Friday, May 19, 2006


--Creating that list took 10 minutes.
--You don't have to write a first draft.
--Or create an outline
--To get the bones of a story down.
--The details will fade fast.
--Use lists.

Prompt: Using a List

--Packing up to go to the beach with my bookclub friends for Mother's Day weekend--a tradition much deserved by all of us mothers.
--Stellar morning. I let my indoor kitty Tina Fey (yes, she's named in honor of SNL's head writer)out to munch grass. She stays out only a few minutes. Usually I watch her out there but I had emails to send and work to finish before leaving town. So, I let her stay out a bit longer.
--She's gone when I call her to come in, nowhere in sight. Never before has this happened. She always hovered and munched within two feet of the door.
--Daphne, our goofy golden-Irish setter mix standing nearby, panting.
--"Where is Tina?" I ask her. She wags her tail, oblivious, and noses one of her beloved rocks in my direction. That's another story.
--"Tina, Tina, Tina," I call. Damn.
--My family has always thought this was a bad idea, my letting the indoor cat out. And now I'm leaving and she's gone. Yikes.
--I see her at end of yard.
--Catch her but she jumps from my arms, terrified--puffed to twice her size.
--I think Daphne has chased Tina and that Tina freaked.
--Dog/cat relationship is entirely different outdoors. Tina suckled D. when she was a kitten--inside.
--Tina dives at fence, hits her head, doesn't even know what a wire fence with ivy growing on it is.
--I grab her. She growls, hisses, scratches, bites me. Daphne thinks it's a game and lunges at her. She scratches D. who gets upset and fights back.
--I do not put Tina down until we get into the house.
--My right hand looks like I put it in blender. Left hand bad too.
--Long soaks in anti-biotic soapy water. This will fix it, right?
--Jump ahead 24 hours. At the beach with my girlfriends. Right hand is huge, red, and more sore than all my abdominal surgery incisions combined.
--Urgent Care Office visit. I don't want to do this on my weekend with girlfriends. But I'm in bad shape. Friends tried to get me to go yesterday. Stubborn. Don't want to be like my mother who takes temp six times a day and visits nurse every day.
--Antibiotic shot in fanny. "Just lean over the exam table and pull your skirt up," Dr. says. At least she's a woman. Friend Jill who drove me gets a great view of my ass.
--Doctor angry I waited so long. I think she's mean and unpleasant. Dr. Farmer.
--Calls to local animal shelter, even though the bites happened 175 miles away. Are they kidding? Calls to my vet. Tina is the sweetest cat and totally vaccinated.
--Horse pill oral antibiotics for me.
--We go to drive through CVS for Rx. A first for me. Jill is practical and sometimes bossy. But she can see that getting out of seatbelt, car, walking are hard for me.
--No ocean swimming allowed--open wounds, polluted waters. What? Ocean no longer healing water?
--Drooling on couch all weekend.
--Friends have to button my pants, fasten my bra, strip my bed, drive my car, open my horse pill bottle. My right hand is completely useless.
--Hideous pain. Worst of all, I can't write or type. How is a writer to live? I have no disability insurance.
--Home again, a visit from animal control officer. Is this for real?
--Tina is put under house arrest for two weeks! I have to sign papers. My hand won't work. "Can I put an 'X'" I ask. No. I force myself to write, seasick with pain as I do.
--Officer is wearing a medical boot--don't ask why, a dog bite?--that scares Tina. She cowers. Shape up cat, I think. Don't act like you're skittish or rabid. She's neither.
--In fact she lets me cut her nails, used to at least. She is SO gentle.
--It's all my fault, mine and Daphne's.
Note: Before leaving for beach, I checked to see if Daphne was hurt. Found entire Tina claw in her upper gum. I pulled it out (with my left hand). She didn't care. Hell, she chews on rose branches.
--Tina is missing a claw nail, or whatever it's called. She is sore too.
--Animal officer sat in his truck, taking photos of birds at my feeders. We both love birds.
--By law he has to visit Tina again next week.
--One week later I can type again. It's been hell though.
--Someday I might want to write an article about this.
--Having this list will help.


Sunday, May 07, 2006

Dialogue with my Blog:

Me: Blog, what's up with you? Why don't I use you?

Blog: You ignore me. What are you--a luddite, old, retarded? I am the way to go and you refuse to work with me. You were volunteering information about Craig's List to those older ladies at the estate sale earlier today. You told them to get started with Craig's List because the classified sections in the newspapers are disappearing, like cassette players and video tape. But have you ever used Craig's List. No. Never.

Me: I know. I'm full of it. I haven't even become blog-savvy, though my blog is part of my email signature. That's embarrassing.

Blog: Exactly. Now you're talking. Don't be such a slacker.

Me: But when I think of a blog, an image from Wally Lamb's She's Come Undone drifts across my mind--when that huge whale beaches on the New England coast and begins to stink. But that is so not what a blog is, right?

Blog: Excuse me. I am no smelly beached whale. You are for not using me!

Me: OK. I'm going to post a prompt because thinking about writing prompts is something I do all the time. Maybe that's the answer for me: write what what's already formulated in my brain.

Blog: Yeah go for it. A blog entry doesn't have to be a mini-column.

Me: But since I learn what I think and how I feel through writing, I am reluctant to post my first thoughts. Am I supposed to spend time editing my blog post before publishing it? Crap. I have work to do--a writing job due Tuesday, client work to edit and ponder, classes to plan, my journal to keep, my art journal waiting for that new project--not to mention life and a dog who needs a walk.

Blog: So post your prompt and be done with it

Me: OK. Here's the prompt: mother. What comes up when you say this word? Try writing a letter, writing about a photograph, making a cluster, creating an acrostic poem, or having a dialogue with mother. Or just write.Later in the week, I'll post a mother poem--not by me. Anything else you want to say to me, blog?

Blog: Yes. Use me. I am not a beached whale.