Brass Leftovers

When I was in seventh grade I was in band. Thinking back on it now, choosing an instrument was a lot of pressure. I mean, this was a decision you would be stuck with until you graduated high school, unless you dropped out of band.

I was a shy kid. I didn’t like to say shit if I had a mouthful, so I ended up on the French horn. 

I didn’t want the French horn; it’s not a cool instrument. I wanted the flute or the clarinet, something that the popular girls played. A woodwind. Or even the drums, if I could have coped with being a girl on drums. I probably could not. 

The French horn was like a slap in the face. Still, I learned it. I played it. I oiled it and emptied the spit. But more because I felt obligated to do so than out of any prticular love for the instrument. I chose band, and I kept my mouth shut until all the cool instruments were taken in second hour. I got the leftover French horn that no one wanted.

I almost feel guilty about it now; I’m sure the French horn wanted to be cool as much as I did. I’m sure it wanted to be wanted. 

My band teacher wrote in my yearbook that she hoped to see me back the next year, that she needed me. I switched to art and never looked back. 

Tues Truthiness at TBP 


Before R. Sativus

Today Ian gave me a prompt:

Today I would like to read about why you have such a passion for writing. What’s the first memory that you have of enjoying writing, what was it about? What are ways I could help you with your writing? 

Didn’t I just answer this the other day? Because there are so many words to string together in so many different ways. Because I love the sound and the feel of a keyboard. Because it’s easier to be myself when I don’t have to look anyone in the eye.

The first memory I have of enjoying writing is writing poetry as a child. One summer when I was eight or nine, my dad helped me submit some poems to the local newspaper that had a section for kids’ writing. They published my poems. I think I still have the clipping somewhere.

I always loved writing reports in school. Any topic, it didn’t matter. 

When I was in fifth grade, we had Automatic Writing, five minutes every day, first thing. Sometimes I would tell stories, sometimes describe things, and yes, sometimes resort to the infinity of very‘s we’ve all been guilty of at some point.

In my seventh grade gifted class, I turned in a series of satirical essays about Desert Shield/Desert Storm. My teacher loved them. It’s funny; we all thought she was so weird, but I’d be willing to bet that we would get along famously now. As Ian would say, she was a hippie. Maybe I should look her up on Facebook. Anyway. I thought I was just being clever, writing like a smartass and getting away with it. I didn’t realize until years later that I was The Onion before there was The Onion.

When I was fifteen I spent three weeks at summer camp for nerds. I’m happy to see, after a quick google, that it’s still going strong. I wrote essay upon essay, and someone called me a genius to my face for the first time instead of writing it in a file. That’s rewarding for anybody.

And Ian, you do plenty to help me. You’re encouraging while minding your own business, and that works for me. Thank you.


Tossing Cookies

The second week of school was when the conduct calendar first showed its dirty face.

We had no foreknowledge of this event, so when I opened Abby’s folder I was terribly amused at what I saw.

“Did you do anything at school today that you weren’t supposed to do, Abby?”

“No.” Completely guile free.

“Anything you got in trouble for?”

“No.” Still no clue of what I’m getting at.

“Did you maybe throw cookies?”

“No…well, they weren’t my cookies.”

Well that makes it okay! Cue laughter.

“Did you throw someone else’s cookies at snack time?”

“Yes.” Very mild chagrin.

“Thank you for not throwing your cookies, but it’s not nice to throw anyone else’s cookies, either, okay?”

“Okay.” And we’ve shrugged it off.

The next morning:

“I’ll be good today. I won’t throw my cookies or anybody else’s cookies.” Very earnest and pleased with herself.

“Thank you.”

True to her word, every day since has been a green/good day.


Damn Dirty Apes

The final prompt for NaBloPoMo:

Tell us one memorable moment from August.

Oh, I have one.

I’ll be writing soon about school; Abby started pre-k this week. But this little anecdote can’t wait any longer.

We picked her up from her second day. After I got her buckled in and we left the parking lot, I took her purple folder from her Frozen backpack.

I noticed a new addition: a sheet of paper with two monkeys at the top was taped to the front, Abby’s name clearly printed in the middle. This was an upgrade from the smaller name markered on the top right corner.

“Oh, look at this!” I exclaimed, trying to be upbeat even though pre-k is the saddest thing ever. It’s hard, y’all.

I turned to look at Abby in her booster seat. She crossed her arms and made a stern, grumpy face. Totes adorbs.

“I hate monkeys,” she declared, in an odd but effective mixture of deadpan vehemence.

I wish I could type in her tone of voice. The emotion ran much deeper than the average I hate you proclamation that follows being sent to the corner, yet was nearly as flippantly casual as an average I hate Brussels sprouts type of comment.

It was utterly priceless.

Ian and I could not contain our mirth for a few seconds. After we regained our composure, Ian suggested that we remove the offensive primate label.

“My teacher said don’t take it off.”

I had to give Ian the stink-eye. I know what a challenge sounds like to him.

We agreed to just not look at the stupid monkeys.

I hate monkeys has become our latest catchphrase.

Good times.


Grading Scale

Today’s BlogHer NaBloPoMo prompt:

What was your favorite grade in school and why?

This is actually a tough one. I was a nerd; I loved school. I was shy and quiet and smart, so all of my teachers loved me.

I take it back. It’s not so tough after all. My favorite grade was fifth.

I attended nine schools; fifth grade was my fifth. I went to SLU Laboratory School in Hammond. Not to sound cliche, but it was a great experience for me.

The school included grades K-8 in a huge open room. Each class got a slice-of-pie shaped learning area. I had maybe fifteen kids in my class, including my best friend who lived next door.

Every morning we had Automatic Writing, ten minutes of pen to paper. Fridays we had Automatic Drawing. I still have my notebook. That should be enough to make it my favorite right there, eh?

But the real highlight was our class trip to Washington, DC. I’m so grateful that I was able to go.

Also, we played a lot of foursquare at recess. I love foursquare.


Back to School

BlogHer’s prompt for today:

Back to school is right around the corner. Are you ready for another school year?

Kids went back to school in our parish two weeks ago. We start earlier every year.

I’ve been griping about that. Even though we have had a pretty mild summer so far, I’m ready for it to be over. School started, so it should be getting cooler soon, right? Nope. Still breaking 100°.

I don’t have the ability to deal with hot, humid Louisiana summers anymore. So hot. Ugh.

Bring on the cold weather!

Eventually.