The devil is in the details. Or the bath.
I grew up in the Midwest. One of my parents was raised in the Deep South; the other grew up all over the place and escaped a fairly dark childhood because he is, well, he’s brilliant. College at 16. PhD at 20. Particle physicist/musician/poet/programmer/humorist. All of that probably came to be because he was so dang smart and because he absolutely, desperately needed to get away.
That said, brains aren’t equivalent to common sense. The first movie we saw in the theater was “Soylent Green.” (Yes, it’s people. For a small child, NOT GOOD.) The first movie I saw on television? “The Birds.” Yes, THOSE birds. Terrifying, squawking, ubiquitous, horrifying, not-melodious birds. To this day, a bird that’s too close is, dagnabbit, just plain scary to me. Lovely songbirds? Charming from a distance. Hummingbirds? Cute, but aren’t they a bit like killer bees?
This weekend, I set out to conquer that fear. What better place than a beach filled with seagulls and a loaf of stale bread? Seagulls are goofy, right? Pixar and Disney depict them that way. Sure, they can be a bit bossy. So can I.
Bread chunks in hand, I began my quest. Gulls are not shy. In fact they’re downright aggressive. (And, yes, of course I should know this, but we must remember the Midwestern roots.) The second they sensed “sucker with bread” they swarmed. I shrieked. They stepped back and squawked at me. With great trepidation, I held out my hand, with giant 72,000 foot long bread scrap (give or take), and they swarmed again.
I stopped my lunacy long enough to take a good look at the leader of the bird pack and what I saw looked downright human.
“Just pipe down and hand me the bread and we’ll all go on with our day.”
Did that. Lost my voice in the process. Gained a little less fear of birds. And a son who laughed so hard, he fell to the ground and said, “my mom is crazy.”
Laughter. As much and as often as possible.
L came home yesterday and announced he had begun his magnum opus, called…. er…. maybe, “Red Eyes in the Night.” He explained it was a horror story (this from the boy who still nearly faints at the sight, description, or even mention of blood) and he had conquered Ch. 1. He told me that the secret to writing a successful horror story is to “add as much detail as possible. That’s very, very important.” When I asked why, he said, “details make the reader feel like he’s IN the story.”
He told me that the second chapter would start with a simple sentence: “Meet me at the dock.”
“Doesn’t that make you curious? Aren’t you just dying to know what happens?”
He also said this was the first book he was truly committed to finishing. He then asked, “how old do you need to be to publish a book?”
M: “There are no age limits.”
L: “Wow. Seriously? Okay, I’m going to really make it the best it can be and see if I can get my book published.”
I didn’t have the heart to tell him I could make (and publish) the book for him. Better to have him shop it around, and see what kind of movie deal he can secure.
L is intent on being an artist. Having grown up wanting to be an artist (and somehow actually making a living at something very creative), my heart stops when I hear how passionate he is about this endeavor. The expression “starving artist” sounds romantic. It’s not. And, of course, I’ll support whatever he loves.
As long as it’s legal.
Last Fourth of July:
Oh, the Fourth. BBQ, fireworks (provided by professionals), loud noises, and the ever-present, “Ooooooooh” after a giant peony-shaped burst appears over head. Cheesy, roadside stand fireworks, not so much. Years and years and years of hearing my mother say, “you’ll lose a hand” have embedded themselves in my psyche. Even sparklers are fraught with danger.
Actually, they’re not. They’re fun and manageable and if I can shut my brain off and let go, everything’s going to be fine. Letting go, not so easy.