Monday, June 22, 2015

Musings over mustaches

Do you ever have those moments in life where you just feel like you’re in the middle of a Shakespearean play?
   Now I doubt you see ghosts or world rulers being stabbed in the back (except politically), but maybe in the more ordinary parts of life? Like a discussion about fake mustaches?
   The following is based on a true encounter from my Bible study with friends last week, that I went to bed thinking about and thought how it would have been funnier in Shakespearean dialogue. Granted, I haven’t read any Shakespeare in over a decade, so this is a pretty watered down imagining, but it still made me chuckle.

Ryan: “And you, Christopher, a man of good spirits and high hilarity, for what may we humble friends pray for you?”
   Christopher: “Well, my good companions, whilst often I have little to bring before you in prayer, except for such things that may be concerning me about my friends and loved ones, this week I have a consideration about myself on which I would appreciate intercession to our heavenly Father on my behalf.
   “Tomorrow morn will mark the first time in the past two fortnights that I have had opportunity to perform a storytime for the spirited children of Eldersburg. Whilst it is true that I am a librarian for children stationed in that unpretentious burg, greater powers have kept me away from my primary task of the telling of tales, which I enjoy doing with great enthusiasm, making no small effort to win over the hearts and attention of even the most indifferent toddler to the grumpiest of grandmas, with enthusiastic stories, delightful songs, and even a little jig when the situation calls for it. I have won quite a following in the region, with my storytimes seeing double—nay! triple—the crowds from all other storytimes in my age range. But even a storysmith is sometimes must partake in the humdrummeries of industry, which accounts for my absence all these weeks.
   “Whilst in many ways I look forward to my triumphant return to-morrow, to again win over hearts (and hugs) from my minions and hear their mirthful chatter, the catch of it is that only a week hence, I shall miss my next appearance again, so it seems like a terrible tease for me to be coming and then going, with nary an explanation for discontinuous record.
   “But perhaps a great tease may be what will please…A delightful idea has hatched in my Puck-ish brain—to disguise my persona, perhaps by the means of a clever hat and artful (and artificial) mustache. Being of just pre-school age, I do not know whether the younguns will see through my ruse, but I shall vehemently deny being their hero, “Mr. Chris,” for as long as it amuses me.
   “Now if only I had a stash of ‘staches that I could turn to for such an act of knavery as this situation has presented.”
   Carrie: “Ho, do not fret, friend, for would you know it, but not five years ago, when visiting a charming apothecary of joke stuffs, I came across a package with no less than eight mustaches. So delightful were the variety and humor of the mustaches, and not knowing whence I would pass that way again, I partook of the opportunity to trade four golden coins for the masquerading mustaches.
   “Whilst they brought a chuckle to my throat and glow in my cheeks while at the store, their joyous nature faded upon my voyage homeward. I have had no such occasion yet where it would be apropros, nor appropriate, nor appreciated, to break open the packaging binding the mustaches on display and affix it to my face. Each one sits preserved in time, out of way from dust and moth, yet I cannot deny they look a little older than when first they became my treasure. Then again, do I not look older too? Time chases after each of us, though disguising ourselves from it we may try, with or without the use of mustaches, the effort remains in vain.”
   Chris: “What joy! Dearest Caroline, how thoust has lightened my heart, for I thought my disguise would be doomed without that pinnacle piece — a marauder’s mustache! For a hat, whatever size or style, cannot conceal the face, lest it be a ski mask, which I fear would frighten the children so that they might never come to storytime again—nay, might never enjoy a storybook at home again, neither, for fear of the ski-masked man coming to their homes with an encyclopedia of deadly girth, apeeking in their windows and waiting for his opportunity to strike.
   “Couldst thou spare me a mustache? Might you give me counsel on which best suits my face? Or perhaps it should not suit. After all, the purpose behind this cunning trickery tis to fool the children, to have my face look unsuitable. I must look most un-like “Mr. Chris” come Monday. Perhaps I should wear a monocle as well?”

   And there you have it. “It ain’t Shakespeare,” as they say, but perhaps I should have strove for Chaucer.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Off hiatus

    I apologize for my lack of blogging, I was taking a mental hiatus. Yes, beyond a writing hiatus, I seriously have not been thinking interesting thoughts for the past few months.

In March, Josh and I had a great B&B weekend in Chadd’s Ford, Pa., and I started to write a travel piece about it for the blog since travel writing was always one of my favorite writing opportunities when I worked at the paper. But I was boring myself in that piece, which guarantees it would have bored anyone else twice as much. I gave it up, started over, this time focusing on the food of the trip, and ran it as my food column in the newspaper. I think that much shorter version turned out much more interesting, but I don’t get much feedback from the food column besides the “that kale recipe last week looked interesting,” so I’ll never know if that writing was any better than what I threw out.

And that’s it. I have not put thought to keyboard, besides emails, the very infrequent Facebook posts, and the required work stories. Every now and then I’d have a flutter of an interesting thought, but it would be gone before Josh got home from work. Plus the whole Baltimore riot situation was going on, for which I had no words, and to write about silly or petty things at that time when I was reading some really great blogs and articles on that issue felt irreverent.

Once you take a break from writing, it’s really hard to get restarted. I thought about setting up another 10-day challenge for myself, but didn’t. Confession: I’m a really lazy person. People see the whole picture of the “things I get done” and think I’m a really busy person, but I’m actually just extremely efficient at the things I do, leaving me tons of free time for being lazy. At my best, I use that free time for writing more emails or handwritten snail mail, checking in with friends by text, reading for pleasure, studying the Bible, planning meals and dinner parties, remembering to return library books on time, etc. At my worst, I discover a new television series on Netflix and binge. Which is why you might notice I’ve picked up a slight Texan twang.

In May, probably on a night that Josh was working late, I decided to check out “Friday Night Lights” since it had been mentioned in one or two blogs that I enjoy. I watched the first episode and was hooked. It reminds me so much of “My So Called Life” and “Parenthood,” two other binge-worthy shows, and I love a Texan accent and I love the relationship between Coach Taylor and his wife and I could go on about this for a long time. Within a week and a half, I had finished the first season, all during Rye’s naps and Josh’s late shifts [note: this is secret binge-watching]. Writing and reading went out the window. I’ve just finished season 3, and I’m trying to convince myself to take a break before starting season 4. Which is what I said after finishing season 2, but then didn’t.

I want to start writing again. I want to start having interesting thoughts again, which means getting out of my rut, exposing myself to more outside things, and then forming opinions on stuff [how eloquently worded that is]. I hear-by vow not to watch any “Friday Night Lights” for the next week. 

I also plan to start journaling again. I bought a journal back in April I think, and it’s still sitting on my desk in its cellophane wrapper. This particular one inspired me because the cover reads “Don’t remember the days, remember the moments,” which is my goal for journaling. It’s easy to get caught up in wanting to write down everything that happened in a day, but if you just write down the best or most out-of-the-ordinary part of the day, it’s going to be a much more enjoyable read in the future.

Speaking of which, I found my journal from 2012 and re-read it (as much as I could still make out my handwriting, which typically expires in about 10 days), and it was very enlightening. I was going through a tough time, but the book is filled with hope and encouragement (that journal’s cover reads “Live in Hope,” which was my theme at that point in life). But even during a time of struggle, it was neat to see the other things that I cared about at the time that weren’t so self-focused, like a coworker had left the paper and wanted his job back and I told the editor I thought we should take him back and he didn’t want to and I was really upset about it. That’s not necessarily an event I’d forget in life, or at least not for a while, but I’m terrible about remembering WHEN things happened in my life, even in relationship to other things that have happened in my life. Writing them down gives me a chance to have a record, if not a mental record.

So re-reading my journal was the catalyst for me to now tear the plastic off my new journal and get started on my 2015 journal. So there you have it: I hear-by challenge myself to write in my journal for the next 10 days.
The opened journal sits on my desk waiting.

As for blogging, be patient with me. I am sure good thoughts will be reflowing soon.