Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Slice of Life Piece

I have a friend who is frustrated with all the magazines out there. She decided she was going to publish something that wasn't about pleasing her man or losing weight. She asked me to write a one page 'slice of life' piece. This is what I came up with:

I have the distinct feeling that I’m getting less and less interesting as I grow up, ‘grow up’ used loosely, of course, as I’m only 23. Or 24. No, 23; I can never remember. I may be romanticizing a bit, but I have memories of holding my audiences in rapt attention, laughing, crying, eating out of the palm of my hand. I could make even the most mundane subjects dazzle. Now, I’ve got nothing.

‘What happened?’ you may ask. The most wonderful and awful thing in the world: I had a baby. ‘How can you call that awful?’ you may ask. It’s more wonderful than awful, if that’s any consolation. Mostly, the awful had to do with the actual having of the child, which I won’t discuss here, because no one wants to hear about it. I don’t even want to hear about it. But, the thing is, no one wants to hear about any of it. Sure, everyone wants to look at the baby. They coo and tickle and say things like, “wow, she’s got a mohawk” (which is not something a mother needs pointed out). But all subjects which have bearing on the actual raising process are, lets face it, either extremely unpleasant or downright boring. Like the ‘having process’ I won’t discuss the ‘extremely unpleasant’. You can imagine. ‘How can it be boring?’ you may ask. Well, somehow, I can’t make the fact that my daughter loves watching the turntable spin in the microwave funny. You can say it. Someone says, “So, how are you?” And you say, “My daughter loves watching the turntable spin in the microwave.” But then what? You get a cursory, “that’s cute” and then your audience moves on to the conversation next to you where they’re discussing backpacking in Peru. I can’t compete with that.

To get me back in the conversational saddle, I tried making a list of talking points which would aid me in making friends and impressing audiences through my unparalleled humor and mental prowess. This was when I knew my life had really taken a turn for the worst as ‘crossword puzzles’ was near the top. It was awful. If the turntable in the microwave was difficult to make interesting, try out the fact that on March 15th, there were no ‘i’s in the puzzle (as in, beware the Ides of March). I thought it was pretty funny, but perhaps the man who created the puzzle and I were the only ones. Also high on my list of talking points was my recent discovery of sweet potatoes. The man on the television in the produce section of the supermarket told me they were to most nutritious vegetable. The sad realization hit me like a ton of bricks. It was no longer a matter of suspecting that I was boring. I was boring.

At this point, the baby woke up and I went in to get her out of her crib. As soon as she saw me with her gorgeous big blue eyes, a gigantic grin spread across her little cherubic face and she let out a little squeal of joy. I thought, with an exclamation point, “She likes me!” Waves of happiness coursed through my body as she snuggled up close and I read the caterpillar book for the millionth time.

It doesn’t matter that I’m no longer good at conversing; my baby likes me, and will like me forever. Or, at least until she turns 13.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A good book

I am reading Gravitation, by Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler. It's a pretty good read, but it's very heavy at 1200 pages. I'll let you know how it goes. By the way Wheeler was one of the principal scientists involved in building the atomic bomb during WWII. His other book: Geons, Black Holes, and Quantum Foam: A Life in Physics, was partly about his experience in WWII building the bomb. It was especially intersting as he had a brother in Europe who died before they finished building the bomb. It is written to be read by a general audience.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Levi's Will by W. Dale Cramer

I really loved this book. I chose it as I walked past and the binding looked interesting. It's the story of a man who leaves the Old Order Amish community. It follows his whole life. I know, it sounds boring, but it's not. It treats the Amish faith and community really respectfully. I read it in a day and a half. It's not my usual fare, but I feel changed a bit from it. It's really about love and forgiveness.