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Flip-flops in December“Remember when I was wearing flip-flops in December last year?” I say to Ellen as I look at the snow outside.

“In Baton Rouge?” she asks.

“Yeah.”

“I know,” she says and continues to wash dishes.

I test the suitability of a place for living by whether the weather lets me wear flip-flops in December.  It looks like Salem, Massachusetts, has failed my test.  The first snow of the season has arrived and I don’t like it.  I don’t mind snow, but I know this is the first of many snows and snowplows and salted roads and days of immobility.

The snow does inspire a childhood excitement of canceled school and sledding down hills.  I remember as a high schooler in Arkansas writing large cuss words in the snow in a nun’s yard with a friend of mine who eventually went to Notre Dame and became a priest.  Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor.

I like those memories.  Those times with friends enjoying simplistic idiocy.  I have been lucky this month to voyage from Boston to Kansas City to Portland, OR, to Baton Rouge to visit friends scattered throughout the country.  We revisited memories and created some new ones.  These memories are important to my history, which is why friends are important to me.  I write about this in this month’s essay in Tiny Lights. (side note:  I’ve updated my “Tiny Lights” page so you can read all the essays since May)

Even though I likely won’t end up living in snowy Massachusetts, I hope I do make some grand memories of “Remember when…”

Scat, man

I’m not working.  I’m killing time listening to music from the 90’s.  The 90’s, my formative 20’s.  Each song by Toad the Wet Sprocket, Gin Blossoms or early STP rips an old memory from a file.  Some songs have attached meanings that are difficult to define, but the memories they evoke make them more fun to listen to.  I keep playing the song “Scatman.”  It’s a song sung by a man who stuttered so severly that he rarely finished interviews.  His skill is impressive particularly in light of his speech impediments, but that’s not the story that has meaning for me.  It reminds of a time in my life in the early days of college.  Of living in a house with two or three other guys and being complete slobs.  Of loving this song so much that I would explode into arhythmic convulsions of frenetic joy that I called ‘dancing.’  Of the time I dance to the entire song with such gusto that my guts -oh my guts! found themselves on the bushes.  Of acting like a complete and carefree idiot no matter who was around.  I still act like an idiot from time to time, but I act more often like an adult than I used to.  Sigh.

But maybe my memories and meanings are all just crap to everyone else.  But sometimes people like crap so here’s some crap to enjoy: my latest essay about what makes meaning in a story.  I don’t really know the answer, but those stories that are memorable are meaningful (fine, so my answer is crap because defining ‘meaning’ with ‘memorable’ is like trading a painting your beige walls ecru).

~David

Holy Hell!  It’s been months since I last wrote.  Some writer I am.  Some claim that Hemmingway wrote every day and that he was constantly, almost maniacally, perfecting his prose and that he may not have felt human without writing something.  As though to suggest that a writer who doesn’t write everyday is missing the creative cajones to be a real writer.  I just can’t do it.  I’m not creative everyday.  I don’t feel like writing all the time.  Thanks to email I do write everyday, but I don’t find a lot of spiritual enthusiasm that Hemmingway might have felt.  Maybe I am perfecting my prose everyday, but it’s being wasted on the Department of Motor Vehicles and Nigerian Kings who have $10 million dollars for me (I wonder when that guy’s gonna respond). 

Fear not, because I have something more interesting than an email for you to read [here].   

This latest essay for Tiny Lights is about revealing yourself in memoir.  I’ve never written a memoir so I don’t know what the purpose is.  Seems like everyone wants to reveal themselves in the micro-memoir universe known as Twitter.  What used to be considered the craziness of someone muttering to themselves in fragmented blurbs of consciousness is now a new fad of muttering to the rest of the world.  It only took technology to make you sane about your mutterings.  I wonder if Hemingway was on Twitter if he’d still feel inspired to write Farewell to Arms.  Maybe.  Twitter does lend itself to Hemmingway’s minimalist style, but I imagine it’s hard to write a novel on a phone’s number pad.

Muttering to myself,

~Moi

Mimosas on Sunday

Mimosas on Sunday!  Well, if you insist.  Here is my latest musing called This ain’t my first rodeo.

New

It’s been a while since I’ve written.  I usually write something that I think is clever here, but I am too tired.  We have a new president.  That’s exciting.  Maybe not as exciting are new essays.  My latest is in Tiny Lights entitled I am a tree trying to fly.  I’ve also fixed the links to old essays and posted some from over the summer here.

Thanks for reading.

~D

By the by, since I last wrote, I got a degree so now I’m Dr. D. 🙂

At 10 P.M. on a Friday, a testosterone-driven decision was made to drive the 80 miles from Baton Rouge to New Orleans for a night of alcohol, women, and general brutal hedonism.  I was the designated driver so I had none of libations or herbal succors that my friends, J, B1, and B2 had.  Traffic on I-10 clips along at an Indy car pace.  Slow vehicles cause others to stack up like cholesterol in the bloodstream and choke the flow of traffic and if you happen to go slow in the fast lane, a gas-guzzling four-wheel drive truck will do his best to ride in your backseat.  Thus, I was quite comfortable traveling 80 in a 70 mph zone on the interstate.  I needed to drive slower than normal because the wards I was in charge of needed liquid salvation to prime themselves for their New Orleans adventures and I didn’t want to get pulled over for both speeding and open-container. 

A few beers and few laughs past when B1 pulled another refreshment from under the seat.  As soon as a beer tab in the backseat PSST!, blue lights screamed.  I was being pulled over. 

Shit.   

B1 sunk slowly into the backseat and shotgunned his beer, while J in the passenger seat capped his bottle and slid it slowly behind his seat before the officer arrived at my window.  The officer either did not notice the reek of smoking enhancements and beer breath that permeated my car or was bent on getting a quick kill because he simply took my license and registration and came back with a speeding ticket within 10 minutes.  LaPlace, Louisiana, was the first time I had ever been pulled over on the interstate after being pulled over at least 25 other times.

I won’t fill you in on the rest of the adventure other than to say that New Orleans is a beautiful and truculent whore who at times is trying to hustle you out of money, sense, and morality.  As I laid my head down at 5:30 A.M. after dropping J, B1 and B2 off, I thought that I really need to start pacing myself, both literally and metaphorically. 

I tell you this story because it’s timing is both appropriate and annoying as it occurred just days after publishing my latest column, Outside the margins, in the journal Tiny Lights about the need to slow down and maintain a slower pace.  I never really liked irony, another aggressive and often sloppy whore because even at my accelerated pace, I can’t seem to outrun her.

Melanoplus sp.

The bright red ball has drizzled behind the horizon of the marsh.  The clapper rails are quiet.  I lean against the door frame looking for a distraction.  A lone grasshopper sits on the sidewalk under a light.  He looks at me, then turns around.  He takes a hop and turns around again.  In my mind, he wants me to follow him.  In my mind, I’m doing anything to not write my dissertation.  A dissertation about my time in the marsh.  About my time chasing bugs and worms.  Thus, chasing this grasshopper would then resemble work.  The grasshopper hops away.  I don’t follow.  I have enough of a dissertation to write as it is. 

In my essay, Tell me again, I reflect on when chasing grasshoppers used to be fun.  Please enjoy while I slave at this computer to tell a different tale of chasing grasshoppers.