Little Bundles

You  know how even back in high school, there were those kids (usually girls) who were all “I looooove working with kids!” I learned to parrot them on tutoring and babysitting interviews, even though I didn’t get kids, didn’t think much about them, and certainly preferred not to be in their presence. They stayed dirty, their hygiene was disgusting, they were unpredictable and mostly, they disrupted my reading.

Fast forward many years later: I’ve seen my friends expecting and raising their children. I’ve seen babies now strutting through their first day of high school, I’ve conquered my (deep) fear of dropping newborns, and I gotta admit: they’re a hoot. Not *just* a hoot–those tantrums can shake one’s soul, and I’ve got insta-prayers ready for parents dragging young ones along, that look of “I’m thisclose” in their eyes. Hang on, I think. Haaaang on. Kids don’t stay clean. You’ve gotta keep them well. Your head’s constantly going 180 degrees to keep ’em safe, and if you’re sneaking in a chapter of a good book… you’re in the bathroom, I presume.

But children? Are a good thing. You can love ’em up with hugs and kisses, and they’re constantly looking for laps to climb onto. If you’re handed a picture book you better read it with gusto. No one wants a look of disappointment from a four year old, trust me. And with age comes patience: as a seasoned auntie, I can now listen to a kid chat (or drone, depending on my mood) about who said what and what they drew and where are my kids and do I swim and why is my hair so big and how they don’t like chicken.

Why this post? Eh, recent events, and a humorous bus ride with a small girl nodding off on my shoulder. Let’s enjoy our kids, and look out for them as a community, and ugh, keep sanitizer on hand. (Cause they’re still kinda gross. But awesome.)

Brothers Arm in Arm

Workshopping: It Ain’t for Kids

So every several months I think of my different writing workshops, what I’ve gained, friends I’ve made, others who have vanished after half a session…The whole shebang. For the most part I’ve been great with taking criticism, critiquing others (I think), and making sure that even if what I’m reading is garbage, I can give the writer some sort of positive takeaway. That’s the way it works.

Then there was Flight. I’m giggling just thinking about it, because I don’t think I take myself too seriously and my experience is one writers, or anyone who thinks they’re just killing it, goes through.

I thought this one out. Did a proper first draft and all. Short story shorter, a college-age teen is off to visit her divorced dad in another state and is stopped at airport security. Turns out a prized keepsake is on the Prohibited Items list and, refusing to give it up, she doesn’t board the plane. Turns out mom waited outside, expecting this change in plans.

Having gotten wildly good feedback on my last effort, I was vaguely sure this would go over as well. (btw, I still keep all my typed & handwritten comments from colleagues in a special box; I keep saying I’d like to type it all out one day when really, seeing the mode of communication and personal handwriting is what pulls me back, pleasantly, in time.)

This is where I start chuckling. After a week, I sauntered into this living room like, boom, where’s my deal? Where’s U Iowa begging me to lecture? What’s up? I downplayed this because no one likes an arrogant person & it’s not really in my nature, but I felt I was in a zone.

“And now, I’d like Nira’s primary reader to begin a synopsis of her work.”

This is where the smugness started to melt away. Kindly, politely, and with absolute concrete examples and conscious criticism, my fellow workshoppers began to detail how awful this story was. It was the voice, their tone of voice that did it; it was the tone I’d given a teen kid once who’d brought in a story about killer clowns in the suburbs and was never heard from again.

black woman typing


Continue reading “Workshopping: It Ain’t for Kids”

Me: 1. Big Pharma: 0. Hair care industry: .5

So I wrote a while back about a new Rx–effective and nondrowsy–that cost $700 for a self-paying patient. It’s been sitting at my local, non-chain pharmacy collecting dust for months. A recent wrench in my back (first I couldn’t bend over, instead forcing myself to do awkward Playboy Bunny squats every time I dropped something) has spread into my neck, so that I now have to turn my entire upper body like an early-era Terminator to look around. This made me desperate & I went to the pharmacy to piece together how much of this script I could afford for this crisis. 6? 10 pills? At this point I’d donate an egg to sit upright comfortably.

As the pharmacist empathized with the absurdity of the price and went to investigate, his assistant (with lovely new single twists) chatted me up about my hair, my products, why she’s shedding, what kind of scarf to sleep in; I’ve had similar conversations with bus drivers, women on the train, on line at the grocery store.  It’s not offensive to me & at this point I have set answers for most questions.

Big_Pharma_(Jacky_Law_book)The pharmacist appeared again, incensed. I steeled myself for horrifying news. “This is already a generic,” he said in disbelief. “So why the brand name?” I asked. Apparently, if a dosage doesn’t exist in a generic, you can create a new dosage and market it as something brand new. For $700. After a quick check with my doc, the generic was approved…for $45. [correction: $35.] “These companies and their money,” the pharmacist said, shaking his head. “We’ll work it out for you,” the assistant said comfortingly.

Big Pharma, you are ridiculous. More importantly, I love my pharmacy (which picks up and delivers, btw). Another reason to get to know your local businesses.

And as for my hair convo: Cantu, yes; Shea Moisture, no; if you can splurge, Jane Carter or Miss Jessie’s; wear a silk scarf; don’t twist edges too tightly (or don’t twist at all and slick back); try bigger twists if too much shedding is happening with tiny twists; be generous with the conditioner; and go for trims!

OK, back to work. Have a good one.