Benny and his friend Griffin at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

Friday, November 15, 2002

Snowflakes and Science Fiction

It's snowing! A light dusting covers the ground and it's still falling. I ran outside this morning and made a tiny snowman ; he looked kind of lonely, so I made him two friends.

For three years snow was merely a brief, annoying incovenience that held up my flight to Detroit and ruined my San Francisco leather walking shoes. Now it's ... scenery. I've got goosebumps -- oh, that's because I left the deck door open.

Holidays and seasons have taken on special meaning since returning to Michigan. Maybe it's because most of our friends here are parents, and kids beat the drums on every holiday. I got a homemade Indigenous People's Day card, for chrissake. Can't wait to see what I get for Dia de la Revolucion Mexicana next month. Tierra y libertad!

On Halloween, I squired a cowgirl and a geisha around the suburbs of Holland, Mich., in sub-zero temperatures. My neice had to put her lovely kimono on over her coat, so she looked like a darling little Japanese deep-sea diver. Her sister was a horse. Her legs fit into the horse's front legs, the other legs dragged their hooves in the back and she held the head up by the bridle. Amazing to behold, but the poor kid couldn't walk. By house No. 4, I was carrying Mr. Horse on my back with his legs tied around my neck.

It went well with the bouncy alien faces I wore on my head in celebration of the day. Big hit with my niece's kindergarten class. I learned to make little bones out of Tootsie Pops and toilet paper, too. Ought to be a big hit on the cocktail circuit. I'm getting a real preview of my life if Ron and I ever decide to ... ahem! ... well, you know. I can't even say it. Hey, look at the snow! It's still falling!

Anyway, back to holidays. Still with me? In a fit of madness, I volunteered to hostThanksgiving. So I picked up one of those cheery magazines at the grocery checkout: Annoyingly Perfect Housekeeping or Home & Hovel or something like that. I don't feel any better. I think I'll spend Thanksgiving under the bed wearing my alien headband.

I gamely nodded at Laura Bush's recipe for corn bread dressing and patiently read "Should You Buy a Deep-Fat Fryer?" I even endured an article-cum-advertisement for L'eggs Care Anti-Cellulite Panty Hose, made out of Paraguay tea and grape seed extract (seriously!). But then came a horrific EIGHT PAGES of children kidnapped during the holidays. My god, no wonder parents these days are buying their 7-year-olds cell phones and strapping global positioning systems to their arms.

Dejected, I flipped through the remainder of the magazine, wondering if anybody ever ate roasted beet salad. In the end, what made me methodically tear every page out of this publication and consider ritual burning was the very last page.

(WARNING: YOU REALLY MIGHT NOT WANT TO READ THIS PART.) It was a full page ad for Cottonelle, with a big picture of a woman's butt. On the bottom stretched a magnified shot of the patterned paper. The caption read: "Feel the clean with NEW WIDER RIPPLES!"

Well, that did it for me. Ron found me under the bed when he got home that night, babbling "Cellulite, ripples, roasted beets."

God, I can't end the diary with something like this.

So I'll tell you about my novel. I've hit the halfway mark in my insane quest to write a novel in a month: I'm at 25,000 words. One hour in the morning and one in the afternoon. It's science fiction, which means I can spend much time lovingly descirbing Mercury's landscape. (Its sun goes backwards sometimes, did you know that?)

I'm drawing on my business journalism background, like when my protagonist meets an alien oxygen salesman who deplores the state of the economy and grumbles about those cheatin' Martians. It's all deeply weird. I'm having fun with it, but I think it needs more sex and violence. How about an intergalactic war and some cross-species seduction in Chapter 12?


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