Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Friday, July 20, 2007

Next Time Can We Play Jacks?

By Kerry Blair

Tag is such a complicated game, psychologically speaking. On the one hand, you don’t want to be tagged because then you have to be “it” and what if you can’t catch anybody else and end up standing in the middle of the playground feeling like a loser while everybody stares at you? (And what if you cry?) On the other hand, you do want to be chased because “it” always chases the popular kids, so what if nobody chases you and you end up standing in the middle of the playground feeling like a loser while everybody stares at you? (And what if you cry?) People who think too much tend to complicate childhood all out of proportion. And they cry a lot.

This new version of tag isn’t much better. If Stephanie had tagged everybody on the blog except me I would have felt like the boring loser that I am. But since she did tag me, here I am standing in the middle of the metaphorical playground with everybody staring at me, feeling like a loser (by comparison) already. (And what if I cry?)

What were you doing ten years ago?
I was scratching my way out of a pit the depth and darkness of which could only have been imagined by me. (Or possibly Dante if he’d added a special circle of hell for women diagnosed with MS and confronted with turning forty the same year.) Languishing in my pit, I realized I had two choices: I could continue to moan and whine and groan and grieve and complain and sob about everything I couldn’t do anymore, or I could take stock of what I still could do. I eventually chose the latter, but reluctantly. Frankly, I didn’t have much going for me. I could sit. I could type. I could spell. I could even punctuate a compound sentence . . . Hey! I could write a book! (There is no logic there, people. Do not look for it. I was a desperate woman driven by desperate times to desperate lengths.) I wrote The Heart Has Its Reasons and to my utter astonishment, Covenant published it. To give Voltaire credit he didn’t get a decade ago, the complete sentence is: The heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing of. Nine years and nine months ago I learned that God also has His reasons that our reason knows nothing of.

What were you doing one year ago?
This time last year I was bothering and possibly even bedeviling authors to send me character descriptions so I could write one of the strangest, most befuddling murder mysteries ever inflicted on innocent dinner-goers. I wasn’t asked to do it again this year. I don’t know if it’s because I bombed badly in 2007 or because Covenant just didn’t go for my proposed 2008 theme: a reenactment of the prom scene from Carrie. What do you think? Don’t be honest. (PS - The guys on each side of the bride in the picture are Rob and Jeff. Rob is the one in the hula skirt.)

Five Snacks you enjoy
Cashews, croutons, Oreos, fingernails (see “bad habits” below) and dehydrated sheets of seaweed. (My son sent it from Korea and for some strange reason I love it!)

Five songs you know all the lyrics to
This is a bad time to ask because I recently begged to be made a Cub Scout leader. Yes, I sought after a calling. (See “bad habits” below.) The boys in my Primary class needed a new den leader and I happen to see myself as a vital, creative, fun leader of little boys. The bishopric, on the other hand, tends to see me as an aging cripple with delusions of grandeur. (Turns out the bishopric were right, but that’s beside the point.) They called me, the ward sustained me, and I’m having a great time! As a result, I’ve recently re-memorized Junior Birdman, There Ain’t No Bugs on Me, John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt, and Great Big Gobs of Greasy, Grimy Gopher Guts. Now aren’t you sorry you asked?

Things you would do if you were a millionaire
Honestly? You won’t laugh? Sneer? Snort in disbelief? Promise? Okay then, I’d split it between a couple of very impressive schools in Mexico. While newer cars or a bigger house or more exotic vacations might thrill me and my family for awhile, they wouldn’t give us any more joy, nor would the money make a truly significant difference in our lives. We’re not rich by any stretch of imagination, but we are blessed with every necessity and so very, very many “niceties.” (Do you realize that 75% of the people with whom we share this turn on earth cannot even imagine the “luxury” in which the poorest of us live?) A million dollars to those two Mexican schools (one Catholic, one LDS) would feed, clothe, and educate hundreds of children and thus bless thousands of lives for generations to come! I’d hand the cash over in a nanosecond. (Well . . . I might send just a little to the Whitney Awards first.)

Five bad habits
I have fifty. Probably more. As previously mentioned, I bite my fingernails and think I know everything. I’m a world-class procrastinator. I snore sometimes, but would never, ever admit it in public. I’m crabby around the people I love most. Except for the last one, those aren’t my worst bad habits. I’d never tell you those.

Five things you like to do
I like to read. (I’d probably choose reading over any other activity currently available on the planet.) I like to watch monster movies and I’m not picky about what kind of monsters are moving. Werewolves. Mummies. Aliens. Psychos. It’s all good. (My husband might list this as one of my five worst habits and he might be right, but I do draw the line at true evil and gore and other R-rated stuff. In fact, I prefer my monsters to be played by Bela Lugosi, Vincent Price, or Lon Chaney and/or directed by Alfred Hitchcock.) I like to sit outside in thunderstorms, the closer the lightning and the darker the night the better. I like to go to thrift stores, especially Goodwills gone bad. I like to walk on the beach.

Things you will never wear again
This is a very sore point right now; you shouldn’t have brought it up. Late last week some famous fashion guru came up with a list of “Ten Things Women Must Not Wear after Forty” and splashed it all over the Internet. I have since worn at least one of those forbidden things every single day just to show him. (He doesn’t care and I probably look stupid, but I feel much better overall thank you very much.)

Five favorite toys
Dam trolls. Slinky. Old View-Master with 1960-era pictures of The Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted House rides at Disneyland. Jealous much, Jeff? (Come baaaaack! Bring your death certificate! That’s a clue for those of you still hoping to win one of Jeff’s books from Monday. At least it’s in the neighborhood of his clue, let’s say.) Kaleidoscope. Jacks.

Where I will be in ten years
Disneyland, in line for the Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean rides. (I just decided.) It would be great if I had grandchildren with me. (Hint. Hint.)

People to tag
Oh, gosh. Marnie’s taken and If I tag Betsy Green again she’ll kill me. (But she’ll be very polite and Southern charming about it, so I think I’ll do it.) Chillygator, you have a blog, don’t you? I tag you and Keith and Karlene. Send links!


At 7/20/2007 3:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well since I really am your only hope for grandchildren (hahahaha), and since you gave me ten years-lets see Ill be thirty by then... so you might have one or two, but dont get your hopes up! I have things I want to do first! :o)

At 7/20/2007 3:32 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

What are women not supposed to wear after 40. I bet I am wearing them.

At 7/20/2007 3:33 PM, Blogger Chillygator said...

Well, since I was one step ahead of you (when does THAT ever happen?) I've already done it you are.

Also, I hope to have kids in 10 years. Maybe I we can work out a deal with one of your sons if it seems both of us area short on that goal. But if not I think having a nervous breakdown and coming to Chino to live with you is a better and better idea every day (o: Nervous breakdowns are so adventurous.

And if none of that works out I'll see you at Disneyland.

At 7/20/2007 3:46 PM, Blogger Jeff Savage said...


Is it okay if I tell people you and I are twins separated at birth? A woman who loves monster movies and 1960's Disneyland is just about the coolest person in the world. But throw in that you are a baseball fand and that seals the deal.

As soon as I'm a fulltime writer, I'm coming down to AZ for Srping training, then we'll head head up to Disneyland.

(Good clue by the way. Maybe it's just that no one wants my books. Josi was close)

Chilly, you've spent enough time waiting around. Book a date at a temple. Grab the guy and say, "Hey, what are you doing Friday?"

At 7/20/2007 4:20 PM, Blogger LDS_Publisher said...

I gave this blog an award. You can pick it up here.

At 7/20/2007 4:59 PM, Blogger Karlene said...

I played
already. But thanks for inviting me. :)

At 7/20/2007 5:29 PM, Blogger Chillygator said...

Oh, don't we wish Jeff...the guy I'm wanting to take the temple is currently living 1,000 miles away and dating girls 5 years younger than me (or him, for that matter). It all makes me very sad and hopeless which is why Kerry is giving me secret family recipes to lift my spirits (o:

At 7/20/2007 6:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just as I suspected, here I am standing in the schoolyard looking like a loser because I wasn't fast enough to tag anybody! Sniff. (I warned you I would cry.) Great links, Karlene and Chilly. Thank you!

PS Chilly: I gave you the recipes because you're part of the family! But do feel free to marry any one of the Three Blairs and make it official. As for you, Goldilocks: college, marriage, grandkids. Got it. I can wait, I guess.

LDS Publisher: Thanks for the award! Wow. How fun! I'd send you a FFF Pack, but you'd have to tell me who you. Want to pick it up General Delivery somewhere? Love, love, love your site!

Jeff: I want that in writing, preferably signed in blood.

Jennifer: You don't want to know. Capri pants. Stripes. Hmm...if you're really interested, I'll look up the link, but it's truly depressing.

At 7/20/2007 6:20 PM, Blogger Jon Spell said...

Do you mean Carrie, the Sissy Spacek movie, or Carrie, the song by Europe? Either way, bad idea. ;)

I would love to join y'all for the Disneyland trip. (Or, better yet, Disney World. Well, maybe not _better_ - we don't have the Matterhorn, after all.)

At 7/21/2007 11:02 AM, Blogger Cheri J. Crane said...

I laughed, I cried, I discovered we have far more in common than I realized. And . . . I'm sure I'm always wearing things I shouldn't be at my age. My motto: if it's comfortable, I like it.

Congrats on the award. You deserve it. As for tag, that game is far over-rated. Red-rover was always more my style. (I thought I was always picked to run toward the opposite team because of my stature among my peers. Turns out it was because I could never break through and everyone got a big kick out of how I did somersaults over the interlocking hands.)


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