Balls Hair: How Not to Type a Post

Last night as I laid my head down on my desk, cringing after having just edited my latest blog entry, I thought, “it’s time to write another post acknowledging that girl, you cannot type to save your life.” This is just a fact. I type, I edit, I post, I edit, and then I edit at least five more times to be sure, tweaking the post bit by bit until I’m finally convinced, “I got this!” while knowing I’ll come back a day later to find even more glaring goofs. I have yet to write that flawless elusive post. One day.

With that post, I hoped to accomplish two things:

  1. Acknowledge that I am painfully aware of just how bad my typing can be. That some days it may actually hurt your eyes or your soul to read.
  2. Somehow convince you guys to wait a day or maybe 15 (15 is good, right?) before reading my posts, which would maybe give me enough time to catch the vast majority of my errors  (although that’s probably still unlikely as I know my track record better than most)

I thought about trying to explain that sometimes my brain works faster than my typing fingers. I thought about adding that I’m so familiar with my writing that when I edit, I miss the words that need to be fixed, because my brain is “lalala-ing” along with the familiar flow of my speech pattern/sentence structure that it’s actually filling in the missing pieces. And the truth is that the further I get away from what I’ve written, the better I am at catching all those little glaring bits. The ones that cause me to lay my head down on my desk and cringe a ton.

I guess those are the joys of reading a personal blog? Lucky you?

I also decided I would share some related anecdotes to drive that point home – stories that provide further proof that I can neither edit nor type – just something for your amusement, and a chance to really enjoy how bad it all can get for me, then maybe you’d all laugh WITH me.

Today my cousin posted a question on Facebook: “Name something random about u” after he’d offered up a random fact about himself. I was in. I do a lot of random things, and what I should have done was mentioned being in a mariachi. I now deeply regret not just saying, “I was in a mariachi!” and ending it there.  But no, that would be too un-Beth like. So, I had to mention hairballs. Here’s the thing, the mere sight of them makes me gag. And if you start talking about them in things, on things, around things, whether they’re wet or dry, I’ll have to hyper focus to avoid going into a coughing fit. Thank you Burger King for a quirk that has settled well in over the decades (don’t ask), and I truly wish my brain would let it go, but brains… y’know? I could have told the story just like that, too. But no… I wrote: “Also, the sight of balls hair makes me cough.” Yep, I typed “balls hair”. And I felt good about that post. I hit enter and went on my merry little “balls hair” hating way, announcing my particular random distaste for said “balls hair” to all of his good friends.  Hi, this is my cousin. She hates balls hair enough that she wanted to just share that with y’all and the rest of the world. She’s also someone we can’t have out in polite society. Now you all know why.  Oh, you only drink Guiness on a full moon? Well my cousin Beth here – yeah, she hates the balls hair.

I logged back in to see someone had haha’ed my post, and I knew immediately, without looking, that I’d typed something goofy. When I read my post, I turned bright red, started blushing profusely and well ok, there was some giggling, because I just told the whole world my feelings on “balls hair,” but I was completely mortified. Why I couldn’t type “hairball,” the way we all refer to them, or hey, “MARIACHI”, I’ll never know. I looked around sheepishly, hit the edit button, inserted a well-placed “of” in there, and wrote a quick disclaimer. But the damage couldn’t be undone. I’m now the balls hair hater. 😦

I wish this story were somehow unusual for me instead of just being the latest example.

One more story – A couple of months back, I asked my brother-in-law to pick up a sandwich since he was on his way over.  A simple request. When he arrived he handed me the sandwich, YAY, and then said, “stop using voice-to-text”.  Granted this isn’t a “me typing poorly” story, but more a “me failing to edit” one, which in truth is actually my problem. I barely skim what Siri has said.  I looked at him with surprise, furrowed my brow a bit, and then opened the actual text. In that text, the one that sent, the one Siri decided would be a bit funny, I apparently made a rather lewd suggestion. You know, the kind of suggestion you NEVER want to send to your brother-in-law, because NOOOOO – not ok. BAD TOUCH! What I learned from this was not, “Beth, stop using voice-to-text.” No, I learned to now have Siri type: “I’m using voice-to-text. Siri makes fun of my accent. I’m not responsible for the things to come. Just read the words out loud like you’re me. You’ll get the gist.”

Which brings me back to the purpose of this post. I will also never be the type of editor that discovers all of the errors. What I will do is, I will typo. I will always fail to edit thoroughly, and I will still hit the post button. I will also keep working on my story for several days, and I will keep catching those errors. So, my ask is: if you can’t wait a few days, then just read what I write with light eyes. Gently glide over the typos, fill in the blanks of the butchered words or mangled phrases. If you see a whoopsied homonym instead of the proper word, read that sentence aloud, and delete your memory of the spelling Men In Black style – just look at K’s pen. Also, feel free to liberally bless my heart.

But at least be thankful I didn’t write a post about “balls hair.” Oh wait. I guess I did.

Huge thanks to everyone who makes it through my actual writing to read my stories; it’s much appreciated – more than you know. I love you guys!

I’ll proof this again tomorrow.

Creative? Not so much…

I’m writing this on the fly, which can only mean one thing – more typos, more poor grammar choices, more run-on sentences, comma splice errors, etc. This post will be filled with all the things that would make my English teachers/professors/English professor friends cry, and then pause and wonder how on earth I manage to communicate. Ehhh, what can you do? Editing is for err… ummm… well, I suppose it’s for everyone, but still… Not today!  Ok fine, I’ll do my best? (I’ve had sugar.  This is my second disclaimer.)

Several months ago a co-worker stopped and said something like, “Beth, you’re always doing something. I love hearing your stories.  What creative thing are you into now?” I hmmed, there was some hawing, and after some not so deep soul searching I finally declared, “nothing.” While adding in my head, “nothing, topped with nothing sprinkles and a huge dash of nothing – I was making nothing pops out of congealed nothing,” and I was actually ok with that.  I thought about writing, but wasn’t feeling it.  I perused new classes, but wasn’t feeling it. Basically, I was quite happy with reading more, and catching up on Netflix series one sitting at a time.

Sometime in February, I think, a friend of mine asked me to help assist with a play. I checked my calendar, moved some of the nothing around, and hopped on board.  Afterwards I sat in character study discussions, table reads, rehearsals, and so far three performances.  Nothing is truly more exciting than watching a production grow from an idea into a live performance with a talented cast who get better every time.

Next week we’ll have the last few shows.  If you’re in Austin (and would love to travel to Georgetown), I encourage you to come see Blame it on Beckett. We have an extremely talented cast directed by one of my favorite people, Jonathan Spear.  It’s well-worth the $15. (There are discounts for Seniors and children.)

https://www.picatic.com/event14647381531248

The 48 Hour Film Project is also going on (it ends tonight at 7:30).  This is the thing where, on a Friday evening, you get assigned a genre (ours is a holiday movie or an animal movie – OY), an object (a wrapped gift) that must be in the film, a line of dialog (something that had the word “oops” in it, but my memory is that bad that after 36 hours you got me), and a character (Charlie or Charlene Bitters, an author), and you have to write, shoot, and edit it within 48 hours.  AND it’s also something I’ve avoided since we wrapped the last one in 2013 after the unfortunate incident with the neighbor.

Well, it turns out some of the talented actors from Blame it on Beckett were going to have to miss a weekend (thus the weekend break between performances) to participate in the 48 HR project which got me talking about it again.  That’s when the writer from the previous show decided she wanted to see if she could do all of the work: writing, directing, producing, editing, music, etc. – basically, I think she wanted to see if she could get the least sleep of everyone I know and avoid merrily leaping off the ledge (she’s still alive as of this writing).  My job consists (present tense since we’re still in this thing) of turning in paper work and asking the actors if they’d like a cookie.  I mean, who doesn’t want a cookie?!?! (Apparently all the actors since I ended up with all the cookies once we wrapped.  So sad to know cookie-haters walk among us. Even sadder that there are cookie-haters in my peer group. 😦 )

The good news is that our group, Uncle Bob’s Dangerous Pants, lives again!!! (And we still got props for best name from the 48 HR folks.  WOOOT!)

Also, a beautiful thing happened that made this all seem right, yet has zero to do with creativity.  The good neighbors (mentioned in the old post) are buying the evil neighbor’s house, which means the evil neighbor is moving.  I can’t begin to express how hard it was not to do an old lady style cartwheel in the front yard and cheer (after of course crashing to the ground and moaning a bit, because my cartwheels have suffered greatly over the decades).  Instead I took the news calmly only betraying my glee at the corners of my mouth and well, by repeatedly pointing to the evil house and asking, “that house? that one right there? oh that one?”  It seems like closure of sorts.  We did our first 48 HR shoot, had that happen, then did this one, and she’s moving.

Anyway, all of that to say that I’ve gotten to do some creative things with creative people lately, and that has made me pretty happy.

But I do want to add one thing – a friend who isn’t involved with any of my improv/sketch writing life said, “you’re so creative” after I mentioned the play and the 48HR Film Project.  That was really nice, but here’s where I absolutely can’t take credit.  I am good at many things, and the bulk of them include following directions.and wrangling. You also need people like me for the things I do, but I am not creative per se.  I do not “create,” and I’m ok with not being considered “creative.”  I support.  I’m one heck of a supporter.

AND I’m very lucky to be surrounded by amazingly creative people who see the need for a solid supporter. Between all of us, we get things done, and right now I’m having fun doing just that.  Now I need to get ready to go get the paperwork turned in so we can wrap this whole thing up tonight..

Taking the Moment

I’m not a creative person. Now typing that “out loud” might elicit some “of course you ares”, and that’s super sweet, but I’m ok with it. I promise no one is going to compel you into including that in my eulogy.  The truth is my brain is simply not wired that way or perhaps it’s that my muse is on a smoke break, who really ever knows.  (I would end that with a question mark, but it’s more rhetorical (unless of course you know what became of my muse, then do tell.))  I’m left brained.  Although, judging by my grades from school, it clearly does not convey any special adeptness in it’s left brainy specialties. (Why left brain? WHY?!? It’s just theoretical mathematics. Get that X girl, get it!)

Now, that doesn’t stop me from dabbling.  For example, I can draw some of the most adorable dust bunnies with these overly-large, super-solicitous eyes (if you anthropomorphize dust bunnies, you don’t have to sweep them up, because it’s like declaring war on an endangered (endangered because I just typed it) species – this is fact). Granted, I’m more likely to doodle a series of hash marks or cubes, but that’s beside the point.  When inspired, I’m a dust bunny drawing pro.  I’ve tried improv (you remember that brief foray into personal humiliation – the one where all of my classmates were approached to move forward and I was applauded for making regular payments – my pro skill) and then I tried sketch writing (where my teacher actually couldn’t remember my name after 8 months and everyone else was encouraged to go forward with sketch shows and videos).  Now some of this stems from me being a bit odd and squirrelly, but some of it is just genuinely me not being particularly good at it and people recognizing that, (which is always a tad awkward). However, I don’t let my awfulness stop me from trying!  Go me!  I’m content to spread my badness.  Make my videos. Take photographs.  Run up on a stage where they’ve invited two people to come up and then realizing a quick game of “short straw” is going on in the crowd before I get a partner.  Write my blog and ultimately just revel in my creative mediocrity. Go Meh-ness!

But here’s the rub. (No, I haven’t been drinking.) Anyway… the rub! Not everything I see others produce is always great art either, but that whole “treat your friends the way they want to be treated” thing usually compels me to offer them encouragement.  That’s especially true if they’re trying something new or challenging. If asked I offer up my “what if’s,” but mostly I tend to say “great job!”  I make an effort to acknowledge what people are sharing and recognize that a piece of their soul lives is in their art.  Apparently, “wow, that’s right shit!” is discouraging to some.

So, last week I did something that was hard for me and then I displayed it for a small world and got crickets in return, with a couple of exceptions. My soul laid a bit bare and the cool (sarcasm) sound of absolutely nothing. By comparison, I told Facebook I forgot my breakfast and immediately got 22 likes.  Maybe the takeaway is that this is where my real strength lies – not in creativity but my slow, public descent into dementia.  Great. My dreams realized.

Where we stand at this moment – I’m done.  I’m done applauding. I’m done helping. I’m done with “the favor”. I’m done encouraging.  That thing my friend did better meet MOMA standards. If they wouldn’t display it, then don’t think I want to see it as a .jpg in an email attachment.  If it’s not on “Funny or Die;” it’s clearly not worth viewing.  If it isn’t published; it’s not worth reading. If critics aren’t aware of it, and there’s not a blurb stating “Bold!” then you’re absolutely wasting my time.

Ok fine, I suppose that won’t actually be the case, but it really feels kind of liberating and also somewhat  compound sentence-y. I made many words!

Maybe I’ll offer some advice instead of declaratives. If you have friends who have chosen to share with you – whether it’s something completely new to them or it’s old hat, then take a moment to really look, listen and acknowledge.  That’s your one job as a friend; it’s actually your most important job. I guarantee they’ll reciprocate.

To my friends who always take those moments – thank you!

Who emptied the liquor cabinet?

Clogged

Recently, I’ve been a bit blushy (this is a word) after receiving some highly undeserved praise and encouragement for my writing.  I’m never sure what to do with the compliments.  It’s a bit like hearing all of your hopes whispered into one ear while balancing it against reality. So, let me first say “thanks” to those folks and then finish with some “bless your hearts”.  I admit, I do feel somewhat guilty for not writing, but the truth is I don’t have a good story to tell. Right now, when I think of writing, it manifests into rants.  I seem to walk a weird line between telling anecdotes and screaming about perceived injustices – no real middle ground.  Unfortunately, I live in that middle ground and when it comes to writing about it I struggle.  I just find it boring.  It’s the land of the uneventful – the mundane – the grocery store adventures, the long drives between destinations, the day-to-day.  I’ve always relied on my knack for tweaking the details to make the mundane more entertaining, but I guess I’m a bit blocked.  I blame the rants that are clogging up the works.

So, I guess this is warning of sorts that I may come blasting out on my blog.  Thankfully, I’ll only offend a few of my 10 readers.  You guys may want to just skip the next few posts.  Once I get all of that out of my system, I can go back to topics like:

  • Celebrating Dad’s 70th Birthday: A Perfect Rainy Day (Aside: huge love to Ernie for sending Dad a special card that really made his day – that card now has a special place on the fridge)
  • Fist-bumping cashiers in Centerville, TX
  • Auditions for my upcoming shoot – thank you, ONE guy
  • New job!
  • There’s Always a Cop When You Need One: Cackling at Other’s Misfortune (well, he pulled out into my lane and just stopped there) – whoops, I think I just told the story.
  • Sewing with feathers

Until then, brace yourself for “Who is Your Mother: Why I “Love” Drunks” – the working title of the rant that’s in my head.

Just Like Lovecraft

Today I was playing with an online writing analysis tool that promised to tell me to which famous writer my writing style was most similar.  I dumped several of my recent blog posts into the offered window, pressed the magical “Analyze” button and watched it whir until the author’s name kerchunked its way out.  Now, I know you’re probably suspecting it said “William Faulkner,” as was I.  I mean, my Dad’s side of the family could easily have been the models for any of the characters in Absalom, Absalom, The Hamlet, or As I Lay Dying.  In fact, had those books not pre-dated many in my family, we could have easily raised a Southern stink about the whole thing.  Seriously, if you had hauled your grandmother’s coffin all over the countryside trying to please her while also having to read her snarky thought bubbles, you’d see where we had a case.

Sadly, the magic machine didn’t spit out “William Faulkner” clearly demonstrating how flawed its analysis was and instead spit out a couple of names with which I’m not familiar – Wallace and Doctorow.  Oh sure, crazy author generator, pick some random guys who never once showed up on any of my high school or college reading lists.  As we all know this is the accepted benchmark for literary fame.  If there aren’t Cliff Notes devoted to your life’s works, you’re nobody. Being mentioned in some random book club or noted on NPR doesn’t count.  Freshman must cringe at the mention of your very name while combing your pages for the deeply embedded (invented) symbolism.  Heated debates over whether you’re an “existential nihilist”, a “romantic”, or a “naturalist” should be occurring at 2am in dimly lit dorm rooms littered with take-out Chinese boxes.   And your words should consume their brains and be quoted at least once in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations. Those are the rules. That’s when you know you’ve arrived and can claim the title of “famous writer”.

Just for fun, I plugged in a couple more blog pieces and it spewed out “H.P. Lovecraft” and “Stephen King”.  You know, I’m going to have to agree here.  When I think, “who else besides Willie Faulkner do I write like when I blog” my mind immediately goes to “Lovecraft and King,” because I have to admit I am quite the psychological horror/thriller blogger.  You guys probably aren’t surprised one bit especially after reading about the man-sized grasshopper that tried to eat my face, or was it the Cthuloid manifestation that was clogging the drain? or possibly the angry clown that lived in our possessed garbage disposal? One of those. It’s hard to keep track.

Well, I promise to keep bringing you my Lovecraft/King/Other Guys Who Aren’t on an Accepted Reading List blend of writing, if you promise to keep reading.  Hey, Halloween IS just around the corner and I feel another spooky post coming on.  Ok, I actually don’t. Maybe I’ll just go find an online test that tells me which character from Downton Abbey I’m more like instead (fingers crossed that it’s not Thomas) or maybe I’ll look for my soap opera name – something equally accurate.

7×7

Jacqueline over at Mature Student Hanging in There (or maturestudenthanginginthere) was kind enough to award me the 7×7 Award earlier in the week.  Jacqueline is one of those who make bold claims like:  white powdery stuff falls from the sky and collects on the roads, rooftops and sidewalks (I still suspect this is a myth since this past week we’ve had highs in the 80’s (26’s if you’re one of those Celsius cultists) and we all know the weather is the same everywhere and that the Earth is flat and carried on the back four elephants atop the giant star turtle Great A’Tuin.

Ok, so I don’t believe the world is actually flat, but I’m spot-on about the turtle.

Thanks to Jacqueline, I’ve learned about Scottish traditions – most recently Burns Night.  Of course, the fact that I didn’t know this prior to a few weeks ago earned the great disdain of one of my British co-workers.  Once I recognized his face was collapsing in from the complete horror that I had not heard of this, I reminded him that he’d used a certain word in the past to describe Americans and their ignorance of other cultures.  He started throwing out possible words.  “Was it xenophobic? Isolationist? Ignorant? Provincial?”  I smiled as he spoke each new word, and declared that it wasn’t the correct one just so he’d throw out more.  Exasperated, he finally threw in the towel and explained more about Burns Night.

Now, my understanding of the award is the recipient is supposed to name 7 posts that I like and then pass on the award to 7 fellow bloggers.  Well, here’s where I need to confess that I’m terrible about reading multiple blogs, many that I do read have won the 7×7 award and I’m terrible about passing on awards.  It’s not that I don’t appreciate the blogs or their authors; I’m just the perfect storm of shy and lazy.

So, I’ll cheat a bit and list a few of the blogs I enjoy (they in no way represent all the blogs I enjoy and are not all the blogs I think deserve recognition):

I love stories and I deeply admire people who can tell them well.  My epitaph will doubtlessly read, “tell me a story” since this is a common plea.  A few of the blogs I can always count on for their writing, their wit and a great turn of phrase are:

Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

All Write written under my new favorite pseudonym Harper Faulkner. Complete aside: I feel there really should be an actual author sporting this name.  Faulkners, I’m looking at you.

Kana’s Chronicles, formerly Kana’s Notebook

Anna’s Family Blog – which isn’t the name and I can’t link to it, but trust me there are a lot of funny stories being told there.

I’ve added a lot of these stories into my personal story repertoire so I’m always well prepared when challenged to, “tell me a story.”  Most of my friends are now familiar with these author’s names, their personal tales and my friends enjoy hearing the latest stories.  (Left on my own, I’d just retell the stories they’d already heard many times before and be greeted with great groans that said, “please, not the time you freaked out in sketch writing class again.”)  Plus, these stories are fresh and not the typical Happy Hour gossip, “well and then do you know what she did next? I know!!!! And there was a chinchilla in the room. NO!”  (As we all know, chinchillas are possibly the cutest animal ever and when people are up to things they shouldn’t be it should never be in sight of an innocent chinchilla.  Note: no chinchillas were actually in any rooms they shouldn’t have been that I’m aware of) (Yes, I am ending that sentence in a preposition – flying in the face of all good grammar, because I don’t feel like writing “of which I am aware.”  I’m a rebel.)

A blog I discovered through All Write that I’m enjoying (and Seth, I think you might as well if only for the photography; the author is married to a photojournalist) is:

The Art of an Improbable Life

I guess I’ve now made this award a 5×7, which is a nice size for a photograph.

As for my 7 blog entries, I had a tough time.  I’ve had this blog since 2006 and have close to 500 posts.  It’s hard for me to remember what I wrote and harder still to pick out a favorite so I relied on the help of friends and included several of their suggestions.  I’m only naming 6 right now, since I told my friend DeAnne that she’d have time to think about it post some fun oral surgery.  (Lucky girl, send her good healing vibes.) So, in no particular order:

  1. Some Kind of Woman – I wrote this the night after my mother passed away unexpectedly at the age of 65.  I was sitting across from my Mom chatting when it happened; it’s a moment that haunts me as I stand perpetually at that door watching the events of the day repeat. I never intended for this to be read at her funeral; however, my aunt asked if she could.  It’s the only piece that has ever been presented to a large audience.  Hrmm… probably says a lot about my writing.
  2. I Hate Houston – this is a very inside joke between me and another friend, although I am proud to claim that at one point it was among the top 3 searches if you Googled “I Hate Houston”.  Sadly, it’s slipping in the ratings.  Anyway, it’s my most read blog piece.  Oh, and for the record, I’m just indifferent to Houston.
  3. Hey, Don’t I Know You – where I make fun of reincarnation
  4. A Drought Jingle – I still want a jingle.  Just the other day it sprinkled a bit and a cheery newscaster posed the question, “will this be enough rain to pull us out of the drought?”  We need 20+ inches of rain and his question made me want to stomp down to the station and kick him in the balls while responding, “this rain won’t be enough, but maybe your tears will be!”  Needless to say, I’m still mad about the drought.  But hey, only 9 more years to go!! JAZZ HANDS!
  5. (Reserved for DeAnne)

Thanks to all you folks you regularly slog through my writing.  I appreciate all of you.

I’m Quitting

Tuesday after work started like most Tuesdays after work do – dinner and the dramatic announcement of “I think this is my last sketch writing class.”. “Yes, I’ll give myself this last class and then I will plan to be home before 10pm from here on out!” My friends never grow tired of this pronouncement and by “never” I mean “always”, because it’s usually followed by a small “I’m the worst sketch writer” pity party with balloons shaped like sad little animals as I recount why what I’m saying is 100% gospel. Their protests to make me see reason are now printed on a colorful flyer so they don’t have to repeat themselves one more exhausting time. I wear them thin on Tuesday The flyers help lessen the need for eye rolling this way. (As you can see, I’m making tremendous strides towards my resolution to work on my self-esteem. You can see that, right?)

Well, I come by my lack of faith in my writing quite honestly. On that very first day of class a couple of months back, I was traumatized when I discovered that I was the only person who wasn’t born with a pen in their hand. As we went around the room establishing our writing creds, everyone seemed to be a serious writer and I, on the other hand, could only offer up “I blog!!” There was smiling, that patient kind you give when faced with someone who is severely mentally deficient that you don’t want to discourage. “Umm, I can also sign some really filthy things in ASL,” but I suppose that’s not writing or anything to really brag about – it’s more a neat pet trick to horrify a friend who does sign. As an educator, she’s quite proud that “this was all that Beth learned.” The only other person who wasn’t a writer was an accomplished fashion photographer, so that left me without a peer and signing quietly to myself.

So, Tuesday evening arrives and I’ve got my first parody sketch prepared and ready for feedback. I wander into the inner calm place in my mind that says, “you can survive the next three hours and as a reward you never have to come back.” YAY! Half an hour into class and I manage to never raise my hand to read anything of mine, because it’s a bit like raising my hand to gargle glass or poke my eye out with a stick. Why would I do that? My friend Morgan strolls in. Morgan is the reason I took sketch writing in the first place; she has a way of making things seem cool. You may remember her from the story about the obnoxiously expensive purse that could feed a third world country. I think, “how sad I won’t see Morgan after this evening, but we still have email.” I’ve positioned myself so I can see the clock clearly. I watch it closely as it ticks down my final hours in class. I make it two hours without volunteering to read my first parody. (Aside: Yes, rationally I know sketch writing is new for me and I’m doing something I’ve never done before, but I want to be the best. Blame my upbringing. Waiting on my brain to understand the fundamentals gets in the way of kudos, awards and a ribbon that says “Best Girl”. I want the bloody ribbon.)

Then the time comes where there are only two parodies left to read. A game of rock, paper, scissors is called to determine who will read next. I can see that Morgan is going to throw “rock” by the way she’s holding her hand in the 1-2-3 lead-up and I immediately throw “paper”, because I like to win. Then I realize, “you threw paper!!! IDIOT! What were you thinking?!?!”

I had to cast my sketch, “I’d like you to play the part of Clara, I’d like you to be my narrator, and…” Once the roles are cast, I immediately proceed to shake as my words are read. I don’t like being a squirrely, twitchy person, but as you know, my writing being read out loud does this to me every time. It’s much worse if I have to read it. I watch everyone’s reactions to see how it’s playing out and to my delight they seem to be laughing. Whew, they get the jokes. I can tell when each one realizes what I’m parodying.

When it’s over, I throw my notebook down on my lap and prepare for the feedback on how to make it better. I can conceal my trembling easier on my lap than I can on the table.

Morgan turns around and looks at me and says something like, “Beth, that was great. I have nothing.” Well, she likes me personally. She’s my friend. Did I mention that purse? So, I wait for someone else and that’s Jason, whose writing I admire greatly (in my next life I’d like to be as funny as he is). Jason adds, “I’ve also got nothing and I’d like you to submit this to the Etch-a-Sketch showcase I host on Fridays.” I don’t know any actors and shyly stammer that out. Jason responds, “I’d be glad to play a part.” That’s when the rest of the class chimes in, “me, too!”

The only real suggestion for a change I receive is, “maybe change the mummy’s name from Amenhotep to Tut – it’s easier to say.” (I may have killed my narrator with the number of times he had to say “Amenhotep” until our teacher finally gave him some relief by suggesting, “go ahead and say ‘the mummy’ instead”. Part of the fun of that sketch for me was forcing someone to say “Amenhotep” repeatedly. I’m a simple soul.)

I left class giddy and aglow. Their approval and willingness to play parts in my sketch was almost as a great as a “Best Girl” ribbon. So, tonight my sketch parody will appear in the theater’s sketch showcase and will star my super supportive classmates.

I guess I can’t quit until next Tuesday.