Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring Fever

It's spring and I have the Fever -- you know, that nagging, insatiable urge compelling you to turn your life upside down and do a little wandering. I've always had crazy ideas, but never the stones to act on them. But this fever has imbued me with a boldness I've never known before. Suddenly, my craziest ideas seem like the sanest ones I've ever had. Here's my to-do list for spring:

1. Sell all my possessions and travel the country on my bicycle.

2. Buy a bicycle.

3. Dye my hair purple.

4. Join the circus.

5. Become a cruise ship performer.

6. Become a Buddhist nun.

7. Tattoo my entire body.

8. Pretend to have amnesia, move to another town, and adopt a new identity.

9. Become a mascot for an NBA team.

10. Host my own TV talk show.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Top 10 Things I Learned This Week

1. There are between 46 million and 80 million "Gen-Xers" in the United States, depending on which expert you listen to.Ants can survive the microwave.

2. Too much chocolate can be a very, very bad thing.

3. Arts education helps improve learning retention, raise test scores and give children self-confidence.

4. Trust and confidence in top leadership at an organization is the single most reliable predictor of employee satisfaction.

5. Sexual harassment on the job violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

6. Ants can survive the microwave.

7. Don't make investment decisions solely on the performance of the Dow Jones.

8. The number one sales strategy is focusing only on what the customer needs.

9. Public art improves quality of life in a community.

10. The $150 billion economic stimulus package is only about 1.2 percent of the GDP.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Never too late?

"It's never too late to be who you might have been."
George Eliot, author

"Yes there are two paths that you can go on, but in the long run, there's still time to change the road you're on."
Led Zeppelin, rock group, "Stairway to Heaven."

"It's not too late, it's never too late."
Three Days Grace, rock group, "Never Too Late."

So maybe I don't have to be the same person I've always been. Maybe it's not too late to wake up and reverse course. Maybe I can be wild and crazy and turn my whole life upside down. Plenty of other people have done it, and the earth didn't spin off its axis. Maybe it's the impending arrival of spring, maybe I've had too much chocolate, or maybe people really can change -- whatever the cause, I have an overwhelming, all-consuming desire to be the complete opposite of who I've always been. To just play a little, try on different personas until I find one that fits. Maybe every decision doesn't have to be a matter of life and death, maybe it's okay to follow my whims instead of agonizing over what the "proper" thing to do is, or whether people will be shocked or disappointed in me if I start being myself for a change. Maybe there really is a light at the end of the tunnel, if only I can find the courage to follow it.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Trusting my (Reporter's) Instinct

Rule of Journalism #1: Always trust your Reporter’s Instinct.

Lately, I’ve been having doubts about my “nose for news.” My interviews all sound the same--same tried-and-true, middle-of-the-road questions, same well-rehearsed, self-serving answers, no matter who I’m interviewing. I’m covering the same kinds of stories, interviewing the same people over and over and over again. I was afraid I’d lost my edge, that maybe I’d asked and written everything I had in me. But at last, I am redeemed: my Reporter’s Instinct has not abandoned me!

Several months ago, I wrote here about my suspicions regarding one of my neighbors, whom I nicknamed The Prophet. (See “It’s always the quiet ones...”). Anyway, from the day I moved to this block, I was convinced this man was up to something. Something nefarious. Something diabolical. I thought he was some kind of cult leader or something. I still don’t know what he was doing, but I know he was doing something: a few weeks ago, the police came and took him away in handcuffs, and he hasn’t been back since. His disciples still meet at his house for their Sunday service, and a couple of them regularly spend the night. During these nocturnal gatherings, I see strange blue lights and eerie shadows, but I don’t think I want to know what they are. I’m assuming his second-in-command stepped up to fill the void, and carry out whatever sinister plan they’ve been hatching over there.

Frankly, though, I’m more concerned about the way The Prophet disappeared than I am about what he was doing. It was like something out of a movie--the police come and whisk him away, and he’s never seen again. They never searched his house, never removed any evidence. His car is still parked out front. His congregation still gathers just as nothing ever happened. Since the police took him away, it would seem he must have committed a crime. But if he committed a crime, why didn’t they search his house? Shouldn’t they have carted our dozens of little official-looking bags marked “evidence”? My lifelong obsession with mystery novels has given me no insight into this perplexing puzzle. If Miss Marple were here, she’d have this figured out before teatime.

Unfortunately, I was not written into existence by Agatha Christie, so I share none of Miss Marple’s intellect or insight. However, I do have my trusty Reporter’s Instinct, and my nose for news is working overtime on this one. With some patience and a little digging, I’m sure I can find the truth. But if I, too, mysteriously disappear, please don’t call the police. Instead, call Miss Marple. And make her a nice cup of tea.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Turning Leaves

Wednesday, October 31, 2007



Saturday, June 02, 2007

It's always the quiet ones...

I call him The Prophet.

He lives across the street, in a small, plain, shabby house. He drives a plain, small, shabby car. He is a plain, small, quiet man, whose clothes are always pressed and whose lawn is perpetually mowed. He creeps me out.

I believe he has his own cult, which meets every Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and I have yet to figure out how he fits all those people into a tiny two-bedroom frame house. His followers are evidently very wealthy; their clothes have that lush, soft, well-draped look that you only find at stores where a belt costs $500. Their Lexuses, Escalades and Range Rovers sit bumper-to-bumper in a gleaming line by the curb, making passage nearly impossible. Why would such well-heeled parishioners flock to a humble little home-based church, instead of some well-appointed cathedral with a skyward-reaching steeple? What is this man’s allure? Whatever it is, it must surely be sinister.

They start arriving about an hour before their service, or ritual, or whatever it is, begins. The women’s headdresses and robes are swirled blue, yellow, green and red. Then men dress in black. For a while, they meander around the front of the house, yelling from car to car, the kids playing ball out front. Then, they are gone, and from inside comes the thud-thud-thudding of drum music, sometimes accompanied by chanting. This can last for hours.

For the seven months I have lived in this house, I have been obsessed by this event. I blame it on my writer-ness: we are compulsively nosy, partly out of sheer curiosity, but primarily because only by understanding what makes other people tick can we accurately portray human life. I need to know what goes on in that house. I need to know because without this knowledge, I cannot evolve as a writer.

And I am not alone. Twice I saw a man, dressed in a suit and trenchcoat, loitering around The Prophet’s house. The first time, he spoke on his cell phone for a while before going to the door. No one was home, so he went to talk to the neighbor, who was outside because of a power outage on the block. He left, visiting no other houses. He came back about a week later, and I haven’t seen him since. Then a few weeks later, The Prophet’s car was vandalized in the middle of the night. In my city, late night vandalism sprees targeting an entire block or neighborhood are not uncommon. In this case, only The Prophet’s car was hit.

What if I have been right all along? What if there are all kinds of nefarious goings-on being perpetrated at that little white house across the street? Will they be thwarted before whatever evil scheme they are hatching is launched? Or, like so many of the other malevolent plots I’ve stumbled upon, will this prove to be the product of too little sleep, too much chocolate, and way too many crime shows and horror movies?
Free Guestbook from Free Guestbook from
Zoetrope Bloggers
Join | List | Previous | Next | Random | Previous 5 | Next 5 |
Powered by RingSurf