Forgive me, this is a hard post to write and I’d like to do justice to both the joys and the sorrows in their turn. It is a post about discoveries and magical thinking–the good and the bad involved in both. This is about a book–and a boy who will probably never read it. I would separate them, but the two things are inextricably linked for me. It would be like dividing the sun from the moon.
Be warned, as it is written on ancient maps past the edge of the known world: Here be dragons!
I’ve been living an absolute nightmare. For TWO WHOLE DAYS!!!
But finally, after a weekend of anxiety-drenched trauma, I am back to tell the tale. It’s mercifully short, but not, I think, an insignificant one to any who has experienced the horror. Mary Shelley only dreamt of such nightmares as this!
TRIGGER WARNING: The following people might want to avoid this particular post: those with delicate constitutions, the humor-impaired, vegans who didn’t reading the title. You might find this a tad offensive. Actually, anyone with any sense of taste whatsoever might want to give it a pass. It’s that bad. If you choose to consume my unfiltered thoughts, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
I was complimented recently on my writing, it came via someone with a tenuous Facebook connection. It’s the first time anyone who wasn’t a friend or blood relative (and therefore obligated to like my writing or at least lie to me and say they do) told me they found my writing funny. (But funny in a good way.)
It made me feel, just for a nano-second, what it must be like when famous people get recognized. It was awesome and I thanked him…and then felt like a total fraud because I haven’t given two thoughts to my blog in months!
I participated in a 24-hour fundraiser this weekend. You might not have noticed me other than by my absence.
I was busy…
I spent at least five hours constructing my homage to a famous album cover. I thought it was only a cake on the cover. I was certain. And then I looked at the actual album and said…”Oh, shoot.” (Or words to that effect.) But rather than finding something easier, I doubled down on the crazy.
I also took part in a Zombie Teleconference. You can check out the video link or here’s a picture of me on the couch with my son for evidence….of questionable parenting.
I also did this to demonstrate “camouflage in an urban setting with the goal of kid avoidance” skills:
Despite my valiant efforts, the kid found me.
The beauty of GISH is in how it pushes you somewhat outside your comfort zone. I didn’t set up a Zoom meet-up, but I participated in three. In addition to Zombie Conference calls, we had a sing-along to The Police classic: “Don’t Stand So Close to Me!” I am now much more impressed with those acapella groups that coordinate a sing remotely. Not one of us could keep time, nor pitch. Sorry Sting.
I juggled, quite badly, with some equally toss-and-catch-challenged individuals. But being good at things isn’t the point of GISH. It is entirely possible to go through a whole weekend and miss the point in the effort to finish just one more task. But I tried hard to pay attention.
For example, when I made this simple poster with my son, you might not be impressed unless you know how hard it is to get my kid with the program–any program. It felt like a Mom-Win. The kind you can feel good about.
While I am proudest of my Let It Bleed album cover, I am also glad that I tried to do things I am not stellar at.
Drawing, for example. With about an hour left to GISH IT UP, I sat down with my son and he painted his ‘calendars’ while I drew a picture of what my soul would look like as a bird house–with a flame alight inside:
I know I cannot draw well, but I’ve learned from taking part in GISH that it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to have talent to enjoy doing something. If it brings me a moment with my son, who lives in a hard-to-reach world even if he’s only a room away. It also let me connect with people in other countries and time zones. (This led to a momentary zombie conflict, but it resolved without any brains being eaten.) This is what victory can look like despite being quarantined.
If my shaky squiggles and flowers give me joy, that is reason enough. Art serves the soul. Creativity expands your horizons–even if you can’t leave your house. When we were little kids, we knew the power of a box of crayons and a blank sheet of paper. There are worlds to build and dreams to pursue.
But now, after getting four hours of sleep in 48-hours, I’m ready to “Take a nap. A good one.”
And this is how I really look when sleeping:
Ordinarily I’d make an effort to wrap this all up with nice tie-ins, but I am literally falling asleep at the keyboard. Instead, I’ll let you know that I would do it all again…but probably not all in one day!
Fondant: a French word meaning your floors will be sticky and covered in sugar, and your cakes will be beautiful but too sweet to eat.
Memory is the golden shore where summer waters lap. Where sanded children shriek like gulls, And mothers shade their eyes and search The ever distant beach for tears or missing faces in the surf.
There the castles build and fall, where triumph tragedy becomes. And sticky mouths suck greedy gulps of sugar-saturated pops— Rainbow colors melting down.
See criss-crossed marks burned into skin which will no permanent memory make To keep from repeating the mistake of measuring the sun by an SPF span. Boiled-lobster faces whine and belated zinc is applied in futile effort to rewind time.
Gritted bodies, tired, worn but happy with a day’s respite, Ride the chariot once more toward the sinking orb Which threatens little from its perch on the lip of the world, Leaving a flip flop token of remembrance behind.
You’ll find no ribboned concourse marking childhood’s end. It is fleeting, passing, and no trumpet heralds its demise. So, measure well those steps you take on burning sands They will the hourglass wind down and scorch tender flesh In haste to reach Lethe’s waters.
“This siege is going on longer than I would have imagined. Supplies are running low. I may have to eat the squirrels in the yard. Hope I can get better with the slingshot, just in case survivalists storm the brigade.”
It is entirely possible there is such a thing as too much isolation.
It leads one to very odd flights of fancy.
…especially when shopping after hoarders have ransacked the produce aisle.
You end up bringing home a quirky specimen.
BEHOLD….THE DRAGON FRUIT!
I’ll admit, I’ve been curious as to what these things might taste like.
A session of mad shopping–the kind where you duck and cover whenever another shopper comes anywhere near you–results in a new and unusual purchase.
I’ve successfully nabbed some much-needed cleaning supplies when the victory over the nearly-empty shelves turns sour. All it takes is a near-hostile exchange with people unaware that a pandemic is taking place.
I’m stopped by dawdlers at the wall of cheeses. I glare at the young couple with their two kids standing in front of the refrigeration display debating the merits of one plastic wrapped cheddar over another for approximately an hour until I want to scream “IT’S ALL THE SAME DAMNED CHEESE, JUST PICK ONE!” and make their kids cry.
[NOTE: I don’t actually scream. But I do seethe for about five minutes waiting with toe-tapping impatience until I loudly interrupted them, “I would just like to get some cheese, if that’s okay?” in a most passive aggressive appeal.]
It is on my way to check-out that post-anxiety, impulse shopping occurs.
Back home, the dragon fruit sat on the counter, as it aged enough to get the required ‘wilted leaves’ by which point it was a lot less photogenic.
Once cut into, the white interior with its plethora of tiny black seeds is revealed.
If I had to describe the taste, I would tell you to go buy one yourself. It tastes nothing like I imagined it would. Pear comes close. If you took that pear down a back alley and blasted it full of buckshot until all the flavor and sweetness had been drained like life blood into the garbage strewn darkness.
Or, as a friend said when I asked her whether she’d like to try some.
“No thanks. I’m good. I’ve had it before.Once.” She paused and added, “It’s not bad or anything.“
I joked, “Yeah, but it’s not good either.”
She laughed and said, “Yeah.”
“At least the seeds aren’t noticeable, unlike kiwi, which are crunchy when you eat them, or as bad as pomegranates!” I spoon up another pallid mouthful.
I chew a few more bites. The tastelessness does not grow on me, despite my desire to like the fruit. The stuff is probably a delicacy in the arid regions where it grows. A king among fruits in a desert. This makes me think of something else.
“It’s like an old boyfriend, where you pretend that they aren’t the problem before breaking up with them. Except that in this case, you’d tell the fruit ‘It’s not me, it is totally you!‘”
“Yeah, it’s the fruit no one would pick if they had a choice.” The friend obligingly humors me on my line of thought.
I wrap up the second half of the much despaired cactus flower progeny and toss it back in the fridge. It was at least filling.
“So much for the exotic potential.” I say. “Dragon Fruit-–the ex-boyfriend of fruits.“
Stay Tuned as the mind numbing boredom of the stay-at-home-or-else order continues. I may break down and try that Durian that’s been giving me the stink-eye whenever I see it.
Four summers ago, I wrote about Taking Tea with Tornadoes describing my experience with the art of Japanese tea ceremonies during severe low pressure fronts; it has been quite a while since I’ve explored the Land of the Rising Sun. Please allow me to apologize in advance for my take on this venerable, ancient culture. “Sumimasen” すみません
I have the heart of a wanderer…and the expense account for ramen noodles on a good day. So, I have to adventure vicariously–taking a trip on the Orient Express for me means getting on board with digital media.
Allow me to recommend a few curiosities I’ve discovered along the way.