There’s so much content running through my brain as well as content already contained. I’d like to invite you, dear reader, into my world of Busted Flip Flops. We’ll explore observations of life, musings about becoming Mom, Cherry Pearl the snorting pug, the man-chasing Betty Mae, weird dreams, recipes, movies, ’80′s nostalgia, picking up strays (the furry and the non), and unfeigned poetry. Watch for tri-weekly upcoming posts as these beach reads begin to build and form like, well, a castle in the sand...
My writing muscle has kind of atrophied. Who was it that said there is no such thing as writer’s block? Was it Stephen King? Sylvia Plath? Oprah? When I first heard that I thought, “Bullshit”. But it only took me about 12 hours of off-and-on pondering to realize how freaking true it is.
It’s not that we don’t have anything to say. It’s that we have so much to say we don’t know where to begin or how to collect our thoughts. So we are incapacitated by this.
Kind of like I feel now.
I’ve had a few people encourage me to get back into writing. Because they are awesome supporters. And I have been pretty much off the grid for a while. I’ll explain the reason behind that at a later date. Maybe.
How I’ve missed typing these keys onto WordPress. But there’s so much pressure to be “perfect”. To say something that truly matters and inspires and is up to my own self-imposed standards. But what it boils down to at this point is that I just keep writing. Because when I stop it is not good.
It’s like a bubble is stuck in my throat. A block in my brain. And all I fantasize about at work is creating some form of art. I even daydream of coloring in a coloring book because at least then I would be doing something artsy. Even at the elementary level.
I even thought about writing at work. Like I used to do at every other job I ever had. Scribbled poems on the back of movie ticket paper. The outline of a story on a spare photo packet envelope. A line or two on a napkin at lunch break.
It doesn’t matter what you do for a living. The artist in you has to get out in some way or another. I remember writing poems at my very first job as a telemarketer in between cold calls. I even recited some of them to my stoned and bored coworkers. My fuzzy memory says they were impressed.
So here I am. Working out my writer’s muscle. I don’t want to block myself in. So maybe I’ll call it “writer’s cube”. Because at least then there is 3D space with which to create, fill, play.
Something happened when I was ten that I will never forget. This image has stuck with me for thirty years.
I had a brief encounter with fame if you want to call it that. I was one of three singers who recorded a local Nashville television show’s opening.
Auditions were conducted at my friend Karen’s house after a big wig heard her singing in the living room at dinner there one evening. He thought she would be perfect to accompany the intro to “Thursday’s Child,” a magazine type show highlighting the very organization helping endangered children. They asked if she had any friends who could sing.
My brother and I went to her 70′s style split-level house with the creepy animated clown head in the kitchen and sang for a couple old guys in suits and ties.
We made the cut.
Two weeks later we were excused from school and recording into a real microphone on the highest floor of a prestigious downtown Nashville building. For a one minute song we were there all day. They changed the lead adult guy twice. I liked the first one best but for whatever reason he got the shaft and they brought in a guy whose voice was more boring than 4th grade math class.
But by day’s end they had what they wanted and three weeks after that I got a real check in the mail FOR SINGING A TELEVISION THEME SONG.
Funny how I don’t tell a lot of people about this. It is one of my favorite and best accomplishments of all time. But let me tell you what happened after we finished recording and were starving.
Our parents took us to McDonald’s. That was our nutritional reward. Now if you catch me at McDonald’s I am either severely low on cash, time, or oxygen. But to us in the early 80′s it was a major reward.
While eating my skinny, salty fries I noticed a man sitting alone across from us. He looked homeless and was drinking coffee out of the quintessential McD’s coffee cup. He wasn’t so much as staring at me, my brother, my parents, Karen, and her dad, but rather glancing from time to time just enough to make me uncomfortable. At some point in our recording after-glow conversation and fast food binge-fest I noticed the homeless guy crying. Crying. There was this look on his face of regret. And even though I was only ten I knew exactly why he was crying.
Thirty years later I can still see the remorse on his tear-stained, weathered face. He had a family somewhere. And somewhere along the way he screwed up. He saw all of us laughing together and we reminded him of what he could have had. Or perhaps did have for a time and for whatever reason did not anymore. He was regretful. I know in that moment he was sorry for whatever it was he did.
I have never forgotten that man. I have never forgotten that overflow of emotion he felt just being a bystander at a fast food restaurant.
I think I understand him now even more than I did when he was right in front of me.
We have all done things which have made us hang in the web of regret. But somewhere along the way we have to find out how to break free and ultimately forgive ourselves. I hope that man eventually found his closure, his peace.
I know through his tears he was truly sorry. I didn’t know what to do back then but now I would at least give him a nod to let him know he is not alone.
We parted days ago but it seems like years already I ride the bumpy white gravel trail near my home that reminds me of our solitary bike ride last week on the Panhandle You wanted to cross the no entry point I said no I wanted to take a photo of the military threat level sign you said don't be stupid We listened to Pink Floyd when we were teenagers saw them in concert after a truck bed ride down the streets of downtown Nashville high on rock n roll Now I listen to them and my heart sings cries We had one huge fight our entire sibling hood A letter sent to my house ended the feud and I made the call Now it seems unbelievable after all the laughs you gave me at the Cape Laughter I needed at the most crucial time of my life It was like we were ten fifteen twenty again Momma's brother is gone from this earth I cried with her in the bathroom of a seafood restaurant days after he passed We embraced by the sink and our hands smelled like that coconut soap there You don't love the beach like I do but it will always remind me of you Brothers and sisters always a time and place Take care of yourself so we can cry with laughter again.
I just renewed my domain name and blog site. This means I have been WordPress blogging for a whole year. Happy first birthday Busted Flip Flops!
These flip flops have been seriously busted lately. I haven’t written all month. Certain instances and situations have occurred which have kept me away. But I was never truly away. Not in the spiritual sense anyway.
It actually feels weird to sit here and write. How I have missed it. I am feeling a little rusty like my bicycle chain. But I can still pedal. Although a little creakily at first.
There are so many things I want to write about but for now I just want to say thank you to all my readers. I have enjoyed your presence and comments and inspiration. I have enjoyed reading and connecting with my favorite bloggers and entering into this WordPress world that has so many times brought sunshine to my flippity flop walk on the rocky beach.
So cheers to this first birthday! Let us raise a glass. Savor the sweetness of the written word and let it permeate a moment and blossom into its full-bodied flavor. And walk along side me for another year, busted flip flop to busted Croc (or your footwear of choice).
Sleeping under the piano bench
her messy golden curls
alight with the sunrise
gleaming through the window
Little grinding of her teeth
is what I hear upon waking
The children’s discombobulated fort
a series of pillows from every room
And stuffed animals– those that resemble
real creatures like the eagle
and the dolphin
and those that don’t
like the rainbow-spotted unicorn
Blankets and beach towels
and warm comfort
I can also hear the birds singing
in the quiet of the morning
A peaceful proposition
among the days of high-pitched squeals
and incessant questions and whining
But here they sleep peacefully
while I sip my coffee
and wonder how their absence will
Summer visit from a dear friend
and her daughters
we’ve known since conception
keeping the house very much alive
for my son and I
A never-ending spinning dryer
and dirty dishes-filled sink
And their fort in the living room
A reminder of those glorious
laughter and innocence
and using pieces of furniture
as a bridge between dreamland
So in case I haven’t been clear about this I am a girl. You would think from my PINK and brown collar people would get this. But no even when Mom has told them “Yes, she is sweet, isn’t she?” They still say I’m a cute FELLA.
But then again I guess I can see this as I am a bit of a tomboy. My human brother and his friends play with me, I chase lizards, and I eat with no grace or reserve. I’m pretty tough. Except when it’s raining outside. Mom calls me “Miss Prissy Pants.” Just because I don’t want to get my feet wet. Come on, what dog does?
This week we’ve had human female houseguests, two of which are on the small side with very high-pitched voices. They helped human brother make a fort in the living room, which I have partially claimed as my own.
They also play dress-up. And graciously shared some of their accessories.
Not sure if I like this or not. But at least I look like a girl. Or a really cute drag queen.
I guess it could be worse. They could be dressing me as a taco.
-Cherry Pearl, aka “Diva Dog”