So what’s wrong with these stories? They are true.
This is the truth. I swear it on a stack of Bibles.
It happened to me on Sunday, The Day of Rest.
There I was, with my darling daughters sitting in the third meeting of the day, when a woman spouted off about how getting divorced meant you are selfish.
“That’s all it is–selfishness.”
My daughters, one on either side of me–well, I could tell you their feathers were ruffled.
“Wait,” said a young woman in the audience, “sometimes it’s the right thing to divorce someone.”
“Yes,” said the teacher. “But it’s all about selfishness. If people worked harder . . .”
My first daughter burst into tears and stormed out.
The second waited a few minutes more, crying her eyes out, and then she left.
I sat there alone too tired to say anything. Until you have walked a mile in someone’s moccasins, the truth is, you just have no idea what’s going on. But I didn’t have the energy to make my point.
Another thing–when your scope on life is super-narrowed, with only one answer, you cannot empathize.
That was a hurtful hour.
#2 This incident happened the day before The Day of Rest–yes, actually, what I mean is Saturday.
Recently, I noticed the kitchen sink is leaking.
Four rocking toilets.
Dishwasher that doesn’t work.
Faulty water heater.
This house is absolutely looking like a money pit.
Unfortunately, the warranty people aren’t responding. Yes, really. There is actually a warranty on the house and those people are ignoring me.
I’ve called my friend, who’s a plumber, and his mailbox is constantly full.
So then I asked Someone Else about it. “Can you contact So and So (another plumber) for me?”
“So and So said the house is in shambles,” Someone Else said, prettily and meanly at the same time. “It’s going to cost you a lot of money and you will have to pay So and So his hourly wage.”
I won’t pay the piper? I mean, the plumber? (No Chris, I don’t mean Louise, and yes, I know we owe you money.) Is that what’s going on here? You think I don’t pay my monthly bills?
I had just pulled up to this garage sale where there was a woman with no front teeth but plenty of tattoos, a young girl smoking a ciggy while tenderly holding a cat and a boy/girl, I couldn’t clearly tell, actually.
Elise and I bought two Indian (Native American) statues to give to Kyra’s hot Indian boyfriend.
I made a deal with the toothless lady to go after Someone Else.
And I want to say pointedly, I still ain’t got no plumber.
#3 It’s All about Voice, Everyone.
Both of these pieces have voice, but how good is that voice? Plus, there are some other things that aren’t quite right with the stories.
When Chris or Ann Dee write for the blog, you know who you’re reading (more about that later).
So here’s a link about voice. See what you think.
And if you feel like it, write your own crummy true-to-life incident and post it here.
I want to read them.
11 responses to “Three Things Thursday”
i love you, carol. and your writing voice. but not so much those stories. i hope someone hugged you on sunday and told you that teacher was wrong. you already know it, but it’s nice to hear other people who know it too, yes? here’s my hug 🙂
my crummy story:
I worked until 2am, then quickly brushed my teeth before dropping into bed, where I fell asleep – quite happily – and just as happily didn’t dream of anything that I could remember because I never do.
I felt like I was being pulled out of a pit of peanut butter – sticky and slow going – when I had to open my eyes. It was still dark. Yes, dark. Definitely not time to be dredging up from anything, most of all smooth, silky sleep.
“Mom, I want to sleep by you.”
But not as tired as me.
Make a bed on the floor.
Get her a pillow.
Tuck in the three stuffed dolls and two comfort blankets.
Is this me moving? Or someone else?
“Please go to sleep. I love you.”
One hour later. Then two. three.
Three times woken up.
She’s crying in that whiny whimpering way that has become her means of communication over the past week and I think I will cry if I have to hear it any longer. Or shout and throw something. Then it turns to a kicking, screaming, flailing fit because I’m not holding her hand over the side of the bed. I quit it because my arm fell asleep and then I couldn’t sleep and why can’t this child just sleep one night through so I can be a nice mother in the morning?
My tired eyes scream. My head says get a grip here, you’re the momma. But my voice says, “Stop whining. I’m sick of it.” I hear myself. How mean I sound. I hate it.
But I let the thick gooey exhausted sludge mother do the talking as I turn my back to her and cover my head with a pillow.
This is lovely and hard and I adore you, Shar.
Sorry about your toilets. Sewage problems–ugh. I know you don’t really know me (even though we’re agent sisters), but I have to tell you, the person you need is, not Nanny McPhee, but Drew Christensen of Drew’s All-Around. He will restore your faith in goodness on earth. He will also fix your toilets for a reasonable price. Ask Rick Walton if you don’t believe me.
And sorry about your Sunday. I don’t really like people, so Sunday has become–instead of Day of Rest–the day I practice trying to forgive all the fakeness and narrow-mindedness and condemnation of anything unexplainable (for example, me). Because the rest of the week I get to lock myself up in my house to be alone with my writing and the only people I usually have to see are my family.
I love your books, Carol, if that makes you feel any better.
It does make me feel better, Elana. Really. Thank you.
Sorry I misspelled your name. I knew better. I pressed send too soon.
Worst Sunday lesson ever. It sounds like it wasn’t really a lesson but more of a “preach your own doctrine”. I’ve been in several of those before. They aren’t fun.
Preach MY gospel.
“Preach MY Gospel.” Ha! Oh, how I miss being in your class…
I miss you, Emily!
My own crummy incident? Here goes. Last night I had parent teacher conferences. It was after nine when I got off work, after being there since 7:20 in the morning. (I teach 45 miles north of where I live–27 of those miles are I-15 construction) I hit the construction and had to take detours to get on and off the freeway as well as deal with a reduced number of lanes and slow traffic on the freeway. I arrived home at nearly 10:30. But that didn’t stop me from getting up for work this morning–slowly, agonizingly, wishing my school were smarter than to keep me up late and expect me to teach again the next morning and wish again that chorale practice and Parent teacher conferences weren’t on the same night. Always. Because Chorale is my sanity, my once a week chance to connect with music and a higher power in me and be part of something beautiful. I missed it last night. Still dragging this morning, I turned from Center onto Main, and seeing no cars anywhere, swung wide and made a left into the right lane of traffic. I figured it was early in the morning, no one was around, who cares? You guessed it. I got a ticket. I ended up late for work.
So, Carol, when my gingerbread boy #2 was a babe in arms, we went grocery shopping. Up and down the aisles we went, me pushing him in the cart, he verbalizing quite loudly. In fact, he was actually screaming, but only in fits and starts, and not because he was upset or mad. He was just auditioning his voice for other endeavors.
I got to the meat section (is this why I’m now vegetarian? Hm.), and an old man turned to me and said, (I quote verbatim) “Can’t you get that kid to shut up?”
My mouth opened and closed several times in shock. After a minute, I said, “Are you serious?”
And he said, “Yes, I’m serious.”
I said something rude to him, but not as rude as what I should have said…
The gingerbread boy is now seven, and I still can’t believe that happened.
And you’re not alone in your plumbing problems. A few days after we moved into our house, we discovered mold growing on the top inside of one of our kitchen cupboards from where the upstairs toilet had been leaking for months. The dishwasher leaks, the kitchen sink leaks, the toilet leaks, even the oil tank leaks.
xo to you!