Thursday, November 10, 2011

Show and Tell

I am a big believer in continuing education. And with the plethora of classes available online, many free of charge, there’s plenty to choose from.

Sunday night I stumbled upon an impromptu creative writing lesson administered by a well know children’s author, and although kiddie lit is not my venue, the exercise reinforced Writing Rule #1:

Show don’t tell!

Here’s the exercise:

For 24hrs, answer all questions in “SHOW” format. I’ll give you a few of my examples. (Really, was there ever a doubt?)

Youngest son: “Can I have a friend sleep over?”
Tell: “No, your room is a mess!”
Show: “That depends; does your hyperactive cohort enjoy sleeping on a bed of Frito dusted LEGO and dirty underwear?”

Hubby: “What’s for dinner?”
Tell: “Chicken and green beans.”
Show: “A lovely medley of Sahara-like foul, crisped beyond recognition and accompanied by a delightful legume, hand selected by a freakishly statuesque green man, strangely adverse to pants, and his diminutive assistant.”

Oldest son: “Do I have to go to church with you?”
Tell: “Get in the flipping car!”
Show: “Faith is a choice. Ask yourself, will my alabaster complexion fare well in an inferno based afterlife, or do I prefer a more temperate climate?”

OK – these are extreme, wordy and exaggerated – but it was fun. Give it a shot!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Lights out

There is a very good reason I was born in this century; I like electricity.

As many of you know, last Saturday the Northeast experienced a crazy – I’m talking 2AM-Tequila soaked-subway-guy-in-Streisand-drag-yelling-at-his-imaginary-armadillo-and-quoting-Glenn Beck-CRAZY winter storm. Meteorologists have dubbed Snowmagedon 11, Alfred - really? Batman’s gender neutral butler is a big, bad scary storm? Was Nigel taken?

Moving on.

Over a foot of snow, half a million power outages; SIX days in the dark with no end in sight.

Yes, there are far worse fates than a week sans electric: war, famine, GOP candidates – but let’s face it – after a few days kicking it Laura Ingalls style, the bloom is off the rose.

Channeling my inner Sophia Petrillo: picture it, Connecticut, October 2011.

Starbucks, Panera, McDonalds, any establishment fortunate to be on the grid now resemble yuppie refugee camps. Desperate latte, Big Mac, bagel wielding cyber surfers, encased in Patriots Snuggies and protective gear, un-showered soccer Moms' and CEOs', body blocking eager opponents battling for vacant outlets, scrambling to recharge there handheld links to the outside world. It is madness, plain and simple madness.

We are among the fortunate; the few, the warm, the fed, the stink-free, holed up at Grandmom and Pop’s House of Baby Boomers and Electrically Able. And although we appreciate the luxury of hot showers, flushing toilets and microwave popcorn, there is a downside to temporary housing within a predominantly over 60 community – children, especially those with rampant energy bursts, are not the norm.

At home, I bellow at the top of my lungs when the cherubs enter into hand to hand combat. In a shared, adult inhabited building, screech owl parenting is frowned upon.

At home, the breakables lay tucked away in bubble-wrap tombs, hibernating the time away between Nerf Gun phase and college years; here – so much to break, so little time.

At home – Maggie, our 70lb Labrador of Love – has a yard in which to run and romp. Here – hard to curb the romping.

I cannot complain, well, yes, I can, but I won’t - at least for now. Check back next week, if we are still here, there’s a good chance I’ll be looking for boarding school recommendations.