Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I've thought all week about all the little things I could write about. The stripper that applied for a job in customer service, for example, or the penis shaped Cheeto one of my co-workers found in her cheesy poof bag...
I could write about the state of a world in which Sudafed sales are bigger than actual prescriptions.
But the topic that always seems to dominate, is Time. (Time, time, time is what turns kittens into cats, Mr.Spike...)
Time is what turns children into adults, adults into old men and women... Time is what passes with or without your permission. Time is what's wasted as we work, as we sleep, as we dream.
So in the end, what's important? What do we give our time to? Do we stay with our husbands for the evening, when we know we should be writing, or do we stay up and hour late to play with our sons?
Do we neglect the cleaning, the laundry, do we say no to that social engagement we Really want to go to, or do we wake up at 5 in the morning, and go to bed at midnight to fit all in.
Yes (and no) to all of the above. IF you want something badly enough, you'll do what you have to do. You'll find the balance somewhere. Because if you want it badly enough you'll do it. If you don't, you'll drown it in.
I don't want to drown, so this is me: dog paddling...
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
I've been pondering what to write all day. I've got nothing... So instead of writing my own blog, I read others. There are a few out there that are impossible to ignore-Blogs that I cannot go a day without reading. My top three invoke emotional responses EVERY time I read them. Whether they make me laugh, make me cry, or make me think, I can't get enough.
One Word, One Rung, One Day This blogger is not only dedicated to his writing, but has a phenomenal talent. I haven't known him that long, but my writing has improved exponentially since I joined his group. (Thanks Travis)
Attack of the Redneck Mommy Not only is she hilarious, but she has lived a very inspirational life and I'm sending all my good Karma to her as she attempts to adopt a child. People who love that much should always have someone to share it with.
And last but not least: I know a blog entitled the wind in your vagina might steer away most people. But really give the guy a chance. He's hilarious. It's not a pervert's blog. He's a dad whose daughter made a really strange announcement on the playground one day. But more importantly, his blog is different than anything you've ever read. I love it.
So even if I can't give you something interesting to read, I at least know how to steer you in the right direction... Have fun reading...
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
There is nothing like looking at another human being and knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that you're loved.
Don't get me wrong. I love my husband and I know he loves me. But there's always this doubt in the back of my mind where I don't unnecessarily know why. I always wonder if he would be happier with someone else, if his life would be more fulfilling without me.
But with my son, there is no doubt. When I walk in the door after a long day of work, the world just stops for him. Nothing matters until I pick him up and tell him how much I missed him and that I love him. It doesn't matter that he can't say the words. It's in his eyes and in his smile.
I can't sing. I cannot carry a tune in a bucket, but if my son is fussy i can put his ear right up to my mouth and sing to him and suddenly all is right with the world.
If only adults communicated so well. If only adults loved so unconditionally. If only...
Monday, December 1, 2008
I had two,three inch binders full of stuff that I had written for my novel. Different versions of te novel, scenes that I wrote, but felt I couldn't use.
Icleaned house. I got rid of everything but one working manuscript,complete with changes. It was very cathartic. It feels like I'm making a clean start, starting from scratch and not like this the starting to become the neverending story.
So I'm editing again. My goal is to try to have this ready for a contest at the beginning of next year. That gives me a definite time limit to work with so I'm hoping this will give me proper motivation.
Also, I'd like to send a huge thank you to my critique group. I was ready go give up on my current Work in progress and work on another novel. It was like them giving me permission to put it away for awhile lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. Now suddenly I've got all these ideas and its the one I want to work on.
It's funny how these things work out.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
I have about a million thoughts every hour of hour day. The problem is, I'm POSITIVE no one wants to hear them! I mean if I wrote down every thought I've ever had, you'd think you were reading a schizophrenics website. I can go from "I wonder what the weather is going to be like today?" to "The psychological implications of portrayals of women in the media..." in about 2.5 seconds.
The problem is no one wants to hear that shit.
So, I'm stuck... as always... over-thinking everything. "What should the focus of my blog be? Should I write about my life as a wife? As a mother? As a writer? Hehe... as a schizophrenic?
I've discovered something about myself that I don't like very much... (Just add this to list):
I hold back a lot. Because I want people to like me, I find myself not writing about what I want to write about. I refuse to say what I want to say, and I'm pretty tired of it. Why can't I just be myself? Who cares anyway?
So let me introduce you to me. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly....
1. The Good: I can be really funny (witty even) when I'm not being so shy I can't even look people in the eye.
2. The Bad: I cuss like a sailor. There's just something about the way the word Fuck rolls of my tongue that makes me happy :)
3. The Ugly: I sometimes go through bouts of depression. Serious depression where I could stay in bed for 48 hours and think nothing of it. Thank God for my family and friends who give me a reason to get up in the morning.
So now that that's out... My goal is to write something every day- no matter how aggresive, angry, or depressing it sounds... I want to represent me... that's what a blog is for, right?
Sunday, October 19, 2008
My new vampire fix...
I don't have HBO but I have 3, count them-3 people who are willing to record it for me. It's nice to have friends!!!
The new HBO series is based on the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris, one of my favorite writers. I've been waiting for the series to come out for 3 years, and so far, I haven't been disappointed.
Anna Paquin is great as Sookie, and I loved the scene where Sookie's grandmother was reading one of Charlaine's books!
Jason is hilariously dimwitted, Tara reminds me of my sister(I can't get enough of her),and Lafayette cracks me up!
I even like the guy the picked to play Bill: even though he isn't my favorite character by a long shot.
LOVE LOVE LOVE Sam. I don't know who that guy is but I want more of him!
The only disappointment for me, so far has been Eric. But to be fair I've only seen him and haven't seen acting yet, so maybe he'll change my mind. I'll reserve judgment on that later. (My pharamacist, who I got hooked on the books, says Eric is supposed to be the finest hunk of man meat alive-or dead!ha-but from what I've seen-not so much...)
So all in all, I can stop re-watching old episodes of Buffy the vampire slayer-at least for the next few months. And as Buffy would say: Wish me monsters!
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
A:Accent: Texan Twang especially when I say *shit*
B:Breakfast or no Breakfast: I don't usually eat breakfast
C:Chore I hate: Laundry...
D:Dog or Cat: One dog, Levi
E:Essential Electronics: Sirius radio, I can write in a notebook but now without music
F:Favorite Perfume: uhhh...
G:Gold or Silver: I like them together
H:Handbag I carry most often: I don't carry a purse.. I should because it takes me an hour to find all the shit I need in the morning.
I:Insomnia: YES... midnight is early for me.
J:Job Title: Pharmacy technician
K:Kids: One son
L:Living Arrangement: House complete with an attic that will eventually be my office and Man cave for the hubby.
M:Most admirable trait: Do I have any?
N:Naughtiest childhood behavior: Getting in fights on the playground. Although I was taught never to hit anyone first so I had to talk them into hitting before I could fight. (Seriously, ask my cousin)
O:Overnight Hospital Stays: Just for the birth of my child. I don't do hospitals if I don't have to.. eeek
P:Phobias: Needles... who the hell invented those things anyway ... or Clowns.. creep mother... well anyway
Q:Quote: "I wear the cheese, the cheese does not wear me." Buffy the vampire slayer
R:Reason to smile: I'm I mom (Isn't that craziest thing you've ever heard?)
S:Siblings: One brother, one sister.
T:Time I wake up: depends on the kiddo. If I don't make it to bed until 3, he inevitably wakes up at 5 demanding to be fed.
U:Unusual Talent or skill: How to make Tequila dissapear completely.
V:Vegetable I refuse to eat: I like veggies
W:Worst Habit: Procrastination (Obviously... I'm filling out this stupid survey instead of writing my next scene)
X:X-rays: kidney stone...
Y:Yummy Stuff: Choco-lat....mexican food... thai food...
Z:Zoo animal I like the most: I know they don't really do anything but lay there, but I love the reptile house at the zoo. I really want a snake for a pet but my husband screams like a girl everytime I mention it.
Monday, September 8, 2008
There was a time when he looked at me and said," Your mother wants to kick me out of the house. What do you think of that?" and my reply was "Where's your suitcase, I'll help you pack."
I don't remember much about my childhood, except that I was a very morose young girl. I always had my nose in a book, able to relate much more with the characters I found there than with the kids at school. Now that I look back on it, my dad was one of those "no good" guys your mother always warned you about. My mom was pretty meek when she was younger (Now the poor guy who gets her order wrong in a restaurant better beware) but back then she didn't know how to stand up for herself. My Dad told her she was going on a date with him... when she said she thought they needed to break up he threatened suicide. They got married because she was pregnant and didn't know what to do about it.
We moved around more times than you can count on two hands, and probably your feet because Dad couldn't hold a job. He didn't like people telling him what to do.
The first few years of my parents marriage weren't happy for mom. I know this because she told me. She told me how he used to party and got her into the party scene. (I do remember sneaking down the stairs one night to see him and his friends smoking pot and watching porn) He had an anger problem and thought he could intimidate her to do what he wanted her to do. It worked in those first years. He thought he could intimidate his children too. We had a board sanded and lacquered at least three times with my name burned into it on one side and my brothers on the other. It hung on the living room door knob as a constant reminder to behave ourselves.
When I was a teenager the intimidation didn't go over so well with me and when I spoke to him at all it was usually to fight with him. Soon our arguments turned to dead silence or actual fist fights (he's the one who taught me how to fight so he can't blame me for that!)
But these are not the memories that I have of my father when I think of him. I remember that he was smart enough to realize that when his kids didn't want him around something must've been wrong. The minute we said that, it was like a 180 degree change in him. He didn't fight. He asked us what was wrong and actually listened to the answer. He stopped trying to intimidate us and taught us to think for ourselves, to defend ourselves, to become independent adults.
So when I think of my father, I don't remember that for most of my life he made mistakes. When I think of my father, I remember his smile, his laugh. I remember how when he wouldn't stop bugging us about giving him grandchildren, he laughed so hard he was brought to tears when one Christmas we gave him a baby doll at the dollar store. i remember how loving us wasn't enough. When he finally learned to love he included over 50 foster children who came in and out of our home. (And when I say children I mean teenagers who were so out of control, if they didn't make it in our home they were on their way to residential treatment-But that's a post for another day.)
When I think of my dad, I remember that he loved us enough to change.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Then I'd bring myself back to reality and tell myself I'd have a career in psychology...
I worked in a Prison for a little while. I was so bored and working with the psychologist out there was far scarier than the prisoners. I knew I'd be miserable, so my senior year (coincidently the semester after my father passed away) I changed my major to English. But by then I'd been in school so long I finally decided to say "Fuck it. I have enough credits to graduate..."
I might point out that I wrote all the time when I was younger, but I never wanted anyone to read it-so it'd burn it when I was done. Or tear it into little bitty bits and toss em. But not long before my dad passed away he happened to read something I'd written. "He said, "Wow, this is really good, Karin. Why are you wasting time with psychology?"
I've been writing this damn book for almost 10 years... I mean I was just playing around when I first started because I worked at the computer lab at the college and I was so incredibly bored or needed something to distract me from homework... so the first few attempts I don't really count but still... the first time I wrote it, it was in first person, then I changed to having a few more characters so I put it in third person, then I completely deleted the new characters... now I'm still stuck in the same damn place I always get stuck in, and last week I though, I wonder what would happen if i put this in first person. I go to critique group and the comment I get is "you need to narrow your point of views so that we get more of Alex." (which is true or I never would have thought what it would be like in first person.) So I'm rewriting... again.
My question is this.... Am I going to play around so long that I finally say "Fuck it... I've written enough." and just move on?
Thursday, August 14, 2008
If you are on the state dime, I expect a "Please" and "Thank You" when I fill your prescription. Being rude to me while spending my tax dollars so you can pop out more children just makes your RX take longer to fill and your vicodin prices get higher.
You are free to talk on your cell phone. However, if you must do it in the store, please use a quiet voice. If you wish to talk on it loudly while I'm trying to consult you on your crotchfruit's medication, don't call me in 5 minutes asking stupid questions. Nothing makes me happier than to tell you "If you weren't talking on your cell phone, you would know this."
If you have small children, please watch them. I don't shit in your house, so I don't expect your children to tear shit apart in my store.
Our garbage cans are not for your dirty diapers.
Our outside ashtray is filled with sand so you can put out your cig. It is NOT a place for your child to play
The price I give you for Vicodin and Soma is the price I give you. I could give a rat's ass if the chain dow the street is 1$ cheaper.
Putting your infant carrier on the counter (with infant inside) and telling my clerks "Watch him while I get money (for vicodin and soma no less) out of the car. This is not what a "good mother" should do. You should know this by now;its your 5th. However, since you are only 22, I will just assume you're just dumb.
If you are going insult me, please use proper English. My English isn't the best, but its better than "you don't ax me where I got dis vicodin at."
Things of a personal nature should be spoken with me in private. Shouting at me "Why does my husbands high blood pressure medication make his pecker not work" from across the store is going to give you a totally silent pharmacy and black stares as my insides explode.
If you are going to proclaim anything about your husband's "pecker" please make sure your husband isn't standing right next to you.
If you are going to bullshit me, please use the same story on different pharmacists. We do compare notes, and we don't like to be told that your vicodin was stolen one day, and flushed down the toilet by your infant the next.
Shower. Please. For the sake of the world.
Let me repeat. Fucking shower with soap and water.
Call in the number of your vaginal cream tube. Don't show me how greasy you can get your label.
Brought to you by the angry pharmacist!
Thursday, August 7, 2008
I'm home alone and I just put the baby to bed. God bless him! I put him in the crib, read him a story, tell him goodnight and that I love him and close the door. Not a peep. I set up the laptop, because dammit 10-midnight is my time to write.
Oh wait but first I have to do the dishes-
While I do the dishes I marvel at the new plotting I have in mind, despite the fact that it means I'll have to start completely over... and my dog starts freaking out.....
First he's standing in the living room on guard and then he starts growling... my dog never growls...
At this point I'm thinking that he's seeing his own reflection in the TV, or at the very least reacting to the hum of the dishwasher. But then he starts barking...
I'm still passing this off as some kind crazy dog personality trait I'm unaware of...
But no, now he's guarding the living room and the hair on the back of his neck is raised. His tail is between his legs and when I stand up to walk in the other room he's walking perfectly in step with me in a way no amount of obedience training has ever taught him!
I'm in the office and he's still in that stance with the hair on the back of his neck pricked. He's crouched at my feet shaking, and then he hides under the desk. I might mention that he's also drooling... I've seen Cujo, people. I know what it means...
My unease is in no way compounded by the fact that just the other day around 5 in the morning or so my husband comes running in screaming at me to hold the dog and guard the baby because someone was in the backyard.
I don't know if there was or was not anyone in the backyard but the next day my husband bought motion detectors for the backyard.
Now I consider myself a pretty tough cookie. I mean shooting a 9mm gives me a thrill nothing (well almost nothing) can give me, but shooting at a paper silhouette is one thing. Shooting at a human being rushing at you with god knows what in mind is entirely different. (Is it bad that I close my eyes when I pull the trigger?)
And my Daddy (God rest him) taught me very well all the neat little pressure points to use to unnerve a fella, and if a guy ever whips it out, Dear old dad taught me just the trick to send him *crawling * away. I haven't had to fight in awhile, but I'm pretty sure it's like riding a bike. So I'm pretty confident that whether I come out unscathed or not, I'll come out a victor...
On the other hand, if it's a ghost: pray it's a friendly one.
And barring the other two possibilities: Pray my dog is NOT turning into Cujo!
Thursday, July 31, 2008
And back to chapter 5 I go (TO REWRITE!!!)
Did I not just get through telling Crystal "NO MORE EDITS UNTIL YOUR DONE-REALLY-I mean it crystal- NO more!)
Chapter 5 needs help....
I'm just saying...
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Which Famous Artist Are You?
You are Andy Warhol. Your artistic talent became clear at an early age. As a result, you are still developing your talent now, chasing the dream. A big fan of commercial art, you see greatness in the ordinary.
|Find Your Character @ BrainFall.com|
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
I can't imagine what it was like for her these last few years, but even more I wonder at the strength and the courage that it would have taken for him. Now the last few years are going to seem like cake and the months, years to come are going to require him to tap into that same deep well.
I actually feel a little guilty. I feel guilty because my life right now is so perfectly, blissfully happy and everywhere around me is chaos.... So these are my wishes and hopes or today:
- I wish lovers could be strong enough to love
- I wish those who deserved to Mommies (more than most mommies) could conceive
- I wish that there was a cure for Cancer.
- And I'd like to think that in the end, it's not our actions, what we did or didn't do that matter, but how we loved. And if that is the case, let my cousin be an example for all of us.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
I'd never had guys pull out chairs, opened doors, stand up and the dinner table until all the ladies were seated, or give special care at dances to make sure we never sat out a dance unless we wanted too.
So here's a tribute to the Good Ones ladies- they're out there-just be patient and they'll find you!
And to the guys: Thanks for all those slumber parties in our living room, teaching us how to cook and reminding us that it's ok to let ourselves be loved a little!
And just for shits and giggles, here's an excerpt of the horribly written "An Era of Our Own".
...and then I went to college, with my bad girl stare and motorcyle jacket and the most frightened puppy dog eyes in the world. I was scared that I wouldn't get along with anyone, plus I had a band nerd for a roomate. There were ten girls in my unit. Down the hall a bubbly character with a huge grin, and artist and a dancer, a weirdo, and athlete and a girl who always seemed like she didn't want to be there, a sex fiend (not really) and a cowgirl (yes, really). So began the extent of my college education. I don't think that I will ever remember what classes I took but I'll always remember these few lessons:
- Stick with the social butterfly (even if she's a little kooky)
- Never call a girl with red curly hair "Annie" Or she'll put a spell on you.
- Never play basketball with your boyfriend or you'll never dance again.
- Art should be fun, not a career.
- Athletes should never date athletes, it gets way to complicated
- Never waste time on you high school sweetheart
- Always give your boyfriend a *this part has been edited for the protection of the innocent*
- Being Miss Colorado really doesn't amount to much
- That ban nerd that you always make fun of is really a very special person just trying to make it like the rest of us.
Sometimes I wonder why we became friends, but then I remember that it was because of our differences and not in spite of them....
And if you guys are out there and just happen to stumble on my blog. You're fondly remembered and dearly missed.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Monday, June 30, 2008
A-Attached or Single? Just celebrated 3 years, but we dated for 7 years before we got married!
B-Best Friend? James -no question
C-Cake or Pie? One of each please!
D-Day of Choice? Sundays Rock. It's the time I spend the most with my family.
E-Essential Items? A book to read and a pen (don't always have to have paper, either.)
F-Favorite Color? I like all the colors.
G-Gummy Bears or Worms? definately worms
H-Hometown? Amarillo, Texas. But I was born in Tulia, TX
I-Indulgence? Food... Maybe I should indulge a little in some exercise as well...
J-January or July? July all the way!
K-Kids? 1 boy, a little over three months
L-Life isn’t complete without… Family
M-Marriage Date? April 23, 2005
N-Number of Siblings? One brother and One Sister.
O-Oranges or Apples? depends... I like food, remember?
P-Phobias or Fears? Clowns... eeesh
Q-Quote? Slayer. Comma. The. She who hangs out alot in cemetaries....
R-Reason to Smile? Are you kidding me? My life is pretty damn close to perfect right now. What ISN'T there to smile about? I have a loving husband and a beautiful baby boy, and I'm working towards a dream that is getting closer and closer to being realized. It could be a hell of a lot worse!
S-Superman or Wonder Woman? Wonder Woman!!!!Girls kick ass!
T-Tag 5 people. I don't know 5 people to tag.
Okay, If you're reading this : Crystal, Sarah, Nette, Toni, and stephanie!
U- Umbrella or poncho? Umbrella... I like to twirl it!
V-Vegetables? Love em-bring em on!
W-Worst Habit? laziness... I mean what the hell is on TV Anyway?
X-Ray or Ultrasound? Definately ultrasound!
Y-Your Favorite Food? Pad Thai
Z-Zodiac Sign? Cancer
I stole this from Travis Erwin
But now we're back home and life unfortunately didn't slow down for us at all. (Life, I've found, often has no sympathy for us!) All work and no play makes Karin a very dull girl. But I think I'm going to have to start waking up at 4am. That way I can get some writing done while every one else is asleep...
Its only sleep right? who needs that?
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Anyway first things first...
The FIW conference was AMAZING this year. I learned so much information in so little time... Robert Ray told me in a two day span my writing had already improved and that I needed to get a writing group together. Not a critique group~which we really need as well...but a group that just gets together to write and read and NOT critique.
Then there was the contest. I submitted a mainstream novel and the category didn't make this year, but I did win first honorable mention (So Happy about that!)
Then the agent who judged the category personally came up to introduce himself to me and told me that it was a shame that category didn't make because I "Would've been very hard to beat." When I got my critique sheet back he wrote "You are a very talented writer and will be a succesful novelist."
(He also asked for a full manuscript. At this point I took several minutes out of my day to berate myself for not having a full manuscript... )
As if that wasn't enough to keep me high as a kite for several days (actually my head is still kinda in the clouds about it!) 3 days later we head out for colorado where we went white water rafting. Talk about a blast! It was absolutely beautiful all morning. We were surrounded by mountains and the water, which is basically the snow melting off the rockies, smelled so clean. It was freezing and it was quite a workout to row our way through waves that went over our head. (The water was moving at 4000 something or others which our guide described as "Picture 4000 basketballs flowing down the river every second.)
But I've never had so much fun! Then after lunch we hit the water again at which point there was a downpour on top of even rougher rapids than before. I personally thought the rain was even more beautiful than the sunshine in the morning. But maybe that's because I don't get to see it that often!
Now we've just recovered from that trip and we're off again... Down to New Braunfels to float the gaudalupe...
I'm going to be exhausted next week! And I hope Steven doesn't think we're abandoning him! I called my mom every night to check on him last week. I can't wait until he's old enough to join us on our little adventures!
Well, I'm off to do laundry and pack for the trip tomorrow. Hopefully I'll have time to post something new in a few days!
Monday, June 2, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
It's the whole first chapter and I know it's a little long-but it's definitely worth it.
The absence of NectarBy Kathy Hepinstall
All these years later, there remains a scar on my face. Very thin, and light in color like a beekeeper’s glove. My stepfather, Simon Jester, was standing at the stove one day, flipping an egg. I walked up behind him and said something. Startled, he whirled around.
"It's only me, Simon," I said, already afraid of the look in his eyes.
Instead of answering, he pressed the edge of the hot spatula against my face. My mother, who insisted that her children call her by her first name, Meg, found me later on the porch and rubbed a white cream into the long, thin blister. "It's the heat, Alice," she murmured, still rubbing. "Makes him touchy." That was only a half-truth, Meg's specialty. Simon's madness wasn't a slave to temperature alone. However, I am convinced that it was the soaring heat of a summer afternoon—together with my brother's unforgivable betrayal—that made Simon finally decide to kill both of us.
That day I stood before the mirror in a bathroom that reeked of Simon's aftershave, gazing carefully at myself, looking for evidence that Simon had poisoned my toothpaste, my pillow, the milk I'd held to the light that morning. My eyes were clear. The pupils weren't dilated. My lips weren't blue. No yellow tint to the skin. No tremors. I leaned forward and bared my teeth. My gums weren't bleeding. The mist my breath made on the mirror looked benign. And yet my body could fail at any moment. My heart could stop.
It was early June. The grass stood high around the fence posts where my brother had forgotten to trim. Clover and black-eyed Susans. Oleander in bloom. Ladybugs, grasshoppers, crickets. My bare feet could not touch the lawn without collecting living things, but I knew that there was something wrong with the ecosystem of that yard, that house. Stepfathers are not meant to conspire against their new children, and if they do, mothers are meant to put a stop to it. But my own mother would not believe the truth about Simon, was dead set against it, annoyed by its heat and its color.
I finished my inspection in the bathroom mirror and went out on the back porch where my brother sat polishing his glasses. His hands trembled and the nervous tic around his eyes was worse than I’d seen it in a long time, but he seemed to have shaken himself out of the strange daze he’d been in since that morning, and for that I was relieved. I sat down beside him and said: "The jig is up, I guess." I said it very casually and with an air of weariness, hoping my tone would calm my brother.
"I know," he said.
"We've gone too far."
"I've gone too far."
"Doesn't matter who did what."
Boone looked over at our mother, who sat on a cypress glider facing the porch, holding her swollen stomach, her back to her dead bee colonies. She seemed lost in the memory of those bees. Their variable buzz. Their perfect functions. Their desperate urge for order, which had churned seasonally into wax and honey. The last of them had died before the daffodils opened, and the frames in the hives had crusted over with a fuzz that proved on closer inspection to be their decaying bodies. Meg, however, still tended to speak of them in the present tense, as though they still worked and buzzed and stung her unprotected hands. She wore a shapeless green muumuu and arched her bare feet each time the glider moved her forward. Even from that distance we could see the glow that her pregnancy put on her face. The triumph. She waved at us languidly, and Boone shook his head in disbelief.
"Why won't she help us?" he whispered.
"She doesn't think anything's going to happen."
"God.” He ran his fingertips over the bushy curves of his eyebrows and put his glasses back on. He looked at me and his eyebrows twitched. A brief tic smoothed by an afternoon breeze. He touched my arm. "Do you hate me?"
"Simon was just waiting for an excuse. If it wasn't what you did, it would be something else."
"Please, Alice. Go talk to her."
"What good will it do?" "Maybe she'll finally believe us."
Boone was fourteen—two years older than I was—but he didn't understand what I did, that it's easier to shake a snapping turtle from a barbed hook than a woman from her savior. Just to please him, though, I waded through the grass toward my mother, sending gnats dancing up and grasshoppers in their crazy directionless bounces. Here and there in the grass lay the abandoned artifacts of my mother's beekeeping: white gloves, a nylon veil, a hive tool, a smoker turned on its side and spilling charred burlap. At this time the bees should be gathered around the perimeter of the rain barrel, collecting water for the steaming hives. Now all of the bees were dead. Except . . .
Meg slid over on the glider and showed me the back of her hand. "Look," she said, delighted. "A bee!" It crawled between her fingers, through the pink valley between her knuckles, circled back around and moved up her fourth finger to the diamond on her wedding band, balancing precariously on the tiny gem whose real value was always in question. It was a wild bee—not Meg's Italian bees that used to roam the countryside aching for nectar. Nonetheless, she admired it on her finger as though her diamond had suddenly swelled.
"He's my new friend," she said.
The bee was covered in yellow pollen. It turned around again on the ring and flew away. My mother sighed sadly, because she hated to be left.
I said to her: "Simon's going to kill us for what Boone did. I can see it in his eyes."
She didn't answer me. Instead she picked up my hand and pressed it against her stomach. Against my palm I felt the pressure of the baby's kick.
"Can you feel it?" she asked. “That's your brother."
"Half brother. If it's a boy."
"Oh, it will be a boy. Simon wants a boy."
"Did you hear what I said, Meg? About Simon?"
"Simon just likes to talk. He likes to scare us. He'll be all right after dinner, when it's cooler."
"Cooler? That doesn't matter. He'd plot my death sitting on an iceberg." I took a deep breath. "Don't you want to know what happened this morning?"
"No." Meg said the word in a sad, gentle way.
Underneath my hand, the baby kicked again.
"Won't be too long now," Meg murmured.
"Until we die?"
"Sweetheart . . ." Meg's voice was soft and sad. "Nothing bad will happen." She brushed back my hair. Pulled me closer so I could feel her scent: an immature sweetness, like the fluid of a honeysuckle. She moved her feet and the glider rocked. I looked down at her stomach. A bully, no doubt, this baby. Temperamental in the womb. Annoyed by the dull light coming through the stomach wall. The heat of the embryonic fluid. The pull of the umbilical cord.
Gently I shook off Meg's embrace, left the glider and walked back through the grass.
Boone was missing from the porch. He had probably gone to his room to shiver. The wild bee that had crawled over Meg's fingers now hovered on the railing. It had lost its way in the search for sweetness and was now sniffing at the perspiration my brother's palm had left on the wood. I wondered if it had already flown through the quiet beeyard, among its dead fellows.
I looked back at Meg. She was rocking back and forth and holding her belly.
I turned and slapped my palm against the railing. The bee died under my hand with all its bustling intentions, and I left its crushed body there, pollen from one stomach, nectar from the other. I went into the house and was passing by the den when Simon called to me. My heart dropped suddenly at the sound of his voice.
He was propped up in his recliner, an empty china plate on his lap, inspecting the tines of his fork with squinted eyes, turning the fork over and over in the afternoon light that poured through the drapeless window. His black hair was gathered in a rubber band, pulled back from his head so tightly that it revealed a mole near his ear and another at the edge of his hairline. His goatee hosted crumbs. He turned so that he could regard me with his close-together eyes. "Where's your mama?"
"Whenever you want."
He looked up at me and I could see the line in the skin between his eyes. A wrinkling that meant an angry mood. One of his sleeves had turned red earlier that day. Wincing, he lifted his arm and pointed in the direction of the kitchen. "Got any more of that cake in there?"
When I nodded, he said, “Bring me some.”
I went into the kitchen, where a drop of blood still clung to the peach in the fruit bowl, and two drops had dried on the floor near the sink, and one had run like a tear down the front of the white oven. A gash of blood had left an anchor shape across the window curtain, and a small brown streak of it still lingered on the rose-colored soap.
I found a knife and cut Simon a piece of cake, thinking about his plans. I knew he had access to poison; out of terror and uncertainty, I had read all his books on that subject, properties and effects and case studies, and I knew that within our home, garage and yard half a dozen deadly poisons could be found: strychnine, arsenic, calcium cyanide, Sevin, fluorosodium. Thallium in the dated products. No more poison than usual for a family who had mice and roaches and gophers to contend with, along with the now-dead bees. A family who had silver to polish, floors to clean, cabinets to stain.
I went back into the den and handed Simon the cake. I watched him tear off little chunks of it and put them in his mouth. Swallowing the pieces like pills. Jamming his fingers into it, pressing so hard they left indentations. His hand trembling. This man. A bully to cake and children. He looked up at me, his eyes crowded close to the line between them. More lines in his forehead. "You still here?"
"Where would I go?"
"Away from my sight, if you don't mind."
He looked at me a long time, perspiration running down his face. A crumb fell out of his mouth and onto his plate, and he flattened it with the tip of his finger. "You and Boone think you're funny, don't you? What you done this morning."
"How about what you did?"
"I didn't do nothing wrong. Tried to help somebody. A poor little girl with half a brain."
"What do you know? You ain't even my child. Neither is your brother. You don't have one drop of my blood . . ."
I looked at his sleeve.
". . . and so you're not my . . . you know . . ."
"Natural children?" "That's right, Smart Girl."
I left him without waiting for my dismissal and went back into the hallway, my senses so heightened that I could feel the darkness against the part on my scalp, and when I ran my hand along the wall, I discovered tiny uneven patches in the paint that no other human in the world could have felt.
Boone was sitting on his bed in the room he and I shared. He was shirtless in the heat and looking at a black-and-white picture of Persely Snow he’d cut from the crime section of the newspaper and copied at the city library. The poor quality of the Xerox left the famous teenager looking even more maniacal. Eyes wild, hair tangled. Teeth bared like an animal. No flesh tones to make excuses for the expression. Even as the hour of our deaths drew near, Boone remained entranced. His fingers traveled down her face, forehead to eyes to defiant smile. I had tolerated his devotion for years, but now I wanted to seize that picture and tear it to shreds, for this girl had entered our lives with a vengeance and had caused us nothing but trouble. She had recently escaped her flimsy state institution for the seventh time and was now hidden on a small island in the middle of Lake Shine. Now I imagined her pacing around in the brambles, looking up at the sky, waiting for my brother.
Boone whispered: "What did Meg say?"
"She said that we were right all along. That she married a maniac. That she's going to shoot him in the back of the head. And sell his demon child.”
"That's not funny, Alice."
"Why'd you even ask? You knew what she'd say."
He lay back on the bed, the picture of Persely Snow facedown on his chest. "Meg can't help it. She's not like other mothers."
"No kidding." I sat down on my bed, hugged my knees, then flopped back against the mattress, frightened and angry and sad for all the things I would miss on this earth. Hula hoops. Handmade belts. Necklaces made by twisting the insubstantial stalks of clover. The hard black shell of a licorice gumball. The yellow wig of a young dandelion. The gray wig of an old one. The slide on the school playground. The peculiar and random spread of live-oak branches. The dome of a purple snow cone, inviting the ache of a pair of front teeth. I hated Simon Jester for wanting to take these things away from me with his poison. I was a tomboy and an expert on American Indians and a straight-A student, and I deserved to live.
And if I did have to die, I couldn’t bear the thought of doing so without finding out Simon's secret. Where he'd come from. And what he'd done to his first family.
"We should feel sorry for Simon," Boone said suddenly.
"I don't. I hate him."
"He’s one of God’s creatures."
"Remember that when you’re drinking your tea."
He wasn't listening anymore. He was looking at the picture again.
I folded my arms and glared at him. And how about Persely Snow, Boone? The girl you love. Who killed one person and tried to kill another. Is she one of God's creatures, too?
I wanted to say this, but I held my peace.
Around six o'clock Meg comes into our room, flushed and wet like a woman just pulled from a lake. If she has lived her afternoon according to habit, then she has spent it on the cypress glider, humming to herself, gazing up at the blue summer sky, rejoicing in the stagnant clouds and mourning the ones that leave her.
When she opens the door, Boone hides his picture of Persely behind his back.
"It's only me," she says.
"Oh." He takes his picture back out. "I thought it was—"
"No. He's in the den." Meg has applied lipstick to her bottom lip and then rubbed her lips together for the haphazard coverage of a color I've seen on winecup flowers. "Could you help me with dinner, baby?" she asks me. Reluctantly I rise and follow her into the kitchen, past the den where Simon may be sleeping or plotting, reading or praying or rubbing his bloody arm.
The kitchen smells of Clorox. The white oven gleams. The peach in the fruit bowl has been scrubbed clean of blood drops. The curtain has a big water stain where the red shape used to be.
I prepare the rice myself, rinsing out the utensils first and reaching way back in the cabinet to find the hidden salt. Another package of salt sits on the counter, which Simon can poison all he wants. I use only my guarded crystals. While the water boils, Meg busies herself at the stove, her pregnant belly causing her to have to lean forward to stir the chicken dish..
Just before dinner Simon comes in. He’s changed into a clean shirt and his black ponytail is caught inside the back of his collar. He walks up behind my mother, puts his arms around her stomach and kisses her neck. Simon has been deeply suspicious about whether the baby is his, but now he suddenly seems to believe all of Meg's tearful denials, and he murmurs into her ear: "How's the queen mother?"
Meg giggles and turns around. She puts her arms around him and he says, "Ow, be careful."
"He been kicking?"
"That's my boy."
He kisses her cheek. His hands slide from her stomach to her breasts, and Meg says: "Oh, Simon."
"How long till dinner?" Simon asks.
"It’s almost ready."
"I'll help you dish up," he says meaningfully.
I bring him a stack of plates, which he yanks away from me with a grunt, then I stand there watching him dish up our meal. Chicken Meg, we call it. Shredded chicken mixed with bell peppers and tomatoes.
"What are you looking at?" Simon asks me.
"Nothing." Sweat runs down my face. If I blink it away, I might miss a sudden movement of his hand.
"Alice," my mother says, and without thinking, I turn my head away from Simon.
"The rice is burning."
I take the rice off the stove and turn off the flame. When I turn back, Simon is putting the full plates on the table, and my heart speeds up and my knees tremble with fear. In those few seconds Simon could have added an ingredient that carries no spice but arrests the nervous system or thins the blood or kills the light in my eyes. But I do not betray my emotions as I dish up the rice—safe and white—and put it in a separate green bowl, then set it on the table.
Boone comes in and we all sit down. My brother looks at the rice and then at me. I give him the signal. Two long blinks and two short ones. The Morse code of survival. It means that Simon has not been near the rice, and so it is safe to eat. Not so the Chicken Meg, and I broadcast this fact to Boone with three short blinks. We've been using these signals for weeks, growing lean and sad as the food we love ends up down the disposal.
My mother pours the strawberry lemonade, which is sweet and red and safe. I’ve kept the mix in a secret place in the bedroom. Ten minutes ago I watched Meg make the lemonade; Simon hasn’t come near it. I blink at Boone.
Simon looks at my mother. "Say the prayer.”
She takes my hand and Boone's and begins: "Lord, thank you for another day. Lord, teach us patience. Lord, thank you for always being good . . ."
As she speaks, my eyes open just enough to see what Simon's up to. He's sitting there drumming his fingers on the table. I wonder if he washed the blood off his arm before he put on the fresh shirt. "Okay, that's enough," he says, interrupting the part of Meg’s prayer that has to do with mercy. "Everybody eat."
We begin. No one speaks. Meg and Boone and I eat delicately, as if we can placate the situation by handling the food gingerly enough. White rice slides through the tines of our forks.
Simon picks up his teaspoon and begins eating from the sugar bowl—his most disgusting habit. Presently he looks up, glaring at us.
"Why aren't you eating the chicken?" he demands, spitting white crystals.
"We don't like chicken," Boone says nervously.
"Bullshit. I've seen you eat it before."
"Come on, kids," says Meg. "Just eat a little. It's really good."
"I'm tired of it," I say.
She looks hurt. In life-or-death dramas, she has room to flinch from small discourtesies. This is the magic of Meg.
Simon jumps out of his chair and rushes over to Boone, his shadow coming out ahead of him and announcing him too late. He grabs the back of my brother’s neck and forces his head down into his plate. Boone struggles, his fork still in one hand.
I leap from the table and grab Simon's wrist. "Stop it! You're hurting him!"
Simon pushes me, and I fall back to the linoleum floor. By the time I jump to my feet, it is already over.
When Boone's face finally comes up, it is covered with Chicken Meg, his glasses heavy with it.
Simon sits back down and crosses his arms, watching Boone clean his glasses and then go over his face with his napkin, wiping away a long, thin piece of tomato that is shaped like the blister Simon once gave me with the edge of his spatula.
Meg is blinking. I imagine her head as a beehive, a quiver of terror in the very center that does not radiate outward to the other bees. Judging by the expression on her face, the beehive remains calm, though she wrings her hands.
"Please," she says.
Simon ignores her. "Eat your damn food," he tells Boone and me. "Both of you. After what you did today, you're lucky to eat at all."
In this year, in this house, things happen and nothing stops them. In the living room God’s Bible sits open on Simon’s chair, where he’d been leafing through it, bloody. This part of Texas can't save us. We eat our chicken.
After dinner Boone and I go back to our room and wait to die. I lie on my twin bed; he flops on his across the room. We don't say anything for a few minutes, caught up in our own processes, vigilantly regulating our bodies, waiting for a falter in the heart, a dizzy sensation, a headache or a breath that brings sudden agony. Sweat is dripping down our faces. Too much sweat? We stare at our hands.
In the darkness I think of the Indians I’ve been reading about at the library. How they died so bravely. Crazy Horse was stabbed while struggling against his captors. Mangas Coloradas was invited to a peace conference and bayoneted by white men. Roman Nose fell in battle. And Sitting Bull died in a hail of bullets, slumping to the ground as his white horse danced.
I breathe in and out, trying to shift my mind from death to Spencer Katosky, the boy I love, but instead my thoughts wander to Meg. I want to hate her and also her new baby, who is half Simon and therefore half despicable, but something in me forgives them.
Boone picks up Persely Snow's picture again and puts it on his chest so she can smile down at his seizing heart. I roll my eyes a little but keep my voice steady. "How do you feel?" I ask him.
"Kind of sick."
"Sick like you're scared, or sick like you're poisoned?"
"I don't know." His voice is shaky. "What if Simon put strychnine in the Chicken Meg?"
A reluctant expert on poison, I shiver now as I imagine the effects of that nightmarish drug. The stiff neck, the spasms of the arms and legs, the involuntary arching of the body, the horrible smile. "Strychnine is bitter," I say, remembering what I've read in the books, trying to soothe my brother with my quiet voice. "We would have tasted it."
"How about cyanide? You know, what Meg uses on the sick bees. Simon could have mixed it in the lemonade."
I shake my head. "First of all, Simon never got near that lemonade. And second, I think that kind of cyanide turns into a gas when it touches moisture."
He thinks a minute. "Carbolic acid.”
"Your mouth would be burning."
"Doesn't hurt you if you swallow it. It has to break the skin. Has Simon shot you with a dart lately?"
"Alice, I think I’m dying.”
He looks pale as a ghost. I go over to his bed and begin rubbing his arms. “You’re fine, you’re fine. Think of Persely. She needs you." I rub his arms harder and say what I know will galvanize my brother: "She can't survive on that island without you, Boone."
At the thought of this, he lets out a groan and lunges off the bed. I lose my balance and we fall down in a heap together.
"Get up," I say, trying to extract myself. "We’ve got to get out of here. Get up. Get up!"
I hear footsteps coming up to the door, and Boone and I stiffen as the knob turns and light spills onto the floorboards in an anvil-shaped gash.
It's Meg. We sigh in relief.
She closes the door behind her, staring down at the floor, at our tangled-up bodies. She says nothing but holds one hand over her stomach and pushes the other against Boone's mattress so she can kneel on the floor. Her belly presses against my arm and I can feel her baby kick. The real baby my Simon craves. The one with his blood. His face. His madness. I picture a line forming between its tiny eyes, its face turning red at some perceived grievance there in the darkness of the womb.
Boone and I are still tangled up, motionless, silent. My mother runs her hand through my hair, then through his. I am still half angry at her, but glad to be alive and awaiting her sweet endearments.
Tears begin to roll from her eyes and a look crosses her face, one of such torment that I think she has taken poison herself. One of the corrosives, perhaps. She smoothes our hair again, takes a deep, painful breath, leans down to us and whispers a word that I know must cause her unbearable grief.
That's a load of crap. I started re-reading it and the pages are bleeding yet again. Will the edits never end????
On a lighter note. I thought that I'd have more time for this blogging thing, making my goal to write something every day. It's not happening. With the new baby and work-I'm busting my ass just to get minimal every day chores done! So-here's a shout out to all the mother's out there. No One realizes how hard it is until you're there.
It's very much worth the sacrifice- but a sacrifice it is!
Speaking of motherhood- my son is doing amazing~ I swear he's the most beautiful thing I've every seen. He's smiling at me and even giggles (even if it's only in his sleep) and he's started to mimic me in his own infant way. I'll click my tongue and he just thinks that's the funniest thing he's ever heard-and I can see him trying so hard to copy the motion.
He's already an independent soul too. He doesn't like to cuddle. Instead he's only happy when he's looking around at the world around him, soaking it all in. He tries like the dickens to sit up and he's not even 3 months old yet. I makes me realize how much I have to look forward to and reminds me to quit my bitching!
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I went back to work on Wednesday and I feel like I NEVER see my son. I hate it. The job itself hasn't been bad so far. I love the people that I work with and they make me feel really good, telling me how much they missed me and how glad they are that I'm back. But I miss cuddling with my baby and I can't wait for the weekend. They are going to mean SOO much more to me now than they ever did before.
But.... I've been working on my manuscript again. Got the first 4 chapters as close to perfect as I'll get them without professional help and am working on chapter 5, which is a complete disaster! But I'm no longer looking at a huge stack of papers and cringing, so that's progress!
Friday, May 9, 2008
I just saw a trailer for the movie Twilight which is based on the Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyers. Once again: These are young adult novels but are so amazing.
Here is a quote from the second book New Moon
Time passes. Even when it seems impossible. Even when each tick of the second hand aches like the pulse of blood behind a bruise. It passes unevenly, in strange lurches and dragging lulls, but pass it does. Even for me.
Check out the movie trailor at http://myspace.com/trailerpark
Friday, May 2, 2008
I know it's a children's book but it wouldn't hurt for adults to read it too...It's one of my absolute all time favorites. Here's a quote:
"Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them."
Monday, April 28, 2008
This is from Uglies by Scott Westerfeld.
From one of my works in progress that has been put on hold.
With his tongue, Eric Torsten nudged the jagged edge of his tooth. He stared down at the broken piece in his hand and thought of how proud his father would have been, had he been alive to see it.
I also wanted to say thanks for all the great comments. It feels good to know that people are reading my blogs. And Thanks to Travis Erwin for directed so many people my way!
Sunday, April 27, 2008
2. I had a bright idea to insitute a Girl's Night Out. The idea was to stop telling everyone "Hey, we should get together sometime." So I picked something to do and emailed all my girls and told them that if the could make it great, if not it was no big deal. Then I tagged the next girl in line to pick the next thing. It worked out pretty well. One night we were all to meet at Taco's Garcia and have a meal and a few margarita's. Pretty laid back girls night out- until we ended up at the tattoo parlor. I now I have a permanent bookworm on me shoulder! Bonding ain't what it used to be. (I love it, though)
3. I love horror movies. The bloodier the better.
4. I'm obsesed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I mean, it's comparable to Star Trek nerdom, here. The worst part is-I'm all alone...
5. I have a copy of The Book of Counted Sorrows. (Look it up..It's impressive-or completely ridiculous-you decide.)
6. I love Mixed Martial Arts- watching it, not participating. I'm too old for that. And I LOVE that women are getting exposure in the sport. They need more though.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Writing is a business, just like any other business, and people start throwing around monetary figures your way and you start thinking about how much money could "Potentially" be made, it's easy to lose focus.
I think it happened to me. I want to quit my day job so I can stay home with my son and write full time-in the meanwhile, though Bills have to be paid. I've so stressed about how to make money at writing, that I forgot the reason why I write to begin with.
I write because I love the written word. I love to be told a great story and to tell one. I love the way a book feels in my hands, the way a book smells, the way the words roll of my tongue. I love the red ink on my manuscript.
I write because I'm a writer-and it's good to be reminded of it.
Monday, April 21, 2008
It reminds me that my husband's grandfather and grandmother were birdwatchers. Nannie still gets excited when she sees them.
I've also taken to sitting on the back porch in the morning drinking my coffee, feeling the cool breeze through my admittedly scary hair. The sounds of the morning (and the babies chirping in their nest) lulling me into a peace before I start my day-just like my mom likes to do.
When I gaze at my son(more beautiful to me than any bird could be) I see that he sleeps in the same position my father used to sleep in-on his side with his arm casually draped over his legs. That he has his father's mouth. That his blue eyes come from me.
Next year, people that we love today may not be here anymore. Their passing will pain us-undoubtedly so. But, there will be new baby birds-new babies, and their legacy will live on through us.
How many times has my mother been reminded of her husband when I smile? How many memories does my grandmother carry with her when she sees a bird she recognizes? How many mornings of peace does my mother have left?
How many do I?
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Sunday after church, my husband brought our son and lay beside us on the bed. He looked at me, with my hair tied up and my baggy shirt and a pair of jeans as if I was the only woman on earth, and we gazed at our son. The rest of the world fell away. For two hours, with my husband holding me and our son laying beside me, I forgot that there were bills to be paid, that I don't have a daycare yet, that the only thing in life right now that I want more than anything is to not HAVE to go back to work. I forgot that our life isn't perfect.
Then Tuesday I woke up at 6 am, and the rain was falling softly on the rooftop, the wind blowing softly through the trees, a red breasted bird sat on my fence post, enjoying the cool morning air. Steven cried softly in my arms as I warmed up his bottle and I took time to close my eyes and remember that life is made up of these little moments. Enjoy them while you can...
Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life
Monday, April 7, 2008
I have come to terms with the fact that I couldn't bear to starve my child as I mastered the art of breastfeeding and refuse to feel guilty about it. Instead I pump, so that my child will not suffer the outrage of living without breast milk.
At 3 am, I realize that that loud cry in the middle of the night isn't my alarm clock and that I can't hit the snooze button. So I try to rouse myself enough to change a diaper and do the zombie shuffle into the kitchen to make a bottle, at which point I watch the 2 oz of milk it took me an hour to pump run all over the counter because I forgot to put a liner in the bottle.
So I feed and burp and marvel at the fact that throw up no longer holds it's usual disgust but instead instills sympathy and concern and I clean up. At which point my son makes a very auditory display that ensures I'll have to change a diaper for a second time before I go back to sleep. This wouldn't be so bad except that I realize I've put the diaper on backwards and have to start all over.
Son sleeping soundly, I sink into the couch cushions (where I've been sleeping because I haven't recovered from the c-section enough to climb into my monster sized bed.)
Oh but wait... I have to pump again so when in two hours Steven wakes up to be fed again I won't deprive him of that all important nectar of the Gods.
But really, how much did I sleep anyway? And if I sleep won't I miss out on the weight of him in my arms? Won't I miss hours of studying every wrinkle in his skin, every twitch of his perfect mouth, the moments of his eyes linked with mine, wondering what in the world he could be thinking? Won't I miss the fingers and toes and the way his hand grips my fingers or tangles in my shirt as he lays on my chest?
No thanks... I'll sleep when I'm dead.