My Son Is Seeing The Light! – Guest Post by Joan Harvest

Hey, I’m Joan Harvest from “Whatever I Think.” Annie asked me to do a guest post for her and I was honored and thrilled. This is my second guest post here. The first time was a little different. Annie offered me the use of her blog so I could write about my son who is a heroin/crack addict. I had never wanted to write about him on my own blog for one reason: he reads my blog on occasion and I didn’t exactly have permission to write about him but I really needed to.

My dilemma was what to write about as a guest bloggelist this time: another depressing story about my son? or maybe continue on with my saga about dumbasses? or maybe incorporate the two? I even carry around a video camera looking for them(dumbasses) and their antics though I have yet to actually catch any on video. It’s like stalking Bigfoot. He’s never around for a photo op. But have no fear, I will be interviewing my wasband soon so that will take care of that.

I just can’t seem to get myself to stop posting about dumbasses. They are everywhere, around every corner, on every highway, in every parking lot. You can’t get away from them especially if you look in the mirror. I don’t always see a dumbass in the mirror but sometimes I do. Just goes to show you there is a little dumbassness in each of us.

I didn’t exactly want to come right out and call my son a dumbass. I am his mother and have never called him names. Even when he was little I always said to him that he had done a bad thing but I never called him bad. I called him other names when he was little like “alien piggy”, “buzzard breath”, “Damundo”, and countless others but they were all in fun.

He stayed away from heroin for 3 1/2 years and I found out he started using again recently. He admitted it to both me and his girlfriend. Heroin is an opiate like percocet, vicoden, demerol and oxycontin . So now he has bought suboxone off the streets. Suboxone is used by doctors to help addicts get off opiates. It is an opiate in itself but doesn’t get you high. It takes away the craving for opiates and the withdrawal symptoms. It can also be misused if you take enough of it. His girlfriend is doling it out to him in small amounts and he’s weaning off of it. They are in Alaska right now in Denali State park camping out. She got him out of Buffalo and away from the drug dealers. She’s no dumbass.

He called me last night at 1:45 AM in the morning. As soon as I saw his name on caller ID I almost didn’t answer the phone. I’m always afraid it’s going to be one of the bad calls. But again I am his mom and felt an obligation and a need to know. I answered the phone and now I am going to do some thing I have never done before. I am going to call my own flesh and blood, my only son, my sweet pea, a freakin’ dumbass. He forgot there was a four hour time difference and he wanted to tell me how they went white water rafting and how much fun it was. He wanted to tell me about the grizzly bears and wolves they saw.

I was relieved to hear he wasn’t in some alley dead of an overdose (a fear I live with) and I actually sat and listened to his stories. He sounded so happy. He sounded like the Damon I love and cherish and not the Damon wasted on drugs. I didn’t really want to hear about the grizzly bears because now I have it in my head that grizzly bears will be converging on him en masse but of course I patiently listened. I am his mom. I imagined every grizzly bear in Alaska looking for him.

But last night’s call left me with hope. The hope that my son will someday find his way in this life. They are in Alaska with not much money and a tent. But they are happy. I always sleep better knowing my son is happy.

The photo is actually of my son seeing the light, hopefully, one day.

(Joanie, I hope that day is soon. Thanks for this – hugs & jugs)

Hair and Spray- Guest Post by mJ

Hi, I’m mJ from Not a Housekeeper and WC asked me to pinch hit for her today.

I was a clumsy kid.

I was the kid no one wanted on their dodgeball team because it was inevitable that I’d ball one of my own teammates in the back of the head.

I was the kid, when playing volleyball in PE class, who’d serve the ball. And instead of actually smacking the ball over the net, I’d miss the ball held in my hand with such verve and force that I’d flop onto the floor, the ball rolling into an unoccupied corner.

Kids groaned when I was the one left to be chosen for sports teams. I groaned too. I should have felt left out, or sad, but I didn’t, because I knew just as well as they did that I was an absolute disaster in any kind of coordinated team activity. Put me in a pair of ballet slippers, and I was fine. But anything that involved other people? Disaster.

In ninth grade, I went to a private school. We had these grey wool pleated skirts, and white oxford button-down shirts, and maroon cardigan sweaters. We could wear any shoes we wanted, as long as we had on knee socks or tights. I wore penny loafers, or purple Doc Martens. Because I was such a dichotomy, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to be punk or prep. It was Jersey, so it didn’t really matter much, as long as I had The Hair.

For some reason, in fifth grade, I decided to cut my hair short. In a kind of funky surfer girl do, with the hair a little longer on one side so I could swing it out of my face as needed. I looked absolutely asinine, because I have thick, curly hair. Thick curly hair needs to be long enough to weight itself down, or it looks like a head of broccoli. And I sure did look like a piece of broccoli.

Since my hair was so ridiculously unruly, I used hairspray. We didn’t have product in those days-AquaNet or Stiff Stuff was as good as it got, so I had both. And used them judiciously. I decided to grow my hair longer, so by the time I was in ninth grade it resembled a mass of bird’s nests rather than actual hair.

My hair grows outward. Not down.

The amount of hairspray I used on any given day didn’t help, nor did the fact that instead of allowing my curls to air dry, I instead hit them with a blow dryer.

It was the end of my ninth grade year, and it was hot. And sticky. And humid. And it was that time of year for the PE fitness tests, which meant an entire week of being outside daily. Does anyone know what thick, curly, hair sprayed hair does at the end of a week of being outside?

It poofs. Significantly. So, on Friday, the last day of PE tests, I used an extra dose of hairspray to counteract the effects of the humidity. Which basically meant that my hair was immobile. A helmet, as it were. My hair wasn’t going anywhere.

I’m on the track, running my mile, when a bee stopped by. The scent of my sticky-sweet hair must have attracted him, because he decided to hang around for awhile. Which I didn’t care for, and responded by swatting and dodging and running crazily. Which the bee didn’t care for, so he responded by attempting to sting me.

And he did. Right in the scalp above my left ear.

And then he died, in my hair. Because I had so much hairspray creating a helmet, that the bee couldn’t fight his way through the jungle to get out and die in peace. Of course, this horrified me, so I was sent to the school nurse, to get the bee out.

She wanted to wash my hair. At school. And I didn’t have any hairspray.

So I told her “no”, went back to PE with a dead bee in my hair, finished out the day, and went home. With a dead bee in my hair.

My parents grounded me from hairspray that month. Took all of it away, and made me go to school with UN-HAIR SPRAYED HAIR. I, of course, sneak-hair sprayed, until one day when I learned the value of air drying.

I still don’t use hairspray, and have an unhealthy fear of bees.

Thanks Annie, for having me hang out at your place today!!

(Thanks mJ, I’m still laughing over this one!)

The Ebay Skinny – Guest Post by Darla

Hi, my name is Darla of the Ultra Beauty Boutique blog, which Writer Chick calls “Free’s Beauty Shack. 😉 WC asked me to talk a little bit about my eBay success. So I thought I would start at the root of how it began.

I had just decided to null my contract with a multi-level marketing business I had been in for almost 15 years and I was selling off my prizes, extra products, samples, etc. At that time, I participated in a blog where I talked about how I was getting rid of all my of excess. I didn’t give eBay as a “job” a second thought until someone asked me to sell their stuff for them. I said, SURE and that started my consignment business.

Just so you know I no longer do consignment (for the most part) but will share with you the ins-and-outs of what I learned while doing it (I currently ONLY liquidate products).

1. Have EVERYTHING that you will and will not do in writing.

2. There will always be people who expect you to put their items first even if you tell them upfront you are a month behind.

3. Know EXACTLY what you will and will not take and in what condition (i.e. one of the last consignment jobs I did, I found the items were so filthy with mold and dirt that I had to literally scrape & Lysol wipe them off).

4. There will always be those people who will promise you they won’t try to micromanage you, but they will. Don’t be afraid to give the product right back to them at their expense. You are not their slave.

5. Some people have specific places to drop off consignment items, I chose to have people mail them to me, since many items come from quite a distance (longer than a car ride).

6. Decide upfront who pays the fees and the % or the fee you will charge per item.

7. Keep a detailed spreadsheet for the client, listing all fees, selling price, etc. so there is no question of your honesty. PERIOD.

8. There will always be people who think their items should bring more and want you to “pull” the auction toward the end. Decide early on that this is NOT the way to conduct your business. I would also strongly encourage you to put that in writing (I know it sounds like a no-brainer but trust me there are people out there who will try this trick).

The rules for being a trading assistant on eBay can be found here:

If you have any specific questions or suggestions (I’m sure I forgot something) you can leave me a comment here or e-mail me at darla@werlivingfree.com

(Thanks Darla, for those little tricks and tips – I never knew this stuff.)

Beauty is only skin deep? – Guest Post by Teeni

Hi, my name is Teeni from the blog The Vaguerian Tea Room. First, I’d just like to say how honored I was that Annie asked me to do a guest post. I thank you, Annie, for giving me a different audience to try out a subject that has lately made me wonder how others feel about it. What I’ve been considering lately is beauty versus attractiveness.

We all know the saying that beauty is only skin deep. But also, we all have our own ideas of what beautiful is. I’ve often wondered about the words beautiful and attractive and what they mean to other people. According to dictionary.com, the two words are almost identical in definition, although attractive appears to carry a more sexual connotation.

To me, natural human physical beauty, always meant possessing physical qualities which made others desirous of them or to want to look like them. Again, everyone has their own opinion of what is beautiful. For instance, Angelina Jolie is often touted as the world’s most beautiful woman. Personally, I do think she is naturally beautiful but I don’t think she is the most beautiful woman in the world and that title just means nothing to me because each person has their own standards of beauty.

Now as far as what is I think is attractive for a human, here’s my thinking. I’ve always considered attractive to be the ability to make oneself appealing to others in a physical manner, the ability to attract, whether considered beautiful or not. For instance, Sarah Jessica Parker is by no means what would be considered a typical natural Hollywood beauty. However, I think she is extremely attractive – she knows how to play up her good features and always appears clean and is neatly attired. Angelina Jolie also shines in this category – when she wants to, that is. Sometimes she looks dirty and skanky to me (think back when she was with Billy Bob Thornton), but she cleans up wonderfully (most public appearances with significant other, Brad Pitt). And some people are both beautiful AND attractive, in my opinion, such as Aishwarya Rai.

But now, inner beauty, in my opinion, transcends the physical level. For some it is harder to find because we are so easily blinded by physical traits. Inner beauty would enhance any physical beauty and turn mere attractiveness into ravishing beauty. It’s like a glow that emanates from within, but becomes noticed by those around. It is something that grows the more you get to know the person because it has more to do with an attitude, a concern for others, a love of life. It’s a goodness that isn’t extinguished when the flame of youthful physical beauty dies out.

I can’t point out famous people who I feel have this inner beauty because I don’t personally know them. But there are a few that I suspect have it. People like Halle Berry, Drew Barrymore, and Jennifer Garner seem to me to be the type that would also be beautiful people underneath their outer beauty as well. Again, I don’t know for a fact that this is true, as I don’t personally know these actresses but they are an example of some that I think would be a pleasure to know and have as friends, not just to be pretty faces to look at. I try to consider how they treat others, and how they behave themselves when they don’t know they are being watched.

Whenever I see magazines and shows put together lists of people they feel are the tops, I always feel some people are left off or some just don’t even belong there. So I wonder how other people feel about this whole beauty and attractiveness thing, especially when so many pretty faces are in front of us in movies and on television and in advertising. I know I generally think of women when using the word beautiful but this could equally apply to men. What do you all think and what are your definitions of beautiful and attractive when considering people?

(thanks so much Teens for a great post)

THE ENABLER- guest post by Joan Harvest

Writer Chick has been kind enough to let me post some stuff I have been
holding in a long time about my son. I’ve needed to get it out but I didn’t
want him or the family reading it. I feel I can share all of it with you and
even if no one reads it at least it will have helped me to better understand
what happened and what is still happening.

Even now when my cell phone rings and I see it is him calling, my stomach
feels queasy because most times he is calling to tell me something bad has
happened to him. But I’m his mother. I can’t just ignore the call even
though I know whatever he tells me will worry me and I will have a
stomachache for hours until I can talk myself down.

He’s been in Buffalo since last September. At first he was so happy being
there but as winter set in you could hear the depression in his voice. He
got a job as a valet driver. He loved the job but like every job he ever
had he got fired. Of course, it’s never his fault. He always has some excuse
as to why he got fired. I think it was in March that things started to
really go downhill for him. He managed to find a part time valet job but his
girlfriend was getting tired of paying for everything for him. That’s when
he relapsed and did cocaine. I don’t know how many times he did it. He said
just once but he never tells the truth. I have found that even recovering
drug addicts lie. He’s been lying for so long I don’t think he remembers
how to tell the truth or why people should tell the truth.

There is so much to our story I believe I could write a whole book about it
and someday I may. You remember that book “A Million Little Pieces” by James
Frey? Come to find out it was a book he wrote as non fiction but most of it
turned out to be fiction about his so called drug addiction. Everything I
write here happened for real. It includes his addiction to heroin,
prescription drugs, cocaine, crack, and pot. It includes my enabling him to
do these things. It includes temper tantrums, smashed walls, calls to the
police, threats of suicide, two deaths, almost losing my family because I
couldn’t let him go. It includes our house being broken into 4 times. It
includes my son going outside to get in my car to pick me up at work and
being approached by his ex drug dealer, with a gun, looking for money. It
includes my son going cold turkey from heroin and oxycontin at home and
watching him suffer through the worst withdrawals you could imagine, not
once but twice. It includes coming home and finding him sitting on the
bathroom floor surrounded by a million little pieces of his bedroom door.

And I still blame myself. That’s all I can write at the moment. The
memories are too vivid and frightening. I hope to be able to write more
because there is so much to this story. Maybe it will touch just one person
and help them whether they are an addict or a relative or friend of an
addict.

Note from Writer Chick: I greatly admire Joan’s courage in writing this post and I encourage you, if you haven’t already, to visit her wonderful site here.

Freedom of the post (guest post by, the Grit)

Recently, I asked my friend Grit if he’d be willing to write a post on taking your blog private and the ins and outs of same. Well, he has delivered. Please feel free to ask him any questions you may have on this topic, as I will turn over the comments/forum to him.

Hi WC,

Thanks for the invite, and the opinion that the Brit and I know enough about what we’re doing that others might gain something from our adventures in blogging. A little background is probably appropriate at this point, so skip down a bit if you know us. I met the Brit when we were both messing about on Helium.com, and it was almost instantly apparent that we complemented each other in many ways. With this in mind, we decided to do some sort of writing project together, and determined that the best format would be a blog. Our first one, on which we both posted about the same topic once or twice a week, was well received by those who read it, but didn’t really have enough energy to keep us or our guests interested for long. Then we decided to open a second blog where we would each post whatever we felt like discussing, as often as we felt inspired to write. At this point, we also moved to WordPress, which seemed to have more character than Blogger. After playing around with that for a month or four, we started finding certain types of posts and subjects that we enjoyed, that our readers found interesting, and that allowed us to explore the difference in US-UK experiences. We kept that up for five or six months, at which point we were averaging 400 hits a day with the occasional spike into the thousands. This was great fun, but it was also consumed a lot of time for which we weren’t being paid. I’ve always thought that a good hobby is one that you enjoy AND makes money, so we figured, eventually, that we should see if we could fly on our own, away from the sheltering wings of the WordPress community. Still, taking our blog private wasn’t all about money.

So, on the trail of why to kick your blog up a notch, you need to think about why you’re investing your time in publishing your writing. If it’s just about making money, then there are several avenues available that are much more certain than running a variable subject blog. For that path, there are numerous sites devoted to how to start. On the other hand, if your bliss is only about the writing and finding an audience for it, then stick with the free blog providers. On the gripping hand, it may be the case that the constraints the free providers enforce are too limiting for what you want to write. Some people just have to say f**k occasionally or include pictures of people in various states of undress to express themselves, and I say this is a valid reason to have a privately hosted blog. Some wise person once said, by which I mean that the name of the person who said this has slipped my mind, that “the only people who have freedom of the press are those who own one,” or something like that. However badly I’ve mangled the quote, the idea is still true and it also applies to blogging. If you don’t shell out for paid hosting, you aren’t completely free to express yourself.

Another point on the freedom of expression issue is the appearance of your blog. To the best of my knowledge, all of the free ones restrict your access to the inner workings of the software, which in one way or another limits what you can do to control how your work is presented to the world, and how easy it is for you to put said work on display. I’ll skip the technical stuff, as there are numerous sites devoted to it, but will say that for the Brit and I this issue was part of our decision making process in buying our own domain.

This, of course, brings us to the topic of money. Once you decide to go private with your blog, there are costs involved. Our hosting, for instance, is through midPhase, and runs us less than $90 per year. Since we opened our account, they’ve merged with AN hosting, which has a lower introductory fee of around $60/year, but I hate change so we’re sticking with what we have. Besides, we made enough money from our affiliate ad, which is where you put a small ad on your blog referencing some service from which you get a commission if anyone goes there and buys something, to pay for our second year of blogging. Of course, not all affiliate programs work that well. We’ve had links to amazon.com up for a year or so, and have yet to make a penny for our efforts.

Which brings us to the pay-per-click ads. The big two in this category are Google and Yahoo, both of which, or so I’m told, work very well. Unfortunately, if you decide to use their services, you’re bound by their restrictions as to what you can publish, so freedom of the post flys out the window. Fortunately, there are viable alternatives. While we’re still exploring this subject, our best experiences have been, to date, with Text Link Ads, from which we’re seeing rapid growth in our monthly earnings, which are almost to the point of buying one of us a tank of gas So, if you don’t plan on publishing anything controversial, the industry leaders in Internet advertising may be what you’re looking for. On the other hand, if you feel the need to be wild, crazy, and a bit off color, you still have options.

So, looking at things from a business perspective and noting that we would be classified as a small business, of which most go belly up in the first year, have paid off our investment debt and made a profit, admittedly a tiny profit, in our first year, making us a success. It also means that we have our own printing press, the freedom that brings, and a hobby that at least pays for itself.

the Grit

My Life, Without a Horse – by cA Hughes

 

When I was five, I wanted a tree swing; also a pony.I would fantasize about it, the pony I mean. I got the tree swing. I sat on it while daydreaming about the pony. Her name would be Cinnamon, as her coat was that same red/orangey-brown color as the spice and she’d have a black mane and tail. My feet’d be muddy and walking her around through tallish grasses.

Gnats and butterflies and dust would dot the air, flecks of gold cresting and dipping in summery sunlight.

Even I, in my imagined yet still filthy gingham, would look lovely and hardy in the country light with Cinnamon in a stately follow.

Straddling Cinnamon, I was happy.Behind my closed eyes, I’d rest my face against her neck and tangle my stubby fingers in her mane. I was hypnotized by the heavy, hollow thud of her hoof-falls as we meandered through the countryside.We communicated in our secret way; she knew me by scent; my breathing, the rise and fall and squeakiness of my voice soothed her spirit. And she’d buck anyone else who attempted to ride, brush or feed her.

She would be mine and only mine.This was the best part because in my life without a horse, there was nothing mine.

I don’t know where this desire for a horse came from. We lived in the city. There were no tall grass fields or creeks or beautiful summer days hazy with shining little bugs that looked like fairies in the setting sunlight. No stands of trees aged with gnarled branches. “Where would we keep a horse?” asked Mother.I said in the garage, desperate. “That would be cruel,” she said. Then her eyes glazed over with a dreamy shine. “Horses need to be in a field, they need to run and graze and have sun on their backs…”

I put a horse on my Christmas lists and asked for one each birthday for the next six years.

“Where did she get such an idea?” My father asked Mother once. He was upset that I had been giving them the silent treatment for three straight days after my seventh birthday.

“All little girls want a horse,” she said.

He chuckled at that. “And why is that?” he asked.

My mother got red in the cheeks and I saw a dark, quick flicker in her eyes- so quick I doubted it the moment I saw it. It happened sometimes, mostly when she was talking to Father about us girls. “They just do,” she said.

I think she was right about that. My daughters have been pleading with their dad and me to get a horse. “Maybe someday,” I say. It is possible since we live in the country. We take walks on streets along the horse ranches nearby and I think, We can get a horse and keep it at a stables. I ask them what they think of the name Cinnamon for a horse.

“I like it,” says the older one.

“Aw, I like Fred,” says the younger.

“Maybe we should get two,” the older says.”Then I can name mine Roses”

“How about three?” say I. “Cinnamon, Roses and Fred.” We like this idea and discuss what our horses would look like- the color of their manes and coats, whether we’d braid their tails with ribbon.

The books I’ve read in which girls had horses, there is no boy-craziness. The girl with a horse does not need anybody. She is independent and free, strong like the legs of her steed. And though beautiful and ethereal, horses do seem somewhat phallic; look at the neck, look at the long face broad at the top; look at how they must be straddled and ridden. A girl conquers the phallus, astride her steed. It can take her to her life; take her away from her life. She is control of her destination and the route there. She is not a princess but a queen. She is not a queen but an outlaw. She is not an outlaw but an explorer, a knight, a cowboy. All of these things and natural and wild.

Free.

copyright cA Hughes

Gracie Does Pomp & Circumstance by Jess Em

I was a clumsy kid.  As a matter of fact, I’m a clumsy adult.  The person who falls down in the middle of an empty sidewalk wearing flip flops and carrying nothing more interesting than a small bag I purchased specifically for it’s easy-to-carry-while-carting-around-two-toddlers style.  And then attempts to pretend that I didn’t just fall down while all alone, surrounded by nothing more than air, while strolling leisurely on the most innocuous sidewalk in the world.  It’s a sad testament to my capability as a grown adult, but at least I’ve managed to never harm another human being in my inability to do anything gracefully.

 I grew up in Jersey.  We had big hair, wore leggings under everything, and had high tops to coordinate with every sweatshirt-dress we owned.  I had at least ten pairs of dangly star earrings in a variety of colors, and wore them proudly with my crimped hair and teased bangs.  I was cool.  Until I walked into an open locker while staring at Eric Cochrane over my right shoulder.  Or fell in PE while jogging as I tried to impress him with my fleet-footed sprinting capability.  My parents called me “Gracie”, a supposedly affectionate nickname that served only to remind everyone that I was bound to trip over something. 

 My school was K-8, the eighth grade graduation being the culmination of all things.  It was the pinnacle of the early school years: an event each of us yearned for as we entered into the middle-school wing.  We had the pomp, the ceremony.  The eighth graders missed class for graduation practice.  They got to leave school early…they got pizza for lunch TWICE a week.  They were the ultimate.  We all wanted to be in eighth grade, so when I reached that pinnacle, I knew great things would come.  My eighth grade graduation would be the day, the one where I shined.  I was smart-I knew I’d get awards.  I’d be stylish, because mom took me shopping for shoes with heels on them.  By God, I’d have good hair.  No frizz. 

 The day of The Graduation dawned bright and beautiful, as it can only be on the Jersey shore in June.  My parents had made reservations at a rather jazzy little place in Manasquan, and I couldn’t wait to walk down the aisle to the graduation song.  I had my new shoes ready, heels and all, and took my time getting my bangs to just the right height to sit perfectly under the square of my graduation cap.  I loved the jaunty swing of my tassel; the click of my little heels on the floor.    I was wearing makeup.  Mascara, and a little lip gloss.  I was the shit. 

 We got to the school, my family took their seats, camera at the ready.  They had already put in their order for the VHS of the ceremony.  I joined my classmates in the band room, all of us happily chattering in our royal blue graduation robes.  My bangs were the perfect height, I noted, looking at the bangs of my classmates. 

 The chairs for the graduates were set up on the stage of the elementary school gym stage.  The kind with the heavy red curtains used for everything from dances to PE class to PTA meetings.  My last name starting with an “M”, I was right in the middle of the procession.  To get to our seats, we had to walk down the center aisle, turn right at the stage, walking around the band to go up the stairs at the right side.  Simple.  And interesting to watch, I’m sure, as 90 eighth graders step-tap-step-tapped all the way down the aisle to the beat of “Pomp and Circumstance”. 

 My turn, finally, and I step-tap-step-tapped my way down the center aisle, smiling for the cameras, my little heels clicking on the floor, my bangs maintaining their perfect height.  My tassel swinging perfectly.  It was beautiful.  My shining moment.  I walk down the aisle, around the band, up the steps.

 Until, well.  The Moment.  The moment of all things ridiculous, mortifying, humiliating.  I tripped.  Up the top step.  Shouldn’t have been a big deal, a little stumble that was easily recoverable. 

 Except.  I was wearing heels, for the first time ever.    So here’s how it went: I trip up the step, try to recover, step on my robe, slip on my heels, teeter left, over the stage.  Off the stage.  Onto a band member, slamming my forehead against the edge of the stage on my way down, before landing on the back of my head on the lovely, well-polished, hardwood floor. 

 I spent my graduation in the ER, being treated for a concussion.  Getting stitches over my left ear where I slammed into the trumpet of the terrified fifth grade band member as I fell onto the floor. 

 Needless to say, my parents have kept their VCR in good repair solely for the purpose of being able to show that particular video.  To everyone in the world.  If they knew about YouTube, it’d probably be on there too.

Jess Em

Guest Post – sarah flanigan – Me & The Evil Muse

 My friend sarah flanigan is pinch-hitting for me today. Enjoy! WC

“I don’t care if they read. It’s not about that.” I lit a cigarette and continued typing.

Well, that’s ridiculous,” she sneered. “Of course you care. If you didn’t care you wouldn’t go to the trouble.”

I was onto the picture search and barely heard the nag rasping in my ear.

“Are you listening to me?” Even when she screamed it was barely a whisper. Really it wasn’t her talking that drove me up a wall but rather that sense of being poked in the forehead. That sense that something was obscuring my view of the screen.

“Uh huh.” I couldn’t find the right picture and I’d been to several sites looking already. It was going to be another long post. Damn! Amazing how finding a picture can hang you up. The post could take minutes (or hours) and then you spend the rest of the night looking for the picture.

“That one isn’t bad,” she said.

“I’m looking for right – not not bad. It has to be right.”

“Why?” she danced in and out of my peripheral vision. A flash of chiffon and feathers. “Who cares? Nobody reads anyway.” It always came back to the same taunt.

I typed in a different key word. Click. Pictures popped up. I scanned. Click. Next page. Click. Next page. “I’ve already told you it doesn’t matter if anyone reads. But of course somebody does. My stat counter says so.”

“Well, if they liked it – they’d say something, wouldn’t they?”

She was relentless, and doing everything she could to distract me. “Sometimes they say something.”

“But if they really liked it – it wouldn’t be sometimes, it would be all the time.” She bapped the side of my head. “You’re just not that good. You know it and so do I.”

Click. Up popped the perfect picture. “Oh yes,” I said. Copy. Paste. Click. Publish.

“So you admit it?” She was delerious. “You’re no good. You’re no good. Baby, you’re no good.” Did I mention she likes Linda Ronstadt?

“I’m fine. It’s fine. It’s all good. If they read then they do. If they don’t then they don’t.” I pulled a drag off my smoke. “I don’t do it for them. I do it for me.”

She rolled her green eyes.

“Scoff all you like,” I narrowed my eyes at her and dared her to speak. She said nothing. “Good, that’s more like it. You see, dear muse despite my pathetic life, my nowhere job and all the other things that can and do wrong – this is the one place that is all mine. I can do what I want, say what I want. Express my ideas and opinions. Even if no one is reading I still publish the thoughts.”

“Okay,” she backed off.

I sighed, relieved the dialogue was over for the time being.

“But if you were really good…some publisher……”

And then. My head exploded.

copyright 2006