Thursday, December 29, 2011

I’m often staggered by our capacity for self-delusion.  It’s a gift, I believe and I’d bet good money our brains are hard wired for it.  Without this deception, we’d all be walking around in an unbearable world where not just the emperor, but all of us, are butt naked every day of our lives.

That little paragraph was yesterday’s journal entry.  My blog entry was a short celebration of my husband and my twentieth wedding anniversary.

Well, here’s a funny thing.

Yesterday was not our anniversary. 

Oh, we did go out to dinner and a movie.  Jack asked what he asks each and every year, “So, do you want to renew the contract for another year or are you done putting up with me?”

We talked about what we hoped to do in the coming year and toyed with the idea of one more adventure trek.  Both of us pretending not to know that the real goal of such a trip would be both of us making it home without having broken a hip or lost what’s left of our minds. (A great example of that handy tool, self-delusion) We reminisced about past explorations and mishaps and joys.

This morning, we stood in front of the extra-large-print-for-old-eyes calendar, stared at the page, looked at each other and said, “Huh. Yesterday wasn’t our anniversary, Friday is.”

I do have an explanation for how this confusion happened.

But, as usual, you’re going to have to bear with me. (Yes, that’s the correct use of ‘bear’. Bare with me would be me asking you to get naked with me)

As a kid the expression I heard the most was, “What the hell is the matter with you?”

Kid’s are adaptive.  I learned quickly to reside in my own little world. Don’t feel badly for me.  Keep reading, you’ll see this has worked well for me and, in my usual round-about-way, I’ll reveal the explanation for the confusion about the anniversary date.

Yesterday morning I was deep in Bigfoot Blues, happily rounding some of the edges off my main male character, polishing his speech just a tad, dropping the reader another hint or two into the mind of this irresistible man. My husband, known for his inability to keep dates straight, came into the office and said, “Hey, Happy Anniversary.”

Now.  If I had been in this world, I might have given that a second of thought.  But I was in the Pacific Northwest, swapping Bigfoot stories in a bar known as VD’s.  Truly, Jack’s booming voice was like a boom of thunder or a backfire on a rain-black street.  I heard the words. But they were of no importance to where I was at the moment. (Sorry, baby, it’s why you always get a mention on that thank you page of each book)

So, here’s my premise.  The point of this blog. 
The correct answer to the question on that loop in my head, “What the hell is wrong with you?”


“Not a goddamn thing.  I’m a writer. Live with it.”

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

First Wedding Anniversary

Tonight, my husband and I will celebrate our first wedding anniversary.  For the twentieth time.

We’ve lived in Hawaii and traveled the country in a beater RV. We pulled a 35 foot trailer the length of Mexico and set it up on the Caribbean Sea where we spent almost as much time underwater as in a hammock and sat beside giant sea turtles on moonless nights as they lay their eggs in our front yard.  We lived in the high desert of Arizona with five dogs, an abundance of horned toads and a few snakes.  We bought a house in the jungle of The Republic of Panama and backpacked for months through Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal, and Malaysia. Poor health, a little planning and glorious luck have now brought us to Northwest Arkansas where we occasionally cuss the cold, always love the friends we’ve made since arriving two years ago.

It’s been a hellava ride. I pray it’s just beginning.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Beuregard and the 'Gator

           I'm doing a rewrite on a prequel to my published novel, Redneck Goddess.  Now, I am the kind of author who cannot write flash fiction to save my soul, but will, if given half a chance fill ten pages with what happens on the protaganists way to the grocery store.  It's both a gift and a challenge.  Ask my editors. 
           The following is what I cut today from the original manuscript of Noisy Creek.  See what you think.  Maybe I'll turn it into a short story.
                                                       Beuregard and the 'Gator
 Uncle Neil is my daddy’s brother’s wife’s sister’s husband.  Not blood kin, but a good half-assed relative.  I don’t believe I’ve ever seen him in anything but a ratty Braves ball cap and Dickie brand overalls -- the ones with the chimp’s face on the bib. His unruly gray beard is perpetually stained with Red Man juice. He is, despite what Uncle Earl may tell you, the best fisherman in the family.  He is also a close runner-up with Daddy when it comes to the rural art of twisting a story around the truth in a knot so tight and clean nobody is ever going to be able to separate the two.

      For our Christmas picnic here in southern Georgia, Uncle Neil has caught an Appaloosa big enough fill all our bellies.  He won’t tell where he was fishing when he hooked into the monster catfish but he does relate a story to rival Melville

     This is, more or less, the way Uncle tells the story.

     Seems he was fishing in that little bitty skiff of his.  His newest bulldog Beauregard was with him and the pup was fussin’ over a squirrel he’d spotted on shore in a big ole mossy oak, when Uncle hooked into this Appaloosa big as a young hog.  The fish headed deep, Uncle Neil nearly followed before he got the line untangled from the durn dog.  Well, son, it took goin’ on two hours to land that beast and then, when he got it to the boat, there weren’t room in the skiff for the fish and him and the pup all three.

     Uncle pondered on the dilemma for a spell.  Popped him a top or two. The pup had been fussin’ and barkin’ and leapin’ around the boat while Uncle reeled in the catfish, but, once the dog got a good look at that ugly, whiskered face, the dog commenced to whinin' and backin' himself up into a corner of the boat under one of the splintery plank seats. Uncle Neil reckoned that, even if he managed to wedge that catfish into the boat, that dog was going over the side. 

     He drank himself another beer and thought on the situation some more.  An idea began to take shape.  Uncle took off his undershirt, tore it in strips, threaded it through the gills and around the tail and in that way tied the catfish to the side of the skiff. He headed for the dock, real slow like and bein’ right careful of submerged stumps.

      When Uncle spotted a lumpy, dark log ‘bout seven-foot long following in the wake of the boat, he knew a gator’d done seen that catfish and the reptile reckoned he’d found himself a free meal. 

     The gator came on.  Uncle told how the one yellow eye sprinkled with amber watched him.  Unblinking.  He said he believed that gator was planning to help himself to the catfish and finish the meal with the shivering Beauregard.  Uncle grinned.  He scavenged around in his spare tackle box, found both items he was huntin’ while keeping one eye on the dark, lumpy length of the gator.  The lumpy would-be thief edged closer to the catfish. 

      Uncle popped the tape he’d retrieved into his old cassette player and, while Hank Jr. sang about country boys from northern California and south Alabam’, country boys who can survive, Uncle employed the .22 Smith and Wesson he always keeps in that second tackle box. 
     Which is how he showed up at the pier with a whoppin catfish that weighed in at well over a

hundred pounds tied to one side of his skiff and a seven foot gator tied to the other with strips of gray

 and white Dickie denim,and Uncle naked as the day he came into the world. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel

My Favorite Christmas Poem

Child, do not be born
Not here, not now
Manger grass is poison and dust
The road to Bethlehem under siege
Child do not be born
Not here, not now

Unless you are dauntless in love,

And ready again to die

           Sheila Moon

To this beautiful poem I add only,

And he is born into the depth of our despair, in the height of our joy, in the mundane of every day.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Redneck Goddess Kindlized

Just in time for Christmas, Redneck Goddess is now available on Kindle.

How a good ole girl from Noisy Creek Georgia ended up with a gorgeous Latin from the Republic of Panama is still a mystery to most of my kinfolk.  Hell, some days even I can’t sort through the twists and turns, bad choices, and undeserved blessings that brought me here.  Of course, a good many of my family would have you believe the joining of a redneck goddess and a dark skinned foreigner is a good bit closer to curse than it is to blessing.

This is a great stocking stuffer for those of you with Kindles under the tree.

 If this book makes you laugh out loud at yourself and your kinfolks, well then, you might be a Redneck.

All’s I can say is, “Hey. Takes one to know one.”

Enjoy the read.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Blues

Maybe it’s the expectation that gets me.  All year I do my best to fake normal when I’m just not feeling it. Oh, stop it.  I don’t mean all the time. But, you know, there are those occasions, those moments, when I know damn good and well I am supposed to be feeling happy or sad or generous and instead I just want to shake the holy shit out of somebody.

But, at Christmas time, it seems that every television commercial, every bell ringing Santa is demanding a degree of involvement with the human race that, much of the time, I am just not capable of giving.  It’s not about the gifts, I give very few of those and, long ago, stopped giving to those who suffer from chronic ungratefulness. It’s not about the birth of Christ.  I love the story of The King bringing long-awaited hope into the dirtiest, most common corner of the world and of us. 

So, what is it about this season that pulls me into a downward spiral?

No, seriously, I’m asking you.

 Does anyone else find this time of year a drain?  Do you walk out the door humming Emmanuel and come home cussing crowds and old people with those stupid coin purses that look like plastic mouths? Anyone else walk into church to kneel at the feet of the baby Jesus and leave knowing damn well your spouse is going to hate, I mean hate, that gift you were so sure when you paid too much for it they’d love? Do you travel hundreds, maybe thousands, of miles to be with family and, approximately four and a half minutes after you arrive, begin counting the hours until you leave?

This year, I give up.  No tree. No decorations. Maybe the season will surprise me and bring a teensy bit of that overpublicized joy.

If not, well. January is just around the corner.