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Of rainbow nails and unlocked doors

I was at my friend Cathy’s house for an overnight brainstorming session about the new blogging series we are putting together for Inkwell Basics. Between work sessions (okay, fine, and drooling over boys in movies, and eating tiramisu, and playing with her hilarious cats), we ventured into town, where she spotted some funky nail polish that was on sale. She doesn’t get to mix it up very often because she has a top-level day job in which order and corporate dress are the law, but she felt the urge and scooped them up anyway. When we got back to her place, she sampled it all by painting one nail in each color — blue, green, yellow, everything she’d bought. She gave a pleased smile and mused, “You know, there’s just something so freeing about having rainbow-painted nails.” On the way out of town, I stopped back at the shop she’d found them at and bought one of each myself.  Her comment and smile were a pleasant temptation, and I haven’t bought anything but Grownup Red and Look-I’m-Professional Pink in a long dang time. A few days later, I did the same thing she had done; I got out all my new cosmetic toys and painted each nail a different color. I used a grapey purple, a goldenrod yellow, an amazing orange-red that would make Crayola proud, a deep oceanic blue, and the palest of kelly greens. I walked around with them like that for a few days, and she was right. They did make me smile every time I looked down, because they brought back memories of a fun weekend. But it wasn’t because of freedom. It had nothing to do with originality. It wasn’t even exerting my own individualism; I was just parroting her. The whimsy was gone. Idea was just stale. ***** New story. I was getting together with one of my favorite combination of friends at Eileen’s house. (They’re hilarious, but that’s a long story I’ll tell you some other day.)  On her property there is an external building which her husband uses as an office, and our plan was to commandeer it for the evening to tell goofy, possibly off-color stories to each other and commiserate about womanhood and life in general. We stood on the deck of the office and waited to get in. Eileen fumbled with the keys and was having visible trouble getting the door to open.  She said, “This lock is... read more

Simplicity challenge

From the far corner of the living room, our four-year-old G piped up and said, “We should get rid of all my toys, too. I don’t really need them.” So, we did.

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A boy and his pillow casket

He sits in it all the time. Usually, it’s an alien spaceship or a Pokémon ball or a house or a bed. Today, it was the casket for his baby-doll’s father. (So… him.)

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The truest December memories

It was adrenaline and restless sleep, being banished from the living room, overhearing the adults joking and wrapping. It was the feeling of flying, knowing you’d be safely caught.

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Forget the facts and let’s be practical

Whatever your story, whoever the players, the odds are good that the folks who saw your life unfold remember it completely differently.

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WTC: In memory of one.

When I think of the 2,996 individuals who died at WTC, I think of Sandy Brace — the only one I knew — and try to multiply that out. I can never do it; it’s too big. I try anyway. She was an acquaintance at back when I was an angsty, teenaged writer. She wrote about her family, her cats, the loss of her mother, staring out her office window on one of the upper floors of the World Trade Center and dreaming of what she’d write next. The need to live before time runs out. Her time ran out way too quickly for way too little reason. RIP, Bandit’s Mama. I barely knew you, but I’ve never forgotten. * Sandy’s writing profile (last login on 9/7/01): About her life, and the day before her last: Her 9/11 memorial page: * From Sandy’s poem “Transformation”: As each of us grows ever older, we return to our childhood. We return to the fragility and softness of those early years. There, if we are lucky and search for it, we will find The sweet wonder of our growing time and memories That fill our throats with joy. We will feel again the laughter And the peace of those distant years. […] I wearily endure the weight Of my time and a silence in my heart. I feel the stillness, But there is not sorrow. I sense quiet, but there is not loneliness. Withdrawing now from my world, I fold my soul into myself On this day that is mine, and I hug my aching bones. […] From “Sandra Conaty Brace: 25 Cats, 55 Words”: (Source: Sandra Conaty Brace might have appreciated a short biographical sketch about her. After all, she herself had mastered the 55-word short story — a challenge to the most diligent amateur writer. Mrs. Brace had published much of her work on Web sites dedicated to the genre. Mrs. Brace lived in Stapleton, Staten Island, and took the 7:40 a.m. ferry across the harbor each day to her job at Risk Insurance Solutions, where she was an administrative assistant. She shared her house with a husband, David, and 25 cats. Well, maybe not exactly 25. “It’s probably more,” Mr. Brace said, “But I lose count.” Dinner for the cats always caused a minor food riot, but even a riot can have its own poetry. Mrs. Brace placed cat food on seven plates on... read more

Some visual perspective on Bahrain

Here are my silly little Americanized comparisons to show how big Bahrain REALLY is.

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The red marble, mystery notebook

It’s nothing too terribly fancy, but I love it. I can’t tell you why. I found twelve of them at my mother’s house in a back room, drooled a little, and asked her where she’d found them. She said “Big Lots” and “a while ago”. A dated church bulletin crammed down in between the pages of the top one on the stack revealed what “a while ago” means. We’re talking 1993 here, folks. (At her church, that’s two or three pastors ago, even.) They’re slim, they’re comfortably floppy, they’re probably theme books, and there are hieroglyphics everywhere on the cover, but no company name to be found. They are each saddle-stitched in a (removable? Not mine, so I didn’t try too hard) vinyl slipcover, and there are maybe, maybe, 20-30 pages in each of these babies, max. I want some. They make me want to write quick short stories with a definite ending instead of the long rambling stuff I always start in Word docs on my computer and never finish. They also would work with my left-handedness, and not many journals actually do. Help me out. Where can I buy these? (And no, don’t think my mother will give me one for a second. No... read more

North winds in the evening, becoming calm

They’re there, but you have to look.

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The 10 phases of rejection

Rejected? No problem. Rejected again? Anger. Denial. Insanity. T.H. Mafi’s take on the classic cycle of a writer’s ego.

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