Category Archives: Writing/Chicken Scratches

“Have you ever stolen anything?” the officer asked me.

Yesterday I had window washers at the house.  Within minutes the workers asked me to lock up Orlee The Giant Puppy as every time they got a window clean, she stuck her nose on it.  “Every time!” they said.

Without her attorney/my husband here to represent her, she was sent to jail.

IMG_0504

I feel her pain. My first real job was in an office of ten people. One day, someone stole the cash box. Guess who was responsible for the cash box? That’s right. Me.

The boss was very diplomatic and declared that everyone (except him of course) would take a lie detector test. Being the prime suspect, I was first.

I arrived at the police department and was escorted, by two burly officers, to a dark basement room. They attached several wires to me, which because of my profuse sweating, took several tries to get the pads to stay attached to my skin.  The younger officer with the lie detector was set up almost out of eyesight but not quite.

“Is your name Teresa?” the older officer sitting in front of me asked.

“Y-y-yes?” I listened to the needle scratch across the paper.

“Do you drive a 1965 Chevy Impala?”

“I? Yes?  It’s not mine though. I mean I don’t own it. I mean…” The scratching noise intensified.

“Please keep your answers to yes or no.” The young officer made a mark on the paper.

“Have you ever stolen anything?” Older officer asked.

“Have I ever…” Of course I’ve stolen some thing. As a kid I took change off dad’s dresser to buy ice cream from the truck. Did that count? I once stole a candy bar that Mom wouldn’t let me have, but she made me take it back and apologize. Did that count? “Well…I…sorta…”

“Yes or no answer please.”

“Yes.” No violent scratching from the needle.

The electrodes attached to my fingers slipped off from copious amounts of sweat. Old officer reattached them and moved in for the kill.

“Do you live in Topeka, Kansas?”

“Yes.” The needle was silent.

“Do you have a pet?”

“No.”

“Are you wearing a blue shirt?”

“Yes.”

“Are you wearing green shoes?”

“No.”

Old officer leaned in closer. “Did you steal the money?”

I heard the needle jump across the page.

“DID YOU STEAL THE MONEY?” he shouted.

“NO!” I shouted back.

He smiled and removed the sweat soaked electrodes from me. “I knew she didn’t take it before she sat down,” old one said to young one.

Robber #1Seven of us were proven innocent and two were inconclusive.

The boss refilled the cash box but filled it with blacklight powder dusted money.

I asked to be removed from cash box duty.

An Amazing Tale to Tell…If Only…

BIG writing day.  Blog post AND story must be written today.

Every Wednesday my critique group meets and Tuesday is the deadline to submit.  Of course, I could write anytime from Thursday through Tuesday, but I don’t.

That’s what this thirty-day writing experiment is all about though.  Getting in the habit of sitting in front of my keyboard every day.  Every single day.  Sigh.

One part of the experiment that is working, is that I realize I do actually come up with words to put on the paper.  Maybe not profound words, but words none the less.

The second thing that has happened is that my imagination, now being exercised regularly, is beginning to work again.  Last night I awoke from a very odd dream and my first thought was, “That will make a great story.”  I struggled to stay awake long enough to map out a couple of characters and rough plot.  It’s a pretty damn good story.  I just wish I could remember it this morning.

 

Sweating Like a Glass of Iced Tea in August

I’ve been working with a trainer for about a year.  Before I started, I had a long conversation with him about how I’m not motivated by yelling.  So, I really love him because he’s very sweet and gentle with me.

He’s the same one my niece goes to, but we’ve always gone at separate times.  Yesterday I went with her to her session.  What? The? Heck? was I thinking?

We bounced around from leg lifts while lying on a pool noodle to kettle bells to a contest to see which one of us could hold plank position the longest.  While my niece sang along to Madonna, I was huffing and puffing and sweating like a glass of iced tea in August.

At one point, as I balanced on the end of a weight bench doing a billion crunches, I looked up at my sweet, gentle trainer and said, “I hate you.”

Evidently, in trainer world, that’s the biggest compliment you can give.  It also means that the evil exercise gets added to my workout forever.

Welcome, My Little Lab Rats, to Writing Experiment #1

My local Kansas City Writer’s Group offers an award for one hundred rejections.  A friend in my WTF Critique group mentioned that she tried for it one year.  The only thing was, the more she wrote and submitted, the better she got.

Interesting.

I spend a lot of time avoiding my computer as I’m certain I’ve lost all ability to write.  However, it’s probably a lot like sports — not that I’d know anything about that.  Last week Husband and I played baseball with the grandkids and when he hit a ball to me I screamed and ran the other way — anyway, I’d imagine you practice and practice and practice and then you get good at it.

Welcome, my little lab rats, to Writing Experiment #1.  Posting on my blog for thirty days in a row.

 

(This counts as a blog post, right?)

 

I WANT TO WRITE, BUT I DON’T? WON’T? CAN’T?

Cant WriteI want to write, but I don’t write.

Or maybe it’s that I won’t write?

No. For sure it’s that I can’t write.

Last night I vowed, as I do every night, that come morning, I would sit down in front of my computer for twenty minutes even if I don’t put any words on the paper.

While I’m brushing my teeth this morning I decide to prepare to fill my vow. I Google “Writing Prompts” on my IPhone. I read dozens of them and not one prompts me to write.

So, I scroll through Facebook . Nothing there prompts me to write either.

I toss the phone on the counter and my new puppy barks. I realize she should go outside. I stand by the back door, like an idiot, hoping Puppy figures out how to ring the Go Outside Bell.

She’s so excited to see that she might get to go out, she wags her tail, which hits the Go Outside Bell.

Does That Count“That doesn’t count,” I say.

My words excite her even more. Her body wriggling with anticipation, she slams into the bell. It goes off like a high holy day at church.

I wrench open the door and the two of us, anxious to get away from the awful Go Outside Bell, fall through to the other side.

I wait for Puppy to do her business and look up at a giant picture window. I see a beautiful scene, right out of some writing movie. A sleek black desk, with a trendy light and a robust green plant, fills the frame. “If I had that,” I think, “I wouldn’t need any stinking writing prompts. I’d just sit down and write.”

Wait.

I do have that because…that’s my picture window.

I march inside and renew my vow to sit in front of my computer for twenty minutes even if I don’t write a word.   This is how well I fulfill my vow.

# I flip open the screen and see that it’s so covered in dust it would be impossible for me to write.

# I search for a special screen-cleaning cloth. No luck. I wipe the screen down with a damp paper towel. Visibility is now in worse shape than before.

# I search harder for special screen-cleaning cloth. Discover one the size of a postage stamp and spend ten minutes scrubbing computer screen.

# I am ready to write now. Nothing can hold me back.

# I pause to pat myself on the back for carving out such a great place to write.

# I notice sound of a tiny bell.

# I close laptop

# I follow noise to my IPhone, which is about to lose its charge. I walk to the car to retrieve the one IPhone charger I possess and when I open the car door, remember — from the stink that hits my face — I forgot to empty my car of bonfire smoked coats and empty gas cans – leftovers from weekend work at farm and ancient tractor.

# I discover hooded sweatshirt coated in stick-tights. I spend a futile thirty-minutes plucking at pointy seeds.

# I return to computer and open it. I stare at blinking cursor for what seems like hours, but in reality is two minutes.

# I think Puppy has been too quiet. I look across the room and see that she is rolling something small around the inside of her mouth.

# I close computer and get down on the floor, pry her mouth open and find nothing.

# I open laptop.

# I glance over and Puppy has resumed chewing small object, which pops out of her mouth and lands on the white carpet.

# I close laptop.

# I gag slightly and pick up tiny bloody tooth.

# I clean carpet.

# I open laptop

# I hear a ding from the charging IPhone.

# I close laptop.

# I watch text of grandson hitting a home run. I watch it twelve more times.

# I open laptop.

# I take sip of tea, which has turned cold.

# I close laptop.

# I reheat tea.

# I open laptop

# I immediately become aware of rumbling in stomach.

# I close laptop.

# I stand in front of open fridge searching for healthy snack that tastes like a chocolate chip cookie. I give up.

# I open laptop.

Outside Bell# I hear wiggly-jumping Puppy ring the Go Outside Bell. I take her outside and walk around back yard while Puppy sits and stares at me.

# I return inside to sound of the doorbell ringing.

# I listen to sales pitch from Boy Scout. Get purse and write check.

# I hear a ding come from other side of house. Follow it to dryer, telling me load is done. I move dry laundry to bedroom.

# I chase Puppy to retrieve stolen sock. I fold laundry, except for the sheets. I decide it is easier to change sheets on bed than fold clean sheets. I do that.

# I pick up slippers from bedroom floor and put away in closet.

# I organize entire shoe collection by color, then season, and then heel height.

# I follow faint beeping noise to the open laptop. I look at screen. Battery dead.

I want to write, but I don’t write.

Or maybe it’s that I won’t?

No. For sure it’s that I can’t.

Cant Write

 

 

Meet The Mayor of Crazie Town

Hello, my long-lost readers.

Wait.

You weren’t lost, I was.

???? Lost

You may be asking, WTF?  Why did The Mayor go from writing a hilariously funny and entertaining post every week, to barely a dozen over the last two years?

That is an excellent question and one I’ve been trying to answer for…well, the last two years.

I could tell you a lot of stuff happened, like:

My dad died,

and then;

My favorite aunt died,

and then;

My dog died,

and then;

We moved into the house from hell,

and then;

My husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer,

and then…

And then, I got stuck in Child’s Pose.  Literally.  Knees to chest, forehead pinned to a yoga mat.

My first yoga class in years and, unable to stand in Warrior 1, 2 or 3, I folded myself into Child’s Pose to wait for a position I could manage.  The problem became apparent immediately.  Once I arranged myself into Child’s Pose, huge crocodile tears rolled down my face and plopped onto the mat.  As the puddle of tears grew, the salty drops splashed back up onto my cheeks.

“Let’s continue our Vinyasa,” the teacher murmured to the class while tucking a pile of tissues next to me.  “Downward Dog…to Plank…to Cobra.”

I pushed up to try a Downward Dog but, the tears traveled upside down across my forehead and added to the growing dark patch on my purple mat.  Back to Child’s Pose, where I continued to weep silently until the class was over.

That was it.  I’m done.

I’m actually tired of being sad.

Khalil Gibran wrote: “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.”

I figure by now, my life can hold a shit-load of joy.

For example, this brings me joy.

Blue Mayor

I’ve spent a small fortune at Shutterstock and thought it would be better to pay an artist I’ve actually met.  This is a creation from one of the extremely talented members of the WTF Critique Group.  Annie is an artist, a writer, an art critic and a world traveler.  I hate her awesome talent.  I think she has awesome talent!

I asked her to make a drawing that looks like me but add a top hat.

Done and done.

Meet the Mayor of Crazie Town. She confirmed that hilariously funny and entertaining blog posts will soon follow.

 

Evolution of The Writer/Mayor of Crazie Town

1994

1994

I discovered that our movers put three boxes marked “Teresa’s Journals” in my office, instead of the storage room, which is where I’ve kept them for the past twenty years. I opened the first box.

This lovely image assaulted me.

I couldn’t imagine what it was doing in my journal box, and turned back the cover to unearth my first journal entry ever.

I remember taking a class on journaling. The teacher recommended that when you didn’t know what you should write, write the words, “and then…” and see what happened.

JOURNAL ENTRY:  March 5, 1994

I was born On November 24, in Wichita, Kansas and I was a third child
And then, I became an older sister to five brothers
And then, I became a wife
And then, I lost my brother
And then, I gave birth to twin girls
And then, they died
And then, I closed off a place in my heart
And then, I was a mom to a baby boy
And then, I was divorced
And then, I started my life
And then, I lost my way and became what needed to be done
And then, I had a hysterectomy and lost my femininity
And then, I learned I could not control my future, which scared me
And now, I am searching for me. What I want, what I need, balanced with what I should and what I could

2001

2001

JOURNAL ENTRY:  April 7, 2001

I always love starting a new journal, although it is also a bit intimidating.  As if this time I will get it right…whatever right is.

I vow to write neatly and to put important thoughts down on paper, but that is not what my journal is for.  I need to pour out my life, good, bad or boring and journaling has been the way for me to do that best.

Eww! Just picked off three ticks from being at the farm.  Yuck!

2013

2013

JOURNAL ENTRY:  June 19, 2013

I’m breaking so many Teresa rules.  Writing a journal entry in my Writing Notebook is one of them.  It’s sad to say how freaky I can be about this.  My writing should be orderly and confined to the proper paper.

Anyway, I am sitting in a beam of sunlight, on a bench in Central Park.

The Normal:  Tiny brown sparrows bathing in a dish held skyward by a bronze girl.

The Abnormal: A well-dressed elderly man walking by holding two leashes – at the end of which are a pair of dalmatian speckled rabbits.

An ancient couple sits on the next bench and he is desperately trying to explain Twitter to her.  She replies, “Yes, I see” at the end of each of his sentences, but clearly, she does not.

A purple flowering shrub, the spikes vibrating with black and yellow bees, frantically trying to grab the nectar before their brother does.

I want to be home – in a real home – sitting in my yard. It will be weeks before that happens and I hate to wish my life away.

Still resisting the urge to sit down and write my blog. It weighs on me, the guilt of not finishing what I started. But, evidently, not enough to move me to action. My brain is everywhere and nowhere all at once.  Is the house we bought the right one?  Is John looking ill? Are the kids okay? How will I ever meet up with Craig in Brooklyn for lunch? What should I do next?

I know, I’ll go back to my brother’s apartment and take a nap.