Category Archives: Musings

The House of No Secrets

[last night]

Night time in our little house.

I’m upstairs in the bathroom off our master bedroom. I’m pregnant, just clearing the first trimester, tired and bloated. I look in the mirror. I lean in closer. How many zits, exactly, do I have?

I estimate one million billion on the right side of my neck alone.

And why must they be on my neck???

And is it pregnancy or the French fries slathered in mayonnaise and ketchup that I can’t seem to stop eating?

(pregnancy, definitely pregnancy, I’m not giving up the fries)

Also, I’m pretty sure I have a new wibbly-wobble in my neck skin.

A hot shower is exactly what I need.

I creep down the stairs and peer out into the hall, with its sight to the dining room table where my husband sits, reading over my most recent version of a manuscript and making notes with a pencil (kind, kind man).

“Hey baby,” I whisper, “want to take a shower with me?”

A door bursts opens.

Out from the room where she’s (supposedly) been in la-la land comes a pajama-clad four-year-old with night-rosy cheeks, golden hair flowing about her shoulders like a lion’s mane. She’s tugging at the sleeves of her sleeper as if to take it off and smiling like it’s Christmas morning.

We look at the exuberant face of our daughter.

“Uh,” says my husband. “I think Mom meant me.”

I look at her pink little face and feel a monumental stab of mama-guilt. Because maybe she’s been waiting all her life for Mom to whisper an invitation to a secret midnight shower—tip-toeing up to the top floor with its shower of many spigots in the very middlest of the night and playing her favorite game–spraying the shower walls with water and laughing maniacally as she ‘cleans the bathroom.’ Very possibly, I’ve just dashed every hope and dream she’s ever had.

“I’ll take another shower with you soon,” I say to her with my most winning smile.

Alice considers my offer. “Can I make a nest on my floor with my blankets?”

“Yes,” my husband and I say at the same time. “Go for it.”

Writer’s life: the heights and the depths

Let me introduce you to the THE HEIGHTS

An almost literal conversation (well, okay, monologue) I had with (okay, fired at) my husband last night:

“I mean, my book is good, right? Yeah.” {chews gigantic piece of zucchini} “Oh yeah, it’s so good. It’s got it all. Seriously, think about it. Like the part where she realizes her vanity deceived her–I love that. Don’t you love that? And then there’s, like, science. Races. Chases. Sequins. Gambling. Really rich people. Super high stakes. Evening gowns. Betrayal and secrets and capers. I mean, like, capers?” {pauses to chew sweet potato fry dunked in ketchup} “Everyone loves capers. They’re just so fun. My book is super fun, I mean, like, I wrote a super fun book.” {sip of wine; thoughtful expression} “I just wonder, like, what do you even wear on the red carpet? Do you just go to Macy’s and buy a dress?”

{mind races ahead of ‘conversation’: do you do your own make-up? Hair? Do you hire someone to do it for you? How much does this cost, and how do you find the right person, especially if you’re flying in from out of town? Does your publisher pay for any of this–or the producers maybe? Are you paying your own way there, I mean, that doesn’t seem fair? Or maybe it’s tax deductible, but does it matter, because you’re probably making millions? And if you wear something from Macy’s, will people think that you’re a total cheapo?}

And then there are THE DEPTHS

An almost literal* conversation (okay, monologue) I had with my husband the other week, and the other night . . . and the other one too.

*some artistic liberties were taken, none of which exaggerate or inflate IN ANY WAY the sentiment at hand. The drama is real, people.

Self: “It’s like, I don’t feel motivated at all. I’m trying to write this stupid fantasy book and I don’t even know how to write fantasy. How the heck do you even write politics? I don’t even know! I don’t know how to do intrigue! It’s like, there’s all these motivations, everyone wants different things, I don’t even know what they’re supposed to want . . . it gets so . . . confusing.” {casts self on bed in despair} “Honestly babes, I don’t know if I’ll ever write a book again. I don’t think I have it in me.” {looks at ceiling and emits mournful sigh} “Like, this is the end. I’ll never feel inspired again. I can’t even work out what my heroine is feeling. It’s, like, so confusing. I mean, what do you even feel when you kill your own brother-in-law and leave him for the wolves to eat and then disguise yourself as a boy in a traveling caravan?” {flops arms upwards in gesture of complete resignation before this insurmountable challenge} “I mean, I don’t even know who she is, now that I think about it.” {sits up in bed} “OH MY GOSH. I don’t know who my heroine is! I never did! No wonder I can’t write this stupid book! I’ll never be a real writer!” {expression of horror due to profound and disturbing revelation washes over face} “Baby, I think I actually have no imagination!”

Husband: “Um, you’ll write again.”

Self: {plummets into depths of pillow} “I think I need to go to sleep now.”

Husband: “Hey, wanna do something fun?”

Self: {grunts} {by grunt, husband is meant to interpret: “Fun is dead. My book is dead. Life is dead.”}