Simply Put…

…a picture is worth a thousand words.

 

{photo source}

The Familiarity of Lady Bird

I’ve been thinking since last week, when I made it a point to see the film Lady Bird, in limited release until Thanksgiving, how amazing and wonderful I felt. In fact, that sentiment is still with me to this day. I suppose the impact the story left is one I can absolutely relate to, growing up in a strict household with rules a mile long. And then there was me. The odd ball in my school, who never dressed according to the standards set by the most popular of girls, me instead, longing to pursue anything other than the career path or schooling my mother had insisted.

The film is that good…

{for more on the film Lady Bird, go here}

Assignment Nine – Made Up Story

In 250-500 words, evoke a scene (from memory, or made up) in which the narrator faces a problem.  The problem need not be solved by the end of the scene, but show us how the narrator (you, or a made up 1st-person narrator) reacts to the circumstances.  Action is character!

I transferred the last installment online to the line of credit that my husband and I took out three years ago to pay for our daughter’s wedding–which, according to my husband, went insanely over budget. My fault, he said, a result of misunderstanding our daughter’s expectations, and ‘truly comprehending’ our inability to deliver on our income. He had no idea at the time that there was no misunderstanding on my part.

The wedding reception she dreamt about her whole life I delivered. In the Crown Room at the Fairmont on Nob Hill, with a confirmed guest list of 148, of which 15 were a ‘no-show’, further agitating the man I fell in-love with and married 30-years ago. And although, I still reflect upon that memorable day in a good way, even with all the arguing with my husband, I was glad to be paying off the fifty-two-thousand dollar loan, so we could put all of this behind us.

You see my husband and I, on our last-ditch effort to save our marriage, agreed after the college loan and wedding obligations were paid off, to opt for early retirement, sell our small home and move across the pond, to the English countryside, optimistic that the simpler lifestyle there, would be beneficial to our marriage. I was happy that finally that plan would be taking shape within the year. That is until, the phone rang. My daughter calling to tell me she was leaving her husband, and needed a place to stay until she could get her life back in order. She was hoping we could make ready, her old bedroom. The added news, she would be coming home with a forty-three thousand-dollar debt, and could use a loan in order to sever all ties with that ‘asshole,’ she said she married.

Before I could even consider speaking my mind, she disconnected, abandoning me slumped in a chair, at the kitchen table, staring at a hung photograph of a Cotswold cottage beckoning me. Knowing, while my stomach was in knots, that I had no choice but to step off that cloud, back down to earth, and plan out how to get the room ready in time for my baby to come home, and also…find a way to break the news to that husband of mine.

Assignment Eight – The Dresser

Write the first 250-500 words of a story or essay in which you’re describing an object you saved from a burning house.  Without describing explicitly what that object means to you (to your narrator), let the images themselves, and story or stories you tell about the object, imply the object’s significance.

I’ve never had to save something from a burning house; Thank God! But when we downsized for our move from Sacramento back to San Francisco, we sold every piece of furniture, except a Bassett 3-drawer dresser my mother gifted me decades ago. At the time, my husband wanted it gone. He felt the weathered dresser that was in dire need of repair, and a new coat of varnish, represented everything he wanted to put behind us in order to start again.  

I disagreed with him, and insisted on bringing the dresser along. I adored the intricate craftsmanship, I told him, even, the way the dresser slanted left, compromising the pull and push of the drawers. He laughed when he noticed me carefully packing the contents into a moving box. From drawer one, I pulled out a few trinkets from my childhood, before we moved to the U.S. A dozen or so photographs, held together with a brown ribbon used for a flower girl basket from my cousin’s wedding; I found the color simply elegant and worthy of a keepsake. There were five journals in excellent condition, that I kept during my difficult teenage years. A photograph from my senior prom made its way to the floor. The uptight pose from my date, made me laugh, remembering how he was forced to accompany me.

From drawer two, I pulled out an art book and a dozen or more used up crayons, and markers, and even a dried-up water-color palette. Fabric samples and a Barbie doll dressed in the outfit I made for her decades ago.

In drawer three, I found a stained postcard I sent my mother from Paris in the early 90s; I remember finding in her ‘things to shred pile’, thinking then, it had to be there by mistake. There was also an expired work badge with my last name forever misspelled, a driver’s license from a decade ago with my best mug-shot. I loved my hair cut then. A romantic card from my husband, before he was my husband, was among a collection of other greeting cards, stacked neatly in a collaged box I made in fifth grade. A tarnished bracelet I bought with my first paycheck; I found caught inside a crack in the drawer. And a neatly folded overpriced gold-leafed drawer liner, I couldn’t resist buying from an arts and craft store.

Although everything fit inside one large moving box, easily storeable along with the rest of the frivolous, in a Public Storage unit. I knew the dresser with its contents would end up in a space; I will designate my own, no matter where I end up.

In Search Of…

I’ve just returned from Scotland, where I spend a good amount of time doing research. I think I may have mentioned this bit once here. But it doesn’t hurt to repeat so that we are all on the same page, if you will, so that my story makes sense.

So while in Edinburgh one night, staring out of the floor-to-ceiling window in my hotel room with views across the town and ‘some’ body of water in the distance (sorry for my show of disoriented being), all of a sudden, I couldn’t breath, freaking out about my life and where it is headed. It happens; I know, to all of us at some point or another in our lives. Mine had to be a week or so ago, in Edinburgh.

In that moment, I felt the need to email a few friends and my mother, telling them that I finally settled on where I wanted to move or retire…sooner than later, and it was Scotland, more specifically, Edinburgh. The response from all of them was mutual, a variation of the smiley emojis and the ‘LOLs’.

Only one person came back with ‘get your head out of the clouds.’

I’ll show you – I said to myself and went to bed.

This week while I prepare for the next semester at Stanford University continuing education program, I noticed the welcome email from the instructor was dropped in my email address. Naturally, I clicked to open it and began reading, loving every word he’d put down on paper. And among the advice, and inspirational quotes the professor included, one stood out the most:

This is advice from Flannery O’Connor. She says, “Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to was never there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it. Where is there a place for you to be? No place… Nothing outside you can give you any place… In yourself right now is all the place you’ve got.”

What say you?