Friday, May 7, 2010

Don't touch my peanut butter!

I made a comment about donuts on facebook because I've had donuts on the mind lately, and I was directed to this site, which enables one to make this wondrous creation:

I want it for my birthday. But then I would eat it all.

I've brought back Bringing Moon this week, which I haven't touched for nearly a year, after receiving more crits on it than any other story. I'd also posted it in 2008 right after I'd written it, then put it away for awhile after some rejections in rapid succession. The crits from last year were varied, but mostly insightful - a few people thought it worked as is, some had a problem with the clarity of the Margot's motivations, some had a problem with random elements that weren't the focus of the story, and others read things into the ending that made me think huh, that wasn't what I'd intended, but I like that better. Then I did some more submitting, only to have it fall flat again.

I pulled it out again on Wednesday and immediately realized it was the equivalent of a plain white sheet cake, maybe frosted, maybe not. But the stories that sell look like the cake above. Bringing Moon had been missing everything - color, life, and all of that good ganache inside Margot's head. Sure, it was cake, and I adore cake. But...yes.

So I've tried to chocolate peanut butter it up. It's better, although it hasn't worked for the 2 out of 3 crits so far, and all 3 didn't find the ending to be enough. I'm hoping it's a needs-to-be-less-subtle, thing. That's a likely bet.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

No Solicitation

A girl walked in through the front door at work last Friday, all perfumed and pretty with long, flowing hair and exotic makeup, almost like she was going out to some show or club. She was probably a few years younger than me, with a welcoming smile, and she immediately started making small talk about how nice it smelled in here (in the office??) and happy Friday to me, etc., so it was obvious she was going to try and sell something. Which she was - some new spa or salon, 90% off services that day only, etc. I said I wasn't interested, and I was the only girl here - so goodbye, as nice as possible. I don't have much patience for solicitation, either on the phone or in person, and cold-calling (cold-walking-in?) your salon services to a stand-alone professional firm is not appropriate, in my opinion.

She kept trying, to her credit. Oh, but what about Mother's Day, she asked. My mother's dead, I said, just as nicely as I had said no, thank you, to her only seconds before. I don't need a Mother's Day present this year.

We looked at each other. She said 'Um, okay,' and took a few steps back. Not an 'um, okay, I can't believe you really just said that' but an 'um, okay, was that really necessary? Couldn't you have just said no? I was only trying to do my job; you didn't have to say something for shock value.' And then she left.

I hadn't said it for shock value - I had said it because it was the first thing I thought of. I won't need a present this year. I still need to buy a card - and it occurred to me that I should get Mom a present, too, some sort of lasting donation somewhere or something in her honor - that doesn't mean 90% off salon services.

But every Mother's Day anything makes me cringe a little. I didn't think about this 'holiday' being more difficult than Christmas, but it is, and made twice as much so by my birthday being two days after, and the fact that we always celebrated Mother's Day with mine & Krista's birthdays at the same time. And I'm not going to get a card from Mom this year - usually with a picture of a cat on it - (I'm not a crazy cat person, I'm not) - nor a Border's card, which I have gotten from her every year for as far back as I can count. It's devastating.

It also occurred to me this morning how much trouble I have saying 'I'm sad today'. John asks me how I am, how I'm feeling, and I can't seem to come right out and say 'I'm sad." There's this impulse to get rid of it, to hide it, that it's wrong or inappropriate because I have so much to be grateful for. Or worse, that I should 'Jesus it away' by being happy in the Lord or reading enough Bible verses or holding true to some Evangelical bullshit that I've been taught all my life but that doesn't really factor in the physical symptoms of grief or of normal life and being a human.

I think about how I might react if someone said that to me - 'I'm sad today.' I probably wouldn't have had much patience for it before all this - which is awful for me to realize. I might hypocritically think what reason do you have to be sad, when in reality, what do I know? Nothing. I've never stood in that person's shoes, been exactly where they've been, and chances are, I'd be a hell of a lot sadder than them if I had.

So for now, I'm going to practice saying 'I'm sad' to myself, and maybe it will help me accept that being sad is an okay place to be. And when someone else is sad, I can just say 'I'm sorry,' and try to sit with them for awhile.

Found this today - I think it's beautiful.

Death can't be so bad if Mom went through it.
It makes it easier for the child to follow. - Danny Aiello

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Success! Sort of.

I finished the Deadbells draft! I'm thrilled. Unfortunately, it's terrible. Worst first draft EVER written. So terrible that it makes me cringe to think about it - and usually I know what to do with my drafts, how to fix them, what they need, etc. But this one...egads. I can't even bear to pull it back up.

Yet, it's a reason to celebrate. It's the first short I've written (by myself, since the lovely Gio and I wrote two together last fall) since Mum died. Happy early Mother's Day, Mom - this crazy and messed-up story is for you. Love, Erin

I think I might give it a new working title - The Shoshannas. Or just 'Shoshanna,' but we'll see. Still a victory.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Black bean brownies are unbelievable. Gluten-free, sugar-free, fiberlicious, with only 2 downsides: they're a lot of work, especially if your blender/food processor is a cheap one, and one batch has 2 sticks of butter in it. Oh, so I guess there's a third downside: they're far too easy to put away because they're just so damn good.

I used this recipe. My walnuts were stale, so I skipped those, and I didn't have quite enough agave nectar so I had to use a little splenda and honey, but soooo good. I used 1/2 Ghirardelli chocolate (100% cocoa) and 1/2 Baker's unsweetened chocolate, and I think I want to use a smaller pan next time so they're thicker - they're so moist that we froze them, and it's like the most amazing chocolate cake bars/brownies you've ever had. No need for regular sugary brownies ever again.

Then, the best rye loaf ever - this one had a starter, which was just boiling water, rye flour and honey, which I put together last night, then did the bread today. With a single piece of cheese, it was heaven.

I didn't put away the dozens of books and cds on my floor in the office like I was planning to, but we certainly ate well tonight - roasted chicken & potatoes & carrots with the bread & brownies. Oh, and the Ghost in the Shell Innocence movie, which is stunning on HD. I think I liked the actual seasons better, the individual episodes.

And...John and I bought our honeymoon/anniversary trip! Hurray! Santa Barbara & Solvang, California, in August. And, another Chicago trip for me at the end of May - little baby Youngerman better be born when he's supposed to so I get to meet him.

Haven't had many OWW reviews on Children Dumpling Soup yet, but that's because I haven't put in the effort I need to first. That's on the plan for tomorrow. Plus, I think the end is still a bit problematic - we'll see if I can fix that. And I want to finish Deadbells this week. A big goal, considering the lack of direction I feel about it, but who knows, it may surprise me and work out.