The sin of distraction (a meme and title stolen from greygirlbeast)

I realize that a number of my readers don’t care for memes, but I’ve forgotten (again) how to do the LJ cut properly. I can’t seem to resist explaining my choices. I think that stems from going to school all these years. I was well suited to being a college professor and what used to be called a “public intellectual.” Too bad that “career” disappeared in the mid-1980s, when Stupid became the national religion.

Oh, and I was recently being shamed on a mailing list for “making sweeping generalizations.” My comments were supposed to be funny exaggerations, but this ain’t da fust time dose broads have jumped on me for saying things as mild as, “All really creative artists/writers are nonconformists.” (How is that not a Universal Truth?)

I tell you what, if I say “that’s black,” they fire back immediately with, “No, it isn’t. It’s a shade of MIDNIGHT CHARCOAL that only LOOKS black in a certain light. You are talking about a Texas-based sunlight. You are always OVERgeneralizing,” etc. It’s fairly passive-aggressive. I am then required to apologize and grovel and drag my hair through the mud.

I’ve figured out why I tend to make a generalization (even when it’s an exaggeration). Again, all that schooling. In school, when you are given an assignment, typically you are expected to take what you have read and draw some general conclusions, backing them up with specific citations. In science labs, you are supposed to draw a conclusion. Generally, you are asked to reason from the specific to the general. That’s why it comes naturally to me. I am just trying to make sense out of the world when I do it, not put down some particular group or method. But it seems that whatever you say, it steps on someone’s widdle toesies. That’s the world today, I guess.

Hope you’re wearing your steel-toed boots.

Meme stolen originally from oneirophrenia and by me from greygirlbeast. (Both of them writers.)

**10 bands/singers I’m really into lately**

Y’all’re gonna be disappointed, because there’s no one new on this list.

1. Bobby Darin (BD rules) (*always has*) (BD junkie since 1971)–in rotation are “Swingin’ the Standards,” “Sail Away,” and “Aces Back to Back”
2. Neil Young (Neil Young junkie since 1978)–“Live Rust” and “After the Gold Rush”
3. Pete Seeger (Seeger fan since 1963–Mama used to play all his records)–many Vanguard compilations
4. The Beatles (Early album with “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Twist and Shout” and also the one with “Paperback Writer,” I think Abbey Road(!), or maybe the hit singles compilation, in rotation)
5. The Monkees (“Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, and Jones” in heavy rotation)
6. Nancy Sinatra (you’d be surprised at some of her old albums–vinyl lives forever)
7. Doc Watson (the guy who plays bluegrass banjo and strings)
Isn’t that ten yet?!?!

**9 things that make you smile**

My dog, and Pomeranians in general–and cats, too, all kinds
Stained glass
Thinking of happy times
Vintage cars with those great big fins
“You’ve got e-mail!” beep
Summer showers with rainbows in the sky–or running through a sprinkler
Seeing a little kid tugging on his parents’ hands to show them something
Road trips and Sunday drives

**8 things you wear daily**

Lip gloss/lip smackers stick–but it wears off pretty fast
Black leggings or semi-stretch pants
Wedding/engagement bands
Hair scrunchies (ponytail holders)
A silly grin

**7 things that annoy you**

I’ll have to number these to keep from going on and on. (As if I’m not doing just that anyway)

1. Rules that don’t make sense and were put in place after some upstart did something that annoyed the Ruling Class (such as, “No xxx in ss.”

2. People who walk in your front door, see the baby grand, and ask, “Does anybody play that thing?” Especially if they then (upon learning that the culprit is YOURS TRULY) ask you to play something, and then start plonking the keys at either the highest or lowest octave. Or play random keys trying to screw you up. Then they defend it by saying something lame about how they’re not impressed if you can play that classical rot, or you weren’t playing anything they recognized (even if you were playing something they hum daily in the carpool).

Or they go throw dimes on the keys that you’re playing, and you fear it will screw up the mechanism of the Borders concert grand . . . the parents have not properly socialized the little monster who did that to me when I was playing in a Borders cafe.

Or they ask what the fastest thing you can play is. My answer is always, “I wish I could play this number faster. The faster you play, the less time there is to make mistakes.” (That was a joke, son.)

3. The insurance co-payment going up for prescriptions and doctor’s office visits just about every year

4. TVLand dropping (first I typoed it as “drooping,” ha) the good shows for all those Westerns and lame 80s/90s shows. Where is my “Bewitched”? Why don’t they re-run “Dobie Gillis” and “Patty Duke” like they’re supposed to? They ruined “Nick at Nite” long ago, and now I can hardly bear any of the TVLand shows. Channel 11 Superstation betrayed D/FW when it became the CBS affiliate, so there’s no hope there. I can’t even find re-runs of “Caroline in the City,” a guilty pleasure.

5. Cheerleaders. Gah. In fact, any sports fan who calls it “My Team” when he or she has absolutely nothing to do with the athletic prowess or scoring ability of the team, and does not own a financial stake in it. Unless you are ON the TEAM, it is not “Your Team.”

6. Pop-up ads and spam e-mail. Why do they continue doing it? Does anybody really buy stuff from all those things? It must be working, or they wouldn’t bother doing it . . . unless their mission in life is to ANNOY US!!!!

7. Excessive use of exclamation points!!!!

**6 things you’re looking foward to**

Having my book published by a New York house and actually sent around to bookstores
The ensuing book tour, even if I finance most of it *grin*
Getting a call from an agent who’s a real agent to tell me a real editor wants me to sign a multi-book contract
Starting piano again with a jazz player, if I ever find someone who takes grown-ups as students
Getting a tattoo (okay, I’m lying about that one–I am deadly afraid of needles, think it’s not for me, etc. Just thought it would sound cool)
The next issue of sappy, silly “Sheet Music Magazine”

*5 things you’re scared of*

I can’t begin to list my many and varied phobias and neuroses.

**4 things that are on your desk**

(Used to, I could always say “a cat” and be correct)
Um . . . two printouts of novels (manuscripts) that I need to read back through again after letting them rest for a couple of weeks
this weird answering machine that understands distinctive ring but forgets messages when the power fails (digital)
a stack of bills
a red Swingline stapler

**3 movies you could watch over and over again** (and have!)

Real Genius
To Kill a Mockingbird
A guilty pleasure–the original Parent Trap

**2 of your favorite songs at the moment**

(Can we count piano compositions?)
The “Alice in Wonderland” jazz waltz that I’m learning. It’s as played by Bill Evans, sort of, but I think the original was in the Disney movie.
“The Other Half of Me” as sung by BD on “Swingin’ the Standards”

**1 person you could spend the rest of your life with**

Well, since I’m married, I suppose I’ve already made a traditional choice on that one. But seriously, you’re going to have to spend the rest of your life with yourself, so why not choose YOU? So I’ll say, “Me!:>”

Trivial-meaningless-useless fact of the day: crossword (puzzle) expertise is supposedly one of the qualities the CIA looks for in its potential recruits.

I always INTENDED to be an actress or a spy. Comes from all those hours of watching I Spy, The Man from UNCLE, and the Girl from UNCLE (Stefanie Powers, IIRC.) My dad used to get really frustrated when we sneaked around the house “spying” on him.

Remind me someday to tell you what he did when my friend and I put the record player on “repeat” and played a particular 45 over and over during a sleepover evening. . . .


Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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