Monthly Archives: October 2014

Things…

Standard

Here I am!

It was the blog’s turn for a bit to be sacrificed on the altar of “Things-to-Do”.

The baby has been sick since last Friday. I haven’t had much chance to learn what his particular personality requires in illness until now. And evidently he requires me. It was back to newborn hours for a few days. There was lots of sleeping on the Mommy-mattress. I’m glad to say I handled it much more gracefully than ever before, the boon of the third and last baby. Today he’s himself again and I’m Dr. Jekyll-ing myself back to normal with every sip from my coffee cup.

I made the kids wait to carve their pumpkins until last Sunday. I was sure the pumpkins would last a week. But the jack-o-lanterns began gathering fuzz of white and green and were subsequently moved to the balcony on Wednesday. This morning I discovered the scary pumpkin collapsed into itself, a testament to the self-destruction that comes from a short life filled with nothing but evil intent. Ugh. So, it was disposed of in two plastic bags and I was knocking on my downstairs neighbor’s door at eight am. She was making her kids’ school lunches and I explained the slimy puddle on her balcony.

Last night the two elder kids were allowed to stay up late to watch game seven of the World Series. I was elected to run to the store during the fifth inning. I didn’t feel quite so much a “thing apart” as I usually do walking through the city at night as every open window I passed was tuned to the game and every cheer or clap found its chorus on the streets. We plan on taking my son out of school on Friday and going down to Market Street for our first ticker tape parade.

I’ve been lost in a world of Anne. I don’t recall exactly if I’ve ever mentioned it before, but my favorite authoress is Lucy Maud Montgomery, the writer of Anne of Green Gables. She is also the writer of Emily, Pat, Jane, and my favorite heroine of hers, Valancy. I’ve been lost in the blue hazes wrapped like scarves across the shoulders of distant hills and the elflike shadows cast by fir boughs playing on moonlit paths. One day I would very much like to follow a winding red path down to the rocky coast of Prince Edward Island or maybe hear the snow against the windows as I sit in front of a fire with a plate of russets.

I once read that a writer’s refrigerator is always immaculate. This was in reference to the procrastination seemingly inseparable from the creative process. I then read somewhere else a version I like much better. It was something about how it’s easier to give yourself over to the messiness of a creative mind when the world around you is in order. This is very true with me. So, now that my sink is scrubbed, bathroom cleaned, and laundry momentarily managed, perhaps I can, as Anne would say, “dust off my ambitions” a little?

I’ll leave you with a quote gracing the title page of Anne of Avonlea:

“Flowers spring to blossom where she walks
The careful ways of duty,
Our hard, stiff lines of life with her
Are flowing curves of beauty.”
-Whittier

As Far as Reviews Go, Ignorance is Bliss…

Standard

the real one

‘Tis the season to start checking my Kindle Direct Publishing and Create Space accounts!

A few years back I set up all of my church skits individually on KDP. So worship directors and such can download a script if they need. Since most of my skits are Christmas skits I also made a Kindle Book of just Christmas skits. And then I went over to Create Space, drew a cover, and made a hardcopy Christmas skit book that can be ordered from Amazon.

So, come September my skits start selling, peaking the few weeks before Christmas, and trailing off around Easter. I well remember my Dad’s search every year for new Christmas monologues to perform in church services, so I know they’re needed somewhere.

Last year I made about a hundred dollars, which isn’t bad considering I make 33 cents off a single skit (I can’t sell them for less than 99 cents). This also isn’t bad considering my reviews are simply awful!

Seriously, I made a plan long ago never to read my own reviews. But last Christmas I was so surprised when they started to sell again that I thought I’d go check it out.

The best one was from my friend, which was nice. (Bless you, Adam!) But they just go downhill from there. One says it was too short. One says it was uninspiring. One wonders if I am an atheist?!

And this is the worst one:

“This product wasn’t even worth the dollar I paid for it. Besides the poor writing this author was more concerned with advancing a political cause than portraying the spirit of the holiday season. I highly recommend that she give up writing dramas and labeling them as Christian when they are actually political commentary. It’s unfortunate that Amazon won’t let me rate this as zero stars because that’s what it deserves.”

I couldn’t help laughing, I mean, really laughing. That review was for my Three Wise Men skit. It makes you want to read it, doesn’t it? I mean, now you’re just a little curious, right? I reread that skit after I saw the review, but I still can’t tell what the heck they might’ve been referencing.

So, now I’m surprised when I sell any of them at all! But, sure enough, here it’s October and sales are ramping up.

It’s exciting to make money off of my writing, even if it’s just a little bit. I mean, that’s the dream, right?

I still get excited thinking about churches across the country performing my skits in December. But now I wonder the teeniest bit, how many purchasers are just too lazy to return my uninspired atheist propaganda?

What’s in a Name…

Standard

On the Saturday night of the weekend I was in New York I walked back to the hotel through Harlem by myself with the baby. The subway platform was crowded.  Rats were running along the tracks.  I observed some interactions that made me weary.  And then, I got on the train.

A dad and his son sat next to us. Baby promptly grabbed at the kid and we began to talk.  The boy was ten and wanted to be a chemist.

“A chemist?” I asked.

“He wants to solve the worlds’ ills,” his Dad told me.

“Well, how are your lab skills?” I asked.

The boy looked as if he really wished he could tell me. He looked like he might have gone out on a limb and told me that his lab skills were great if he even knew what lab skills were.

“Well, there are so many kinds of chemistry,” I said, “You’re best served keeping your options open so that you’re able to go down the path you want to follow when you find it.”

Dad looked at his son to see if he had absorbed that bit of advice.

The son continued to tell me how he was working hard to get good grades, the goals his Dad and he had set together, how strict his Dad was. And the way the boy talked, he was bragging.  He was proud of the contingencies that had been placed on his privileges and television hours.  Our stop came up.

“What’s your name?” I asked the boy.

“Craig,” he said.

“Well, good luck, Craig,” I said.

“And what’s your name?” I asked the Dad.

“Craig,” he smiled.

I smiled back.

“It was nice to meet you. You’re doing a great job, Craig,” I said.

The baby and I waved goodbye to the two Craigs through the window. And I wondered about it after that, the magic of bequeathing your name.  The willingness and care it takes to let someone else wear your name, how invested it makes you.

There was a sermon this summer on the name of God. The pastor talked about “Yhwh”.  He talked about the different ways to pronounce it, the implications of God revealing his name to us.  He said that lately Bible scholars have been drawing the connection between the sounds and spelling of the word “Yhwh” and the sounds and spelling in ancient Hebrew that represent the sound of human breath, nearly identical.

This is the depth of the Father’s commitment to us. And it is no small thing, that he would trust his name to our mouths with every breath.

And I think about young Craig from Harlem who will forever introduce himself with a name that was his Father’s first.

And I relax into the thought that before I was able to accomplish anything and long after I wear out my usefulness on this Earth my living breath will continue to proclaim the Father’s name.

Yhwh.

Itchy Itchy…

Standard

I’ve been taking a little break.

A few weeks ago I was “angst-ing out”. That is, I was getting increasingly frustrated by my desires and increasingly ill-equipped to satisfy them.

So, I put my ambitions aside. And I took a deep breath. I made granola. I cleaned the apartment. I ate ice cream and read a book.

During the day I sat in the middle of the carpet instead of in front of my computer. I read the books that were brought to me. I admired the drawings that were shown to me. I wrestled the little bodies that stepped too close to me.

Yesterday I spent forty-five minutes making a cardboard castle with lookout towers, shelves, and a gatehouse.

And today, for the first time since my last post, almost a week ago, I got out my computer. This promptly occurred:

2014-10-21 09.54.41

My life would be much simpler if I did not need to write, if I did not wake up in the mornings with the story like a rash eating away at my brain demanding to be scratched. I would have nothing to do but be a mother and friend. My house would be the tiniest bit cleaner. Dinners would be the tiniest bit slower. And I think things would be a little more comfortable for my husband and kids. Things would certainly be more comfortable for me.

But today I woke up itchy. And so I dug out my computer from underneath the Lego ships on my dresser and established nap time firmly.

And now, I write.

I’ll Drink to That…

Standard

There are a lot of pregnant women in my life right now.

So, it’s not really a surprise that I would begin to find symptoms of pregnancy in myself.

Over the years I have probably taken fifty, well, at least twenty, maybe as high as thirty, negative pregnancy tests. I am notorious for thinking I’m pregnant when I’m not. The rule is that when I start feeling the glimmerings of certainty to the point that I start forsaking the coffee or alcohol it’s time to take the test. Yesterday morning I forsook a cup of coffee. It was time to take the test.

There are very few things more awkward than purchasing a pregnancy test, except maybe, purchasing one while your three children are knocking down the store shelves around you. You should’ve seen the look on the clerk’s face yesterday when I asked if he had any behind the counter. I saw a whole lot of condoms, but no pregnancy tests.

He blanched. He counted my children. He then made a thorough search to no avail.

“I thought I had some,” he said.

“Well, they are the ones everyone steals, right?” I joked.

He laughed halfheartedly. He’s probably still worried about me.

So, this afternoon I tried again at a different store. I surreptitiously tossed the box between the bread and the bananas on the conveyor belt. The checker boy passed it over the scanner quickly. I snagged the box before my son could read it only to realize it was empty.

“Um, is it okay if I grab another since this one is empty?” I asked.

The boy blanched and poked his finger into the empty box.

“Uh, yeah, that’s odd…” he said.

“They’re the ones everyone steals, right?” I joked.

He laughed halfheartedly. I am nothing if not original.

I then dragged my three children and three bags of groceries home through an ocean of whining and a growing storm of my own emotional turbulence. Four?!?!!? One way or another I had to find out soon.

I took the test and waited as my all-knowing urine climbed the uncompromising stick of certainty.

I have often thought it would be amusing for a pregnancy test company to change its indicators from “pregnant” and “not pregnant” to “sorry” and “congratulations”. What face would the women of America make when faced with this ambiguous empathy?

I, for one, would’ve breathed a little easier as my “not pregnant” today meant “congratulations”. I mean, sure, I would have been glowing tomorrow. After all, I do love my babies. But, I also might have shed a few tears tonight.

This means that now it’s time for my post-negative-pregnancy-test tradition, because after twenty, maybe thirty tests you know I have one, that is, a stiff drink.

So, huzzah! Pregnant ladies I drink to you!