Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Answers on a Postcard...

Sorry for my long absence. I didn't mean to take a month off, but now that it's happened, I suppose it's a good thing. It's allowed me to come to several realizations. Don't worry, "quitting the blog" was not one of those realizations. I still have plenty to talk about here: the ongoing tales of my resume, the next (and long delayed) Giveaway of Crap, a 20th anniversary unearthing of my travel journal I kept whilst living in London, and quite a lot more. If you're very unlucky, I may do a Fiction Friday of my own and start posting installments of a story I've been telling Thomas and the Brownie: a tale about a smart-mouthed young man named Pete Zakes and the trouble he gets into when, in a fit of pique, he tells his mother to go to hell--and wakes up the next morning to find out that she has.

Meanwhile, one realization I've come to is that lately I don't seem to have it in me to write long posts--at least, not long ones that are remotely interesting. And it's been suggested by more than a few wags that I tend to drone on and on anyway, so for the next short while, we'll be going in the opposite direction.

Herewith, I offer you "Answers on a Postcard" (after the old instructions from magazine and newspaper editors soliciting replies from readers, replies that they wanted kept short and to the point). My original idea was to keep these sketches to 100 words or less, which is about what I can squeeze on a postcard (I can write very small when I have to). But then I remembered that this was ME I was talking about and that it would be an effort indeed if I could keep the posts to under 300 words, so that's the limit I'm sticking to.

Whether 100 or 300 words, I have no doubt these entries will leave a lot more to your imagination than usual, but I don't think you'll mind. And if you do, write in and tell me. Answers on a postcard, please.

Let's begin:

Fellow Travelers


"Dad?!" Thomas shouts. "How long can babies cry like that before they break something?"

The Eclair appears on the point of rupture, strawberry red, chin awash in drool and bubbles. She's been crying for two hours and 42 minutes--ever since we got on the highway. We've stopped to check for burning poop or stinging insects--anything to warrant the blood-curdling shrieks. Her Lovely Self even topped the kid off and burped her comprehensively. We've tried music, funny faces, stuffed animal puppet shows, all to no avail.


What can we do? We have to get to Chicago tonight. Tomorrow, we press on to Ohio to deposit the two older kids, then HLS, the Eclair and I continue on to New Hampshire. So we let her scream.

"Maybe she's scared of the car. She thinks we'll have an accident," the Brownie says, supposing the baby knows what we're all too painfully aware of: Tonight we'll be driving right past the stretch of highway where my parents were killed less than 100 days ago.


"Hold her hand, Daddy," the Brownie suggests. "Tell her she's not alone." It's absurd--the Éclair is surrounded by us. How can she NOT know she's not alone?

But…what the hell. I reach back into the carseat, patting the baby's heaving belly. She howls, latching onto a finger with her sweaty hand, gripping it vise-like. In a second, I lose all sensation in my pinkie. I look back. From my vantage I can see only her little hand, knuckles white with effort as she squeezes, squeezes...

...and goes silent.

I unbuckle myself and hazard a peek back: out cold.

But even in sleep, her grip hasn't slackened one bit.

More postcards from the road soon.

From Somewhere on the Masthead


Glad to see you're still with us, and another good tale that reminds us that it's good to be patient.
Good to see you back, MM. I thought of you just yesterday, wondering how you were doing.

Also, quality over quantity any day.
Oh MM. I will take 100 words. I'll settle for 10.:)

Glad to have you back, along with the wisdom that is The Brownie. God bless her.
HOORAY! and welcome back!

I love the postcards idea...perfect for reading on a quick break at work.

Does anyone else think the Eclair looks a bit like the Brownie?
Welcome back.
Good to see you again, MM. The blogosphere was lonely without you.
having the urge to break out in the theme song from "welcome back kotter" but i'll settle instead for a hearty "hello!"

postcards from the road is a loverly idea...and that eclair? scrumptious! i could eat those chubby cheeks right up.
I'll take anything of any length from you, as you know.

However, let me be the first to say that I find your lengthy pieces charming. I tend to ramble, so perhaps I'm prejudiced because of that, but many of my favorite authors are not cheap with the words. A fellow like - for instance - Twain, put great color and personality into all that he wrote. He was wordy, but the words all told - same as your words do.
I always referred to it as "one last kick at the can"; expending that last bit of energy to shriek as if possessed before giving into the demon sleep. All three of mine would do it. One still does, and she's eleven!

Say a prayer as you drive that stretch of road. I will too.
I agree with Suldog- I'll take any length you have time to write - it's always interesting! Postcards are a great idea. Blessings and prayers to all of you on the drive. Lizardmom
You're back! Yay!

I've been wondering about you and your family, hoping that nothing else has gone wrong.

Glad to see you writing again!
ahoy MM! Those were 300 well-worth-it words. When I write short posts I usually say something like, "I had broccoli today." But your short posts are actually... good. Anyway, short or long—it's always good to hear from you.
Thanks for posting. You don't have to apologize, we all know you have a lot going on.

Am I reading into your words, or is there something new you are adding to your resume?

You could drone on for days or write one word and we'd enjoy all of it.

Looks like the Eclair is showing you how she's going to have you wrapped around her lil finger.

Sending thoughts your way for a safe trip. Post when you are up to it.
I'm so glad you're back!!! I too was slightly apprehensive about the quiet.
What is a better use for a pinkie..I ask you. I needed this simple pure image today. Thanks.
It's like an old friend has returned from the mountains. Welcome back. We're all still here. :)
I've missed you MM. Long story or short, I'll be here reading.

That little Brownie...what wisdom in such a small sweet package.
I love this postcard idea! Brilliant. Wonderful story about the Brownie and Eclair... can't wait to hear more. I love the idea of telling us just a snippet and letting us fill in the blanks on our own.

So very glad you're back, MM.
(Psst... that last comment was from me. Who's "Rebecca"? Yeesh!)
Cute, cute pics!! So glad to see you are posting again and so glad you and the MM family are good! I personally like the long posts (a little tedious when I was trying to catch up in the beginning) but like the others here I will take anything.

Like everyone else I'm glad to see you & the family are OK, just takin' care of business! After your mother in laws comment I'm also glad to hear you are off to see BB, lest there be bloodshed in Ohio. Enjoy the road trip, shreeking & all & I hope you have a good visit in NH. Your posts are a clear example that size doesn't matter! Just keep 'em comming how ever long. All the best to BB & the travelers. pj
I had worried a bit that the "neutering" had been more traumatic then normal

Maybe we'll get to say hi while you are here. If not have a good visit
I for one, quite enjoy your long ramles on. You give a wonderful buildup to your stories, allow the reader to get to know your 'characters' frame of mind, and you more oft than not, deliver a pretty good punch line.
As for travelling with babies and small children... I found in my experience that it gets better.... In about 20 years!
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