Saturday, July 23, 2011

Monkey Business - In the Doghouse...

When the thermometer scaled triple digits yesterday, I overheard a woman exclaim, "These are the dog days of summer!" Got me to thinking about the way we randomly toss innocent animals into our phrases, oftentimes imposing a dreadful fate. Poor dears. Why is a sweet little pup affiliated with the stifling heat? It's a head-scratcher. So I began to consider some of the other curious phrases I have not only heard or read but even repeated on occasion. These are some of the ones that bug me the most (oops, did I say bug?) You need only read them to figure out why.
Beat a dead horse - This is horrible. I much prefer to hold my horses, thank you.
More than one way to skin a cat - Hideous. Are we to assume that curiosity already killed it?
Kill two birds with one stone - More senseless animal cruelty. Perhaps we just flip the bird  instead?
Like a chicken with its head cut off - A headless chicken? For the love of God, why not just count them before they hatch?
Shoot the bull - Oh my. I suppose he's been rifling around the china shop again.
Cook your goose - This might occur after a long wild goose chase. Run, goose, run!
Like a lamb to slaughter - Sheesh. Why not just let the lamb shake its tail twice?
Sweating/eating/bleeding like a stuck/pig - All that oinking when they fly gets annoying.
Dead duck - Perhaps it stepped out of the row of other ducks.
Blind as a bat - Must have happened when he shot out of hell.
Dumb bunny - Just not quick enough, I guess.

I could go on. But, I'll let sleeping dogs lie. Or perhaps skulk away with my tail between my legs.
That's about enough monkey business for one day, right?

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Nation of Imagine

"Now you might think that I chose my second theme, the importance of imagination, because of the part it played in rebuilding my life, but that is not wholly so. Though I personally will defend the value of bedtime stories to my last gasp, I have learned to value imagination in a much broader sense. Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared."
From J.K. Rowling's Speech from Harvard Graduation Ceremony

I'm thinking about why it is I've chosen to write fiction. Or have I? Perhaps our genre's choose us. And maybe it isn't done cognitively. Maybe it's pre-destined. Like your hair color, your height, your political affiliation. Um - scratch that last one. I can recall being just a kid and considering how it might be to belong to a different family, one from the opposite end of the world, who spoke another language. Then I remember writing those very  scenes, starring some girl who wasn't really me (or was she?) and sending her to all the places I might never really get to go. One of my first stories involved a trip to the moon. It's safe to say in spite of Virgin Galactic's generous offering of suborbital spaceflights, I'll remain ever-earthbound.

Fiction gives me a chance to visit that nation, the one J.K. made a desperately delicious living from. And for that, this little dreamer, is grateful. I wonder if one day I will venture beyond fiction's door, maybe crank out a lovely memoir, coin a catchy catch-phrase for some commercial product, perhaps try my hand at penning a textbook - (okay, I kid.)
 Yet, in the nation of Imagine we never say never.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

She Spies Shells & More at the Seashore

Just got back from a week down at the Jersey shore. R & R has never been more in order. And yet, I spent a good deal of that time "working" if you will - editing a manuscript and checking out the latest in beach reads. Hey somebody has to do it. I'm here to report that folks do more than build castles in the sand. They also actively consume their literature of choice under the bright, sunny skies while carefully re-applying the 15 or 30.

 I saw a few Nooks and Kindles in hand but far more print copies, equal helpings of paperback and hardcover. Though it isn't polite to stare, particularly when the crowd is in various stages of undress - I did so anyway. I mean, what else are sunglasses for? It was all in the name of research (mostly - with the exception of one visitor with a six-pack of abs to die for...but I digress.) I wanted to see if I could determine which genre pulled in the most beach-readership. Magazines aside, and after much consideration the winner was: The Thriller. Won't Grisham, Patterson and Baldacci be, well...thrilled?

I confess I was expecting The Romance Novel to be a front runner. It wasn't. I noticed an equitable split of both men and women partaking in the written word, although the women were generally holding onto slightly less spine-tingling subject matter, the likes of Room, The Help, and Silver Girl.

Overall it was a perfect vacation - filled with plenty of family, food and festivities. And work, of course, can't forget about that. Though I must admit to feeling as if I could use a tad more time to complete my study. Perhaps another week or two? Can't fault a girl for trying...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Free to Be Buggy - Don't Lick After Dark

I remember like it was yesterday. The 4th of July when I ate a bug. And not just one - a whole damn bug family. It was shortly after the ice cream man came and went, bells jangling behind him. I'd ordered a vanilla soft serve in a sugar cone. The sun had retired leaving us younguns romping under the street lights. We ran around in the thick hot air infiltrated with those pesky winged critters that stuck to your sweaty neck, sucked your young blood, leaving itchy welts in their wake.

I didn't recall asking for chocolate sprinkles. Thought it was sweet of the ice cream man to elaborate. He probably figured I was a nice kid. Deserving. So I licked and played, licked and played. Ice cream melted down my arms but it was yummy, in an odd way. I licked some more until one of my sprinkles flew away.

This day also became known as the 4th of July I puked on my little sister. Twice.

Happy Independence Day, all. Relax, chill out. And whatever you do, don't lick after dark.
May freedom ring on!