The Parent He Needs

Two Souls One Heart

On my son’s first birthday, a stomach virus knocked him flat. For the next few days, he couldn’t keep anything down. Even though he begged for the comfort of nursing, I had to ration his time on the breast. We fed him Pedialyte from a dropper. He screamed in protest until thirst overcame his resistance.

After a few days, he rallied. Small portions of pureed food stayed down. Great quantities of breast milk too. He resumed scooting all over the house and tormenting the dog. The doctor had said he’d get over it, and this seemed to hold true.

Except that he kept losing weight.

Continue reading “The Parent He Needs”

3. Things I Can Catch and Release: The Censor Speaks

The Rules:

  1. Avoid “I”
  2. Stick with a person
  3. Rephrase any instance of “no” or “not”
  4. When it doubt, verb
  5. Who inverts the passive
  6. Actions float; feelings sink
  7. Dice
  8. Describe in detail
  9. Enough description — get on with it
  10. Develop a character
  11. Develop a plot
  12. Make a point
  13. Points are red herrings
  14. Get over yourself
  15. Cliches are dead weight
  16. Is that sentimentality? Seriously?
  17. Carry a theme
  18. Release your grip
  19. Use all the senses
  20. Get back to the action
  21. Look up
  22. Exploit conflict
  23. Contrived conflict fails
  24. Contrived anything fails
  25. Just make it up
  26. But make meaning
  27. And make it seem accidental
  28. Smile. This is fun.
  29. Keep your hand moving
  30. Generate volume
  31. Polish gems
  32. Murder your darlings
  33. Perfection is death (also, the reverse)
  34. Express what moves you
  35. You don’t matter
  36. Learn something
  37. Teach something
  38. Get a grip
  39. Walk away
  40. Stay
  41. Wrap it up in a pretty ribbon
  42. Everyone can see coming

Rough Cut

We stand at the edge of the playground. A throng of racing children and chattering parents presses us to chain link. He asks about the house and I give him the latest update. Good news, for once. When the celebratory chaos has melted away along with the popsicles, Bug and I will head back to my office to print and sign 44 pages of loan documents. The seller’s bank has approved an extension and my sketchy but efficient new loan officer is pushing for the end of the month. Tee listens and asks polite questions. Neither of us ever bought a home before and I am now tackling this with the help of a huge circle of friends and family which does not include him.

He says that he’s heard about the housing market around the place he is considering. Four-bedroom homes there are going for about what I am paying for this cramped condo. He has dreams of a fixer-upper and his father swooping into town in a van packed with a table saw and hydraulic nail gun to help turn the place into a masterpiece.

Continue reading “Rough Cut”