The Beans versus the Cheese Steaks

This should be Philly’s mascot

While watching the Superbowl last night I began to wonder how teams come up with their mascots. For example, the Patriots.  I’m sure the people in Philadelphia are every bit as patriotic as Bostonians so how come they get that name? 

Not to mention that there are probably as many eagles in Philly as there are bears wandering the suburbs of Chicago.  And let’s face it: New Orleans is hardly full of saints.

So why don’t cities rebrand their teams to promote what they’re famous for?  Chicago could become the Pizzas; Tampa could become the Prunes, and Los Angeles, the Diet Pills. 

This would lead to all sorts of tasty matchups, like the Portland Granolas versus the Seattle Oysters or the Milwaukee Pretzels versus the Minneapolis Cheddars.

How about your local teams?  What would they promote?  Me, I would be rooting for the San Francisco Sourdoughs as they battle Atlanta Peaches.

Licking wounds that won’t heal is called being a writer

For over a year now, I’ve licked wounds that refuse to heal. I’m a failure. My books, despite kind reviews from friends and colleagues, didn’t sell well and so my publisher went out of business.

Okay, perhaps it wasn’t totally my fault.

Many Booktrope writers immediately republished after being kicked to the curb. But I thought it was a good opportunity to address the confusion some readers had over the ending of my great masterpiece, Flipka. My plan was re-introduce sections the original editor suggested I remove. They were my precious little babies, so beautifully written and funny and close to my heart. But she killed them.

Well, y’all can probably guess the folly of that sort of thinking.  Yes, according to not one but two editors, reintroducing those sections resulted in an even smeller pile of dog shit. Total and complete manure, not worthy of dirtying your boots on.

Those of you who are writers, I can feel you cringing in sympathy and I thank you for it.

Anyway, it would have felt good to quit. Stamped the whole effort with a Failure, get over it label and burnt all copies of Flipka past and present in the fireplace.  I could have invited all of my friends over for KFC (who am I kidding, I don’t have any friends) to witness the celebration of my failure and they could have said things to me like “I could write a great story” or “Why did you ever want to be a writer in the first place?” and fed greasy chicken bones to the insatiable flames of failure. Probably a few of my imaginary friends would not have survived that particular party.

But I’m haunted by the characters I created. I can’t leave them in a simmering pot of pooh, now can I?  So back I go to writing. I may return now and then if I have something I think worthy of your time to read but otherwise, it’s back to the agonies for me.

I do plan to keep up with those bloggers who have been so supportive of me.  Thanks, thanks and thanks again.


Today I declare 2018 has begun, said no one sane

I’ve packed away the ornaments and washed and stored the Christmas plates, thus I declare that today, January 15th, the holidays are over and the new year may begin. The last of my extended family has been feted and fattened and now, with no more excuses at my disposal, I will attempt to get back on track. 

It used to take me a full day to decorate for the holidays and a full day to pack everything away. Not any more.  These days I hang a few treasured memories on a plastic birch tree. 

The cheery group below from Finland remind me of the many times they saved me from mountain trolls dwelling in impenetrable forests around my castle.  A gift from a family friend, they’re as old as they look.

This snowman, made from shell, was sent to my children from Hong Kong.

This tin spiral is a toddler magnet.  I bought it at a country store in New Hampshire.

My dining table centerpiece is a gold foil wrapped cardboard star which hangs from an archaic candelabra.

Sometimes I jazz my sculptures up with scarves and tams.  Below are busts of my children done before my wrist weakened and I could no longer handle clay. 

So, everything’s back to normal and it’s time to get back to work. But not today.  Not because I’m honoring Dr. Martin Luther King but because it’s my father’s birthday and he’s been gone for over a decade now. They may have shared the same birthday but Dad would have joined a nudist colony before he’d have joined a protest march.   

Tomorrow, yes, tomorrow I’ll get back to work. Any advice as to how I’ll accomplish this miracle?

Bakers White with Flour

tin hats

She is gone now into the shadowlands of my tearful breakdown and I follow encased in a poor recollection, one of denial and regret.  I will see her at play and in the way she held her hands just so around her face.  Pirates sailed across her wake and the water rose through our house floating the pots and pans into the neighbor’s hands.  Oh, I can hear the other kids chasing down her name.  We are all the same in those dark halls, where mirrors abound, yet I know not what to do and I feel so alone, so ashamed.  I never protected her from the demons in the sand, the ones squeezing her form and I  left her there in the room somewhere circling a distant star, like a million pieces of a shattered, cold moon.  Please deliver me if you can.  Take me as a spirit, a…

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Me and Jane and the Zombies

My Jane Austen dolly

It has become evident that I’m not going to get any serious writing or editing done before the end of the year so I’ve decided to rift on the most boring thing about me: I’m obsessed with Jane Austen and will watch just about any production inspired by her work. Especially when I’m not feeling well. She can always squeeze a happy tear out of me.

In my defense, I’m not quite as looney as many so-called Janeites who dress in bonnets and empire waist dresses and have tea parties in the garden. 

But I did watch Pride and Prejudice and Zombies all the way through. Actually, other than the fact that the Bennett sisters are zombie killers, the plot is fairly close to the original.

That’s not always the case with P & P.  In the first film version (1940), the producers changed the time period to the late 1800s so that Greer Garson could dress and act more like Scarlett O’Hara and less like, well, Elizabeth Bennett. Then they compounded their tomfoolery by casting that obnoxious gasbag Sir Lawrence Olivier as Darcy. But it could have been worse. They originally tried to cast Clark Gable in the part. 

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the character of Fitzwilliam Darcy cannot be played by just any actor.  He or she has to be able to capture a character who is beyond stinky rich and prickly as a cactus but also kind and generous. Not to mention sensitive. But not too sensitive. In the 2003 version of P & P a little known Scottish actor plays opposite Kiera Knightley. She does a decent job as Elizabeth but he looks at times like he’s going to cry.  No, no, no.  Darcy is a Englishman gentleman and they do not cry!  Stiff upper lip and all that!

I also do not want to see Elizabeth and Darcy as a bickering married couple, as in the 2013 film Death Comes to Pemberley.  Even if Wickham is accused of murder and Darcy is forced to defend him for reasons that make no sense, Darcy and Elizabeth do not bicker.  They all out fight. Then they make up. Darcy gets wet, and, well, you know.

Speaking of wet Darcys, in the 1995 PBS miniseries, Colin Firth did the impossible. He pulled off Darcy. And for his efforts, look what they did to the poor guy.

They turned him into a swamp monster.

Happy New Years everyone!

Where were you?

I remember exactly where I was when it happened: On a rocking chair trying to get an obstinate six-month old to go to sleep. The television was on but I wasn’t really watching the football game. That is, until Howard Cosell stopped his play-by-play to make an announcement he felt couldn’t wait. John Lennon was dead.

The baby sensed my shock and settled down. I put him in his crib.  Then I went into the next room, turned off the light, crawled into bed, and covered my head with  blankets. I stayed that way until noon of the following day. Only the week before I’d heard Lennon on the radio, returning from a five year hiatus from the lusting, grasping hands of adoring fans.  He needed to get off the carousel, as he said, and learn to bake bread.

Although there are many great songs on his last album, Starting Over, I wish he’d become a baker instead.  Many of you were probably in diapers (or perhaps not even a twinkle in your father’s eyes) and have no memories whatsoever of those dark days that followed his death but for me, it was the end of a dream.