Monthly Archives: January 2010

Labradoodles for Obama

While clearing off the hard drive of a laptop I’m lending to a friend, I came across some great files this morning. The laptop is the one I began using for National Novel Writing Month in 2008. I didn’t really want to participate at the time but went along with it due to peer pressure.

I had this idea for a long time that I wanted to turn into a novel. It came from watching my cat Nevadelia, who has some very strange, though typically feline, habits. Occasionally she sits in the corner of the room, facing the wall, ears flat against her head, motionless for ten minutes or more. One day, when asked what she was doing, I said, “Oh, she’s just downloading from the Mothership.”

And I started building this funny sci-fi story in my head – what if cats were really sent here to spy on us or control us? Like cats were the ones really running the show, and the humans were allowed to have the illusion of control, just to keep us occupied? The animal shelter would be their headquarters, their version of the CIA. I thought it would be a blast to write a story like that.

So when day 1 of NaNoWriMo came along, I ran with that idea.

I discovered the first chapter this morning while clearing off the laptop. I’d never re-read it after writing it over a year ago, and it’s totally unedited, but it cracked me up so I thought I’d share it. It was highly entertaining to write. I may have to continue it.

It’s clearly evidence I was watching too much X-Files at the time.

And it doesn’t have a title yet, but I might have to call it “Labradoodles for Obama.”

Continue reading Labradoodles for Obama

Maslow, in Reverse

The world is exploding, a million brilliant colors above me. I discovered that the tiny cardboard tube I cherished for so long is just the beginning. That if you strike a match and hold it to the wick on that tube, it rockets into the air and fills the sky with a thousand shattered diamonds, lime and magenta, a whistle and a snap, followed by the trickling sound of ash in the trees. Cinders the only remnant of the gift I held so closely, in its bland paper package, not realizing all this time it was meant to be set on fire.

The Universe has learned that kindness and support is not always the best way to guide me in the right direction. Strong willed and self-sufficient, I’m not one to take advice or read the map. I’m inherently bad at following directions.

This is why it’s important to relish the upheaval life throws me. A painful encounter changes my course much more efficiently than softly spoken counsel. I call it my “golden brick to the forehead.”

Twice you burned your life’s work
Once to start a new life
Once just to start a fire

So the New Year begins and I crawl out from beneath the table where I sought refuge, wide-eyed, staring at the multicolored fireworks in the sky. It takes me a minute to realize the fireworks are the result of lighting my works on fire.

My little world right now appears in list form. My thick artist journal, which I carry with me, littered with snippets of dialog, ephiphanies, impulses and desires:
I saw Avatar in Imax 3D for the third time on Saturday. Kerry and I compared notes – we cried at different parts this time. I have always felt that connection to the animals. Even without an awesome braid-portal.

I spent MLK day in Joni’s living room, talking about journaling, art, and connection. Eating clementines, grilled cheese and tomato soup. Link sleeping belly-up in front of the fire. I dyed my hair a version of strawberry blonde, “red penny,” and afterward, Joni helped me highlight it because I couldn’t see the back. I laughed outloud that night when I saw Ruby Fuss documenting her newly-acquired hair color. 3,000 miles away we still end up with the same ‘do, endlessly.

We’ve been watching Fringe on DVD and it makes me miss Boston. All the shots of Cambridge, the Pru, and snow. My old job is open at Harvard. I loved it there. It would be easy to go back.

But I’ve finally got a room with a view. I can see the Space Needle from my couch, through a frame of leafless trees. How could I possibly give that up? Even for all the Dunkin Donuts salt bagels and iced hazelnut coffee in Somerville?

The sun is out in Seattle today. In January, that’s front page news. I’ll likely slip out of work early and roll around in it. I have to turn my plants weekly or they grow lopsided, like me – stretching toward the silver sky, a failing attempt at synthesizing growth in the absence of light.