On Back To Teaching

(I wrote this on the 1st, but forgot to post it.) I made it through the first week of teaching at my alma mater, and I celebrated last night by drinking wine and having a friend over for dinner and “The Newsroom”. I think I might still be slightly drunk. I know this because here is the paragraph you’re reading now, before I fixed it and cleaned it up of errors:

            Imadi throu week face and I’m NAKED! I’M NAAAAAKED.

Ahem.

No terrific blunders—unless you count the L sticker stuck above my boob on my new sweater that I didn’t discover until our break.

It all went pretty smoothly. I’m going to like it there. The campus is lovely and smells like fresh cut grass and everyone is preppy and pretty and…hold on a second…the place is so perfect it might actually be a campus for the progeny of The Stepford Wives. I think I might be the scariest thing on campus with my brightly colored dresses and thick glasses and random jokes that I sometimes end with “Now, come on. That’s funny. If you think about it later, you’ll see the humor in that.” I’m okay with that.

In all honesty, I’m thrilled I get to teach again. I could’ve walked away from it, but I’m giving it one more shot at becoming a ‘full’ professor. Fingers crossed that this little wish can come true.

You Too Can Do The Handshake Of The Gods

 

While I’ve been posting deep, philosophical blogs in which I tout my political beliefs, I thought I should also tout: How We Should Greet Each Other. I think it’s time we threw out the following: awkward hugs with light little pats on the back; deep hugs where you can’t breathe and wonder if the other person will ever let you go; that man-hug where you start with a shake, pull in , and then slap each other’s shoulders; kissing each other’s cheeks (hello! intimate!); and/or awkwardly just acknowledge each other and then pretend you don’t feel pressure to hug the person even though you do feel pressure.

Kealoha and I have been watching Spartacus. Yep. The one on Starz. It’s actually really good. If you liked 300, you’ll like the show. If you like seeing half-naked men wrestling, you’ll like the show.  If you like boobies, you’ll like the show. If you like gladiators and faces getting chopped off, you’ll love the show, and you should probably talk to someone about your issues.

 

Anyway. Whenever I watch the show I think two things:

1) Man! There’s so much testosterone in Spartacus that I can feel it coursing through my own body and now I want to eat a giant turkey leg and just RIP INTO that bastard.

AND

2) Why don’t we do that forearm shake? It’s so cool and tough AND you don’t have to touch too much of the other person.

Consider this video on Youtube. I am particularly grateful for the music in it.

 

So the forearm shake is the Handshake of the Gods, and so manly that you might sprout a hair or two. I know I did.

 

Instead of going for touching palms, you wrap your hand around the other person’s forearm, clasp it for a second, maybe grunt, and then you’re done. You’ve said hello, asserted your bad-ass-ness, and you’ve moved on.

 

Actually, now that I think about it, I wish I could just point at people when I greet them and not touch them at all. Not that I’m afraid of germs or anything; I just don’t like rubbing against someone. When I rub against someone, wine is usually involved.

 

That’s my deep thought for the day. And now my brain hurts.

I leave you with The Forearm Handshake quickly captured in the wild:

May the Gods be with you.

The Movies And Shows That Shaped My Twisted Sense Of Self

I’m narrating all week this week and still thinking over some stuff that I might blog about later. Until then, here are movies that shaped my childhood and pretty much my entire identity. I'm posting the lesser-known movies, and there's more I could add to the list. I can see I already left out “Ladyhawke” and “War Games” and “The Last Starfighter” and pretty much a bunch of others. Shit. “Time Bandits”, Muppet movies, "Willow", etc. Why am I posting this? I don’t know. Mostly cuz I feel tired and a little lazy and I don’t feel like being all writerly this morning.

So. I present The Movies That Shaped My Twisted Sense Of Self. Thank you, Hollywood. Really.

 

DRAGONSLAYER: The movie that showed me that women could be pretty and virgins and sacrificed to giant beasts OR they could lower their voice, wear bad clothes and collect shells in dark caves.

 

ICE PIRATES--After I was done with Time Bandits, I watched Ice Pirates. I repost it here because it's a ridiculously bad movie that I still have a fondness for.

 

DUNE--I didn't understand this as a kid, and I probably still don't, but even now I still think about The Spice (especially when making gingerbread cookies). And I thank Dune for being the birth mother to Tremors.

 

 

KRULL--What the hell WAS this movie? I was totally obsessed with it. I had the board game and used to go on adventure walks where I basically just walked around the block and imagined I was talking to a cyclops. (I still do this. Shhh.)

And can you guess my all-time favorite movie as a kid? I still reference it on the blog all the time. It's "Clash of the Titans". OF COURSE.

COUNT ZAPPULA

Then there was the great "Count Zappula" AKA Deputy Don. This was a local TV personality in Traverse City. (We moved into his neighborhood and I was shocked to see him mowing his lawn in his boxer shorts and nothing else.) He did a bad western show for kids in the morning, and then in the afternoon would put on makeup and use a Transylvanian accent to host a show where he played horror flicks from the 50s. (Think: Fall of the House of Usher, Wax Museum, The Blob.) It's why I love  Vincent Price movies, and I give Deputy Don credit for educating me on classic horror flicks.

And I have to give a nod to a series I first discovered as books around the age of 14, when there was nothing in the house to read because I'd already read all the Stephen King books twice. (My favorites: The Talisman and The Stand.) It's "Anne of Green Gables". Mix Anne Shirley in with all the above movies and you can see why I am the way I am. It all makes sense.

What movies shaped you?

The flight to Paris involved these 3 things

Paris Travel There were three traumatic things that happened on our flight.

1) SMOKE spewing into the aisles. Now I know this was actually just the condensation from the air conditioner, but when you're terrified of flying and you see this pouring out from the walls, it's honestly a little freaky. Okay. So this picture doesn't show the smoke because it's apparently invisible, but trust me, there was SMOKE. Spewing.

20120720-183033.jpg

2) THIS SUIT We stood behind this guy and I was transfixed by the suit and the texture of the shirt. I almost reached out to pet him.

20120720-183744.jpg

3) MY VIEW This was Kealoha's view on the flight:

20120720-182607.jpg

This was mine:

20120720-183525.jpg

The horror.

Coming Soon....

I'm narrating all week, so I won't be able to write as much as I'd like to. Never fear though! The blog will return shortly with my "Slow Down and Read" summer 2012 campaign, as well as what happens when you try to explain the rules of joke telling to a 6 and 7 year old. Humor is a lot more complicated than you think. I'm also toying with doing a little backstage blog on narrating. A really great book is releasing soon that I narrated and I thought I might tell a little more about that. Or maybe I won't do any of that. Who knows? More blog is coming soon...

Until then, enjoy these videos:

Birth Day (a sci-fi story)

As many of you know, I've been toying with some different kinds of writing. Here is a short story that slips out of the comedic territory, and into the world of literary sci-fi. Let me know what you think. I'd love to hear from you.

Birth Day

by Tanya Eby

Amelia sat at her kitchen table with her tablet loaded on the North Quadrant Times. It didn’t matter which website or news address she clicked on, every headline was nearly identical, with the exception of a few small words: Birth Day Is Nigh! Birth Day Dawns! Beware of Birth Day!

Articles were the same too. All women aged 14-40 should prepare for oncoming labor. Do not go to the nearest hospital. If every woman went into labor at the same time (as expected) then hospitals would be overwhelmed and would not be able to help. No. The Birthing could be done at home. Hospitals should be reserved for emergencies only (and there was some hysteria with the thought that what if every birth turned out to be an emergency. What then?). They’d had nine months to prepare. Everyone else, from young children, to older adults, to all the men, should check their birthing kits, re-watch delivery webinars, and prepare for…

Well. The articles were vague on what (or who) exactly to prepare for. The nearest guess was to prepare for a child. A billion children, actually, all over the world in every location: villages in Africa, deserts in America, and in the tallest urban jungles in the world. Even two doctors stationed at the North Pole had conceived, and they were both women without any men around for thousands of miles. Doctors and mathematicians calculated that Conception Day occurred on April 17 at 2:11 EST. They had been crunching numbers since then to decide if the Conception or Birth Day had any astrological meaning.  Their decision so far was…maybe.

 

Amelia was not worried. She ran her hands over her swollen abdomen and the child shifted within her. Fluttered, really. As if it had wings. And couldn’t it? Couldn’t her child have wings? Stranger things happened. Stranger things did happen like nearly nine months ago when every woman on the planet age 14-40 had conceived.

When the news started pouring in, when understanding started dawning, the news sites trumpeted the findings: Massive Simultaneous Teenage Pregnancy became All Women Above 14 Are Pregnant! Amelia held her breath, hoping against hope. And then the new headlines: No Women Over 40! Amelia had cried into her pillow that night. She had felt that she was different. She hoped finally, after all these years, that she could have a child of her own. It was not to be. All the incoming data, every news site, and every expert claimed to understand: All the women in the world between the ages of fourteen and forty were pregnant. There were no pregnancies before or after that age. Women who had been pregnant at the time of Conception Day, seemed to have reverted their pregnancies back to Conception Days. As if their pregnancies had simply restarted. No one over the age of forty had conceived. They were safe. Except…against all the data…Amelia.

Amelia. Pregnant. But that was impossible. She was 43. She’d had fertility treatments back when she was married. The doctors had said it was impossible for her to conceive and then, inconceivably, Patrick had left her and started a family with someone else. But now. Now, this. A gift. From her research, she discovered that she was the only 43 year old in the entire world who was also part of this experience, and because of this, she had sequestered herself. No one must know. No one must know that she was the one person who didn’t fit.  She’d seen what scientists had done in the beginning to understand. Those women they’d tested, experimented on, tried to help with terminating the pregnancy, those women had never come home. Young girls terrified of what their parents might think had tried aborting their fetuses…and they ended up dying. Or worse. Weeks and weeks of agony while the cells within them shifted to create another fetus to replace the one they’d taken, only growing double and triple time and causing deep pain. Those girls, they were lost. Their spirits slipped away. After Birth Day, Amelia wondered if they would come back to the world, but she doubted it.

She felt for them, these girls and scared women who were too terrified of carrying a child. She pitied them their lack of faith. She understood what it was like to feel lost, because she had been lost too, but in a different way. How she had slipped through living day to day, with no love in her life, just work, and sex occasionally, and long nights spent on her own while Patrick…She did not finish the thought. She reminded herself that now, with her child almost with her, she would be found.

There was no astrological or spiritual rhyme or reason for the moment of conception; she knew that. It was simply a miracle. Simply a miracle. Yes. She believed that this miracle was simple. A fact. Perhaps it was a leap of evolution. Whatever it was, there was no changing it, no stopping it, and the entire world had been forced to accept it. Birth Day was coming. Birth Day was nigh.

Amelia knew, knew at her very core, that there was, however, a reason why of all the women in the world she was chosen to be the oldest. Her child would be special. Her child would be a leader of children. She was chosen because her wanting had been so great; her suffering for a child so prolonged. Birth Day would change the world, beginning with her own.

“Incoming call,” said the computerized (though entirely natural sounding) Voice. “It’s your sister.”

Amelia quickly stood and went to her kitchen counter. She smoothed her long red hair and pinched her cheeks, hoping to bring them some color. Though, actually, since becoming pregnant, she did seem to have an otherworldly glow. One of the many reasons she tried to stay inside. The hologram would dull her glow, but it could not dull the size of her stomach. If she stood behind the counter then her sister would not see her rounded belly on the vidscreen. Amelia only needed to keep her secret a bit longer. Birth Day was only hours away, and then she could tell the world of her purpose.

“Amelia!” Her sister Nina said. Her voice was high and tight, her face pale. Her image stood across from Amelia, so clear that it was almost as if they could share a cup of coffee together. She seemed to have aged another ten years in just these nine short months. Nina’s red hair was now streaked with white, and the color seemed to have tarnished to the color of rust. She had deep circles under her eyes and her skin was dry and creased with new wrinkles. “Why aren’t you over here? You’re supposed to bring your Birthing Kit! The orders say that family members must help other family members! It says! You agreed! We need you here!”

“I can’t come. I’m sorry,” Amelia said softly. She was sorry too. Sorry that her sister would have to deliver her grandchild on her own. Sorry for her niece who, at just shy of fifteen, was terrified of what was happening to her body.

Her sister began to cry. She tried to muffle her voice. “Please,” she pleaded, looking straight into Amelia’s eyes. “Amelia…you’re the only one who has any medical training. Ed is a complete moron. He’s out back preparing the old bomb shelter in case some kind of attack happens. The boys are no help. I can’t do this alone. Margie is only fourteen! She’s just a child!” The rest of her words were lost.

Amelia took a deep breath. “It’s going to be okay, Neener,” she said using her sister’s pet name. When Amelia was a baby, she called her sister Neener because she could not say Nina. “I’m telling you the Birth Day is going to go fine. Margie can do this. You can do this. All you need…” Amelia took a sharp breath as a contraction gripped her. “All you need to do is believe.”

Nina rubbed her eyes with the back of her hand, dragging a line of mascara across her face. “Believe what,” she said and her words were filled with utter loss. “There’s nothing left to believe in anymore. We don’t even have control over our own bodies.”

“Believe in miracles,” Amelia said. “I do.” She decided then that the time had come. She stepped away from the counter and walked to her sister’s image standing before her.

“Amelia…” her sister breathed, as if she couldn’t believe what she was seeing. She reached out to touch Amelia’s stomach and then the connection was cut.

Amelia bent over as another contraction rippled through her body. The pain reminded her of surfing. How you rode the wave as long as you could until you tumbled, then, waiting in the water, you floated, until you could catch the next wave bringing you closer to shore. She would ride this out.

“Warning,” called the Voice. “Birth Day is imminent. Prepare your delivery stations. Please tune into Quadrant Four’s webcast delivery. Doctors are standing by to assist virtually. Remember: hospitals are not equipped to handle Birth Day. You must do this at home. Hospitals are on stand-by for emergencies, should any arise.”

It seemed that even the computerized voice was strained with fear and anticipation. This is what they had all been waiting for. The final answer was coming! What would happen next? Every time they’d tried to do a 3D imaging sequence, machines shut down. When a pregnant woman was in an accident and killed, they had tried to open her stomach to see what lurked within, but by the time they did that, the fetus had been absorbed. They’d tried ultrasounds and video feeds and even shamans to tell the world what kind of children women were growing. Would they be regular children? Gods? Demons?

Amelia knew the answer. She was growing Hope. Hope in the way that old advertisements claimed Hope For a New World and a Better Tomorrow!

The next contraction was fierce and Amelia leaned against a chair for support. She only needed to get to the next room where she had everything waiting. It was only a few more steps.

“Warning!” the Voice called. “The Children are coming!”

Amelia walked the few steps to her living room and lay down on the bed. She knew what was coming and that she only had to surrender to the experience and she would be okay. She breathed.

“Birth Day has begun!”

It happened incredibly fast. There was pain and tearing and she breathed through it. She was silent, in fact. All was silent. She no longer heard the Voice proclaiming warnings and advice for complications. She no longer heard the proclamations of the names of women who had successfully brought a child into the world, though she knew that there would be proclamations. She was aware that the world was in an orgiastic state of fear and anticipation. She knew that today people would take their own lives rather than learn of what was coming. She knew that what was coming was not, in fact, evil, but humanity’s next leap into a bold new future.

She breathed. She pushed. And then the child slipped from her in a rush. There was silence still. Amelia pushed herself up, scooped the child up, and looked into her daughter’s perfect silver eyes. Her eyes seemed to spark with electricity. In fact, staring into the child’s eyes, Amelia thought for a moment she saw the swirl of a tiny universe forming. The child seemed to consider her for a moment. Amelia brought her daughter’s gleaming metallic body to her breast, kissed the top of her cool head, and smiled as her baby nursed, seeming to know exactly what to do.

Everything would be different now. This was how transformation happened: quickly, without warning, and if you were brave enough to embrace it, it would take you to incredible places. Amelia and her daughter Hope would lead them all.

“Warning!” called the Voice. “The children! The children have arrived!”

All over the world people waited to hear the crying of the new children and were astounded when instead of sobs of a billion infants, they heard the tinkling laughter of what they could only understand as newborn stars.

Being awake after midnight can cause deep thoughts like "Nathan Fillion is like a comfy sweater"...

It’s 12:30 PM and I am wide awake. You’d think that this is relatively normal. I know people who stay up until 1 or 2 every night. Most of these people are (in my mind) strange creatures who thrive on creativity. They must accomplish so much, especially if they put their kids to bed by eight or nine.  

So maybe I’m one of these cool Night Hawks. But, uh, no.

 

I’m wide awake past midnight because I fell asleep last night at 8PM. That’s right. I had the kids tucked in bed by 7:30. By 8:00, I was downstairs with my legs propped up on Kealoha, sort of forcing him to rub my feet. We put on “Castle” and by approximately 8:03 I was fast asleep. It was a great sleep too. I was warm and cozy. I blame “Castle” for that. The show is just so damned comforting, nightly murders aside, that I can fall asleep while watching it as soon as the opening credits roll.

 

Maybe it has something to do with Nathan Fillion. He’s sort of like a cozy sweater. Whenever I watch something with him in it, I just feel like: everything is going to be okay.

 

 

Now granted, I was pretty tired. I’d had a day of teaching where I terrified a group of students by pulling out a bag of cherries from my purse and asking them to write about them. Why cherries? I saw them at the grocery store and I wondered if they’d make a good writing prompt. And I had deep conversations with my kids that required a lot of brain work. Conversations with my son that included him saying things like “Whazzup, yo? Touché, yo. 'Sup?” He’d squint his eyes, and show me how to look intense and cool. (Very impressive that a seven-year-old can be that intense, but brain exhausting trying to understand what he meant by 'touché yo".) My daughter and I also bonded over a conversation that included her saying “I’m a fart machine, Ma. I can’t help it. It’s what I DO.”

 

It was a day filled with pondering and contemplation, and I was tired.

 

So I reclined on the couch. “Castle” started and Kealoha rubbed my feet and I was warm and cozy and deeply asleep. Somehow I schlepped upstairs around nine to continue to sleep.

 

What do cool people do after midnight? I imagine they do stuff like blog and create new flavors for ice cream. What a weird time of day/night to be alert. It’s sort of like visiting a distant land.

 

And now I want a comfy sweater and/or to hang out with Nathan Fillion. It’d be great if I could get him to read me a story. That’d put me right back to sleep. (In a good way. He’s a great actor.) All he’d have to say is “Once upon a time…” and then throw in some murders and/or references to Firefly or the pies he tried in Waitress, and I’d be off to dreamland right away.

Hmmm. Pie. Maybe I’ll create a new flavor of pie with the time before morning.

 

I’m thinking something savory….with bacon…Hmmm….bacon pie….

On Scrotal Sacs & Anal Probing (Happy Festivus!!!)

Every once in a while, I ask my ‘readers’ to send me questions that I can answer. I want to involve them, yes, but actually this is me being lazy. When I can’t think of a blog topic, I turn to others to think for me. Patrick started the conversation off on my Facebook page. Patrick asked: Does any particular breed of bovine produce a better scrotal sack/bag than another? Ie, Angus, buffalo etc....”

I had to think about this for a while. Then I started REALLY thinking about this. A LOT. What did I know about scrotal sacks and balls? My only experience with them has been in biology class, one time when my older brother (he was 10 or so, I was 6) was wearing cut-off levis that were so short his balls squeezed out and I pointed and screamed (I thought there was something wrong with him), and the times where I have, uhm, encountered balls on my own. In the dark. Feeling around for, uh, stuff.

But I’ve never been served balls on a plate. Not even deep-fried ones. I was at a loss on how to answer this question. Thankfully, there were other readers on my Facebook page happy to help out.

 

Mary responded: “It depends on what your definition of "better" is...are you looking for size, fertility, or flavor? (I'm an old 4H kid).”

 

I breathed a sigh of relief. Now here was someone who seemed to know a thing or two about scrotal sacs. Maybe I could learn something.

 

Patrick continued: “Looking for more of subjective perspective. Things like feel, enjoyment factor, fashion comparability.”

 

JC jumped in and said: “@Patrick, Ah! Well, then I guess it will depend on which one you don't mind as much kicking you. ;) Unless of course it was Curly, our old AI bull in college, but I'm sure he's been made into burgers by now. (Old 4H kids can be evil sometimes),”

 

All I could think of was pendulous ball sacs. And cows. And my brother’s super-short-shorts. It was very disturbing.

 

I said: “You guys truly ask probing questions”

 

(I thought that would buy me more time to think up a clever answer.)

 

Patrick continued again “Speaking of probing.... What is the fascination of aliens and anal probing? Not really sure what relevant info resides on my rectum.”

 

Finally! A question I could speak about with real authority. Not FIRSTHAND authority, mind you, but authority because I’ve spent a good long time thinking about anal probing.

 

I could totally handle this.

 

For Patrick—On Anal Probing & Aliens

Patrick, you ask what the fascination is with aliens and anal probing? I got this. See, aliens are super smart and technologically advanced, so clearly they must know something about medical instruments that we don’t. Obviously, our rectums hold a variety of vital information like whether we like to surf board or play Scrabble. Since aliens don’t speak our language (they communicate via mind images), they simply extract the information from our rectums using gigantic PROBES. They go straight to the source. Since many of us think out of asses anyway, this makes total sense.

 

Sincerely,

Tanya Eby

 

 

I’m very satisfied with this answer. In fact, I think I’ve found my new calling. I can answer deep questions and explain mysteries…unless it’s about bovine scrotal sacs, and then I just can’t focus.

 

Please Join Me: Two Cool Events THIS MONTH

Greetings, readers. My blog is a random hodgepodge of writing, recipes, and every day awkward living, but today I want to do something different. I want to invite you to two awesome events happening here in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They're both thrilling for similar reasons: the support and encourage local writers. FOR READERS

 

Get out your pen and put it on your calendar (or enter into your iPhone. Whatev.).  Next week, Saturday the 15th from 10-2, please check out the Grand Rapids Public Library Local Authors Book Fair (click title for link), or GRPLLABF.

Uh. That's not actually an acronym, but I like to say it out loud.

I'll be there selling and signing books, along with about 25 other local writers with novels in every genre: YA, mystery, romance, erotica, humor, steampunk, thrillers, etc. Support local writers. Please buy a book (even if it's not mine). Also, Christmas is coming...buy your mom a hot pirate love novel. She's probably into that. Or, of course, one of my romantic comedies. Everyone needs a laugh, especially an awkward one.

FOR WRITERS

 

The other event is also exciting, but in a different way. I'll be presenting at the Grand Rapids Region Writers Group first conference! It's called "I've Always Wanted to Write a Book Conference" (click on title for more information).

We wanted a conference title that told exactly what to expect. This conference lasts all day on Saturday the 22nd at the Radisson in Grand Rapids. You can still register. It's $100, which is an investment, but hopefully affordable. You'll hear great presentations, network with others, come home with a goody bag and lots of ideas. There's also a social on Friday evening at the hotel.

It's great for all kinds of writers: new writers, closeted writers, polished writers, and never-written-anything-but-wants-to-be-a-writer writers. If you blog, write novels, want info on self-publishing, epublishing, or just how to get your stuff out there, please join us.

Even if you're just starting to write, join us. This is a great group of writers of all backgrounds and genres. We support and encourage each other.

Here's the schedule for the day:

"I've Always Wanted To Write A Book!" Conference Schedule
Hosted by The Grand Rapids Region Writers' Group
Saturday, October 22, 2011 at the Riverfront Radisson in beautiful downtown Grand Rapids! (There will be an icebreaker Friday evening for attendees)

9:30 - 10:15 Room 1 - Using Relaxation Techniques to Boost Productivity - Dr. Sandra Portko Room 2 - Writing Effective Queries - Michele Paulin, Tanya Eby and Sidney Ayers Room 3 - Writing Mysteries - Maris Soule

10:30 - 11:15 Room 1 - Writing Erotica and Erotic Romance - Abigail Barnette, Temple Hogan, Mia Watts, Suzanne Graham and Bronwyn Green Room 2 - Making the Most of Your Writing Time - Margaret Yang Room 3 - Author Branding - Tanya Eby

11:30 - 1:00 Lunch and Keynote Speaker, Jacqueline Carey

1:15 - 2:00 Room 1 - Writing Romance - Lisa Childs Room 2 - Why the Genre You Write Matters as Much as What You Write - R.A. Evans Room 3 - Everything You Need to Know about E-books- Margaret Yang, Temple Hogan, Abigail Barnette and Suzanne Graham

2:15 - 3:00 Room 1 - Trends in Young Adult Fiction - Tess Grant and Aaron Thomas Room 2 - What a Character! - Harry Campion Room 3 - Authors Behaving Badly - Jennifer Armintrout and Bronwyn Green

3:15 - 4:00 Room 1 & 2 - Q & A with Literary Agent Michelle Grajkowski and Editor Michele Paulin

4:30 - 6:00 Rooms 1, 2 and 3 Booksigning, open to the general public

Kealoha and Blunder Woman At Home

A week later and the dust has finally settled. Kealoha and I are married. It’s weird because things don’t feel any different, although I like looking over at him and seeing that shiny ring on his finger. Now that the bacchanal of the wedding is over I guess we just…well…move on. We go back to being the daring an audacious couple we were before, only now we’re a Mr. & Mrs. (although I’m keeping my name). Here is an example of just how wild and crazy our life is. We were sitting and having dinner last night. Kealoha grilled sausages and veggies and I made a trial dip for my dip blog. (No Bake Warm Artichoke and Spinach Dip. I’ll post it later.)

We were talking about our day. Then I stretched and said: “It’s pajaamma time” and Kealoha and I simultaneously seat-danced a little to Hammertime. He did the “doodoodoodoo”. We looked at each other and just laughed. It was ridiculous on so many levels.

(I was going to put in the "Hammertime" video from Youtube, but I got distracted by this)

Anyway. Kealoha said: “It’s official. We are now an old and boring married couple.” I said I was okay with that. Kealoha nodded and put more mustard on his plate.

Then I said that I had my students bring in songs to play and talk about the song’s ‘emotional argument’. It’s a way of getting them to write a thesis. I said, “You know, I like listening to the music they choose. It reminds me how out of touch I am.” Then I said something like “In my twenties I would’ve known all these bands. Now I’m just too tired. I don’t have the energy to find new music.”

Kealoha nodded in agreement. “Why do you think I listen to polka?” he said.

Yes. This is the new Kealoha and Blunder Woman, sitting at home, eating sausages, getting ready for bed at 7:15PM, quoting bad 90s music, and detailing the finer reasons for appreciating polka music: it’s less exhausting than looking for new music.

In short, marrying Kealoha has changed exactly nothing. We’re still exactly the same, only this time we have rings to say we’re a unit.

Heheheeh.

I said “unit”.

sigh

Why I Love Twitter--Because Of Conversations Like This:

Behold! I present to you a real Twitter conversation captured for your enticement. Step on up, step on up, and see for yourself why social networking can change lives. CHANGE LIVES. Or at least encourage you to put a washcloth on your face and shut it. Here is a transcript of a conversation between me, Tanya Eby ,(AKA Blunder_Woman) and Jennifer Armintrout (AKA JArmintrout). We’re both writers and a little twisted. It explains a lot. This happened last night.

 

Blunder_Woman

My left eye is puffy. MY EYE IS PUFFY. This may not seem news worthy of a tweet, but I'm getting married on Saturday.

 

Blunder_Woman

What if my eye swells up? It hurts. Did I get a paper cut on it? How do you get a paper cut on your EYE? I'm going to look like a pirate.

 

Blunder_Woman

Contrary to popular thought, one-eyed pirates do not make attractive brides. Even with makeup AND photoshop

 

JArmintrout

Put cold toothpaste on it. And cucumbers. And spoons. Put a cold spoon full of frozen toothpaste and cucumbers on it!

 

Blunder_Woman

For real? I'll do it. I'm freaking out. I don't know whether to ice it or heat it. One of them is going to make it BULGE.

 

JArmintrout

Let's not panic. If the cold makes it bulge, the heat should settle it down. Or make it split open and baby spiders come out.

 

Blunder_Woman

NooOOoOOOOooOO!

 

JArmintrout

Maybe ignore all my advice and just put a cool washcloth on it.

 

Blunder_Woman

Ha! Okay. Okay. Good plan. :) Phew.

(1/2 hour later....)

 

Blunder_Woman

Kealoha said maybe my eye wouldn't be so puffy if I'd stop rubbing and poking it. He's pretty smart. Now using cold washcloth and valium.

 

-End Scene-

I will now spend my time before the wedding doing this and NOT poking or rubbing my eyes.

 

Make Tanya A Millionaire!

It occurred to me this morning that I've never had a million-dollar idea. That's sad. But who need a million dollar IDEA when it's just as easy to have a million dollars? If a million people each gave me a dollar, then I'd have a million dollars and I'd be a millionaire.

What would I do with a million dollars? Cure diseases? Create world peace?

Naaaaah. I'd buy stuff. And probably take more time to write books. But mostly I'd just buy stuff.

So. You can help. Please give me a dollar. You don't get anything in return except knowing that you may have helped make a non-evil millionaire.

Thank you.

Click the clever paypal button below to donate your dollar now.  

I just can't write about 911

I've been trying to write this memoir thing I was tentatively calling "Tumbling"...but I just can't do it. I end up obsessing over how to tell the story without sensationalizing anything and how do I put my memories in order and how exactly do I tell the story. The truth is, I don't really want to tell the story. I was there on that day, yes, but so were millions of others. Maybe one day I'll tell the story, or I'll keep plugging along at it for my eyes only. There were a few things that were cool. Like how I got hired at Carnegie Hall. What it felt like walking into that building terrified, and walking out with a full-time position. With insurance. There was the gala I helped organize for Carnegie's annual fundraiser and walking out of The Astoria in my formal gown and feeling like I was a girl from Coopersville and I could conquer anything. There was the man I dated, the man I fell in love with,  and our Christmas Eve walking through Central Park. There was the Christmas tree I cut out of a paper bag and colored and put on the wall because I couldn't afford a real one. There were no presents under the tree.

There were drug addicts I'd pass on my way walking to work. The doorman at the apartment I rented. He was Russian and I was always aware that he was an observer, like me.  There was the Irish man I met and became friends with and then crashed at his place in Brooklyn before I gave up on New York and moved home. There were my friends at work: a singer and seamstress, an artist.

There was a constant awareness that every month that passed, I was a little more in debt. There were times I'd eat once a day because that was all I could afford. I took $20 from my roommate to buy a burrito, and when she got home I cried and told her. I paid her back, but I've always felt ashamed about that. There were stories that I wrote. Ideas I had. There were awkward men I met through online dating (that I later wrote about in "Easy Does It".) And one little song I wrote was put into a small production somewhere in NYC, but I couldn't attend because I didn't have money for a ticket and was too embarrassed to ask if my ticket would be comped.

There was the man breaking up with me and me crying and feeling foolish and utterly alone. There was losing hope at writing and losing hope of ever finding someone who would love me back. There was poverty and despair. There were drunken nights and cuban restaurants and Irish pubs where people spoke with real accents.

And there was 9/11. It became part of my experience. It was, in essence, why I came home. It isn't all of the story though, although at the time it felt like it. 9/11 was like that for a lot of us. It was an earth shattering moment that changed the course of millions of lives. It changed mine. I don't know who I would've been if it hadn't happened. Can any of us answer that question?

I remember the streets (after the event) plastered with LOST signs. Memos from loved ones searching...layered one after another. There were tanks in downtown NY. There were bomb threats and fear and security clampdowns. At Carnegie, we were afraid we'd be hit because we were a cultural icon. But the music kept playing.

I still remember riding in a car over the bridge and looking at the night skyline of New York. It was beautiful. That place is filled with such contradictions, often within the same day, usually within the same person. For me it was an experience like a great Dickens novel: filled with the best of times and worst of times. Colorful characters. Poverty. Shame. Despair. Hope. Laughter. Sorrow. Deep sorrow. Loss. And then...hope again.

I changed because of New York, and in part because of 9/11. I am better for the experience...the reminder, I guess, that what life comes down to is not if you publish a book or you're famous or if you accomplish all your goals. It comes down to loving the people in your life. Sitting in a pub with them and sharing food and drinks and laughter. It's waking up next to the person who loves you entirely for who you are, even when you annoy them.

I can't write directly about all the details. All I can say is what a year I had.

Who wasn't changed by that year? Who didn't realize that the most important thing in life is...well...life itself.

 

How A Writer Brain Can Take Over Your Life, Blob Style

Sometimes, having a Writer Brain really sucks, especially when you’re worried about something. Now, when you’re writing a scene or plotting a novel, it’s great to have your brain flying forward and imagining all these possible scenarios. For instance, a young woman walks into a restaurant. Here are things that could happen:

  • She sits alone at a table. Checks her watch. Orders. We think she’s been stood up. We find out that she wasn’t expecting anyone at all. She’s a lonely woman who pretends to be waiting for someone, and hopes maybe one night, someone will share dinner with her.

 

  • She meets some girlfriends for a reunion. They haven’t seen each other in ten years. She is having an affair with one of the women’s husbands.

 

  • She meets a man she’s been set up on a blind date with. He is seated at the table. He’s cute. They laugh. They flirt. After a bottle of wine, he gets up to go to the bathroom and she sees that he has really short legs. In fact, the guy is only about 4’4”.

 

See? Lots of possibilities. But when you apply this same Writer Brain to a real life situation, it sucks. Big time. In fact, a Writer Brain can take over your life Blob-Style.

Consider Kealoha’s concussion that I mentioned last week.

 

In reality, I know that he has a mild concussion and that they’re very common and that unless something goes really wrong, he’ll be totally fine in the next few weeks. Hopefully before the wedding.

 

But it’s that phrase “unless something goes really wrong” that makes my brain go into overdrive.

 

Here’s what I’ve been thinking. I imagine full scenes happening in which:

 

  • Kealoha goes in for a scan and finds his brain is swelling at an abnormal pace. They call him in for immediate brain surgery. I have to work but Kealoha tells me he’s fine. It’s only a little neurosurgery. Then he gets his head shaved and is operated on. He has to relearn how to walk. At our wedding, he waits for me at the aisle in his wheelchair. It’s very emotional because everyone is like, dude, he just had brain surgery and he’s still here. He must really want to get married. He can't say "I do", but he can say "Errggg" and everyone pretty much thinks that counts.

 

OR

 

  • Kealoha’s brain is so rattled that he can no longer smell or taste anything. He has a life changing moment where he decides he needs to hit every tiki bar in the country before he can say his vows, in the hopes of getting back his taste and smell. He packs his bag and decides to take a trip for a while. He’s not sure if he’ll be back for the wedding, but he’ll try.

 

OR

  • Kealoha falls into a deep coma. That’s all I’ll say about that one, because everything that happens in this scenario is so depressing that I can’t even talk about it.

 

For some reason, my Writer Brain didn’t envision what actually happened.

 

  • Kealoha goes in for a scan. It takes five minutes. They say that if anything is really wrong, he’ll hear from the doctor right away. Friday ticks away. We don’t hear anything from the doctor, thus we can assume everything is fine. We spend the weekend taking it easy. I run errands, obsess, and am generally anxious. Kealoha takes codeine and giggles. And he takes naps.

 

Hopefully, everything will be just fine. It will be just fine. I’m just having a deep panic attack about the wedding. And whenever I’m happy, I brace for something bad happening. So. I know this. I know I need to relax and stop worrying.

My biggest worry is my weight. I've been trying to lose weight for two months, but I lose some and then gain it back. I'm not committed enough to do a deprivation diet. I just can't! I also know that I am the same weight I was last year so I need to stop obsessing about what everyone will think of me when I walk down that aisle. I need to remember that the people coming to the wedding are our closest friends and family and they love both me and Kealoha just the way we are.

 

Ah. I do need to say that in all my terrible visions, I never once imagined abandoning Kealoha even after he needed speech therapy and had to relearn how to walk. In my mind, I’m always there with him. I even push the wheelchair.

 

Now that’s love.

Random Blog of Randomness #4

Random Item #4

I’m happy to report The Moms went shopping together for centerpieces for the wedding and both of them said that they had a good time. I’m so relieved. That takes one potential stress off my list. Apparently my mom and Kealoha’s mom will not have a Death Match Battle at the wedding. They like each other. I think this proves the Power of the Glue Gun in bonding people.

 

Not literally. That would hurt.

Slow Down and Read becomes Get Busy and Work (or what I read this summer)

At the end of May, I decided to have a summer committed to reading. I called it my Slow Down and Read campaign, member: one. I've been so busy with life, kids, wedding details, promoting, and writing, that I sort of lost track of my love of reading. This summer I committed myself to reading. I had a goal of five books. How did I do?

Here's what I read from May 28th to August 29th. (I'm including titles I narrated, because I still had to read them. I actually had to read them twice, some of them three times if I did the abridged version.)

1.  "Split Second" by Alex Kava (narrated)

2. "The Silent Girl" by Tess Geritsen (narrated)

3. "Sucker for a Hot Rod" by Joselyn Vaughn

4. "Only Mine" by Susan Mallery (narrated)

5. "We Need to Talk about Kevin" by Lionel Shriver

6. "Only Yours" by Susan Mallery

7. "The Tiger's Wife" by Tea Obreht (listened to the audio version)

8. "Matched" by Allie Condie

9. "Carry Yourself Back to Me" by Deborah Reed (narrated)

10. "Only His" by Susan Mallery (narrated)

11. "A Visit from the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Eagan

12. "Robopocalpsye: A Novel" by Daniel H. Wilson (listend to the audio version)

13. "Christmas at Timberwoods" by Fern Michaels (narrated)

14. "Before I Go To Sleep" by S. J. Watson (listened to the audio version)

15. "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" by Ransom Riggs

16. "Lotte's Country Kitchen" by Lotte Duncan

17. "The Fiction Class" by Susan Breen

 

I also read 358 pages of "Sarum: The Novel of England" but that mofo is 900+ pages long and I just can't finish it.

All in all, this summer was a huge success and reconnected me to storytelling and words. My favorite books this summer were "We Need To Talk About Kevin" #1 and then "A Visit From The Goon Squad" #2. I also really enjoyed the YA book "Matched". "The Fiction Class" was a sleeper hit for me and I really connected to the simple yet elegant story.

Reading isn't over for me, but I'm thirty days from a wedding, two chapters from finishing book #4, starting teaching again, and in general Back To Crazy. But, oh, what a summer.

What did you read? Or what's on your list? I'm going to start reading up on women and madness in literature, just in case I get to teach the class I'm hoping to next semester. And who doesn't appreciate a good crazy woman, especially in a fine novel?

 

Six Sentence Sunday 5/15/2011

Five hours after Julie posted her ad, she awoke still sitting at her computer. There was a paperclip stuck to her forehead and an empty wine bottle next to her. She picked the paperclip off her forehead and slowly dragged the cursor over the screen.

114 messages.

Then Julie saw what she'd done. “Young Treasure Seeks Seaman on Love’s Sea” became (with the help of her computer’s thesaurus and a fourth glass of merlot): “Easy Lady Requests Guy with Two Socks.”

From "Easy Does It" by Tanya Eby