in the washing machine, or did I put washing powder in with the clothes, or what if I trip on my husband's shoe on the way to the bathroom and fall and break my ankle in the middle of the night, or if I set the alarm.

But, oh yes, praying. God bless the insomniac. Amen.

What will the children want to be for Halloween? I bet there are no hair appointments available at the salon next week. I should check my eyebrows in the morning . . .