I promise to not detail much of the above, lest I launch a rant. Legitimate, but still a rant…and ladies don’t rant—except for one who does so with courage and justifiable outrage, and a second who informs with satirical humor aimed at the state of affairs, or the Affairs of State. What prompted my muddled, misdirected condition of mind was that because my one-and-a-half-year-old Mac crapped out (thank you, Murphy) at a crucial point in my work, I had time to “poor me” and watch TV. I don’t know Murphy’s opinion on lightning, but I know it CAN strike twice in the same place. I’ll expand on only the first topic, computers, as I have not had time to see anything humorous in the others.
Let’s hop in the TARDIS and shift back almost two years. There was Murphy, waiting for me, and he did a déjà vu of the future. He struck my seven-year-old Mac’s new hard drive with a blitz of color snow like old TVs. It was a built-in omen that Mac was about to suffer a heart attack. Which it soon did. And with a flagrant fizzle, frying some of my potentially Nobel Prize winning writing.
Walt, my patient husband, loaded Dead Mac and me into the van and rushed us to Apple Hospital sixty miles away, while enduring my many Navy Post-Grad creative invectives hurled at the Apple God for birthing such a demon. The heart transplant was successful, and Walt suggested he’d deal with Old Mac’s increasing age-prone illnesses and adopt New Mac for me. After saving up the hefty adoption fee, we welcomed Newbie into our home.
Back in the TARDIS to present time. Our infant New Mac suffers the same technicolor snowstorm and craps out. Another one-hundred-twenty-mile round trip to the AH (no reimbursement for mileage) and we are told it was a software issue. “One,” I asked, “that Apple has not solved in more than two years? Somebody needs to be fired!” I have visions of the failure cause and lack of remedy.
One: In ancient times, royal seamstresses went blind sewing extremely fine stitches in royal garments. Today, I see twenty-something blind women and men tapping their white canes down China’s roads as they are dismissed from working at creating computer circuitry.
Two: Apple Gods: “Hey, tech support is for only three years. Deal with it. Suckers will get pissed and buy a new computer. That will keep us in mega-bucks, and you in your cubicles.”
What has this got to do with writing? Really? Okay. A painful situation can be alleviated with satire, a hint of sarcasm, perhaps a sprinkle of anthropomorphism, and a little bit of creativity. Much more entertaining than the slush that ends up in the newspapers as vicious opinion, right? Remember Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels? Quite entertaining and a safer approach than a direct attack on the conditions of his times.
So, here’s your assignment. Take your finest pet peeve. Ruminate on it awhile and come back with a piece that makes us see things your way…or at least enjoy your humorous approach. Write on!
At our Treasure Coast Writer’s Group a few weeks ago, Brenda Welliver wrote a delightful piece on how she and her friend deal with mishaps, fumbles, and minor misfortunes. One will call the other to say, “Well, Murphy’s been here again!” and proceed to detail and laugh about surviving those annoying events.
Brenda, dear, I completely understood it then, and again, because Mr. Murphy’s been following me around for days. The first brush with the imp came when I grabbed a quick BLT before a recent speaking event. The thick, applewood-smoked bacon sandwich was a work of art, but it was NOT love at first bite. I knew the crunch was more than bacon. More accurately, my tongue felt it was more than bacon.
The dentist later confirmed that I had cracked a piece of bridgework and that an extraction and new bridge would be in my future, and though it was hanging on precariously, a fix could wait until I returned from the Thirteenth Annual Florida Writers Association’s Conference in Lake Mary. So, cutting every morsel into one-half inch pieces, I managed to eat without incident. “Leave well enough alone,” my Grandma always said. Unfortunately, my tongue forgot this bit of folk wisdom, incessantly probed the area until—out popped the broken bridge. So, yes, I spent the entire conference looking like a loser in a redneck barroom brawl, but everyone was most sympathetic and understanding.
Happily, attending the conference was worth keeping my mouth shut—a near impossibility—and giving what appeared to be disinterested, lukewarm smiles without showing teeth I didn’t have. I’m honored to report that of the two poems I entered in the Royal Palm Literary Awards competition, one was a finalist, and the other received an award.
The moral of the story? Whenever a critique group, an editor, a beta reader, an agent, or your best friend pulls a Murphy on you, roll with the punches, pick up your teeth and your pen, and keep on writing! You’ll have learned something about yourself—and your writing. And the rewards will prove worth it.