Friday, November 27, 2009

Need to write

I can't find my journal, and I need to write something. I don't care what it is, I just need to get SOMETHING out and you guys are part of my outlet this morning, ok? Good deal.

The other day at the coffee shop I heard someone say something grammatically fucked, and apparently I wrote it down because I found a draft of a post that started a few weeks ago and it just contained this sentence, "That girl just looks the same for years. The whole time I' known her she's had the same way hair." I need to start writing dialogue like this.

My agent is reading my book this week. This is the scene I imagine if she sends me an email with a list of changes I need to make: I'll be sitting at my laptop Monday morning, sipping my coffee, and I'll excitedly click on an email from Agent Sarah (that's what I like to call her), I'll read the words, "This is great! But I propose the following changes before we send it out to publishers," and I will spew coffee onto my computer screen. The computer will short out, I will be unable to make changes to my book, and she will have to sell it as is. This is a winning scenario because it involves both coffee, and the publication of my book.

Thanksgiving was exhausting but overall good. First I went to Chris's apartment, ate with him and the kids, took the babies to my parents', and then to my Paw Paw's house.

Four scenes from Thanksgiving that are in no particular order, and will contain lots of run-on sentences:
At my parent's house-My grandfather slaps me on the back as I'm taking a bite of stuffing and I think, "Why did I sit next to this man?" He says, "What's going on with your book, fella?" I give him the update and he says, "When can I read it?" I laugh nervously and then realize he's serious. I say, "After it's been banned." Then follows a discussion about how some of the finest books in history are outlaws, which is a much less stressful conversation and I'm able to finish my stuffing. There's something unnerving about the thought of my grandpa reading a piece of my work wherein I use words like, "motherfucker" and "vagina breath." Ok, I made up that last one. Still, you get my point.

I'm at Chris's apartment, feeling very awkward that it's our first holiday separated, but we're physically together in the same kitchen, he's stirring the mashed potatoes, I'm carving the turkey, and I'm thinking about how our roles are reversed because usually he carves while I work on the side items, and while I'm thinking about this and starting to feel depressed I cut my finger and though the cut isn't deep, it bleeds a lot. I am relieved of turkey duty.

Early that morning, while I'm roasting the turkey to bring to Chris', I'm standing by the sink and I'm crying, and I remember that there's rum in the house. It's a stressufl holiday, so no harm, right? I take the rum, pour some into my coffee, take a sip or two, then I remember something my aunt told me about my mom. When my mom and dad were separated Mom was really stressed out, and so she would have a glass of wine a day. "Just one glass," she told my aunt. That's how it started. So I call an Al-Anon friend and say, "This is a bad idea isn't it?" He agrees, and I pour it down the sink.

I'm at my Paw Paw's house that night and the kids are running around with their cousins, while I sit at a table with my grown cousins, talking about the obscene amount of food we've eaten. While I'm talking I'm secretly envious because the four people at the table with me are each part of a couple, and they all have jobs. I begin to feel sorry for myself, and then am suddnely sick of feeling sorry for myself. I make a gratitude list in my head: I am grateful for being fed today, I am grateful that my children are with me, I am grateful that I'm sober and not crippled with depression, and I'm grateful that I have arms and legs that work and opposable thumbs. I feel lighter. I am able to eat more carrot cake.

And now I am unable to look at food. But I feel better having written. I'll let you guys know what Agent Sarah has to say. And I'll maybe let you read it after it's banned.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hell's Bagel

It's 4:30 in the morning and Emma is awake. I got up at 3:45 so that I could get a head start with writing before the chaos of the day began and there she was, right outside my door at 3:50.

I used to have this theory back when Claire was a baby that the sound of my pen moving across paper was somehow loud enough to wake up children. Every time I tried to wake up early enough to get some good writing done, Claire would sense it, wet her diaper and start crying. The only evil streak that my children possess so far is that each one of them has an innate awareness of when I'm writing and an uncanny desire to stop it.

But onto the church ladies at the Waffle Cafe. There are about seven of them and they come in with this priest who's about 25 years younger than them, and the who is the object of their devotion, like the son-who-is-a-gateway-to-the-afterlife that they never had. What I find classy about them is the way they dress and carry themselves. Dove gray suits, heirloom jewelry, and those diamond pendents on their blazers, like angels or turtles. Hair always done just so. Lots of makeup and bright pink lipstick. I wonder if the AARP deals out pink lipstick to women when they turn 70.

A couple of weeks ago they came in during a busy time and they were insistent that the priest get his bagel as soon as possible, even before other people who had ordered before him. They called him "The Father."

"The Father needs his bagel," one of the old ladies said, creeping up to the counter with severely pink lips.
"The Father?" I asked, thinking that if this woman's father was alive I would be impressed if he could choke down a bagel without blending it first.
She pointed to the priest, who was sitting patiently at a table of old ladies with his hands folded. "Yes, The Father. He's in a hurry, and he needs his bagel, please."
"It'll come out soon. He's got a few orders in front of him."
"But it's just a bagel. Can't you get it out now?"
"It's not a matter of what it is. It's the order in which he, um, ordered."
She frowned and shook her head, possibly thinking, "Say hello to Hell for me."

Two minutes later a lady with a darker gray suit and pinker lip stick shoved her way through the crowd and said, "Excuse me, young lady."
I was pouring coffee out of the thermos and turned around. "Yeah?"
"The Father as been waiting for his bagel. He needs it now."
I handed the fresh mug of coffee to the customer who'd been shoved aside by God's Bagel Police.
"Should be soon," I assured her.
She bore her pink-lipstick stained teeth. "Where's the owner? Where's Brad?"
"He's not here this morning."
"Well, tell your cook The Father needs his bagel now."

So I went over to Henry the cook. "The Father needs his bagel."
"Who's the father?" he asked.
"That dude over there. The church ladies keep calling him 'The Father.' He told me his name was Bob."
I pointed to the order ticket above the stove, the one that said, "side bagel - cream cheese - Bob."
"Tell him he's third in line," said Henry.
"The ladies say he needs his bagel now."
Then Henry said something that I'm sure I'll see him in hell for. He popped a bagel in the toaster and told me to stay put. Thirty seconds later he tossed the half-toasted bread on a plate, threw in a side of cream cheese and said, "There's your fuckin' bagel."
"It's not mine, it's Father Bob's."
So I delivered it to the table. And there was much rejoicing.

You know, I started this post about a week and a half ago. Now I am sitting in a different coffee shop that I am not working at, where there are no priests, gray suits, or Bobs in sight. I'm at Fair Grinds Coffeehouse, the place where the pretty hippies go. You know, ones who bathe, and have jobs and laptops. So i guess I should broaden the term "hippie" to "hippie posers," ones who wear long skirts they make themselves with their sewing machines, and dred locks but also stopped smoking weed five years ago. This person would be more of a hippie fashion kitten. And once I get a sewing machine, that kitten will be me.

I've got to finish the book by the end of this week so I should get started back on it. Just needed to finish this post because it's been bugging me that I left it half done. Been busy lately. But haven't we all?