A Gifted Mime and a Sale

1 March 2002

I was all set to talk about yesterday's events, but my mailbox interfered with that: sale! "Grandma Disappears" will be in the Spring 2002 issue of Spellbound, an "unannounced 'Sorceress issue.'" Woohoo! For those of you who don't pay attention to markets, Spellbound is a children's fantasy magazine. I sent several issues of it to my cousin Joey for Christmas -- I like this magazine a lot. And now they're publishing me! I like that even more, of course. The pay is minimal, but I love the market, and this story was written just for them. Wooo!

(Thanks go to Grandma for disappearing one morning while she was staying at Aunt Doris and Uncle Rudy's and giving me the title and idea.)

So yesterday we loafed around here in our pajamas for a long time and then got cleaned up and ready to face more loafing. Had ice cream (cheesecake with strawberries...yum...) and wandered in the Rodin sculpture garden at Stanford. (Pictures to follow.) We fetched Mark from work and drove up to House of Nanking. I think Scott was expecting it to be nicer. Actually, I think that because he said, "I was expecting someplace a little nicer." But he agreed that the food was well worth it. They were perfect. They gave me pretty much everything I could have asked for and more. Calamari done a different way than we'd had it. Perfect sesame chicken. Lettuce cups -- I adore lettuce cups. And the eggplant, oh, the eggplant was even better than last time.

Paula Poundstone was very funny. Very, very funny. And she used pretty much all new material, which is always a relief -- I like hearing the old bits again, but for that I can watch Comedy Central. Definitely good stuff. She claimed that one of her problems is that she can't stop talking, which is a shame because "really I'm a gifted mime." I was just as glad that she couldn't stop talking.

It was a good day, all things considered.

Caroline wrote yesterday about what she misses now that she's a grown-up, all of it totally irretrievable. I never had a situation really analogous to the one she describes, but I think I know what she means. When we were little kids, it was entirely possible to have all the people in the world who loved you and who you loved together at a picnic or an open house or something. All of 'em. They were just there. It's almost impossible to do that now. I think we think of these things more when someone we love is dying or has just died. It's easy to mourn that loss, and sometimes I think we should.

But we do get something back when we give it up. Scott is sleeping on the sofa here, still. Scott wasn't at my graduation, which was one of the close events in my adult life to "everybody" being there. He had his own graduation to go to. But I'd rather miss him being there than not miss him at all. You see? One of the reasons the simplicities go away is because we do get complexities that are worth it. And they are worth it. I wouldn't trade them. I wouldn't love people with the single-track mind of a little kid again. It's better to have some grays, some nuances, some times when we understand the darkness in our loved ones and ourselves.

Some children's writers seem to be trying to recreate for themselves a period of no darkness, when it just wasn't like that. It was that we didn't always see what was there.

Today they bury my great-grandmother. I think it'll happen in two hours or so. My dad is probably ready already, reading something or watching the morning news. I can smell my mom's perfume and her make-up as she puts it on. I can see her get ready, the earrings, the last brush to the hair, the rings on her fingers. It's two degrees Farenheit in Minneapolis right now, and if I was there, I'd have to blow my hair dry so that it wouldn't freeze at the cemetery. The wind would blow right up my dress like it did at my Gran's funeral. Both of my great-grandmothers have died in Lent. If there is a more wretched time of year to die, I can't think of it.

I live by the details -- that's What Writers Do. I don't tell how people are with adjectives. I use mini-stories: "she once went with us to a heavy metal concert accidentally and ate pickle yummies and deviled eggs, and she bragged about it to all of her friends afterwards." So when there's something like this, I make up the details in my head. I combine the smells of my family members, mentally. I have some idea of what they'd wear. I look up the temperature. I try to fill in the blanks. Mostly, though, I wait for the real stories that are yet to come here, from when my folks call on Sunday and tell me how it was.

We're going up to Sausalito today, to eat a Japanese lunch and see the Bay Model. Also planning to go to Point Reyes and Muir Woods before coming home to cook dinner. It'll be good fun, and the story sale has helped my mood immensely. I am not attempting to disguise that it will also be a good distraction.

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