Thursday, April 18, 2013

Now We Are Six

Now we are six.  We are missing two teeth and like to stick our tongue in the hole and roll it up like a taco.  If we knew how, we'd blow bubblegum bubbles through it.

When we were a baby, and had no teeth, we'd get tired and bounce our head against mom or dad's shoulder making a bwah-bwah-bwah sound.   Woodpeckering, mom and dad called it and smiled.

Now we are six.  Our legs are so long and slender, they look untenable for support, yet we run like the wind laughing.  Sometimes, we stretch our arms behind us and run like the Ninja Turtles.

When we were one, and not yet walking, we bounced around the house on our knees, a comical method of movement that amazed and dismayed the adults around us.

Now we are six, and we are very punny. We are a word-nerd in the making, loving to learn new words, even better if we can read them by ourselves. We recently made a joke that made sense.

When we were two and three, we loved knock-knock jokes, but we didn't get them. We'd say, "Knock knock," and when you'd say, "Who's there!" we'd say something random like "hot dog in a bucket!" and run away laughing.

Now we are six and we are heartbreakingly beautiful in the way that only six year old girls can be. That's no surprise, though, we've always been amazing.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Logan Don't Wear Tights

So, I'm writing a superhero novel. My first novel (the one I'm trying to finish a rewrite of this week) is a much more literary endeavor, and while I think that it has merit (obviously, or I wouldn't give it all this work in hopes of publishing it), it's been a hard one to write. This time, I'm looking for something more fun to write, a lighter path into inner darkness, so to speak.

So, superheroes are on my brain.  That, and all the trailers for the new Wolverine movie all over the socials, leads me to think about my favorite comic book guy, who may or may not be a superhero.  Logan. Or Wolverine. Or James Fowler.  He has different names. But to me, he's Logan.

Logan's been getting a lot of attention lately. Mainly because a tall, handsome Australian man has been playing him in big-budget movies.  But, that's not Logan. Don't get me wrong. I loves me some Hugh Jackman, and he does a good job in the role, as good as someone who is too young, handsome and too charming for the part can do (and who is there old enough without looking old and steely enough? There's a reason he was created on paper).  I'll see the movies and enjoy them.

But Logan, my Logan, would laugh at them, if he could be bothered to watch them.  He'd spit out a hunk of the cigar he'd been chewing and grimace at me with the juice dripping into his whiskers and ask if they really thought he could be tamed and kept on a leash like that. He'd call me kid as he said it and mean no irony. He'd think I was a kid. Probably an annoying one. He'd somehow seem to look down on me even though I'm four inches taller than him.

My Logan wears a white tee shirt, blue jeans and work boots. His hair and beard are wild, resembling an animal's fur as much as human hair. My Logan is the one whose finger-knives cut him every time he unleashes them and who is not stopped by that.  He would definitely, not ever in your wildest dreams, Bub, don a yellow jumpsuit just because he chose to make a temporary alliance with some do-gooders who happened to be fighting a fight he also wanted to fight.

As the man himself says, "I'm the best there is at what I do, but what I do best isn't very nice." Damn straight.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

How to Lie to Yourself Honestly

I'm rewriting my first novel this week.  While writing or first-drafting is something I can do in small chunks of time, 15 minutes here, an hour there, rewriting requires a longer chunk of time, focus.  At least that's what I've been telling myself as I played around in my new novel instead of taking on the work of rewriting that first one and making it complete. But maybe I'm lying to myself, avoiding the difficult task in favor of the lighter, honeymoon stage I'm in with the second novel.

The first novel (working title: His Other Mother) is a dark thing, exploring mental illness, infertility, marriage.  Writing the first draft, I was surprised to discover that I had, in part, been writing about my first marriage.  While the characters and the plot have nothing to do with the events or people in my lives, some of the marriage dynamics definitely did.  It's always interesting to discover what my brain has been doing behind my back, the devious ways it finds to make me confront the things I'd rather not.

Rewriting that novel now, I find that I have issues to work out regarding religion and religious leaders.  That's not so surprising in a thinking person in the twenty-first century. But striking me today is the theme of self-deception, the lies we tell ourselves to make it through. 

Lying to yourself seems like a bad thing, but I don't know that it always is.  Am I lying to myself when I put on a brave face so I can do the thing that frightens me? I'm refusing to acknowledge the truth of my fear. But I do it in good cause, to help myself take the first step. Surely, that's not the same as lying to myself about addictions or bad choices I'm making. Is it?

Sherry Morgan, my main character, knows that what she doing is wrong at some level. But, she's quite good at talking herself around morality, rewriting reality to make it allowable to do the things she wants to do, despite all evidence to the contrary.  Sometimes she almost convinces me, her author. The brain gymnastics are amazing.  In real life, as well as in fiction.

It puts me in mind of a poem I studied in grad school, "One Art" by Elizabeth Bishop.  It's a masterpiece in self-deception. You can feel the persona willing herself to believe the story she has concocted (this loss is no big deal in the scheme of things), and, that, at the same time, she knows it's a pretty lie. But a pretty lie she needs if she's to get through this. A pretty lie she has to let herself, even force herself to believe.

My character is no Elizabeth Bishop. She's just a woman who wants to be a mother and can't. But she can fool herself like nobody's business. And it takes a pretty elaborate fiction to fool her. So she writes one for herself (and then I record it for us and try to make it into good fiction for all you good people).

I can't tickle myself, because I know it's coming and surprise is part of the sensation.  But, I can delude myself and somehow exercise control over my own introspection to the point that I can keep myself from examining the hole in the story I've concocted.  So, on a small, and hopefully healthier scale, I am as big a liar as Sherry. I'm just more honest about it.