Tag Archives: Write on Edge

Jan
18
2013
Not An Announcement About Doping

I have two announcements and luckily neither of them is that I sat down with Oprah to tell her and the world that I won the Tour de France seven times by cheating. Unfortunately, neither announcement is about early retirement either (although I did sign up for a day-long retirement seminar at work in March and I’ve never been so excited about a work-sponsored training in my life).

Oprah hasn’t asked to interview me yet, but my fellow Precipice author, AmyBeth Inverness, has! She publishes an interview every Friday and I was thrilled when she asked if I would participate. You can read the interview here. AmyBeth asked great questions and I really enjoyed answering them (I suppose if I didn’t enjoy talking about myself, I wouldn’t have a blog, eh?). Also, getting to discuss my Precipice piece allowed me to bask in the afterglow of getting something published one last time before turning to the decision of whether or not to push my luck for the second go-round of the literary anthology. Interesting that I just wrote “push my luck,” since the theme for Precipice this year is “luck.” 

The second announcement is that I’ve started a new blog about ice cream. As I wrote more and more about my ice cream hobby here, I started to think it would be nice to have a special place to focus only on that and keep Logy centered on writing and humor and, well, everything else. You can check out the new blog and my first post about ice cream inspired by the buckeyes I “enjoy” making every year for Christmas at Get the Scoop.

Stephen at Company of H helped me out again with the blog design and I’m pleased with how it looks and functions. I think he believes I’m crazy for not building the site on self-hosted WordPress (especially since my Logy host would let me add a second blog for free), since it limited what we could do with the design a lot, but I wanted to have the built-in community of WordPress.com. I’m so happy with the new look of Logy Express, but I miss how easy it was to connect with other WordPress users on the free hosting platform. If I had it to do over again, I don’t think I would’ve moved Logy Express, I would’ve just tried to tweak the design to make it prettier.

So there’s a blogging tip in addition to my two announcements. Don’t say I never give you anything.

Oct
31
2012
Published!

Yesterday I made my publishing debut! Well, outside of my high school’s literacy magazine and the (up until now!) anonymous writing I’ve done here.

Earlier this year, I submitted a memoir piece to the lovely people at Write on Edge for the first edition of their literary anthology. As I mentioned here, I spent quite some time mining my memory reserves in service of the writing. I’m thrilled that my piece was accepted and to announce that the anthology, Precipice, is now available for your reading pleasure. I’m honored and, quite frankly, surprised to be in the company of such talented writers.

You can click on the link above or on the picture below (Amazon) to obtain your own copy of Precipice. For a low fee, you can read my teenage angst in print or on your e-reader.

 

I’d like to thank Dave for his patience while I did little but type for several weeks and for being willing to read so many drafts of different stories about my relationship with an ex. That can’t have been fun. I’d also like to thank my friend Erin for the support and encouragement, and for steering me in a more authentic direction.

My piece is titled “Good Enough,” and recounts the circumstances leading to my first kiss. This is fertile writing ground I’ve covered before in a different context. It seems the early college phase of my life is my low hanging writing fruit — suitably dramatic, but not lingeringly painful. The diary I kept religiously during this time preserved the memories while they were still fresh. Unfortunately for everyone involved with me during this time, I have pretty accurate dialogue. 

People have asked me what happened after that first kiss. I’ve written a little about that before, but two things got in the way of expanding this story for Precipice:

1.) the word limit,

2.) an overwhelming urge not to look dumb.

And, oh, how dumb I was. But I learned useful lessons…lessons in the critical art of understanding the inner thoughts of men. In honor of the release of Precipice, I will share these lessons in a future post, so stay tuned. It’s a must read for any of you who have ever been confused by the words of that special dude in your life. A companion piece, perhaps, to He’s Just Not That Into You. Because, believe me, he is into you. Sort of. If only men weren’t so complicated

Sep
7
2012
Garbage In…

In between sips of my Amaretto Sour, I kept gingerly clinking my teeth together.

One of my hallmates suggested going to Nick’s, and I realized my usual response of “I’m not drunk enough to eat at Nick’s” was not accurate.

“I can’t feel my teeth,” I offered.

“Great, let’s go!”

Janice was the only person on the hall who was sober and awake. She graciously and foolishly agreed to drive a bunch of drunk people to Nick’s.

Surveying the crowd of us, she responsibly pointed out, “you won’t all fit in the car.”

Fro’s argument was clear and strong as he tossed her the keys, “Nick’s!”

We entered the car in shifts. The last available space was horizontal. Two of us had to wedge ourselves like Tetris pieces onto the laps of those already on the back seat.

My neck bent awkwardly and my head was jammed into the ceiling.

The Nick’s virgins got a briefing on the proper etiquette. Be ready by the time you get to the front of the line. No substitutions. Yes, you had to eat the macaroni salad. Don’t look, just eat.

We debated the merits of pouring ketchup over everything. We sang along with the radio. We accidentally poked each other in sensitive areas whenever Janice took a sharp corner.

Before I’d taken one bite, that first garbage plate from Nick’s turned out to be one of the most nourishing meals I’d ever had.

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​This post is a response to this week’s writing prompt at Write on Edge.

“Certain local items linger in your mind and weave together with memories and stories you remember with an almost possessive type of nostalgia. This week you have 350 words to write a fiction or creative non-fiction piece in which a local or regional item or industry plays a role.”

My college-era nostalgia is possessive indeed! As stated in the video, a garbage plate from Nick Tahou’s is a rite of passage for college students in Rochester, NY. He neglected to mention the drunk in the wee hours of the morning part.

 

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood

Feb
27
2012
Want Some Cold Duck?

Grampa started in early with offers of Cold Duck. The same Cold Duck he had obviously already been enjoying. Even my Dad didn’t want any of that swill. Instinctively, I shrunk back, standing behind my Mom.

Although Mom and Dad assured Grampa no one wanted any Cold Duck, he would check in with us on this point every few minutes anyway with a barrage of “Want some Cold Duck? You sure? Cold Duck?”

While nudging each other and repeatedly asking, “want some Cold Duck” would eventually become a running joke in our family, at that moment we were trapped in a loop of Cold Duck offers. Would we ever be able to leave without drinking Cold Duck? 

Perhaps he was so drunk, he thought he was funny. Or perhaps he was so drunk he kept forgetting he had already checked on our desire for some Cold Duck. Or perhaps he was so drunk, he didn’t realize how inappropriate it was to offer his grandchildren Cold Duck.

The only thing I knew for sure…he was so drunk.

Luckily, he snapped out of his Cold Duck obsession long enough to remember he had ice cream.

“Do you want some Metropolitan ice cream?”

I shot a look at my Mom. Did I? We were all wary. What the heck was Metropolitan ice cream?

“What’s Metropolitan, Grampa?”

“You know, chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry…Metropolitan.”

“Oh, you mean Neapolitan?”

“No, it’s called Metropolitan.”

We went back and forth on this until Grampa was good and pissed. He insisted he was right and said, “I’ll show you.”

We dutifully followed him to the kitchen, dreading the moment when he realized his error.

But instead, we watched in disbelief as he held up the carton of ice cream and said, “see, it’s Metropolitan” while simultaneously pointing to the word “Neapolitan.”

Grampa did not need any more Cold Duck.

This post was inspired by the Write on Edge RemembeRED writing prompt to write a memoir piece in which wine, coffee, or chocolate features prominently.

My Dad’s parents were a real treat…but making fun of Grampa was usually good for a laugh. Neapolitan isn’t very common anymore, but whenever I see it, I still call it “metropolitan.” And I still don’t want any Cold Duck, thanks for asking.


Write on Edge: RemembeRED

Jan
17
2012
Title and Tagline

Under Construction: Brussels, the European Union, and Me

This post was inspired by the Write on Edge RemembeRED writing prompt:

“Imagine your life, or a part of your life, as a title and tagline. That’s it. Give us the title, and give us the tagline.”

You know I can’t leave it at that. This prompt and my oldest nephew’s recent arrival in France has me thinking of my own study abroad experience in 1994. I have a whole separate post brewing about this. Here I’ll just say the whole city felt as if it were under construction. The fountain in the picture above did not exist when I arrived. I walked by a mess of cranes building something day after day. During the last two weeks of my stay, the cranes were replaced by a small park complete with trees, benches, and that fountain, ironically (defiantly?) crane-like.

Write on Edge: RemembeRED

Jan
10
2012
Breaking My Stride

I knew what I wanted. I had pictured tears of relief and pride at the finish line of my first half marathon, but my eyes stayed dry. My words were salty instead. “If I ever talk about doing that again, punch me in the face.”

I also muttered obscenities regarding the measurement accuracy of the infinite last tenth of a mile. Several of my toes burned, a painful reminder of my idiotic decision to walk on the beach in my running shoes the day before.

But mostly, I felt an exhaustion that said, two hours, 34 minutes, and 27 seconds is too long to do anything not involving popcorn or a horizontal position. I didn’t want to quit running, but I wanted to be faster, to release my inner cheetah. While I’d never run a pace even close, I set a goal of a 30-minute 5K.

On my speed-work days, I worried my inner cheetah was a tortoise. But the race I’d chosen was perfect:  on the trail where I usually run, night-owl friendly start time (11:30am!), and fall weather (I’m a delicate flower).

Keeping my pace felt effortless the entire first half. At the turnaround point, I thought, I have this. Then I learned something new about my trail. It’s not completely flat. The second mile and a half was all uphill. I’d never noticed the incline before, but pushing this foreign pace made it obvious.

Running began to feel like wading through mud. I wondered if I’d be able to finish, let alone beat my goal time. As I wrestled with myself, I noticed my husband on the side of the trail, my dog sitting at his side. I hadn’t expected to see them until the finish line. Chuck’s tail started wagging when he saw me approach. I felt a burst of adrenaline and my pace quickened. I prepared to give them a wave as I passed. I had no time to spare.

Then Chuck darted right into my path, plopped himself down, and looked up expectantly at me for the obligatory doting.

Although I did have to slow down to avoid crushing my dog, I didn’t have to stop, shouldn’t have stopped. But I couldn’t resist my fluffy muffin.

I missed my goal by 28 seconds. I like to blame it on Chuck. He broke-a my stride.

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Seriously, could you resist that face?

This post was inspired by the RemembeRED writing prompt: to write, in 400 words or less, about an unfulfilled goal beginning with the words, “I knew what I wanted.”

I’ve run four more 5K races since Chuck’s anti-Matthew Wilder interference and the trend is going in the wrong direction. I bought Run Less, Run Faster since I want to run faster and I can also totally get behind running less. I’m hoping it helps.

Write on Edge: RemembeRED

Nov
10
2011
M.Y.O.B on O.P.P.

With apologies to Jane Austen, the writers of He’s Just Not That Into You, and Naughty By Nature.

What makes people think they have special psychic powers on the topic of other people’s feelings? If you are really psychic, I think I’d rather know what stock is really going to take off next week, not who you think likes me.

It starts early when your Mom tells you boys pick on you because they “like” you. Why do we try to convince girls that appalling/indifferent/conflicting behavior is a sign of love? Not helpful.

I think people are just bored. Who doesn’t crave a little drama now and then? Even better if the drama doesn’t directly affect us. In other words, we are all down with O.P.P. (Other People’s Pursuits), particularly those of a romantic nature.

So friends, family, and random passers-by love to talk smack and try to plant seeds of romance, most of which have about as much chance of blooming as…something that usually doesn’t bloom (Dave’s annual failed tomato container gardens, perhaps?). While possibly well-meaning, these thoughts are based on no special insight whatsoever and, in the case of your loved ones, a completely biased sense of how appealing you are to whichever sex you are trying to attract.

Of course, your worst enemy in the game of O.P.P. is you. We can be vulnerable to this unsolicited matchmaking because everyone believes, or at least hopes, they are worth liking.

Exhibit A: “Project Fox” or “From Disinterest to Devastation”

My high school allowed Exhibit A and I to attend classes at the college downtown. He offered me a ride. My friends nudged each other and exchanged knowing glances. I bristled with embarrassment and actually considered saying no.

“We’re going to the same place and he has a car. He’s just being nice,” I insisted.

An over excited friend, let’s call her Miss Woodhouse, decided this offer meant something deeper. Watching for signs in every little move he made became her pet project. Like all pets, she insisted on naming it: “Project Fox.” Project Fox would, of course, culminate in Exhibit A asking me out. My feelings on the subject (disinterest) were immaterial.

One afternoon, he locked his keys in the car. By the time we broke in, we were too late for class, which led to a string of afternoons spent ditching class and hanging out. Even my most cynical friend became down with O.P.P., “I totally think he locked his keys in the car on purpose.” (Editor’s Note: Show of hands, who thought the same thing when you got to that part? Who’s down with O.P.P.? Suckers!)

I felt the excitement of getting away with something. I also felt the excitement of making a new friend. My friends felt the excitement of O.P.P.

Miss Woodhouse believed Exhibit A’s not asking me to the upcoming dance was a sign, not of his disinterest, but only that I would have to ask him. Although I wasn’t really up for it, the Project Fox matchmaking manipulation was a success. Inexplicably he said yes and we spent an awkward evening together during which I carried myself as if I were made of glass. When we said good night without a kiss, I was both disappointed and relieved.

Project Fox ended in a standoff in an empty classroom where I demanded an explanation of why we weren’t friends anymore. He squirmed like an animal in a trap and insisted we were still friends. But we weren’t and that stung. People, sometimes a ride is just a ride.

You don’t need a Cruise Director for your love life. Relationships engineered by the Miss Woodhouses of your life are doomed.

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This was inspired by this week’s RemembeRED memoir prompt (“Write about a relationship you knew was doomed from the start.”), but since I’m over the word limit, I didn’t officially link up.

Have you ever let a Miss Woodhouse convince you to pursue someone you otherwise wouldn’t have? How’d that turn out?

Write on Edge: RemembeRED

Nov
1
2011
Winter Cauliflower

It was a delicacy we had only once, but my family still speaks of it decades later. Mom’s cauliflower goo was before its time. Today she could call it “cauliflower mash,” an ingenious carb substitute!

In my pre-FoodTV youth, overcooked (and/or canned) vegetables were the norm. My family hadn’t even tried Chinese take-out yet. But my Dad, brother, and I knew something was wrong with this cauliflower. While the florets on our plates looked in tact, they dissolved on contact with the butter knife.

“What’s up with this cauliflower,” we asked.

“I don’t know. It must be winter cauliflower,” Mom replied.

She’s still trying to live down that creative excuse.

Over the years, we’ve added other stories to the lore of Mom’s innovative cooking. She hates cooking. Cooking wasn’t going to get much attention.

Salads consisted of lettuce leaves barely cut or ripped, often too large to shove in your mouth. I haven’t eaten a salad made by my mother in almost twenty years, but I still call non-bite size pieces of lettuce “Mumsie lettuce,” an obnoxious yet amusing phrase coined by my Dad. Even my husband says it now, which really fries Mom’s ass. Once again, she was before her time. Today, countless restaurants cut iceberg into huge wedges, throw some blue cheese on top, and call it cuisine. Annoying, because if I wanted to have to cut my salad, I’d eat at Mom’s.

Mom can cook. I still remember her mac and cheese fondly. She makes good stuffing too. I look forward to her (green-frosted) orange cookies every Christmas (probably the only reason I avoided contracting scurvy as a picky child). No matter what the proliferation of cooking shows implies, we can’t all be accomplished chefs. I don’t like to cook either. The kitchen in our temporary rental house during high school probably still smells like the burned Rice-A-Roni I forgot I was making one afternoon. I took the saying about pots literally. Who can be bothered to watch a pot boil anyway?

Photo credit

RECIPE

Winter Cauliflower

Remove outer leaves and core from a head of cauliflower. Cut into florets.

Add 3 quarts of salted water to a saucepan and bring water to a boil. Add cauliflower florets to the boiling water.

Boil florets for 10-20 minutes or until cauliflower no longer has mass.

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This week’s RemembeRED memoir prompt:

“Take me back…whether to a month ago or decades ago.

Share with me a special recipe, but don’t just list out ingredients.

Take me there…in 500 words or less.”

Write on Edge: RemembeRED

Oct
17
2011
A Fresh Start

By the end of each school year, I was spent. My notes, so carefully written in the beginning, were barely legible by the last pages of my notebooks. The freedom of summer was not only about time, but also baggage. Before I left school, I had to give back all of my textbooks. I gladly tossed my notebooks too.  Next year I would study something else.

Each fall brought the excitement of change with almost no risk. I would be safe in the cocoon of my school, but I could start fresh. My new teachers would ask me to open my textbook to the first page. I would write on the blank pages of my notebooks using pens in need of a shake to make their unused ink flow. My new shoes would squeak on shined floors. Each year had the potential to be my best year ever.

Sixteen years since my last first day of school, fall is different. I still delight in the explosion of color on the trees and the relief of crisp air. But fall no longer brings a new beginning.

Outside my office window, students re-populate the law school across the street. New books weigh down their messenger bags as they walk to class. This could be their best year ever.

I wonder if they will someday sit in an office like mine. Will they wish their new projects weren’t piled on top of ongoing ones? Will they have trouble marking the passage of time like I do? Will they miss starting over each fall?

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This week’s RemembeRED memoir prompt:

Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive
autumns. ~George Eliot

For you, what does autumn evoke?

Show us in 300 words or less.

Sep
19
2011
Sweetness and Light

A narrow staircase led to the loft floating hidden above the rest of the room. Sparsely furnished with only a mattress and air, it still held the two of us comfortably.

Laced together, we drifted in and out of sleep with the clicking of the tape player reversing sides. Swirling guitars and ethereal vocals drifted up from below.

“You are the sweetness in my eyes…”

Right outside the open windows was a slice of brilliant blue sky, dotted with cottony clouds. Partially covered by a light sheet, a breeze scented with promise glided over our bare skin, adding its cool caress to our embrace.

I stirred and tightened my arms around his strong, yet yielding body. I could not quite fully envelop him as he could me. Burrowing deeper into him, his warmth radiated over me as I lightly slid my hands over his smooth skin. Resting my head on his chest, his rhythmic heartbeat calmed my own.

I breathed in his dewy scent. I felt the rise and fall of his breathing under me. As the gentle movement lulled me back to sleep, I saw spring green warmed by slanted beams of late afternoon sunlight.

“You are the juice I need for life
You are the sweetness in my eyes…”

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This week’s RemembeRED memoir prompt: “We’re going to let narrative take a backseat. Choose a moment from your personal history and mine it for sensory detail. Describe it to us in rich, evocative details. Let us breath the air, hear the heartbeat, the songs, feel the fabric and the touch of that moment.”

Rich description is not one of my strengths, in writing or other communication so I decided to challenge myself by participating in this prompt. The title and the quoted song lyrics are from the following Lush song.