Tag Archives: Writing

My Mutant Deer

My Mutant Deer

Deerinheadlights1

Holy shit you guys! Seriously! Was that a motherfucker of a YEAR or what??

So, how are you? I’ve really missed you! You look fantastic. Is that a new haircut? Did you lose weight? Those jeans make your ass look FIERCE! Seriously!

Me? Well, that’s a story best told over a bottle of bourbon. Suffice it to say though, that despite what you may have read in the headlines, I am somewhat alive and did not die in a fiery crash whilst dodging pesky paparazzi. So, rest easy, dear reader, when I last held a mirror under my nose it fogged up.

Figured it was high time I started this party back up after over a year of extreme life changes. Not Caitlyn Jenner kind of change (now SHE had a year!) but probably just as hormonal.

One of the many annoyances of being a writer (and the list is fucking extensive, by the way) is that we often want to write about what we are actually experiencing and living and seeing and thinking. When those experiences are exceptional in nature – they are too personal or painful – we can become a deer frozen in the glare of headlights, afraid to type a word that would be the wrong one and further hurt yourself or others.

As an aside, I am the deer in this scenario, if said deer were, let’s say part of a horrible Dr. Moreau sort of mutation experiment who now had fingers and thumbs and the ability to type.

And think.

And speak passable English.

Actually, all that would be super cool. I’d totally want that deer as a pet, right?

Anyway, I am sort of doing the mutant deer thing right now.

Most of what has been on my mind of late has to do with the idea of starting over. In particular starting over at a bit of an “advanced” age. I think making sweeping life changes have different challenges based on your stage in life but I also think a vast majority of the experience is pretty universal regardless of age.

It’s exhilarating and it’s debilitating.

It’s uncomfortable and it’s authentic.

It’s confusing and it’s all crystal clear.

It’s the best of times and it’s the worst of times.

I think you get the idea….I ain’t no Dickens, people!

But, sometimes you get to the point where the unknown is better than the known and you have to just go with it.

The easiest logistical path can be the hardest emotional one.

So, there it is. My vague and mysterious explanation for my absence. I will try hard to get some more stuff up here and make it at least mildly entertaining and worth your time. At the very least it will be something to do while you are sitting on the crapper.

And I will befriend my mutant deer. And maybe even knit the poor animal a sweater and take it out for a walk now and then in the light of day.

Rock on, 2016!

Sparklers

Sparklers

sparkler
He taught me how to read people’s eyes.

My Dad always told me to know your audience, read their eyes, before you say anything. That way, you can make those small adjustments and hit a home run with your words.

It’s a skill I have now, but one that I was sorely lacking when I first met her.

We were running around the yard, sparklers in hand, I was trying to hide the sheer joy of the sputtering lights behind the mask of male pubescent cool.

I was all skinny legs and knobby knees, hiding my singular eyebrow behind a curtain of dark bangs. Slouched shoulders and awkward gait.

She was all bright eyes, shining cheeks and blinding braces.

She was my Mom’s friend’s daughter and we met while on one of those forced multi-family events that I found excruciating. The assumption that because the parents connected, so should their children, was nothing short of insulting. Plus, the parents usually connected over alcohol and a shared desire to ignore their kids, if only for a couple of hours.

But this time, there was Kari.

I stood in agony as I tried to come up with something to say. A quip. A joke. Anything that might get her to take notice of me. To recognize that her soul mate was standing right in front of her.

But my thoughts keep turning in on themselves like one of those weird Escher paintings we learned about in art class.

So, I study from behind my safe mantle of hair. I watch. I take note of her every move, the sound of her voice, her laugh as if I am a scientist observing a new species of exotic bird.

I could win her over with comedy. I was fairly funny. Or, that’s what all my idiot friends always told me. I ponder this for a moment. The only jokes I know are riddled with body functions and genitalia references. I deduce that this would not be the right approach and quickly move to another angle.

I could go the observational route. I turn over some options. The weather? It was unusually humid out.

Who am I? My Grandfather? Am I going to talk about my arthritis next?

There was always the complimentary approach. I did like the pants she was wearing. And she had a nice clip in her hair.

Potentially creepy.

I finally decide to go with the classics – ask her about herself. Keep it simple.

I take several very deep breaths to try to quiet the nest of butterflies in my stomach.

I pat my bangs down a bit more to ensure my safety net is there in case this does not go down well. In my mind, I can become invisible behind them upon command.

I take one hesitant step forward….

…as she comes running up to me, a little winded, eyes bright and face flushed.

“So, what school do you go to?”

I brush my bangs out of my eyes as my heart bursts into a million points of light, just like the sparkler she is holding.

__________________________________________

This is my response to this week’s speakeasy,
over at yeah write, where we had to make some
reference to M. C. Escher’s lithograph, Waterfall,
and use the sentence “He taught me how to read
people’s eyes
.” as the first line in our piece.

Click the badge to read the other submissions or to learn more about
the speakeasy creative writing challenge.

Do You See Her Much?

Do You See Her Much?

I don’t see her as I had hoped.

She said she’d come back to tell me about it if she could.

Though I do imagine I feel her

in the slightest wisp of wind,

the smallest stirring of air

in filtered sunlight.

 

(Trying something new….42-word challenge based on a question. Click the link below to vote!)

 Vote for your favorites here!

 

Do I Have To Be Tortured To Be A Writer?

Do I Have To Be Tortured To Be A Writer?

I’ve actually mulled this question over for a long time. I always figured that I wasn’t nearly damaged enough to ever be a true writer of note. Oh, I can pull out the occasional well-written sentence but I’ve never felt that I had enough pain and suffering etched on my very soul to be as tragic as it seems I need to be.

How can I create amazing art with staying power if I don’t have deep dark depression, bipolar disorder, an addiction to opiates or a raging alcohol problem (no comments please).

As I’ve tried to dedicate more of my limited resources to writing I’ve realized that you don’t have to be tortured to start writing because you’ll be good and tortured by the time you finish.

To write honestly and uniquely, stuff starts to come up whether you like it or not. And, as well-balanced and adjusted as you may think you are going into it, you’ll find breaks, chips and fractures you had no idea were there. You’ll unearth stuff that is ugly, weak, embarrassing and utterly unlovable. And all that is a veritable buffet of fuel for your stories and your characters.

I’ve learned that writers are some of the bravest people on the planet. I am still struggling to find my courage on many levels as a writer and I stand in awe of those who have laid it all bare in the name of storytelling.

And storytelling is integral to a healthy society. It’s easy to dismiss movies or books as entertainment only. And, entertainment is definitely part of it. But when I watch a good movie or read a good book, it slowly changes how I see the world and expands my often too focused view of life.

I think I was born with an innate love of good writing. The right combination of words in just the right order can bring me to tears. So it seems predetermined in the stars that I would need to at least give it a shot.

And,  speaking of shots, pour me one of whiskey and load up my Underwood because I’m going to the dark place.

7 Things I Love About You: A Letter To My Beloved Coffice

7 Things I Love About You: A Letter To My Beloved Coffice

My Dearest Coffice,

With the end of the year nigh upon us, I wanted to take a moment to let you know, beloved coffice (Scenes From A Coffice), how much you have given me this year. You have been my rock and I want to take a moment to let you know of my deep feelings for you.

  1. You were there for me with open arms as I narrowly escaped the life of an unwashed shut-in and an awkward family intervention. You’ve provided me a safe haven in which to mix with other nutjobs with similar afflictions. You have been my savior.
  2. Living in a place as lovely as Santa Barbara, you have been an island of rough edges in an otherwise shiny, tanned and well-pressed city.
  3. You know what I totally love about you? I love the fact that I hesitate before sitting on any of your numerous well-worn couches and chairs for fear of contracting a new strain of antibiotic-immune super virus. Just like home.
  4. Your staff provides the perfect balance of irritation and cool. And, thank you, dreadlock girl, for not laughing at me when I asked if you had hemp milk. I could see that was a real effort and it did not go unnoticed.
  5. Your WiFi has been as steadfast and consistent as my love for you.
  6. You play the coolest music. This of course contributes to my wasting hours of time hitting Shazam over and over again instead of writing. But, I now have the freakin’ most awesome playlist on the planet. It’s like my mixed tape of love for you.
    (Yes, there was that one day when someone decided cross-over country music was the right choice.  I am not unreasonable though and have chalked that up to a lapse in judgment only. No relationship is perfect.)
  7. I hope I’m not overstepping any sense of propriety by saying that your tomato/avocado/lemon pepper toast is nothing short of sublime.

So, in closing, I thank you for always being there for me with a tepid smile, wobbly tables and your abundance of outlets. I am hopelessly devoted to you and I will thank you when I receive my Oscar for Best Screenplay, assuming I ever finish it because OMG I LOVE THIS SONG!!!

Forever yours,

Irene

Hitting Publish – My Year of Living Dangerously

Hitting Publish – My Year of Living Dangerously

It was one year ago that I wrote my first blog post. I’d invite you all to an awkward first birthday party but I don’t know how to bake a virtual cake. Though I could probably figure out a virtual piñata of sorts.

All of this was really a grand experiment to see if I could stick to ANYTHING for a whole year so, from that perspective, it’s been a success. I said I’d post something, good or bad (no comments please) every week for a year and by God I did. So Yay Me!

Some milestones this year:

  • Hitting the Publish button for the first time was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done.
  • People actually read my stuff this year. I remember the first person who subscribed to Left of Plumb who was not a friend or family member or who I paid. I almost wet myself. I could not believe anyone would purposefully read something I wrote. What a revelation!
  • Writers are awesome people. I’m not including myself in that, by the way, lest you think I’ve got an overly healthy view of myself. Having insecurity and angst is the foundation of being a writer. But I’ve had the chance to “meet” so many this year and have been amazed at how nurturing and supportive that community is. And, I might add, I have been overjoyed at the amount of funny out there!! I salute you all!
  • I feel about this blog much like I feel about my children. I both love and hate this blog.  Some weeks I can’t wait to get a post out. Other weeks I want to start it on fire, pee on it, then start it on fire again.
  • I really hate social media and suck at it. Twitter is like a black hole of despair for me. But, evidently, one has to suck it up and do them all in order to get “followers” (which just sounds creepy and Jim Jones Kool-aidey). Twatter, Bookface, Instacrap, I hate them! And, they make me feel like I have headgear and am sitting alone at a table in the cafeteria eating applesauce.
  • I have not received a single mean comment. Now, please do not take this as a challenge or request, because despite what you may think, I am fragile and could devolve into tears at any moment. But, the fact that all these total strangers have been so kind and supportive has renewed my faith that the world is full of rockin’ decent folks! And, even without meeting them, I feel like I can call some of them friends. How over-the-top cool is that?!

So, those are just a few of my thoughts around this year of living dangerously. A well-deserved tip of the hat to all of us who have put ourselves out there for the world to see and are still alive (and not institutionalized) to talk about it.

To another year!

Even Tom Waits is impressed...

Even Tom Waits is impressed…

My Hit Man

My Hit Man

And now for something completely different….

My Hit Man

I threw it on the ground and burst into tears as I watched the light bounce off the gold ring that had, at one time, held so much promise. It rolled on the pavement and stopped dead when it hit the curb.

Jumping into my car, I drove recklessly, saturated with anger and hurt. I needed to drown myself in a strong drink. I’ve often wondered what possessed me to choose that particular bar. Fate? I don’t believe in fate. Bad luck? Good luck? I’ll probably never know.

You see, I had just received the fatal blow in my crumbling marriage. All the money was gone. He had said it like it had grown legs and walked away. The affairs? So stereotypical and pathetic. But leaving me broke to start over alone, well, it caught me by surprise.

Tear-stained and disheveled, I was relieved I’d chosen a dark little place where I could drown in self-pity undisturbed. As I climbed up on a bar stool, a bartender materialized and asked me what I’d like. I caught myself as I started to order my usual glass of wine. This was a big girl night.

“Tequila” I said.

As my eyes slowly adjusted to the dim lighting, I scanned the room and took in my surroundings. Dingy wallpaper with a sad pattern of stars and hearts. The faint smell of ammonia.

There was one other person in the bar, sitting a couple of seats away from me. His back was to me but I could see a helmet of unnaturally black hair that Hurricane Katrina couldn’t budge. He was wearing a shiny silk shirt and popping peanuts into his mouth nonchalantly. He gave me a glance, nodded and went back to his original position, leaning on the bar, popping those nuts.

The bartender placed my poison in front of me. I knocked it back in one shot and felt the familiar fire. However, this wasn’t college anymore so I proceeded to choke. Loud and hard. I was starting to wonder if I’d pass out when I felt a meaty hand slap my back. I turned to see who was beating me and saw it was my peanut-popping friend.

“You OK?” The accent was East coast, out of place.

“Yes.” I croaked.

I gratefully took the glass of water the bartender put in front of me, sipped it, and asked for that wine.

“You don’t look too good.” Who was this guy, Joe Pesci?

“I’m well aware of that.” I snapped.

He shrugged and took a long pull off his beer.

Now I felt bad. “I’ve had a very rough day.”

“Wanna talk about it?”

And here’s the really weird thing. Before I knew it, I poured the whole, ugly story out to this stranger. It was like a projectile confession.

“Now I see how manipulative he was. How he controlled everything, especially the money.” I was slurring. “And, as I grew older, he started to look younger. He dyed his hair. He looks like a geriatric Backstreet Boy.”

He laughed at this and shook his head.

“So pathetic.” I said, smiling.

There were now several empty glasses lined up in front of me and I was leaning heavily on the bar. This wiseguy was a surprisingly good listener.

“You must think I’m pretty stupid,” I said. And, oddly, I cared about what he thought of me.

“I think you’re a nice woman who got stuck with an a-hole.”

That was sweet.

“What is your name?” I asked, suddenly realizing I never asked.

“Vitorio, but most people call me Vito.”

“Like Vito Corleone?” I asked, facetiously.

He drained the last of his drink. “Somethin’ like that.”

“Wanna whack him? Give him cement wingtips?” I thought I was hilarious.

He smiled, paused for a moment, then leaned in to me.

“I could take care of the a-hole for you,” he whispered to me.

“What?”

“I make a call. Problem solved.”

I looked at him for a moment then burst into laughter. “You are good. You sound just like one of those guys.”

“Listen, this guy is nothing but pollution. I’m very into cleaning up.”

This was getting weird. Well, weirder. But there was something about it that sent a shiver up my back.

“So, are you saying you’d kill him?” I asked, incredulous.

“No, I wouldn’t do it.”

I felt instantly sober.

“Excuse me. I need to go to the ladies room.”

I staggered to the bathroom and looked at the haggard, messed up face in the mirror. Don’t be ridiculous, I said to myself. But, that shiver up my back persisted.

Once I felt a little more in control, I walked back to the bar. My hit man was nowhere to be found.

“The gentleman paid your tab and I’ve called for a taxi to come pick you up.”

“Oh…thanks.” I said weakly. Relieved, I gathered my things and started toward the door.

“Oh, miss,” the bartender stopped me, “Your friend asked me to tell you to consider your problem solved.”

I ran out the front door but the street was deserted.

Sitting in the cab, my mind raced. What do I do? I grabbed my cell phone. No signal! The ride back to my house took an eternity. Once I got home and finally had service, I dialed. Voicemail, damn it! I hung up. What was I supposed to say anyway? I’d sound like a lunatic.

I woke late the next morning with a well-deserved hangover. It was while I was in the shower that all of the events of the night before came rushing back to me. In the light of day I felt pretty stupid. He was probably an actor working on a part. And Vito? Please!

So, that’s what I chose to believe.

And now, as I stand here, throwing a handful of dirt on my husband’s coffin, I wonder again; was it fate? I don’t believe in fate. Bad luck? Good luck? I’ll probably never know.

 

I Love Winning Shit!

I Love Winning Shit!

Thank you Beduwen for nominating me for a Liebster Award! You complete me.

The Liebster Award

The Liebster Award

I will readily admit that I am unsure of exactly what this means but if someone wants to give me an award, I will take it!!! Really, any award. Worst Blogger Ever Award? Sign me up because at least I’m the most “something” ever.

And, it also means that at least ONE PERSON has read my writing and seems to not hate it. This is huge in the emotionally tenuous world of the insecure shut-in writer.

So, here is how this thing goes down.

Here are 11 random facts about me:

  1. I wanted to be a geologist at one point in college though I suspect it was because I had a crush on some guy who was going to be a geologist.
  2. I was engaged one time for about 3 days.
  3. I’ve seen and heard ghosts.
  4. Someone tried to teach me how to be bulimic one time but I just couldn’t waste perfectly good food.
  5. I love old movies….like TCM old.
  6. I ate a burger with Nicholas Cage in 1982.
  7. I was kicked out of the Oregon State University dormitory system for having a Hail Columbia party on a Tuesday night.
  8. I’ve had a long talk with Sammy Hagar.
  9. I almost lived in Ireland.
  10. Someday I’d like to have a pet Meerkat though I believe the chances are quite low.
  11. One of my favorite songs is “Ooooh Child” by the Chi-Lites.

My answers to my nominator’s questions for her nominees:

  1. If you could live anywhere, where would it be? Lucca, Italy….or Paris. Tough call. Can I have a home in both places? Oh, and I love Portland, OR too. I suck at this question….
  2. What is your favorite song? Favorite current song is Little Black Submarine by Black Keys…this week anyway.
  3. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A famous novelist or screenwriter
  4. Who would you pick to play your part in a movie about you? Sandra Bullock
  5. What is your favorite food? Chicken Tikka Masala
  6. What is at the top of your “Bucket List?” Write a book
  7. Are you a “why” or  a “why not” kind of person? Definitely a “why not”
  8. What was the last thing that made you cry? The shooting in Newtown
  9. Who knows you the best? Probably my Mom.
  10. Do you believe in reincarnation? Yes, it’s how I was raised, actually.
  11. What food do you think should be banned from the universe? Fava beans. They are the devil’s excrement.

My questions for my nominees:

  1. What is the oddest thing about your body?
  2. Who is at the top of your hallpass list?
  3. What is your favorite movie?
  4. If you could have a super power, what would it be?
  5. Do you love what you do for a living?
  6. If you had a full day completely to yourself, what would you do with it?
  7. Are you a hugger?
  8. Buy it or make it?
  9. Sweet or salty?
  10. If your life were a movie, would it be comedy, drama, romance or inspirational?
  11. If you could get on a plane right now, where would you go?

 

Now, bloggers, it’s your turn! Here’s what you do:

1. Add the award icon to your blog!

2. Link to your nominator to say thank you.

3. Each blogger should post 11 facts about themselves.

4. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you  & create 11 questions for your nominees to answer.

5. Choose 11 up-and-coming bloggers with less than 200 followers, go to their blog, and tell them about the award.

 

I am nominating 7, because I am a very lazy person and I’m getting tired of the number 11. Everyone should check these nominees out because they are all awesome and make me feel inadequate every day.

(Yeah, thanks for that!)

And, my nominees are…..

Peek-a-Booze

The Cat Lady Sings

The Non-Girlfriend

The Midway

Wino On A Ramble

Shari Lopatin – Rogue Writer

Jenny Neill – Writer, Traveler, Sommelier

Peace out!

Reader Appreciation Award (or why my ego wet itself)

Reader Appreciation Award (or why my ego wet itself)
OK, so Natalie from http://thecatladysings.com/ has nominated me for Reader Appreciation Award. I have left my husband and will be stalking her now because it’s such a FREAKIN’ AWESOME THING FOR HER TO DO!!!
Go check out Natalie’s blog because she is hilarious and you are a giant tool if you don’t follow her everywhere she goes. (Am I going too far on this???)
So, thank you Natalie for making me feel like I’m all popular at the Blog Prom. I’m loving that!
Recipients of the award are asked to:
  1. Identify the awards and who gave them to you.
  2. Post the Logo on your blog.
  3. Share 7 items about yourself.
  4. Nominate 5-10 other bloggers to receive this award, and notify them on their blogs.
And now 7 things about me…..
  1. I’ve written a couple of screenplays that no one gives a shit about, one being a mockumentary about a penguin that is a team mascot. Really, it’s funny. Really.
  2. I can eat Indian food until I vomit. There must be something in the spices that cuts off all communication from my stomach to my brain.
  3. I was kicked out of the Oregon State University dormitory system.
  4. I had a huge crush on Glen Campbell when I was little.
  5. Parades make me cry.
  6. I have no editorial system in my body so say inappropriate crap all the time. In the head case = out the mouth hole.
  7. I think exceptionally good and funny writing is better than sex. (Sorry, honey.)
Here are my nominees….they are brilliant!!
  1. http://www.kidfreeliving.com/
  2. http://www.katoninetales.com/
  3. http://potentiallycrapblog.blogspot.co.uk/
  4. http://open.salon.com/blog/lucinda_bliss/
  5. http://thoughtsfromparis.com/