Puffins & The Dreaded Job Interview

I’ve been in the hot seat of many an interview in my time. Today, I got to be on the other end and watch the hopeful recipients display their wares of skills, expertise and life experiences. It’s always seemed like such a shallow procedure, a puffed up parade of puffins, waddling up and down in their plumage before an Emperor Penguin, hoping to be named top bird. I exaggerate, but only slightly. Sometimes I cringe at the individualism and think there must be a better way…

Interviewer: “Hello and thank you for coming to the interview today. I would like to ask you some questions. But who are the people sitting next to you?”

Interviewee: “Hello and thank you for the opportunity. Why, yes, with me today are both sets of my grandparents and also my parents. And in this urn I have here are my very great grandparents who came over on the Mayflower, you see, and first colonized America. My, the stories we can tell you about their sheer willpower. That’s where I get my skills in making spreadsheets!” Continue reading “Puffins & The Dreaded Job Interview”

Running through Silent Hill: On Writing

I have this obsession lately with the movie Silent Hill.* I wrote about my fondness for the film in a previous entry (“Refilling the Tank”) and how I’ve returned to it for creative storytelling and refueling. The mother, Rose, runs throughout the film, either chasing down her daughter, running after clues or fleeing from the town’s varied inhabitants. Women make up the leading characters and they drive the action and decision making. The themes of motherhood, protection and justice are particularly strong and prevalent. The movie isn’t perfect, and contains some explicit gore scenes, but it’s become a dear thing to me. An odd dear.

Today, I started a running program. Small flakes of snow began to fall during my run, much like the ash in Silent Hill that Rose notices upon her entrance to the town. I ran in the drifting snow, listening to an audio book of Jane Eyre when Rose ran past me, her boots skidding on the blacktop beneath her grey skirt. “Sharon!”  she yelled, her voice ricocheting around me. “Sharon!” Rose disappeared into the school building, the door slamming behind against the frame. I skirted Midwich Elementary, ran past the hospital and ended my run at the cliff.

How much is writing like running, I thought, catching my breath. Always chasing, always enduring. Unsure of what comes next at times, but believing we know all the same…

Cue siren. Continue reading “Running through Silent Hill: On Writing”

Sick Kids & Fairy Tales

I have a friend who lives in Asia. One of her sons is sick, off and on, with asthma and related breathing issues. I recently sent the family a care package, including toys and a stuffed animal for the children. I tucked in a fairy as well with an extra jar of fairy dust. I asked the fairy to fly around the hospital to make sure everything is in order, including all of the child’s medical paperwork. She is to stay on the little boy’s shoulder when he’s feeling particularly unwell and getting his breathing treatments; she’ll help the boy eat his meals and to rest peacefully inbetween. The fairy was up for the task. She will report back to me in a fortnight. Continue reading “Sick Kids & Fairy Tales”

All Dogs Go to Heaven

I’ve never liked when I come across a person who is so adamantly sure that animals–particularly dogs–don’t go to heaven. I listen to their explanation, or rather give the appearance of it, because I’m usually required to be polite while enduring intolerable situations. I nod along to their premises (ones I disagree with) and take out an umbrella to shelter myself from their dripping grey attitude. Drip, drip, drip…the beating of the umbrella fabric gives me something to count. On some occasions, I watch the speaker’s temper flicker and flare, catching their pants on fire. I find a fire bucket and quickly douse them, becoming a hero two-fold. I smile coyly and say “There now, everything’s alright. You’re all wet after all!” Continue reading “All Dogs Go to Heaven”

Disabilism: A Word I Didn’t Know

I think it’s telling that when I type the word “disabilism” within WordPress’ platform, the word is automatically assigned a red squiggly underbelly. This mark of doom gives me pause that I mistyped the term, but a quick Google search verifies my spelling. Oxford Reference defines disabilism as “Discriminating against people because they have or are perceived to have an impairment.” In other words, disability discrimination. I’m throwing myself onto the sword: I didn’t know disabilism was a word. I know some disability history and am aware of general laws and governmental support for those with disabilities, at least in America. But clearly I do not know enough to recognize the simple –ism summarizing this ugly arena of human behavior.

All my life I’ve lived with, besides or around disabled people. How then did I not know this word? Continue reading “Disabilism: A Word I Didn’t Know”

Refilling the Tank: Top it off, Johnny!

As an introvert and a writer, I need rest and creative refueling like I require water. Rest for introverts (at least for me) includes digging a hole in my backyard like the Russian saints of yore and camping out with some PB & J sandwiches and Gatorade. Have books, food and video games, will travel (or hunker down in this case). My formula: for every one hour of human interaction, one year of solitude will do. As you can imagine, I’m in the red but hopeful.

Continue reading “Refilling the Tank: Top it off, Johnny!”

The Fishnet, aka The Writer’s Notebook

I bought a new writing notebook today. It’s pink, black and gold with a vintage, curlicue design. I’m liking black and gold colors lately. I saw a Christmas tree last year bedecked with black and gold ornaments. Once I got past the Nightmare Before Christmas imagery floating past my mind, I found the effect elegant and stunning against the white lighting.

The new notebook has a three-dimensional pattern and if you tilt it back and forth, it makes the pattern visually dance. I think this must’ve appealed to my pupils that were then the size of a Giant Squid’s. I had just had my eyes dilated at the optometrist and was feeling whimsical and sprightly. No fear, kraken! Continue reading “The Fishnet, aka The Writer’s Notebook”

Labrador Lessons: Lesson 1

I own a Labrador Retriever mix, a dog who is the inspiration for a canine character (or two) in my new novel. When the real dog barked in the middle of a sentence tweak or the fiddling of a paragraph, the fictional dog barked, too. When one spied a dastardly preschooler circling our block on a tricycle, pig tails a flyin’ without care, honor or worry, both dogs raised their hackles and the barking commenced. When one had to pee…well… One must have a sense of humor in these things. Continue reading “Labrador Lessons: Lesson 1”