Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I'm baaaccckkkk ....

Go ahead. Take your best shot. Swat me. I've been a naughty blogger. I've been an absent landlord. I've been too busy to write. I've been going on adventures. I've been making excuses.

To be honest, I've been teaching at a magnet school for the arts here in this fine city, and when I teach, I give my energy to that. I find it's hard to write my own shit when I'm teaching other people to write. So I'm enjoying my time teaching creative writing to high school kids, but I've had a lot going on and teaching -- lesson planning, showing up, lesson planning -- has taken up the time I usually spend writing.

And then last night somebody set my neighbor's front stairs on fire, and I called 911 and then I was out there in the street talking to a police officer and some very hot firefighters .... Who can write when there are hot firefighters flames?

Yeah, it's just another fucking excuse. Ask any writer: we're full of shit excuses. (Although the fire really did happen.)

I'm changing my ways though .... well, as of this Friday, November 1, I'm changing my ways. I'll be going crazy posting every day during the month of November for NaBloPoMo. And believe me, this will be the craziest month ever for me to post every day. You'll find out why soon enough.

For tonight though, I just wanted to check in and remind you that I'm still around. And I wanted to tell you a short story about something that happened earlier tonight.

Tonight was my night with my granddaughter Coraline, but a good friend called and said he wanted to come over and talk to me about something. I told him to come on over. Coraline and I had just finished making some deviled eggs, which we do almost every week now.

So he and Coraline were eating deviled eggs and we were talking, and I don't really even remember what we were talking about, but I said, "Well, yeah. You're like a brother to me ...."

And he said something like, "You've never said that before. That means a lot to me." And he walked across the kitchen and hugged me. He may have been a tiny bit teary.

I said, "I've probably told at least 25 people that you're like a brother to me. I've never said that to you?"

He said, "No, I don't think you ever have. But I'll take it. That means a lot to me."

So my message tonight is this: Just fucking tell people how you feel about them. I know. It's trite. You've scrolled by that message on afuckinghundred Victorian greeting cards on Facebook. I'm telling you again: Say it.

You may think people know how you feel about them, but unless you come right out and say the words, they're only making assumptions. And they may assume wrong, or they may not assume enough. Put it into words. It's important.

Sure, my friend knows I love him. He knows I'd do almost anything for him. But I really do think of him as a brother. I think of him as family. And even though we've talked about a lot of deep shit over the years, I guess I hadn't ever told him just how very special he was to me.

He deserves to know.

So don't hold that shit in. Come out and say it. In fact, I challenge you to tell one person today how you honestly feel about him or her. Just one.

And then if you get hit by a fucking bus 20 minutes later, you'll leave that one loose end tied up in a heart-shaped bow.

Unless, of course, it's somebody you hate whom you decide to tell how you really feel, and then you can die knowing you got in one last kick to the groin, and seriously? That might feel almost as good. Because seriously? I can think of a few people in my life who are like the creepy uncle I'd like to kick in the balls or the alcoholic nephew I'd like to cut out of the will or the lying ex I'd like to .....

I think I've digressed .....

You have your orders. Tell somebody how you feel. Report back in the comments below. I'm sitting here with a box of wine and a bowl of buttered popcorn waiting to hear your stories. Don't disappoint me. A girl could get fat waiting.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Dear Anonymous,

Two fellow bloggers are blogging every day this month just like I did last month. They've given each other several prompts they can use if they get stuck. I wish I'd thought of that idea.

One of their prompts struck me as an interesting exercise, so I decided to do it too.

"Pick 10 people and write out one thing you [wish] you could say to them. Do not identify who the people are. Just write them in list form. A number and then what you want to say."

1. I know you think you’re too fat and you never do enough, but to me you’re perfectly you, and I love you just as you are. I wish you could see yourself the way I do. You'd want to be your own best friend. You really are exactly the person you're supposed to be.

2. I hope this isn’t going to end as horribly for you as I’m afraid it will.

3. You aren’t even close to the character you pretend to be. Life isn’t a play. We all know who you are behind that mask …. and frankly, the mask isn't a hell of a lot prettier.

4. You can give up. That was never going to happen anyway.

5. You’re a grown up. It’s time to stop trying to be one of the cool kids. If it didn’t happen in high school, it doesn’t matter now. It never really mattered then either.

6. I miss you. I’m sorry I wasn’t a better friend.

7. I’m sorry you had to choose. And I'm sorry you made the wrong choice.

8. Being jealous of the woman who rejected your boyfriend/husband makes no sense at all. I didn’t want him. That leaves him available for you. You should be on your knees.

9. Some things I won’t forgive without a sincere apology. Some things I won’t forgive ever. You should try the apology though and see how it turns out.

10. I’m proud of you for following your dreams. I wish I could be more like you. You inspire me.

11. Thank you for being in my life. If I haven't said that, I should have.

As I read this list, I'm struck by a couple of things. First, I can't follow orders although these are supposed to be specific to one person, several of them are things I could say to more than one person. They're like a daily horoscope. Only a couple of them are entirely specific.

Second, I doubt most of the people I had in mind when I wrote these will read them, although it's more likely with the positive ones. I realized as I wrote these, this exercise is mostly about the past. If you're reading these, they probably aren't meant for you ... unless you think you're numbers 1, 10, and 11. In that case, hellz yeah those are about you!

 Third, and finally, I could have written an entire list of nasty things I want to say to certain nasty people (although I'm not sure there are as many as 10 certain nasty people), but I tried to add some balance so it wouldn't be an entire bitch-fest. I may even have cheated, because I've said those nice things to a significant number of people, and maybe I was even thinking of those people when I wrote them. The directions don't say it has to be a secret though. And I'm not going to be hard on myself about the mean things, because it proves that I tend to tell people the nice things I want to say, and I keep to myself the uglier things I'd say if I allowed myself to go there. Some of these could have been a lot harsher and crueler, but I'd rather not focus that much energy and attention on people I feel that way about.

I'm not sure I'll leave this list up. No offense to the other bloggers, but it feels a bit passive aggressive. And yet, it's also kind of cathartic to say some things aloud. Let me know what you think about it.

Want to give it a try? Post your own list of 10 things you'd like to say to 10 different people in the comment section below. I promise I won't take any of them personally if you won't!

(Photo credits: and