AFTER Happily Ever After
“And they all lived happily ever after.” My dad would close the book cover and lean down to give me goodnight kiss.
“And then what?”
This was a common conversation when I was a teensy-Tiffany. Happily Ever After wasn’t enough – I wasn’t trying to get a stay of execution from bedtime – I wanted to know what happened next.
“Well, Tiffers, they lived happily ever after. So they were, er, happy.”
“But then what happened?”
I wanted to know if Prince Stephan woke up every morning and told Aurora how beautiful she was. Did he get mad when she kept pricking her fingers on spinning wheels and calling out: BAND AID! I need a Band Aid! (In my version of Sleeping Beauty Aurora passes out from seeing the blood – there’s no need for any enchantment on the spindle). Does Prince Charming ever get annoyed that Cinderella allows so many mice in the house? Were there kids: princesses and princelings? I wanted proof of these happy endings – I didn’t want to relinquish characters I loved.
I always thought I’d be happy to read a whole book full of the happy part of the happily ever after. Who needs the conflict and tension? I’d be thrilled to see the other Prince Charming pick wildflowers for Snow White, or hear Darcy speak sweet, proud, nothings to Lizzie.
Or would I? Jo’s Boys and Little Men aren’t as interesting as Little Women (this could be because I’ve never forgiven rotten Jo for breaking Laurie’s heart). The kiss exchanged by Clary and Jace at the end of City of Glass doesn’t have a tenth of the passion of the forbidden one they share in fairy court in City of Ashes. And Breaking Dawn? Everything I wanted for Edward and Bella happened in the first hundred pages, the next 600+ pages weren’t all happy, but the seemed to go on forever and continue long after the plot had dissolved.
Would I want to hear Darcy complain to Lizzie about drainage and tenants at Pemberley or know the details of Rochester’s lifelong struggles to cope with the loss of a hand and vision in one eye? Not so much.
If I want to hear a Prince Charming talk about laundry, dishes, or other day-to-day aspects of what’s next? , I’ll just turn to my St. Matt.
As much as I hate when characters I love are hurting, as much as I agonize over adding tension and terror to the lives of my own characters, a story isn’t a story without suspense and conflict. The happily ever after isn’t special if the characters didn’t struggle or overcome an obstacle to achieve it.
Maybe I don’t need to know what happens, after the Happily Ever After, after all.
There are a few things I can depend upon in this world. The emphasis here is in things, not people. There are lots of people I can depend upon. This blog is about things. Well, about one thing in particular.
But lately I’ve experienced a new and rather scary phenomenon: #coffeefail. It has happened three times. **
Coffeefail –1: The time last week where I nearly feel asleep during the five minute drive home from the coffee shop. I should have been in caffeinated bliss, but I was uber-dozy and St. Matt had to poke me to get me out of the car.
Coffeefail –2: The day a few weeks back when it became all too apparent why I don’t make the coffee in our household. While driving home after work, I’d decided a post-school pot would be necessary if I wanted to stay awake until St. Matt arrived home around 7. How tricky could it possibly be? I’d seen St. Matt do it enough times.
After I opened the package with a little too much anticipation – creating coffee-confetti that Puggle #2 was more than happy to start licking up – I figured I’d make up for the missing grounds by adding hot cocoa powder.
Apparently this is a no-no. And apparently I’m the only one in the world who didn’t know this. If you were also excluded from this crucial piece of information, learn from my mistake. Don’t do it. Ever.
Coffeefail – 3: This morning I stumbled downstairs around six. I was in bleary post-roadtrip disorientation. I should know my childhood home with my eyes closed, but my mom keeps moving stuff. And buying new stuff.
Like a new coffeemaker.
It’s pretty. Red. Metal. Shiny. It has lots of buttons and display screens. I was flummoxed. St. Matt was baffled. There are multiple filters & compartments – where does the coffee go? How do I make it come out? Crisis.
I stared at it with my best puppy-dog-lip-quivering face – hoping it would take pity and magically begin brewing. It’s pretty fancy, I thought it might have a sensor that detected critical-caffeine-deprivation. Instead it just blinked from three different LED lights.
St. Matt must have sensed how close I was to haphazardly pressing buttons and pouring grounds in all orifices. “Back away, Tiffany. We’ll ask your parents.”
I sat on the floor until they woke up. Saved!
But, wait. They don’t know how to use it either! They don’t drink coffee. Mom bought it for our visit, but couldn’t remember where she put the directions. And she thought it might need filters, but she’d forgotten to buy any.
I might have been quietly rocking and moaning by this point. Puggle #2 might have come to sit in my lap to offer puppy kisses.
I turned to Twitter for solace while St. Matt and Dad hunted down the directions and determined filters were needed. Dad fiddled with buttons and programmed the clock. St. Matt grabbed car keys and pulled me off the floor.
“Let’s go get filters.”
So Dunkin Donuts for coffee, then Stop ‘n Shop for filters, then home for more coffee. Crisis averted.
I still, however, do not understand the logic of a coffee maker that’s smarter than its owners. Why would the designers needlessly complicate something users will be handling before they are properly caffeinated?
Coffee makers need exactly one button. I can read: Coffee, Go!, or Don’t-worry-buddy-caffeine’s-on-it’s-way. Even better, coffee makers should have a sensor: when eyelids part, percolating commences.
That would be #coffeewin
**I realize examples two and three are not actually the fault of coffee, but they still resulted in my failing to maintain the appropriate level of caffeine in my bloodstream, so I include them in #coffeefail.
Watch out Boston, Here I come!
And conveniently that is a line from my song; the song that I sing when we prepare to make the six hour trek from Doylestown to my childhood home in Massachusetts.
We’ll be making that drive today as soon as I hit “publish post” – I can’t wait!
I LOVE roadtrips. I always have. When we were younger, we drove 11 hours each way to get to our beach home in P.E.I.. The drive was always one of my favorite parts of the vacation. I also enjoyed lobster cookouts on the beach, seeing the Anne of Green Gables musical over and over, chocolate-chip pancakes at the Morell Diner, dune races… but the car trip would have made my top 10 list.
Well, I should clarify: the first eight hours were enjoyable. By hour nine my sister would have gotten carsick, the boys would have run out of Gameboy batteries and resorted to he’s-looking-at-me, no-I’m-not, he’s-breathing-on-my-side, and the dogs would be panting and drooling down my neck. The 10th hour was the most awful; we’d all have to pee, but my parents would pull their we’re-almost-there, not-much-farther, can’t-you-hold-it? Occasionally Nick couldn’t.
And worst of all, I’d have run out of books. Not all my books for the trip – my mom knew better than to give me access to all of them at once. But I’d have finished the 3-4 she’d parsed out to me for the drive.
That was the whole joy of the car ride – I’d willingly accept the seat in the back row on the non-door-side of the caravan because I didn’t want to be bothered. Who cares about the extra leg room? I didn’t have to let people climb over me to get out. I didn’t have to reach for things in the cooler or pass out napkins and juice boxes. I didn’t have to hold the dogs’ leashes when the sliding door was opened.
I could slip on my foam padded walkman headphones, turn up the volume on Belinda Carlisle or New Kids on the Block, and flip open a book.
I’d spend a few hours with the Sweet Valley Twins, totally enamored with Jessica and her Unicorn Club, but accepting that I was much more of an Elizabeth.
My sister would poke me when we stopped for gas or food and hand me a leash.
Somethings never change.
Have you figured out my road trip song? Here’s another hint:
I have to give St. Matt some credit. He won’t let me get away with tuning him out for the whole ride, which is only fair since I make him do all the driving. When we were first dating I would read book aloud to him. This worked. Sorta. Except, when he got out to pump gas, I would stealthily read ahead and then try and get away with just summarizing when he got back in.
Now we do audiobooks. He’s okay with me tuning him out – as long as he has something to tune into. There are strict pause-button policies that go into affect during any bathroom breaks, gas refilling, puggle pit stops, or if I think of something I need to write down thisveryminutesoIdon’tforget.
Today– we’ve got Airhead by Meg Cabot, Feed by M.T. Anderson, and The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E.Lockhart.
And of course we also have music too – it may not be Circle in the Sand or Hanging Tough, but I’ll be singing just as loudly and just as off-key.
And of course I’ll also be singing…
Not a James Taylor fan? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered:
Conferences aren’t all they’re CRACKED UP TO BE
Today’s blog isn’t going to be all hyped up with jellybean-inspired hyperness or toilet-tweezers antics. On the whole, it’ll be more serious than my usual hijinx.
Last night I read Courtney Summer’s Cracked Up to Be. I planned on starting it while I worked out and made it all the way to the basement before I cracked the cover while tying my sneakers. I was absorbed instantly and stumbled my way over the elliptical with my eyes glued to the pages and my hand groping for the buttons on the display. I punched a few of these to set it for hill intervals and turned my total attention to the book.
I didn’t lift my eyes from the words until St.Matt came clomping down the stairs wearing a sleepy but less-than-saintly expression and carrying all our bedding.
“Bruschi peed on me!”
“He did what? Why?”
“I don’t know – I was sleeping!”
“Did you take him out?”
“Well there’s really no reason to now, is there?”
I nodded solemnly and managed to wait until he walked into the laundry room before giggling.
After starting the washer, St.Matt came to stand by the elliptical.
“Good book?” He was really asking: Are you going to going to bed anytime soon?
“Excellent.” which is Tiffany-speak for: I’ll be finishing this book before I even begin thinking about sleep.
“How’s your workout going?”
“Good, it seems really easy today. I’ve been on for –”
I lifted the book to check the display and saw it flashing 00:00. I hadn’t hit start. This is why I need wait until after I get on the elliptical to crack the cover a book.
“I’ve been on for 31 pages,” I answered him as I pressed the start button.
I stayed on until I hit page 97, then I had to get off because it was too hard to breathe. Not because I was tired (although I bet I was by that point – I just wasn’t paying attention). I couldn’t breathe because I was crying, because all the air had been sucked out of the room.
Before I go any further, I want to say I think this book should be required reading for all high schoolers and all high school parents. It’s only fair to warn you, you won’t all like what you read, but it’s realistic and honest.
I wandered upstairs to the couch to finish the book – stopping periodically to take some deep breaths and unclench my tension tightened hands. I wanted/ want to save Parker – to save every child like her. And Summer’s honest writing doesn’t allow the reader to keep a safe emotional distance from Parker’s pain.
When I finished reading my chest was tight and my abs hurt from sobs. I had to focus on the inhales and exhales and tell myself: it’s just a story, it’s not real.
Except, for a lot teens – it is. Maybe not Parker’s exact story, but the sense of identity tied to perfection is an overwhelming and impossible reality.
Cracked Up to Be was both the ideal and an awful book to read the night before portfolio conferences with my class. In my district, students attend their spring parent-teacher conference, which focuses on identifying their strengths and weaknesses and setting a few, specific academic goals for them work on in the final semester.
Can you imagine an experience more anxiety-inspiring than walking into a room where your parents and teacher are going to discuss your strengths and weakness – and expect you to participate?
With Parker fresh in my mind, all I wanted to do was give each of my kiddos a hug, say: “You’re amazing, you’re loved, and I’m so proud of you.”
While the actual conferences did comprise of more than those sentiments — I did, after all, have twenty minutes with each kiddo — I hope they all left knowing those three things. Because they are, every one of them, amazing, loved, and impressive. I hope that if they ever enter into a Parker-type-period, they remember this and remember no matter how flawed they feel or what mistakes they’ve made, they’re still amazing, loved, and I’m still proud of them.
There’s a reason I have the following Emerson quote hanging on the door of classroom so it’s the last thing the kiddos see before leaving each day:
Tomorrow is a new day;
No matter what happens on any given day, I truly expect the kiddos to come back the next one and impress me again.
Because they are so amazing, so loved, and I’m so proud of them.
My Miraculous Anti-Aging Treatment & Jellybeans
Tonight’s blog is brought to you courtesy of Starburst Jellybeans.
I’m reverse-aging. Really I am. Every time St. Matt and I step through the doors of my in-law’s house, we lose a couple of years. If I spent a week there, I might resume sucking my thumb and carrying around a bedraggled Pound Puppy (Cuddles, I miss you!).
The effects are not always immediately noticeable, but by 8:30 last night, I was already college-aged again. Partially to blame for this transformation is St. Matt’s best friend since 4th grade, college roommate, and the best man from our wedding. A.K.A. – the man who knows enough to blackmail St. Matt for all he’s worth. In the interest of his privacy (and so you don’t contact him for incriminating stories), let’s call him Speedbump. Yes, there is a story behind that nickname and YES I will gladly tell it if anyone asks. (Sorry, Speedbump, I’m easily influenced).
With Speedbump’s arrival we were all of a sudden back in senior year: St. Matt’s playing Super Mario 3 – albeit on Speedbump’s iPhone and the boys are talking jobs and job opportunities. Junior year, us finally old enough to drink: the boys comparing designer beers and getting me ‘Rita’s to go with the jellybeans I’m pre-Easter nibbling. Sophomore year, Speedbump and I sharing our current favorite songs and bands and laughing that there is still NO overlap in our Venn Diagram of musical taste. Freshman year – the boys swapping stories about who could run farther/faster and demonstrating 18 year old machismo.
I woke up this Easter morning even younger, sneakily eating jellybeans along with my breakfast and adding so much flavored creamer to my coffee it couldn’t possibly be tolerated by anyone over the age of 13. It was a 10-year-old version of myself that hunted for an Easter basket and oooh’d over lip glosses, flip flops, and MORE JELLYBEANS.
Consuming these jellybeans pre-church was a big mistake.
The biggest mistake of the day, however, was seating ME in the pew between St. Matt and my sister-in-law. I always forget, until presented with the auditory experience, exactly how bad a singer the pastor at my in-law’s church is – comically bad. The first time I heard him, I looked around for the cameras, thinking it was an episode of Punk’d. I do appreciate his desire to celebrate God through song. I do. But seriously, could they at least turn his mic off during songs?
Well, St. Matt’s lips started twitching on my left, my sister-in-law hid a smile on the right. Me? I giggled my way through He is Risen, and set the Schmidts on either side of me tittering too. When, before the next song, St. Matt suggested I “Try and keep it together,” I stuck my tongue out at him and resumed the game of peek a boo I was playing with the toddler in the pew in front of us. Like he laughs quieter than I do? I think not!
By the time we left the church, we were respectively aged 8, 8, and 6.
And by the time we sat down to Easter Dinner, I was clearly not old enough for wine (and clearly too full of jellybeans to eat much supper). So I asked for Coke. It was served to me in a fancy glass so I wouldn’t feel left out…. Just like when I was 5.
But I’m home now and back to doing adult things like grocery shopping and looking over the week’s schedule. As soon as the jellybeans leave my system and I can stop bouncing in place, I’m sure I’ll start feeling like a grown up again.
Now’s where’s my sippee cup? I want some chocolate milk.
Hijacking the NTB
We had an addition put on our house this fall. They took the roof off our Victorian and turned our not-quite-walk-up attic into a third floor master suite. We did some rearranging of the second floor bedrooms during the process too. My one request during the whole ordeal (okay, I had more than one request, but the one thing I was truly adamant about) was that I get built-in bookshelves and a writing space.
Up until that point I wrote in our living room which, since there are people and puggles ‘living’ in it, is not a convenient place to write. I would also occasionally take Huey-the-Laptop and write in the dining room, or if it was nice out, write on the patio. Since most of my writing time occurs while other living things are sleeping, the living room was not the worst place to write – but it’s far from ideal.
So, bookshelves and a writing area. St. Matt agreed. The floor plans cooperated too; the front of the new bedroom has a dormer that’s 10 feet wide by 5 feet deep. It’s all windows and has an amazing view. If the blueprints were treasure maps (which St. Matt told me repeatedly they were not, despite all the X’s and dotted lines) then this would be the area pirates would be fighting over. St. Matt gave it to me. I set to work designing my desk – six feet long with room for a window seat on the end. He said sure. I added drawers and bins to my drawings. He said sure. I asked if we could make the surface out of one of the antique doors that had been removed during the process. He said sure. I asked if he was capable of building all this. He said sure. I got excited.
The contractors left and we moved into the addition on 12/23. St. Matt has been busy. I still have no desk. My bookshelves are framed and exciting, but the shelves aren’t in yet. (This has not, however, stopped me from piling books in them and having endless conversations about which books I’m going to select to come upstairs).
Have I been nag-y, pest-y, or whiney about this? Nope. I know, shocking isn’t it? Before you decide I’m lying, here’s why.
I have hijacked the room-that-will-be-a-nursery-if-we-ever-have-kids. Since that’s a long title, I’m just going to call it Nursery-to-be or NTB. Why this room? Because I had a brilliant idea while painting it post-construction.
Like most of my brilliant ideas, this one has an aspect of fortuitous accident. We were in Lowe’s (Home Depot?) AGAIN and St. Matt was doing something boring. So I did what I always do when I’m bored in a hardware store: go visit the paint guys. And that day someone was asking the paint guy about blackboard paint. I decided to eavesdrop. Having purchased his blackboard paint, the other customer left and I chimed in: “That’s pretty cool. If I didn’t hate blackboards with an unnatural degree of loathing, I’d get that.”
Paint Guy: “You hate blackboards?”
Me: “Yup, and I’m a teacher, go figure.”
PG: “So what do you use in your classroom?”
Me: “I have blackboards, I just won’t use them. I have the kiddos write the date and we stick stuff to them with magnets. I also have a Smartboard.”
PG: “Do you hate whiteboards too?”
Me: “Nope. Those I like.”
PG: “Well, they make Expo whiteboard paint too, you know.”
Me: mouth open.
We left with four containers of it.
St. Matt: What are you going to do with that?
Me: Paint, duh.
St. Matt: What are you going to paint?
Me: Don’t worry, I have a plan. (It should be pointed out these are the same words I used to reassure St.Matt when I dropped tweezers in the toilet, when I also did NOT actually have a plan. I wonder if he realizes when I say: Don’t worry, I have a plan, he should actually immediately become very, very worried).
Back to the NTB… In typical my typical insomnia productiveness, I painted it while St. Matt slept. Boy was he surprised in the morning! It has light green walls, a mini-mural in the closet, a blue clouded ceiling, and yes: the clouds climb down off the ceiling and become white boards on the walls. This is my childhood dream come true: walls I can write on without getting sent to the naughty chair.
These walls are where I storyboarded TBALMCSAP and this is now where I like to write, curled up on the bed in the NTB and facing my color-coded-by-character walls of awesomeness.
If we ever have a reason to use the NTB as an actual nursery, I’m in big trouble. Maybe we could put the not-yet-an-issue-baby in another bedroom. Or maybe, just maybe, St. Matt could finish my writing desk…
… And the still-in-the-distant-future-baby could sleep under that while I continue to hijack its room.
As I drove to work on Monday I slipped a new CD in the dashboard stereo – the car speakers haven’t played anything else since. For four days of commutes to and from the school, I listened to the song “Sunrise” from the In The Heights soundtrack. If St. Matt reads this he’s going to roll his eyes, and offer a prayer of thanks that we do NOT carpool.
I do this frequently. Find a song that embodies an aspect of my WIP and play it exhaustively until that scene is finished. The first time I listened to this song I wanted to pull over and shout: “Eureka!” The issue I’d been having with my ending – resolved by a show tunes duet.
Only, I couldn’t resolve it because I’ve been in my self-imposed WIP separation period. So instead of opening my writer’s notebook and scrawling or opening a computer file and going tappity-tappity-tappity, I’ve listened and listened and listened.
By the time I allowed my fingers to fly across the computer keys this morning, the scene was mentally written, revised and fairly polished. I listened to the song on loop as the words bled onto the screen, and then another five times for good measure once my fingers stilled. (Thank God I remembered to get the CD from my car, St. Matt took it today ‘cause I was out of gas). Now “Sunrise” can be retired until I reach that scene on my next sweep through TBALMCSAP.
Musically I’ve already moved on to my next TBALMCSAP theme: Thriving Ivory’s “Angels on the Moon.” This one doesn’t go with a particular scene; it embodies a relationship between two characters. As of right now, its play count on iTunes is 37 – and I only downloaded it Wednesday night.
Does this surprise me? A little. It probably shouldn’t since St. Matt turned to me with near frenzied eyes last night and begged: “Headphones, please, headphones. Or a new song.” And that was probably after only repetition 18 or so. (Wimp). It surprises me only because I stop noticing what’s playing around me. I’d notice if the music stopped or changed, but I don’t tire of or flinch away from monotony of my choosing. I love it.
Even better? Twenty days, weeks, or years from now, if I hear “Sunrise” or “Angels on the Moon,” I’ll be brought right back to that scene and how much I enjoyed writing it.
Maybe we shouldn’t talk to each other for a few days…
Were you good at maintaining a post-break-up cooling off period? If you had a spat with a friend and she hung up on you, did you wait for her to calm down and call you back?
I failed at both of those things: over-anxious to go from kissers to companions, I’d want to call and hang out while battle-scarred heart tissue was still exposed; I’ve never handled tension well either, I want things resolved and reassured before the fight’s begun.
Mostly, when I love someone, I want him/her near me.
Granted TBALMCSAP is not a best friend, boyfriend, or even human – but the two weeks of self-imposed separation have been hard on me.
I’ve missed my WIP; missed the characters, had songs I wanted to share with Gyver (we’ve got similar taste in music), and comfort I wanted to offer to my conflicted MC. My finger’s twitched on the mouse, itching to click the ‘open’ icon; I’ve wandered into the spare bedroom and stared longingly at my storyboards, written in color-coded marker on whiteboard walls. In a show of impressive self-restraint, I’ve steered my mouse away and refrained from paging through print-outs.
It’s not permanent, I’ve told myself. It’s better in the long run. I need distance to gain perspective and clarity. I’m not ready. Strangely enough, these words would apply to post-break-up scenarios as well – is that why they’re familiar?
Two weeks – they’ve passed in a blur of insomnia, Jace-flavored Distraction Fairy’ness, caffeinated mornings, midnight workouts, and catching up on grading.
I’ve got big plans for tomorrow. Plans that include not changing out of my pajamas or eating anything that requires cooking. Plans that include turning the ringer off on my cell phone and selectively answering e-mail (so if you’re curious about if I really love you, tomorrow’s a good day to drop me an e-mail).
Before you write this off as a self-indulgent waste-away day, let me correct you; It’s a self-indulgent day of all-consuming revisions.
It’s rare that I can find a whole day without commitments, interruptions, or company – and this one’s timing is fortuitous. It’s been two weeks since I finished the first draft of TBALMCSAP, I’ve suffered through my forced separation from the MS, and now I’m ready and able to belly flop in – purple pen at ready.
My first revisions are brutal – they’re comprised of amputations, reconstructions, and -dectomys of all sorts. There’s a reason I don’t use red pen – I can feel my WIP’s non-anesthetized pain – I don’t need a bloody visual.
So while St. Matt’s at work, while the puggles are snuggled in sunbeams (*please, please, puggles – feel like sunbeam snuggling tomorrow*), I’ll be pajama’d and purple-pen-prepared to tear down and build up.
Let me at TBALMCSAP – I’m ready. I’ve missed you.
My So-Called “Real” Life
On Twitter today I noticed this acronym: IRL. At first I thought it was a typo for URL, and then using my best teacherly context clues, I decoded it: In Real Life.
But as writers, don’t we have a different definition of real life than others do?
It’s not always my house in Pennsylvania, my mischievous puggles, or my saintly husband that seem the most real to me. I’ll go for a writing-run and come home not knowing which Doylestown roads I paced down, but with images of fictitious East Lake blurring past my footsteps.
There are days I’ll shave the same leg twice and emerge from the shower with my head still sudsy but full of conversation between my protagonist and her love.
Yesterday I looked up from writing – and just a blog, not even TBALMCSAP – and turned to St.Matt and said, “Hey, if you want to go for a run, you should go before it gets dark and then we’ll do dinner.”
“Tiffany, it is dark. I already ran and I cooked dinner. I ate sitting right next to you, don’t you remember?”
I didn’t. But should I admit that?
Should I confess that sometimes the settings, people, and stories in my head seem more realistic than the ones playing around me in 3-dimensions? That chasing Distraction-Fairy-Jace to Idris taints my dreams and re-directs my thoughts until I find myself surprised not to find runes carved on my own skin? Or that my kiddos’ discussions about the characters in Angie Sage’s Magyk infiltrates their math class, recess talk, and casual conversation until we’re all wishing for a cat/duck or a messenger rat? That I broke my heart and sobbed early morning tears for my main character but rolled my eyes at the co-worker drama that unfolded a few hours later?
I’ve always struggled with this – the real versus the envisioned. My imaginary friends required places at the dinner table and had an alarming habit of ducking out of the way so my dad had to make at least three attempts before he could nail them with goodnight kisses. I caused a minor scandal at the grocery store when my five-year-old self started bawling and screaming at the shopper who’d hit Harvey with her cart.
The bewildered woman looked around, “But I didn’t feel anything. Where is he?”
“He’s around the corner crying and bleeding,” I bawled and the woman went wide-eyed and white faced.
My mother, frantic at the sound of my howls, then embarrassed as she tried to reassure the terrified, apologetic shopper she hadn’t run-over my younger brother, lashed out: “Tiffany Allison, Harvey is NOT REAL. He’s imaginary. You MADE HIM UP.”
If I’d been the recipient of the cart collision, it couldn’t have hurt more than those words.
But it didn’t stop me from making things up – from creating, imagining, and living dual lives: one corporal, one mental.
It’s possible I’m alone in this. Doubtful, but possible. Even if I were,, however, I wouldn’t feel lonely. How could I? There are stories to live and create, both IRL and IMH.