Wilfred Takes a Vacation

Dear Kathy,

Hi there.  This is Wilfred.  I’ve commandeered your email address to type you an email myself.  And if you can’t remember who I am, check out Marbles’ previous email:  “Introducing Wilfred” (https://alookatlifeinspectacularparticulars.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/introducing-wilfred/)  You know, I’m the invisible tutor seen by only those who use the appropriate amount of imagination.  My reason as to hijacking your email address is simple.  Marbles is mad at me because I said she would never make it as a ninja.  Since that time, she has neglected to share my exploits with you.  I’m sure she would say she’s been too busy with her 2 other jobs and starting grad school and keeping Dexter and Marcos out of trouble, but let’s get real here.  I know pettiness when I see it.

Anyways, I’m asking around for good vacation spots.  It has become necessary that I remove myself from the public eye as far as possible.  It’s really no fault of my own.  There I was, minding my own business in the Tutoring Center, when Silvia came in.  You remember Silvia–she wears pink glasses and drives a VW Beetle.  Anyways, she came in all aflutter because of some drastic revelation on her favorite soap opera.  It seems that on his wedding day, CIA agent Joe Suave’s cover was blown and was whisked away from his fiance.  Silvia was devastated.

“There’ll never be another character like him,” she wailed.  “CIA agents are just so hard to come by.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” Dexter said slowly, grinning over her head at Drew.  “We might just have one here.”

“Oh yes,” said Coco.  “We give shelter to so many poor CIA agents.”

“Really?” Silvia paused cleaning her glasses and started to look interested.

“Not really shelter.  More like sanctuary,” added Drew thoughtfully.

“Sactuary,” Silvia repeated slowly.

“Please,” Marbles interrupted without turning around.  “Don’t use the word ‘sanctuary.’  You make him sound like Quasimodo.”

“How about asylum, then?” giggled Coco.

“Well, he is crazy.” Marbles mumbled.

“You mean there’s really an ex-CIA agent hiding here now?” Silvia’s eyes grew wider than her pink rims and scanned every corner of the room.  “Where is he?”

“Who knows?” said Dexter.  “You could be looking at him right now.”

He laughed and tried to continue explaining the binomial theorem, but Silvia was not be deterred.  “So this CIA agent.  What does he look like?  Does he look like Joe Suave in my show?”

“Silvia,” Dexter said very patiently, “no one looks like Joe Suave.  Not even Joe Suave.”

“But where is he?  I want to see him.”  Silvia crossed her arms.

“Silvia,” Dexter’s voice remained even.  “Right now, we need to see how the binomial theorem is a practical part of our everyday lives.  Okay?”

Thirty minutes later, two men in dark suits strode into the room.  I knew instantly they were with the government.  No one else wears sunglasses indoors.

Silvia fluttered even more as they asked Marbles if one of the Center’s workers met this description:  tall male in late 20s with light brown hair, goatee, and glasses.

Silvia whispered very loudly to Dexter, “Are they looking for that Edward the Snowman guy?”

“Snowden, Silvia.  Edward Snowden.”

The G-men bristled when he said that.  But I exploded.  “I’m ex-CIA.  So what?  What does that mean?  I’m a fine, upstanding citizen.  I carpool and recycle and pay my taxes.  I don’t even track dirt into my house.  Goodnight, what’s an invisible guy to do?  Do I look like Edward Snowden to you?”

I ended my rant two inches from G-man #1’s nose.  “You don’t look like anything to them, Wilfred,” Marbles said under her breath.

“Everything looks in order,” the man said, looking around for the mysterious Wilfred he couldn’t see.  “Thank you for your cooperation.”

They left.  And strangely, Silvia quit asking about our CIA agent.  Marbles gave me a red lollipop which made me feel better.  And as I sat sucking on it, I noticed Silvia adjusting her glasses in a peculiar way, as if zooming in and out.  Ah ha, I realized, she tipped them off with those special camera glasses with built-in binoculars and microphones.  She’s a CIA informer!  I about choked on my lollipop.  Silvia–a CIA informer!  Now that’s not fair.  They never gave me a pair of those cool glasses when I worked for the CIA.  I can’t help it if I’m naturally clumsy.

Anyways, it is very tiresome right now to be ex-CIA.  I need to get away until this whole news story blows over.  I was thinking somewhere not Russia.  What are Canada’s policies on invisible travelers?

Oh, dear.  Marbles is coming back.  Do not divulge the contents of this email!  I may or may not have had permission to access your email address.

Save the whales,
Wilfred

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On the Reels of a Dream

Everyone has dreams of accomplishing something that he or she has always wanted to do.  Some people love discussing their dreams.  Some prefer to keep it private and personal.

I discuss my dream sometimes, but few people take me seriously.

I want to make a short film.

Crazy dream for a recent college grad with a part-time job.  And despite indications otherwise, I really do try to be practical.  I have no money to make a short film.  No finished script.  No actors.  No sets.  And no extra time to get off work and no money to get any of it done.

But I know a few local actors who are pretty spectacular.  I have a standard video camera, a trunk full of props, a small collection of costumes, 2 boxes of patterns, several story ideas, a partial storyboard, and a big imagination.

Stories have always excited me.  There are few things that can engage me more than a well-told story.  For over 10 years, I’ve wanted to be a storyteller.  But telling stories is a challenge.  It takes good ole’ hard work to make stories and tell them well.  Then, there’s the worry that no one will like the story/book/poem/film.  More than that, though, there’s the worry that you will waste your audience’s time.  You see, no one has to read your story (unless it’s classwork).  No one has to read this blog.  An audience chooses what to read and what to watch.  You, as a storyteller, are invited to tell your story.  That, my friends, is a privilege.  And while that thought makes the task more difficult (after all, who wants to waste their audience’s time), sometimes you just try your best and keep moving forward, learning from your struggles and failures.  And keep dreaming.

Every once in a while, I run across something that reminds me of my dream.  Last month, it was this beautiful Kodascope projector, complete with case and reel.

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I don’t know if I’ll ever actually make a short film.  But hey, I can dream, can’t I?

The Wood Between the Worlds

Libraries are a sanctum to book lovers everywhere.  A library is a place where words are respected.  Where the full spectrum of literature is displayed.  And where anyone can access the greatest masterpieces of the written word.

You can imagine my shock when I recently searched in our local library’s catalog for John Keats’ Endymion and received a “0” in the search box.

My library does not have a copy of Endymion.

This, my friends, is travesty.  Nothing short of literary travesty.

John Keats was a master of the English language, his work ranked with Shakespeare and Milton.  I assumed that every library would have at least his major masterpiece.  But my library does not have Endymion.  Not even any excerpts.

This is not the first time the library has disappointed my expectations.  Apparently, our county system no longer owns a copy of Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, unless I want to listen to it on MP3 Audio Files.  Indeed, it seems that if I want Ray Bradbury material other than Fahrenheit 451, I will have to listen to it.  And the list of disappointments goes on–

The most famous book by Elizabeth Goudge?  Sorry, but they do stock her more obscure books.

Young adult non-fiction you’ve scoured the library for?  Oh, that’s mixed in with the adult non-fiction.  Right, I knew that.

And the fines for returning items after hours.  I hang my head in shame.

Perhaps, I just have high expectations for my library.  Perhaps I just want to be able to walk in to any location and find the book I seek.  (Project Gutenberg doesn’t have everything, you know.)  Why can’t every good book be available at every library?  Why can’t I just read the name of a book and have it magically whisk out of the library and appear in my house, much like how Mo reads characters out of their own books in Inkheart?  Why can’t all libraries be as amazing as the library in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast?  Why can’t the words come alive with moving pictures like the magic book Lucy reads in Voyage of the Dawn Treader?  Next to fictional libraries, real-life libraries can look rather wimpy.

So as I meander through the stacks, I may weep at the lack of some beloved favorite or regret the absence of a literary masterpiece.  I may even cry “Treason!” when Keats has been neglected.  But in the end, I forgive my library.  For all its imperfections, the library is still a magical place–“the wood between the worlds” as in The Magician’s Nephew–a conduit between taxing reality and the most incredible, adventurous lands.  When you step through library doors, you enter a passageway where entire worlds, dormant and still, await your fingers to open them.  Don’t let the brick and mortar walls fool you.  On each shelf is a new book and a new world.  On your journey through that new world, you will grow and change, perhaps encounter a villain or two.  And when you come safely back home, you will be different than when you began.

That, my friends, is amazing.  Keats or no Keats.

A Notebook of Her Own

Creative writing classes offer all sorts of advice on establishing a successful writing process:

Establish a routine where your writing process can flow.  In order to train yourself to write consistently, write in the same place at the same time of day.  Find an object that inspires you and make it part of your writing process.

They do not address quirks.

My writing process has morphed over the years.  I used to write in Steno Pads, then moved to spiral bound notebooks, then scribbled on anything with white space in the margins. (..well, maybe not anything.  Books are still off limits to my scribbling.  Sticky notes, church bulletins, scrap paper, and Jo-Ann’s ads are not.)  After sorting my old college notes, I was amused to find all the random story ideas crammed into the margins of Apologetics notes or sandwiched between outlines on Homer.  And despite my propensity to write on anything at any time, I have failed to create a long-lasting routine.

For a few months, I will write in the mornings on my warm brown couch, flanked by green walls.  After getting discouraged in some project, I’ll relocate.  My windowless desk at work or the grey couch in our living room alternate as functional writing spaces.  And while I search for a consistent writing space, I have discovered a quirk in my writing process.

Composition notebooks scare me.

I’m serious.  I thought, “They’re cool.  They’re retro.”  When I found a 100% post-consumer/recycled composition notebook for cheap, I felt very eco-friendly buying it.  When I filled up a steady, spiral-bound notebook and needed more space for a story, I pulled out a composition notebook.  Now, I’m dying to go back to a spiral-bound notebook.  Composition notebooks cramp my furious scribbling style.  The wide-ruled pages give me shivers and, when open, the notebooks require so much desk-space.  And the spine is stiff.

Surely there are eco-friendly spiral-bound notebooks somewhere.  And I’ll find them…once I’m done with my awkward, wide-ruled composition book.

High Society Spring

Proserpine’s a debutante who
comes out every year.

Waiting, Ceres cloaked
in  February wraps
frets and wrings the heads
off new-picked daffodils.  This
should be a happy evening, but
Pluto glowers in the darkest
corner, upset at having
only the first waltz.

Proserpine, a debutante,
greets the audience in silence.
A child laughs.

Ceres, pale with motherly
concern, turns her frosty face
on the puerile guest–who
is promptly escorted out.

Proserpine curtsies
and debuts in high society
a different way each year.
As the conductor’s wand sparks
the music, Proserpine with
pearl necklace glowing
dances more lithely than
nymphs in seawater.

With a sigh of relief, Ceres
slowly releases her grip
on the slender glass.  French
doors sweep open and people
of importance in greens, blues,
and gold mingle like the colors
of a summer sunset.

Proserpine shines in
the twilight stars and Ceres
smiles like roses blooming.
The evening’s warm and
Ceres, content with the stirring
elm trees, sheds her satin cape.

 

Proserpine’s a debutante who
comes out with the spring.

April Adventure of a Paranoid Germophobe

This is not a poem. This
is a joke.  Poetry does
not discuss dead rodents,
snow shovels, or squirrel
tails in a driveway.  This
is not a poem.

This is the account
of an introvert finding
a smelly mound of fur
in her driveway.  Was it
rat, rabbit–Big Foot’s toupe,
who knows.  I didn’t.

With no prince, servant,
or magic ring, I gloved
my paranoid hands in latex.
I searched the dank
culvert beneath my house for
a snow shovel, and found it.
My shield was a trash
bag–two to be precise.  Time
was of the essence.

After the foul deed was done and
the foul creature was deposited
in the blue barrel to my left, like
a check in the bank, time for
decontamination.

We decontaminate calmly,
rationally–like surgeons after
surgery.  Well, more like
turn lever no water turn
lever wash shovel wash
hands discard gloves
Lysol (TM) shoes take
shower wash
hair wash hands eat
food watch TV.

Watch an insipid
squirrel challenge his
own reflection in the glass
porch door, self-important
and strange in the spring
afternoon.  Write poor
poetry because

This is not a poem.
Trust me, it’s not.
This is a joke.  Hope you
had fun.

Perdoname, St. Patrick’s Day

First, let me apologize to all my readers for my tardiness in posting.  Drafts are in the works.

Second, please forgive the lacking accent above the “o” in “perdoname.”  WordPress doesn’t like to switch between Spanish words and English keyboards.

Third, all you devout pinchers had better stay away since I, the descendant of a conglomeration of Irish, German, Cherokee, Apache, French, and what-have-you, forgot it was St. Patrick’s Day and wore black.

I could say that I did it on purpose–that as an Irish descendant, I know there are political implications to wearing green versus white versus orange.  I could say that I was in mourning because the Catholic church claims St. Patrick or that I was protesting a perfectly good holiday turned into another example of American over-marketing.  I could say those things–but instead, I will just say the story of St. Patrick is remarkable and worthy of celebration and study.  I will say that St. Patrick’s Day was an excuse for my sister and I to wear green, speculate about our Irish roots, and watch Irish movies when we were growing up.  I will say that our family often regards St. Patrick’s Day more of a Celebrate-Ireland Day.  And I will say that as far as wearing green goes–I just plain forgot.

May the road rise to meet you and may the wind be ever at your back.
May the sun shine warm on your face and the rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.–the Irish Blessing

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