Thursday, April 30, 2015

Well, I didn't see this one coming . . .

It's one of the huge blessings in my life that both of my parents are still alive and that I get to see them as much as I do.  Score! Yesterday they called and asked if I wanted to meet them for lunch at the Fashion Place Cheesecake Factory.

MOMENTARY CHEESECAKE FACTORY DETOUR!  OK, I kinda don't get the Cheesecake Factory.  Whenever I go there, I feel like I'm eating at a Roman coliseum, because everything there is so huge.  The doors!  The bathroom stalls!  The ceilings!  I feel like a little person extra in the Wizard of Oz there.  But whatever.  My parents are suddenly all about the gi-normous Cheesecake Factory.

Anyway, the Coach and I snagged a booth and waited for TRQ, who was returning something (shoes perhaps?) at Nordstrom.

"Okay, while your mother's not here, I'm supposed to bring something up with you," the Coach said in a solemn voice.

Wow.  What could be going on?  Was somebody sick?  Financially ruined? Going to prison?  What was I about to hear?

I girded my loins.  Or whatever it is people do with their loins at times like this.

"What's the matter?"  I asked.

"Your hair," he said.  "I'm supposed to tell you that certain people in the family don't like your gray hair and maybe you should think about doing something different with it."

Then he sat back in his booth all relaxed, message successfully delivered.

Seriously.  I love my parents.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Something I know about writing

Here's what I know about writing.  Sometimes it's hard.  And sometimes it's REALLY hard.

I know, I know, I know.  I hate to be one of those writers who's always all THIS IS SUCH HARD WORK WHAT I DO!  Picking strawberries for 12 hours a day in the heat of a blazing sun and not making very much money while you're at it--okay, that's hard work.

But yeah.  The writing doesn't come easy.  Lately I've had a tough time coming up with ideas for the column.  And then when I finish one I go hide in my closet for awhile because you know.  Shame.  Gah.  I suck.

But all the time I've been feeling this way, there's been this voice in my head--it's a no--nonsense nun's voice and she has a ruler which she isn't afraid to use--that tells me you've been in this place before.  It'll pass.  Just keep writing.

Thank you, Sister.  And, of course, you're right.

Oh and btw here's this week's article.  Big shout out to Louise, Tom, and Ed.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Hold onto that boy and never let him go

This morning my four year-old granddaughter and I had the following conversation.

GD:  Emerson is my boyfriend.  You knew that, right?

ME:  Yes.  Why do you like him?

GD:  Because he has brown hair, and he's been to Legoland.

This is good boyfriend material.  Don't let him slip away is what I say.

Monday, April 27, 2015

A love note to writers who haven't published yet

You know who you are.

I just spent a weekend with a few of you up in Midway where you made me laugh and cry and also marvel (a lot!) because you write so damn well.  I'm not saying this to be nice.  That's what your mothers are for.  I'm saying it because whenever I hear you read, I secretly acknowledge to myself there's no reason why I should have published and you haven't yet.

I've thought a lot about how it all happened for me--the publishing a book part--and I will say this:  yes, I had some talent.  And yes, I wrote a lot and sent stuff out.  I did my part, just like you're doing your part.  But here's the thing.  A certain amount of luck is involved.

Yup.  Lots of times it just comes down to luck--having your piece in front of the right editor at the right time.

Obviously you can increase the chances of being in the right place at the right time by continuing to produce and sending things around.  Still.  Luck plays more of a part in these things than we wish it did.

This is just my way of saying that you're deserving.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

It's your birthday! It's your birthday!

OK.  Maybe it's not YOUR birthday.  But it is my one year-old grandson's birthday today.  And so I wrote this column.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

God beneath a tree

A friend posted a video on her Facebook wall wherein Joanna Gaines, star of HGTV's Fixer Upper speaks about her Christian faith and how it has informed her life.  I often find these kinds of testimonials grating.  I'm not sure why--maybe because the people who give them come across as smug somehow?  I don't know.  Gaines' video, however, didn't affect me that way.  Her sincerity and a sort of genuine humility and awe were present as she spoke.


The video did make me feel . . . isolated.

All throughout the video Gaines talks about conversations she's had with God throughout her lifetime, and by conversation, I mean CONVERSATION.  God is always telling her what to do.  Start a business.  Close a business.  Take care of babies.  Start a business again.  She sits under a tree to receive guidance for an hour and in that hour God speaks to her.

She believes what she's saying, and I believe she believes what she's saying.  But still.  Why can't a few people I love sit under a tree and find some answers?  Or at least some peace?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Better Call Saul

So this is my son's favorite show right now--a prequel to "Breaking Bad" which shows how CRIMNAL lawyer, Saul Goodman, becomes--you know--Saul Goodman.

I watched an episode with Son last night, and it's everything he said it was.  Darkly funny and smart--even oddly poignant-- for sure.  But I'm wondering if I want to commit to a series where I watch a character devolve instead of evolve.  I mean, that is the stuff of epic tragedy.  MacBeth.  Othello.  Hamlet They all leave their better selves behind at some point.  So "Better Call Saul" fits neatly into that tradition.

But.  Gah.  Sometimes a girl just wants a happy ending, you know?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

When Adults Speak in Code

You know how sometimes your mind just throws up random memories, right?  It's like your brain is the ocean with its waves just washing whatever ashore--shells, seaweed, bits of glass, gross stuff, whatever.

Anyway, here was the bit of shell that showed up on the memory shore today.  For some reason I remembered the time we were in San Diego when I was a kid, driving to Sea World and there was this young woman with a va-va-va-voom figure on the sidewalk up ahead.  And the Coach said, "Man.  She's got a swing in her backyard!"  So TRQ hauled off and slugged him.

And I was so young I wondered why my parents even cared that a complete stranger had a swing in her backyard.  I liked swings.  Swings were happy!

And in other random news, here's this week's column.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Louise and I have been writing a book together about memoir

And we've been doing it in spite of our half-assed selves.  Basically it's a collection of chatty encouragement, models and prompts.  Here's the piece I just revised for our chapter on "The First Memory and Other Firsts."

Ann’s Take on “The First Memory and Other Firsts”
            I think this particular topic (thanks, Louise!) calls for one of my lists.  Don’t you?
First Life Memory:  Riding the Ferris wheel in Liberty Park with my mother, who was pregnant with my brother John at the time.  I loved it!  My mother didn’t!  She made the operator stop the Ferris wheel so we could get off, telling him that her little girl was “scared.”  Shame on you, Mom!
First Time I Saw the Ocean:  I was nine years old.  My parents pulled over to the side of the road in Somewhere Southern California.  Johnny and I stripped to our underwear in the back of the family station wagon and ran shrieking down the sandy hillside so we could dive headfirst into a wall of glittering waves.
First Pet:  A dog.  A wonderful fawn female boxer named Princess—Priny for short.  She was my first best friend.  I can still remember how warm her coat felt against of the palm of my hand on a summer’s day.
First Plane Ride:  I was, to paraphrase Stevie Nicks, on the edge of sixteen.  I flew to Hawaii with my mother and father, who had just been made head coach at BYU, which meant he got to take the glam recruiting trips now.  I threw up on that first flight—either from motion sickness or nerves.  Who can say?
First Kiss:  Timmy Anderson kissed me in my basement behind our couch.  We were both six.
First Proper Kiss:  Gah.  This is so weird, but I don’t remember.  What does this say about me?  (As you can tell, I’m really bothered that I CANNOT REMEMBER!)
First Time I Noticed My Husband:  He was wearing a torn sweatshirt, working on a bicycle at the end of a dark hallway, channeling James Dean.  OF COURSE I WAS INTERESTED.
First Time I Gave Birth:  I said, “Wow.  That pretty much hurt more than I thought it would.”
First Time I Met Louise:  I said, “I want to be her friend.”
First Time I Read LOTR:  I said, “I can’t believe I love a book about guys with hairy feet.  But I do!”
First Time I Tried to Run a Race after Being in Bed for Seven Months During the First Grade:  I came in last.  As in way, way, waaaaaay last.  Our principal, Mr. Glazier, felt so bad for me, he dug into his pocket and gave me a nickel for trying.
First College Football Game:  I was ten.  BYU played the University of Wyoming on TV.  There were ABC (as in the network) pennants festooning the stadium like flags on a castle’s turrets.  My mother made me wear a dress.  Oddly.
First Live Theater Experience: I saw a production of “Camelot” in the DeJong Concert Hall at BYU.  I fell in love with King Arthur and to this day do not understand why Guinevere had a fling with Lancelot.  My mother made me wear a dress.  Not-so-oddly.
First Time I Drove from Provo to Salt Lake by Myself:  I was seventeen.  I made it home alive.  My parents were pleasantly surprised.  And continue to be pleasantly surprised whenever it still happens.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Writing about mental illness again

Well, you know how sometimes it's just tender times, and it's been that way here lately.  Everything makes me cry right now--happy things, sad things--it doesn't matter.  I just.  Cry.  In fact, I cried that whole time I wrote this.  But, as always whenever I write about the subject of mental illness, I hear from so many good-hearted people who are trying to get things right in their own lives.  I feel honored to hear their stories.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

LDS conference and Trib readers

So here's how you generate a lot of buzz about a column in the Trib.  Write about Mormons (which you can do here)!

Clearly my friend Robert Kirby figured this one out a long time ago.