Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Language Barrier

I suppose I'm biased, but I do like American English. We have enough words for things. Why? Because we steal them.
You know he's got gummi bears in there too, right?
Sometimes, we steal a word because it is already the perfect word, like gestalt. Sometimes, a word just comes along with the foreign object or idea it describes, like boomerang. And sometimes, we just need a fancier way to say "with ice cream."

Some adopted words are more regional. For instance, if my grandmother told my dad to "sit on his fesses," he would naturally sit the way most people would choose to -- on his butt. However, tell that to a classroom of mostly From Away kindergarteners, and they will stare at you in horror and disbelief as they try to work out the mechanics of sitting on their faces (as my Parisian friend Beatrice found out).

Scott Adams
"Is this right?"
Of course, other languages steal from us and each other, too, though in some cases it's more covert and revolutionary.

"Écoutez, sales cons! See what happens when you order le hamburger?"
In America, we tend to embrace foreign words, even though as a nation we have a hard time embracing foreign people. Maybe the less xenophobic are simply interested in learning about other cultures (and preserving their own), and the more xenophobic just don't realize they're not speaking Eng -- er, American.

We can even become fiercely protective of our foreign words and their Americanized descendants. I inadvertently started a war on the internet recently when I complained about the way McDonald's is making its New England employees pronounce the name of its new ice cream beverage -- "frap-ay." Anyone from here knows the word ("frappe") is pronounced "frap." That's just what they are. We drink them ALL THE TIME. Trust me, New Englanders know ice cream. Ice cream and covered bridges.

Man, we are lousy with these things.
But my comment spurred heated controversy amongst my geographically diverse internet friends. Those of us in "frap" camp were told to look at the etymology, to examine the accent over the "e" (which New Englanders don't use), to look it up in a dictionary, for God's sake!

The thing is, you can argue these things all day -- etymological purity or regional adaptation? And whichever side you come down on, the fact that people are so protective of words is a cool thing. We need to keep being protective of our quirky little words, because one day we may need them only to find they've been lost.

Beatrice (who says "le milkshake," since "frappĂ©" is an adjective in actual French) and I talk about language a lot. After all, most stuffy dictionaries aren't going to help you with words you really need, like "booger" ("crotte de nez"). That's why it's helpful to have a buddy whose first language is different from your own. A couple generations ago, that wouldn't necessarily have been the case with Beatrice and me, but my family got the French stomped out of them before I got here.

Not that my learning Canadian French at home instead of Parisian French at school would have guaranteed the flow of conversation. On a recent trip to the countryside outside Montreal, I whispered to Beatrice with embarrassment, "I can't understand a word they're saying." She laughed and shrugged. "Me neither!"

Sometimes we'll come across a word that she doesn't know in English (rare) and that I don't know in French (less rare), but we can usually figure it out eventually. We had an interesting conversation last weekend about the difference between a potter and a pothead.

"Volde-something? I dunno, man. But I'm totally feeling some Doritos."
I don't know why, but I always think it's hilarious when we find a word that is exactly the same in both languages. There's something about the exchange, "How do you say, 't-shirt'?" "T-shirt," that I find endlessly amusing.

But we don't always know when we'll stumble upon these magical crossover words. A few years ago, when Beatrice's son was in maybe third grade, I was eating lunch with him. He had his food in a closed tupperware container, and I said, "What do you have for lunch?"

He stared at the tupperware and then at me. He furrowed his brow, clearly frustrated. Eventually, with a tone of defeat, he said, "I don't know how to say it in English."

"That's okay," I said. "What is it in French?"

He answered immediately. "Quiche!"

The language of delicious.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

In MY Day, We Had To . . .

I've recently become the proud owner of this early 20th century handbook:

It contains everything you needed to know about everything, from handling your finances to keeping chickens to staining your musical instruments.

No more excuses for shoddy cement. I'm looking at you, Al Capone.

Needless to say, I am now significantly more well-informed than the rest of you, and will have a much greater chance of survival during the zombie/vampire/unfinished wood apocalypse.

But I am nothing if not astonishingly magnanimous, so I thought I would share two excerpts that will be particularly useful to writers.

The first, of course, is how to make your own writing desk:

(Click to enlarge.)
Your homemade desk looks like a million bucks!
(Literally, with prices adjusted for inflation.)
And when you're done with your desk, you only need to make yourself some new ink, and you're all set to go!

Beats the heck out of tickling squids.
That's how they get it, right? Tickling?

So what are you waiting for? The Great American Novel awaits! Here, I'll get you started: Once upon a time, there were two middle-to-upper-class families. Or maybe three. And there were, like, a hundred people in each family, who I will now name one by one, even though you won't be able to keep most of them straight anyway...

Ah. Potassium bicromate, logwood extract, borax, shellac, and ammonia . . . the smell of LITERATURE!

Friday, October 28, 2011


Remember the homemade demon who lives on my nightstand?

Guess what??


For only $7 at my local consignment shop!

There's another one there, too -- with a yarn mustache. I'm going back when I have another $7.
I think this is the beginning of something awesome.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What if Writers Were Rockstars?

Okay, so, yes, I know writers are cool. All my writer friends are very cool. But it just seems like the badass characters and fantasy worlds and new slang and life-changing social commentary get all the cred, while the minds they came from are forced to wander the earth in grandma sweaters and tasteful suits.

If you saw Zane Grey on the street, for instance, you probably wouldn't even recognize him.

image by Wikipedia
Yes, that's a baby koala.

However, if you ran into Dorian Gray, you'd probably --

I'm sorry, what? I seem to have lost my . . .
my train of . . . something.

I was looking at some guitar magazines recently, and man, those guys are cool. They sling their greasy hair around like it ain't no thing while shredding on their Fenders (check out my research), and nakedly parade themselves like the supermodels they aren't. And it's not just the musicians; the whole culture of Guitar is cool -- models, strings, picks, amps, pedals, software, accessories, bands, fashion.

I want to say . . . Tom?
I don't know, I can't tell anyone in the Doobie Brothers apart.
So why can't writing be cool, too?

I've decided to launch a MEGA MEDIA BLITZ CAMPAIGN MOVEMENT to promote the fact that writers are just as cool as rockstars.

Phase 1: Come up with a hashtag!

Tweet your writing rockstar moments #writingisforrockstars

Woke up 2 PBR cans & Moleskines everywhere. #writingisforrockstars

Phase 2: Photoshop stuff!

Create writing rockstar ads! Share them with the world!

Okay, I actually don't have Photoshop anymore since I somehow managed to damage it so badly it refused to work again. But I do have Gimp, which is kind of just as good. And free. Go figure. Here are some I did this morning:

Let me know and I'll post them on this blog!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Queries Are Hard

So, we've already established that novels are hard. It should come as no surprise that queries are hard, too. I've been working on one for like a thousand million hours. And every time I go back to it, it just looks like this:

Sigh. Back to the drawing board.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bad(ass) Review: The Yearling

I'm so proud that, not only is this Bad(ass) Review vintage and therefore more valuable, it comes from a member of my very own family. A lot of the family books have been coming to us lately from my grandmother, who is now only into reading the jokes in old Readers' Digests (which is exactly where I plan to be at 80). Among the Balzacs was this:

Run! Run while you still can!

The Yearling, as you know, is Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about HE SHOOTS THE DEER. For some reason, I decided to leaf through it instead of disposing of it properly (in a lake of children's tears), and I came across the following messages from the past:

In case you can't read them, on page 210 is penciled:
"This Book is no good."
"It is to its good for birds"

And on page 211, the reviewer simply wrote:
"This is a crumby book"

Good on you, ancestors. You were truly badass reviewers.

Friday, October 14, 2011

On Your Mark, Get Set, Critique!

We want people to read our stuff; we want to make it better. And we want to help our friends make their stuff better. Right?

So we form critique groups and attend writing workshops in order to get and give feedback. And remember, the giving can be just as valuable as the getting. ("Hur hur, that's what she --" no! fight it! fight it!)

There's just one catch.


This is one of my favorite words. "Kent" on Urban Dictionary defines it thusly: An inappropriately strong negative emotional response from a perceived personal insult. Characterized by strong feelings of shame. Frequently associated with a cessation of communication and overt hostility towards the "aggressor."

This is what your soul looks like after that chick in workshop says,
Also I found the language a little stilted."

No one will admit to being butthurt, since that in itself causes additional shame/anger/stronger butthurt. But it's happened to all of us, from clashing with a troll online to being told we "might" have a date for the prom if these three other people turn him down first. (LOL, JK BUDDY, IT'S ALL GOOD.)

So today, I've put together a How To about critiquing/being critiqued. If you've ever felt butthurt after a workshop, or if you're afraid to have your work critiqued for fear of butthurt, or if you've ever caused others butthurt, this post may be helpful to you. Remember -- it happens to everyone

Part One: Being Critiqued

This is the simplest, if not the easiest, part of workshop. I will sum it up with a poem.

Yep. Keep quiet and listen to what the others say about your work. Take notes if you want, or -- even better -- have someone else take notes for you so you can listen more attentively. The end.


     . . . they don't get what I was going for?
     . . . they misunderstand something?
     . . . I just need to tell them ONE THING?
     . . . I totally MEANT to write it like that?
     . . . I am SO not going to change that thing they want me to change and here's why?


OK, how did that go? Are you butthurt because I told you to shut your pie hole? I'm sorry. You know I love you with all my shriveled, black heart. But the point I was trying to make is that of course you could rebut and refute and argue every point your critiquers make because you know your work so much more intimately than they do. Of course you wrote it that way on purpose, unless you write entirely by accident, or during acid trips.

I f*#king love this book.
The point of hearing others' thoughts is that it gives you insight into how your work comes across; it lets you know, in some cases, if certain aspects are working the way you intended.


Once the critique is over, you may ask further questions or even see if the group will address any aspects of your piece you feel they overlooked. They may ask you questions as well. Just don't take up too much of their time here -- they have already put in the time to read, take notes on, and discuss your piece. And it's someone else's turn.

Now, on to the butthurt.

Someone will say something that hurts your feelings. It will happen. Please, please, please remember the following:

1. Your critique partners want what's best for you and your work. They care about you. They care about your writing. (If you feel this isn't so, shave their eyebrows while they sleep DITCH THEM and get new partners!)

2. Listen. You don't have to do everything your partners say, but someone may say something brilliant. Don't stuff your ego in your ears.

3. Digest what your partners have said. They're smart and they know stuff. That's why you trusted them with your work in the first place.

3. (Alternately) Digest what your partners have said. They are idiots. Statistically, that's going to be a large percentage of your readership.

4. Look for patterns. If a couple people have the same question or comment, it's worth investigating.

5. At the end of the day, it is your work. No one can change it but you. No one can make you change it. Do what you think is right.

Part Two: Critiquing

Everyone brings their own personality, interests, and experience to a critique group.

During the discussion, you should obviously continue to observe the social rules you'd follow during any discussion -- be civil, be thoughtful, be courteous, keep your pants on, don't talk too much, don't talk too little, don't be a know-it-all jackass, etc.

Beyond that, there are certain "workshop personalities" you should try to adopt, and others you should avoid.


The Bully
image by Stanley Howe
The Bully can show up in critique groups from elementary schools to retreats to national conferences. The Bully's response to a work is always the same, but the wording can range from blunt ("It sucked.") to vague ("It just didn't work for me. I don't know. You know? I wanted more. More something.").

If you find yourself unable to articulate why you didn't like a piece, you are not being helpful. You are being The Bully.

The Nice Guy
The Nice Guy loved the piece! It was awesome! Good job! HUGS AND SMOOCHES AND LOVEY BUGGY SNUGGY WUGGY SPARKLE FARKLES!

The Nice Guy is not the opposite of The Bully. He is the same thing. OK, maybe the Nice Guy sends you home with glitter all over your special, special writing fingers instead of hurt on your butt, but when you go to revise your work, the end result is the same: you have not been given any useful insight.

If you are unable to articulate why you liked a piece, you are not helping.

The Editor
The Editor may LOVE correct spelling and grammar, much like the Baudelaire orphans' Aunt Josephine in Lemony Snicket's The Wide Window. Or The Editor may just be a big brain wobbler, wobbling her brain at others so they can see how brilliant/educated/observant she is. Whatever. 

The bottom line is there's no point to line editing a work in progress. That missing Harvard comma you're so bent out of shape about? Yeah, it's smack in the middle of a fat paragraph detailing the designer fanny pack of a character who's going to be entirely cut. The author misspelled "obsequious"? How about the fact that she meant "complimentary"?

Good line editors are awesome! But that's not what workshop is about. If you find yourself being The Editor, make an effort to look at character, plot, structure, and style instead. And if you need to, bring a little pocket dictionary you can discreetly take out and caress leaf through when you feel uncomfortable.

The Backseat Writer

image by arthur
"Instead of an accountant, he should be a spy. A super secret spy!"

You would have written this story differently.

Of course you would have. You're a different person. But keep your hands off; it's not your story.


The Meditator

image by lisadragon
"The zombies' lust for brains in this passage really resonated with me
because it mirrors humanity's passionate and destructive quest for truth."

If you tend to be the Nice Guy or the Bully, try becoming the Meditator. If you can articulate why something affected you the way it did, you're giving the author valuable information.

If you're stuck, here are some random, unsubstantiated tips to get you started. Warning: This bit is kind of long. If you don't need help getting started, or if you have the attention span of a gnat, you may want to skip to the next bit. Or watch this awesomeness.


Great characters.
That's it. No snark. Sorry.

Did the character work? Here's why, maybe:
     . . . He seemed "real" to me because of this thing he said/did that I can imagine a real person saying/doing.
     . . . He cared about [something], which made me like him. 
     . . . He made me laugh when he said/did this thing!
     . . . I care about what happens to him because he is [these personality traits]. Here are specific examples of him displaying these traits.

Did the character not work? Here's why, maybe:
     . . . I don't think a real person would do/say this thing, or react this way to [something].
     . . . He turned me off when he said/did this thing.
     . . . I don't care about what happens to him because he is [these personality traits]. Here are specific examples of him displaying these traits. 


I wrote a short story that starts like this.

A couple things to think about:
     . . . Is the style of language appropriate for the story (historically, age-wise, setting-wise, etc.)? Give specific examples.
     . . . Does the author say what she means? Give specific examples. (Are the heroine's eyes resting on the table instead of her gaze? You don't have to be nitpicky, but jot down places like that that actually confuse you.)
     . . . Is there a sentence/paragraph that is just fabulous? Tell the author! Do it! Bonus points for explaining why! (Even if you can't, the fact that you've narrowed "I liked it" down to one sentence/paragraph is helpful.)


image by eerkman
Honestly, I was just looking for a cool "setting!" picture.
I don't know how this came up.
Do you feel grounded in the setting (see what I did there)? Find specific places where the author puts you into the story. Find specific places where you feel lost.


For workshop or critique group, you're probably only responsible for ten or twenty pages, maybe fewer. But you can probably say a few things about plot:
     . . . I want to read on because I want to know the outcome of [this situation].
     . . . I don't want to read on because [probably something to do with character]. (If it's not something to do with character -- the writing is "boring," for instance -- find specific examples of the language that's keeping you from being invested.)  
     . . . This bit does/doesn't lead naturally to this next bit, and here's why.
     . . . Based on what we've read here, I think the main character is [X], she wants [Y], and [Z] is standing in her way. (This is a plot arc for 99.999% of novels, and it will be helpful for the author to know if this information is clear to readers.)

You don't have to be smart or know stuff to do this. But you do need to read the piece carefully, probably more than once, and think about it.

The Scientist

image by NASA
"Here, you can clearly see Stanley Q. Stupid wearing a sock on his ear.
The question, ladies and gentlemen, is why?"
The easiest, and perhaps the most helpful, way to critique is just by being the Scientist. The Scientist doesn't judge. She doesn't assume. She doesn't suggest. She just asks.

. . . Why does this character do this here?
. . . Who is this character?
. . . Why does this [object/setting/person] have these characteristics?
. . . What does this character want?
. . . Why is this [action/description] included?
. . . Why is this [action/description] omitted?
. . . etc. 

You probably don't need prompts like the ones above to critique as the Scientist. Questions will come to you. I think we often take an extra step and tack on judgment to our questions. So instead of saying, "I didn't like that Betty refused to shoot the assassin," ask, "Why did Betty refuse to shoot the assassin?"

image from flickr
She's going to wait until he's asleep,
then slit his throat.

And remember, you are not responsible for everything. Mark up the pages with the stuff that occurs to you, and keep two or three "discussion starters" in mind for the actual group meeting. Everyone is going to have something to say; just be prepared to contribute to the discussion in a meaningful, non-obnoxious way.

That's my $0.02 anyway. Additions/rants/butthurt welcome in the comments.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


. . . And by "Africa," of course, I mean Toto's 1982 synth-marimba rockin' hit.

According to Wikipedia, which is the only research I'll be doing for this post because screw research, Toto member Jeff Porcaro explains the song thusly: "... a white boy is trying to write a song on Africa, but since he's never been there, he can only tell what he's seen on TV or remembers in the past."

I'm sorry, Toto, but you can't fool us with your fancy words and pretentious analysis. This isn't Harvard, it's America, and we can read between the lines.

"Africa" is clearly about werewolves.

image by jaraden
Sexy, sexy werewolves.

Why would Toto write a song about werewolves? Theories exist, but that's a topic for another discussion.

That bearded guy in the middle clearly has an agenda.
You can't hide forever.
For the skeptics, let's go through the lyrics together. (We don't need to look at the music as it pretty much speaks for itself, starting with the fact that the song is in A major -- the go-to key for the werewolf subculture.)

I hear the drums echoing tonight  
But she hears only whispers of some quiet conversation  

OK, these first lines of text are incredibly rich, but let's just touch on a couple things. The first line establishes the song's nocturnal theme, immediately giving it a supernatural -- and, specifically, lycanthropian -- flavor, and the call to action, represented by the drums. In a deeper analysis, drums, which are created from the stretched skin of animals, are also an allusion to the belief that wearing the skin of a wolf can cause one to become afflicted with the werewolf curse.

The isolation the protagonist feels is also illustrated beautifully here with the clear psychological separation between himself and the unnamed female character, who represents both the main character's personal relationships and humanity in general. What's especially intriguing is that, whatever this "quiet conversation" concerns, the female character herself is not fully aware of it -- creating even more distance between the main character and the conversation. And what is the conversation about? One can only speculate. Repressed guilt? Fear of exposure? Loneliness?

And, of course, the fact that the main character can hear the drums but his female companion cannot is an overt reference to werewolves' superhuman senses, while simultaneously raising the question, "Do these drums exist in reality or merely in the werewolf's mind?" 

"Anatomy is destiny." -- Sigmund Freud

She's coming in 12:30 flight  
The moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide me towards salvation  

Here we have a direct reference to moonlight, the catalyst for the werewolf's monthly transformation, but it is juxtaposed with the idea of "salvation." In all likelihood, this is a reference to the medieval belief that exorcism or conversion to Christianity was a remedy for the werewolf curse, although it could just be a broader expression of the prospect of being cured.

What I find particularly fascinating about this passage is what is possibly the introduction of a second unnamed female character, one who has not yet arrived but whose arrival is imminent. She could be the character from the second line, but if that is the case, the werewolf is somehow able to understand what she is experiencing without being in close proximity to her. 

Either way, she is a paradoxical image here; if we are to continue with our focus on Christianity, this woman clearly has angelic qualities, namely her "moonlit wings." However, these wings are reflecting the starlight that would guide the werewolf to his salvation. The question here obviously becomes, "Is this reflecting serving to augment the stars' guiding light, or to distort it?" 

Scholars have made the argument that this second female character is indeed a benevolent force, as evidenced by the second occurrence of the line ". . . it's waiting there for you," in which the word "it's" is changed to "she's," indicating the angel will at last have led the werewolf to his absolution. However, history tells us the argument could be made that this is a punishing angel, and she may even be the cause of the werewolf's affliction; as St. Thomas Aquinas said, "All angels, good and bad, have the power of transmutating our bodies."

image by Emese Fisi Szigetvari
"Destruction, like creation, is one of 
Nature's mandates." -- the Marquis de Sade
I stopped an old man along the way,  
Hoping to find some old, forgotten words or ancient melodies 
He turned to me as if to say, "Hurry, boy, it's waiting there for you."

This is one of my favorite stanzas. Here, the werewolf looks to the old man (the personification of a combination of wisdom and folklore) for assistance, in a direct reference to the idea that certain spoken words can release a werewolf from its curse.  From Wikipedia: "In the German lowland of Schleswig-Holstein, a werewolf could be cured if one were to simply address it three times by its Christian name, while one Danish belief holds that simply scolding a werewolf will cure it." 

The stanza ends with the old man's delightfully playful use of the term "boy" to address the protagonist, which, of course, immediately evokes a man speaking to a beloved canine.

image by Rix Smit
"We cannot despair of humanity, 
since we ourselves are human beings." -- Albert Einstein
It's gonna take a lot to drag me away from you  
There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do  
I bless the rains down in Africa 
Gonna take some time to do the things we never have

This section, the chorus, is largely self-explanatory, illustrating both the werewolf's superhuman strength and the enormity of his efforts to cure himself. The first line is also a particularly lovely expression of lycanthrope duality -- the fact that man and beast, though enemies, are one being.

Personally, I am intrigued by the rain imagery here. At the surface, the rains appear to represent a healing, nourishing force, but it is my opinion that this may also be an allusion to the superstition that drinking rainwater from the footprint of an animal can give one the power to become that animal. Of course, one can overanalyze these things!

image by Frank Schiemann

"I think we all have to fight the werewolf within us somehow." -- William Kempe

The wild dogs cry out in the night
As they grow restless longing for some solitary company  

My apologies in advance for the fact that these lines would be better interpreted by someone more familiar with the werewolf subculture, but here is how I understand them. "Wild dogs" is a term werewolves use to describe themselves within the community, though there is disagreement among scholars as to whether this may be applied to all lycanthropes or simply those currently in "wolf" form (in either case, it is considered disrespectful, though not explicitly offensive, for a non-werewolf to use the term). These lines are especially moving because they are the text's most vivid examples of the protagonist expressing -- albeit obliquely -- his personal anguish.

The phrase "solitary company" is perhaps the most fascinating paradox in the entire song, as the two states of being -- "solitary" and with "company" -- seem at first to be mutually exclusive. In fact, the only way this could occur would be for the "wild dog" in question to be at once an individual and two beings. So we see, these lines are possibly the strongest evidence we have that "Africa" is indeed a thinly-veiled werewolf story. 

"Attraction and repulsion, reason and energy,
love and hate, are necessary to human existence." -- William Blake

I know that I must do what's right  
Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti

"Hope" has been a recurring theme in this song -- we haven't touched on it before now, but I'm sure you've noticed it as we've gone through the text. Here, at last, we have not only the culmination of the werewolf's determination to find his salvation, but a final acknowledgement of the hope and conviction that have sustained him throughout his journey.

Particularly elegant here is the comparison of Mount Kilimanjaro to Mount Olympus. It's easy to find any number of books and essays devoted exclusively to this subject, but let me highlight the main points. Firstly, comparing the two mountains instantly connects the song's actual setting to a place inextricably tied to werewolf mythology -- Ancient Greece. (While the argument could be made that, even with the comparison, one still has to make the mental leap from modern Greece to Ancient Greece, I contend that the mystical feel of the text will automatically evoke not only the era but, specifically, the mythology of the culture in most listeners.) Wikipedia cites numerous examples in Ancient Greek literature of humans becoming wolves, most notably Lycaon, who became a wolf as punishment for murder.

In a larger sense, the fact that the protagonist is reminded of Mount Olympus -- home to the gods -- shows us that he feels, at least subconsciously, a connection to the rest of humanity. After all, the gods of Olympus watch, torment, and assist man and wolf-man alike.

photo by Gilles 92
"A man's moral conscience is the curse he had to accept 
from the gods in order to gain from them the right to dream." -- William Faulkner

I seek to cure what's deep inside, frightened of this thing that I've become.

This final line, unfortunately, doesn't appear to be related to rest of the song at all. One even wonders if it is, in fact, an error.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

You Say Potato . . .

I just got back from a crazy week singing Porgy & Bess and Beethoven's 9th symphony. (Pretty sure one of them contained the line, "Bring my goat!" It's kind of a blur.)

I had a lovely roommate for the duration. One day, I happened to look down at our shared nightstand.

You say, "To-may-toe," I say, "To-mah-toe."
You say, "Woman: An Intimate Geography by somebody who won the Pulitzer,"
I say, "Hello, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle."
This says something about something, doesn't it? I don't know.
But look at that cute puppy! AWWWWWWW. Who's literary? Who is it? Is it YOU?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Arts & Crafts

Disclaimer: I am in no way qualified to critique anyone else's handicrafts. The last time I attempted to sew a stuffed animal, I ended up hospitalized and had to re-finger a semester's worth of piano music while my post-surgery left hand regained its function. (This was hand sewing, mind you.)

However, I feel compelled to share with you the latest item to come to us from my grandmother, if only to shed light on my potential future disappearance/brutal dismembering. ("She was delightful and had no enemies," the police will say. "Who could have done this? And why did they use such a tiny, tiny knife?")

My grandmother did not create this . . . entity. But I know who did. It came home with us in a box last week with a variety of other arts and crafts from the 1960's.

Crafts were the alternative to watching/starring in internet porn back then.
Which is a more significant sign of the apocalypse?
You decide.
This was how it appeared when I first picked it up. OK, so it's a little lopsided, but at least it appears to be wearing an adorable apron, right?

Then I flipped it over.


Now it lives next to my bed, seemingly staring at the ceiling for hours, days at a time.
Until you pick it up, and realize anew that all along it has been staring into your soul.