Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pink is for...

The elephant has to go. I place Tiny in the wagon next to the cow bank. Balancing the sailboat on the top of all my other treasures, I drag my radio flyer out of the pink garage. Can you believe it—our house is pink. I don’t know what my mother was thinking when she painted it that way. Dad said it was because the color was special to her. I don’t think she knows how silly I feel living in a pink house.

I line up my toys along the driveway in the grass, their price tags showing. Mom helped me decide on the prices. I might have enough for my Playstation after today. All I need is ten more dollars.

Waiting for the first customers, I touch Tiny’s chipped ear. I remember when Dad brought him home from his trip to India. It doesn’t look much different than the ones you can buy in a toy store. But because Dad dragged him all the way back across the ocean makes him that much more special. I pick him up and hold him so I can see the details painted along his back, and flipping him over, I see where Dad carved my initials. I can’t sell this one, he’s too special. So I tuck him in a hiding place in the garage so he won’t be sold.

Back at my place on the lawn, I notice the stuffed bear. Grandma gave it to me for Christmas when I was a baby. We used to live with her then because Daddy was going to school. I press my face into the matted fur and pretend I can smell her favorite perfume. Grandma sprayed it on its fur when we moved far away so I could remember her when I missed her. The smell is long gone, but I imagine lavender and mint. No, I can’t sell this one either. I put him with the elephant.

I wait for customers. A nice lady with a little girl picks up the Mickey Mouse hat. My insides feel funny. Not my hat, I think. I bought that with my own money when we went to Disneyland three years ago. That’s the year that Grandpa died. He used to make a squeaky mouse sound and tease me about my bug-eye glasses. He said they matched the ears on my hat. I snatch it. “I don’t know how that got in there.” I race it into the garage and hide it under the teddy bear.

The bully from the street wanders onto the driveway. His bike is parked next to the light pole. “Gotany dollies?” He picks up the green car and makes varoom varoom noises and bumps it along the cement, before crashing it into the wheel of the wagon.

“That’s not for sale!” I yank it from him, surprised that I had the guts to do so.

Mom looks up from her book. “Arnold, I think you best go on home now.”

Arnold kicks at the wagon, the ray gun topples out, but I’m fast and snatch it up. I race it and the car into the garage and hide them with my other treasures.

My wagon is almost empty now. Just an old pair of goggles from when I learned how to swim at summer camp and the birdhouse I built in cub scouts. I can’t sell those either. I spent too long painting the triangular piece of wood to house a nest. I’ll hang it in the back yard and put some seed in it. No sense in wasting a masterpiece.

Last is my sailboat. Just before we moved a year ago, Mom and I sailed it one more time on the lake behind our house. I just can’t get rid of this. I look over at Mom. She pulls her hat down over her bald head. I look back at the sailboat. It’s the last time we’ll ever get to do something like that again.

Dad brings out glasses of lemonade and hands a couple of pills to Mom. “How’s the sale coming?” He asks.

“Great.” She says. “Maybe we’ll have enough to pay for that trip back to Seattle after all.”
That’s where she is from, where Grandma still lives. Mom wants to go see her old home one more time before… My eyes mist up and I drag the back of my hand over my nose. I’m supposed to be too young to understand what’s happening. But I do.

I look at my empty wagon and then into the shadowed garage where my treasures are hidden, and then I steal a glance at Mom. Her eyes are tired from the treatments. I know what I have to do.

At the end of the day, I empty my cow bank. I look into Mom’s eyes and hand her not only my Playstation money, but my treasure sales. “Now you can go to Seattle.”

Monday, October 11, 2010

Writer's Ramblings

Why am I still up at 1:27AM. A very long Sunday nap, that's why. I'm so glad that tomorrow is Monday. What? Are you nuts? You may ask. My secret is that it's fall break and I can sleep in...well for a little bit anyway.

How long has it been since I blogged? I check the date of the last one....Are you kidding? That long? What happened to my resolve to blog? So much for my 12 step program. I still love Facebook. I guess that's an addiction I'm not willing to give up yet. But what am I doing with my writing? At the moment, quite a bit. I'm editing Identity for the hundredth time. I hear Leatherwood is looking for mystery/romances. I think I'll send it to Valor first. Tristi Pinkston read it and made some great suggestions on how to make it better. I've taken a good look at my main character and decided she really wasn't as nasty as she should be. So I made her selfish and self absorbed. I really love to hate her. But that's what we like about a character, right...watch her grow and change.

In the meantime, I'm also working on my fantasy. It's finally finished and ready for revisions. As soon as I get my other novel done, I'll work on this one. That's two of my books under construction. I have two more begging for attention as well. What is it about writing that is so gratifying? For me at least, it's a way of living vicariously through someone else. It's also a way to get to name "children" without having to raise them in the same way you raise the ones you give birth to. The ones we mentally give birth to are so much easier to train...or are they. Sometimes those kiddos take on their own personalities and opinions, just like your own children. At least with a character, if they get to out of hand, you can shelve them until you're ready to whip them into shape.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Writer's Block--or 12 step Facebook program

There are some times when you know you just have nothing to write about. Like a dry well, the bucket keeps bringing up dust. What do you do in a moment like that? Do you get wrapped up in Facebook? Find yourself lost in Twitter? Or abandoning those two pastimes for something really mundane like Shockwave.com, playing hours of endless, mindless, unproductive games? Yup, that’s me lately. I’ve become the shell of a writer that I used to be. So what do I do now? What about the numerous novels I’ve started? Or how about the ones that are finished, in need of some severe rewriting?

It’s serious time to kick myself in the proverbial britches and write. Did you hear that? I said, “I’m going to write.” I will not play Farmville. I will resist the urge to see how many pointless words I can create on Text Twist. From today, I commit to writing 250 words per day on any work in progress. And should I stray from this less than lofty goal, I will spend that time editing. Either way…Good bye computer…at least in the sense of unproductivity.

I heard once that if you want the muse to inspire you, she better find you hard at work.

It’s now 8:12PM. I figure for the next hour my fingers shall be flying across the keyboard in gross absorption of the literary kind, and maybe, just maybe my muse will tickle my brain.