Friday, May 27, 2011

Second-time rain, second time revisions, and one big slug

This morning, when I got up, it was sunny. I'd taken the day off work to make revisions and headed to Starbucks, plunking away on the keyboard and sipping bold coffee in a "for here" cup. Things were going pretty well until I got the email from my BFF, to whom I'd submitted three revised chapters.

She didn't like them. She wants Mr. Darcy and I gave her Mr. Rogers.

I made an emergency tweet to Carol, in my critique group, who has Fridays off, and we met for lunch 20 minutes later. "Okay, yes," she said, "I thought it was good, but what she said is better."

I stared out of the dark gray clouds rolling in. Yeah, I know what she said is better, but I wanted sympathy. And commiseration. And maybe encouragement. Carol was wise enough to give me that, and still be on time to pick up her daughter, forty-five minutes later.

I couldn't do any more revisions. I have to wait and let it settle in, then the ideas will start and I'll begin again. I left and went to the grocery store. By the time I came out, it was second-time rain; that is the kind of rain that comes down so hard, it bounces back up so it can rain down a second time. I sloshed to my car, my hair plastered to my head, and tossed in the soggy grocery bag. I was wet and it was only 46 degrees outside, so cranked the heater dial up to the "Belize" setting, pressed my foot down to "Ignite Afterburner," and flipped the wipers to "Warp Eight."

To top matters off, there is an eight inch long slug sliming along the outside of my sliding glass door and the cats are taking turns leaping up to claw it off. Boooying Booooying Boooying.

Not an ideal start to a three day weekend, but better than a tornado.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Confessions of a Seven-Year-Old

My very close relative, who prefers to remain nameless, admitted her seven-year-old grandson will probably not become a priest. After what she told me about her grandchild’s first confession/first communion, I think most priests might even rethink their choice. It seems the lad, Indiana Jones (not his real name), was nervous before they piled into the car to go to the church for his first confession.

“I don’t know what to say,” he moaned. “I don’t know what to confess.” He paced around the living room.

His mother hoisted an eyebrow. “Well,” she suggested, “you could mention all the times you’ve smashed your brother, or the times you’ve said ‘no’ to me.”

He looked hopeful, but then his shoulders sagged. “No, that won’t work, because you can only confess to things that you are sorry about.”

When it was time, they filed out to the car and drove to the church. Indiana made his way in like a sacrificial lamb. The priest entered the center of the confessional and each child took a turn in the cubbyholes on either side. But something was amiss. A steady stream of children came and went on the priest’s right, but on the left, Indiana disappeared behind the curtain and did not return.

His father sat in the church, at first the proud papa, but as the minutes ticked by, his shoulders tensed and his breathing became shallow. His eyes on the lush curtain, he saw Indiana’s head poke out and the lad crooked his finger, beckoning his father to come to the confessional. His father slowly shook his head, glancing up for the bolt of lightning. Indiana vanished. The click of seven-year-old girl’s shoes, the creaking of wooden pews, and hushed whispers filled the next few minutes until Indiana inched out of the confessional, tears streaming down his cheeks. His father ran to his aid, but Indiana was so distraught, he couldn’t talk, couldn’t move.

It took a while to coax him to a bench and more time for him to tell, in hiccupped sobs, that the priest had told him to think of his own penance.

This was not what they had practiced. He didn’t know what to do. Little Indy kneeled in the confessional, trying to think of what penance he might give himself and waiting for the priest to okay it. The priest did not explain that he could leave, so Indy waited, and thought, and waited and thought until he could stand it no longer. When he asked for help, and his father abandoned him, it was more than he could bear.

Indiana’s father took him home and comforted him. When he asked his son if he had thought of any “sins” to confess, Indiana said, “Yes, I told the priest about six hundred things.”

Glory be and the saints be praised. No wonder the priest had him think up his own penance.

But that wasn’t the end of it. The next day they went to church for his first communion and Indiana realized he had no money to give when they passed the basket around. Not wanting to have to confess that the next time, he begged his mother to give him some coins. She dug in her wallet and handed him some cash which he carefully slipped into the envelope and sealed. But the collection basket had already passed him by. Sweat beaded on his forehead. The mass continued, but the little envelope burned in his hand. By the time mass was over and the priest turned and told everyone to “go in peace”, Indiana knew he had only one shot at redemption. Desperate, he vaulted from his seat, hurtled up to the front of the church and jabbed the envelope into the priest’s hand. When he turned around, the entire congregation stared at him.

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t be surprised if poor Indiana became a protestant.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Good News, Bad News, Good News

Good news is that spring is here in the Northwest. That means rain with sun breaks.

The bad news is that the grass is growing really, really fast and if you don't stay on top of it, you have to ride the mower through a jungle of green. I've been working very hard on revisions and, I admit, my grass got pretty long. Then I couldn't get my mower started and it got longer. A friend came over and got it going, but then I couldn't get it into gear. The grass got longer. But today, I managed to get it started and get it into gear and off I went, mowing nearly a half acre of hidden obstacles in tall ground cover. If I wasn't running into a concealed fir branch, I was plowing through a mole hill. That is bad enough, but at the last moment, as I rode along the edge--the mower deck whirling and the engine booming--I saw the snake. I screamed, but it was too late.

Now I have about 30 pieces of snake all over the yard. It makes me almost hope there are crows around.

But the good news is that on my commute, I pulled into the driveway of this baby and learned she is two and a half weeks old, her name is Feather, she takes after her dad, and she is already learning to walk on a halter lead. Later I felt kind of bad because I never even asked the man his name. Just grilled him about the little, baby girl, took the picture and left. Am I lame, or what?

More good news is that the revisions are actually going pretty well. My critique group likes the results and I'm beginning to enjoy this round of revision.

Bad news is I'm not going to be posting much.