Sunday, March 14, 2010

Random Acts of Kindness

I've decided those birkenstock-wearing, patchouli smelling folk who really are kind to animal, vegetable, and mineral alike might be on to something with the "Practice random acts of kindness" bumper stickers.

Driving down one of Florida's many, many, many expensive toll roads this weekend I took a whim to pay the toll of persons behind me. Doubled my fare for the trip, but honestly, it was the MOST fun. Lest you think I qualify as beneficent, let me clarify.

When you pay the toll for the person behind you, it is highly unlikely they can ever pay you back. Or even say thank you. There is a possibility you will drag race to the next toll booth and if they beat you they then return the favor. BUT. Since you come out of the tollbooth bottleneck a half mile or so ahead of them, this scenario is unlikely. If they want to say thank you the best opportunity they have is a hand wave at your exit, when you slow down.

This confuses people.

Seriously? Why did the person in that car do that? Do they think they know me? Are they supposed to be in a car caravan where the person behind them had no cash? Why would they DO that?

I drove along and laughed and laughed. More entertainment from a one dollar bill than you can get anywhere north of Tijuana.

Random acts of kindness. You really do get more than you give.

And maybe there was a tiny case of the warm fuzzies when a car would pass me and wave at the person who did something nice for them for no real reason.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Negative Criticism in The Public Arena

If your published or public work gets reamed by someone else, congratulations! First, you're published. Second, enough people know about you to assume opinion about your work might interest other people. That's kind of huge, if you think about it. Something you created is well known enough that people who make their living writing about stuff other people wrote picked on your book as a title whose name recognition they could skate on.

And finally, if you must respond, take a page from Sandra Bullock. She didn't post a drunken diatribe on a webpage, she took the heat, and she defended her work without telling anybody they were wrong or too stupid to "get" her.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

In Which the Unfortunate State of My Face is Explained

We dance in our kitchen while supper cooks. The five year old pirate, the two year old princess, and Mama rock out to everything from The Beastie Boys to Tchaikovsky. "Dancing" generally starts by miming what we hear in the music. 1812 Overture, for example, has several martial interludes that are just perfect for prancing like horses.

Inevitably the free form interpretive dance devolves into mere spinning and giggling.

On Sunday, Mama spun herself so dizzy that it was all she could do to release the boy before he joined her in what may have been the most spectacular faceplant in the history of mankind. The floor, armed with a thin woolen area rug, leapt up and slugged Mama in the face while the pirate looked on in horror. Said area rug offered no buffer from the hardness of the floor but did contribute a lovely, oozy rug burn to the insulted area of her face. It's crusted over nicely. Mama is a special kind of pretty this week.

It hurt. A lot. I may have been mildly concussed as I had a couple of episodes of retching after this impressive display of grace and dexterity.

I invited my Facebook friends to please help me come up with a better story. Among the more inspired suggestions were:

  • I sustained the injury in an altercation with the Canadians during one of the hockey games at the Olympics. (I like this one. I could work "puck" in there and we all know what rhymes with "puck." I'm a sucker for word play.)
  • Several references to domestic violence. "I'm not a good listener" and "Supper was late." No, neither I nor any of my friends think actual domestic violence is funny. The notion that that boy I married might perpetrate it, however, is so out there as to be Monty Python hilarious. As is the notion that I wouldn't kick his skinny white a@@ if he ever did such to me.
  • And my personal favorite: I took an elbow from a stripper who was jealous that I had more bills in my t-back than she did.

My cheekbone still looks like the stunt double for the Pilsbury Dough Boy but the glorious technicolor has faded. I just hope the kids are not forever terrified of dancing now. They already have to overcome being Baptist. Adding risk to life and limb as well as the immortal soul can't help my case.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Writer's Groups and Accountability: Have We Taken Things Too Far?

So my blogging buddy McKoala set up an accountability system for her writerly community. I did not actually think she would really send a killer koala all the way from Australia to rough me up if I didn't come up to snuff.

Apparently, she meant business. Writers, beware. It's a dangerous business.