word party

The words are jumbled, flowing, frolicking, stumbling, pushing one another in their rush to reach the mouth…or the ends of my fingers. They are a rowdy bunch, sometimes laughing and jostling each other good-naturedly, other times in fierce competition, no friendly match at all. I wonder what would happen if I just let them scream and throw themselves at my throat? Or at the paper? What a mixed up mess they would be. No, they need a firm hand. They need direction, and discipline. They need to confer with one another, to see which are the important ones and which can be left in the darkroom for another day.

These are my thoughts today. I close my eyes and see words like little men in costumes, or like little stick figures. Some have fat little bodies, rather grotesque really. Others are skinny, no-nonsense words. They’re dressed very frugally. No bright colors for them! Black, brown, grey, maybe a little olive green thrown in for a drab dab of color.

I like the bright, cheerful, happy words. They dance across my mind in robes of chiffon and silk, long flowing sashes trailing behind them as they pirouette on my mind-floor. That beautiful dance floor where thoughts are free to glide and prance and droop and sag and sit in the corner on the wallflower bench. Rejection, acceptance, joy, suspicion, fear, sorrow, gladness – all are invited to the word party.

Tell me, what words are dancing in your head right now? This is what happens to me when I’m caught up on my work and have a few minutes between jobs.

Do the Hokey-Sneaky

So, WordPress Daily Prompt . . . do folks follow you around? Do they hang on your every word, waiting to get their Pavlov on? Yeah? Well, sometimes I do – and sometimes I don’t. Pretty definitive answer, right? That’s me – always with a definite maybe. You had an interesting one on Friday, I will admit, earnestly desiring my honest opinion. “Tell me,” you were heard to ask (I have very good hearing in my left prompt-ear), “do you think I’m sneaky, or hokey, or both? Do I irritate you at all? Do you really want me around? Am I any help to you at all in your deep desire to become a well-rounded, accomplished blogger?” Well, the answer is yes. But since we were gone Friday and Saturday, dear prompt, today is the first chance I’ve had to honestly answer your questions. I just wanted you to know I listened, I understood what you were asking, and I fully intended to respond. Just not on the day you asked me.

You may wonder what was so important that it took my concentration completely off you and your concern for my mastery of the written word. Well, it’s this way. Friday was work. It’s not as exciting as staying home with you, but it pays the bills and retains access to the internet, and feeds the body that feeds the mind that feeds the flame of creativity – the one that you are working so hard to develop in me. And after that, I needed to meet with friends and unwind the body that unwinds the mind that feeds the flame of creativity – the flame you are helping me develop.

And yesterday. Well.

Yesterday we took our annual trip to the State Fair. I took only the vital necessities – phone, ID, debit card, and Fun Fund. No computer, no camera. It was just too hot to lug that big camera around, and where would I stash my laptop as I was walking around? That’s right, dear Daily Prompt – no lap to park the laptop atop.  So I got no writing done, and the only picture I took was of the beautiful necklace my sweet hubby bought me. He picked out the setting, and even chose the oyster that had the two pearls in it! Whattaguy!!!

Can you believe it? I wrote not one single word. All day. I took not one single photo. All day. But the one I took when we got home was worth waiting for, and now I’m sharing it with you. I just wanted you to understand that I do think of you while I’m away from you, dear DP, and you are a help to me, even when it seems I’m ignoring you.

So, to answer your question, what do I think about you? Yep, you’re hokey – I mean that in the best sort of way, of course! Yep, sometimes you’re a little sneaky – oh, did I say that out loud?? But in the end, you’re a welcome companion, so keep coming around, day after day after day after – oh, shiny thing!!! Did I show you my shiny thing? Here it is!!

oh, look – shiny thing!!

“do you feel a thinking draft coming on?” yeth, I do

thinkin' boots

I was just reading the latest ‘thing’ about drafts from Cheri of WordPress, called “ghosts in your dashboard.” I had a thought – and it was a good one – about that very thing. But I didn’t put it in draft form, so now it’s gone.

So, to get the inspirational juices stirred back up, I decided to read a few of the posts people had done on this drafty subject. The very first one I read made me smile big-time! It was from a site called Prayers and Promises, and it got me to really thinking. About thinking. And writing down what I’m thinking when I’m thinking it. See, sometimes I think in draft form. I try an idea out in my mind. I move the words around, and put one on the bench and send another one in to finish the play, and then grab it back out just as it’s about to slam dunk – and then wonder why the whole thought went south on me at the last minute.

Reading one of the lines in her post:

“Haven’t you ever startled a thought and then forgot what you were trying to say?”

made me think about thoughts. Which made me think about writing a post about thoughts. Which led to posting a comment about thinking.

I have more than once crept up on a thought and took it by surprise. But more often, it sneaks up on my blind side and startles me so much I forget what I was thinking beforehand, and if I don’t write it down right then, it hurtles itself out of my mind as fast as it came in. Thoughts hit me quite often when I have my head turned and don’t see them coming.

And that, my friends, is why I use the Draft function in WordPress!

Sleep Walkin’, Dream Talkin’

What a character!

My foster father Claude had a cousin that walked and talked in his sleep, and did all sorts of other funny things – especially if he’d been sick. I never met him, but I heard so much about him I think I would’ve known him in a crowded hotel (come to think of it, I KNOW I’d know him in a crowded hotel – he’d be the one hanging out the upstairs window). Claude described him often, in fond, head-shaking terms. I’ll call him Clarence, in case any of his relatives are reading this.

As a boy, Clarence was clumsy, uncoordinated, and gangly – all arms and legs. He was usually pasty white from being sick a lot, which made his freckles quite prominent. His pale blue eyes squinted in the light, behind black horn-rimmed glasses, and his wispy-fine, straight hair stuck out at odd angles all over his head, waving wildly with any passing breeze. Clarence’s reddish-brown eyebrows curved in a way that always made him look surprised. His hair was only slightly darker than dirty dishwater, with just a hint of red, and smelled very much like dishwater. And pee. He wet the bed, y’see, right up until he was about 11 or 12. He also, on occasion, had other accidents in his breeches. His older sister Charlotte had to take care of him at school, because he was always forgetting his books and his lunch and where he lived. A bookish, quiet girl, Charlotte was a little taller than Clarence but just as skinny, with straight dark hair and dark blue eyes, and a perpetually embarrassed expression.

When Clarence got excited he’d repeat certain words or phrases in his peculiar, high-pitched singsong whine. Imagine trying to cry and sing at the same time, with your nose pinched shut. That’s the sound. They attended a one-room school in the country when Clarence was six years old. One day Clarence had one of his accidents in his pants, and the entire room was decidedly anxious for him to go home. Right away. It wasn’t really his fault; they’d had beans for lunch, and Clarence always got the runs when he ate beans. But being poor, beans were a staple … and Clarence loved beans.

Back to the story. Clarence had filled his pants, and his embarrassed sister began shoving him towards the school door, making their getaway. Clarence got a bit put out with her, and jerked away from her grasp. He yelled in his best sing-song whine, “Stop a-pushin‘! You’ll make me speeyall it you’ll make me speeyall it.” He did spill it.

Clarence absolutely LOVED anything sweet. If you told him it was sweet, he’d gobble it – usually without even chewing! One day his dad (Claude’s uncle) was eating sauerkraut and crackers, and asked him, “Hey Clarence, want some sauerkraut?” Clarence immediately responded, “Yes, yes! Is it sweet?”

Clarence liked to read. He imagined himself in the stories, especially stories about pirates and cowboys and truck drivers (his interests varied, depending on the tales his grandpa, a retired truck driver who lived with them, had been spinning). But Clarence often had trouble distinguishing between reality and story, so his family kept a close eye on him when he’d been reading. You see, he tended to doze off in the middle of his book, and that could be bad. As I said before, Clarence had always been a sickly child – and when he was sick, he often walked in his sleep. His family kept a particularly close watch if he dozed off during the day in the summertime. It was funny, but when Clarence went to bed at night, he stayed in bed – it was only when he took a nap in the daytime that trouble brewed.

Another peculiarity of Clarence: he hated being hot. Summers were hard on the boy, and not much better when he became a man.

Once, when he was about ten, Clarence had been reading his favorite book on a Sunday afternoon. The family and some friends sat outside in the cool shade of the huge old oak tree by the side of the house. Everyone was having such a wonderful time visiting and drinking lemonade and eating homemade ice cream, that they all forgot about Clarence … until he appeared around the side of the house dressed only in his tidy whities and carrying his socks. His mother jumped immediately to her feet and took him gently by the arm, guiding him out of sight of the others to the side porch. She knew not to awaken him or he’d be scared and not remember why or how he got where he was. She asked him where he was headed, and he said, “I’m a-goin’ to the store an’ git me some new shoes.” She took him into the house and told him the store was closed, and he should lie back down and wait until it opened. He was quite happy to wait for his shoes.

Another afternoon, Clarence got hot and sweaty, and went upstairs to take a nap. Claude got worried about him, and went looking for Clarence after an hour or so. He REALLY got worried when he checked Clarence’s room and didn’t find him. Clarence’s clothes were all lying on the bed, every last stitch of what he’d been wearing. After a moment of panic, Claude noticed the window sill looked a bit odd – there were hands on it! He went over and looked down, and there was Clarence. He was hanging out the second-story window by his hands, stark naked, sound asleep. Claude asked very quietly, “Clarence, what are you doing?” Clarence smiled and cocked his head to one side, hair smacking at the flies as they buzzed around him in the breeze, and said in his singsong whine, “I’m a-coolin’.” It took Claude and another family member about 15 or 20 minutes to get him safely back inside the window, dressed, and back into bed – without waking him.

Well, that’s our Clarence in his growing-up years. He grew into a fine young man, Claude said. His hair never quite calmed down (those were the days before spiked hair became a fad), so he kept it cut very short. His eyes didn’t get any better either, but he got glasses that didn’t make him look like a half-blind owl. And he put on some weight too, enough that his arms and legs looked like arms and legs, instead of random twigs stuck wildly onto a weeping willow branch. Clarence also married and had several healthy, robust, extremely intelligent children. They all remembered their lunches and their books and where they lived. Not one of those kids walked in their sleep, not one had to have Aunt Charlotte escort them out of school with full breeches, and not one single offspring ever hung out the upstairs window a-coolin’. I think they missed out.