I arrived back home Saturday from a trip to Manchester, New Hampshire with Corb and the kids. Our goal was to recreate an episode of The Simple Life and camp out inside a hotel room at the Hilton. While that didn't exactly work out (we didn't even open up the sleeping bags, honestly), we did have a great time exploring the Polar Caves and taking a gondola up the side of Loon Mountain.
Yes, I really took this picture. And I have to say, it really does look like a postcard, don't you think?
Now, you know how you always hear those people saying, "Oh, I hate that photo!" "Oh, why did you have to take that?"
Well, I have to be honest...here's a picture of me that I actually like. I know, I sort of resemble Minnie Pearl, wearing a silly hat with a tag on it, but for some reason, the sort-of-tired, world weary look in my eyes, and the sarcastic grin on my face...I don't know...it sort of appeals to me. Just between the two of us...I think I'd even approach the "me" in this picture...and ask him out for a night of wild loving...he'd have to pay, of course...
And now, because Corb threatened to rip of my gonads if I printed this, here's the:
Top Ten List of Things that We Do While in the Car in New Hamster
1. Ted and Corb bicker over the way the other person's driving.
2. Ashes and Theo fight over who's touching the other person/taking up too much space.
3. Ashes asks to play her CDs.
4. Corb complains about the car in front of him.
5. We all complain about having to go to the bathroom.
6. Corb and Ted worry about having enough money for the tolls.
7. We all use the word "butt cheeks"...somehow.
8. Theo asks "How long before we get there?" "What time is it?" etc.
9. I scream at the kids, "guys, stop it!"
10. I squint at oncoming traffic trying to figure out what the license plate next to us is so that we can see if we have it on our state license plate list.
You have got to love small town local newspapers. They provide a level of amusement that you just can't get from the major metropolitan papers...unless you're reading the Daily News , that is.
Take, for example, the headline story that I discovered in the September 1 edition of the Manchester Daily Express , which was found in the lobby of our hotel...
"A walk on the rude side"
For Robin Harrell, going on a daily walk through the city for her health is becoming more of a workout for her vocal cords.
Harrell says she has frequently confronted on the street by men who mistake her for a prostitute during brisk 15-minute walks she takes around her neighborhood. She often has to explain to passers-by and motorists that she isn't walking the streets for money.
"Can't they tell I'm booking, not hooking?" she asks incredulously.
Now, I ask you, would you have ever be able to read a story like this anywhere else but in a small circulation paper such as the Manchester Daily Express? That almost ranks up there with the likes of "Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster!" Frankly, I find it hard to believe that this lady is propositioned that many times...you think people would get wise after a while. Maybe she's just trying to advertise?
Late at night on Friday, after everyone else had drifted of to sleep, I found myself compelled to climb out of bed, turn on a light, grab the hotel stationary and a pen, and scribble down the following. Amazingly, I could still read my writing this afternoon. I don't know why I was compelled. I think it has to do with the article I was reading from the New Yorker , about Walter Benjamin. I find that stories about certain people whose potential could well be categorized as unfulfilled tend to have weird effects on me. Anyway, here's what I wrote:
"In my life (as in many lives), I have often allowed my sense of artistic purpose to live a sad half life, a poor stepchild caught unsuccessfully, more often than not, in a power grab for attention more easily won by his older stepbrothers--the physical/base and the looming spector of fear/paranoia. When will my fair-haired child have his day in the sun?
Ironically, the "high noon" of my intellectual/artistic life was mostly enjoyed during my last two years in college, especially the summer after graduation, where I spent hours and days typing and writing in my parent's basement. The focus I enjoyed was abandoned due to the pressing needs of reality. I say ironically, because this intellectual noontime was curiously spent in a lonely vacuum devoid of social interaction, fortified only rarely with encounters among angels who fed me as much as I could digest in one sitting. Each encounter improved me as a writer, and I only wish that these encounters had occurred more frequently and with more sunlight. And I have to think, a bit reluctantly, that things would have been quite different had the internet been around in the heady sunlight of youth."
Do I really believe all that? Well, not completely. It was written in the middle of the night, same as this is written in the middle of the night, and it was written at a critical point in my life. You see, I've made a clear break from directing so I can devote my efforts full time to writing, and I'm probably a bit annoyed that I haven't focused my efforts on my goals as completely as I should. I did just finish my read-through of Amelia , and now I face the prospect of moving through my marked up copy, and making these changes to the master e-copy. At that point, I've identified two publishers to send it to, and know where I want to go if that doesn't pan out. And once it's gone out, I move back to Late Night mode. I also have one more addition to make to Amelia, but that doesn't need to be done before I sent out the latest copy.
So, I have a fairly clear direction laid out before me. I know where I want to go. But still, I think of all that others have accomplished in the time it's taken for me to get to this point with just two novels, and I grow frustrated with myself for having moved so slowly.
But enough of that. And now, ladies and gentlemen, the scariest picture ever taken!
This picture was taken in the gift shop of the Polar Caves, which for some bizarre reason, decided to erect a shrine to trolls. Can you imagine working in this place after hours? I'd go out of my freaking mind!
I can just see some poor slob, left all alone at the end of a working day, morosely washing the floor after the sun had long gone down. All the other employees have said goodnight, but Junior is left locking up, after giving the floor a good mopping, dreaming of taking his best girl out to the movies later in the evening. Suddenly, he turns a corner with his mop, and hears a strange noise.
Startled, he looks up, and over at the troll shrine, and his jaw drops to the floor. The trolls have come to life! It's too late to run, and there's no one to hear his screams. The trolls set upon him, and he is devoured, in the space of minutes. The trolls finish mopping the floor, and, giggling wickedly at their evil deed, move back into position, ready to take on another day. And no one is ever the wiser.