Friday, November 15, 2013

Goal: To be the poster child for "If SHE can do it then I can too!"

So I've been invited to run in a half marathon in June. Mind you, I'm NOT a runner. I don't like running and I'm not good at it. I cuss while I run. A lot. It feels very difficult and painful and never over when I'd like it to be. So of course, it makes perfect sense that I agreed to run a race with Heidi (another non-runner). The good news is, it's not until June. The bad news is, I think I'm hurting myself each time I run and will ultimately render myself arthritic before this is all over.

Part of my training process is to find all the unlikely people who have succeeded in running:
Oprah Winfrey

Pamela Anderson

This 100-year old man, Fauja Singh

This kid

The big picture -- even I can do this. I've been giving myself the same pep talk when it comes to writing. I've been sniffing around the long form of writing for a couple years now, and have experience doing non-fiction, but I think I'd like to try my hand at writing fiction.

I've been reading this book, Why We Write by Meredith Maran, in an attempt to understand other writers' processes. It's remarkable how many successful writers fail for so many years, yet manage to rise above it. I have read plenty of terrible books in my lifetime, and I'm certain that even I can write a terrible book. My big problem is I want to write a GOOD book. Not sure how to do that, but I think it's about time I get my act together and try. 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Create Post? I don't mind if I do.

I finished a book last night -- A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. I liked it well enough, although I could have benefitted from a flow chart of characters and timelines. It jumped around quite a bit. 

I started a little black journal in 2003 to list the books I've read and my two cents about them. I have a problem remembering what books I've read and who wrote them. (Of course, if you'd like me to recite  obscure movie quotes from 1982-present, I'm happy to oblige.) Anyway, I think the black book was swallowed by my nightstand for several years, because I haven't written in it since 2009. I wish I had, because I've enjoyed looking back at my two-sentence book reports. Here is a sampling, complete with the official Amazon summary for comparison:

The World According to Gap, by John Iriving
Amazon says: "This is the life and times of T. S. Garp, the bastard son of Jenny Fields--a feminist leader ahead of her times.  This is the life and death of a famous mother and her almost-famous son; theirs is a world of sexual extremes--even of sexual assassinations.  It is a novel rich with "lunacy
and sorrow"; yet the dark, violent events of the story do not undermine a comedy both ribald and robust."

Stacey says: I bought it because I identified with the description of the mother on page 1. I've always equated having large breasts as being somewhat floozy-like. Perhaps I've compensated for that at times.

The Good Earth, by Pearl Buck
Amazon says: "Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the William Dean Howells Award, The Good Earth was an Oprah’s Book Club choice in 2004. A readers’ favorite for generations, this powerful and beautifully written fable resonates with universal themes of hope and family unity."

Stacey says: It'll stay with me but I don't know what all the fuss is about.

Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, by Dave Eggers
Amazon says: "The literary sensation of the year, a book that redefines both family and narrative for the twenty-first century."

Stacey says: Top 5. Loved it. Loved his style and voice.

And now, my favorite review:
The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan DidionAmazon says: From one of America’s iconic writers, a stunning book of electric honesty and passion. Joan Didion explores an intensely personal yet universal experience: a portrait of a marriage--and a life, in good times and bad--that will speak to anyone who has ever loved a husband or wife or child. **PS this book chronicles the year following Didion's husband's sudden death at her kitchen table.

Stacey says: Fantastic. A glimpse of somebody's future -- mine or Shane's?

I read that last one to Shane and giggled. "You know, one of us is going to have to throw out the other's shoes someday." His response? "I hope we die at the same time."

So if it ever comes that Shane and I have perished together in some crazy accident or twin poisoning episode (probably sushi), please come to the funeral and know that we're happy we didn't have to clean out each other's closets. While we're on the subject: I'd like to be cremated, but I've made him a deal that if we do go together, we can be buried. In the same casket (my request). And now you know!

I looked for a picture of old shoes to post, and I found this creeparific image. Enjoy

Friday, September 7, 2012

Stupid Things That Make Me Feel Bad

I have a bookmark right at the top of Safari for FunkPonies. It's very accessible, right next to my calendar, but I never want to click it because I know I haven't written a post in a long time. Likewise my journal, which sits in my bedside table, HAUNTING ME. It has been over two years since I cracked that thing open. What's worse than not writing is a reminder that I'm not writing. Like a dried up houseplant that just sits there, drooping, waiting, silently reminding me that I'm a lousy caretaker. (am I the only one who can't bear to water my houseplants?!) I hate that plant.

So instead of sitting here glaring at the link on my computer, I'm blogging. And I plan to do it again and again because I think it's good for me. Plus, if I do it, then maybe Linz will write, and then maybe she'll even post some ridiculously cute baby pictures once her little cub comes around. Maybe!

In the meantime, this made me want to craft a really bad sentence.

When I "see" people making dumb grammar mistakes, it makes me think there heads not on write.

You're turn! 
(I added another one just for fun)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Reading with Real-Deal Moms

I was super-crazily honored to be part of the "Listen to Your Mother" reading series in DC a couple weeks ago. Here's a link to the website:

Cousin Stacey (the other Funk Pony mistress) was instrumental in providing feedback (i.e., red pen edit), and I trusted her completely because she is both brilliant and a gorgeous cream puff. Quite the combo.

Here is my essay from the May 6, 2012 reading:

The Door of Insanity
By Lindsay Félix

You may not be familiar with the term “Door of Insanity.” So, let me provide some background. The Door of Insanity is mentioned in the rarely-spoken second line that follows “It takes a village to raise a child.” That is, “It takes a village to keep mothers from answering the insistent pounding coming from the Door of Insanity.”

Knock. Knock!

My three-year-old, Angeline, is napping in my bed. As I tucked her in this afternoon, she asked, “Are you going to clean your room?” Hmmm… Even a three year old knows that a pile of t-shirts, panties, and sweat pants don’t belong on top of great grandma’s antique hope chest. Touché, little one. Although, she’s the one who chewed up her carrots and spat them on the carpet this afternoon. Knock. Knock.

My youngest daughter, Isadora, is napping after about 14 attempts. She just recently moved in to a toddler bed, so the novelty of getting up and adorning her hair with flocks of ribbons, or slamming the rocking chair into the wall has not yet worn off. She’s persistent. Tell her “No” too many times and she’ll march over to anything she can get her hands on and slam it on the ground. She’ll look at you with steely eyes, her lips pouted out as if to say, “How you like me now?”  Knock-knock-knock!

My friends’ laughter and commiserating about their insanity quells my own parenting anxiety. The knocking subsides.

But the knocking on the Door of Insanity was quite loud a couple years ago when I miscarried in a throbbing rush. I was at home. I actually held in my hand the dime-sized collection of cells that had been. In the end, I dug a tiny hole in our garden, and buried it beneath perennials that bloom in the earliest of spring days. The Door of Insanity swung open.

Over the phone, I told my cousin that I didn’t want to get pregnant again. I was mad. Petulant, even. I didn’t want a different baby. I wanted the one that I had lost. My cousin waited a moment, and asked, “How do you know that a new one wouldn’t have the same little spirit?” The Door of Insanity quietly creaked, inching toward closure.

Yet another dear cousin, on hearing me say that I was “trying not to be excited” about being pregnant again, said, “If something happens again, it’s not like pretending not to be excited will have helped. Just be excited now!”

My mother also talked me down. “Lindsay, you have to let yourself enjoy this. It’s a gift.” The Door of Insanity silently shut.

As I type this, I’m gazing at the cover of a magazine featuring the puma-sleek body of the lead singer from the Pussycat Dolls. I am jealous of her honeyed skin and clavicles. I am orbiting farther and farther away from that hot-girl world. I know what is inevitable. You see, I am currently “knocked up,” “with child,” “expecting.” As the weeks-old embryo divides and divides its cells, I will grow immense, and drift far off from hotness like a looming parade balloon. I’ll dance ponderously to “Don’t You wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Me?”

Knock. Knock.

However, when I’m standing at the kitchen sink, and my husband walks by and pinches my pregnant derrier (because everything looks pregnant), the knocking at the Door of Insanity stops.

The village keeps parents from flinging themselves over the threshold of the Door of Insanity. This was evidenced when my sister was diagnosed with leukemia when she was six years old. She passed away when she was nine. My parents were only 37. Not that they could have handled it any better if they had been older or wiser. The Door of Insanity blew open and engulfed everyone.

Without family members to pick up my parents from the dregs of grief, without friends taking my brother and me for a couple hours so that my mom could linger in my sister’s bedroom, without the village’s faith in the remote possibility that happiness and love might yet return, my family would have been lost. Over the years, the Door of Insanity closed millimeter by millimeter. It is still not shut, but only a sliver of darkness seeps through the gap.

The village that saves us sometimes includes our children themselves.

One of my proudest parent moments was when Angeline called me “Poopy mommy.” “Angeline! That is not nice!” I admonished. She quietly assessed me. Pondered. She pointed her toddler finger at me and declared, “Tinkle mommy!”

In the moment that followed this declaration, there was no knock on the Door of Insanity. Instead, I was downright giddy. Inside, of course. I dutifully furrowed my brow. But my husband, standing behind her, held his stomach in a painful, silent laugh. How clever she was! What moxy!

Yet, we truly fear her teenage reign of terror.

The pounding on the Door of Insanity will grow louder, tomorrow, or next week, and over the years, but my husband and I will depend on our precious village to hush the knocking and attach a child-safety lock to the Door. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Impressions of New York

I went to the ASJA Writers Conference this weekend in New York City. I've been to NYC a half dozen times as an adult and I always love it. The energy, the lights, the accessibility, the people watching, the ability to booze at will without having to think about driving.

This time around, I learned a few things:
* When the cab drops you off at your destination, make sure that you are actually at your destination (especially BEFORE you give him a tip!). After exiting a cab on Saturday night, my friends and I were a bit disheartened (er, pissed) to discover that we were still over five blocks away from the hotel. I don't know if was our company, the time of day, or my story about suspicious cab drivers who might kidnap you, but this guy wanted us out.

* It's okay to order a platter of food if you're doing it at an Indian restaurant. At Denny's, a platter of food will earn you an extra five pounds on your rumpus, but at an Indian restaurant, it gets you lots of vegetable options. Tasty ones.

* Hotel guests in NYC apparently don't need as much shampoo as the rest of the human race. Nor do their bodies require body lotion. I lube'd up one appendage per day. (Oh, get your mind out of the gutter. Arms and legs! I'm a woman, not a 12-year old boy!)

* I still can't understand how a talented street artist can capture your absolute likeness with pencil for $25, while some other guy hires assistants to paint dots on canvas and he's celebrated all over the world. I'm not sure what's worse -- that this dichotomy exists, or that I haven't taken advantage of it. (I'm extremely good at dots. Caricatures, not so much.)

In all, I love New York for all its glamour and crazy. But I'm glad to be back in Utah enjoying the sunshine, towering trees in the yard and the sweet smell of lavender and freshly-cut grass. And my humungous bottles of shampoo.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Doing Hair

Every morning in our house, we do hair. A cosmic and genetic formulation imbued my children with ringlets that, left untamed, resemble the rough street urchin cast in Annie. Spray, mousse, brush, then pin, bow, braid, or pony. At two, the youngest understands this ritual, and stands quietly between my knees. The only time of the day that this occurs. Otherwise, she is whirling and unsuccessfully hopping; although she exclaims “Hop!” only one foot leaves the ground. Her other foot firmly prevents her from flying. She yells “Wook!” and points at the passing garbage truck. Yells “Wohm!” and thrusts her cupped palm toward me, featuring an overly-squeezed, dead worm. As I work a wide-toothed comb through my eldest’s thick layers of curls, I realize that my back is no longer bent, and that it’s becoming more difficult to part her hair because, as I sit behind her, I can no longer see the top of her head. As she gazes at some interminable cartoon, I comb my tears into her hair, in hopes that it will stop her from growing. But they will just make her stronger. And her hair will grow longer, more lovely, and when I’m finished, she will face me, see my tears, and ask whether I have a boo-boo. Yes, my dove, but you make it all better.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Gap Casting Call AKA Personal Ads for Kids

Here's the link:

I'm not sure if it'll work forever, but right now it points to the Gap's current casting call for the new face of the company. How outstandingly exciting!! I was reading through the boys' postings and couldn't help but feel like they're a bunch of personal ads.

"Mason is always smiling! Everyone loves him! He can't fail at anything!"

"Zack is playful and athletic and always happy! The smiles are never ending!"

"Boston is the best human being ever! He has never experienced pain or disappointment, so he should win this competition today! And he smiles all day, even in his sleep!"

(I'm paraphrasing here)

I think there's something wrong with me, because I'm THIS close to adding this photo of some random internet kid pic and this description:

Max is a sullen, arrogant little boy who hates to lose at board games. He refuses to take pictures, hides when it's time for school, and last week he pushed a toddler face down into a snow-covered sandbox. While he lacks all charm and his personality leaves much to be desired, his soulless eyes will inspire hoards of people to purchase GAP clothes.

Your thoughts? Am I trending toward evil now?