It probably all began when Larry Woiwode visited my 6th grade class and said my question (What courses in college should I take to become an author?) was a very good question.
Then of course there was C.S. Lewis who I didn’t know had died long before I discovered Narnia. A few years after that I visited his home, church and grave.
The Kilns: Lewis’ home
Street near Oxford named after Lewis
I suppose Phyllis was next.
Then there was Neil Gaiman. I was never near his home, but I knew pretty much where it was because it was closeish to where my grandparents used to live in Wisconsin. I lost interest in him after he divorced his wife and married that singer.
Finally, I suppose I am a little interested in Jim Lynch who lives in Olympia and has written about that town a bit. My daughter has met him a couple of times. In fact just last night she forwarded me an email from him with an unpublished story attached about a young woman named Claire who loves to read and lives in Olympia. Even her bookstore is mentioned! Anyway, it would be fun to bump into him sometime in Olympia.
I did not see The English Beat at The Barns of Wolf Trap tonight. I did not sit in the front row. I did not dance to almost every song. I did not pose for a photo with the most energetic member of the band. I do not dance. I do not pose with band members.
My three bathrooms house liars. Sure, their labels proclaim Burt’s Bees® Citrus and Ginger Hand Soap or Everyone™ Meyer Lemon & Mandarin Hand Soap but they’re deceivingly filled with cheap Softsoap® from Costco®.
A recent young guest told me she loved my Meyer Lemon & Mandarin Hand Soap. I shook my head and said, sorry, it’s a lie.
Under the smaller built-in dresser in the attic bedroom was a secret hiding place. I used it for my diaries and journals. My brother used it for his cigarettes and alcohol. Someone later used it for pornographic magazines. Mom denied knowing about the magazines and said Dad wasn’t into that sort of thing. Someone was lying.
It wasn’t until I read The Little Stranger that I really understood what unreliable narrator meant. Now I see them all the time. In literature I can usually forgive the narrator: they’re young, they’re old, they’re suffering from mental illness. In real life I am not as forgiving. They are just liars in my humble opinion.
Of my hobbies, one that has been part of myself since third grade is reading. I was a voracious reader of books until I discovered social media. After that, reading more than a handful of books a year was rare and I felt like a liar when I listed reading as a hobby. That’s changing though.
I was held back in 3rd grade because Miss Meyer thought I was educationally immature for my age. She was right but at the time I was full of shame. It took me until at least my thirties to tell anyone about it. If she hadn’t kept me back, I may never have finished high school.
I like to think that I’m above getting all fan-girly when I unexpectedly see a celebrity but inside I’m jumping up and down and screaming. It was that way when we toured a college with Diane Lane and her daughter. ‘Twas like that today* when we saw Adam Scott at the National Gallery of Art. Twice.
I wrote this and the following post on the day they were “due” but because of a few crazy computer and Internet glitches they won’t appear until Monday, March 26th. Kind of like the y2k bug. I also have tried to comment on everyone’s recent posts but the blogs shape-shift and become ravens or squirrels. Honest!
We lived in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Shadyside. Fred and Sara Rogers lived in Oakland, the neighborhood next-door to ours. Their son’s girlfriend lived in the same three-flat house as us until she secretly moved in with him. While I can’t claim to have lived in Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, his son sometimes slept in our house.
It’s no secret that I love cheese. I love cheddar and havarti and Wensleydale and feta and Brie and Camembert and chèvre and Monterey Jack and Edam and Gouda and Gruyère and Humboldt Fog and cottage and ricotta and mozzarella and parmesan but not Limburger or brick.
What’s a secret is my taste for Kraft singles.
When Eileen asked me to be a witness at her uncontested divorce from Paul I agreed but was nervous about being under oath. I didn’t know for sure what went on next door.
It turned out fine except for the surprisingly fierce tears I shed for the thousands of endings had taken place in that room.
My parents overheard me telling a friend how I came to have a colorful child-size chair:
My father bought it for me while he was in the Navy where he got shot. He ducked; the bullet missed killing him but he was wounded in his stomach and lived.
I wasn’t punished because it was so outrageous.
Because of my last name, I have always loved Saint Patrick’s Day but I am not Irish, which people tend to think. I have not found any Irish ancestors, although I’ve searched for them. Patrick comes from England as did St. Patrick, also known as Maewyn Succat. Knowing all that, I still love Saint Patrick’s day.
It’s true that I had tea and bread with an old woman in a small town in Ireland. It’s true that she told me how to make that bread. What is not true is that I wrote down the recipe as she spoke and make the same bread each year. I even lied on my blog.
I envisioned a stylish woman looking at racks of clothing at the StitchFix warehouse to match my preferences. My first order left me amazed that she knew exactly what I needed. However, my husband said that a colleague knew someone who helped create the AI for the company that chose my clothes. Personal stylist my foot!
I was deliriously proud of myself for having finished a 653 page book in 4 days. I bragged about it to my husband.. It was nothing! It was easy! All I had do do was quit looking at social media all day and voila, 653 pages read in no time. Oh, ebook pages are different than real pages? Figures.
I have a habit of calling attention to my faults rather than my merits and this has probably cost me relationships, job promotions and self-esteem. I don’t really believe what I say or write but it is easier for me to say negative things about myself than positive things. Unfortunately I think others often believe me.
Passwords are meant to be kept secret and my work passwords are known only to me. Some other passwords are not so secret because I share Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming sites with my offspring. One way to insure urgent communications from the kids is to change the passwords. I really should do that more often.
Found among long-forgotten letters when I was going through things at Mom’s house, this Top Secret note pad had about 6 pages left. While I don’t remember buying it (a gift perhaps?) I do remember using it to write letters to my friends away at camp or back home when I was visiting my grandparent’s in Wisconsin.
When I saw the calla lily in my son’s hand when he came over last Mother’s Day my first thought was, “Shit, a plant I need to keep alive,” but I smiled and thanked him.
Sure enough I killed it by July, or thought I did. Turns out the calla lily is going to bloom again!
You won’t be reading any lies from me this month. It’s not that I don’t, or can’t, lie but when I do I feel incredibly guilty and anxious. I can’t see myself lying for fun. Where that comes from, I don’t know. Maybe I have repressed memories of being severely punished for lying in my childhood.
Sundays often meant long drives in the country so Grandma Patrick could see her old stomping ground. Whenever we’d get to a certain intersection my dad would remark that the schoolhouse that he burned down once stood on that corner. For years I thought he did it maliciously, but he finally admitted it was an accident.
Kim’s recent mention of Anthony Quinn brought to mind one of his movies that revolves around a lie. A young girl defends herself from what she thinks is a would-be-rapist (a Dutch ship’s captain) by stabbing him with a knife. She lies and blames Quinn (a kind-hearted pirate) who is convicted of the crime and hanged.
When I told my mom’s cousin that Mom had died in the night she asked me if I was with her. I lied and said I was. I was actually asleep in the next room, dreaming about Mom’s soul flitting around the house. The truth emerged at the memorial service when the pastor mentioned my dream.
The police report reads “Suicide — Completed.” What compelled them to drive halfway up the lower section of my small suburban side street in their late-model dull-blue Porsche, stop their car, leave the engine running and headlights on and shoot themself remains a secret. Someone might know that answer, but not those of us who saw it.
Until reading about it through a link on Facebook, I didn’t realize that Elgin had a waterfall (besides the Fox River dam). Dean and I visited the secret waterfall (which is technically in South Elgin) last December. Despite the background graffiti it is lovely. Teenage Dona would have loved it had she known of its existence.
“You’re not to go into the living room tonight,” instructed Mom, “we’re having a grown-up movie party.”
It was fine with us, Dad had set up the TV in my bedroom and Mom gave us bowls of popcorn and bottles of pop.
Decades later finding the 8mm “adult” film reels, I realized they were watching porn.
Mike Leigh wrote and directed Secrets & Lies which was a wonderful film but my favorite Mike Leigh film will always be the first Mike Leigh film I ever saw: Life is Sweet. The only Mike Leigh film I was not so fond of was Topsy Turvy, because it wasn’t a “slice of life” Mike Leigh film.