I’ve been “tagged” by A Big Fat Slob to reveal five weird things about me, then “tag” five other poor souls for the same humiliation.
Ahem, sir. There is nothing weird about me. I’m about as white bread as you can get without gagging, though I am rather good with a thin layer of cream cheese and some cucumbers.
However, in the interest of genial blogger relations everywhere, I’ve decided to think some weird things up about myself.
1. I am a prodigious, even voracious writer. I have written no less than 75 Great American Novels over the last decade. The weird thing? Not one of them has an actual ending. Many have barely progressed past the first two or three chapters.
While I’ve had scads of stories published by local newspapers (I am a journalist, after all), I’ve never had the guts to actually send queries to publishers regarding my works of fiction. It’s not that I think my writing is bad, exactly, though I know a certain percentage (OK, a certain large percentage) of my attempts would never make it past the editor’s recycle bin.
Actually, I’d like to think that I’ve done some mighty fine writing in a few of them.
The trouble is, none are finished, and frankly, I have no idea how to finish. I love reading books because I love nothing more than a good story – and a good story has a beginning, a middle and an ending. Whether the ending is good or bad, happy or sad, it does bring things to a satisfying close. But I find situations in life rarely work that way, except for the “She was born, she lived, and she died” part.
Hence, my problem. I get bogged down in all the details. And after a certain point, I lose the gist of the point, if you know what I mean.
This is not the hallmark of a great writer. Or it could be that I’m simply a sloppy, unorganized thinker. What’s weird is that I keep doing it, hoping to improve. I’m on Novel No. 76 now.
2. I once sat a NORAD radar console and, over the course of roughly six hours, directed 26 live interceptor aircraft against an entire End of the World As We Know It attack on the left coast of the United States by the Soviet Enemy, from scramble to return to base.
Fortunately for all of us, it was a big Air Force evaluation exercise, not the real thing.
Nevertheless, all 26 interceptors – F4 Phantoms and F16s — were absolutely real, with real figher pilots flying them, and real pilots flying the “targets” out over the Pacific Ocean and within various exercise areas over land (so as not to actually scare the bejesus out of the civilian population of the PNW, you know?).
I must say that we did rather well. Of course, “rather well” in terms of Saving The World isn’t quite good enough, but for exercise purposes, we rocked. I rocked. I was calm, cool, and collected through the whole damned thing.
When the last interceptor had returned to base safely, and I was released from my position in the big, dark room for a short break, I laid my radio headset aside, made my way to the only Ladies room in the whole three-story building and puked my guts up.
What’s weird about that? I was one of just three women participating in the entire shebang, and after I’d rinsed my mouth out, neatened my hair and reapplied my lipstick, I rejoined my male counterparts for the debriefing, still cool as ice. I never broke a sweat.
And, I enjoyed every single friggin’ minute of it. It was one of the most intense experiences of my entire life to date, and even though it took place many, many years ago, I remember it like it was yesterday.
3. Each evening after work, when I sit down at my desk to write the latest GAN attempt or post to Blue Wren, I am closely observed by two beta fish in separate bowls, a 10-inch live rubber boa and a Chinese water dragon.
The betas, which once had clever names but I forgot them, are lovely, lively little fellows who seem to be genuinely interested in what I’m doing. They swim over as close as they can get, and when I put my finger to the glass, they flare out their gill covers like lions and raise their luxurious dorsal fins. This gives me great, if inexplicable, satisfaction.
Saying the rubber boa has any real awareness of my existence might be an exaggeration. Usually he stays buried beneath the sandy substrate at the bottom of the terrarium, though he does come out sometimes for a drink of water or to climb around the inside of the screened cover at the top for a while. The fledgling, who found him during a hike last summer, feeds him tiny pink baby mice because I just can’t do it.
The Chinese water dragon is another matter. This guy (I’m not sure which gender either of the reptilian beasties is, as they haven’t told me, so I’m only guessing here) is deeply fascinated with what I’m doing. He watches my every move. When I look up from the screen, there he is, giving me his red-eyed, unblinking stare. He was also a gift from the fledgling, this time for Mother’s Day. He’s about a foot long, is the most gorgeous aqua color and as he grows, looks increasingly like the Creature from the Black Lagoon, except in Technicolor. He has a big tub of water, which he enjoys diving into now and then. When he comes out, he waves at me.
4. I love gray, rainy, windy, stormy, drizzly, foggy cold weather.
I mean, I really love it. As far as I’m concerned, the colors of the world are that much more vibrant against a background of gray. I love the sound rain makes when it falls, whether it’s on the roof, or on the leaves of the trees, or as it patters on a parking lot. I love the smell of rain, the feel of rain, the very idea of rain. Thunder and lightning don’t scare me – the more and the louder, the better. When the sky lights up with great, jagged bursts of eldritch electrical energy, it gives me a thrill, and the crack-boom-rumble of thunder just makes me grin.
I like to dress in warm clothes, I like to get cold because then I can come inside and warm up. I particularly like to back up to a nice, toasty wood fire in the woodstove. One of my favorite things in the winter is to get into bed between sheet so chilly they make you hiss, then cozy up to Mr. Wren (who radiates the most delicious heat) and snuggle beneath the feather comforter.
The truly weird part? I live in boring, sunny California.
5. Because like the lovable and loquacious Slob, I am having a hard time coming up with anything exceptionally weird about myself, I just asked the fledgling.
“Hmmm,” she said, gazing at me. “You’re not a very weird person, Mom.” She thought a little more about it. “Nope, I can’t think of anything about you or that you do that’s weird.”
We both sighed.
And then she said, with a big grin, “That’s it! The weird thing about you is that you’re not weird! These days, just about everyone has some weird personal quirk, but not you. You’re not weird, and that’s weird!”
So there. I love that child. I think.