Wait, Come Back!

How does he manage to end the bottle of shampoo exactly when he's leaving?

How does he manage to end the bottle of shampoo exactly when he’s leaving?

Oh Summer, why do you always end so quickly?  Not quite over yet, but Nerd Child goes back to school tomorrow.  At this point I’ll be lucky to squeeze in one more beach day.  This is our ninth year of watching at least one of the boys pack for the beginning of the school year, and yet it never, ever gets easier. And this is a big year.  Art Child is going into high school, Nerd Child is in his last year of high school, and Man Child won’t be in school at all.  Almost three months past and still a huge thought, that my oldest is a college graduate.

Once August begins, posts from friends in other parts of the country begin creeping into my newsfeed, showing me back to school pictures and advertisements.  For the first week or so, I resent it–in New York we’re only halfway through.  But by the third week, I’m in countdown mode, insomnia increasing even as I remember soon enough sleeping late won’t be an option; knowing it’s only a matter of time before I’m frantically filling out paperwork, asking for the eighth time if he’s sure he packed enough shampoo to last him until Thanksgiving.   You’d think he was headed to Antarctica instead of New England, with no readily available drugstores.

I should be happy and excited for all of them.  Art Child is going to a school that seems like it will be a good fit for her, a small and welcoming community. Not an art school, but she can and will continue with her Saturday art classes. Man Child will be home for about a week, and then he’s off to Europe for several months, with a job and housing lined up.  Nerd Child is poised for an excellent year, and there’s no reason to think he won’t have at least a couple of great options for college once it’s all said and done.

Sure I’ll have a little more room when the amps clear out.

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I’d say I won’t find picks underfoot constantly, but that’d be a lie.  Those things multiply like Legos.

on the floor

on the floor

on the table....

on the table….

He should have begun packing this morning, but instead he headed downtown to the super sekrit, super awesome word-of-mouth-only luthier who made his guitar in order to get it adjusted.

Now he’s home, and should be packing. I should be yelling at him to pack. I should be reminding him to keep working on his application essays. But he’s playing, and I’m listening.

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Not That Gal

Final installment of Mrs Fringe Takes a Vacation–I promise!

Much as I’d like to be, I’m not that gal.  You know the one; who appreciates everything she has, cleans the toilet thinking how lucky she is to be living somewhere with indoor plumbing, and is grateful to have (reasonably) working limbs and the luxury to grocery shop when the refrigerator is empty.  The one who takes a vacation and thinks, wow! I so appreciate a life where I was able to do that, what a wonderful time I had, and now I’m happy to be home.

I want to know when I can go back.  Art Child and I agreed we would start a jar of coins dedicated to our next vacation.  I thought about the jar of coins I already keep, the one that’s supposed to go towards Christmas presents, but usually ends up spent on a bill, or groceries, or some other necessity.

I’m the one who picks up the free real estate magazines whenever she goes anywhere, and imagines how it would be to live there.  The one who spends the entire thirteen hour drive home trying to figure out how many dogs she’d have to walk to buy a little beach house.  (Yah, I know, I haven’t been able to dog walk because I got all broken.) And ok, not so little, because I’m not alone.  Maybe not on the beach, because insurance.  And hurricanes.   So, walking distance to the beach.  Still in the million dollar range?  Ok, reasonable driving distance.  So maybe then I’d need to have a pool, because it’s hot hot hot there, and I wouldn’t want the girl to spend all her time off the beach locked in air conditioning. Who’s that knocking at my door–Reality?

Fuck you, Reality, I’m not ready to end my fling with Fantasy.  Talk to me next week.

Oh, the beach houses, which one would I choose?

Oh, the beach houses, which one would I choose?

Lovely, but too fancy.

Lovely, but too fancy.

This could work.

This could work.

How about this little one?

How about this little one?

We have a winner.

We have a winner.

Every day should begin like this.

Every day should begin like this.

The picture of a promise.

The picture of a promise.

View from the apartment we stayed in.

View from the apartment we stayed in.

Yes, please.

Yes, please.

My toes are tingling.

My toes are tingling.

This was one of my favorite parts of the vacation. A washer and dryer IN the apartment! Mundane but true.

This was one of my favorite parts of the vacation. A washer and dryer IN the apartment! Mundane but true.

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I could spend hours looking at the patterns left in the wet sand by the waves.

I could spend hours looking at the patterns left in the wet sand by the waves.

I may print this one.

I may print this one.

Yes.

Yes.

The dark clouds felt just right for my last morning on the beach.

The dark clouds felt just right for my last morning on the beach.

Isn’t She Lovely?

Every time we’ve gone to Hilton Head in the past, I’ve said I wanted to visit Savannah, but we never did.  Much as I wanted to check it out, I could never quite get myself to leave the beach once we were there.  Somehow the thought of walking a city in 100+ degree heat with 90% humidity loses it’s charm when you’re feeling a perfect ocean breeze.  However, this summer has been less brutal than usual up and down the east coast, I wanted to do at least a couple of things Nerd Child would enjoy (the other was the boat ride) and one of my godsons now lives there, so the timing was perfect.

Because I live practically in the shadow of the George Washington Bridge, it takes a lot for me to note a bridge as impressive. This one is.

Because I live practically in the shadow of the George Washington Bridge, it takes a lot for me to note a bridge as impressive. This one is–what an angle!

Every bit as beautiful as it appears in the movies, Savannah didn’t disappoint.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get any photos of the streets that are completely canopied by those live oaks. We drove down several when we first arrived, but we were running late (for some reason I thought it was under 40 minutes away from HH, but it’s over an hour), so I thought I’d take those photos once we were walking around with Mr Chic (my godson) and Ms Beauty (his bff and roommate).  Turns out the whole city isn’t filled with those canopies, oops.  We spent the majority of our time on River Street.  I know, I know, tourist trap–I loved it anyway.  How can I not adore a city filled with the history and architecture I love from New England, but with the pace and weather of the South.  Plus it’s perfectly appropriate to wear ridiculous hats without being a lady who lunches.

Mr Chic eyed my cane, and Mother-In-Law’s cane, before we set out, and warned us that it would be a lot of walking.  Pfft, I’m a New Yorker, of course I’m up for it!  Maybe not.  By the time we reached the end of River Street, we were done, and absolutely couldn’t make it back to the car.

Of course I did get several shots of the oaks!

Of course I did get several shots of the oaks!

Beautiful "squares" sprinkled throughout the city, makes it feel like a movie set.

Beautiful “squares” sprinkled throughout the city, makes it feel like a movie set.

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Great for photos, but I took the ramp meant for cars.

Great for photos, but I took the ramp meant for cars.

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What my imagination could do with these alleyways!

What my imagination could do with these alleyways!

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Layers and layers and layers.

Layers and layers and layers.

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Fabulous narrow terraces, Husband and I were struck by the wooden floorboards.

Fabulous narrow terraces, Husband and I were struck by the wooden floorboards.

Did these keep you safe from...anything?

Did these keep you safe from…anything?

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Seemed like everyone but us was strolling River Street with drinks in hand.

Seemed like everyone but us was strolling River Street with drinks in hand.

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Now these are cobblestones!

Now these are cobblestones!

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quite a few of these hidden stairways.

quite a few of these hidden stairways.

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You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t spend one post touching on some of the critters to be found in the ocean and on the island. Born and bred a city gal the thought of a bear, or a mountain lion, or even a deer, terrifies me.  But because I’m a reefer, let me glimpse a few sea critters and I’m all in.

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So much more polite than the gulls in NY ;)

So much more polite than the gulls in NY ;)

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aah yes, the early morning prospectors--what are they looking for?

aah yes, the early morning prospectors–what are they looking for?

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Fall in line, boys!

Fall in line, boys!

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Lots of sunrise fishing

Lots of sunrise fishing

Love the flowers that pop up on the dunes.

Love the flowers that pop up on the dunes.

 

look close!

look close!

One afternoon we took a 2 hour boat tour of the waterways surrounding the island. One of the things I love about this area is the proximity of the dolphins.  While it didn’t happen this trip, there have been times where we were at the beach and there were dolphins swimming a hundred feet from us.

oyster beds all along the waterway.

oyster beds all along the waterway.

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We did spot several dolphins close to the boat, but I wasn’t able to get any great shots.  Honestly, I quickly gave up and just enjoyed watching them.

 

sorry, this is as good as I got.

sorry, this is as good as I got.

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One morning on my sunrise stroll, a woman came running up to warn me, “someone dumped a garbage can over there, and there’s some kind of sea creature!  You’re barefoot, and it has tentacles, be careful!!” She was genuinely frightened, and I, of course, went running straight towards it.

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Is it the creature from the black lagoon?

Is it the creature from the black lagoon?

bwahahaha, a not so scary at all horseshoe crab.

bwahahaha, a not so scary at all horseshoe crab.

I was a little disappointed, I had visions of something a-maz-ing.  Southern octopus?  Sea turtle nest in a strange spot? Or maybe a shark that I could have rescued and sent back to the water.

Jelly, and yes, I was stung by one of these guys our first day there. Not the first time, and I'm certain not the last.

Jelly, and yes, I was stung by one of these guys our first day there. Not the first time, and I’m certain not the last.

So fast, very hard to catch a shot that wasn't a complete blur.

So fast, very hard to catch a shot that wasn’t a complete blur.

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Beautiful, but not as serene as we pretend it is.

Beautiful, but not as serene as we pretend it is.

Later on the same day of finding the horseshoe crab, I was back on the beach with Husband.  Art Child was tired, and had stayed in the apartment with the boys. When I said good morning to the guy renting beach chairs, I laughed and told him about the crab, and how I had imagined it would be a shark. The water was a little rough that morning, so I didn’t go out too far.  Next thing I know, beach chair guy shows himself to be a lifeguard, calling everyone out of the water.  He had spotted a shark–closer to the shore than I had been–  said it was the largest one he had ever seen in this area, and kept everyone out of the water for at least half an hour.  How freaking cool is that?  But I admit, I spent the rest of the morning at the pool.

Saggy Bits

Walking Sticks and Flip-Flops

Walking Sticks and Flip-Flops

Installment #2 of Mrs Fringe Takes a Vacation.

You might be wondering a couple of things.  For example, was I inspired to do any writing while admiring the beauty and sunrises of the beach?  No. I wasn’t, and I didn’t. On our first full day there, I found a rejection in my email that referenced the agent’s “enjoyment of and obvious strengths of” my work.  I spent about 43 seconds stomping my foot–if it’s so obviously strong….I’ll likely have another seven years to obsess about my words and lack of publication before I’ll be back on that beach. Thankfully, the sand doesn’t make for satisfying stomping ground, and so I let it go to enjoy where I was.

The second, obvious question; what did that shameless hussy who goes by the name of Mrs Fringe wear on the beach?  For my sunrise photography sessions, I wore my 8000 year old workout clothes. Mostly because I’d get up, have coffee, do my yoga, and head straight out. The rest of the time? Bikinis all the way. That’s right, I’m a 40,000 year old woman with three grown and close to grown children wearing the effects of gravity like a sarong.  My concession to a body that nursed three babies for a grand total of 58,000 years is to make sure the top has an underwire.

I’ve talked a lot about my love of my Brooklyn beach, and this is much of it.  On that beach you find women of all ages, shapes, sizes, and fitness wearing their bikinis without a thought to what anyone else might or might not think, before they put their tent-resembling chintz house dresses back on and unfold their walkers to go purchase a pound of ground chuck for dinner.  Somewhere in there is a lesson on feminism, accepting who we are at all stages.

I try to care. I even went shopping before we left and bought a conservative tankini, very pretty. The tags are still on it. Instead, I went shopping again while we were on the island, and bought another bikini. I wasn’t sure about it, thought the design might be a little “young” for me, so I walked out of the dressing room to get an opinion. There was a woman standing there, about my age, who misinterpreted what I was asking and told me I should buy it, she’d absolutely wear a bikini if she could pull it off. She proceeded to call her 85 year old mother out of a dressing room to look at me so she could agree. I’m fairly certain her mom couldn’t actually hear a word of what was said, but she smiled and nodded.  Then the woman called her teenaged daughter out of her dressing room to add to the vote.  Hah! The girl popped her head out, politely tried to cover her horror with a twitchy grin, and slammed herself back into her cubicle. Naturally, I bought it ($12!), and wore it the rest of the time we were on the island. To my dressing room buddy:  You can pull it off.  If you want to do so, wear a bikini. It’s that simple.

The tide goes in and out four times (high tide twice, low tide twice) each day on Hilton Head, with a huge difference between high and low.  This means that during low tides, yes there are lovely, warm little tidal pools that are the equivalent of natural sea baby pools, but it also means there’s plenty of width and time to walk (or wheel, for those using wheelchairs) to the shoreline on sand that’s firmly packed, leaving stable ground beneath you. Why mention this? So you can picture how easily Mother-In-Law and I left our canes along with flip-flops and towels in the narrow stretch of soft sand so we could go swimming.

Today’s photos are mixed, a couple of sunrises with some late morning shots sprinkled in.

Path between the apartment complex and the beach.

Path between the apartment complex and the beach.

Sea oats

Sea oats

flip-flops on, off, who cares?

flip-flops on, off, who cares?

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Trash on the beach is terrible, yet there's beauty in there.

Trash on the beach is terrible, yet there’s beauty in there.

Bristle worm

Bristle worm

I was far from the only one in the water at sunrise, I think I fell in love with this woman.

I was far from the only one in the water at sunrise, I think I fell in love with this woman.

Can you feel it?

Can you feel it?

Those beach morning glories from yesterday? A late morning shot.

Those beach morning glories from yesterday? A late morning shot.

why choose to get up at 5am on vacation? This is why.

why choose to get up at 5am on vacation? This is why.

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Beach patrol, out every morning at sunrise to pick up trash left behind and blown in.

Beach patrol, out every morning at sunrise to pick up trash left behind and blown in.

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Up

Up

up

up

a little more

a little more

almost there

almost there

lost for a second

lost for a second

perfect new day.

perfect new day.

Where Ya Been, Mrs Freckle Fringe?

After much agonizing and whining, I booked a vacation.  So yes, Fringeland moved south for a week, and I’m now back on the terrace.  This will be the first of several posts about, and pictures of, our trip. I didn’t post about it beforehand because of weirdness. First of all, it had been so long since we took a vacation, all I did was stress about it. Second, right after we booked it, obviously, the girl started to not do so well, so…more stress. Packing up for a road trip to a beach break is simple, right? A few bikinis, a few towels, comfy traveling clothes, and you’re done.  Not in Fringeland. We don’t go out often, and we vacation much less often, so when we’re away, I like to have some nice clothes for going out, and all the makeup I generally don’t wear, and the hair dryer and the straightening iron that I don’t end up using, and no less than four anti-frizz products to keep my hair weighed down in the humidity and breezes. Then there’s an entire small suitcase of meds for Husband and the girl. Yes, I want the comfy traveling clothes, but I also want to look decent, just in case. My version of “wear good underwear in case you get into an accident” is wear decent clothes in case the car breaks down, or someone gets sick and I end up needing to meet strange doctors in a strange hospital, or or or.  See what I mean? Stress! Sure it’s self inflicted, but I can’t help it, goes with the whole vivid imagination thing.  And maybe a dash of experience.

Man Child wasn’t able to come with us, but we were still a crowded vehicle; me, Husband, Art Child, Nerd Child, one of my godsons (Mr Goodheart), Mother-In-Law, and all our assorted crapola. We didn’t bring Little Incredibly Dumb Dog, because I didn’t book said vacation early enough, and all the affordable places within walking distance to the beach that were pet friendly were booked.  A huge, huge thank you to El Fab for taking care of my little beast, the container garden,  AND the tank. I literally took thousands of pictures while we were gone, it’s going to take a bit to sort through them all. My intention was to blog and post pics while away, but once we were there, I just didn’t want to. Sorry! So I’ll break up my pics and stories into a few posts, and put them up here as I sort them. In other words, warning: the next few Mrs Fringe posts will be photo intensive.  Maybe by the time I’ve finished I’ll have stopped sobbing because I want to go back and stay there–but I doubt it!

While on the road, we always stay in low-budget motels, whenever/wherever we are when we just have to crash. Gives us a little more leeway while we’re actually at our destination, and it seems like a waste of funds to spend more on a room you’re literally only going to sleep in. On the way down, we stayed in what must have been the worst (though not the least expensive) motel we’ve ever stayed in. The manager was friendly and chatty, though. He generously offered to give me a tea bag from his personal kitchen, asked Husband “is that a Mexican name?” (all Latino names = Mexican, right? sometimes, and sometimes Dominican, Spaniard, Puerto Rican, South American…), and while I was telling our crew to get out of the car and unload, he proceeded to tell Husband about the woman who had walked in behind us–as she was standing there–how she asked to see a room, used the bathroom while she was in said “clean” room, and was menstruating and now he had to clean up blood.  Thanks for sharing a bit of your life, buddy!

And now, pics from this too-grossly-funny to be believed motel, and the first morning on the beach.

Dinner?

Dinner?

Pets were allowed

Pets were allowed

Anyone care for a yellow, crusty washcloth? I bet no one steals their linens.

Anyone care for a yellow, crusty washcloth? I bet no one steals their linens.

Yesssss, going over the bridge to the island.

Yesssss, going over the bridge to the island.

I wouldn't mind one of these.

I wouldn’t mind one of these.

Even looks like a sigh of relief.

Even looks like a sigh of relief.

Though the island is only about 13 hours from where we live, and we planned to break it up into two days of traveling, we hit every traffic jam possible (seriously–at our first coffee and pee break, we tried to get back on the highway and it was completely shut down because of an accident) and so didn’t arrive until early evening of the second day.

I could spend all day looking at these live oaks, truly magnificent.

I could spend all day looking at these live oaks, truly magnificent.

Even in road trip stupor, it's impossible to get a bad shot of this sky.

Even in road trip stupor, it’s impossible to get a bad shot of this sky.

And now, the first sunrise. I was a bit late getting out there, but still caught some pretty shots.

And now, the first sunrise. I was a bit late getting out there, but still caught some pretty shots.

The dunes are protected and respected.

The dunes are protected and respected.

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Put your toes in, even at 6am the water is warm.

Put your toes in, even at 6am the water is warm.

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My little posing friend.

My little posing friend.

Still wondering why I’m sobbing about having to leave?

 

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Why go home when you can pass out right on the beach, errr, watch the sunrise?

Why go home when you can pass out right on the beach, errr, watch the sunrise?

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These seemed to be a beach/sand morning glory. Each morning at sunrise the buds were closed, by the time I came back out at 9am or so they were open.

These seemed to be a beach/sand morning glory. Each morning at sunrise the buds were closed, by the time I came back out at 9am or so they were open.

Thanks for the morning welcome song!

Thanks for the morning welcome song!

 

Making It Up

 

 I don’t wear makeup frequently, which means that buying makeup is a rarity–usually prompted by leprosy or pink eye caused by wearing really old makeup.  Recently, Art Child has been curious, and wanting to play with some of the stuff out of the oh-so-fancy ziploc bag that holds my war paint.

The day before yesterday was a fabulous one; Man Child and Miss Music had come down for a couple of days, and so we went to the beach together.  Perfect, fun, relaxed, I was still feeling good from it.

Exactly the right mood.  It was gray and expected to rain yesterday, so why not hit the makeup store?  It’s been a long time since I went in anywhere and had my face done, but I figured this way I could update my look (ha!) and the girl could watch and see how it’s supposed to be applied.  And what better way to ignore the story idea knocking at my brain than to walk away from the laptop and pretend I’m a normal woman who doesn’t imagine living houses and talking trees?  I told the make-up artist that I don’t wear the stuff often, and when I do, I like a “natural” look, minimal products.  Apparently it has been a reeeeeally long time since I did this, because there’re about 12 new steps and layers that I’ve never even heard of.  Something about priming and contouring, I don’t know.  From what I could tell, these new steps involve varying shades of gray and beige painted on, dried, and then painted again until your face has been appropriately shellacked so you look like a cadaver–this is all before applying the steps and products I’m more familiar with.

When it was all done, I looked like I was ready to jump onstage with David Bowie, circa 1981, and it was pouring outside.  Serious, monsoon time. By the time we walked the three blocks home, I had a slime coat dripping from my forehead to my knees, black gook rings covering two-thirds of my face, and my back and hip were screaming in pain. I guess the combo of high humidity, heat, and sitting still in the makeup chair for an hour wasn’t the best plan.  Nerd Child was awake by this time, looked up from his computer, recoiled, and said “What did you guys do?”

By the time Husband came home from work, I had given up and was in pajamas, in bed.  “What’s the–oh! Umm, did you put makeup on today?”  I could hear him snickering as he went to grab me a pain pill.

This morning the humidity is down, the rain is gone, my face is clean, and I’m feeling much better.  Still, I think I should stick to my algae studies on the beach. Besides, I hear green hair algae is a great wrinkle cure.

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Celebrate with Mrs Fringe

Here, have a café con leche on the terrace with me.

Here, have a café con leche on the terrace with me.

Yesterday was my 3 year blogoversary.

3 years isn’t that long and my number of subscribers isn’t very large in the context of the “big” blogs, but I can say, without reservation, it all feels pretty damned fine to me.

When I began, I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted Mrs Fringe to look like, or exactly what it would encompass.  I said from the beginning (and have continued to say) I wanted a space to be honest, to feel like a whole person, and a spot to prompt myself to write with just enough pressure but no actual, strict obligations.  Maybe I thought it would scratch my writing itch.  It hasn’t, in terms of fiction; instead, it’s an addition. I didn’t know how much I needed it, or how important this blog would become to me, my sense of self, or the growing number of fabulous people I’d meet through blogging.  I didn’t know I’d grow bold enough to post fiction, organized enough to create multiple pages with permanent links under the header in hopes of making navigation easier for readers. I didn’t know if it would attract any readers, let alone regular followers and commenters, but it has, and I thank every one of you for taking the time, making the effort.  A huge thank you to WordPress, for offering a platform that even a luddite like myself could navigate.

It’s funny how blogging has become such a part of my world.  As I go about my days in real time/space, each experience becomes a possible post, every oddity that catches my eye something that has me reaching for the camera.

The other day I took Art Child downtown, for a free workshop for teen artists, sponsored/presented by Sprite and Complex, hosted by Pen & Pixel.

While we were on line waiting to meet Art Child’s friend and her mom, I thought this is what life on the economic fringe in New York means, this is what Mrs Fringe is about.

Sprite Corner: Obey Your Thirst, yes

Sprite Corner: Obey Your Thirst, yes

Life on the fringe has its own set of stresses and stressors.  There are so many, many opportunities here in New York, often closed to those of us on strict budgets.  But sometimes you fall into something that’s cool, and free, and you actually get your shit together and register early enough to get your kiddo into this cool, free opportunity, and haul yourself on the 2 train to the N train to the J train, to a neighborhood that can’t quite decide if it’s going to gentrify or remain industrial, and it’s worth it. They’re running several events out of this pop-up storefront this summer, this one was a Photoshop/Design workshop, but they’re sponsoring others in music, comedy, cooking, and film.  It’s about supporting and enabling creativity in young people.

Tattoo while I wait?

Tattoo while I wait?

Free (good!) pizza offered for the kids before entering.

Free (good!) pizza offered for the kids before entering.

I thought there would be a spot where I could sit out of the way, or go in for coffee, while the girl was in the workshop.  Hmm, my choice seemed to be browsing industrial-sized cooking appliances or blowing a week’s budget in a chi-chi juice bar.  But then one of the execs came over to my friend and I as we were saying goodbye to the girls (I get it, parents hovering over the kids at the computers isn’t exactly the photo ops they’re looking for, plus he wanted to confirm Art Child was within the age group they’re insured for, she looks younger) and offered to buy us coffee. Nice.

By the time we were seated and our orders were taken, coffee became wine and a lovely food plate, and I had put in a plug for Mrs Fringe–I really need to get better at this, if I’m ever going to truly grow this blog–and we spent an hour talking about parenting, cyberbullying, encouraging teens and young adults, raising girls, and S&M.

Sometimes life in Fringeland leads me to some pretty interesting moments and people; thank you for sharing them with me.

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The Best Laid Plans, or, The Tao of Want

The no current project desk, much messier than the working desk.

The no current project desk, much messier than the working desk.

It’s a thinking out loud post today, Fringelings, because yesterday, this thing, this moment, this feeling happened.

This is the feeling I get with certain story ideas.  It’s an all-in-one jumble of a dangerous high; excitement, nerves, stomach flipping, blood pressure rising, false clarity–the lie of meeting someone in a bar and being certain this is the one.

Not everyone who writes gets this feeling, I’m told.  That said, I’m not special, because I know a few others who do.

Why is this a problem?  Because this isn’t a short story idea.  If you’re a regular follower/reader, you know I don’t want to write any more full length manuscripts.  I’ve spent the last how-many-months trying to make peace with acceptance, with the need to accept that it is never going to happen.  Too many dreams, too much want, these things make it so damned hard to accept now, to accept what it is.  Even the ideal is nonsensical, “I don’t want to want.”

One way or the other, writing is hard work, and it’s all about want.  For me.  Yes, I know, there are those who are completely content writing for themselves, don’t care if they ever get published, but as I’ve said many times before, that isn’t me.  I write to be read.  Which is why I don’t want to write any more full length manuscripts.  It’s a huge investment.  I don’t have the means to make huge investments.  I haven’t been putting any effort into thinking of novel ideas, I don’t want them.

But I have this idea, and it’s giving me the feeling.  So here’s where I have to decide, do I take yet another chance, sink months, maybe years, fucking hope! into yet another manuscript that will ultimately be another fun house mirror reflecting my delusions of people-will-want-to-read-my-words? More significantly, the delusion that a publishing professional will believe my words can earn them money?  I’m sorry, but yes, I care about that end of writing.  I’m not pure, haven’t discovered and embraced the Tao of the words themselves.  I would like to be that evolved, but I’m not.  And I’m exhausted thinking about this, putting these thoughts into a blog post.

Just in case having this idea giving me this feeling isn’t shit enough, the idea isn’t even original.  It would be taking the manuscript I wrote before Astonishing and ripping it apart, removing the romance, keeping the bits I like and then completely rewriting and restructuring it.  I’m not sure I have the skill to do such a thing.

Remember those tomato seeds I planted in my little terrace garden?  Two types, Roma and Cherries.  They didn’t turn out as expected.  The ones that grow to full size have blossom end rot.  I get all excited, seeing those full green fruits as they turn red, and then, when I pick them, the undersides are clearly too damaged to eat.  But most aren’t reaching their full size, they stop growing when they’re about the size of blueberries.  I’ve been picking and eating a few every morning, right off the plants, with my coffee on the terrace.  They’re sweet, tiny but lush.

Art Child and I have taken to calling them tomato berries.

Art Child and I have taken to calling them tomato berries.

If I allow this seed of an idea to germinate, give it time, water, sun, and sweat into my keyboard until it bears fruit, what will I get?  One of the tomatoes that looks perfect until you get close, see the results of calcium deficient soil, bones that aren’t strong enough to support a full manuscript?  Or will I get that little pop of warm perfection, not what’s expected but right in and of itself.  Is it worth trying?

At the moment, I just don’t know.  Every brain cell is telling me not to do this, swallow the idea and push it further down my digestive tract.

For the moment, I’ll do nothing.  I’ll leave it alone, see if not feeding it makes this idea disappear, lets my guts return to a normal pace.  A week, two weeks, a few months, a year.  If it stays, though, well, maybe I’ll open that old file, see what does or doesn’t come to mind when I reread, if I find myself reaching for the composition book with the original notes for the story (oddly enough, it isn’t packed away, but still in a top cubby of my desk), writing a few new ones.

Shit.

 

Excess

Moonflowers, finally!

Moonflowers, finally!

I get one every three days or so, but they open in the afternoon, not at night.

I get one every three days or so, but they open in the afternoon, not at night.

What’s worse than 5am yoga?  5am yoga after eating yourself into a carb coma the night before, of course.

The other morning I woke with an urge for corn chowder.  First day of a heat wave, why wouldn’t I want soup?  I went to the grocery store, and bought the ingredients.  Not as easy as it sounds, because I wasn’t thinking about the fact that it was Saturday.  In the grocery store.  By the time I got home, I needed to rest my back for a while before getting started.  Just as well, because lifehappened and I never got to start the soup.

Yesterday, day 2 of the heat wave.  I love summer, nothing makes me happier than not needing more than flip flops and shades to walk outside, but nothing holds the heat like the city.  The thought of soup was now as appealing as diving into the Hudson River. But…I already dropped $50 in the grocery store the day before, and had told Art Child she could help me.  Just in case making soup when it’s 93° with 69% humidity outside wasn’t enough, in between chopping and sautéing, I was back and forth at the laptop, had a thought provoking email conversation with a writing friend about writing and not.  This, naturally, is a conversation I feel compelled to keep having, but it’s upsetting too, leaving me to feel generally useless.  What to do when I’m stressing myself out?  I added biscuits, chicken (for the flesh eaters), and tofu (for the non flesh-eaters) to the menu.

cheddar scallion biscuits

cheddar scallion biscuits

Gin & Lemonade

Gin & Lemonade

Maybe an extra jalapeño next time.

Maybe an extra jalapeño next time.

Marinated chicken

Marinated chicken

Tofu in the same marinade.

Tofu in the same marinade.

I’m a pretty good cook, and sometimes everything works out just the way I want it to, and last night’s dinner was one of those meals.  Husband went into work early yesterday, so he was actually home at dinnertime, and the four of us sat together.  At my table, everyone sitting together means political discussions.  Last night’s topic segued from the need for campaign contribution reforms, to general American consumerism and excess.  Did it occur to me that in that moment, sucking down my organic, non-GMO corn, jalapeño, and yukon gold potato soup that I was the very picture of American excess? Yes, yes it did.  But I enjoyed it anyway.  Did the conversation stop me from thinking I had absolutely nailed those biscuits? (If, like me, you’re too heavy handed with a rolling pin, drop biscuits are the way to go.) Nope.  When I was already full from the soup and biscuit, did it prevent me from taking a big slice of tofu? Well, you see, I made the whole brick, and it’s only Art Child and I who eat the tofu, so it would be wasteful to not even eat one slice….

What a surprise that I woke up before the sun, feeling like an overstuffed sausage.  These political conversations are deadly, I tellya.