Another Star Is Born!

I just came home from watching Lady Gaga in the new remake of A Star is Born and please tell me I can’t be the only writer who, (after viewing a certain scene which I’ll call the “Aww Awwww AWWWWW…” scene” and you can watch it yourself right here starting at 1:20 if you promise to come back and finish reading!) really wishes that the act of writing was something more performance oriented. Something concretely tangible, or auditory and visual that an audience could enthusiastically cheer for as they watch mesmerized and spellbound with enormous respect and admiration.

Just picture this:

Another Star is Born

Bradley Cooper: I’d like to call up to the stage a good friend of mine who writes funny blogs so you can all witness her doing some incredible work in person.

Me: (In the wings offstage, shaking my head in humbled protest. My modest demeanor about to disintegrate any second as Bradley comes closer to me with that low, grumbly-rumbly voice of his, pulling me up firmly by the wrist, and whispering in my ear.)

Bradley Cooper: Here’s what we’re gonna do. You’re gonna come out and write that article I love.

Me: No, no, I can’t do it.

Bradley Cooper: You’re coming. Here we go. All you gotta do is trust me. That’s all you gotta do…”

Me: (Nervously climbing on stage in front of tens of thousands, taking the microphone and lowering it way down to the level of my laptop computer.)

Audience: (Screams, whoops, hollers, bursts of applause as a whirring noise emanates when the power is turned on.)

Me: (Tap, tap, tap, tap, point n’ click, copy n’ paste, looks up to sky, Googles ‘synonym for small horse.’ Types “pony.” Looks down at floor. Tap tap tap. Blows breath forcefully out from mouth upwards into a long sigh causing tuft of hair bangs to lift slightly toward the sky. Delete, delete, delete DELETE…. takes a slight awkward bow.)

Bradley Cooper: Let’s give her a big hand, folks!

Audience: (Filing out of seats to get ticket refunded.)

Alright so maybe there are other movies more suitable for substituting writing into the plot that might work better than a singing one. Let’s try . . .

“Dirty Freelancing”

Scene: Stephanie — a wild dark-haired neurotic woman, sits isolated in the back of a dimly lit room, bent over a computer with her hands moving violently over a keyboard, trying to find the submission guidelines for an online publication.

Patrick Swayze: Nobody puts Babyephanie in a corner!

Okay so maybe not a dancing film either.  Let’s see…I know! Ice-skating, like the Tanya Harding documentary.

“I, Margaret”

Stephanie rapidly types in fits of hysteria trying to get her brilliant words out before she forgets her own character’s motivation. A shadowy figure lurks behind and maniacally smashes down a hammer upon innocent Stephanie’s right hand, fingers and all. As she turns toward her attacker, Stephanie catches the eye of none other than Margaret Atwood. “I heard I might have a little competition with Handmaid’s Tale,” Margaret utters and then disappears through the open window.

What? It could happen!

But maybe this is a more likely scenario — Trying to get into the prestigious masters program for creative writing at the University of Iowa, (instead of Jennifer Beals auditioning to get into the famous ballet dance school in NYC)

FlashFiction

What a Feeling!

(Cue familiar music right HERE)

First when there’s nothing
But a slow hunt n’ peck dream
That your typos seems to hide
Deep inside your mind.
All alone I have cried
Silent consonants full of pride
In a world full of editors
Made of stone.
Well, I hear the tapping
Close my eyes, feel the rhythm
Wrap around
Take a hold of my shift key!
What a feelin’
Agents believin’
I can have it all
Now I’m typing for my life.
Take your passion
And give it a clever caption!
Stories come alive
You can publish right through your life…
The scene climaxes as three admitting professors watch wearily as I get a running start for my big long leap into the air, landing into a perfect breakdance head spin, balancing precariously on a typewriter while managing to pound out, “On a dark and stormy night” on an 8.5 x 11 paper. It impresses them and I’m accepted!
Maybe all this performance stuff is asking too much. I think the writing profession can easily be parlayed into important matters of social justice like in this memorable film . .
StephErin BrockoLewis

Author Stephanie Lewis sacrifices all her energy, time, children, and her busy social life to the total dedication in the pursuit of saving old-fashioned writers back in the typewriter era from getting poisoned by the new toxic rules of single-spacing after a period. She researched until her fingers were bloody raw and finally came up with this irrefutable evidence in order to form a class-action lawsuit and bring back double-spacing at the end of sentences for good, making her a hero to other midlife writers and the publishing industry extremely sorry they ever rejected a novel of hers that wasn’t in compliance with their dumb new rule.

Okay Readers — So what famous movie scene do you kinda, sorta, definitely fantasize you could realistically be in? Tell me in the comments.

 

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Not Your Typical Mom & Pop Stores!

I recently watched a movie in one of those expensive theaters where a waitress comes and takes your order and then not only is there Surround Sound and Technicolor, but suddenly there’s “Scentaflick” as the sharp aroma of goat cheese mushroom pizza wafts throughout the cinema. But smells are so not the point. The point is that this was precisely when I realized what other innovative (and time saving!) businesses there could be if certain services and/or concepts were integrated together.

IMAGINE IF YOU WILL . . .

PediDine – Unique restaurant with delicious entrees served to patrons seated at booths with floor length tablecloths. And what’s happening down on the floor, obscured by all that fine linen? Lithe and limber spa employees crouch below giving relaxing foot massages and full-on pedicures, while podiatrists examine diners for signs of fallen arches or pronated ankles. Themed dishes are served with fitting names such as “Foot-long sandwiches” and “This Little Piggy Ate Roast Beef” while the house special is of course, “Polished PotaTOES with shiny, red clipped TomaTOES.

A Shrentist’s Office – This unique establishment will combine a competent shrink with a dentist office for all your one-stop therapy and cavity needs. Recline back in the chair as the hygienist tells you to open wide while a psychologist asks leading questions to crack wide open your dysfunctional childhood. Have a fluoride rinse and rinse away your bad memories simultaneously! When you hear, “C’mon, spit it out!” — will that mean the toothpaste in your mouth or your negative feelings about your mother-in-law? Only your Shrentist knows for sure!

Gyro-Gyno-Gym-o– A Triple Threat for the healthy, hungry, and fit woman! Eat this Mediterranean style lunch (combo of lamb and beef) while lying with your feet in the stirrups as a trained physician conducts your annual female exam. Afterwards, enjoy state-of the art equipment at the gym to help you with your kegel exercises so you can keep your visits to the above mentioned gynecologist to a minimum. Ghirardelli chocolate would complete the experience.

Drive & Strive To Look 25! – A DMV with a professional hairstylist and makeup artist on staff so you don’t have to look how you actually look in real life in the photo when your drivers license gets renewed for the next decade.

Backs & Tax – A chiropractor works on your aches and pains while a certified public accountant sits in the “back” room going over your financials! Come April 15th, the only extension you’ll need to worry about is the extension the back doctor showed you to lengthen and strengthen your spine!

Press N’ Dress – It’s Nordstrom with a functional dry-cleaners at the entrance. Bring your entire old wardrobe in for a complimentary wash and ironing — and since now you’ll have nothing to wear for the day, you’ll shop for more clothes! Talk about a win/win!

Y Not? – (Yoga, Yogurt, Yo-Yo, Yoko Ono!) It’s time for a trendy role reversal store! Forget hot yoga and Fro-Yo!  This Frozen Yoga studio (your mat is a sheet of ice) serves Hot Yogurt (And why not? You’ve heard that warm milk is relaxing, right??) Bonus – Every Sunday, Yoko leads a group meditation and each participant walks away with a free Yo-Yo favor because …well just because nothing else starts with a Y.

Push/Nip/Tuck/ — A maternity ward where as you give birth, a plastic surgeon stands by to give you a tummy tuck! Need I say more?

The CardioCake Factory – Full service Cheesecake Factory with servers bringing any item from the dessert menu into a workout room where stationary bikes, stairclimbers and ellipticals are programmed to burn the specific calories of whatever you ordered by the slice. Special pre-calculated treadmills (when you go overboard) set for, “I’m actually consuming an entire Cookies n’ Cream Dream Extreme!”

Wet Pet Vet Debt Bet Roulette! – Okay so the company name needs work, but animal lovers and gamblers unite! Walk in with your dog or cat and they’ll be immediately bathed and groomed, followed by a veterinarian giving them vaccines and thorough check-ups. Can’t afford any of this? Don’t fret or get upset because the waiting room is a legalized casino and odds are in your favor you’ll play slots to pay for shots!

Alright, so maybe that last one is a little far-fetched, but I’m still ordering the fillet of “Sole” at the PediDine restaurant!

READERS: WHAT BUSINESS IDEAS DO YOU HAVE THAT WILL BE A UNIQUE COMBINATION? PLEASE LEAVE IT IN THE COMMENTS.

Willy Wonka’s Long Lost SECRET Diary Has Surfaced!

Buried under the last surviving Oompa Loompa’s green wig, set designers uncovered an authentic journal penned by Mr. Wonka himself. Let’s take a look at a few of the entries.

First Entry

Dear Diary, doctor’s appointment today — Type 2 Diabetes. What to do, what to do? Gotta sell my life’s work. But will someone fork over billions of dollars to buy it?? (Or even just a

 

 

??

 

But hopefully nobody makes me a lowball offer or thinks it’ll be like taking candy from a baby. The suspense is terrible . . . I hope it’ll last.

Second Entry

My marketing/public relations person doesn’t like sugarcoating the truth and says the real estate market is glutted with chocolate factory listings. Oh no! She suggests a contest for someone to inherit it instead. Very creative! .

Third Entry

Had to sleep on the couch last night because wife won’t let me enter our bed unless I find a golden ticket hidden around the house. Genius. I know! That’s the system I’ll use to select who gets to tour my chocolate factory. Hmmm, where to put the tickets? My wife slips them in my Viagra bottles, but I think Scrumdiddlyumptious chocolate bars might be more effective.

Fourth Entry

There’s a problem. Apparently my PR person isn’t happy with the weird orange little men I have working in my factory and she particularly finds the name of their tribe, “The Oopsies Poopsies” very offensive. Suggests changing the name to “Oompa Loompas” and passing off their toilet as a chocolate river. Problem solved!

Fifth Entry

Ugh. Do I really look like Gene Wilder? Strike that. Reverse it.

Sixth Entry

Note to Self: Go on Shark Tank television show with my Lickable wallpaper before Slugworth does.

Seventh Entry

All five golden tickets seem to have been found by bratty kids. What’s up with that? Don’t buxom blondes eat chocolate anymore? I coulda started something with that older chick named Ruth (Mike Teevee’s mom) but I heard his “Snickers” when I held her hand and I was all “Butterfingers.” That “Smartie” little “Twix!” I’ve got a “Good N’ Plenty” mind to show him a thing or two from preventing my “Skor” with “Ruth, Baby.” Will think up my revenge later, Diary. . . it may be a bit of a stretch and it’s definitely gonna be a toughie . . . taffy!

Eighth Entry

Old man Grandpa Joe can barely get around. I think I’ll make fun of him during my grand entrance by walking with a cane and falling down into a somersault. Yes, that sounds like a good plan.

Ninth Entry

Today I tinkered around with the machine that manufactures three-course meal chewing gum. Won’t Violet’s father be surprised when he has a Snozberry for a daughter instead of a blueberry. Hee!

Tenth Entry

Darn! The great glass elevator is malfunctioning again. The dramatic climax won’t be quite the same if we have to climb the stairs up the fire escape.

Eleventh Entry

Veruca Salt wants one of my geese! And she wants it NOW!  I’ll have to send them on a wild goose chase instead. In fact, I have a strong feeling none of these kids are the right fit to run my factory. What was I thinking?  I’ve changed my mind and now I’m gonna have to scare them away by becoming eccentric. Plus there’s always a traumatic boat ride which could start off as a pitch black tunnel and turn into a psychedelic acid trip with visions of leaches crawling over people’s eyes and chickens getting murdered, or something. Still working on that part. But if all else fails, I’m going to install a lethal fan in the ceiling of the Fizzy Lifting Drink tower. That oughta deter EVERYONE. Mwahaha!

Twelfth Entry

Yes!!  I knew it all along. I’m actually a dead ringer for Johnny Depp!

Thirteenth Entry

Dear Diary, I don’t need a PR/Marketing person. . .  I need a lawyer! Life is like a box of chocolates — you never know what you’ll be getting. But I’m getting sued for child endangerment!

Fourteenth Entry

Forget this goody-two-shoes Charlie Bucket chump and my providing housing for his entire unfortunate family– I’m leaving my chocolate factory to a Vermicious Knid.  And I’ll get Roald Dahl to write the sequel! But first I’ll suggest he use the pseudonym “Ronald Dahl” so us Americans don’t keep butchering his name. Yeah….that’s the (golden!) ticket!

Now Back …. By Popular Demand!

back by popular demand, newspaper article text

So…..what’s back??? Absolutely totally nothing is back. I’m just fascinated by this concept. A lot of times I’ll read “BACK! By Popular Demand!” as a headline for a product, a candidate rerunning for an election, a workshop being taught at a local university …. or even the title of one of “your” blogs!  And I think….”How do we actually know people have been demanding this??” Where is the proof? So I tried a little test in my own household to see how it would go over.

On the refrigerator, I posted an impromptu menu titled, “Tonight! Back By Popular Demand!” and then below it listed “Meatloaf, Asparagus, and Mashed Yams.” I left my cell phone on record mode and left the scene. And here’s what I got . . .

Youngest Daughter: Eww. Seriously?

Middle Son: Only explanation…. a homeless person has tried mom’s meatloaf.

2nd Eldest Son: I thought you were the one requesting Mom’s Worst Meal Ever?

One of the Twins: Betcha Benjamin did it as a practical joke and that was all mom needed to call it “popular.”

Benjamin: I’m de-twinning you just for that creepy and false accusation. Gross to the 10th power! Especially those dehydrated onions she disguises in her meatloaf as “flavored confetti.”

Ex-Husband: Whew! I thought you kids were finally losing it, requesting this atrocity.

ALL: So who’s the moron in our family asking for this slop?? (All eyes narrow suspiciously)

Finally my firstborn child comes into the kitchen with a black sharpie, crosses off the word “Back!” and replaces it with “Boycotted!”

And that ended that little experiment.

Okay, okay, so maybe my family was quickly onto me, but my Facebook Friends would probably fall for it! Plus it would allow me to do some boasting, albeit in a justifiable sort of way — meaning….it’s not my fault I’m posting this, YOU GUYS INSISTED.

Yesterday I put this up on Facebook and then waited for the compliments and kind words to roll in.

Hi everyone! — Normally I don’t do this kind of thing but ironically, a lot of you have been private messaging me, asking if by some chance there might be a link showcasing all my articles on The Huffington Post. Kind of like an online portfolio. Well coincidentally, there is …. just click HERE  !  And thanks everyone who wrote showing so much interest in my past work!

Then I sat back and awaited the praise from those who probably never realized I was published there.

The post got ZERO likes. Nobody commented. But the private messages started immediately. (And I mean this time, for real!) Here’s what I got . . .

 

Hi. Can you name the names of those who wrote to you asking for this link? I would like to speak to a few of them to confirm.

*****************************

Stephanie! Do you know the song “Glory Days” by The Boss — Springsteen?  Lol.

*****************************

Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. And those who are too lazy enough to even try anymore, rest on their laurels.

******************************

Alrighty then. Ashamed, I put this up today:

To the one and only interested person who requested I put up my Huffington Post Link, or at least who agreed to say that they did — I can’t find your name on PayPal to send you the $100. Please contact me.

Enough with all this psychology of creating a need where normally there is none. I guess I’ll never make it as an advertiser/marketer. But suddenly in my snail mailbox appeared a postcard announcing, “Held Over Just 1 More Night By Popular Demand….Wicked!” Tickets = $250.

Haha, I thought. Yes, it would be nice to see that musical and find out what all the hoopla was about, but $250??  And now that I know for certain that phrase “By Popular Demand” is totally meaningless,  I’ll just call and see if I can get half-price tickets.

Armed with my newfound knowledge, I made my case on the phone while bargaining for seats like people do in garage sales, as the adamant Box Office Agent kept insisting, “Listen Lady. It’s being held over just one night by popular demand.” And I kept saying, “Of course it is. I’m sooooooo sure. Just give me the names of the patrons demanding the show stay around longer and I’ll fork over my money.” When finally she interrupted me to report, “Sorry Miss, my computer screen just announced we are entirely Sold Out. Better luck next time!”

Hmmph!  Well to cheer myself up I looked up discontinued comfort foods that were brought back by …. you guessed it…..popular demand. Have a look right HERE and then have a consoling Twinkie with me!

Really? Does THIS SHOW ever get an extended run??

 

 

Ready to Turn the Tables? Here’s Whatcha Gotta Do!

I don’t know about you but I get tired of all the annoyances that go on in our “civilized” society and the protocols and routines I’m expected to adhere to. I think turnabout is fair play and sometimes people deserve a dose of their own medicine. I recommend the following:

Dentists:  Send them a pesky postcard every few weeks saying, “Just a friendly reminder! It’s been six months since you last cleaned my teeth. What’s taking you so long to schedule me? Please call my home because I’m waiting with baited breath for my next appointment!” Also after your cleaning, when they hand you your new dental hygiene accessories in a little festive party favor bag, hand them back a zip-lock baggie with your old toothbrush and some used dental floss as a gesture of goodwill in return.

Restaurants: Bring your own little rectangle tray and when the server sets down her tray with the itemized check, you hand them yours with a little bill that says “Seat-Warmer Fee- $25. Without my presence at your table, this place would take a nose-dive. Gratuity is already included. Thank you for your patronage.”

Physician’s Office: Walk immediately up to the receptionist and hand her your guestbook commanding, “Please sign in.” Then give the nurse a little cup and insist she leave a sample in the restroom.  Ask a Physician Assistant to step on the scale, but don’t allow her to remove her shoes first. Catch the Doctor himself off-guard by rapping three times very loudly on his office door and startling him by calling out, “Hope you’re decent? I’m coming in now!” But first make him wait about twenty minutes. Also before you leave, find every person you interacted with and have them sign forms to protect their privacy and acknowledging the new HIPAA laws.

Department of Motor Vehicles: Distribute a Scrabble letter tile to all employees and announce through a megaphone, “Now serving Letter R.”  Then snap their photo with a Polaroid camera when they’re least expecting it and not anywhere close to smiling.

Theaters: Walk in with a mini-flashlight and immediately greet the usher, asking to see his ticket. Hand him a program which consists of your grocery list for next week folded in half with Act 1 listing all the healthy foods in order of their appearance around the supermarket and Act 2 specifying the junk food you’re actually buying and the commercial jingle lyrics that go with them. Tell him to enjoy the show.

Babysitters: Go to the babysitter’s house while she’s watching your children and eat all her ice-cream, view an R-rated DVD, and rummage through her dresser drawers during the boring parts.

Psychics: Call up the medium and tell her you’re canceling your appointment because you’re getting a strong message from the other side that something very bad will happen if you see her today.

Hairdressers: Sit in the chair and stare in the mirror at the reflection of their hairstyle behind you, asking nosy questions like “Is that your natural color?” and “How often do you condition your split ends?”

Schools: Send your child’s teacher a note saying, “Hi! I’m so glad my child is in your classroom this year. In recent months our household budget has been drastically cut back and we appreciate you sending the following items home on Back-To-School Night to help our family run smoother during the school semester. 1. Five boxes of tissue 2. Six Printer cartridges, color only please 3. King size sheet set, floral pattern in shades of blue 4. Gain Laundry detergent, 42 oz size, original scent 5.  Dozen yellow roses, long stem. 6. Three boxes of Cheerios, Honey Nut flavor.

Telephone Sales: Answer promptly on the first ring when you see their number in your caller ID and say, “Surveys R’ Us. I’m ready to answer all your questions and accept your free vacation to Cancun. My consulting fee for marketing research is $125. My travel fee is triple that and on weekends I require my family accompany me. Which credit card will you be using today?”

Publishers: Send a gentle but firm rejection letter stating, “Gentlemen, I’m sorry but at this point in time your publishing style does not suit my particular needs as an author. I’ve decided to pass on letting you consider putting my novel into print. This is not to say you don’t have potential and I encourage you to keep hoping that I’ll send some of my writing your way — because you never know what the future might bring!”

God: Instead of praying for help, better opportunities, or for the things you need, pray to be of service and to get more opportunities to help those in need.

 

Can You Have TOO Many Tips, Tricks, & Techniques For a Healthy Relationship?

Most people (and by people, I mean women!) who want lasting romantic love will (at some point!) delve into the Couple’s Self-Help industry, whether it be to further intimacy, increase the quality of communication, or just breathe new life into a relationship gasping for air.

But can you have TOO much of a good thing?

The answer to that question is in a flashback from many months ago…

Me: Oh…Flowers!? And you thought flowers would validate my self-worth because??

Him: Shouldn’t you ask that question using “i messages” so I don’t feel so blamed?

Me: Yes, of course. How thoughtless of me. Let me rephrase. When did I ever say getting flowers was how I felt love?

Him: Well you clearly scored high in the “Receiving Gifts” category in the test Gary Chapman, author of 5 Love Languages, has on his website.

Me: Actually Handsome One, I scored the highest in a category called, “Words of Affirmation,” hence I’m a writer.

Him: Well you overlooked the card, Dear Heart. There are lots of words of affirmation written on that card under the purple tulip next to the baby’s breath.

Me: Also if you recall, “Quality Time” was my second highest ranked Love Language.

Him: Right. And do you realize it took an hour to order this bouquet online and then another 45 minutes for me to drive to pick it up just for you?

Me:  i messages please !!!

Him: Sorry, let me rephrase that. I spent a lot of time doing something I felt would be loving and now I just feel criticized. Mirror that back for me, would you SweetCakes?

Me: Sure thing Honeybear! What I hear you saying is … you feel very put down after spending a lot of time on something you thought would make me happy. Even though I’m allergic and flowers also just wilt and drop dead, which is ironic and symbolic. Is that an accurate reflection?

Him: All except the drop dead part. Well maybe that’s spot-on too right now.

Me: I want to acknowledge your frustration and say this is a problem we can definitely work on as a team and find a good solution.

Him: Can you also acknowledge a good solution would be giving me a blow-job?

And now a flashback from several weeks ago, with different self-help techniques, but still a similar ending.

Him: Gosh, I’m starving. Let’s reminisce about old times. Our Relationship Therapist says walking down memory lane is productive in that it bonds us together. So remember when we first started going out and you used to cook all my favorite homemade meals?

Me: But our other Couple’s Counselor also tells us not to dwell on the past and to stay grounded in the present moment. And at precisely this moment, there’s a chicken pot pie in the freezer with your name on it.

Him: But my mother always served those cheap Swanson’s TV dinners to my dad and you know how our Love Advisor doesn’t want our family-of-origin old wounds to get reopened. So how’s about some of your BBQ meatloaf?

Me: Ironically, my own Inner Child’s traumatic hurt has now just been triggered as well by the mention of meatloaf.

Him: Meatloaf triggers you?? What are you, a closet vegetarian?

Me: Once while my dad was spanking me for lying, the famous band Meat Loaf’s most popular song, “I’d do anything for love, but I won’t do that!” played on the radio.

Him: Really? And this memory scarred you so much — you would do anything for our love except cook me your homemade meatloaf??

Me: That is correct. You microwaving chicken pot pie is much more cathartic for us as a couple.

Him: Well you know how our psychologist tells us to role-play painful situations in order to move past them?

Me: Yes?

Him: (Bending me over his knee, hand raised threateningly over my behind as he shouts, “Who’s Your Daddy?” while Bat Out of Hell plays on his iPhone.)

And finally here’s a flashback from just yesterday:

Me: Let’s spend more quality time appreciating one another. Remember the Intimacy Bootcamp we attended where they said the idea is not to have sex, but to just be more mindful of each other’s bodies and souls?

Him: The one that made us take salsa dance lessons together, do partner yoga, share our fantasies all night instead of sleeping, pen erotica until I got writer’s cramp, and then forced us to do couple’s massage with that coconut oil that made you break out in a rash?

Me: Yes, that’s the one.

Him: The one that said “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey?” And “It’s not the finished product, it’s the process.” And “It’s not the size of the boat, it’s the motion of the ocean.”

Me: (looking skeptical) They never said that last one.

Him: Well let’s go in the bedroom and check out my yacht anyhow.

Me: Wait! I’m going to reference what you just said in the index of our book, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting to Have a Healthy Relationship with Someone Who Makes Everything About Sex and Food.”

Him: Great! And meanwhile I’ll just look up what you’re doing in our other book, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting to Have a Healthy Relationship With Someone Who Looks in the Index of Books Titled, What To Expect When You’re Expecting to Have a Healthy Relationship With Someone Who Makes Everything About Sex and Food.”

Me: (Sigh) Okay you win….Meatloaf or Intercourse?

Him: Yes, please.

Me: You honestly want both sex and food right now at the same time?

Him: I’m feeling judged. Say that again using i messages, please.

Me: I honestly want both sex and food right now at the same time!

Him: Perfect. I knew we were soul mates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Death of a Muse? (An Odd Cautionary Tale)

At first I was in denial that anything was wrong, even though it was the worst case of writer’s block I’d ever experienced. But of course! “My muse had probably just embarked on a summer camping trip,” I told myself. Everyone needs a little time off after many hard years of service. Besides what kind of employer was I not offering my muse paid vacation time at a luxury resort as a job perk? Shame on me. No wonder no notice was given before this mysterious departure.

But now after 4 months of not being able to write like I used to, it occurred to me that perhaps my muse had permanently run away. I pictured a little red checkered knapsack on a stick slung over the shoulder of my muse, filled with the bare necessities to assist with effective musing — chocolate, (for bribing a future author) a megaphone (for shouting into a stubborn writer’s ear) and even a typewriter, because sometimes good muses have to write the entire darn thing themselves.

I put an ad up on Craig’s List in the Lost and Found section that looked like this:

Missing Muse! Reward for any info leading to the safe return — no questions asked. (Except for Who?What?Why?Where?How?When?) Answers to “Little Voice” or “Sweet Inspiration.” Last seen wearing a red negligee, eating bon-bons, and watching The Young & the Restless soap opera. Friendly, bit of a chatterbox in fact, communicates story ideas in confusing bursts or fragments. i.e. “You’re having high tea with the King of Kidneys/Livers when the Queen of Hearts crashes the party?” or “Different types of Breadless sandwiches served open-faced by The Muffin Man?”  Please return this cherished Muse as soon as possible — sentimental value only.

Next thing I know a balding man knocks on the door, gives me an overzealous bear hug while exclaiming, “Here I am. At last we’re reunited! I’m your long lost Muse. You can call me ‘Bruce the Muse.'” Which is odd because before I used to call my muse, “Ida the Idea.”

He then went on to tell me how his ex-wife made him a sex slave and how it would turn the tables on all the female empowerment Lifetime movie of the week stories, if only I’d accept his assistance in writing the script. “True story!” he said again as if that would tempt me enough to hold out my hand and say, “Really? Well put ‘er there, partner! Join me in my writing studio where my stash of Doritos is.”

No sooner did I shut the door on the impostor Bruce (besides I pictured the physical form of my muse as kind of a femme fatale Marilyn Monroe type, but also flat-chested, a brunette, and with reading glasses) when there was an official sounding pounding and I opened it back up to see two police officers tapping their feet with a clipboard.

Officer #1: We suspect foul play. We see this kind of thing all the time.

Me: Really?! Like Stephen King is holding my muse hostage until she reveals some bizarre horror story romantic comedy plot-line and he writes it for her, ala the movie Misery?

Officer #2: I doubt your muse is so talented that someone as famous as Mr. King would risk his reputation. But maybe Morton Solomon has her squirreled away in his file cabinet.

Me: “Who?”

Officer #2: Exactly!

Me: Not funny. And I am not a-mused.

Officer #1: We know. That’s why we’re trying to locate the one you’re missing.

After these two clowns left, I honestly considered suicide. It was entirely plausible.  My muse was probably so discouraged by my recent waning blog statistics that she had taken her own life, thinking the writing world would be much better off without her. Or maybe killing herself was a clever strategy for my stuff to become classic literature! Everyone knows ya gotta kick the bucket before any public librarian will stock your books or students in 9th grade English Lit will be assigned a 1200 word essay analyzing your theme. And I’d always dreamed of being analyzed! Thank you Miss Muse for taking a (literal?) bullet for my sake.

Just then my cellphone lit up with notifications from Facebook Friends telling me to turn on the local news. Apparently I was the subject of a controversial public service Announcement:

As my Huffington Post headshot flashed on the screen, a really homely Marilyn Monroe type female read in a halting little voice from a teleprompter.

Have you seen this violent Wanna-Be Author? She’s wanted for 1 count of premeditated attempted museslaughter, 3 counts of abuse, and 9 counts of aggravated assault.  She stands 5′ 4″, (or 5′ 9″ if you count her kooky hairstyle,) and calls herself ‘Little Miss Menopause’ (but that was a real branding mistake!) and is extremely insecure. She tried to do me in several times right on her bed, (where all she ever does is sleep nowadays btw!) as she uttered these toxic words — “That’s the stupidest idea for a novel I’ve ever heard. Nobody will ever want to read that drivel!” I ran for my life. All local Muses beware! She’s armed and dangerous with a fully-loaded MR (Manuscript Rifle) to shoot down any creativity you might offer up. Please alert the authorities so she can go back on her medication.

The authorities? Oh no, not those two clowns again.

And of course there followed an immediate pounding on my door — this time the officers were accompanied by a medical physician who shoved a tablespoon of putrid medicine down my throat. One glance at the label on the bottle told me everything I needed to know… “Mucin-ex!”

READERS: Is your muse still offering invaluable guidance? Treat them well!

Wild Statistical Fantasies — Where Do Yours Fit In?

Yes, this title is an intentionally deceptive word ploy to get my blog ranked higher in the search engine optimization. This piece will not list the percentage of American women who fantasize about seducing an officer of the law. Nor will it mention dominating or submitting, unless it’s submitting writing. In fact it isn’t sexual in nature at all and the tame fantasies are actually just my own. They occur when I scrutinize my blogging statistics each day and detect a huge peak in a specific category or a tremendous amount of referred readers coming in from Facebook or LinkedIn or another source. My imagination runs amuck…

4 Common Fantasies Induced by My Stats:

Literary Representation! — I’ve been discovered! This fantasy gets spurred on when I get a lot of extra activity on my short story section or my stats with the keyword “hilarious” have uncharacteristically spiked. Particularly when I discern extra readers are all surfing in from a site called “Agent Search.” In reality, my brother is an insurance agent and has a link to my blog for his clients to get a laugh after they’ve crashed their car or had a roof leak. But since this is my personal fantasy, it goes like this: A bored fiction agent who reps well known horror authors (think Stephen King and R.L. Stine) needs a break from all the blood, guts, gore, and murders. He casually Googles, “Quirky Humor Bloggers Who Write About Gone With The Wind” and that’s it! One glance is all it takes. The rest is history. From the moment he lands on the front page of my blog he’s in stitches and it’s definitely not from a stabbing. He’s riveted by my hysterical tagline, the witty titles of my menu categories, and spends inordinate amounts of evening hours reading each blog entry to the point his wife suspects he’s having an affair. “Yes, yes, you have me hooked from your opening line!” and “Oh my god…that’s the perfect climax!” are shouted from inside his closed home office door.  The next sound you hear is my phone ringing as he rehearses what he’ll say to convince me to sign a three book contract as the next Erma Bombeck. I’ll hesitate for a moment, letting him think there’s a bidding war for my comedic talent, but eventually acquiesce when he offers royalties on lunchpails and a Barbie Doll likeness with the exact hairstyle as my Facebook Profile.

High School Quarterback Returns! — This fantasy is vividly inspired when certain categories like “Relationships” and “Love” and “The One That Got Away” zoom off the charts in my stats section.  I imagine my old high school crush has accidentally stumbled into my blog and reads my post about our yearbook. He reminisces about football games and how I endearingly clapped and screamed for him to throw a touchdown from the stands. Why didn’t he look beyond the gorgeous cheerleaders on the sidelines to see that I also had a nice pair of fluffy pom-poms? Regrets of asking the Marcia Brady lookalike to homecoming dance will plague him as he recalls 9th grade Intro to Creative Writing with Mrs. Lyndahl reading aloud my short story titled, “If Chocolate Chip Cookies Could Talk!” and how he scoffed about baked goods coming to life, causing me to sob in the girl’s locker room. He emails me (using information from my “Hire Me To Humor You” page) apologizing profusely, then asks me out as his prom date. After I vindictively tell him I have absolutely zero recollection of who he is, I am call-waited by Mattel to pose for my new barbie doll and then the envious wife of the literary agent calls, insisting on knowing how many times her husband has sent me roses?

Parent Trap!: This fantasy only occurs when certain posts I’ve written about my childhood are repeatedly perused in my stats. Even though I only have one brother, suddenly a familiar looking girl leaves a comment on my blog insinuating we are related and in fact she believes we share the exact same genetics! Apparently she was put up for adoption to a poor family because after I was born, our parents realized that daughters were just hormonal nightmares who cost lots of $$ with orthodontists, gynecologists, and dermatologists and so they could only afford to raise just one. We proceed to make plans to attend the same summer camp and then discreetly switch homes afterwards.

Law Suit!: (I never claimed my fantasies were always fun or exciting.) This terrifying scenario comes on after I notice that my stats are soaring for a certain popular picture I used long ago to illustrate a past blog post.  Why would so many people be looking at this particular picture all at the same time?? Suddenly fear strikes deep in my heart as I realize I inadvertently forgot (okay I was lazy!) to acknowledge copyright info or give credit to the photographer. And now somehow she’s entered her photo into Google Search Images and it came up that my blog is featuring HER masterpiece without any attribution. That grave injustice (combined with the fact that I am the one who grew up with parents who cared that I had an overbite, acne medication, and regular pap smears) fuels my long-lost sister to take me to court. An example is made out of me for all the bloggers who blatantly steal copyrighted images and I’m prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Even smiling coyly while trying to seduce the arresting police officer doesn’t prevent me from getting taken to jail. (In fact he tightens the handcuffs.) I only get one phone call and it’s to my literary agent to bail me out with a hefty book advance, but the call is intercepted by his insanely jealous wife who refuses to let me speak to him and instead forwards me to my old crush, the high school quarterback — and of course now he doesn’t remember me from Adam. Except since this is still MY fantasy, his youngest daughter begs for a popular lunch box and every day that his ugly, old, former cheerleader wife makes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, he fantasizes about making love to the female author whose likeness is now prominently celebrated on his daughter’s brand new trademarked lunchpail.

Readers: What nutty fantasies has your Stats Section inspired?

 

Here’s Something You Should NEVER Try in Marriage!

I’m currently divorced, but this doesn’t mean I don’t have a tale to tell about marriage…

“The Perfect Pair For You!” my cellphone advertised.  I covered up this headline quickly when my husband (at the time) walked into the room, so he wouldn’t see the screen and make snide remarks about my buying more shoes. Too late!

“I’m not looking for footwear,” I quickly reassured him. “Oh,” he said suddenly very interested. “Heh heh. Perfect Pair. You thinking of doing some upstairs remodeling? D or DD?”

“Shut up!” I shouted, hurling my Smartphone at him, which is always a good idea to distract from the topic at hand with your spouse (insures you get a long lecture about how cell insurance doesn’t cover abuse) Didn’t work. Eyebrows raised suspiciously.

Me: Okay, alright. Not that kind of Pair. I’m searching for a couple.

My Husband: A couple of what?

Me: A Couple. Period. Another couple for us to hang out and do fun things with. They have websites for that kind of thing now — syncing us up with the perfect pair of husband and wife friends.

My Husband: (incredulous You’re finding us a “Frarried?”

Me: A what now?

My Husband:(Smirks) Aren’t you supposed to be the witty one with words?  I just combined Friends and Married and got “Frarried.” Bwahaha!  I should be the Creative Writer in this house.”

Me: Perfect. In our new profile under “Interesting Tidbits About Hubby,” I’m gonna add, “Feels threatened so competes with wife in really strange ways.”

My Husband: Be sure and also write, “Must like hotdogs. And the Yankees. And Heineken and …”

Me: Excuse me! But this isn’t “Buddies N’ Ball N’ Beer” Match-Ups. This is for both of us, Mister. Besides I think we’ll make a great Scrabble team against another couple. So just forget about baseball.

Fast forward to our first “Date” with Couple Number One.

Me: Nice house y’all have. So how long have you two been searching for um, for lack of a better term, “Friend Mates?”

My Husband: Or “Frates?” Or “Mends?” Haha!  Betcha you guys can’t think up a better word combo than those?

Other Husband: Wow. You really ARE insecure and competitive, aren’t you? You’re on, Pal. Break out our Scrabble board, Ruth!

Ruth: I’m on it right now, Babe!

My Husband: (Suddenly nervous, still hoping for a sports night) Uh, unless you have a couple of catcher’s mitts and bats?

Me: (glaring) Oh no you don’t. No baseball talk.  So….Babe and Ruth — how long are you married?

Husband: (Ears perk up.) Babe Ruth?

Fast Forward To Our Drive Home

Me: Clearly we have to work on your social skills. The “How about we get to 3rd base tonight!” line was what got us thrown out.

My Husband: Just a little baseball humor. And you shouldn’t talk.

Me: What?? It’s normal to ask how long a couple has been married.

My Husband: Not when they blatantly announce they enjoy an exciting affair.

Me: I thought they meant a Fair. As in suggesting we all go to a fun carnival.

My Husband: Yeah, I see your point.  I mean seriously, who starts an exciting affair but gets so sick and tired and bored with being alone together that they go online looking for other couple friends? That’s just plain weird. I mean for us, it makes total sense, but…

Me: What does THAT mean???

My Husband: Nothing. But for our next new married best friends, can you find a husband and wife who are faithful? To each other.

Fast Forward to Couple Number Two

Me: Happy 51st anniversary! That’s a nice, long marriage. But I coulda sworn your ad said you were married for 15 years?

Wife: Howard says that’s my dyslexia, but I really just need new glasses.

Me: So which one of you loves to surf?

Wife: That would be Howard again. But he surfs the web. I just wanted to make it sound like he was more active.

My Husband: So which one of you is Howard??

Me: (Elbowing husband roughly in the gut.) So which one of you bowls?

Howard: We both put ice-cream in bowls, right Chunky Monkey?

Wife: That’s right, Rocky Road!

Me: And right here, your profile says someone is really into DIY?

Howard: Dessert In Yogurt! That’s right. The little wifey here is a wild thing. Always dunking her “Donuts In Yogurt.”

Wife: Not just Donuts. I’m daring!  “DIY” can stand for “Danish In Yogurt” too. Or I can even dip Devil’s food cuz that starts with D also.

Me: DIY. And here I always thought that meant “Do It Yourself?”

Wife: Oh it does! This is strictly a solo project.  Howard never helps me dip.

My Husband: Yeah, that’d just make Howard the Big Dip! Bwahaha.

Fast Forward to Our Drive Home

Me: You’re so creative with words….you couldn’t have said, “the Big Dipper?” instead? That could’ve been passed off as sightly amusing and we might’ve gotten to stay and cream that old fogie couple in Scrabble!

My Husband: Hmph. Some long-term married people can be so touchy.

Me: Alright here’s the new approach. Since I’m obviously the better half of our equation, I’ll make friends first with a married woman and get her liking me a lot. Then I’ll lower the boom and mention I have a goofy husband who could use a new friend too. And I’ll suggest we double-date with her hubby. Got it?

My Husband: Perfect. Then you two wives go shopping and the husband and I will go to a baseball game.

           Fast Forward To Our Divorce!

Readers: Is it THIS difficult for you to find couples as friends? Tell me in the comments! And just go right HERE if you’re brave enough to shop for other Couple Friends online . . . “Frouples!”

 

Judy Blume . . . My New Best Friend!

 

It all started when I heard rumors that  Judy Blume (every girl’s favorite childhood author and someone I became obsessed with in the 1970’s!) was teaching an online MastersClass. (You know those internet courses you pay to sign up for that are taught by famous people?)

Now at first I thought my sister-in-law (a Judith Bloom!) was playing one of her usual tricks on me once again.  She’s a practical joker and has had name envy her entire life, wishing she could be the one making all the money from those best-selling teenage novels about girls’ developing bodies and their first boy crushes. Well guess what? I wasn’t falling for it this time!

So when I logged onto the website, there was the REAL Judy Blume smiling kindly at me from a photograph — and that’s when I first sensed it — our private, special, one-on-one connection.

Judy’s compassionate expression from her picture beckoned, “Come on Stephanie D. Lewis, just sign up for my class and I’ll make you the Teacher’s Pet!” I even detected her winking conspiratorially at me during a video while I became mesmerized by her paperback book-covers flashing hypnotically across the screen. But when I replayed it, I couldn’t exactly swear to that.

Disregarding that old adage, “Those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach,” (This is Judy Blume we are talking about, after all!!) I studied the fine print carefully; “Judy will hold regular office hours, critiquing select students’ work and sending her personal feedback.” I could just see it now! Choosing me, (over all her thousands of other pupils) we’d bond over her charming knack for writing about menstruation — and my odd ability to pen blogs about menopause.

My first email to Ms. Blume would shout in the subject title, “Are you there, Judy? It’s Me, Stephanie!” (Yep, I’d totally go there!) She’d giggle, impressed how I stood out from her other humdrum students by referencing her most popular novel of all time. And then upon Judy’s friendly prompt response, I’d mention our further commonality as chocoholics. After all — she named her character ‘Fudge’ in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, and I (a Fifth Grade Zero!) had named our family poodle ‘Cocoa” as a direct result of reading that book.  Of course, this only encouraged our house guests to indulge Cocoa with numerous Hershey’s Kisses — eventually killing her, because dogs shouldn’t ingest chocolate. But I’d reassure Judy I never once held her accountable for this misfortune and she’d reply, “Let’s grab a cup of coffee to make up for your tragic loss and discuss how you’re gonna follow in my famous footsteps.”

Now lemme briefly pause here to say that when email interactions don’t go as well as one imagines — an experienced writer (like myself!) knows how to:

a) Reframe — Of course Judy’s eyes were hurting from overzealously reading all my compelling writing samples, so she’s napping today, but she’ll reach out to me first thing tomorrow.  b) Have a Plan B — Call Ms. Blume directly on her personal landline, demonstrating exemplary student initiative!

And what a creative plan B this would be! After Judy’s voicemail plays and I hear the beep, I resist calling her “Judge Judy” and instead belt out the Beatles, “Hey Jude!” That oughta do the trick. But as I sing the “na na nana na na’s” that end the famous lyrics, a robotic voice interrupts me, “Are you satisfied with your message or do you wish to re-record?” Thinking it sounds cheesy, I’ll press delete and launch into my Cary Grant impersonation exclaiming, “Judy, Judy, Judy! Let’s do lunch, baby.” There!

I’ll follow that call up with personally delivering a large bouquet of flowers onto Judy’s front doorstep (in Key West, Florida) with some really clever wordplay. The card says, “Here’s every “bloom” I could find in honor of my new BFF Judy “Blume” and our “blossoming” friendship!”

As I sink further into this magical reverie, a notification on my cellphone rudely alerts me, “We are sorry to inform you that Ms. Blume’s writing course has been permanently cancelled due to her vivid premonitions of a crazy, fanatical fan stalking her!”

Extraordinarily disappointed, I’ll let myself in thru the backdoor of her home (that she’ll have given me the key to during our coffee date) and find her sitting inconsolably on her living room couch, where I’ll immediately put my arm around her shoulders and whisper soothingly, “There, there, Judy. I know it’s extremely challenging possessing the kind of overactive writers’ imaginations that we both do! But we’ll get through this. Together.”

It’s only then that I’ll glimpse the cellphone cancellation notice is originating from . . . Judith Bloom. Drats….my impish sister-in-law has managed to get me again!

Judy need only ask me once, and I’ll help her title ALL her books!