Today’s Lesson

“All right now, class: each of you will receive a copy of this sheet of a family. You’ll need to color it, cut it out, then paste it onto card stock. We’ll be displaying them on the bulletin board for everyone else to see.

“You will only have a short amount of time to work on it, so color what’s most important to you. Maybe it’s the house. Or, you’ll focus on the mom’s hair and the kid’s clothes. I know I like to pick lovely colors for those flowers.

“When I say it’s time for scissors, you will have to see what you have time to cut out before we need to paste them. Sometimes, students only get the mom and dad out, and one of the dogs, before we need to move on. I had one classmate who removed the house, family members, and a flower very meticulously but the card stock was gone by that time and they had no background.

“If everyone is ready, then, you may begin. Hurry, but have fun!”

“When you’re writing a book, it’s rather like going on a very long walk, across valleys and mountains and things, and you get the first view of what you see and you write it down.

Then you walk a bit further, maybe up onto the top of a hill, and you see something else.

Then you write that and you go on like that, day after day, getting different views of the same landscape really.

The highest mountain on the walk is obviously the end of the book, because it’s got to be the best view of all, when everything comes together and you can look back and see that everything you’ve done all ties up. But it’s a very, very long, slow process.

-Roald Dahl

Recurring Story: Seven

Wil left for school with her father, as usual. They’d left Jakob staring moodily into his cereal, as usual. The car had needed some coaxing and choice words under Rob’s breath, as usual. The morning was dark and mysteriously misty, however, which was refreshingly unusual.

The world outside their dirty car windows was nearly invisible. They traveled through familiar streets and landmarks, unfamiliar and quieted.

Perhaps made bold by the awe she felt traveling through floating land-clouds, Wil looked over at her father and asked, “Dad, can you tell me about when you and Mom met again?”

The brief disturbance her words made in the air was filled again with the sounds of car tires slushing over winter road debris as she hoped he heard and thought about her request. Rob sighed, as usual, but then began talking.

“Well, I had just started working at the factory and had a swing shift.” He cleared his throat a bit, to clear the cobwebs of disuse.

“I had a short break, so I thought to go get some food. It was late at night, and the only nearby place that was open was a truck stop.” He paused a bit, getting his memory going.

His eyes focused distantly past roads, traffic, and fog; to see instead the neon signs of an unfamiliar, dirty truck stop late at night in August. The night had been quiet; he had been anxious over his new job and mounting life responsibilities.

To Wil, though he knew she liked details, he was only able to elaborate with, “I was tired and didn’t know anyone there. The neon sign was broken on the building, so I wasn’t sure it had a restaurant.” He smiled a bit.

Wil caught the smile, and that he had felt some hopeless humor that night. Always impulsive, she asked, “And she was working there?”

Rob looked over at Wil briefly, quieting her questions and fidgeting with a pointed look. He didn’t like talking for a long time. He certainly didn’t like interruptions.

“I went through the doors that were under this broken sign, and saw that it was a restaurant. And there,” he paused, knowing this was Wil’s favorite part, “There stood the ugliest and scariest person I’d ever seen.”

Rob smiled at Wil’s giggles. It reminded him of her reactions when he would relay this story to her at bedtimes, so many years ago.

“You couldn’t tell if it was a man or woman,” Wil prompted.

Rob cleared his throat pointedly, then continued, “I couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman. It nearly scared me out of the restaurant.”

He smiled again, and said, “Then, I saw the only other worker at the restaurant. She was mopping the floors.” This was his favorite part. “She looked up at me and our eyes met. I think we smiled. She had blonde hair and I thought she was beautiful.”

Wil sighed with satisfaction. Sometimes, Rob envied her ability to express whatever she felt.

“I think I ordered something from the counter. I must have. I do remember that I decided I’d have to talk to her.” He paused, as they paused at a traffic light. “So, that’s why I went back so many times to eat at such a scary place.”

They had reached Wil’s school. Rob eased the car near the curb and waited. She grabbed her backpack, then leaned over to kiss her father quickly.

“Thank you, Dad.” She said. Before he could reproach her, she opened the door and skipped away.

He watched Wil dancing into the fog with her scarf waving goodbye behind her. He tasted bittersweet memory: she reminded him so much of her mother.

Life Cycles

As a child, I was cripplingly shy. I spoke barely audibly, hated to look people in the eye, and cried at social stresses.

Then, I started to grow and mature. During this stage of metamorphosis, which usually takes from two weeks to several months, the larval tissues completely break down and reorganize. The outlines of adult features—the wings, eyes, tongue, antennae, and body segments—can be seen on the surface of the pupal skin.

When fully formed, the pupal case splits and the butterfly emerges. The butterfly first expels its meconium, metabolic waste products that have accumulated during the pupal stage. It then expands its shriveled wings—by pumping them full of blood—before flying off.

What? Sorry; I dozed off and let some autofill site finish this post. I’d better get off to bed. Goodnight, everyone!

Why Wake?

Sometimes I actually enter reality:

I step into the Total Perspective Vortex.

Emotions reeling, I make rash, irrational decisions

That are, of course, the rational thing to do.

I stumble around trying to mend the upheaval,

Trying to reason with unreasonable matters.

Ultimately, as always, I run out of time for closure.

I return to effective numbness, and dormant depression.

Too sad to be happy, too functional to drug.