I just sent another inquiry to the people running that Gather.com first chapters competition, because after I got their rejection on the 18th, I deleted a few words here and there and put the chapters into their own files (which was NOT the way the rules were phrased, but was what they MEANT–which bodes ill for the staff’s reading comprehension/ English-language parsing skills) and re-sent it.

So now it’s what, the 24th, and they say you’ll hear from them that they received it or not in two business days.

I think they’ll find some other pretext on which to reject it. At that point, I’ll just forget about their contest. I didn’t realize it was going to be *that* much of an insiders’ story, but maybe it is. I know that I could have been in “American Title” this year, except that my postmark date was one day too late.

And two days ago I went grocery shopping. I got two dozen eggs. I made sure to put the eggs in the back passenger seat with my sweater under them so they wouldn’t be crushed. I made three more stops and was exhausted when I got home. Brought in the sacks from Dollar General (canned goods), Wal-Mart (all the perishables), and Target (my salad dressing and Mama’s prescriptions). But . . . um, didn’t see the eggs. Left ’em in the car all afternoon and all night. Then yesterday when I got ready to boil the eggs to make egg salad (Mama can eat that, and I can put hard-boiled eggs up to 3 oz. in my salads in place of meat on this diet), there weren’t any. Guess where they were?

I wasn’t firing on all cylinders, because I had stopped to sneak into a consignment store and try on a few things to see if I could fit into the next size down, size 18 (yes, shameful!) I’m still a few pounds away. At any rate, when I got into their fitting room, I saw that my pupil in my left eye was enlarged. What I mean is that it was noticeably bigger than the one in the other eye. This happens sometimes when I’m in low-light situations, because it’s more damaged from the surgery than the other one. The right eye doesn’t do that. I’m always panicked that it might “pool” and get stuck, as this happened to the patient who used to have regular appointments at my neuro-opthalmologist right before me (he had the same kind of problem I had, but he had worse aftereffects). This was a symptom that I had early on with my health problem that was healed several years ago. So when I saw that, I got all panicky. Can’t help it . . . the endocrine system just sends signals, and the ductless glands flood the ol’ bod with flight power. If only I *could* fly away.

Anyhow, I got out to the car and flipped down the rear view mirror and both pupils were back to pinpricks.

Still, ya can’t help getting rattled. I was really rattled.

Then on the way home the car CD player lost its mind and said it was on track 267 of CD 1 and couldn’t eject or nothin’. I turned it off, went to fill up the van with ga$ ($2 a gallon), and then turned the car back on. It had gotten its brain back. But I don’t trust it. I think that CD made it nutzo because it was home-burned from Monkees “rarities” tracks. I ejected it while I still could.

That car is already on its 2nd CD changer, too. And the “info/reset” buttons on the dash are broken. And the right rear brake light/turn signal light is out, and the owner’s manual says I have to go to the dealership for that. (I think it’s just loose from hubby slamming that tailgate, because it went in and out for a few weeks. But now it seems to be perma-out.) Several other little nits goin’ on. That model has MANY little problems. Really too bad, as the previous model (the Windstar) was grand and we never had a day’s trouble with the one we rented. I used to have a Dodge Caravan, but I didn’t like the ride on the one I test-drove, and that’s how I ended up with a Ford Freestar. It really has a lot of bugs. When I take it in, though, I’ll be stranded here in Casa el Dumpo for a couple of days . . . so we are dreading going to get it all fixed.

But we’re all alive . . . we can see . . . we can walk . . . we’re not worthy, but we’re still here. So I suppose there’s still hope.

In fact, I’m such an eternal optimist that I signed up for that “American LJ Idol” thing. I’m supposed to do an intro post by Friday.


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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