Monday, January 17, 2011


Instead of making the list of resolutions on New Year's Eve as many of my friends and family are doing tonight – that list of resolutions likely to be broken (given my proclivities) and likely to leave me riddled with guilt and loathing about my inability to stick to even a plan I'd made – I've decided to make another kind of list while waiting by the fire to hear the arrival of the New Year heralded by the local church bells and the fireworks in town square.

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I thought I would amuse myself by making a list of "Things I Discovered This Year." I ended up with a 15- page list – shocking even to me – but here, for your amusement and horror, are 25 of them:

1. About transvestites: always use the pronoun which corresponds to the gender presentation. (Thank you, Eddie Izzard.)

2. Dandelions do not "nod in agreement." (So saith two of my fellow writers.)

3. What the world really wants from a Southern writer is a "White Trash Starter Kit." (I'm working my way through that one right now.)

4. Memory is an unreliable narrator. (Excellent news in regards to putting together that White Trash Starter Kit.)

5. The Devil's knickers are full of hot chili peppers and spicy salsa. (Don't ask. Don't.)

6. The devil singing in my inkwell has perfect-pitch. That's how I know he's the Devil.

7. Some days I am so close to being utterly lost, I let God play me like His fool.

8. There is a swing-shift at the local slaughterhouse.

9. You may explain the tides to me. You may point out the moon. But you will have to allow me to decipher for myself the undertow.

10. My fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Jones, had such a profound effect on me that, even in my dreams, I still conjugate the verb infinitive to be.

11. Something in me is always choosing. But between what and what, I do not always know.

12. Human beings have a large amount of retroviral material in their "junk" DNA.

13. Sometimes I am wrong – no; often I am wrong. And sometimes willfully so.

14. I miss pistons sometimes – the herky-jerky hump and frenzy of them under the hood – exchanged as they are now for the more efficient hum of the motherboard.

15. There is a difference between the rain and its parade.

16. Death sings nine songs as he comes for you.

17. Some nights, a dark bell rings me to sleep.

18. Some days, every cup in my kitchen cabinet wants to fly off its handle.

19. When I sense something is about to happen over which I have no control, I have that dream again I had as a girl: a man with a knife in his teeth looking at me as if I were hot butter.

20. God sleeps with one eye open.

21. I bought an old trunk at an estate sale and found in it a Book of Spells, but someone had torn out the pages for "Resurrecting the Dead."

22. When you are very ill, the wind can carry your soul away and even the smallest thimble can hold all the crumbling syllables of your name; that's how slender the tether is from you to the-world-as-you-know-it.

23. When I am committing the world to memory, I do not appreciate it when someone annoys me with the facts.

24. A man cannot promise you the moon when all he has is a barn.

25. When it comes to rodeos, my sympathies lie with the bull.

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