Sunday, May 31, 2009

Life Can Be Interesting

As I sit in Starbucks, listening to some blues turned low, I wonder why anyone would follow my blog. My life isn't all that interesting. Certainly not as interesting as, oh, say, your own. The only thing my blog might have that someone else's may not is my propensity to exaggerate.

When writing, that is called literary license. When relating a story in person some have scoffed when I begin my fanciful exaggeration. Hummph. Really? Hard to believe, but yes. Most of my friends and co-workers have become accustomed to my "verbal fiction". It is merely literary license added to a verbal retelling of some trivial event. Yes, I admit, sometimes the verbal fiction is more exaggerated than other times, but those who know me are now acclimated.

For instance, if I am forced to apply my brakes suddenly on the way to work, in the retelling, I had to slam on my brakes and laid 45 feet of skids before coming to rest in the haze of burning rubber. This is merely a slight exaggeration, surely. A slightly fictionalized account of a true story.


So, I give fair warning of my status as a writer of fiction. I take very seriously the bumper sticker that warned, "No, your life would NOT make a good book." However, my slightly fictionalized telling of some event may make a good story, if not a book. And I will certainly be the first to admit it, if asked.

I mean, who wants to read "Today, I got up, went to work, came home, had dinner and went to bed"?

Wouldn't this be more interesting? "Today I woke to the rumble of military jets passing over en-route to the Portland airbase. I hauled myself out of bed and rushed to work, turning on NPR and listened for any signs of a skirmish. By the end of the day, after reassuring myself no aerial attack was imminent, I gunned my engine and few home, closing all the curtains in case a blackout occurred while I fixed dinner. When I finally lowered my head to the pillow, I gave thanks I got through another day and hoped the sun would rise the next."

It is pretty much the same thing, isn't it? I mean, that plane I heard could have been military, couldn't it?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Cats and Jammers

Hobie Cat is in the hospital. He ate the little rubber tip from the door stop and it jammed in his intestines. What is up with that? I mean, it couldn't have even tasted good. He's eaten some of my wallpaper, too. And I noticed the plastic jug of Purina Pro Plan cat food is missing half its label. He gets enough cat food, but the attraction to non-edible items is like a monkey on his back.

Tomorrow, if Hobie gets through the night after his surgery, I will take a second out on my house and bail him out. But, really, this is the last time. The next time he does this I'll have to give him a burial at sea, because my entire rainy-day fund is being depleted on this one event.

He knew I was a sucker that day I went to the pound. A plain little tabby kitten among some of the cutest kittens I'd ever seen stood alone while everyone fawned over the others. Families actually fought over the other kittens, jostling to hold them, but no one wanted the tabby. My heart melted and I picked him up and held him. His purr could have derailed a train, it was so loud, but he looked up into my eyes and extended his paws so they rested on either side of my chin. It was as if he said, "I've been waiting and waiting for you. I knew you'd come for me."

That was a year and a half ago. He remains the sweetest cat when he isn't eating bizarre things, and his purr still rocks the house. Am I foolish to spend the money for surgery? Probably. But while that money sits in the bank, how can I deny him? I need his purr, and we freely give each other love.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Two Extra Cats

My cat is sick. He likes to eat things. Pieces of paper, silk flowers, shoe strings, bows, ribbons, and a host of other things. He doesn't put it together that when he feels sick it is from weird things he eats. If I thought he would never do it again, it would make me feel better, but I know it is just a matter of time until the next incident.

I tried calling him from work, just to find out if he was better or worse. My other cat is concerned, too. But neither of them answered. I tried not to let that upset me.

I've taken him to the vet before, more than once, but they really don't do anything more than shoot some liquid under his skin to "hydrate" him and then charge $267. So I have a syringe and I've been forcing him to drink now and then, and leaving the $267 in my bank account.

So I'll be awake most of the night, worrying about the silly boy. (Sigh)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Is this Monday or Tuesday?

It felt so much like a Monday I added an extra half a packet of coffee to the brew at work. When I get to work and there is no coffee made a broad grin spreads across my face. "Wow, great. I get to make it and I can make it exactly the way I like it," I boast.

Puts a smile on my face.

I have noticed some of my co-workers clutch their throats and red splotches splatter over their faces after the first sip from the pot I have made. One went so far as to gasp and rush over to the hot water button, splashing a fair amount into their mugs. I don't take this personally. My grandfather, George Sherman, didn't think it was worth drinking if the spoon didn't stand up in it.

Well, maybe I take it just a little personally, especially when one guy when out and cranked up his car, put a pan under to catch the old oil and held the coffee pot over the oil spout. I mean, that is taking editorial comment just a tad too far.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

It is Monday and I'm sitting at Starbucks, listening to Pink Martini, with a cup of regular coffee and my computer. I forgot to ask for decaf and I hope I don't pay the price tonight. I normally don't drink caffeine past noon.

I'm editing now. My pre-read partner, Carol, pointed out I'd missed a fabulous opportunity to give a whole host of reactions to my protagonist's latest outrageous, brazen act of desperation. Carol was so right, so I must edit before I read at my critique group on Thursday.

I'm thrilled to report I still feel upbeat today. Maybe I don't mind going in to work tomorrow after all. It isn't the work I dread, actually, it is the getting up at six in the morning. I am not a morning person. I used to feel guilty about that. "Early to bed, early to rise...blah blah blah" "Early bird gets the worm...blah blah blah." Five days a week my alarm blasts me out of a perfectly tranquil existence at 6am. You'd think that after so many years of that, my eyes would automatically pop open moments before, even on the weekends.

But no.

I believe we are either born night owls or morning larks and there isn't a thing we can do about it except set our alarms. We are what we are and there is nothing wrong with someone who isn't a morning lark. Ben obviously felt a certain amount of contempt for night owls as evidenced by his "Early to bed..." statement, but really, if everyone got up and rushed to Starbucks at the same time, think of the lines.

And some of the authors I've met have said they are most prolific from 10pm to 3 or 4 in the morning. That is not the voice of a morning lark. Bless them. It restores the hope that one can become wealthy and wise late at night, Mr. Know-It-All Franklin. I'm grateful to you for founding libraries, but don't try to tell me your way is the only way.

My thanks to all who have fought for my country, from the revolution to present. Your sacrifice enables me to sit in this Starbucks on Memorial Day and I want you to know I appreciate you. Bless you all, living and dead.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Middle of the Three Day Weekend

I've just created this blog. I had to do it now, while I'm in the first half of the three-day weekend. If I waited until the second half, I'd be unable to focus or force my fingers to press the letters on the keyboard, I'd be so tired. Why is it I feel so much smarter, charming, and energetic during the first half of a holiday weekend than I do on the second?

Later on, during the last day, I'll take on a more stoic approach. The pall of the work-a-day world will settle its dark veil and my every action will slow like a server with 98% capacity filled.

If one approached it from a logical standpoint, it would not make sense. Presumably, one has received more sleep after two days off. The level of stress should be lower, too. So, what spreads its sinister cloud of doom over the third day?

I am writing a book and at this very moment I am participating in writing avoidance. I am nearing the end and am suffering separation anxiety. Well, either that or I'm terrified to apply my pen to the dreaded query letter page.

My story?

"Jessamine Maxwell and her two cousins make a big mistake. They disguise themselves as sailors to thwart pirates’ abduction, but are instead pressed into the Royal Navy in broad daylight off the South Carolina coast in 1805. It isn’t easy for a whey-faced, stump-winged lubber of an American boy to fit in on a British navy ship, especially when he is really a she, but Jessie does her best. When she takes action, things happen. But not on purpose."

So, if I can learn to blog, perhaps the query is not insurmountable.