Okay, now. What did you expect her to do? Her next therapy session wasn’t for several days, so who could she talk to? I mean, really, a girl like that will light into fire if she doesn’t get it out. She’s constitutionally unable to play it cool.

So, first she tried to talk to God. Are you there God, it’s me, Sad Sack. But the hurt spilled over and she didn’t think she’d earned the right to ask for comfort. Because (and here’s the irony!) she’d created the hurt. Engineered it.

And so then she talked to her sibling, who genuinely sympathized, because having grown up with her, he knew she was the sensitive sort and he knew she bruised easily. He told her it would all be alright. (But it wasn’t alright. It was terrible.)

So she called an ex-boyfriend and he told her to “chin up”—these things happen. Hopes get taken in hand and squeezed until the life is blackened out—that’s a part of life, and anyway, didn’t she know she’d dodged a bullet? She should be thanking her lucky stars! Finally, “you always were so naïve. God, I worry about you.”

At lunch, her longtime good girlfriend listened for a while, shaking her head and wondering aloud what satisfactory outcome “could you possibly have imagined?” She prescribed a big glass of wine and steered the conversation away, quickly. I think we all know that her friend found the whole thing distasteful and what she really wanted was to catch up and relax…this talk (full of surprises and uncomfortable insights) wasn’t what she’d come all the way downtown for. No.

So what does that leave? Well, let’s see. Father Confessor? No. Boss lady? Uh, no. Playdate mom? Negative. Neighbor? Get serious.

I think that leaves one person. But that one person is it. The issue. The crux.

Countdown to therapy, in 4-3-2-1…and on and on.

###

When I was in college, I became very fond of the movie, Postcards from the Edge. Have you seen it? Featured are two female members of a family…well, let’s be clear here–they are mother and daughter, always a potent and complex relationship. I loved the movie for its depiction of a mother’s overeager desire for her daughter to present a ladylike, charming, poised facade while living in a vortex of family dysfunction. Did I love the movie because I could relate? Maybe yes, maybe no…that’s for me to know, and you’ll never find out! But I digress.

The movie positioned humor and charm into a situation the viewer could see was essentially untenable and often, implicitly unbearable. And so, one learns by watching this kind of comedy that given space and a sense of remove, we can indeed laugh at the things that are difficult to experience in real time.

So, Postcards was me in my 20s.

I’m older now. And recently, a friend pointed out that I’m playing captured patient to my very own Nurse Ratched. Of course, he’s referring to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Through this lens of pop-culture match-up, I find levity where normally there wouldn’t be any. So maybe in this very simplistic way, that’s what pop culture does for us: it allows us see our lives with the variance of humor attached.

Woody Allen says that humor is tragedy given space and time. I agree.

Truly a civil servant.

February 11, 2008

Posed for my civil servant card today. Can one be a starving writer and a servant to the public at once? I hope so. Trying to keep up with my writing, but “real” work interferes. Here I am…respectable worker. This is the pic on my namebadge. I don’t know if this girl looks like a struggling, passionate writer…but inside, she is…she is!

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Merry Christmas

December 24, 2007

Well, Merry Christmas to all. I am hopeful and excited about the new year. 2008 promises to be action-packed, what with the election coming up. In general, change seems to be in the air.

For those of you still working on your writing, best wishes to you in the New Year. Please wish me the same. If you didn’t figure out, I failed dismally at NaNoWriMo. But November 2008 is only 11 months away!  I shall try, try again.

In other news…I will begin my employ as a public servant with Marin County at the end of this month. I am thrilled…anticipating a year of learning, growing, contributing.

So as we head into 2008…I leave you with the Desiderata:

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember
what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible
without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to
others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their
story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are
vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with
others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there
will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy
your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however be
humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of
time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the
world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to 
what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all
aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully
surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of
spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not
distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born
of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less then the
trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And
whether not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is
unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you may conceive
him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations in the
noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all it’s sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is
still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

-found in Old Saint Paul’s Church, Baltimore; Dated 1692.

On your marks!

October 16, 2007

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http://nanowrimo.org

Yay! Farmhouse is up.

August 31, 2007

All (two) of you who’ve waited with baited breath…here’s my contribution to Farmhouse Magazine:

http://www.farmhousemagazine.com/14Pbrown.html 

Makeup.

May 4, 2007

So this is a departure from my usual. Most of you know I write about writing, or about parenting.  But…here’s another side of me.

I’m going to make a sweeping generalization and guess that many of the visitors to this site, who happen to be male, will want to stop reading right about

NOW.

See, this post is going to be all about…da da dum da…cosmetics. If you are one of those amazing women (and I secretly admire you if you are) that cares not a bit about the wonderful world of face paint, you’ll want to stop reading now, too.

Okay, so that leaves the rest of us…those who are interested, or who (like me) are fascinated with the idea of transformation via lipstick, a smudge of color placed smartly on the eye or the cheek, lashes fanned out in thick black mascara, a bit or razzle dazzle sparkle pretty pretty…oh make me stop or I’ll just carry on.

Get it? I love, make that lurve, cosmetics. I love to play with palates of color and with the illusion of good skin, bright eyes, a pouty mouth. For those who are interested, check out my cosmetics reviews at: http://makeupalley.com/product/myreviews.asp

These are my reviews of various cosmetics, and I love the site makeupalley.com. If you are (even remotely) interested in makeup…check out this site.

Boston Literary Magazine prints “dribble” in their issues. Dribble is a story with 50 words exactly…no more and no less.

Like drabble (100 words), the idea is to tell a story with beginning, middle and end in a short space.  Dribble is even more difficult than drabble in my opinion, and as BLM notes–it’s half the words and twice the work (of drabble).

Dribble typically employs irony or shock, something that punches the reader in a short space.  Practicing dribble tightens your writing–you get rid of everything that doesn’t add to the story.  All writers should take a stab at it; it’s fun and rewarding.

Here’s my dribble, published this issue in Boston Literary Magazine:

http://www.bostonliterarymagazine.com/spring07dribble.html#spring07bane.html 

 storySouth’s Million Writers Award is now open to nominations!  Editors can and do nominate their favorites, but one of the cool things about this award is that writers can nominate, too!

The award is given to fiction writers whose online stories have been nominated, reviewed, and chosen for their excellence.

If you’ve read a story in the last year (online) that has impressed you, nominate it!

Go here: http://www.storysouth.com/million_writers_award/2007/03/reader_nominations_for_2007_mi.html 

So I got tired of my own face staring back at me when I’d go onto my blog, so I’ve put up a new header.

Yep–that really is my hand.  Fascinating, huh?