You know you don't have the stomach of a wild, adventurous 18-year-old when...
My sister, Casey, and I are comparing eating woes. We thought it nothing back in those glorious days of childhood to down an entire bowl of brownie batter without so much as making a brownie. We blindly gorged on hot pockets, McDonald’s french fries, and PopTarts. Halloween was like a damn bat mitzvah. We’d eat the candy in between blocks and every inch of our cupboards and pantry would be empty within two days of that night. My mother couldn’t buy weeks’ worth of fruit roll-ups and gushers and chocolate chip cookies without them settling in our bellies within hours. We even downed rice cakes in a single sitting, a habit my youngest sister, Allie, retains to this day.
Food was our addiction, our comforting friend, our delicious poison. I know I’ve passed a few fields of cattle and felt my mouth water and my tongue waggle. Now, at 24, I’ve replaced breakfast with coffee and sometimes nothing. I snack in between phone calls at work and I look forward to frozen Banquet meals, my only “real” meal on any given day. I can no longer eat an entire large pizza to myself without feeling awakening heartburn the next morning. Jalapenos have become the enemy. Even those dainty pizza rolls make my stomach cry. And, donuts. Life truly is unfair when you can’t gorge on 4 or 5 donuts without feeling your blood slow down in your veins, your breathing come to a grinding halt, and your eyelids close shut like a sealed door.
Casey and I talk about casseroles now, about how shitty I am at cooking, about her painful desire to dunk her face in a Long John Silver’s chicken basket. While handing out candy to children on Halloween night, I don’t feel the gravitating desire to hoard chocolate in my pockets and dole out disgusting boxes of Dots instead. I don’t wait in long drive-thru lines, cursing the cars in front of me for being too damn lazy to walk inside. I actually bought a plastic container filled to the brim with granola and watched helplessly as Allie mouthed “fucking weirdo” in my direction. Sometimes, I quietly take Alka Seltzer. I may even pretend that I’m acting while doing it.
I read somewhere that girls who lie around in panties and a tank top are incredibly sexy, so now I lie around in barely-there cottons and laces and I wistfully kick my feet in the air as my super hot Stuart Townsend-esque boyfriend walks into the room, half-surprised, half-smitten as he looks me up and down and decides that he cannot stand to be away from me a moment longer.
This is the part where I realize I still live with my parents, I have no such boyfriend, and I have been watching way too many romantic comedies.
Such is the life of a 20-something who reads Tina Fey’s Bossypants all afternoon believing that she is sitting out from underneath the well-shaded canopy because she will get a nice summer tan, only to run inside 20 minutes into the book to hunt down sunblock lotion for her now lobster-red arms. And it wasn’t even adult sunblock lotion, rather 15-year-old oil found in a forgotten cabinet that still had sand in crevices around the cap.
No matter. I shake off the incident and proceed outdoors once more to the beating sun that my fair Irish skin is so thankful for and I continue reading about Ms. Fey’s insanely normal childhood. The similarities between the funny lady and me are scary. Strong father figure who frightens other men and prides himself on being stylish? Check. Gossipy teen who heckled blonds and befriended gays everywhere in order to feel superior in my own little fish bowl? Check. Attempted then-magnificent, now-embarrassing feats just to be dry humped? Check. Child-sized, colonial lady costume? Well, no, but I do have a Cher wig if that counts for anything.
Not to mention the “your mom” jokes, the Star Wars references, the wide-set breasts, and the knack for drawing charts to showcase statistical nonsense; either I am Tina Fey or my ego just inflated by 1,000 and it won’t burst because my ego does not burst and I’m thinking I’ve got a damn good shot at making it with this whole writing thing.
Or, option C: I have just presented evidence for a future restraining order in which Ms. Fey will make it legally impossible for me to smell the shampoo that she uses so that I may immediately wander into the nearest Wal-Mart and purchase the entire store’s supply. I can only hope that she’ll brag about me to her friends, say what a good little stalker I am.
I read Bossypants in one day. Actually, I read it in under seven hours which is a HUGE feat for me because I am an unbelievably slow reader and I become distracted very easily. My peers in high school will tell you that I was the smartest kid in our class, that surely I zinged through the ACTs and achieved a high score. On any reading comprehension portion of any standardized testing I will have you know, peers, that I maybe only read the first two paragraphs of any story and even then I could not tell you what an adjective was from a pronoun within those sentences. My eyes wandered to the clock, to my hairy knuckles, to the real smartest girl in the class and, fuck, I can’t see her paper.
And, yes, I graduated with a B.A. in English. You can, too!
Bossypants is 277 pages long and that doesn’t include the hilarious jacket commentary. And despite noticing the same blue truck drive past the fence line roughly 18 times and stretching my neck to confirm that it was the same truck every time, I made it through all 277 pages in one afternoon, finishing just as the sun was setting. It was the ending to a perfect date, only so much better because I didn’t have to listen to a guy ramble about his ability to delay gratification or comment on my naturally rotund backside for the 32nd time.
I’d see Tina Fey again. In fact, I’d probably dry hump her if given the chance. She makes being normal pretty cool. I already loved her on SNL and 30 Rock, but now I really loved her. I love her so much, I’d probably buy her a sandwich. Also, this is further evidence that Ms. Fey will have me legally banned from every sandwich shop within a 50-mile radius of her existence.
Big frontal clouds move in from the north. Dark ones with white tops billowing toward the blue night sky, they move slowly with the setting of the sun. I can feel the moisture in the air, the dampness cling to my hair and shoulders. Scorching hot all day and now so cool you’d mistake the air for spring. It will be a loud storm. The thunder will shake the hills and awaken the children in the valley below.
I watch the clouds inch southward from my deck. With the height of the deck and the khaki canvas above, I am hidden from the street and the houses below. I watch the worried man walk hurriedly past the fence line, a baby cradled in his arms. He’s lost something, perhaps someone. He walks in the other direction, his brow furrowed, his lips wandering because his tongue is too anxious.
I see the grandfather on his lawn mower. He doesn’t look like a grandfather. Too tan, his skin still tight, he walks his grandchildren to their beds nightly, fights off looming monsters. Sometimes he’ll take them for rides on his motorcycle, but tonight he rides his mower. He sees the storm approaching.
The sun is almost set. Peeking through the treeline, the yellow light does its best to pierce the grey wall. It stabs as the minutes pass, and cars rush past to hurry home. Children slam doors in defiance of the fading light, no longer able to see friends’ faces and bugs wandering in the dirt below. They slam doors because they are children and the quiet escapes them.
My pup cries out to me from behind the locked gate. She can see me, but she can not feel my feet rub against her belly. She does not like to be teased. If I ignore her long enough she’ll go inside and lie down on the floor and forget that I exist. I do not wish to ignore her, but she is too young to understand her imprisonment.
I remain alone on the deck as I watch the blue turn to grey. I squint my eyes to write and I wonder why I am alone. The world is going to sleep as I sit above and watch it all happen. I’d wanted others to join, to hear voices and laughter and see flesh and smiles.
The grandfather has ceased mowing, made his way indoors to see his wife rocking in her armchair and to eat his supper sitting under the dim lamp. Birds call to one another. Mothers feed their babies. Fireflies begin to rise above the blades of grass and robins loiter in the yard. Soon the sky will be black, the moon but a dream. Soon the pups will cry out in fear, the deafening roar above their ears too unbearable. The children will awaken from their dreams believing their monsters have come to life. The birds will be quiet, the fireflies will sink. And I will sit above the world in my prison as it awakens to a loud summer storm.
I’d have to say that it’s always been a part of me, this innate desire to just write it all down and create some kind of understanding for myself and for others. There was never a time when I wasn’t writing or creating. It has always felt very…
It’s official, kids. Vince is moving back to the big O. And, even more exciting, we are finally getting our writing group out of our heads and mouths and off the ground. And, now, the world premiere of:
We are the weekly writing group with random meet-ups (more than likely bars) in the Omaha area and we will perform biweekly at SYMO at The Hideout. Of course, this won’t start ‘til August once Vince has returned, but now all of you can have a reason to come to Omaha other than the College World Series, the Henry Doorly Zoo, and Union Pacific. (Because we all know you were really coming to Omaha often for those things.)
What kinds of writing you ask? Well, Vince and I are of the creative nonfiction variety, but we love poetry and fiction and whatever-floats-your-boat as well and we encourage many to join and meet us! Because we are fun! For Christ’s sake, we’re The Periods.
Ultimately, we’d love to launch a rag mag for all you cool kids who love writing and bragging about it as much as we do, so we’ll keep you updated. Until then, I’ll be over here doing my happy dance in my happy dance panties.
So folks, I just found out that I am getting published thanks to Matchbook! Awhile back I submitted ad stories for their experiment with Google, and it turns out they liked two of them. I am fucking stoked!!
Codie and I play this game via text message where we see who can come up with the most obnoxious baby names. Every so often, a combo of awful names stick in my head and I start daydreaming. Leopold Sebastian Leber has a nice ring to it. My baby boy’s nickname will be Butters and none of the other kids will get it because their parents don’t let them watch re-runs of South Park on TV Land. Silas Sebastian Leber is also a top contender for Project: artificial imaginary baby. *Sigh* I’m only about ten maturity light years away from being ready to have my bouncing, test tube baby boy.
*yes, I’ve edited this post like 4 times now because I played Pokemon for 7 hours today and my brain is fried. English majors can’t always be perfect. Hell, I’m lucky if I shit out a decent post once a week.
Bro 2:Oh, nothin' man, just about to fax the mother of all expense reports right here.
Bro 1:(raises palm to initiate high five sequence) Nice, bro. Catch that game?
I'd like to think that I did horribly at my interview because I have so little experience with interviews and I tend to freeze up and/or stutter when talking to strangers. (In this wonderful case, three people got to witness both of those ticks.) However, perhaps overhearing this brilliant water cooler chat just moments before walking into that room only reaffirmed my dread for the corporate atmosphere. The cubicle lifestyle is not for me, especially if high-fiving is the key to communication.
Well, sort of. Tuesday I start my Travel Writing course through mediabistro.com, taught by the lovely Stephanie Elizondo Griest (her blog here). I am so excited! I wanted to take a travel writing course in college, but I could never fit it in and was sad to walk away without the opportunity to venture down that path.
I have many little snippets and unfinished products about the Loess Hills and Hwy 275 that remain untouched on my desk and laptop and I think this class is perfect to anchor those thoughts and create something great. Also, I’ve hit another rut (woohoo) in my lovely little life and I am fucking ready to tackle something new and breathe freely again. I am way too stoked for Tuesday!
“I’m listening to the “never say never” soundtrack and imagining what justin sings to selena before she goes down on him.”—Vincent, on one of his many Bieber musings. I can only hope he’ll wear the wolves in profile tee I got him to the Selena concert.
Codie: It’s called Infixing. But that applies to when it’s in the middle of a word like infuckingdeed.
Me: Right, obviously I learned a lot in that class.
Codie: Haha, who are you trying to impress?
- I’ve only been out of school 2 years and I’ve already have to text my best friend to remember basic vocabulary from my degree program. In my defense, it was an 8 am class and the teacher was this crazy African dude that told creepy stories and rubbed my back and shoulders as he lectured.