Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"Attention shoppers. If you've lost your kid, please come to customer service to claim him."--in Walmart, over the intercom

What is he? Luggage?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

"If you live to be hundred, I want to be hundred minus one I never have to live without you."--Winnie the Pooh

You know you have someone in your life you feel this way about. Think of that person. Now go share this quote with them.
"Dr. Haggen was right when she said memories can either push us forward or hold us back. I carry the memory of Hannah like a soldier carries his rifle into war, a war most people don't even know exists, a war that may someday engulf us all."--from a show on the Syfy channel, and of course the name completely escapes me now

I love the simile, though, the equation of memories being attached to people like weapons are attached to men in war. Weapons are dangerous, as everyone knows, but memories can be, too. And when you feel them, slamming into you with each breath you take, they can knock you down until there's barely anything left of you. It's interesting the way things get into people's heads, and stay there, particularly when you want these memories to just drift away, like soldiers can when they come home from war.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

"They used to be called slutty shoes, but now they're accepted."--from a woman in a mall, watching her daughter try on heels

Talk about a funny moment. This woman was completely serious, and boy was she eyeballing her daughter as she walked, rather comfortably, in those high heels.
"You're the perfect ending to my day." --from a man, flirting, I believe, with my mother

This sounds like it could have come from a movie, or a Nicholas Sparks' book.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"The thing that struck me most was … (what happens) when people have what they perceive their purpose to be taken away from them, because we’re all so wrapped up in our public persona. 'Hi, my name’s John. I’m a musician. Hi, my name’s Steve. I’m a pipe fitter. My name’s Bob. I’m an IT guy.' When those things are taken away, what a lot of people seem to feel, as I have in the past, is am I losing my purpose? What am I going to do with myself? … But there’s always that hope in the songs that the real important things come back to us — family and home and, not material possessions, but actual human connections, which is something I think we’re really lacking in society now." - from Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls

There's a lot of truth in this, no matter what artistic path you're on. As writers, we're constantly trying to make sense of things and share those findings with the world. Sometimes it's in hopes of reconnecting people, and sometimes, usually when a small miracle is erupting, it's to locate something within yourself that you've been struggling to find for too long. It's those moments of inspiration and artistic beauty that keeps you going in this world - it's not always a kind place but it is where we are. So, if music and writing and photography and anything else saves a person, then I say go for it. Reach out and hold onto those things that you lost, and pray they come back to you again should you lose your way.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"Life's not the breaths you take, the breathing in and out, that gets you through the day, ain't what it's all about. You might just miss the point if you don't slow down the pace. Life's not the breaths you take but the moments that take your breath away."--from none other than George Strait

Cupcakes were the last thing that took my breath away - huge, delectable, gorgeously decorated, make-you-wanna-slap-somebody-and-not-feel-bad-about-it cupcakes. They came from a store called Gigi's in Kentucky.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"It won't get any better. Even when he gets older, he'll still embarrass you." --from a patron in a restaurant

A boy about six years old was sitting at a table with two adults, a man and lady, and a young girl about nine. The boy tumbled backwards out of his chair and onto the floor, doing dramatic gestures. Imagine a boy in a plastic, bubble ball, rolling along the floor in a childish haze and you'll know this kid. The lady looked directly at the young girl with a deadpan look on her face, as the boy was being, well, a boy, and said the above quote with no inflection in her voice. And there the boy was, tumbling along, until he found his good sense and sat back in the chair.

Friday, July 30, 2010

"I manage the place but the Lord owns it. We don't own anything."--from a manager at a gym I stopped in

Monday, July 26, 2010

"Everyday ain't been ice cream and cake."--a relative talking about marriage. He's been married for about fifty years. It sounds to me like he might need liquor to make it through the next fifty.

Monday, July 12, 2010

"You and me are gasoline and matches."--from the song Gasoline and Matches by Buddy and Julie Miller, from the season two soundtrack of True Blood

Okay, for some reason, this makes me think of Nicolas Cage, who I have a severe crush on. I know, I know, you're thinking, really?

I love this man. In fact, if I could shrink him, I would, and keep him in the little zipper inside my purse and just look at him from time to time. And smile. I enjoy looking at him. Guarding Tess started my lustful voyage. There is nothing like gazing at a tall, good-looking man in a suit who knows how to be firm with a cantankerous lady, and gentle.

Anyway, I remember this one time (at band camp) - I'm kidding - really, this one time I heard that Cage and Lisa Marie Presley's ex-marriage was tempestuous; that's the way the reporter described it - tempestuous. That makes me think of gasoline and matches. Explosive. So, that's why Cage comes to mind. And maybe because of his new movie The Sorceror's Apprentice. I like that wild look he's sporting. For me, really, with him, his hair makes a difference in my level of attraction. I was over the moon with the movie Ghost Rider...loved, loved, loved the short, dark hair.

I have a friend who thinks he looks like a wounded sparrow. Perhaps he does, a little. But I love that smile, and those shoulders, and that voice. If I could shrink him, I would take very good care of him. He wouldn't even notice he was the size of a bumblebee and living inside my purse until my klunky keys knocked him sideways. We might have a problem then.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

"The cold wind swept across the hill, whistling through the headstones that poked from the ground like dozens of crooked baby teeth."--from You Are So Undead To Me by Stacey Jay

I like the analogy of the headstones and baby teeth. Unique. I'm reading this book now, a YA novel. It comes highly recommended and I'm reading it even though I hate zombies. They scare me. If I hear one syllable moans, and see someone who looks just a little, well, dead, toppling toward me, then I'm closing the book. On second thought, that's most people on a Monday morning so it can't be that bad.
"If God says your cursed, your cursed."--on a billboard in a church parking lot

What's wrong with this quote? Look hard. There's a common English mistake that many people make. And it drives me crazy. I once knew someone who confused these words all the time. Your (possesive) vs. You're (contraction). Chances are no one at this church has seen this mistake, or maybe that's part of the curse.

Okay, that wasn't funny.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

"Why don't you just stay and donate yourself?"--from a man working at a downtown shelter

Needless to say, I was donating items - towels, blankets, suitcases, etc - not my body parts.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

"Being unforgiving is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die."--from "On the Wings of a Dove" episode from the show Ghost Whisperer

It's ironic that I should hear this line on an old episode of this show. Yesterday I ran into an old friend that I have not seen in years, and I can't describe how I felt, though anger was not the first rushing emotion, even though I always imagined it would be if I had a chance encounter with this person. After our brief conversation, I sat in my car and anger crawled out from whichever corner it had hid in when I first met eyes with this person. It knocked me in the face, and then sadness came, like a suffocating blanket I couldn't escape. I realized that I missed my friend. I realized that all the bad feelings I'd harbored for years had not disappeared; if anything, they had poisoned me. I needed to talk to a mutual friend of ours, someone who knew us well when this old friend and I were close friends, and she equated the experience as hunting for something important in the back of a refrigerator.You have to pull everything else out until you find just what you need. And that's what it was like - pulling out one emotion after the other, one memory after the next, until I found the important item - the memory of who this person and I once were as buddies sharing secrets, as young dreamers looking onward well beyond our years, as friends who wouldn't break apart when laughter stopped holding us together. I regretted that this person had missed so many years of my life, and vice versa. Unforgiving. Aren't so many of us like this? It is poison, though. It gets inside you and it doesn't leave until you find a remedy. I think I'll contact this old friend. In all honesty, I'm glad I saw this person again. I'm glad all is well with this individual. Admitting that, I believe, is the first step toward something better than poison - a cure.
"If every woman told a man she was going to marry what she really thinks this would be a nation of old maids." --from the character Effie played by Deborah Kerr, in the 1953 movie Dream Wife with Cary Grant

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

“What? You couldn’t lift this?”-- a campus safety officer talking about a tree limb that fell on my car

So we had a huge summer storm yesterday, not unusual for the south, especially not unusual after a sticky, “lung-cloggingly” hot day. The storm lasted about 30 minutes, barricading me in my office, which was fine because I was waiting to give a public reading of one of my stories anyway, so I had to be there. The reading went well. What didn’t go well, however, was the incident with the tree limb in the parking lot of the college. It broke one of my windshield wipers and scratched the paint on the left side of the car, and the bottom of the limb was behind my back tire, as if to say to me, Heck no, I’m not letting you leave, punk!

So I called campus safety, told the man I couldn’t move the limb, and I couldn’t, not easily. This young officer arrived in his little golf-cart like vehicle, pulled up beside me and said, “What? You couldn’t lift this?”

My response: “I wasn’t going to.”

In hindsight, maybe I should have said to him what I said to those teenage babbling brooks from an earlier blog entry: “Seriously!”

Or, said this: “What part of ‘I can’t lift this tree limb’ didn’t you understand?”

I know what you’re thinking, “Now, Ms. First Line, that would not have been a nice thing to say to a person who was trying to help you.”

That’s why I didn’t say it.

But I gave him a scowl, and watched him throw the limb aside then survey my vehicle with little care. Today I was told the incident was considered to be an Act of God, meaning the college is not liable for the damages. How convenient. The entire situation could have been much worse, but I sure hope it doesn’t rain again before I get this problem fixed. If it does, one family member has advised me to put an arm out the window and wipe down the windshield as often as I can while driving down the road. This is not funny, but I can hear you chuckling at the thought of a person actually doing this.

Stop laughing.

Okay, what part of that command didn’t you understand?

Monday, June 7, 2010

"...I love you more than rainbows, baby."--anonymous (I heard this on an awards show on television but don't recall who said it)
"I always felt in their flaws they were well-matched, but there is a sort of sweetness about two people who know how to stumble together as opposed to two people who know how to fly together."--actor Evangeline Lily discussing Sawyer and Kate's relationship on the show Lost.

Monday, May 17, 2010

“Lex, I’m still in love with you. I tried not to be, but it didn’t work. And Sloan’s gone. There’s no baby, and I don’t wanna sleep around. I want another chance. I’m in love with you.”

“Karev…he’s…Mark, I have a…I have a boyfriend.”

“I know. I’m saying you could have a husband.”

--from the episode “Shiny Happy People” on Grey’s Anatomy. This is a small scene between Lexi and Mark, who, if you watch the show, has made a monumental step in committing to this woman. Dr. McSteamy does not do this! I have to admit, I felt so warm inside when he did. I like the idea of Lexi and Mark together. Yes, Grey’s Anatomy is my favorite show. I have loved it since day 1, and I will continue to, even though I greatly miss Katherine Heigl’s character, Izzie. And T. R. Knight’s, George. And Burke, played by Isaiah Washington. The dynamics of that show were explosive, and the original cast made that happen. But things change. People get fired and others decide to take on a different career path. I miss Izzie the most though, seriously - where do you think I got that word from?  I miss her smile, her charisma, her emotions that spilled out of her, and many times, not in the best of ways. Many people didn't like her character though; they were glad to see Heigl gone from the show. These people can think what they want. I'm still siding with Izzie.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"Your father picks you up from prison in a stolen Dodge Neon, with an 8-ball of coke in the glove compartment and a hooker named Mandy in the back seat."--the famous first sentence from the short story "Until Gwen" by Dennis Lehane

This is a powerful story, even more powerful when you hear it. Try the audio version. You'll be holding your breath at the end, not realizing that you've forgotten to take in air. The writing is just that delicious.
"Jake, darling, don't play in the trash, honey."--from a concerned mother in the post office line. Her boy was about 7, a cute little dumpling of a thing. Boys will be boys though. Remember, after all, they are made out of frogs and snails and puppy dog tails.
“Writing is easy. You just sit down at the typewriter and open a vein.” --from Red Smith

And my family thinks what I do is easy. Ha!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"Ain't no such thing as a good cup of tea."--from a stranger, offering me his tea that automatically came with his to-go meal. He caught me off guard, because I was sitting on a bench, thinking about what to get my mother for mother's day and waiting for my carryout, when he walked right up to me and smiled, giving me the tea. I don't believe this man had any teeth in his mouth. But that smile was genuine. The tea was good, too.
"...I do believe in killing the messenger. You know why? Because it sends a message."--from Damon Salvatore's character, played by Ian Somerhalder, of The Vampire Diaries

What a yummy show this is. See, you thought I was talking about the men on the show. I was talking about the writing...okay...and the actors, as I shamelessly admit!

Monday, May 10, 2010

"There comes a time when you've got to stop shoving hurt up underneath the rug and deal with some of the stuff."--a local preacher during his mother's day sermon

"Disappointment is the child of false expectations."--another quote from this preacher
"When you were born, God threw your Mama and Daddy a lump of clay."--from a local preacher, during his mother's day sermon

His point: Everyone is born the same. It's our parents, our guardians, who mold us into who we become, who we are. No child is a racist when he or she is born. No child is full of anger or hatred. It's all carried down from one person to the next, a generational conveyor belt of subjectivity. 

Thursday, May 6, 2010

"Maybe mango raisin' ain't your thing."--from Steve Harvey, his morning show

This morning a woman called into the show, concerned about her mango trees, which weren't growing. Harvey, of course, with his ghetto humor, blatantly told her that she should abandon mango trees and try growing tomatoes or collard greens or beans - things she likes to eat, and things that would be easier to manage. The woman had been told by other mango tree-growing lovers that she had to beat the tree, so she did. She also had nails in it. Upon hearing this, Harvey yelled, "Could you do your job with a nail in you and a beatin'?"

He’s got a point.
“Seriously!! Could you please stop talking?!”

This is my first line to a small group of silly, babbling brook-like teenagers in a movie theater. Of course they were late. Of course it was already dark in the theater. Of course they blocked our view as they tripped their way to their seats not far from ours on the same row. Of course. Of course. Of course. They giggled and chatted long after the trailers were over. It was then I felt this burning sensation spreading through my chest. It grew lighter and lighter until it finally flew out of my mouth. Seriously.

Their babbling brooks did not run again.

I am not the kind of person who calls out people in public, not like that. I’m the one who holds open doors for people, even if they don't say thank you. I’m the one who puts my clothes back on the rack in the department store after I’ve tried them on in the dressing room, no matter how heavy my arm gets as I circle around the store, trying to remember where those things should go. I do these things because I believe in karma. No, really, I do these things because I’m genuinely a nice person.

But you can only be nice for so long.

There comes a time when you need to yell at teenagers in the dark and not feel bad about it. I bet their parents paid for their tickets. On second thought, my guy paid for my ticket, so what am I really complaining about? Oh, it’s the principle of the whole situation. Seriously!
"Many times a dead sea marries a babbling brook." --from The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Gary Chapman

This quote is in reference to the differences of personality types between people. A dead sea is a quiet individual, someone who would much rather listen to a conversation than keep one going. A babbling brook is the opposite. Most people think the female in the relationship is the babbling brook. Don't be deceived! There are plenty of male babblers out there. Oftentimes they babble about things that make absolutely no sense, like, "It feels like you washed my T-shirt with rocks. Why's it so hard, and where did all these little balls come from? I just bought the shirt. And why don't you hang up my shirts when you wash them. You don’t fold so well either. Doesn’t this look wrinkled to you?"

Actually, this might be the mindless ramblings of a complainer, not a babbler. It’s a complainbler. My new word that I made up. But when you don't feel like listening to this complainbler, just say this: “Do your own damn laundry then.”

Babbling brook shuts up. Just like that.

We’ve all been accused of babbling, I’m sure, especially when you’re around someone you really enjoy talking to. Have you noticed, however, that strangers do this to people? I actually believe there is a label burned into my forehead that says PLEASE TALK TO ME. Strangers approach me all the time, especially in waiting lines or grocery aisles or in the mall when I’m shopping for jewelry or jeans or high heels that will no doubt put in a hospital someday. These strangers keep talking and I wonder where their automatic shut off button is. Oh, that’s right; they don’t have one because they’re babblers! But I listen to these people, because it’s rude not to, especially when the passion of their conversation coats their skins in such an interestingly, vibrant way. And I smile at them. I’m good at smiling.

Babbling, though, not so much. Well, sometimes, depending on who you are.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

"We regret that we are unable to use the material you submitted to our magazine."

This is the first line that makes writers think of visiting a local bar. Or eating a box of cookies. The first line of a rejection slip. Of course you know even before the first line. The self addressed stamped envelope in your mailbox is like a pinless grenade, waiting for you.
"Alright. Ya'll be blessed. And don't forget to go to church."--from a security guard at a furniture store.

This woman was a stranger to me and my boyfriend. All I did was compliment her perfume as I sat in the truck watching her place checkmarks on my receipt as I picked up my new furniture. Usually strangers say, “Goodbye” after doing business with you, but this woman didn’t. Her nails were fake, but they were pretty—long and orange. They made me think of pumpkins and Halloween. Candy corn and black tights.
"The thing about addiction is, it never ends well because eventually whatever it is that was getting us high stops feeling good and starts to hurt. Still they say you don't kick the habit until you hit rock bottom, but how do you know when you're there? Because no matter how badly a thing is hurting us, sometimes letting it go hurts even worse."--from Meredith Grey's character from Grey's Anatomy; 2007 "Love/Addiction" episode

In this rerun, a married couple was treated in the ER after accidentally blowing up their apartment building, sparked by the dangerous Crystal Meth lab they were running. The episode wasn't just about drugs, however, but about the way people are addicted to things, to situations, to people. It's Dr. McDreamy’s presence at the top of the stairwell at the end of the show that strikes me the most. You see the love for Meredith in his eyes, clawing at him, it seems, until the need to be with her is visceral. He knows he should let her go home alone, yet he descends the stairs and walks out the hospital with her. She is his poisonous addiction. If you’ve ever been in a relationship like that then the thought of walking away from that kind of connection with someone makes you believe you will actually sink into the ground and disappear. But you don’t, even when the relationship ends.

Monday, April 19, 2010

"You've got one of those tattle phones."--from someone I work with, talking about caller ID

Sunday, April 18, 2010

"Fiction is the truth inside the lie."-- a quote by Stephen King
"Rewriting is like scrubbing the basement floor with a toothbrush." --a quote by Pete Murphy
P.S. This is so true!!
"You will have to write and put away or burn a lot of material before you are comfortable in this [writing] medium. You might as well start now and get the work done. For I believe that eventually quantity will make for quality." --a quote by Ray Bradbury
"Talent is helpful in writing, but guts are absolutely essential." --a quote by Jessamyn West
"The mere habit of writing, of constantly keeping at it, of never giving up, ultimately teaches you how to write." --a quote by Gabriel Fielding
"Being a real writer means being able to do the work on a bad day."--a quote by Norman Mailer
"Don't say the old lady screamed--bring her on and let her scream." --a quote by Mark Twain
"Plot springs from character... I've always sort of believed that these people inside me- these characters- know who they are and what they're about and what happens, and they need me to help get it down on paper because they don't type." --a quote by Anne Lamott
"If you're going to write, don't pretend to write down. It's going to be the best you can do, and it's the fact that it's the best you can do that kills you."--a quote by Dorothy Parker, a short story writer and poet

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"Losing my anonymity in this world is something, I think, I find terrifying."--a quote from actor Alex O'Loughlin

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"Writing a novel is a terrible experience, during which the hair often falls out and the teeth decay. I'm always highly irritated by people who imply that writing fiction is an escape from reality. It is a plunge into reality, and it's very shocking to the system."--a quote from Flannery O'Connor

PS: If you've written a novel, you know this is true.
"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth."--from J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye
"Back in the days when everyone was old and stupid and young and foolish and me and Sugar were the only ones just right, this lady moved on our block with nappy hair and proper speech and no makeup."--from Toni Cade Bambara's "The Lesson"
"Who Am I? And how, I wonder, will this story end?"--from Nicholas Sparks' The Notebook