An Invisible Sign of My Own (page 123)

On Friday, listening to the now-familiar sound of retching in his room, I taught more subtraction to the second grade using word problems about the kids in the class: Ann DiLanno grew five heads in September and by October had only two heads. How many heads did she lose?

I have one head, Ann interrupted. I am not losing a single head.

I was fidgety because it was Friday, which meant tomorrow was Saturday, and after Saturday was Sunday, and that was two days of no work and all worry.

Aimee Bender’s novel — which I’m reading now — is about OCD and math. I guess that makes it a fitting subject for the page 123 meme.

If you are reading this, consider yourself tagged. Feel free to play along in the comments.

Oh wait, that’s how old I am…

When I saw Krista’s 50 Things Before 50 list, I told her it was such a great idea that I’d rip it off and post it on my blog, too. But a funny thing happened on the way to executing this meme: math. Krista (oh she of the recent birthday) has eighteen years to accomplish the things on her list, and I’ve got closer to twelve. So I’ve belatedly decided that since she has 50% more time, it’s okay if she has a 50% longer list than me.

So how did I wind up with 33 things instead of 25? Since she did make it easy by creating her awesome list first, I didn’t feel quite right counting all the items I am directly stealing from her. (Or, as I prefer to think of it: no wonder we are friends, she’s got eight things on her list that would be on mine, too.)

So in alphabetical order here are some things I want to do before I turn fifty, which as it turns out, isn’t this giant abstract amount of time from now [with the things I’m copying from Krista noted by the # on her list]:

  1. Continue to have an awesome marriage [#3]
  2. Continue to have interesting and challenging work
  3. Cross Canada by train
  4. Draw, even though I think I can’t. (I can’t as in “that does not look real, it looks malformed” not can’t “my fingers don’t function well enough to hold a pen”)
  5. Get more tattoos
  6. Go snorkeling [#16]
  7. Go fly a kite, literally, like I used to when I was a kid
  8. Go to the opera
  9. Keep a plant alive
  10. Learn to do stop motion animation
  11. Learn that emotions are never the enemy
  12. Make art
  13. Make a book
  14. Make little fabric monster critters to photograph
  15. Make peace with my body [#47]
  16. Practice daily meditation
  17. Publish fiction
  18. Read all the books on my unread bookshelf
  19. Recognize which things are really an inside job and do that work
  20. See the Northern Lights [#29]
  21. See low and high tides at the Bay of Fundy
  22. Stand under a giant redwood tree
  23. Show photographs in a gallery [#21]
  24. Sleep outside under the stars
  25. Spend at least a week somewhere I don’t speak the language
  26. Stop telling myself about the things I can’t do
  27. Swim in the Pacific Ocean
  28. Walk barefoot on moss in the forest
  29. Visit Iceland [#22]
  30. Visit Norway [#23]
  31. Visit someplace with exotic, warm beaches
  32. Take a retreat at a monastery or convent [#38]
  33. Take a sabbatical

Working on blogs, not this one

I keep running across six word stories of various types.

In the last week, I noticed Six Sells over on 37signals, referencing Stephen Dubner’s (one of the Freakonomics guys) call to “Write a six-word motto for the U.S. of A.” Now there’s a book of, six word memoirs, which means there’s a New Yorker piece about it.

(Hey, I’m off doing plenty when I’m not posting here. Kinda lazy of me, I realize. Especially as I’m managing to keep hermit labs and reading notes more up to date. I will do better, I promise. Did you notice that last sentence? Six words – I must mean it. Yup, I’m in a groove here.)

Most accounts cite the Hemingway story (“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”), as Wired‘s November 2006 Very Short Stories did. My favorite story from that piece wasn’t the Hemingway, it was Joss Whedon’s: “Gown removed carelessly. Head, less so.” Which isn’t to say I didn’t appreciate others, such as Margaret Atwood’s: “Longed for him. Got him. Shit.” Marginal Revolution post about six word stories around then, as did Caterina Fake, and really too many folks for me to cherry pick links like this. Proving yet again there really is one for everything, there’s even a six word story flickr group.

I figured I’d give the six word genre a go. If you feel like it, I’d love it if you left yours in the comments.

A motto:
Believing its own hype. What consequences?

A memoir:
Less lost than I was before.

A story:
Didn’t get caught yet. Uh oh.