Monday, March 28, 2011

No Longer Greek To Me OR I'm A Little Bit Smarter Today Than I Was Yesterday

Over here at this great writing blog, Storyfix, Larry Brooks taught me something new and then made me laugh a whole lotta times. 

Do you know what a  paraprosdokian is?
Can you close your eyes and spell it?

If you're anything like I was, the answer is no on both counts.

But I'm here to enlighten you.  To pay it forward. . .

A paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect.

For example:

– I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.

– Do not argue with an idiot.  He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

– I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.

– Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

– The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on the list.

– Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

– If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.

– We never really grow up; we only learn how to act in public.

– War does not determine who is right — only who is left.

– Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

– The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

– Evening news is where they begin with ‘Good evening,’ and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.

– To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

There are plenty more to chuckle over here if you're interested...



Friday, February 18, 2011

Off The Blogger Grid

Wow.  It's been a long time.  My many thanks to those of you who are actually still receiving my posts, you are a patient group.

I could give you the excuse that I've been busy - with writing and general domestic chaos - it wouldn't be the first time and it would only be partially true.  The other part of that truth is that I am having a blogging identity crisis.

When I started merlotmom, as is representative of the blog's name, I was writing about the daily deeds and conundrums of being a SAHM.  My kids were 7 and 10 and I had plenty of stories and queries to share with my blogger friends and I loved hearing yours as well.

Now, my kids are 10 and 14, and I know some of you are comfortable sharing your family stories despite the ages of your kids,  but as my kids have grown, particularly my eldest, the issues have become more delicate I have found it increasingly difficult to make their daily dramas public.

In addition, I have FINALLY broken through the writer's block that set in last Spring and I have been working hard figuring out the process that will help me write my FREAKIN' first novel already.  I am not always as productive as I would like to be but I am trying to forgive myself and permit myself the time to find the right method for me.  It has meant confronting my demons, as they relate to my life-long fear of failure and lack of confidence.  This is my current journey and it has been tough.

A pleasant part of that journey has been visiting the plethora of writing blogs out there.  There are so many good ones with great articles on technique and advice that I feel as if I'm working toward that creative writing degree I always wanted but was too frightened to attempt.  This is where I am putting all my extra-familial energy right now.

Point is, I'm not sure "merlotmom" is still working for me, though, trust me, I am still drinking the merlot, I'm just doing it off the blogger grid these days.   I considered starting a writing blog (something with a different title for obvious reasons),  a journal of the trials and tribulations of writing my first novel, but that has already been done out there and part of me feels like a newbie who might not have much valid, literary knowledge or advice to offer. 

So, that, along with the reticence to publicize my continuing and ever-changing family soap operas, has left me at a blogging loss.  The identity crisis.

I love having a blog.  I love reading your comments and discovering you lurkers out there.  I just need to see if I can find a new niche for myself in bloggersville.  In the meantime, merlotmom will remain in case I have something permissible and brilliant to share.  Who knows?

I hope you'll be there if I do.

Friday, November 19, 2010

My Apologies, My Blog Has Gone Wonky

Okay, what do I do?  According to my dashboard the posts I were referring to did NOT publish.  
Yet, they show up in Google Alerts.

Did you guys get two weird posts prior to this one?  Tonight?
Again, I blame blogger and my apologies.

The last two posts were not yet to see the light of publishing.

I blame blogger of course.

I will try to post something you can actually read tomorrow.

Nighty night.

Monday, November 8, 2010

If Only High School Was As Fun As The Reunion

Despite the childish insecurities that reared their freakish heads here days before the event, I walked away from my 30th high school reunion wishing I could do high school all over again.  I wanted a do over!

You read that right.

I know.  It’s strange.  Particularly because when I was in high school I could not wait to get the hell out.  I spent hundreds of hours daydreaming about moving away and starting my life fresh and the summer after graduation, I packed my luggage and with the few mementos I held dear and off I went. 

I never looked back.

Yet, years later, here I was having the time of my life with the very people I couldn’t wait to escape and judging from the youthful squeals, tight embraces, and toothy smiles, everyone in the room was feeling the same way. 

Thanks to Facebook the rough edges of the reunion-rite-of-passage were smoothed over before we got there.  The social network provided a safe, casual forum for us to reacquaint and reveal so that by the day of the event internet familiarity quickly turned into genuine intimacy. Thirty years had knocked the wind out of the puffy chests and tugged away at the coats of armor, leaving behind a congenial and forthright group who, for at least one night, all drank happily from the same nostalgic kool-aid.

I liken the friendships made in high school to those made during summer camp, natural disasters, even war;  all products of battle creating bonds perhaps easily forgotten but never broken. With only a few exceptions, I have rarely been in a room where I felt a deep connection to so many.  I know this was, in part, an illusion.  These people don’t really know me now, they didn’t really know me then, but they know where I’m from, they know how I began, and having lived 30 years and thousands of miles away, I realized that night, that counts for a lot.

It’s a curious feeling but in the week that followed my reunion, I felt more grounded.  Rooted.  Whole.  Like missing pieces of an unfinished puzzle had finally slid into their rightful place. Corny, I know.  But true. I also felt sad, regretting friendships and fun that could have been,  time I wasted misunderstanding and being misunderstood. 

But I  have no regrets about going to my 30th.  In fact, I highly recommend it.  If nothing else, it can serve as emotional closure.  It’s enlightening.  It’s fun.  It’s a chance to focus solely on you (the single you, the you sans obligation) which in my world, and I suppose many of yours, is a rare opportunity indeed. 

I look forward to my 40th.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Reunion Scoop Comes Later...

...although I will say this, I am totally glad I went.  I'll leave you hanging in suspense beyotch that I am...

Meanwhile, I read this essay by Kathryne Young in the most recent Glimmer Train.  It hit close to home as I am at this very moment, and for the last few days,  trying to resume my writer's life which has been on hold since June.  (Hence the break to READ about WRITING, heh.)

I thought it worthy for those of you who may share my pain...

Article got cut off so here is the link.  Enjoy.

On Writing, Not Writing, and the Writing Life Follow glimmertrain on Twitter

Writers are a ragtag, scattered bunch. We scribble things on napkins, on receipts, squirrel them away in pockets, in folders, in cigar boxes. In her essay, "On Keeping a Notebook," Joan Didion writes, "The impulse to write things down is a peculiarly compulsive one, inexplicable to those who do not share it, useful only accidentally, only secondarily, in the way that any compulsion tries to justify itself." My mother told me something similar when I was young: you don't get to choose whether you're a writer; your only choice is whether to be a writer who writes or a writer who doesn't. What she didn't tell me then, though I'm certain she knew, is that if you're a writer and you're not writing, you will never quite be happy.
After I finished my MFA program, I wrote almost no fiction for four years. Life, as they say, was getting in the way: law school, divorce, teaching, coming out. The obstacles to writing are different in every case, but they are also the same. They are urgent, and tap our physical, emotional, financial, and intellectual resources. We tell ourselves we'll have more time soon: on the weekend, in the summer, in the winter, when the baby stops teething, when the conference is over, when we get tenure, when the house is tidy.
I started writing again when I started reading again. Haruki Murakami, Amy Bloom, Paul Auster, Miranda July, Aravind Adiga, and Don Delillo beckoned me back with their alluring characters, plights at once believable and fantastic. I listened to audiobooks on my commute; I took a solo vacation on which I did little but hike and read. When I read great things, I can't help but want to write. I began scribbling things down in a notebook again. I went back to stories I'd started years earlier. I started some new ones.

I'd like to think that my writing self is different from the self who stands in front of sociology undergraduates and dutifully lectures them about qualitative research methods. I'd like to believe she is wiser, wistful, more creative, and that she comes out of hiding on certain early mornings when the time is right and the coffee is rich and hot, that she writes a few stunning pages and slips back into bed while my other self drives into Palo Alto to make a living. Perhaps this division appeals to me because it makes me feel less guilty when I haven't written anything in a month: only my writing self can write, and she's moody. If the conditions aren't perfect, she can't be expected to emerge.

But in the end, there is only me and my busy, imperfect life. The days that I write are victories. And even after the most discouraging, least productive sessions, I never regret writing. I learn over and over that time spent writing is time well spent.
"Roadrunner" is a special story to me because it's the first thing I managed to write after my four-year dry spell. I started the story in my MFA program, but my first drafts were terrible (no climax, no development; nothing happened). I plucked it from the drawer years later because at 29, I'd finally signed up for a writing workshop again, but wasn't ready to start something from scratch. Reworking my words, understanding the protagonist, peeling away layers of the story to find its core—these things did not come easily, but they felt like coming home.
Life is short, but by God's grace, for most of us it is also long. This gives us a great deal of time to follow Samuel Beckett's famous imperative to fail, fail again, and fail better. To succeed, we have to fail. To fail, we have to try. To try, we have to put ourselves on the line—risk freezing our limited, myopic worldviews onto the page for everyone to scoff at. We don't "discover" our writing selves. We build ourselves into writers by realizing that our busy, imperfect lives are the writing life.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Forgive Me...and H-E-L-P

 photo courtesy of google images

Okay, I suck.

It's been a while.
Months in fact.
I didn't forget any of you.  I just, I just...

I just suck.

But, I come to you today, my dear blogger friends, not only to apologize for abandoning the blogosphere (I do apologize - though I dare not guarantee you it won't happen again), but to ask all of you for your help and support. (Greedy bitch, I bet you're thinking, who does she think she is.)

I know - I SUCK.  But I'm kinda desperate.

You see, this weekend I am embarking on a trip back in time.  Back home.  To the East Coast.  My 30th high school reunion.  Yes.  Gag.  30th. High school.  Reunion.

And...well... I'm nervous. Because despite the fact that I've grown into what I believe is a good person with a full life, great friends and an incredible family, I still wonder when I walk into that room...
Will anyone like me?


This is not me!  This insecurity, the feelings of inadequacy, the misfit-ness.  This is the person who I was.  Or, at least, who I thought I was.  I don't know... And do I need to know?  Why do all these feelings have to surface just because I'm about to see people I haven't seen in 30 years?  People who mean nothing to me today? 

Or do they?

Facebook.   Suddenly, with the upcoming event, classmates are popping up out of nowhere.  Creaky doors to decades gone by are slowly opening, drawing me into their darkened space.  I can feel the power swelling.  Will what's inside be a pleasure... or a Pandora's box?   

I'm not sure I want to reunite with the old me.  Who was the old me anyway?  I'm about to see her in classmate's eyes, hear about her in their recollections.  Did I know her as well as I thought I did?  Was she better or worse than the figment of my imagination?  What DID people think of me?   What WILL people think of me?  Will my hair look okay? 

I have paid too much money and spilled my guts to too many highly-trained strangers for all this emotional sludge to be backing up on me now.   I am waaaaay too old and tired for these pubescent spirals.

Please, I beg of you, oh-so-wise- blogger friends, offer me some pearls of wisdom so that I may walk into this magical mystery time warp the sane, self-confident woman that I am today.

Or am I?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Blogging from the Holy Land

Though ive been MIA from the blogosphere of late, I wanted to stop by and say hello from the Holy Land.

Yes. That's right. I'm in Israel. Sufficiently jet-lagged (my husband surprised me with a last minute business class upgrade but when my son started crying at the thought of me being 10 rows up and a closed curtain away I decided to stay with him in coach and gave my luxurious seat/bed to my daughter.) What else could I do? I'm a sucker for my kids tears. Anyway, he knows he owes me big and now my daughter will have to love me forever. Right? Right? Not to mention the sweet gesture on hubby's part.

And now that i've stuffed myself with hummus,(omg, the hummus and falafel are so good here!), dipped my toes in the Mediterranean, and done exactly whatI was told not to do when I arrived (napped), I am wide awake at bedtime (brunch time in Los Angeles), and blogging. (will wonders never cease).

We are here for two weeks and I hope to post pix and stories of our discoveries.


©2010 All rights reserved. Reproductions of any portion of this website only at the express permission of