Friday, July 27, 2012

One in the mouth, two in the bucket

Mountain Huckleberry
When I was a little girl, my mom would tell us on our way up to pick huckleberries, “Remember, more in the bucket than in the mouth. And I’ll be able to tell by your purple tongues.” Of course, we ate until our tummies hurt… all of us hunkered down with the murmurs of our mothers' voices keeping us close. Bored after only minutes, we generally sneaked off to explore, find a creek or build a fort. Then I grew up.

  Picking huckleberries has been a summer ritual all my life, as natural during the warm days as going barefoot, floating the river and shooting off fireworks. Some years berries are sparse or non-existent. This year they were everywhere, huge, juicy and irresistible. We four women drive up Crane Mountain, car windows shut against the dust. There are cars pulled to the side of the road everywhere. Another year we might moan, not this year. There is plenty for all after this late spring. Piling out of the car, one of us will ask about bug spray, another always has it. Buckets are distinct and individual, every kind from cut off plastic milk cartons to woven baskets.

 Not so long ago we were the murmuring voices and our children had the tummy aches and tried to sneak off to build forts while we picked. For twenty years we four women have berry picked together, raised our children, shared terrors and triumphs as they grew up, became adults and went off on their own. We still talk about our kids, sometimes our jobs, the struggles of life, our aches, books we’ve read, how mad we got over this or that and how hilarious it is when we can’t find our sunglasses perched on top our head or remember where we parked the car. The content of the conversation has changed, a little. But the warmth and intimacy has not. We are best friends. And we hoard, bake, can and freeze huckleberries.

 Some of us live in different towns now. But this yearly summer ritual never changes. It keeps us close, will have us gossiping and laughing years in the future when our knees are locking up, we’re using canes and our dentures stain from one berry in the mouth for every two in the bucket!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Dreaming schematics...

Last night I had another house dream. I often dream of houses, inside and out... vivid, very visual dreams that haunt me through the day. What does a "house" dream mean, Jungianly speaking? This morning I have new insight. Maybe.

This house, I was invited to by someone close to me, perhaps related. It was bizarre and archaic, filled with rooms like warehouses full of theater set pieces. A hoarder's paradise. I touched ancient books, school texts, shelves of novels I'd read (in real life), old toys I'd coveted (Barbie's and dolls), costumes I would dress in (oddly also a recurring theme in my dreams... mmm.) The design meandered, the bedrooms were down slides or hidden in secret nooks along passages lined with works of art, nick-nacs, beautiful junk. Stacks of odds and ends, a mish-mash from a collector's fantasy. All had some vague emotional value to me that I can't pin point now I'm conscious, of course.

Awakening from this wonderland of subconscious form and elaborately organized objects infusing me with a happy glow, I understood that this house (I even touched a giant broiler tank made like a wine barrel and tracked mold along a floor board), these rooms, the clutter, the emotional zing, all represented my cluttered, often scattered imagination. I'd dreamed a literal schematic of my creative brain! How cool was it? I can't wait to go back to sleep.

The moral of this story? Sleeping might get you a dream, but waking is where the work gets done...

Monday, July 2, 2012

The comedy of editing…

(I posted this last week on Montana Romance Writers blog but having just finished edits on final proofs of Smitten Image, am adding an Amen as an addendum!)

A lot of writers I know are in the process of editing right now. This ungentle, unintentionally uninspiring process is a love/hate relationship for most of us. If we’re still sane. So… here’s to having some fun while marching to the military drum of your dictatorial left brain.

You’d rather be editing because:

  1. It’s housekeeping without having to clean bathrooms.
  2. You only need pretend fins and snorkel to navigate the deep water.
  3. “Swamp People” reruns get old really fast.
  4. It’s a great excuse for doubling up on your drug (drugs) of choice.
  5. The pool boy thinks you’re not home and strips down to speedos.
  6. Grammatical monsters are simply rhetorical.
  7. You have a good excuse not to watch Wimbledon for the strawberries and cream (and a glimpse of Prince Harry.)
  8. Syn-tax can be taken with alcohol.
  9. It’s Sudoku for the right brain and, like Scrabble, counts as exercise.
  10. The cut and paste function is in code you don’t have to understand, ever.
  11. You glow during every “pregnant” pause.
  12. You may feel like you know diddly, but in your Iron Man jammies you are a super-hero.
  13. Attitude is nine-tenths of the sum total divided by the parabola but not equal to 0.
  14. The most interesting man in the world is not the one doing television commercials.
  15. Too soon you’ll be back teetering on the creative edge.