BulgingButtons

Not bad for a fat girl


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No November

unnamed.jpgI’m shocked at myself. For the past several years I’ve participated in NaBloPoMo, that crazy challenge to publish a blog post each day. Not only have I participated, I’ve been successful. This year, however, I did not. And by not, I mean NOT. Not one single post has graced this blog since October, and now here we are knee deep in the winter holiday season.

Of course there are reasons, but none of them are terribly compelling. I could have done it. Maybe not a post a day, but at least one post sometime during the month. But nope, I did not. In fact I hummed along day to day more of less ignoring the fact that I even have a blog. A blog which I’ve nurtured for the past five and a half years. A blog that I’ve poured my heart into, not to mention quite a few hours of my life. And yet, there it sat, neglected.

Well, I’m here to apologize. I apologize to anyone who has wondered where I’ve been. I apologize to my poor lonely blog (as if it has feelings). I apologize to myself. I deserve to take the time and spend the energy it takes to sort out my thoughts and share them, even if nobody reads them. I’m back, and hopefully I’ll be around for a long time to come.


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The Halloween Candy Quest

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This has been a bit of a challenging time for us. At the end of August my sweetheart unexpectedly ended up in the hospital for several days following emergency surgery. It was stressful to say the least. It’s taking a while for him to fully recover, and as a result the pace of our lives has slowed down.

I’m good with the slow down. I’m a homebody at heart, so spending evenings reading and watching Harry Potter for the millionth time on the weekend works for me just fine. The thing is, the outside world hasn’t slowed down. Time keeps passing, and we’re already days away from the annual Halloween hoards.

Let me explain. Our neighborhood is family friendly. Very family friendly. The street behind us, in particular. They do a huge Christmas light display every year, and bring in a horse-drawn carriage, hot cocoa, local school choirs, and more. For Halloween, it looks like something out of a Hallmark channel movie, with dozens of kids and families happily criss-crossing the street, filling their pumpkin shaped buckets with candy. It’s lovely. Incredible, and lovely.

Being on the back side of that, and across from the park, we get a lot of foot traffic as well. So much that it doesn’t pay to go inside and shut the door. For the past several years I’ve parked myself on the driveway with a tv table and a large bowl of candy. A second large bowl sits ready just inside the door. Bags of candy lay on the dining room table, waiting to be opened. My sweetheart delivers candy to me several times during the evening using this trade-off method.

We get the good candy. No crappy cheap stuff for us. After all, if there’s leftovers we’re going to eat them. We also get plenty. Running out just doesn’t seem like a good option. So far we’ve avoided toilet paper and eggs, but I don’t think those are too common in our neighborhood anyway.

Well, here’s the thing, we don’t have any candy yet. Normally we would be loaded and ready by now, but we haven’t gotten a thing. I also haven’t done any decorating. No outside lights, no cute pumpkin quilts hanging on the walls, not even the spooky haunted mansion tea-light holder. The decorations are all in the attic, which is accessible only by ladder. Normally my sweetheart gets them down, but this year that’s not possible. I could try to, but I just don’t feel motivated to take the risk of falling off the ladder (it’s a very real possibility).

So to recap: no decorations, no candy, no Halloween spirit.

Can we just turn off the light this year and hide in the back of the house?

No, that wouldn’t be right.

So off we go to the supermarket. They have a 50% off coupon on candy. The good stuff. Hopefully there’s some left. Happy Halloween.


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Trying On Personalities

 

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I’ve been having a little fun with fiction. I’ve been trying on different personalities in the form of characters I’m writing. First person narratives are so different from third person. Getting into the character makes me feel like I really know him or her. Well, her. So far I’ve been working with female characters, probably because they’re what I know best.

Maybe it’s time to get a little bolder. I’ve written a few women, and they’ve been young. Far younger than I am. I suppose it’s because in my head I’m far younger than I am in my body. Teenage me is still alive and well, but fortunately she’s not in charge. Can you imagine? That would be a disaster.

Can I write older? I suppose I can try it, but it will be quite a bit more difficult. After all, I’ve been younger than I am now, but I’ve never been older. Of course I know older people, and I have my entire life, but it’s not the same as having that first-hand experience. Still, I think I’m going to give it a go.

Then there’s gender. At the moment I’m thinking in terms of simple binary, that is male and female. Again, these are the ones I’m most familiar with. Yes, I have met transgender people, and yes, the people I’ve met have been lovely, but I don’t know nearly enough about their experiences in the world to pretend to be able to write a convincing character at this point.

I’ve written characters from different backgrounds, from a former child soldier in South Sudan to an undocumented Mexican man full of machismo to a little girl living in foster care unsure of her future. None of these characters have been in first person, though. I think it would be enlightening to go back to some of these people (yes, I know they’re imaginary, but they’re still people) and write from their points of view. What is that scared little girl seeing and hearing in the dark in a strange bedroom far away from her family? How does his past haunt the Sudanese “Lost Boy” and does he feel survivor’s guilt? What, and who, did the Mexican man leave behind when he crossed the border? Was it worth it? Will he ever voluntarily go back?

It’s a fascinating exercise in empathy and creativity. At our core we share undeniable similarities. How these manifest, and how our differences separate us, are topics of unending wonder. I’m so lucky I can write my way into whatever personality I feel like choosing.