Showing posts from December, 2010


Just wanted to say real quick . . .

Happy New Year!!!!

I hope you're all partying and enjoying wonderful food, family, and great music. I'm so grateful to have each and every one of you as my friend! Many blessings for a grand year ahead!

Here it Comes . . .

I'm wishing everyone a Happy New Year one day early just in case life gets too busy to write anything before the ball drops. I've had a wonderful year reading and commenting and receiving comments from all you great bloggers. I'm so grateful to know everyone here!
So, what will you be doing for New Year's Eve? Any traditions? Every year I watch The Gold Rush with Charlie Chaplin. It's the perfect movie for this holiday, I think. So if you are out getting videos, give it a try.
The tree will come down, decorations will be put away. I'll start to look forward to spring and gardening. It's always fun to look through all those seed and plant magazines and dream about the perfect garden, especially when it's still cold and snowy outside!
Take care! I'll try to come back tomorrow and talk about resolutions. Ugh.

I Feel For You

Must have been seventh grade when I trudged out into the snow to make a visit to the library where Mom worked. I told her I was bored and she handed me Gone With the Wind. It was huge. When I held it there in the library, I had no idea of the weeks ahead of love and love lost, war, marriage, death, desperation, hunger, poverty, greed, slavery, fire, amputation, labor, hope, adultery, alcohol . . .
Cradling the book under my arm, I headed south to Becca's house. She lived with her mother in a very tiny 1930's shack in a lone field, right in the middle of Spring Hill. I knocked on her door. "Come on in!" she sang, opening the door in a breathless manner, ushering me inside. MTV was flashing away on the living room TV. "You're just in time. I'm gonna call Matt Wade." She picked up the phone and dialed six numbers, timing the last one for Chaka Khan's I Feel For You. When the video came on Becca dialed the last number on the rotary and p…

To Be a Dog

My beautiful sister has had a few days off for the holidays and got hit by a little inspiration. She wrote a poem about the life of a dog, most importantly, how good those four-legged creatures have it. She herself has two big four-legged creatures, Scout and Daisy, who ramble and frolick through each day with wagging tongues and tails; chasing squirrels and foxes, wrestling, running free in the semi-prairielike back yard. Scout is the spotted Blue Heeler, and Daisy is the sleek black Lab. Scout is good. And Daisy is . . . well . . . Daisy's still learning.

To Be a Dog by Catherine Lappin

Oh to be a dog . . .
what a great life that would be—
to lay on the couch and
watch tv.
To be fed twice a day,
and all the water
that you may—
I'd even sleep in the garage
if had be.
If I could only be a dog,
what a great life it would be.

The Attack

All the kids took the same shortcut through a stretch of unfenced backyards sloping down to a creek where, in the spring, grape hyacinth grew in fragrant clusters. But it was winter and snow blanketed all life. I stood in coat and boots, questioning my decision to take the shortcut. It had become obvious to me that there were boys lined up behind every tree stump and lawn chair, snowballs clutched in their gloves. I could still turn around and take the long way home, going down Jackson.
No. Nobody likes a coward.
Starting at the top of the hill, I lifted my chin and began the trek. Wham! I stopped only a moment to adjust my scarf. Wham! Wham! I'd just ignore them. If I could make it past the creek, I'd be halfway through and . . . Wham! I lowered my head and picked up the pace, trudging through a barrage of white grenades. Wham! Wham! Wham!
"Hahahahaha! Do you give in, female species?"
Ignore them. Just some stupid old boys. I recognized Trey Walker a…

I Believe

Is there a Santa Claus? Many adults believe there isn't, but I ain't one of them. There was a real St. Nicolas and you can read about him right here. But how did that guy turn into a mystical figure of love and light . . . and video game systems? Well, pagans will tell you he derived from Odin, a Germanic god who would ride his flying eight-legged horse Sleipnir through the sky, stopping to fill children's boots with yummy treats.
The Dutch claim Sinterklaas to be the origin. Then there's Tomte, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle—the list goes on. The thing is, it all stems from one ideal: a kindly old man brings presents to the good children of the world.
But, that guy is dead, and get real, no one's going to slide down my chimney on Christmas Eve to leave any presents. It's all a lie!
Whoa . . . hold on there folks. Haven't you ever believed in anything magic? Don't you think special things can happen, even to you? You need to rewire the way …

A Christmas Story

It was the start of Christmas Break and snow was falling in huge flakes. Mr. Hunt drove me home in his old truck and I hopped out with a Good-bye and a Merry Christmas and See ya next week. I'd spent the evening babysitting his little boy and had a five-dollar bill to show for my time; money for presents.
My whole family was in bed asleep. Marshall had come home earlier that night from the Savior of the World Seminary he attended for high school. I was sad that he wasn't awake because I looked up to him terribly; his incredible wit and calm sense of humor always made me forget any troubles.
A note was stuck on the Betamax video player: Watch this movie. It's hilarious! I always had trouble sleeping after a round of taking care of the brattiest kid on earth. Ryan was a three-year-old terror with flaxen hair and cold blue eyes. He was an ADHD Cujo and I don't know why I agreed to spend every Friday night chasing him around: part of my martyr complex and the money w…

Kansas Christmas

—Photo Courtesy of Kansas Geological Survey
Yesterday was a family get together in Topeka for an early Christmas. My father-in-law from Kentucky, recently divorced, now has an apartment out in T-town, and wanted to do something with his kids and grandkids. He would break into Italian periodically when overcome, face turning red. Preparing a ham and sides, he worked in the tiny kitchen while we chatted and poured wine. After a toast, he put a glass dish of potatoes in the oven and closed the door. BANG! He opened the door up again only to discover the glass had exploded and everything but the ham had become covered with shards of glass.
We sent the teens out to get more food at the store while we chatted. He showed us emails of a first love he'd contacted after settling into town. And emails from another woman he'd contacted on a 50+ dating site. And another woman he'd contacted somewhere else in the US of A. And his landlady, who has, "Blonde hair and gorgeous bl…

Sunday Stew

Since it's a Sunday, and since my other post failed so miserably, I decided to post my favorite song of the moment: New Kid in Town by The Eagles. It says everything I want to say but can't since I'm all done tryin' to say anything.

Creepy Christmas

Well, here we go. I'm extending my advert love to Christmastime with a little weird. Remember, I did not make these ads. Some other freako did. What were they thinking?!

This is just creepy. Whoever put this ad together was definitely on an illegal substance (or a couple). You never hear about hair tape anymore. It's one of those products lost to the sands of time. Perhaps this ad was the reason for its decline.

Oh yes. Let's give everyone in the family a rifle. That's real smart, folks. "I said I wanted waffles, Mother!" KAPOW!

It's the thought that counts. Right? Right??
And really rude. "Now you don't have to ask me if you look fat in all your clothes. You'll know."

Uh, Santa . . . think you can help her out a little bit there? Right . . . (Love those stockings!)

Again, what was this person thinking???

Not an ad, but I thought it was cute. The concept. I'm out.
Happy ChristmasKwanzaaHanukkahSoltice!!

A Story About a Short Story

I wrote a story today that I'm very proud of, but time will prove if it's really any good. I never trust my reactions in the afterglow.
I do think I have a handle on short stories though. It's probably the gratification of writing something that can be resolved so quick. Who knows? But I do love it.
I've noticed the most important thing with short stories is the first paragraph. You know how with books you need your first chapter to be killer? Well the first paragraph in a short story has to have a really strong hook or no one's going to devote three minutes or whatever to reading the whole thing. So what I do is write the story and go back and meticulously edit the first paragraph so it shines like the top of the Chrysler building. You take out anything that is cluttery and make those few lines sing and swing. It's kind of fun—though I totally don't think so at the time. It's only later that I feel the joy.
How's everyone doing this fine da…

Writing Balance

I wrote that story yesterday, the one from the dream I had about a man and his wall gadget. It turned out pretty good! It's more sci-fi/time travel, which I'm happy about because I've been meaning to write time travel but have been staying in the literary/mainstream genre for awhile now. I love both and so I'm completely happy with what I'm producing.
I notice that while writing a whole story, in a day or a few days time, that I pay less attention to the kids and get grouchy when they interrupt me. Most of the time I'm doing dishes, laundry, reading books, basically being a mom. But when I get caught up with writing, being a mom gets pushed to the side and it makes me feel guilty. But then I'm happy that I wrote something and worked hard. I'm happy that I have another piece to send out.
Anyone else have this problem of being engrossed in writing and feeling the rest of their world crumble? How do you cope?

Last Night

I guess a few of us had strange dreams last night. I was lying on my left side when I woke from mine. Do you think it makes a difference what side you sleep on? Mom used to tell us not to sleep on our backs or we would have nightmares, and she was right. I stopped having them (for the most part) when I switched so sleeping on my side. Could be the power of persuasion, but who knows. My dream was about a man who had this huge wall machine that could create anything we wanted by the touch of a button. Some of the details have already slipped from my memory now, which I'm mad about. Should have written it down! Well . . . it did give me a great idea for a story so that's a plus.
What did you dream of last night?

Monday Again

I saw the commercial on tv about an hour ago. How strange to be drinking coffee and see myself! Also, I guess the radio spot started this morning. Pretty cool!
Well, just a few weeks until Christmas. Next week the kids will be out of school, so anything that needs to be done has to be finished THIS WEEK. I need to send off line drawings to a magazine that was asking for art yesterday. So that's something to get done. Also, I have to make cookies, and clean, and maybe play in the snow : )
I've been cleaning up a few stories from Woodsocket '79. It's amazing how you think you're done with something but you find more to tell, or something that needs to be cut and you think, "Why didn't I see that before?" But that's the beauty of time and perspective. I'm learning how important it is to layer a short story. The more depth, the more symbols you have, the more of a thread you have running through the piece—can make such a difference.

Tied up in knots

I have a bit of a problem with my first book. Yes, yes, I know, AGAIN. I had Molly read it and she was so sweet to do so and gave me great comments. I love her for that. Love LOVE! And then I had someone else read it, my friend in Colorado who spoke of a boutique publishing business. Well, he said the book lacked tension and was pretty much unpublishable and should be put away for five months if not forever. I have mixed feelings about this. No doubt my book is laden with problems, yes, but after all this time and numerous revisions I think it's pretty darn redundant to refurbish a whole plot. I feel like I'm twisted in a knot and don't know what to do. Should I trust what he said? I mean, he kind of had a dismissive tone about the whole book, and I could tell he thought the whole thing was kind of silly. He said the beginning paragraph (which is my favorite part of the whole book and which also won an honorable mention) should be rewritten. He's a great gu…

Let's All Go to the Bookstore

Let's just pretend we're going to the bookstore today. It can be any kind: new and vast with shiny books everywhere, a coffee bar in the corner, lights that make you want to linger and buy, buy, buy. Or it could be an old bookstore with that musty smell, creaking wooden floors, dim rows of shelves with clothbound and soft-spined paperbacks. Where do you head? To fiction, or mysteries, or sci-fi? Do you dare go into the romance section and pull out a thick novel with half-naked Fabio on the cover? I like to go to the used magazines and see if there are any old issues hanging around, or maybe some weird art or music mag. Then I slowly walk through fiction and see if there's anything that catches my eye. I read the back cover, read the first few pages . . . I really like old, forgotten paperback that has some weird element like time-travel, or one human against the world, or introspective-sappy romance.
Records are next. I'm always on the lookout for Rick Nelson, …

The Commercial

All righty folks, here it is. I'm in the second half of the commercial, and won't be hard to spot—I think. Maybe I'm not really in the commercial after all, and I was just pulling your chain, using photos and video mash-ups to create this whole internet persona. Yeah, that's it. I don't really exist. I'm an enigma of a fake persona of a hologram statue from an alternate universe in a whole other time.
Okay, okay, I'm in it. Just watch the darn thing. It's getting chopped on the side, so watch here instead: commercial

No show for snow

Since we're not getting any snow here yet, or . . . ever, I'll just make my own blizzard blog and then curl up with a mug of hot cocoa and Talli Roland's book, The Hating Gameon Kindle.

One Person Really Does Make a Difference

I already wrote how I feel about John Lennon on his birthday. It is much better to celebrate someone's life than their death. But I can't let this day go by without sharing some of what he meant to me in my life. I, like many children of the seventies, were spoon-fed The Beatles almost like classical music. They were all over the radio and so it was just part of the landscape of my existence, and not something to think about. When I did stop to think about them it was always with awe and curiosity, especially when it came to John. Who is this guy? Why is he so outspoken? My mother always painted him out to be this crazy drug addict who posed naked on album covers and who certainly shouldn't be admired or listened to with any ounce of seriousness. But there was something about him that made me think. I liked him.
When I was eighteen I was coming out of some pretty bad experiences from my high school years, along with a messed-up early childhood that had left me qui…

I haz radio

I did that radio spot today and it went very well. We, having both had experience in theatre and time in front of a microphone, sat down and read our lines like pros--he has a great voice for radio. Wow. I'm still kind of amazed how well it went. I bet you guys were hoping to hear a story of how I went in there and messed up my lines and knocked things over on accident, haha. Believe me, I'm surprised that I didn't! I can be a real klutz sometimes. But no, it was great and I even got a tour of the station which was incredibly cool.
We went into a studio and sat down at a large desk with two microphones. The engineer told us to do a test run and we did and it went well, so he recorded the one after that. We did a 60 second spot and a 30 second spot. Then we were done.
On the drive home, I noticed that the highway and sky both had the same tone, and it reminded me of art class, oh so long ago, and the time we were all painting in shades of gray. It was winter and every…

Monday Shmumday

Tomorrow I'll be doing the radio spot with my friend Marshall Rimann. I'm excited, but, yes, just a little bit nervous. I've practiced tons and hope that all my inflections make sense, and that I won't be too loud, or obnoxious. The TV spot that was filmed last week will start runningFriday. If it gets posted to Youtube, I'll let you see it. I've already had a sneak peek and I can safely say that I don't look like TOO much of a dork, haha. That garners a big hooray!
On the writing side of things, I have been collecting all my little stories from this last year of blogging, mainly those from my childhood like the one I posted yesterday, and am seriously thinking about self-pubbing my own little vignette, if you will. It will have line drawings, and fine descriptions of the town, the joys of being a child in Kansas in the 70's, and the sadness of life with my father. It won't be a perfect book—it's something that I've wanted to do for m…

The Tacketts

Someone moved out and they moved in. First they were friendly, like any good neighbor, they said, “Hello,” and “How are you doing today?” But it changed as the seasons changed. They changed. Mr Tackett, an ex-police officer, became silent, moody, much like our father, but we had gotten rid of him and now were stuck with a new version; a stocky, salt and peppered grinch, with a wire fence between us as our only protection. In no time he’d bought two German Shepherds and let them loose in his yard to bark and snarl at us kids as we played. We had faith they’d never get free, and we laughed and jumped and ran about, until one day we saw they could jump. Perhaps he’d trained them—I don't know. I’ve never again seen dogs jump like that in my life. Never before and never since. They’d clear that fence as if springs were in their flanks, and come right for us, teeth bared.
Our mother marched right over there. “Do you know your dogs almost bit my kids?”
“They were taunting the…

Ralph's Christmas Card- a repost from last year

Spring Hill Middle School was ready for Christmas. Every room had been decorated with a tiny tree, paper garlands, and glittery tinsel taped along the walls in scalloped bows. There were even presents, brought in by the students themselves for a classmate whose name they'd pulled out of a hat.
Every year they showed a film in the dusty auditorium, whose radiators bubbled and hissed under each curtained window along the eastern wall. This year's was A Christmas Carol. It flickered on the large white canvas in black and white jolts, hitting my retinas like a jumping match; drawing me into a world of old London, and crooked, mean-spirited Ebenezer Scrooge. The moment Alastair Sims looked out over us in the darkened middle rows with a sneer, I smiled, and from that moment on have loved this particular version of the classic, and Sim's brilliant performance as the miserly changeling.
Looking around, I could see the faces of all my classmates. They looked bored, tired, restless. S…

Don't look behind you

This really cracked me up. Yes, I do feel bad for these people—especially the last guy who seems to accept his fate rather quickly, as if he'd expected this sort of thing to happen—but lord no, not in a Quickie Mart! Do you think this show should pay for their therapy afterwards?

I've got some French tunes in my head . . .

A long time ago I found a record in a second hand store that I thought looked interesting, so I bought it in good faith and went home. It was called Adamo A L'olympia- 16 Septembre 1965. I was into French films at the time and thought it would be up my alley, and I was right, so right. It's still one of my favorite records. After setting the needle down into the grooves I heard a crowd cheer wildly, and a live band started to pound out a fast tune. Then a thick french accent of a young man sang out, "A vot'bon coeur Monsieur!" with gusto (something about a good heart, mister). The song, and his infectious delivery instantly drew me in. I didn't know of my French heritage until recently, but I've always felt it. I always thought I belonged on some street corner singing French Tunes to passersby and sketching caricatures of every face that came my way (not at the same time, of course). I would be Alice Prin—Kiki of Paris—and bare all for any lover …

Tallie Roland, Fabulous Author and Chick Lit Extraordinaire

Just wanted to remind everyone that starting today you can download The Hating Game by our very own Talli Roland.

Visit Talli's blog for all the details!