Oh, Fortuna, you capricious sprite…..

“You are funny.”

I look askance at my friend and think ‘Yeah, funny weird’.

She must have known the look because her voice leveled up a notch, “You are very funny, you should write this stuff down.”

I mentally tick off the list..
1. Not very funny.  Funny looking, funny to laugh at, maybe….
2. Not a great writer. Shitty first drafts, like Anne Lamott wrote about. Hmmpff, more like shitty 2nd, 3rd, 27th…
3. No one is going to want to read my shi…

“I’ll read it!”  My friend butted excitedly into my inner dialogue.

I told my nag side to shut up. Of course I need this. My therapist said so. I needed to work on my self-worth, or was it my co-dependence? Something.

“Fine, fine. I’ll write a blog or something about my childhood misadventures.”

As if convinced I still wasn’t going to do it, she quickly retorted, “And send me the link, I want to read it too.”


Now picture this yellow road sign. Caution: shitty first draft ahead.  Yep, you’ve been warned.

The next day I sat staring at the cold white screen of the computer. Sure, why not write about my childhood, it could be sold as an alternative to sleeping pills.

So where do I start?

The white glare of the laptop screen illuminates the various food bits freckled across it. I use my fingernail to carefully scratch them off while I ponder their origins.

That killed a few minutes. Now what?

Thinking back to my childhood I couldn’t remember anything funny. Good God, maybe people equate weird with funny, for that I have in spades.

I procrastinate some more by contemplating the meaning of “in spades”.

Oh fine, here!

The smell of sagebrush always brings me back to that lonely little hill. Mom had re-married and the newest man in her life lived in a house on that hill. In fact, it was two little houses (house squared?) nearly next to each other. Nearly being the 10 to 12 inches that spanned the distance between the two internal doors of the house. So to step into the living room from the kitchen was not unlike crossing from one train car to another. This spot also had a view when you looked down while crossing. You see, our house or house-squared if you like, had no septic system. Our shit literally ran out the toilet, under the crawlspace of the house, across the dirt drive, down the hill, and out to the bay. You could follow its dotted path of watery clumps of toilet paper and green mold among the stalks of tomato plants. They grew, I learned later, because the human digestive system takes a pass on the tomato seed, so it comes right out the other end totally unadulterated. I spent a lot of time as a kid foraging wild food, but I refused to touch a tomato off those plants.

Actually, calling it a house was being rather generous. It was, to my understanding, a hunting cabin. Not one of those picturesque log cabin types I remember from movies, but a hodgepodge of single-wall construction and dark sinister corners. Something a hermit would live in while he worked on his manifesto and shook his fist at low flying aircraft.

I need a break from this trip down memory lane. I still haven’t come up with a name for my blog. I thought about Great Eructations, a play on words with Great Expectations and a line from one of my favorite books, A Confederacy Of Dunces. I’m going to escape to the shower and think on this.

While in my watery retreat my thoughts of naming my blog “Shitty First Drafts” is interrupted when the bathroom door bangs open and a second later an arm pokes past the curtain at the opposite end of the shower. In its fist is a greyish piece of paper.

“Look mom!”

I squint through steam to read what looks like a copied page from the furniture section of a 1974 Sears catalog but with the words Youtube spelled out on the top. If you are the parent of an Asperger kid, this scene may be familiar. My oldest is still learning that people have boundaries and privacy issues, especially in the bathroom. He can also be very obsessed, right now his obsession is apparently spoof websites in vintage form. He’s also scattered, much like an absent-minded professor. A title I’ve been known to call him to his face, with an eye roll in return. He’s now showing me a 50s era page with Facebook written at the top. I’m fairly sure researchers will one day discover that this Aspie nature is hereditary and that he got it from me. This point is ironically illustrated as I’m dressing and find I’ve put my shirt on backwards.

Showers in the house-squared weren’t private either. We owned a cantankerous white rooster named Heathcliff, who would plant himself on top of the water tank outside the bathroom window and squawk at anyone in the shower or on the toilet. The shower was very much like the house. Someone had bent sheet metal into an open-sided rectangle, added a shower head, drain and called it good. The sheet metal was so thin it sounded like rolling thunder with every step taken.  At some point they had gotten around to painting it white but not successfully as I entertained myself with stripping off long pieces of the paint so as to keep my mind off the fear of the whole contraption collapsing into the shitty river in the crawlspace under the house.

In addition to my appalling lack of self-worth and possible Asperger genetics I’m also a closet OCD. I’m unable to write so much as a paragraph without wondering how many different tenses I’ve used or if this non-sequitur style of writing will completely turn off readers and cause grammar nazis to roll around the floor in agony.

I tell my inner nag to shut the hell up, I don’t care what those people think (or do I?) I’ve decided to name my inner nag after my dear departed great aunt, Gladys. Should I ever write a chapter on Aunt Gladys, you’ll know why she got the nod.

To Be Continued…

Postscript. I had my husband preview this post. He kindly pointed out an error in tense in my second line. Oh don’t bother going back and checking, I fixed the little bugger. Now I hear Gladys the Nag quietly snickering.


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