joni abilene

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Month: November, 2013

A Writer’s Thanksgiving in Twenty Easy-to-Follow Steps

1. Coffee.

2. Write blog entry about how stressed you are that actual people are coming over. Delete blog entry just in case.

3. More coffee (repeat throughout).

4. Take bath and get dressed.

5. Put turkey in oven.

6. Vacuum.

7. Sit down and read a chapter of favorite book. Check twitter, email, and anything else until you’ve run out of internet.

8. Dust.

9. Check turkey. Is oven working??

10. Skip lunch. Wish you still smoked.

11. Read label of uncracked liquor meant for guests.

12. Look out window for first arrivals.

13. Reapply lipstick or arrange body parts so things look respectable.

14. Tell yourself you can write tomorrow. Berate yourself for not writing down good lines that came to you while vacuuming.

15. Guests arrive. Your mother asks if you’re getting gray hair. See dust bunnies in plain sight and say ‘Fuck it’ to yourself and start conversation to veer attention from poor cleaning skills. And hair. Pour wine. Think of your characters longingly, like lovers, and wish they were real and sitting on the couch next to you. Ponder Submittable list and hope an entry will say ‘in-progress’ soon. Put on a movie or music. Exit living room and dig fingernails into your palms . . .

16. Check turkey. Sweat.

17. Serve. Eat. Smile.

18. Watch everyone leave and experience a sudden gratefulness that you were able to come together for at least one more year. Kiss your mother goodbye. Ignore the sorrow you feel at her slight hobble. Close door.

19. Grab book. Watch tv. Finish wine.

20. Sleep.

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What’s the big idea?

After a long walk the other morning in which my mind wandered just enough so that ‘I’ personally relinquished control of what I was thinking, and how I was thinking, I came upon a great idea that seemed to be sourced from another person’s brain cells. Truly, this was given to my by an otherworldly source. What bothered me was that my story collection lacked something, something small yet ultimately grandiose, and I didn’t feel comfortable publishing it as-is. I’m not one to set the stage for ridicule and public shaming. In other words, I’m a perfectionist. In other other words, self-publishing scares the shit out of me. There’s nothing wrong with being scared. It’s my higher self saying, “You didn’t do your best.” So anyway, the idea that came to me was to section out the strongest stories from that collection and put them together with some of my other shorts—they all have that suburban, 1970′s thing going on—as a newer, better collection. It may sound like desperation, but it’s actually brilliant. I feel much better now about publishing this, including all the subsequent marketing I might have to do.

So, my goal for the last few strains of 2013, and the beginning warm ups of 2014, is to get this thing into proper shape and, gulp, self-publish. The whole thing will continue to scare me no matter what, but it’s more like a gentle scared, not a terrified scared. Well, we’ll see. I’m George Costanza with a vagina, so . . .

Renee Zellweger is a flower too

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Have you seen the pictures of Renee Zellweger’s new look? Doesn’t it make you sad? Her eyes were her most striking feature, though I guess some people felt she had a squinty thing going on. However, those people are idiots and I’m surprised anyone as smart and beautiful as Renee Zellweger would listen to them. But what’s done is done. I think what bothers me the most about this is that everyone seems to be falling victim to plastic surgery. First it was the nose jobs and breast implants, and now it’s the face. Seems like you should never mess with someone’s face. All these fillers, all this Botox—it’s ruining us. We don’t go out and cut and inject dying flowers do we? No. We admire all stages of the flower and let it do its thing. We admire it for its time of great beauty and see the value in every stage of development: full color, fading, wilting, seeds, death, dust. I’m sorry, but we’re no different. We die too. We should admire ourselves through each stage. I never did like my grandmother’s fake flowers—the ones she kept in her front window near all her white bubble glass. A real flower, its scent, its hint of death, its oxidation, is what makes them beautiful. Us beautiful. We are flowers. We are life and we are death. We leave seeds and then we fade.

We are beautiful.

And Renee Zellweger is a flower too.

photo credit: erix! via photopin cc