Thursday, May 20, 2010
One of my favorite presents came from my dear friend Robin -- a stuffed animal that represents the bacteria responsible for stomach ulcers. It's cute and yellow and will make its picture debut here soon. There's a lot of debate whether ulcers are stress-related; all I can say that it seems to be the case for me. I used to get them frequently, the by-product of a certain people pleasing nature. Like the dolphins at Sea World, I lived on Tagament in between performances. Since dolphins in captivity get ulcers, I feel a special kinship with them. Forced to smile and act, they pay for it with the linings of their stomachs. If I have a spirit animal, a dolphin would be it.
I've made friends with my nature; I no longer profess to being stressed out all the time. Stress is a great covering emotion. If you're stressed, you can't be sad or happy or angry. You're just stressed. Constant frenzied motion keeps you from going deeper, where more danger may await. It's easy to entertain the crowd and medicate later. But I look at my stuffed ulcer, and I know there is a better way.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Be careful how you interpret the world: It is like that." Erich Heller
I'm going to use this space for a couple of weeks to quote from my old buddy Hank's syllabus about what not to do when writing, as much as a reminder for myself as for anyone else. And these are very funny bits. I'm never this funny writing a syllabus.
Embarrassment Quotes, "Quote-unquote/end quote" or the dreaded "air quotes"
"I knew that someday it would be "my turn at bat."" This one sounds even worse when spoken. Putting a lame phrase in quotation marks doesn't give it the power to walk again; it merely draws more attention to its disability. If your phrase is so hackneyed that you want to distance yourself from it with quotation marks, then you know you should come up with something else. This, like the ubiquitous so-called, is another irony shortcut that has been so overused that it has lost its original effectiveness.
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday! Thanks to Jason for the whole "plug your product" line! My first full-length poetry collection, Make Yourself Small, is coming out this year from Backwaters Press. As soon as I know the exact date, I'll link it. As for the other two projects, I'm going through one more rewrite each and will let you know as soon as I do what happens.