Sunday, October 26, 2008

Break Up The Concrete

My dad worked on building a plane for years that still sits unfinished in the family garage; one of my mother's favorite activities was batting a tennis ball against a concrete wall next to a defunct mental hospital. When people ask how I got interested in writing since there was no evidence of this genetic curse in my family, I think of these two activities, both relaxing and futile, and how much they defined my childhood. "I've got to work on the plane," my dad said about 364 times a year. And my mother loved nothing better than playing tennis without any opponent. She taught me the value of banging my head against a wall and coming out the better for it.

To write is to hope for the best in face of massive rejection, to discover things about yourself that you don't like, to tell stories that might be better left untold. After my mother played tennis with the wall, she'd steal wildflowers from the hospital by crawling over the fence and cutting them with a pair of clippers she'd brought along for the job. She never feared getting caught because my sister and I would be on the look-out. So no matter how good or bad her game, she'd always bring home the most exotic flowers, ones you couldn't buy in a store and arrange them in ways where they'd dry out and die so she could keep them forever.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Call on God, but row away from the rocks." Hunter S. Thompson

Cocktail Hour
Drinking music suggestion: Break Up The Concrete The Pretenders

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Sunday!


Charles Gramlich said...

This one ends with a powerful punch. You really know how to put the knife in the reader at the end. It's a skill I much appreciate.

Scott said...


Another nice piece of writing. I always look forward to reading your work.

Shea said...

Love the Thompson quote, and, as always...I adore your writing.

The habits, the constants...the seeming absurdities we cling to at times not even understanding how vital they are to our sanity. Until one day we get older, or mature, and we find out that sanity was just a pipe dream, a neverending that plane or winning against the wall.

I am amazed by your tenacity. Thank you for sharing.

laughingwolf said...

killer instinct you have, michelle :)

robthefob said...

omg, i am your dad. and your mom too!

Anonymous said...