Friday, September 30, 2011


In an attempt to both improve my knowledge of grammar and to finesse my writing, I am reading, "At last!" my dear readers may think, The Elements of Style by Strunk & White. It is concise and bold as E. B. White speaks of its original form by Professor Strunk, but it also packed so tightly that I fear I will not be able to remember it all- too many kernels without the popcorn. The book is on my "diet book list"- to be read in bits. I want my words to sing with imagery and to bring you into my world, but I am busy making lists of items to purchase for a bathroom and running to the American Embassy for passport renewals. Meaning, I publish before I have thoroughly spell checked and reread my essays. I am posting my "shitty first drafts" as one writing teacher (Bird by Bird) calls them. I aim to get words on the page. I publish and then revise, but I see no other way. Perfectionism is a wonderful standard, but if I held myself up to that bar, I could not write. It is in letting go of any pretense, accepting that errors will be made, that I can post what I have written. To write, one must write. The feedback I need is in the act of writing. Ideas emerge on the pages that were unknown to me before I was present at the keyboard, like the hostess awaiting her guests, there is no party without the guests, there is no storybook without the writer.

Death and party do not go together. I know you are thinking, "What about wakes?" A friend with Irish relatives shared this story. "I went back to Ireland for a death in the family. My uncles were all at the Pub- sitting there, telling story after story, pint after pint. I sat down and a pint was ordered for me. About three in the morning, I fell out of my chair, passed out on the floor. When I woke up hours later, they were still carrying on, with nary a glance they ordered me a pint and kept going. They were there (in the Pub) for three days."

In one night I spied a kabuto mushi beetle, a spider, and a giant cockroach. My husband is optimistic that the roach will visit the hotel we set up. The spider, a medium sized one, was hanging about in the bathroom. Every time I checked, the spider was there. Recently the Mule banned the Moose from taking a bath with her- he attacked her with the back scrubber, read "sword" in his mind, and left a bruise which is how the Moose came to take a bath with the spider in full view in my bathroom while the Mule floated peacefully in the munsters's bathtub (ode to Strunk & White- I'm learning lesson #1). Despite the Mule saying, "Mama, you have dirty feet," I refused to take a bath with the spider in view. My son- clean, in his pajamas, and tucked into bed said, "I faced my fears." I turned out the light and said, "Yes, you did."

I actually thought accolades were in order for not screaming bloody hell at the sight of all these critters creeping about my house! Finally, my husband, home, trapped the beetle and placed it in a mushi box saying, "Just to show the munsters in the morning." I guess it is better than having it crawl across the ceiling. We're hoping that the giant spider which hasn't been sighted for a few days, finds the roach living downstairs. The medium sized spider went missing, my husband drew my bath, and I marveled at the wisdom of a six year old as I attempt to face one fear, but not another.

1 comment :

  1. Have you read Eats Shoots and Leaves? I remember laughing out loud when I read it on a plane between Heathrow and Dulles. I think it might be right up your alley.


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