November 6, 2009
This is the third in a series of pieces I’m putting up mostly for the sake of putting up a piece for NaBloPoMo ’09. Yesterday it was nothing but a cartoon “posted without comment” (except, of course, the title, chosen to suggest I followed the advice the man in the cartoon gives). The day before that I said merely that I was reading a book set on a horse ranch in Colorado and gave a link to the author’s website. I didn’t have the concentration to jump off into a reminiscence of my own horse period, nor even to repost (as a “best of,” that fallback many a busy columnist uses during fallow periods) a piece I wrote in 2006 that contains such material.
Casting about tonight for topics I could address easily, I got the feeling that my thinking these days has a certain Facebook status update quality — just short observations, no more than 420 characters, about the passing scene. I do that regularly when I am working at my studio, commenting on the antics of neighborhood children or wondering why it takes two UPS deliverymen to carry four small boxes up the driveway (of whom only one was doing any carrying). At least I’m not Twitterizing (keeping my comments to 140 characters), just yet anyway.
Some quick takes:
- I think I have made my last visit to a mall until maybe St. Patrick’s Day. I needed some comfort shopping today, and went in search of fuzzy slippers in purple faux fur, $20 at Macy’s, as an alternative to the $200 purple UGG boots I wrote into my manuscript on Wednesday. (Megan had purple boots that he liked. “Mulberry,” she corrected him when he’d admired them the first day back at school after Christmas their senior year. He wondered if she had still been wearing them three Christmases later. — “Dislike!” Lynn commented when I mentioned this on Facebook, referring to the boots and not the fiction they marched into.) I found the slippers immediately at Macy’s. I might have shopped longer and bought more if the Christmas music hadn’t driven me back out to my car, where I turned up the volume on the Mendelssohn I am currently riding with to drown out the seasonal sounds the mall operators think is appropriate. Y’know, it’s not beginning to look a lot like Christmas and Jack Frost is not nipping at my nose just yet, even if Santa Claus has already come to down at the Capital City Mall.
- Researching some medical subject, I came across a page aimed at health care professionals that used highly formal correct scientific terminology yet told me what I wanted to know in language I could understand, even though I am not a health care professional. That’s good writing. But I was amused to be offered a “pneumonic” to help me remember the stages of risk relative to the size of the abnormality found. That would be “mnemonic,” from Mnemosyne, the Greek goddess of memory. A “pneumonic” would be an iron lung. Yeah, I told them, via their feedback page.
- Because I do that sort of thing. In 2006 I wrote a letter to the powers that be at the Giant supermarket near my house about their unfortunate mangling of a sign indicating the availability of “Panini’s.” I am happy to report that the brand new super SUPER Giant (98.000 square feet, as opposed to a mere 68,000 in the old store) that opened less than a mile west on Linglestown Road has a sign that gets it right. AND they had Diet Dr. Brown’s Cream Soda in stock, after a dry spell.
- My phone had an unfortunate encounter with a body of water this afternoon. It’s working, but the outside screen (it’s a flip phone) is blank. This means that I can’t use it for what I use it for most often — to see what time it is. (I had to get a hiker’s watch – with a compass – that clips to my backpack to know what time it is at Bread Loaf, where there is no cell service.) It might be just fog that will dissipate. My phone does not have a camera nor a QWERTY board, but I like it, and I certainly don’t want to be one of those whiny self-absorbed people afflicted with affluenza who think they have to have the latest bells and whistles and trade the phone in just because one little thing on it doesn’t work. Maybe there’s a trip to the phone store on my agenda for tomorrow. I hope they’re not playing Christmas music there.
The NaBlos of the Past:
2008: Starry Starry Night – Until she was in about middle school, Lynn was an avid and active artist. She progressed quickly through the stages of children’s art development, from scribbling to rudimentary shapes to more realistic and recognizable (to someone other than herself) scenes around which she could fashion a narrative. Before she could write words she used drawing to communicate. She drew one scene of her grandmother and a neighbor watching her play with the neighbor’s dog, and sent it as a sympathy note when the dog died, asking me to put “I will miss Peaches, too. Jesus will take care of you” across the bottom.
2007: Strata – Antonya Nelson’s description of clutter as history and mystery washes over me like a wave of warm water. Her long sentences with strings of details probably went through a dozen drafts. She took the time. She lavished on her prose the care her characters deserve of the words that tell their story. I can do this, I told myself. I can do this.
2006: What Was He Thinking? – I attended a special meeting of the Derry Township School Board tonight. Derry Township (known to most by its more familiar names of Hershey, Pennsylvania, the Chocolate Crossroads of the World, and the Sweetest Place on Earth) is not the township where I live and where Lynn went to school, but the reason for the special meeting captured my imagination, so I went, NaBloPoMo participant’s notebook in hand.
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