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All posts for the month January, 2017

This time the banana is just a banana

Published January 7, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

School has begun again and I’m not sure if my brain is going to join me.  I’ve been having weird gaffes in my memory. That’s right, I mean gaffe, not gap.

I am remembering the important things like how to get to work and not to wear my underwear on the outside and how to teach without freaking out or cursing like a sailor. I survived the first three days back at school, herding squirrelly kids and marginally vexed parents.

I did, however, misplace a banana.

Our school day is about an hour longer than most other schools and I live a 30 minute drive from the school, so I usually need a snack in the late afternoon so no one has to die.  I am  making a concerted effort to eat better, so I brought a banana. (I also brought lemon slices to put in my water and to squirt on my salad, but the lemons reached their intended destination. I guess this signifies no prejudice against yellow produce on my part.)

I still don’t know where my banana went.

The school days themselves were fairly uneventful, but I’m still feeling a bit off kilter. Possibly because I’m waiting for the four unicorns of the Apocalypse to appear over the horizon (My Armageddon is more fabulous than yours!).

My Amanda Friend and ventured out to run errands together. One of the tasks we needed to accomplish was to return books to the library. (Amanda is a librarian in another city, so we rarely get to do this.)

I love books, as does Amanda, so this was a pleasant venture. As I scanned the shelves I noticed that the books on how to survive time in prison are nestled cheek to jowl with how to survive standardized testing. Well played, Melvil Dewey, well played.

I was checking out the new fiction and I began to work up a perfectly good grump about Genre Fiction. For those of you who are not book obsessed, Genre Fiction is just another way of classifying types of books. Chick Lit, Mystery, Urban and Christian are a few of the Genres.

I told Amanda that I feel that Genre fiction is just a way for a some book with a personal agenda to lure a reader in under the guise of a mystery or other plot-line and just when you are too invested to turn away, they drop the other shoe right on you.

Amanda didn’t understand why I was getting all het up about it, but it made me think about how sneaky fiction really is. Not to mention fiction writers. (I fancy myself a writer, but I also am very upfront about whatever my weird agenda is.) Case in point: James Patterson occasionally offers a Masters Class for writers. I recently saw an announcement proclaiming that Mr. Patterson was looking for a new ghost writer and he would select one from his roster of students.

I have long suspected that Mr. Patterson has a cadre of minions who help him dole out the reams of words that appear in shiny covers in various parts of the bookstore.

I said as much to Amanda and suggested that taking one of these classes was a good way to find yourself chained up right next to 699 other monkeys and their typewriters pounding out the next mystery or YA novel or romance or whatever else would fly from your paws.

My description included a guess as to what that writer’s room would smell like. This led me to wonder if anyone else would be able to keep up with that particular conversation and Amanda reminded me of another adventure we had that resulted in a narrative about the poo flinging possibilities of monkeys (Coming some from IFC!). Now I’m pondering if monkeys deserve the reputation they have or if just one monkey, one time did that and now they are all tarred with the same (poopy) brush.

I bet they know where their bananas are.

And we’re back

You’re the tops!

Published January 1, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

2016 has been odd, to say the least. I am having great difficulty harnessing my brain and energy to create anything. It’s not at all that I don’t have anything to say, it’s just that I’m afraid my rant will turn into the cackle of madness, and I don’t imagine that is how Batman pictured ringing in the new year.

I’m still processing a lot of information right now. Part of the process is comparing and contrasting how I think and feel now with how I have thought in the past.

When I was younger, like in the sixth or seventh grade, whenever I dreaded something I would think, “Well, maybe the planet will explode or war will break out and I won’t have to do it. ”

That’s an odd thing for anyone to think, let alone a 12 year old. I’m pretty sure I know where this fatalistic attitude came from but that is definitely a psychotic episode for another time.

Even as a 12 year old, I had to argue with myself about whether or not this was a rational course of thought.  I finally came to the conclusion that whenever war does break out or when the earth stops, someone is going to be a 12 year old with a report due, so whose to say it’s not me?

Well, clearly that did not happen, and I learned to adjust my coping mechanism into the thinking that I could survive giving a report in front of the judgy students who shared the Honors English Class , because it would eventually be over and I would emerge safely  on the other side.

This is an attitude I kept for most of my adult life, especially when I have to do something I don’t want to do.  In fact the only time I ever did not get the, “It’s going to be ok” vibe was the night my head blew up. (I do speak of this in my ten minute play, Watch Your Head.) My instinct was right, I almost didn’t survive that.

So here I am at the end of another year and I am very grateful for the good things. Let’s weigh them against the bad.

I am tired and anxious, but I have a job I truly love, and the tired goes right along with that. The anxiety is due to my own drive to distraction.

I’m worried about cash flow but I have a roof over my head and food in the kitchen and I have the means and wherewithal to get by.

I miss Actor Boy but he has a career he loves and he is generally content.

And some of the goods that have no bads to weigh them down.

Batman brought back my smile from wherever it has been hiding for the last three years or so.

My house is clean and I am sitting on the couch in my living room like a grown up instead of huddling on the edge of my bed eating cheetos in the dark. (I still like cheetos and the dark, but now they are not my only options.)

I am a little disappointed that my winter break is coming to an end, but I do love my job and I want to see my students.

And two biggies:

I finished Circumstance  and it is now in the hands of the fine people who are the readers for MacMillan Publishers new crime fiction contest.

A college student will be using a bit from Watch Your Head for their Irene Ryan audition for the American College Theatre Festival. For me, this is huge, because before I realized that acting was not my strength, I wanted to be nominated to participate in this.  I never did, although my brother was a national finalist.  Now I do get to be a part of it.

Yes, a horrible orange psycho is about to be in the White House, but I still have the freedom to say that in a public forum. (With that thought, my word count for this entry hit 666, coincidence? )

I have love life and Batman.

Not bad for someone who couldn’t see the end this time last year.

Happy New Year’s everyone! May the only orange in your life be from Cheetos. Darkness not included.