Tag Archives: writing

Spending a year at the Magic Bus Stop.

Today, the Magic Bus has been careening into the Bus Stop for a year. Some things have become evident during that time:

If the definition of a writer is someone who writes, that makes me a writer. But I’m not a writer and I don’t aspire to be one. I don’t want to be anything. My best wordsmithing is to the world’s writing as a 40 watt light bulb is to the stars above the clear West Texas sky. There are some thoughts in my head that I’d like to share, and an assortment of experiences for which I want to do the same, and the Magic Bus Stop has become a handy place to do both.

Sometimes I am downright perplexed over the blog entries chosen to be Fresh Pressed. Surely the regular Fresh Press picker was at a doctor’s appointment or the Fresh Press door was inadvertently left ajar and someone rode in on a hackneyed subject sporting grammatical and spelling errors. Then I remind myself that writing at the Magic Bus Stop isn’t about being Fresh Pressed. One of the things I salvaged from the wreck of relocation is the ability to sometimes say or write something funny. If I’ve made someone laugh, it’s a good day for me, Fresh Pressed or not.

My virtual world has expanded in direct relation to the contraction of my physical world. Readers have boarded in Hungary, Nigeria, and India. I’ve gone kayaking with aliens, sung in a choir with more than 3,000 other singers, and added goals (such as huffing insulation) to my list. I live for the absurd, the quirky, the goofy, and even when I get those back into my walking around life I’m going to hang onto the friends I’ve found virtually. For most of my physical world hours I am alone, and it’s nice that you’re here for me in my virtual world. Thanks, everybody. The stardust of your conversation makes driving the Bus a much bigger adventure.

Editing is variously akin to rearranging furniture, cutting off fingers or toes a joint at a time without anesthetic, or taking out the trash.

My photography skills are minimal.  The Magic Bus Stop is not a photography blog; I like to include a few pictures to bring you along on our explorations, maybe give someone a vicarious thrill — perhaps that reader seeing the Mummer’s Parade from Hawaii or the follower in India getting the big fin from a humpback whale. I can’t allow the photos to become a crutch because I can’t wrangle the words.

Writing is destructive, enlightening, agonizing, frustrating, futile, helpful, rewarding, crushing. There are circumstances, happenings, situations, emotions, for which there are no words. Period.

There are crowds of people everywhere crawling along walking the same emotional bed of coals as I am. That’s heartening. Sad, too.

I had a very nice childhood, but I got off that carousel horse a long time ago and my Magic Bus is in drive, not reverse. The rear view mirror is where I hang a raccoon tail and a smiling blue plastic hippo. The Memory Lane of childhood is not my destination.

My “aaargh!” quotient is still significant in that things I write trying to honor someone else turn out to about me. Those people I want to hold in sunlight deserve so much better, and they are bigger than my ability.

I get more from the Magic Bus Stop than I give. Commenting on bloggers’ posts, reading what others have to say, and being invited on their journeys is almost more gratifying than telling my story. I’m nibbling at many tables, sampling  youngster’s opinions and sipping experiential wine with people my age. Blogging resembles a banquet with its diverse offerings and opportunities to try something new. Or not. There’s no pressure, but there are mountains of encouragement. And I’ve reached the Age of Irony where those 20 years younger than me are dancing the same steps I did at their age. I want to tell them not to let anyone dip them too far backward, but I brushed off anyone who told me that. Sometimes you have to grimace through the back sprain to learn not to bend that way again. 

So, thanks for coming by the Bus Stop. There’s always room for you on the Magic Bus, and if it seems to be late pulling up, it’s because I’m packing the cooler so we can pour ourselves a virtual cold one to enjoy together at the end of the day’s ride, along with a little stardust.

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A Baker’s Dozen

n    (Mathematics & Measurements/Units)   thirteen

[from the bakers’ former practice of giving thirteen rolls where twelve were requested, to protect themselves against accusations of giving light weight]

 The current trend seems to be toward publishing lists – 10 things women wish men knew ( toilet lids down, use napkins, no means no, never enough shoes, no empty jars in the fridge, yes I cry, no you can’t fix everything, finish what you start, 20 years is long enough to wear a free tee shirt, sometimes the box is better than what’s inside);   50 best places to retire this week (there’s so much more to it than cost of living, weather, and population count so laughably emphasized in those worthless articles) ; 7 deadly sins (as listed at www.deadlysins.com: anger, gluttony, sloth, envy, lust, pride, greed – how many evil badges have you earned? Collect all 7!).

 I’ve compiled my own baker’s dozen list of what I’ve come to appreciate much more over the past year, in completely random order. Here we go:

 TED.com – I have a link to this on my blog. Go there. Watch a lecture. Think about the presentations. Listen to the understated Ric Elias talk about a life-changing airplane trip, check out what Jill Bolte Taylor brings on stage, experience the wistfulness of wishing you’d known Ben Dunlap’s friend. Broaden a horizon, maybe your own.

 CSA – Community supported agriculture. In wide-eyed, city-dweller wonder and ignorance, I signed up to receive an assigned share of locally-grown produce. Every other week I show up at a parking lot with my bag and weigh potatoes, arugula, oyster mushrooms and many other foods I would never purchase in a grocery store because I don’t know what they are. It’s a very Dickensian experience, particularly when holding up my plastic container for the farm person to fill with apple cider from a blue 55 gallon drum. I am now addicted to lettuce and realize kale can actually be eaten; you can do more with rhubarb than make pie; watermelon contributes to a tasty chutney. And mushy cantaloupe blends well with Skyy Citrus Vodka.

 BEER – What a heady love affair I’m in. I want to sample every last brew from every micro and craft brewery in the United States (except maybe Clown Shoes, based on a near experience and general clown loathing). And I want to try them all by the end of the week, which I guess is a bit unrealistic (though still a noble goal).

 ROBERT EARL KEEN – Why did it take one of the most heart-breaking times of my life to wrap his music around myself like hot caramel around an apple? I know every word of “Merry Christmas from the Family.” If you haven’t heard his newest release “Ready for Confetti,” stop, do not pass go, do not collect $200 until you listen to it.

 LEATHER – Somebody should have dope-slapped me years ago on this one. I still harbor an aversion to our leather couch, but I have no such problem with my new leather jacket, and those absolutely necessary black leather boots I had to have to wear with that (unnecessary though shivery-comforty) jacket. There’s a safe feeling, but a bold one, too, when wearing leather. Accept no imitations. Thank you, Ebay. Sorry, Elsie.

 YOU TUBE – I could not have survived the last year without YouTube. From 50 States of Confusion to Rodrigo y Gabriela to Nora the Cat to Steve Jobs to Felonius Monk to Eric Whitacre, I’m rounding out and enhancing my heretofore shockingly circumspect and limited education.  I’ve learned how to fold tee shirts and tents, seen that a smartphone might outsmart me, heard that more people answered “a joint” than “the church collection basket” when asked to name something that gets passed around, and discovered I can do a decent Bruce Springsteen imitation to Mike’s Neil Young. All these have been witnessed from my office chair. Free.

 BRAS THAT FIT – Not a pleasure, but less than a bed of nails. You can fill in whatever else at this point.

 LOW SLUNG BOOT-CUT JEANS – As with leather above, sometimes my learning curve is so steep I tip over backwards trying to climb up the slope. These gems take at least 10 years off my middle aged frame. They’re comfortable clothes that actually look good (no humility there, but I’m discarding that with everything else these days, except the bras that fit. For now, anyway.)

 THE BLUES – I’ve said it before but I’m sayin’ it again. Koko Taylor and Big Mama Thorton, if I could find a way, I’d inhale your essence and hold it in my lungs. No exhaling.

 HUMMUS – I’m going to have to put a time lock on the refrigerator. Beyond delicious, and there’s a rumor it might be healthy.

 NPR – Say what you want about government funding, biased news, etc. etc. NPR is about so much more than news. Never in a million years would I have otherwise discovered The Decemberists, The Bridge School Concerts, a Smoot, and more movies than I can name (including I Love You Philip Morris; Enron, the Smartest Guys in the Room; and The Battle of Algiers). NPR has made me more thoughtful and open to other viewpoints, but it hasn’t helped me understand Lady Gaga or that New Jersey girl, Snookie or Nookie or whatever her name is. No matter where I am I can usually find an NPR station with familiar voices and worthwhile stories.

 MY BLOG – This year’s completely unexpected lifesaver. Some years back I wrote bad fiction. Sometimes the blog seems like bad fiction. The Magic Bus Stop is a deep, murky pothole swallowing everything I can pour into it. Somewhere in that big dark space, my missing identity lies covered by Solitude, Sadness, Emptiness, and Lost Dreams. The more I write into the blog, the closer to the surface my identity rises. Must write, must write, must write.

 FRIENDS & FAMILY – Some old, some new, some borrowed. . . Sisters of another mother; friends online and in town; family found as the scales fell from our eyes leaving us bloody and bowed and leaning on each other – whether you know it or not, each of you at some point has propped me up. You are all on the Bus with me, and I’m better for having you beside me.

 

 

 

 

Gallery

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta (or, shameless self-congratulations, or always change your underwear before leaving home)

This gallery contains 8 photos.

I’m doing that silly, happy, smiley routine today. Sometimes it takes almost nothing to get that started, and this one’s poured over a cube of embarrassment. The Albuquerque Balloon Festival published my lame little spiel about attending the festival in … Continue reading

I need a new job.

That title is accurate, but note the word “new.” It suggests that I currently have a job, and that’s true. Actually, the Magic Bus takes me to an office M – F, 9:00 – 5:00, there’s a guy there who’s as much boss of a Queen as anyone could claim to be, and I get a paycheck seemingly just for showing up. Rarely do I do more than that. For many a person that would be a dream-come-true situation; for me, not so much.

So, here I come to you, my readers and friends, to pick your above-average brains in my search for a better job. Let me tell you what I need (mostly in this order):

  1. Travel— cross-country, airplane, or get-out-of-jail-free travel. Nothing local since I really need to re-inflate my now 20-square-mile life. I thought about joining the circus but I can’t walk the high wire because I have acrophobia, clowns seem evil to me (the one that popped out of my

    I am very evil.

    childhood jack-in-the-box was revolting [Hear the clown laugh.]), and I have to be more judicious at my age about wearing lycra or tights. I can’t swallow fire and I don’t want to clean up after elephants.  I believe you have to actually run away to join a circus and that’s not fair to Mike. Although come to think of it, I haven’t asked his opinion on my running away to join the circus; he might disabuse me of my notion of what’s fair vs. what’s not.

     
  2. People— Interaction with other humans would be a significant plus. Now that I’ve served my time in solitary at my current job, having some folks

    Hi! I'm so pathetically happy to see you!

    around would be pretty nifty. Given a little time, and patience on their part, I’m certain I could once again regain my comedic footing and be an entertaining asset to almost any organization. I have so much more to say than “good morning; I’m going to lunch;” and “see you tomorrow.” Some of it’s pretty interesting, too. Who else do you know who can discuss 25 ways to cook eggplant, decorating with wine bottles, 101 uses for a cork, what not to say at a job interview, and how to use the bathroom while wearing a hoop skirt?

  3. Computer & internet access — Uncle. I give in. We need this. Okay, I need this. If I didn’t currently have computer and internet access I’d be wearing a lycra-free straight jacket (preferably something in a nice lime green color). There’s so much to be learned over the ‘Net — www.ted.com, www.npr.org, www.youtube.com, and on and on. When I can combine numbers 1, 2, and 3, I am unstoppable. I become a veritable winning lottery ticket of trivia, fun facts, hilarious cartoons, seemingly useless information, and pithy sayings. Sadly, I am currently teetering toward an overweighted level of #3, which means # 1 and #2 are signficantly anemic (i.e., I’m living my life online).
  4. And, last — money. Last for a reason. I know how this sounds. Yes, I know we all need money. If this was only about money I wouldn’t be writing this. But when the job, or just about anything, becomes about the money, you can kiss the fun goodbye. I had a trinket-selling business some years back, which I loved, until it became about the money or lack thereof. My trinket business provided autonomy, complexity and a connection between effort and reward (didn’t I tell you I could discuss a wide assortment of subjects, and in multi-syllabic terms?).  My saleswomanship was lacking, however, which was one of the reasons for the demise of trinket business. But I had more fulfilling and fun days while doing that than I’ve had before or since on a job. And the people I met. . .beyond memorable.

I am expected, however, and rightfully so, to put my weight into the traces, help bring home the virtual (or actual) bacon, contribute my fair share toward household expenses. So be it. Remuneration is a factor, but a negotiable one.

 So here I am, looking for your advice and your ideas. Six degrees of separation – you have a second cousin on your step-mother’s side who knows someone who has a friend whose next-door-neighbor needs a reliable person who can hit the road when necessary, be helpful and kind, talk a little about a lot, finish an assignment lickety-split, pour a good beer, drive like a big girl, and be a friend when needed. Maybe even write a blog entry for them.

Will write for fun.

Send me your thoughts. Soon.

With a little help from my friends

I decided to write a collaborative story on Facebook with anyone who wanted to participate. No rules, just write. I provided the opening paragraph:

“The car hurtled through the dry desert air, like a Patriot missile with wheels. It spun slowly, elegantly, end to end, dipped headlights to sand and ended in shivasana on its roof. Silence, then a desert breeze, followed by a chicken’s cluck. From one shattered window, an appendage — leathery, purple, and snake-long — tapped out like a daddy-long-leg.”

Here’s what followed (verbatim):

The creature slithered the rest of its body out of the damaged window. The leathery skin not even getting a scratch as it passes over the broken glass.  Then..once again the chicken’s cluck..but this time it was only a whisper…as the “thing” looked around with eyes that shined like diamonds…the creature stopped in its tracks. . Then, out of nowhere, Elvis appeared and sang “Jailhouse Rock.” But only the chicken seemed to acknowledge his presence, or so it seemed. The creature’s purple skin bubbled, swelled and split. Dark hands stripped back the torn sheath, and a liquid figure clothed in a 3-pc. suit of ice cream cones stepped onto the sand. “Greetings, loved ones,” said Snoop Dogg. “Let’s take a journey. And you will determine the destination of this journey, and the manner in which it will be accomplished. It must meet all of my criteria or you will be banished to a further hell than any you have experienced thus far”. As the most feared of the Alien Alliance leaders, Snoop Dogg, instructed his companions that clues have been left along the journey that would indicate the secret destination. Out of nowhere there appeared in one hand a magic napkin dispenser which would show pictures of the clue sites along the way. Snoop Dogg, carrying his umbrella and spare poncho, was all too prepared fo’ tha drizzle that could get all up in his nizzle. With magical chicken, magical napkin dispenser, poncho, and umbrella in his very full hands, Snoop started his trek across the desert with elvis to find the clues that would lead them to their destination- The Circle K. They couldn’t wait to get to the Circle K for the much loved princess of ALL the Circles reigned here. She was very beautiful and wise and would be able to create music with Elvis (Costello) and Snoop Dogg along with Freddie Mercury. Music so fantastic that the world would all stop and say ………..Who is that masked Dogg? Is the Evil Cousin of Snoop Dogg…known to his enemies as Hoop Dogg…Yes it was Him…he was here at Circle K to kidnap the most lovely Princess and take her far…far away from the ones who worshiped her charming ways…BUT…the princess was no pushover. She seized the magic chicken & crammed it in Hoop Dogg’s throat. Hoop Dogg staggered. Snoop Dogg donned his poncho & impaled Hoop Dogg with his umbrella. Elvis mopped his brow with a magic napkin, wiping away his features to reveal Donny Osmond. “Get me a fountain drink, Donny,” the princess ordered. As the door to the Circle K opened, the sound of “We Are the Champions” filled the air. THE END

I did threaten mid way to bring Donny Osmond into it if necessary, and I am a woman of my word. But I want to thank all the contributors: Kristie (thanks for naming the blog, too), Andy, Debbie, Nancy, Eric and Lucia.

Washington should have turned over the debt ceiling issue to us. We could have handled it more efficiently.

Let’s try poetry next.