Sunday, October 18, 2015

In the Spirit

I've been asked to host Halloween in front of the church again. Four people asked me last week and one asked today. Yes, I told them all. I like being that person, the lady that hands out candy and cocoa with marshmallows at the church. I don't like handing out fliers on Halloween. I don't want to proselytize. I want it simply to feel like a gift, a place for children to roast marshmallows at our fire pit, an open door with a sign toward a bathroom, a generous source of candy and cocoa, an open place for teenagers to hang out when it gets late and they're out of toilet paper.

I love the gathering. People come to say hi, some friends, some acquaintances, some strangers. Some, I don't even recognize at first because of their costumes. I love the feeling of community, the cheerfulness. This town is generous on Halloween. People decorate, buy eight or ten bags of candy at a time, spend their evening handing it out to the hordes who walk the streets. I've walked with Mike and Nick and often an extra child or two. People have offered me wine and extra chocolate. They've chatted and hugged me in middle of the street. Once a man sat on his porch with a mask, straw hanging out of his sleeves and cuffs, and reanimated whenever someone had the courage to take a piece of candy from his basket. It was freaky fun. Nick stood on the sidewalk for a long time that night before he got the courage to take a piece of candy, courage at the age of six. I loved it. For a while a family on the outskirts grew a small corn maze and once, a small business in the middle of renovation converted themselves to a haunted house complete with a coffin bearing a live dead person who sat up just as you thought you were done. For a few years, there were homemade movies replete with local children acting as zombies that were shown in the Masonic Lodge. It was fun to see Nick's friends on the screen even if the movies were terrible. I miss those movies.

So, I feel like we're giving back on Halloween, me and anyone who shows up to help that night. We'll have a tent with lights, marshmallows and sticks to roast them on, cocoa, candy, and a place to stop for a while and warm your hands by the fire.

Last year, I tried to take some pictures in the dim light. The pictures were awful, but every single one of them showed a transparent orb in the foreground. I probably had something stuck to the lens of my camera.

Or maybe Spirit came to church that night and played.

Thank you for listening, jb

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Effects of the Flu on Stew

I need to tell you something. I feel really badly that I didn't tell you at the beginning of the spring because there have been so many gaps here and you deserved an explanation for why I seemed to have abandoned you.

Despite a total lack of supporting evidence that I'm qualified, I'm editing material for a book. It's a long process and I don't usually like to write about writing, but I promise I haven't intentionally left you, all twelve of you, in the lurch about what lunatic thoughts I've had in my head in the past few months. I'm trying to clean my ideas up as I edit, but my head is revolting, rebelling, not actually disgusting though that's not far from the truth of the matter. My mind doesn't want to be cleaned up, so I'm having trouble editing the spooge that flows out of it. I keep telling it to behave but it's like a nasty little sister, swishing its hips and snorting at the same time with its middle finger up its nose. My sister used to hate when I did that.

So after I'm done with my editing, prodigious volumes of futile editing, I'm hoping to convince a publisher to print at least twelve copies of my book, one for each of you, and to send me on a world tour so I can put my book directly into your hot little hands. Would you read it? Well, you're still here and after years of dedication, so it's the least you deserve, don't you think?

Here are some titles I've been toying with:

Finding Joy in the Lunatic Mind
Dog Poop Stories and other Adventures in Holey Plastic
Bitch Mom
Love and Misadventures in a Canoe
Ravings and the Corporate Manifesto on Getting More for Less
Distortion of Memory and Why I Jumped Out of the Damned Tree
Simple Rantings

Do you think that more than the twelve of you would buy a copy? See, I haven't done a thing toward the publishing end of it. Not one thing. All I've done so far is write crap and look for typos and other garbage to delete. I may have deleted a whole volume by now. Think of the size of Diana Gabaldon's first book of Outlander and she, so successful in the words that she wrote. I wonder if my volume is like antimatter to her volumes of matter? Every beautiful thing must have its opposite.

Have you ever noticed that? Beautiful women so often have ugly hands. For all the mountain and lake scenes, there are a dozen ugly soy fields or littered alleyways. Everyone with a favorite teacher or coworker has had the control-freak teacher or avoided the creepy guy who worked three cubicles down and seemed to walk to the parking garage the same time as them every night. Good and evil, yin and yang, matter and antimatter.

I need to stop now.

The more recent news is that I avoided writing about the effects of the stomach flu I had this week. I'd bet you would thank me for that. The worst part was what it did to my mind to have to cook for my family anyway. I made stew. Ew. See, as I stirred the thickening pot, odd ideas crawled into my mind. I hate when that happens.

I didn't yet have an appetite, so it was hard to cook. It was hard to see the similarity between Teddy's dog food and what I was making. It was hard to think of the microscopic creatures that might fall from my face into the stew as I stirred it. It was hard to think of what might have been living in my very breath as I looked down into the steamy lumpy gray gunge.

Nick and Mike ate that stew enthusiastically. I couldn't stomach it. I'm better now, but I still can't.

Thank you for listening, jb