WINNER of the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Happy Saturday, everybody! A day late, but never a dollar short is our winner for this week:

BRUCE GOODMAN

It happens in restaurants

by Bruce Goodman

I suspect there’s a great deal more
going on under that table over there
than meets the eye.
They not simply eating ice cream and blueberry pie.
I bet they’re playing hanky-panky with their knees.
I’ve a good mind to go over and whip the table cloth
off
to expose their chicanery for all to sees
if you please.

I think it only fair to surmise –
and I wouldn’t be at all surprised –
if before long they were both under the table smooching away,
for every dog has its day.
Next thing he’ll be feeding her custard
with his own spoon. Shucks.
What’s going on under that table over there is yuk.

I hate going out to restaurants.
My wife is such a flirt.

Congratulations, Bruce! You are the most terrible poet of the week!

As returning readers know, I hate contests where a winner is picked and the judge says that everybody was a winner; blah, blah, blah. I try my darnedest not to do that to everyone, but you all make it near-impossible with your level of poetic skill. (You do know this is a terrible poetry contest, right?)

I snickered at the made-up words, the near-rhymes, the rambling (terrible) subjects, and the poetic elements. In the end; I believe I admired the overall flow (we’ll call it that) of Bruce’s poem, combined with his zinger at the end. Most poets this week followed the recommended guidelines of terribleness; on top of all that, Bruce, your ‘meter’ and your story ‘flow’ earned you the prize. Well done.

Thank you to everyone who participated this week. You are the reason this takes me hours of preparation and anguish to decide. And, here you all are:

Under-the-Table Deal

by Bladud Fleas

Get up from under the table, dude!
Said the guy whose shoes I was buying
I haven’t got them on, right now, he said
Though I think he was lying. See
I was too quick to agree on the price
he’d selected and once on my knees
he rejected but I, quick as a flash,
produced the cash and removing his
shoes, stuck a rolled up note between his toes
and the deal was completed and he was defeated,
as were his shoes, no pun intended,
for a fair price and money well spended.

—–

Secret Agent Man

by H.R.R. Gorman

Steele steeled his stance,
Fighting for freedom in France,
Really ready to reel Russians
In and insinuate intrigue.

Dreaded documents dredged
Up from underworld undertakings
Show sinister situations,
Blackmail baking in baddies’ brains.

He humps his home-movie
Back to bloody Britain
And advocates for absolution
Of the outstanding ordeal.

Friends faint following the film,
So he sends some signals
At an American agent
That things are taking turns.

But Bob believes his boss.
Pee-pee parties with presidents
Are too astronomically atrocious
For free freedmen to finagle.

So Steele steels his stance,
Takes tea at the typical time,
Cares about the Six Counties, and
Watches the world wither.

—–

Under the Table

by Andrea Frazer

My friends are all camping
But alas I’m not able
Nope, I’m grounded for life
Right here under the table
A butter knife for a friend
Along with a rag
To scrape all my boogers
Into a trash bag
Yup, what once was my haven
For picking my nose
My mom did discover
So now I am hosed
“You won’t move from this spot
Except to go pee
Until all chunks are removed
Do you understand me?”
What could I say?
My answer was “Yes”
Now there’s no more snot digging
What YES I’m depressed
The moral of this tale
From under the table?
Stay away from nose picking
To avoid this sad fable

The end

—–

Either Side of the Aisle

by Jon

Above board? No it’s not!
Appearance sake? Fulfilled!
In actuality, putrid rot
describes a recent bill.

Put forth by those who say
that they
Are there to represent us all.
Try to have (with them) your say
See if they take your call.

Things that make your conscience ache,
(Like this poem, for instance)
Disturb them not in the least;
For long ago they did forsake,
The way of truth and peace.

—–

It’s not what you get it’s where you get it

by Geoff

Said the bribee to the briber
‘I have no moral fibre’
‘And of course I’ll take a bung.’
‘Unless by being bought out
‘You think I might be caught out’
‘And by this sting be stung.’

‘You have no need to worry,’
Said the briber to the bribee,
‘There’s nothing untoward.’
‘I’m just a harmless gopher
‘This deal’s completely kosher’
‘And everything’s above board.’

‘But how can I believe it,’
‘The cash, when I receive it,’
‘To keep it, I am able?’
‘For sure, you are a bandit,’
‘If each time, to me, you hand it,’
‘While seated ‘neath the table?’

—–

A Poem So Terrible It Can’t Be Named

by Peregrine Arc

Oh my, oh me
I dearly have to pee.
But alas, the Labrador fell asleep on me.
So cute, so adorable, her face all wrinkled
She lets out a stinky and my nose truly krinkles.
Twenty minutes later, the air is fresh and new.
My breathing and vitals back to normal, phew!
“Dear,” I coo, wanting to get up.
“Do you want a treat, my little duck?”
Her amber eyes open and I’m up like a flash
I nearly walk on water to the toilet in my dash.
“Sorry, dear,” I call from the throne. “You’ll get a treat on the morrow–no interest on that loan.”

—–

Dinner Table Gambit

by Michael B. Fishman

Sitting at the table I felt bold
so I put my hand on her knee.
The look she gave me was quite cold
sort of like I touched her with poison ivy.

I couldn’t give up so I tried again
and the result was the same.
She said, “What the fudge” are you insane?
I felt like taking on an assumed name.

Third time’s the charm, right?
So under the table I grabbed her knee once more.
She didn’t have to turn or talk for me to feel the frostbite
I said, “Why doest me dost thee ignore?”

The dog watched it all from under the table
smiling in that doggie way while chewing on a bagel.

—–

What’s the Deal

by Ruth Scribbles

What’s the deal
With under the table
Table that thought
The cat without a hat
Demands attention
Under the table
She licks chip crumbs
Crumbs with salt
She licks the floor
Looking for more
Crumbs
Under the table

—–

Leave it to Amelia

by Violet Lentz

If there is trouble to be had
And usually, there is
Amelia’s smack dab in the middle
At that, she is a wiz.

You would think she was a cherub
To see her childhood photos
Who’d a thunk in this one here
She had a pine bough up her nose?

Or wait, you think that’s funny
How about her money-making scheme?
Selling milkshakes on the corner
That she made a shaving cream!

Or the time her Mom got a call from school
“Come quick!” said old Mizz Krantz
“Your Amy’s doing the bicycle,
And she ain’t wearin’ no underpants!”

But I’d say her defining moment
Was when she let her best friend Mabel
Take a lickin’ for stealing chewing gum-
Amelia’d plucked, from under the table.

—–

Deal

by Doug

Under the table
blood drips onto the crackpots there under
making a deal for blood-proof umbrella heirlooms
with a star chart marking the space alien’s location

Blood drips on the undercover policeman’s head.
He says, “The poker deal is dead. I want hence
grenades under an umbrella, and incense for ten cents.”

But you have to bribe the dealer for a deal
and the dealer was dead.

The deal blew up in their faces, and
they couldn’t save face with Adam Smith

—–

Thank you for entering! I love seeing returning torturers and new verse-obliterators, alike. Tune in tonight at 10 p.m. for the announcement of next week’s contest.

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Bruce: D. Wallace Peach created this graphic that you can use (if you want) for a badge of honor as the winner:

The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Welcome to The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest, Week Seventeen. I went back and counted.

If you’re new, confused, and/or need directions; read the how-to about terrible poetry. Here, at The Terrible Poetry Contest, we strive to make the best of the best shudder and crawl back under a blanket of Shakespeare. We aim to offend, but in a very high-minded way.

Here are the rules for this week’s prompt:

  1. The topic is Under-the-Table Deals.
  2. For length, keep your poem greater than or equal to a haiku but less than Beowulf.
  3. Should you rhyme? Up to you this occasion.
  4. Most importantly, make it terrible. I want the back-alley agents of disreputable deals to turn themselves in, sobbing, just to get away from what you write.
  5. Keep it PG-rating or lower. You can do it.

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (March 15, 2019) to submit a poem. Hey; it’s The Ides of March and my wedding anniversary. We just might make it to sixteen years.

If you are shy, use the form and I’ll get an e-mail. Leave me a comment saying that you did, so we cover our bases.

For a more social experience, include your poem or a link to it in the comments.

Also, please tell your friends. You can use your mouth, your phone, your blog; whatever. Let’s get the word out! The world needs more terrible poetry!

Have fun!

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Photo credit:
Rosalind Chang

To Potter or Not to Potter?

It’s time to really let the fur fly around here, because I am going to ask the question no one ever should: Is Harry Potter a good book?

If you have been living in a bubble or under the age of twenty for the past 21.5 years, you might not know what I am referring to. In that case, I speak of a book series published by an unknown woman (at the time) that EXPLODED into ultimately selling more than 450 million copies worldwide.

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I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at the recommendation of my former sixth-grade teacher. I really liked the book. It had interesting characters, magic, an unseen parallel world, and enough British elements to tickle my anglophiliac bones.

I purchased and devoured each subsequent book as it came out, and cried on opening night of the first film.

A few years after that point, however, my English professor in (my return to) college ran us through an interesting exercise. “What makes a good book?” he asked, and wrote our responses on the white board. After looking over the items listed, he announced, “Harry Potter is not a good book.”

Since I do not live in a bubble and am not under the age of twenty, I was also not completely ignorant to the idea that others didn’t love Harry Potter as much as a large pocket of Potterheads. As a consequence, I was not floored at my teacher’s conclusions.

I instead experienced a wider perspective. His announcement released me from the godlike worship I had for authors everywhere and allowed me to acknowledge the series as one written by a human, with flaws. It was written by the first and only billionaire author human, granted, but still had flaws.

In turn, I was able to grasp the hope that someone like me could write. Someone like me could even write something that another person might read, or purchase.

Which is all very interesting, but doesn’t answer the main question of this post.

Is Harry Potter a good book? Why or why not?

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My own husband dislikes that J.K. Rowling neglects a basic rules structure for her magic system, that Dobby exists, and that most of the stories are just not interesting.

For myself; I notice some literary no-no’s in her writing like adverbs, POV changes, and …say, a rule she introduces about non-verbal magic spells that she seems to abandon in later novels. I also think (and thought) that it’s really not feasible for a young wizard who can shout two spells to consistently beat someone who literally murdered older, gifted wizards.

But maybe I’m being nit-picky with that last one.

Ever the devil’s devil’s advocate, though, I say that J.K. Rowling’s series could be considered perfection. She hit the sweet spot across age, race, gender, nationality, and class. She wrote characters REALLY well. I’m just a medium-level admirer and would gladly jump on a train, attend Hogwarts, marry one of the Weasley twins, and go out to lunch with Tonks.

As a final thought to any still in the haters camp: last year, my son’s doctor complimented my son because he was sitting in the waiting room reading a novel. I believe it was Magician: Apprentice. “When Harry Potter first came out,” the doctor noted, “I used to come out and find kids’ noses stuck in books. I haven’t seen that since.”

Say what you will, but I’d love to bring that sort of book love back. Wouldn’t you? Perhaps there’s a spell for that.

Until then, do you say it is a good book? Do you only say so because you love it?

Do you only disagree because you hate it?

—————

I solemnly swear that you may read below to see what I wrote for the last two weeks:
Wednesday, February 6: We discussed the deep subject of baths vs. showers in “A Serious Question Concerning Hygiene.”
Thursday, February 7: “The Cure for Depression: Get a Paid MEDICAL Friend,” the slightly-third suggestion in a series originally posted over at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.
Friday, February 8: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest involving Nursery Rhymes. Congratulations to Violet Lentz!
Saturday, February 9: Announced the twelfth Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest, with a prompt of love poems.
Sunday
, February 10- Thursday, February 14, plus Sunday, February 17: Various terrible poetry contributions of my own on the subjects of my backup camera, my absent appendix, black clothes, a first date, Costco, and Half-Price Chocolate Day.
Thursday, February 14: Wrote “Freddy and Teddy’s Valentines” for Susanna Leonard Hill‘s Valentiny contest.
Friday, February 15: Posted the WINNER of the love poem Terrible Poetry Contest: Geoff LePard.
Saturday, February 16: Announced this week’s Terrible Poetry Contest prompt. PLEASE ENTER IT!!
Also re-blogged Peregrine Arc‘s creativity contest.
Monday, February 18: Shared a quote from Joseph B. Wirthlin about finding a direction in life.
Tuesday, February 19: “Wilhelmina Winters, Eighty-Two.”
Wednesday, February 20: Today

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How Expensive is This Happiness Thing?

They say that money can’t buy happiness, but I only halfway agree.

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True; money doesn’t directly purchase a meaningful relationship with another person, a healthy child who grows up to support and love you, the satisfaction of completing a challenging job, nor creating something with your own hands.

It does pay for the braces, beauty products, restaurant food, cell phones, wedding, new spouse’s parents’ costs, anniversaries, random presents, midlife marriage counseling, throw pillows, curtains, rediscovery vacations, and all the ending of life costs -that facilitate a meaningful relationship with another person.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

think I’m saying money is necessary for happiness. You can’t be happy with no money to speak of or not enough for your needs. Heck, life’s difficult with not enough to cover the cost of a few wants, too.

What about a couple who really wants to have a child, yet can’t afford expensive IVF treatments or adoption? Or that retired guy who just wants a place to live amongst ever-rising house prices? Or the kids who grow up with terrible friends in a bad neighborhood because the parents worked two jobs, put them in the local (awful) daycare, could not pay for sports programs, and felt too depressed themselves to listen to their children’s needs?

Are they happy?

I know, I know. Mr. Optimist says they could be. They could find their happy place even in a sad, little, dark corner of the world in which they sit with rising medical costs for a genetic disease that prevents them from working so they can’t even buy decent housing and food nor meet anyone who wants to be friends.

…That may have been Sadness talking.

To play my own devil’s advocate, the reverse of my argument may also be true. I mean, I have enough money. I live a really cushy life compared to most people in the world. Yet, I’m not happy. A good chunk of that is beating myself up for not being happy despite having such an easy life, but we might want to get into that in another post.

I believe my point is that money is essential for happiness. One needs to spend it in the right way and with the right attitude, but cannot be happy without it.

What do you think?

—————

Think about it and let me know. For now, here’s my previous week, free of charge:
Wednesday, January 23: Several helpful friends helped solve whodunit in “It’s All a Mystery.”
Thursday, January 24: “The Cure for Depression: Connect with a Human,” the first tip in a series originally posted over at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.
Friday, January 25: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to D. Wallace Peach!
Saturday, January 26: Announced the tenth Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. Enter it!
And, “Insided Out,” self-reflection at an internal, emotional level.
Sunday
, January 27: “Grandma’s Tears” for Carrot Ranch‘s flash fiction prompt.
Monday, January 28: A great quote from Len about love and marriage.
Tuesday, January 29: “Wilhelmina Winters, Eighty One.”
Also, “A Head Start on the Day?” at my mothering blog.
Wednesday, January 30: Today!

The Truth About the Holidays

A friend of mine explained that her daughter hadn’t quite figured out where she wanted to be because, “Oh, you know -she’s only twenty-two. You remember what you were doing at twenty-two.”

I paused, then answered, “Well… I was giving birth to my first child.”

I’ve tended to hit life stages a bit early: walking, reading, planning world domination, marrying, birthing, buying a house, and experiencing advanced dental problems.

What does this have to do with the holidays? I’m not really that old, and yet I turn into Ebeneezer Scrooge earlier and earlier each Christmas season.

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Instead of feeling happy and festive when I saw a Christmas tree, I felt violated. Spinning inflatable yard ornaments and automated decorations that sang caused me to fear for the future of humanity. Aisles of bright tinsel or Chinese-made ornaments made me sick.

Perhaps I wouldn’t have felt that way if I wasn’t seeing it all in July.

Now that I have, however, I reached and passed my level of tolerance and goodwill to men by October (when workers were hurriedly clearing out all that noxious Halloween stuff on Halloween to hang the Christmas things front and center).

Why do retailers do it?

To be said in my best old, jaded lady voice: It’s all about the money.

Stores make the most money at Christmas. Even if a person doesn’t strictly celebrate the holiday, he will purchase a gift for the people at his job who do. Each of them will purchase something for everyone else. It’s like a tinseled chain letter with actual results.

And, not content with picking a man’s pocket every December the 25th, the retailers have special sale days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Not only that, but they have scooted Black Friday up so far that it’s at the same time most families are celebrating the best holiday there is.

Thanksgiving in America is pure and simple, and stores have not been able to commercialize it beyond table centerpieces and all the groceries one needs for feasting.

For companies that don’t primarily sell food, Thanksgiving’s a wash. They can’t wait to get it out of the way so that mass commercialism can stampede through sealed cardboard shelving in order to get whatever the hot electronics item is that year.

Every year I’ve hoped that The People will stop. I’ve held out for sanity. I’ve assumed that humans will finally show stores that holding a Christmas sale on Thanksgiving is too much. And yet, greed keeps winning. People move the time of their feast in order to head out and spend money as soon as possible.

I guess they really don’t care, since they keep putting their money where the sales are.

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Others might think it’s none of my business what people do on Thanksgiving. It’s their day; let them spend it (literally) how they want. Well, what about the workers at the stores everyone’s frequenting? Did they want to spend Thanksgiving keeping shoppers from punching a cashier?

What about standards? What about bonding with family? What about holding some things as special, or even sacred; removed from the clutching grasp of negative vices and habits?

Back to my old lady voice: People used to care. Families would dress in their Sunday best to go downtown. Neighbors would call on neighbors. No one was open past 9 p.m. and only the doctor was working on Sundays.

I’m not endorsing petticoats and carriages, or even a stop to Christmas sales. I just want a whole, untouched, unmolested Thanksgiving day. I want to enjoy my knitting by the fire while the young’uns play with their stick ball or their jacks. I want to enjoy seeing my children, and their children, and their children.

Thanksgiving needs to be removed from the seeping stain of over-buying commercialism, but that’s not going to happen unless we make it so. I don’t know who we can petition or what official measures we can take, but I do know it’s possible. At the very least, don’t shop on the day. Stay home with your family or friends. Eat. Play games. Bond.

Cyber Monday has better deals, anyway.

 

Re-cap for this week:
Wednesday, November 14: The Importance of Trying Times, a surgery announcement and PSA regarding activity after abdominal incisions; plus a weekly review.
Thursday, November 15: Skinwalkers, XLII.
Friday, November 16: Winner of The First Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest announced. Congratulations, Bladud Fleas.
Saturday, November 17: How-To Write Terrible Poetry and beginning of The Second Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest (please enter).
My article, What’s the Make, Model, and Year of Your Mental Health Struggle? was published at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.
Sunday, November 18: Patchwork, a flash fiction for Carrot Ranch inspired by a friend of mine.
Monday, November 19: Convalesced, and released Distracted Momming over at my motherhood site.
Tuesday, November 20: Inspirational Quote by Masercot. He’s a funny guy, but I felt this quote held a deep message.
Wednesday, November 21: This post. 🙂

I do not intend to publish any additions to Wilhelmina Winters or Skinwalkers this week. I’m just too busy with Thanksgiving preparations.

Enjoy your time with family. Please.

It’s All A Lie

I just love life aphorisms. I love them about as much as the daily grind of housework that regenerates every five seconds.

“Don’t worry; everyone feels that way.”

Really? If everyone felt the way I do, the world would be on fire. At the very least, I would not see so many smiling people getting out of the house and purchasing avocados for their lunch break.

In an actual session, my counselor voiced this advice. “I don’t think that’s true,” I countered. “Most people, when asked about a recent vacation, don’t go on about world disparity.” She laughed, and I noticed she didn’t disagree. Face it: everyone does not feel the way I do.

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“People will love you for who you are.”

No, people will not. People sense or see or smell the negative vibes emanating from my socially-anxious person before I even speak about world disparity. I see it in the falter of their smile (if it was there), in the excuse to go… anywhere and get out of the conversation.

Close family members are the only ones to use “love” with me, and do so with hesitation. I can tell they expect that world-burning explosion part of me to bite them in response. I probably ought to stop doing that…

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“You can do anything you set your mind to.”

Yeah, maybe after the laundry is done. Even then, ‘anything I set my mind to’ is probably going to be an uninterrupted trip to the bathroom.

I’ve thought of writing a bestseller, but that requires daycare and emotional stress on family life. I’ve considered a job outside the house, but that requires daycare and emotional stress on family life. I’ve also toyed around with going back to school, but that requires an insane amount of debt and daycare and emotional stress on family life.

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“We only regret the chances we didn’t take.”

I regret everything. I second-guess myself before the chance, during it, and after it’s passed.

Besides, in my profession as mother, I can’t simply decide to be a roving gypsy. Child Protective Services frowns upon decisions like that.

 

Perhaps good advice works; you know, for ‘everyone.’ For me and others who may view things similarly, what do you say? “Tomorrow is another day?” Of course it is, stupid. Yesterday was another day, too.

There’s got to be an evolutionary advantage to cynicism, right?

Easter Hunt

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The scratched wood floor finally looked clear, though that status didn’t extend to its edges. A bit of green poked from a nook. Pink showed from an under-couch cranny. A wrapper crinkled from directly beneath her slipper.

Ann sighed, and stooped to free the purple foil from her sole. It stuck a bit stubbornly, finally releasing itself with a parting gift of caramel. At this moment, she felt a small tug at her left pant leg. She looked down at a three-year-old-grin looking up.

“Can I eat this?” A chocolate-mouthed creature asked. It proffered an unwrapped egg in its brown-tipped fingers.

Ann thought it might be her youngest child, and addressed it accordingly. “Sure, Jane,” she tiredly answered. Jane, as she proved to be, smiled the beatific smile of the sugar saturated young, shoved the chocolate into her mouth, and ran off. Ann cringed, hoping Jane would not feel inclined to touch or kiss anything. Realization hit; pants examined. She sighed, telling herself the brown barely showed against the natural, washed-out black of the yoga pants. If anything, it matched a few other spots.

She kneeled to extract the pink object under the couch. It made a light rattling sound. Sitting widened thighs against middle-aged cankles, she carefully opened the plastic egg. Broken bits of candy shell rained a light powder upon her lap. Two half-clad Hershey’s eggs rolled inside the plastic halves within her grip.

“Those are mine!” Will said, suddenly at her side. Ann hadn’t heard him approach; had, in fact, been calling the boy for the last half hour to come clean up his mess or she was going to throw it away. As always, she was amazed at how quickly the children could move when given their definition of “proper motivation.”

Will stuck out a hand to accept the shells’ inner contents. His mother obliged. He closed his fist; she winced. Leaving her with a parting scowl of entitlement, he ran off after his sister. Into thin air, she couldn’t help thinking. Distractedly, she looked down. She brushed at the dust, which removed the larger bits.

Thinking she ought to take advantage of her current position, Ann ducked to search the remainder of The Land Beneath the Furniture. She carefully ran a hand along the floor, internally recoiling at the questionable feel to unseen objects her fingers brushed against. Bravely, she pulled a few into light. Two broken Hot Wheels cars, hair elastics, Lego bricks, stale bread crust, a doll head, and half a plastic Easter egg tumbled out with an escort of crumbs and dust. She looked at the mess, extracted the half shell, and pushed the rest back out of sight. They’d know where to find Barbie’s head if they thought to ask for it.

Ann kneel-crawled over to the green egg in the corner of the room. She picked it up; opened it over the hardwood. Some loose change was exposed. It looked to total 57 cents. She considered keeping it -payment for a morning’s maid-work. She knew, however, that this was the very 57 cents her eldest had collared Will over just an hour prior.

“Mary!” Ann called, from her sit-squat on the floor.

“Whaa-aaat?” a pre-teen answered. The response seemed to come from Ann’s bathroom, upstairs.

Two reasons now presented themselves for bringing her daughter hither: the money, and removal from whatever of Ann’s makeup Mary was surely testing upon her face. “I found your money!” Ann shouted.

A pause, then, “Okay!” Overheard; a drawer closed, an item dropped and was scraped against the floor as it was retrieved, a drawer opened and closed again, and footsteps exited across hard tiles. Soon, Ann’s keen ears heard Mary’s soft footsteps majestically skipping down the stairs.

A deeper-lipped twelve-year-old than Ann was accustomed to seeing sauntered casually into the room. Mary also seemed to have tried some blue eyeshadow and pink blush. The results were somewhat frightening, but Ann pretended as much ignorance as her daughter. She held the egg and its change out, waiting for Mary’s deliberately slow walk to bring her close enough to accept the offering.

Mary finally reached her mother, took the egg, and studied her face for reaction. Little sleep and years of practice with Will’s antics had trained Ann well. She simply nodded, then intentionally exaggerated her attempts to rise from the floor in order to give Mary time to exit.

Sure enough, Ann got to her feet just as Mary was walking out the arched doorway of the family room. Ann sighed, but proudly noted the progress she’d made with the room. It had taken the better part of two hours, but the dusty floor was finally clear of all the leftovers of the morning’s hunt and after-party.

She walked over to the garbage and threw away the wrapper, half shell, and some more pants dust. “Mo-o-o-o-o-o-om!” Jane sang loudly, entering the room as she did.

“Yes, Jane?” Ann asked.

“I just lo-o-ove Easter egg hunts!” Jane sighed, grabbing both her mother’s legs and swinging a bit. She paused, and looked thoughtful. “Do you, Mommy?”

Ann looked down at her still-filthy angel. She could still feel the bits of under-couch detritus on her fingertips, the sensation of a coin-filled egg upon her palm, and could see her oldest’s smeary-lipped expression of nonchalance. Ann glanced at the pile of discarded plastic egg shells she’d gathered in the hours of cleaning. Finally, she looked back to her innocent child’s face.

“Of course I do,” she answered, smiling in return.

Writing Drudgery, also known as A Job

I write for a content blog, something I had never done before this year.

When I began considering that I could be a writer, I had different ideas regarding that job’s requirements. I pictured book-conjurings, writing sessions, and pleasure.

I also behaved more jealously about the words I managed to type onto a screen. They were unique, mine, precious, and copyrighted. No one else could have these ideas, and no one should steal them!

Whatever I finally offered for reading would be gasped at, astounded over, praised profusely.

I basically pictured publishers saying, Why, Chelsea! This is amazing! Here is your advance check of $3M. No, we don’t expect you to work really hard to produce this book idea, since we know you have children and like to spend your free time playing games in your Steam Library. Ten years ought to be good.

Meanwhile, fans would pour in, complimenting me. Everywhere I went, people would stop and ask if I’d pose for a picture with them. Famous writers would hang out with me -no- beg me to come over for fireside discussions of literary devices.

This is really starting to sound like a trope daydream, so why would I actually feel this way? Oh, right -probably because many people have this fantasy.

Back to content writing: I took The Job because I was tricked.

A friend told me her daughter worked for a company and they were looking for writers. I was told I would write about 500 words each article about crafting, that I wouldn’t be making the crafts, and that I would only need to worry about the writing.

It involved MONEY for writing. Just so you know, writing doesn’t get you the advance check and the fame and such if you’re not putting yourself out there more than I’m obviously willing to do right now.

The reason I say I was tricked is that I actually have to do more than type words. I don’t have to make the crafts, that’s true. And, by the way, not making things is a great idea for someone like me -someone who had to make a Pinterest account in order to do this job.

I sure get sidetracked a lot, which is something that’s come up in trying to fulfill my contract and get paid.

*Ahem* I have a content-writing job. I write for a blog that steals other people’s images (with proper attribution), and lists them all under one user-loving title. Oh, I know you’ve seen them. The article is usually named “10 Eggcellent Easter Hunts.” Actually, that one would be too clever. Most are “10+ Holiday Crafts to Make with Kids.”

The trick part is that I have to spend nearly an hour tracking down these pictures, ensuring I give proper attribution. So many sites like the one I write for are cheating, simply linking back to Pinterest or not bothering to give credit at all. I can only take one image from an article, so I can’t simply steal all ten pictures from Suzy Stitcher’s Easter Egg Hunt (as cute as it might be).

I’ve noticed addictive patterns related to this job:

1. Not being able to quit.
I’m getting writing practice, being paid, it’s super-flexible, and can’t I possibly buckle down and write five articles a week? C’mon, Chelsea, you baby. Woman up.

2. Relapse in similar settings.
In conversation with other women, I find myself actually interested in their descriptions of a craft they tried or a decoration technique they applied to their entryway. Horrified, I hear my mouth say, “I just wrote about that! Did you know you can find those birchwood wreaths at Target?”
I may as well hand them an affiliate link.

3. No control.
Whenever I have a few moments, I feel overwhelming guilt to get something done on The Job. It should take precedence, right? Must. write. boring. blog.
I have also found myself, inexplicably, walking into Hobby Lobby to peruse their latest glitter-painted yard refuse.

4. Medicating myself.
You’ll find out at some point, but I do not drink alcohol or coffee. Instead, you’ll discover a slew of candy wrappers discarded artistically round my still-warm headphones. Those, plus my exhausted upper half, are spread across a dirty computer desk at midnight.
I need deadlines and sugar for inspiration, and almost always resort to both to get the dreaded task done.

5. Desire without pleasure.
This is my NUMBER ONE problem. Typing heckling comments about birch sticks stuffed in a vase (a real thing) is not difficult. Writing five articles a week, on my own timetable, is probably the easiest job outside of door-greeter at Wal-mart.
In fact, I don’t even have to get dressed in a blue vest (and, hopefully, pants). I just have to be able to use my fingers to press buttons in a readable fashion.
So WHAT IS MY PROBLEM? Am I just a whiner?

I meant to write this post as a sort of exposé of blog-stealing blogs, and instead find myself stretched out on the proverbial psychiatric couch of the internet. No, dear internet, it was not my childhood. It’s my core disappointment in not tackling anything that takes longer than a mile’s worth of effort.

I don’t like writing for The Job. With that time, I could feasibly write my own stuff. I could write more on here, write my halfway-finished book.

Shel Silverstein, brilliant man, wrote a poem about two generals:

Said General Clay to General Gore,
‘Oh must we fight this silly war?
To kill and die is such a bore.’
‘I quite agree,’ said General Gore.
Said General Gore to General Clay,
‘We could go to the beach today
And have some ice cream on the way.’
‘A grand idea,’ said General Clay.
Said General Gore to General Clay,
‘But what if the sea is closed today?
And what if the sand’s been blown away?’
‘A dreadful thought,’ said General Clay.
Said General Gore to General Clay,
‘I’ve always feared the ocean’s spray,
And we may drown!’ ‘It’s true, we may.
It chills my blood,’ said General Clay.
Said General Clay to General Gore,
‘My bathing suit is slightly tore.
We’d better go on with our war.’
‘I quite agree,’ said General Gore.
Then General Clay charged General Gore
As bullets flew and cannons roared.
And now, alas! there is no more
Of General Clay or General Gore.

From Where the Sidewalk Ends, by Shel Silverstein

We, creatures of habit, keep doing what we always have.

I know that I would not spend my paid-blogging time doing any such fanciful thing as completing my book. I would, most likely, decide that was a great time to start Breath of the Wild over and see how quickly I can get into the castle and beat Ganon.

It involves swimming.

Anyway, I’ve got some Pinterest to search. Apparently, Christmas is over and now I’ve got to write an article about romantic Valentine’s Day ideas.