Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Cocoon Eaters - Chapter 4 (Babysitters)

*here is a chapter from a children's story i recently wrote. it is still much in the works and therefore any and all feedback is open! hope it makes your lips turn!

Chapter 4 – Babysitters

As any kid who has had a babysitter knows, babysitters can be nuisance. They’re kind of like teachers because sometimes you get a good one and other times you get a not so good one. Or, they’ll start off one way and then turn another way later on. It’s all luck really, and your parents are entirely clueless about the true character of a babysitter because babysitters do a thing I call The Parent Act. Let me give you an example.

When your parents come to the door to greet a new babysitter and introduce ‘you kids’ to them, the babysitter will usually crouch down so that they’re face-to-face with you, throw a big stinky smile in your face and ask, “so what’s your name?” All you can really do is pretend to be shy and hide behind your parents to avoid the fake stench of their brutal bubblegum breath.

Now let me tell you a thing about babysitters and bubblegum. First off, did you know that pretty much all babysitters chew bubblegum? Maybe it’s genetic. Anyway, the flavour of bubblegum that they chew can tell you a lot about what the babysitter is going to be like. I’ve learned that grape, watermelon and cotton candy flavours are usually safe, but strawberry or sour apple are sure signs of a bad babysitter. But back to The Act.

So then your parents take the babysitter on a tour of your house to show them where everything is: food for dinner and snacks, the bedrooms, the bathrooms, and a list by the phone of emergency numbers. All that terribly boring stuff. Meanwhile, the babysitter keeps saying they “simply love” everything. This is the phrase to look out for.

They “simply love the house,” they “simply love children,” they “simply love babysitting,” and so on. All lies. But parents take the bait, and as soon as your parents leave the house, your babysitter takes off their plastic Parent Act babysitter face.

I should say that I once had a perfectly sweet babysitter whose name was Rose, and Rose was an exception. Rose never chewed bubblegum, she brought her favourite stories over to read to me and she even came up with exciting games for us to play together. But then Rose moved away, and I got Lorraine.

Lorraine had perfected The Parent Act so well that even I fell for it. My parents still believe that she is a wonderful babysitter to this day, even though she doesn’t clean up after herself and she watches pay per view movies without asking. But truly, she’s really, really bad.

Not only does she chew sour apple bubblegum, which by the way she wasn’t chewing when I first met her, but she also does this thing where she blows a small bubble, brings it back inside her mouth and then pops it with her tongue. At first I thought it was kind of a neat trick, but she does it every minute and that sharp clicking sound it makes when the bubble pops in her mouth is so irritating I can’t even sit in the same room as her.

To make it worse, when she’s finished chewing one piece she swallows it and then she pulls another one out from her back pocket, which is all squished and warm and gooey from being back there for who knows how long, and immediately starts chewing and popping. It’s absolutely disgusting.

When my parents go out, which they do almost every Thursday and Friday night, Lorraine comes over and does this: she turns on the T.V., and then she grabs the portable phone, the potato chips, my mom’s magazines and my mom’s nail polish. She waddles into the family room, plops herself on the couch, takes off her ratty socks, and begins multi-tasking. Usually she just watches T.V. and talks on the phone while painting her toenails, but sometimes she also eats potato chips. When she’s eating the chips she gets crumbs all over her chest, and then guess what? She just pulls the piece of bubblegum she’s chewing out of her mouth and uses it to pick up the crumbs. And then when she’d got them all, she puts it back into her mouth and gets right back to chewing. See what I mean? She’s really sick.

The only time I ever hear her voice, which sounds like a toad’s, is when she yells, “hey kid, go to bed will ya.” But I don’t really have to because there’s no way she would actually get up off the couch to check. So I keep reading or whatever I’m doing until eventually I fall asleep.

With Lorraine I can pretty much do whatever I want as long as I stay out of her way, which suits me. I used to think about telling my parents exactly what she does when they’re away, but then I wondered if they would believe me. So I came up with a plan instead.

My plan is to invent something that will make Lorraine never want to come back. I got the idea for it one night when I heard her say on the phone that, “the bloody noises in this house at night totally give me the creeps.” After hearing that I started working on something that would scare her while she’s alone in the family room after I’ve ‘gone to bed.’ It’s not finished yet, but I can tell you what it’s called: The Sitter Spooker.

Monday, November 13, 2006

smalL PreSS faIrs

are winter clotheslines of underware and socks - we come in and unload our minds on these tiny table tops and watch as people pass, stop, consider, refuse, purchase, converse, are intregued, reject our writing and thus ourselves....WAIT a minute.

okay, no. it's not exactly like that, but the atmosphere at both fairs was a heavy shade of grey for sure. the venues changed (for both) and maybe that had something to do with it. the weather outside was sunny and sweet (for both) and maybe that had something to do about it. either way, i found myself sitting beside some synical people who packed up early - conviced that the better tactic would have been to sing up (get your name in the anthology and on display)but not show up - $advertising$.

for me, i learned a lot. i want to make my writing more accessible to people at these things - more interactive in some way - so that they can engage themselves to get a feel for where i'm coming from and then be able to decide whether or not they'd enjoy my book. something to zap the pressure. also, it's sharing, connecting and feedback that i really want from these things, so i should be giving people free poems with contact info. for getting back to me. HELLo!

sometimes i want to hollar in the streets - like howard beal in "network"; "i'm getting crazy and i'm not going to take it anymore!" - write poetry on the walls! wear poetry! tatoo myself in words! rant in pubs!

ahhh, tip of the tongue press will be unleashing all sorts of tongues before this trip is through!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Halloween Poem (yes, even though it's past)

Have you been out Halloween? It’s quite Obscene, the things I’ve Seen.

Childrens’ faces painted Mean, with clown smiles black Or goblin green; a Zombie baseball team if Teens; the queen of Hearts; a young James Dean; even a walking time Machine; many a Grimm Reaper (that killing fiend) and Jack, still lean, Holds tight his Magic bean.

All come to Hallow upon my Door, I will not Answer. I am No more!!!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Art, Art Everywhere. On The Ground And In Your Hair!

i've been stuck to my portfolio like a sucker to a shoe, thus have been absent from this space.

but, i've also been soaking up inspiration as if my eyes and ears were insatiable sponges.

so, i'm here to turn the mic over to tom robbins as post one of november, from his book skinny legs and all.

"in the haunted house of life, art is the only stair that doesn't creak."

“Mockingbirds are the true artists of the bird kingdom. Which is to say, although they're born with a song of their own, an innate riff that happens to be one of the most versatile of all ornithological expressions, mockingbirds aren't content to merely play the hand that is dealt them. Like all artists, they are out to rearrange reality. Innovative, willful, daring, not bound by the rules to which others may blindly adhere, the mockingbird collects snatches of birdsong from this tree and that field, appropriates them, places them in new and unexpected contexts, recreates the world from the world.”

“...she recreated the mountains not as she had originally seen them but as she eventually chose to see them, for a person has not only perceptions but a will to perceive, not only a capacity to observe the world but a capacity to alter the world itself. Those people who recognize that imagination is reality's master, we call 'sages,' and those who act upon it, we call 'artists.'”

"Both money and art, powdered as they are with the romance and poetry of the age, are magic. Rather, money is magic, art is magik. Money is stagecraft, sleight of hand, a bag of clever tricks. Art is a plexus of forces and influences that act upon senses by means of practical yet permanently inexplicable secret links. Admittedly, the line between the two can be as thin as a dime. What's more, the magicians of capitalism strengthen their hold on their audience through the manipulation of artistic images.”

“'Originality is a myth perpetuated by the naïve, the romantic, and the unscrupulous. There has been no truly original art since prehistoric times. Every artist has simply reworked the art of his or her predecessors. My artists are unique in that they've owned up to the practice. They've taken it a step further by refusing to participate in the ruse. By simply appropriating the work of artists they admire, copying it and exhibiting it as their own, they are courageously honest – and tragically sad. Their admission of defeat is part and parcel of the melancholia that epitomizes our time.'”

Turn Around Norman's street performances – people usually didn't even notice him, or that he was even performing, but when they did they would laugh or poke fun - “maybe they wanted his place on the street, maybe they simple didn't know how else to respond to an exhibition that pure, that unmotivated by an ambition that they could share or comprehend. One tended to lose one's bearings in the presence of willful and persistent acts of craziness, and the more gentle the act, the crazier it seemed, as if rage and violence, being closer to the norm, were easier to accommodate.”

if you dig it so far and you're hungry for more, pick it up. it's absolutely delicious