Tag Archives: Life

Time

Don’t start. I know it already. It’s been too long. I’ve been slacking and I’m not proud of myself. When I started this blog, I wanted to try my very best to make it the one thing I stuck with from beginning to, well, there really is no end. And that’s what brought me back here today, Sunday, July 20, 2014.

On August 31 you’ll celebrate your one-year anniversary.

This September 10th will mark a year since Fil and I made the move to Portland, ME.

And on October 2nd I’ll sit down at the table for my morning coffee where I sat a year ago and cried after mom called to say, “I have some bad news.”

I was sitting there, Fil wasn’t quite home yet. I had just gotten off the phone and Butch, our maintenance man, arrived to fix our stove. I offered him water and though I thought I could hide it, when he saw the tears in my eyes he sighed and said, “We’ll get ‘er fixed, hon. Won’t take long.”

Once Fil arrived, we sat at the table and held hands while Butch fixed our shitty little stove. Thinking it over, I wonder if Butch really thought that’s what I was crying over. It would explain why he’s so quick to come switch the breakers each time I blow a fuse.

I was in the car with Shannen today, heading to the Yarmouth Clam Festival. Yeah, that’s a thing here.  I could tell Shannen was out of it. She’s usually upbeat and chatty. Today she just wanted to ride, so I let her. I cranked up the country and we drove.  An hour in the wrong direction to be truthful.  After a while I asked Shannen what was up. How she was feeling?

“I feel like I’m in limbo.”

“Limbo?”

“I feel like I’m not going anywhere. Nothing is happening for me.”

I thought about it for a minute. I’m getting better at holding onto my thoughts and articulating them when the time is right.

“Shannen, I think we’re all used to things happening very fast in our generation. And I think we might be at a spot, you know, after high school, after college, when things might start slowing down for us. And I think it’s okay to let it slow down.”

She shook her head, not really satisfied, but I was. I took that hour drive going the wrong way to really think about the passage of time.

Just yesterday mom told me, “Fil will be home before you know it. Everything just goes so quickly anymore.” And that was really telling. Momma has come to a point where her life is picking up pace again. She see’s her eldest daughter married with a baby girl and her youngest living ten hours away and teaching. Gram and Pap are getting older, though Gram would hate that it’s in writing now, published for anyone in the world to see, but it is true. We’re all getting older, but it’s mom, it’s gram, it’s pap who see it. Why? Because one minute they see a bald, chubby little towhead and the next minute Paige has flipped her Barbie Jeep from driving too fast.

Time. It’s a tricky little bastard, huh? Some days it feels like it’s not moving at all as you stare at your ceiling fan, wondering if you’ll ever pass your permit test and how the hell did Jeri get her permit before you when she’s like seven months younger, and if you don’t pass it, how will you ever leave Martinsburg??? And other days you’re sitting in your apartment with your cat and your things and your bills and wondering how in the hell will you ever pay for new tires so you can get back to Martinsburg???

Time. That bastard.

It won’t feel like a year ago to me. I’m not sure it will ever feel like it’s in the past. Cancer isn’t an old boyfriend.  Well, except for that one Italian guy. He was a real tumor, but that’s another story…

Cancer will never be in our past. It will never be history. We will never talk about it in terms of “remember that time you had cancer?” Not you, mom, or I. It will always be part of our present. We will always be on the watch and there will always be that tiny bit of fear. Yesterday I was  reminded to schedule my yearly OBGYN appointment and this year I will be requesting my first mammogram, really making breast cancer a part of my own present.

This week mom will have the BRCA test and we will finally know whether or not this was a coincidence or simply fate. And if it was fate, if it is fate, we will be ready this time.

October 2nd will mark the day you were diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago and the day my stove broke. Things have never been quite the same since, but I’ll tell you one thing….

This morning I made one mean BLT.

Love,

Liv

 

 

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Home and Happiness

“I hate it here. I absolutely hate it here,” said my thirteen-year-old self, staring my mother straight in the eye. This certainly wasn’t her first round with an angst-ridden teenage girl. I can recall sitting ringside for a few fights between her and my sister. “In this corner, Aubrey, weighing in at 115 lbs, who just threw out an entire jar of mayonnaise. Annnd in the other corner, Momma Glo, weighing in at 130 lbs, who bought said mayonnaise and is madder than hell.” I’ll give it to my sister, her jabs were sharp, direct, and though she was quick tongued, Momma, master of the bob and weave, usually ended the fight with a knockout blow of “Go to your room.”

But this fight between my mother and I was different. I didn’t so much care about expiration dates in the refrigerator or going to the really-awesome-everyone-else-is-going-I’ll-be-a-loser-if-I-don’t birthday party, at least not yet anyway. This fight was caused by my unadulterated, persistent dislike for my hometown, The Cove. As many of you know, having grown up there yourselves, The Cove is a small, often forgotten valley containing four boroughs: Roaring Spring, Martinsburg, Woodbury, and Williamsburg. We have a grocery store, Giant Eagle, referred to as Big Bird by locals, two ice cream stops, Ritchey’s or Stock’s, which no one in Cove history has vocally expressed preference over one or the other. That just wouldn’t be right. And we have cows. We have a plethora of cows, readers. So many cows that everyone’s child’s first word is cow, and your first word was cow, and your daddy’s first word was cow, who was taught the word by your grandaddy, whose first word was cow.

Pennsylvania roads

Pennsylvania roads

At thirteen all I wanted was to move away from The Cove to New York City, where I would be on Broadway, live in a brownstone, and eat a fresh bagel every morning with my mocha-choca-yoyo-leroy-brown-bada-bing latte. I lived and breathed New York. When playing MASH with friends I would only give one option for PLACE TO LIVE, New York. When playing Barbies, mine was always visiting  from New York. When given Christmas money I cut a whole in the lid of an old UTZ Pretzel jar and declared it my fund for New York. All I ever wanted was to leave The Cove for New York and when my mother finally confronted me, asking why I was so desperately unhappy all of the time, why I didn’t want to go outside, why I watched the same Liza Minnelli movies over and over again, why the show Friends was more important to me than actually making them, I looked her dead in the eye and said, “Because I hate The Cove and I can’t wait to leave and never come back.” I listed my reasons, I gave her my five year notice, and promised that I’d be out of her hair just as soon as I found an apartment for $20 a month. My mom stood still for a long time, looking out at the backyard her and my stepfather had worked so hard mulching that day. The  dog was sun bathing with the cat, kid’s laughter rang through the air from the park, and the smell of burgers and garden zucchini drifted by. She crouched down, eye-level to me, pushed back my sun-bleached hair and said,”There’s no sense waiting for happiness, Olivia. A place is not going to make you happy, a person is not going to make you happy. You have one job and it’s to be happy. If you can’t do it here, I’m not sure where you will.” And with that she patted my head and went inside, the dog and cat close behind with a “Hmmph, yeah, what she said.”

That moment comes to mind so often anymore. From my first night at SUNY Purchase, five hours from home, where kids listened to Johnny Cash as a nouveau-hipster trend not because “Walk the Line” is considered a hymn in their homes, to my first apartment in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, where I met my first cockroach family, learned the meaning of “hot and humid,” and cried myself to sleep.

My four years in New York went by in a flash and I honestly did everything I set out to. I attended Broadway shows, met some amazing playwrights, took on a big internship, wrote my own play, wrote a short film, lived in Brooklyn, learned the subways, had a mocha-choca-yoyo-leroy-brown-bada-bing latte, and fell in love. Wait, no. Nope, that last one wasn’t in the plan. I’m pretty sure I didn’t save all of my lifeguarding money for you to move to NYC and fall in love with a Russian. WHAT? Hold on, wait a minute. The only man you were supposed to possibly fall in love with in NYC was a deeply disturbed creative, who would set eyes on you and find that you and only you were the muse he’s been searching for all of his life, and you and only you could release him from his artistic shackles that have bound him to mediocrity. Hello! A Russian filmmaker? Simmer down, thirteen. You weren’t exactly listed under “Winning Best Cinematography” on his “When I Grow Up” plan either. But, believe me, you couldn’t be happier and you realized it about five days ago.

Last Friday was the first day in the last few weeks that Fil and I kept entirely to ourselves. We woke up late, made breakfast, worked on a puzzle, drank beer, and made Pad Thai. It was absolutely perfect and will hold as one of the best days of  my life. It wasn’t because I was in a big city or because we achieved fairytale status, certainly not. It was because there with cheap beer, a mean little tabby cat, and damp clothes hanging on our windows and chairs because we ran out of quarters, it was there when I realized exactly what my mother meant 11 years ago. Nothing and no one was going to make me happy until I found my happiness myself and I have. I find it everyday in my writing, my students, my cobblestone streets, my neighbor’s laughter, my friends, my family, and I find it when I think of being back home in The Cove, sitting on the front porch, letting time stop.

I still have a ways to go when it comes to happiness. I can’t be happy every day. There are times when I miss my mom, dad, Dan, and my sister so much that it hurts. Just last night I thought of my family and couldn’t help but cry. I miss them so much. I miss The Cove, I miss Hemlock Hill, and at times I miss the past, but for the first time I’m missing it all and still completely happy. I wouldn’t change a thing.

So, Momma, dust off that New York City fund and send it on up here. We have to buy new tires. 😀

 

 

 

 

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My sister’s cancer…

I woke up this morning wrapped in blanket after blanket, looking like a nibbled corn dog with my round face peering out. “I’m sick,” I groaned as Fil snuggled close. After a night of Nyquil ramblings, this was something he’d already assumed. “I was at a fire last night. Whole house burned to the ground.” “Mmmm.” “I’m making an apple cobbler for breakfast.” “Mmmm.” “I’ll be back.” And off he went to the store, leaving me to fight the common cold.

“My head is stuffy,” I texted momma, hoping for more than an update of last night’s headlines. “Oh no. Well, your sister has a sore throat and a cough and is burning up inside and she can’t get cool and her skin is getting dry and rashey AND your niece wants a unicorn valentine box.” And with that I rolled over and shrunk back into my cornbread coating.

The single most impressive event of my day will eclipse all others, leaving me campaigning for it up and down my social block, but I’m almost always shocked when no one else seems remotely affected. “I’m sick, Bagheera,” and with the glare of one eye she’s back to sleep.

“I’m sick, mom.” “Cancer.”

“I’m sick, Fil.” “House fire.”

“I’m sick, self.” “Me too.”

This Thursday my sister goes in for the BRCA test, which will determine which operation she will undergo. Momma has been thinking about it a lot the past few weeks. It’s really all she can talk about, which doesn’t bother me, only I feel so detached from the whole thing.

I don’t see my sister’s bald head. I don’t see her dry skin or the bags under her eyes. I don’t see the hot flashes and sleepless nights. Instead I just hear from her and when we’re texting back and forth, it’s usually not about cancer. She likes to hear about the articles I’m writing or the bars where I’m drinking. I hate to say it, but I’ve kinda gotten used to the idea of my sister having cancer, it’s never really news to me. Please, don’t freak out! I’m not saying that cancer is something you grow accustomed to like aunthood, the snow, or an antique barrel turned side table (ehem, Filipp,) but when you’re an outsider looking in, when you’re the shoulder, the friend, the chemo partner (We love you, Brandi!), no matter how affected you are by it, it’s not your cancer. It’s your friend’s cancer, your wife’s cancer, your daughter’s cancer, my sister’s cancer.

I really doubt my sister feels territorial over it, and by no means would she pull a, “Well my cancer’s bigger than your cancer,” but with all the fuss we’ve made over it: the blog, the newsletter updates, the Facebook posts, and the easy conversation topic (yes, I’ve used the cancer card, don’t you judge me!), you really would think it was everyone else who had cancer.

Here’s an update for all of us- it isn’t.

It’s my sister’s cancer. It’s Abby’s cancer. Abby lost her hair. Abby can’t sleep at night. Abby has to call the doctor at the inkling of a damn itchy throat.

It is Abby’s cancer, but she isn’t Cancer’s Abby. She doesn’t belong to it and it can’t claim her. She is ours! She is Chad’s wife, Momma’s daughter, Paigey’s mommy, Linda’s niece, Gram and Pap’s grandbaby, Brandi’s best friend, and my sister!

We all fight for Abby because not a day goes by that the thought of her doesn’t exceed the best or worst moments of our day. There is nothing today that could be as great and wonderful were it to happen when Abby is cancer free. That was a mouthful. What I mean is that every good thing that occurs will be twice as good when the cancer is gone and every negative thing that happens never feels as bad as first hearing the diagnosis.

Here’s to my sister’s cancer. Thank you for making light of my common cold, my event, my moment.

I’m off to the craft store. I’ve got a unicorn valentine box to build.

Much love,

Liv

chase__the_magical_unicorn_by_faxtar-d30yyfx

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The Irreplaceables

From Portland to Mass, New York to Pennsylvania with a quickie to Maryland, we did it all this past holiday season. It started with a conversation about friends and time. “Do you think we have made our friends for life?” I asked, while wiping onion induced tears away. “I think we’ve made our solid friends.” “Right.” “But, I think we will always make friends wherever we are, don’t you?” I nodded, though I really didn’t have an answer.

Do I think I’ll ever meet another Abby Kreider, who’s shared more adventures with me than Gumby and his damn horse, Pokey? No way. Another Debbi? Mattson? Kevin? Illya? Another Marcus-Marcus who has seen Fil and I at our best, worst, and mediocre?! Never. Yes, we will make friends everywhere we go, but once you’ve made your irreplaceables, your partners in crime, your jail bailers, your best enemies (for they know every dirty detail), these my readers, are hard to make again.

So, we planned a trip. A big trip. A several hundred mile trip. Hours. It was a long ass trip. Our first stop was Massachusetts, where we surprised Mattson and Raji the night they returned home for Christmas. We sat up until 5 a.m.(?) catching up, analyzing our current predicaments, laughing, and feeling a little sad when talking of those couple months in our lives when we were all connected at the hip. Those weren’t the best months. We all went through our own private hells during that period, but who better to go through hell with than your soul mates?

The next morning we said our goodbyes and South we drove to New York with a car full of gifts, wine, and our traveling cat.

It was Christmas Eve around 4:00 p.m. as we watched her enter the building from our rental car. It was the perfect set up. An unrecognizable automobile, a Santa hat, and jingle antlers. She had no idea. We waited in the fire escape as Fil made a call to his momma, who had just returned from errands. “Get on Skype,” he told her, “We’ll talk on Skype.” We quickly made our way to the door with a DRING-DRING of the bell. It was all hugs, kisses, and tears when she opened the door to find two of Santa’s forgotten helpers and their charming Christmas cat, Bagheera. The evening was spent with so much laughter that I remember my cheeks feeling warm and tingly as I drifted to sleep on Christmas Eve.

Christmas day we were back on the road, headed to Pennsylvania, where for two days we didn’t move from the couch. When we finally had the strength to get back in the car, Fil and I made a trip to Hagerstown to have lunch with my grandfather and his wife, Millie. We spent the afternoon catching up and talking of Portland. That night we watched movies with dad and Mary at the cabin. The fire was rolling, my belly was full of O.I.P pizza, and I couldn’t believe how incredible this Christmas was. We saw everyone on our Christmas list, which started with our mommas. There is nothing like waking up in your childhood bed, going to the kitchen, and finding your momma with a coffee and a sunshine smile on her face before you’ve even had the chance to pee. That, friends, is irreplaceable.

But all of the many warm, fuzzy Christmas moments still couldn’t keep my over-analytical, there-must-be-a-catch writer’s mind from screwing it all up for me.

One night while playing WWF Raw: Captain Hook (Fil) vs. Paige and Aunt O, there was a moment when all I wanted was to be back home in Portland. A moment when I wished we didn’t even make the trip.

Those close to me know I don’t handle leaving home well. I actually end up dreading visiting, knowing that I’ll eventually have to say goodbye again. I start thinking about it before I’ve even arrived. This visit was no different. I was so happy to see our parents, our friends, our homes, but coming home sometimes feels like coming back to reality. As if the life you’re building somewhere else, away from your start, doesn’t really count as life. It feels like all this time we’ve been playing house when out there in reality my three-year-old niece is learning to go on the potty and, in her words, “It’s just awful.” I’m reminded that while we are away in the never-never land of Portland, my grandparents are still getting older, our pets don’t really consider themselves “ours” anymore, our parents still have to go to work, our best friend will fly back to LA, my sister is still fighting cancer, and Christmas only comes once a year, damn it!

All of this seemed to hit full force on New Year’s Eve over Olivier salad and Halladetzs. After a nip of vodka and some twinkling candles, I burst into tears, running to the bedroom where Fil found me, “What’s wrong?” “I don’t know. I just feel sad. I’m SAD. Why did we come home?”

He dried my eyes and we spoke to the parents about life, worries, feeling lonely, and, as they often do, they reassured us that everything will be all right and life is good. Funny how all it takes to calm a twenty-something is a sip of wine and an understanding nod from your parents.

After spending New Year’s Eve watching movies, calling friends, and burning our regrets, tossing them out over the balcony, I could answer my own question. Why did we make the trip? Because Fil and I decided the night I asked if him we made our friends for life, that we would never, ever let “we’ll see them next time,” become our excuse. We never want it to become easier not to go home even when it is. Even when it’s going to take money out of the bank or time out of our lives. We never want to lose touch-when I say touch I mean hugs and kisses not texts and tweets. I want to hold the people closest to me when I can, I want to hug my best friends, kiss my grandparents, and squeeze my fat English bulldog. We will never choose “next time,” over sharing just a moment with our irreplaceables.

Happy New Year, readers!

Much love,

Liv

P.S. please check “ABBY UPDATES: TWO MORE TO GO.” You can find this on the side bar under “Pages.”

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Ode to an Oldsmobile

Alas, the day has come when I must say goodbye to the remainder of my adolescence. My partner in crime of 8 years, my horse with no name, my freedom, my vessel, my two door Oldsmobile Alero has lost his will to live.

From the hillsides of Western PA to the interstates of the Empire State, my Alero has carried me from one adventure to the next.

He was given to me by my father on my 16th birthday in the hopes of teaching me responsibility and respect for the road, but that old car taught me so much more. From driving on snow covered I-99 to my first road kill victim on Hog Farm Road, he has driven me through it all.

The Oldsmobile Alero has seen all there is of the East, coasting in the glory of I-95 from St. Augustine, FL all the way to Rockland, ME. There is no denying he drove good miles.

When I called my mechanic for a report on the maintenance, I knew the news was not good. Having been transferred to “Services” immediately, I already knew. “It’s not good. Your transmission is shot. And the cost is more than the car.”

More than the car? More than my first car? My sweet sixteen car? I am sorry, sir, but can one put a price on their adolescence?

Throughout high school Alero was my escape, my escape from parents, school, work, and life. Blaring Kanye West’s Graduation album, I flew over the roads of Henrietta with best friends Abby, Stef, Brittany, and Jeri.

The night before high school graduation Lee Martz and I cruised the back roads of Martinsburg, listening to Edith Piaf and smoking American Spirits, talking of college, parties, love, and moving away, never looking back.

In my college years the Alero carried me to my first place in Altoona, PA across from the VFW. Carried me to parties at Chuck’s Farm and up the hill to the Maurer’s for Wednesday dancing.

When I decided to move to NY, Alero was right there with me. Never once falling behind the Mustangs with NY plates. Many a’traffic jams we sat together, overheating, praying for an inch, hoping the Tappan Zee would not fall before we arrived.

Through love and break ups, Alero was right there. And I pray he forgives me for letting that one guy behind his wheel.

Today, my friends, is a sad day for me. And Friday night, when Fil and I go to pay our respects, I will pour a Miller High Life over Alero’s tires while blaring Champion.

So, here’s to you, Oldsmobile Alero. Here’s to the late night Sheetz runs, the long days on I-287, and getting me home safely every Christmas, I thank you.

Very soon you will join an army of cars, soldiers that drove on until the very end.

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An Open Letter to Cats, Boyfriends, and Bed Hogs Alike…

Dear Cats, Boyfriends, and Bed Hogs,

Did you sleep well? Fine. That’s just fine. Please, tell me, were you comfortable? Good. Very good. My darlings I must ask, and please, if it is too much of an inconvenience, feel free not to answer. Just as you feel free not to…well, anyway.

Dearest cat and love of my life, why is it that last night, along with all other nights, you are inclined to sleep within a millimeter of me on each side? Forcing me into a sort of human-cat sarcophagus? Why is it that when I try to move or attempt the slightest adjustment, the two of you suck into me simultaneously as though we are all part of a neodymium magnet toy? Why is it that the hotter the bed gets, the more snuggling you feel is required?

Answer me this, precious kitty, when you take advantage of an entire one bedroom apartment, using it to frolic and play as you wish, jumping from one windowsill to the next, lounging atop the closet, squeezing into spaces the human eye could not know existed, why is it that the nook of my legs, between my calf and thigh, seems to be the most logical place for you to sleep? And why, my short, furry, four-legged friend, do you find it so incredibly distasteful that I, a sufferer of arthritic knees, a symptom of lyme disease, which you have already claimed to be a skeptic of, why do you find it so obnoxious that I should want to lengthen my legs if only every three hours? Please, do not get the impression that I haven’t done my fair share of contemplating the matter. After much, I have come to the conclusion that it is not necessary for you to sleep sprawled out, stretched to your fullest. Filling the capacity of the bed with at least one paw or tip of the tail. Furthermore, your morning stretches with your wide, deep yawns are simply a means of pouring salt in my lack of sleep.

And you, my lovely man, knight in shining armor, my handsome beau, you sleep so soundly. Like a cherub upon a cumulus cloud. Mouth open, steady exhales of “Hooocccccckkks” and “Gaaaaaaaaws” in and out, in and out. Yet, every morning you complain of my tossing and turning. My kicking and squirming. But, love, I promise you, between you and our feline companion, I am rendered completely helpless. Think of me as a paraplegic, better yet, a corpse. I can not move. I couldn’t move if I tried. Pray there never be an emergency and I be the only one to know it, because it would end very, very badly for all three of us.

Darling, you are a 6 foot something tall man with a firm, athletic build. Baby cakes, when you curl up in the fetal position, drifting into your deepest sleep, you are approximately three feet in width, from the tips of your toes to tail bone, taking up 3/4 of our full size bed.

With that said, I am simply suggesting-no, inquiring that perhaps the two of you could discuss this matter. Perhaps you could find a way to allow me an inch or two-an inch. An inch would be fine. On either side. Maybe. This is a mere, hypothetical inquiry.

I would like to confirm that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed sleeping in our bed and, alas, I would not choose to sleep elsewhere. But, I do feel, as contributor of half the rent and chef of most meals, I am entitled to at least 1/4.

With love, hugs, and kisses,

Olivia

P.S. Below I have provided a diagram. Please, make adjustments as seen fit.

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How Will They See Me?

I’ve had this question, wait, let me see…I’ve got this “creative” question rolling around in my brain. Creative meaning most people other than my fellow writers, filmmaker friends, and a few eccentrics probably don’t care to ask these questions, nor do they have the time. Well, I’ve got the time, baby. Let me start from the beginning.

A few months ago while I was still at Purchase I heard the song “Ho, Hey,” by the Lumineers for the first time. So, like anyone else, I found it on Spotify and played it on repeat for a good month. During that time I couldn’t help thinking how great this song would be at the end of a film. I pictured this giant wheat field with an elderly couple dancing and as the camera swirls around them they slowly begin regressing in age. Ah, gawww. Cheesy? Maybe. Completely Olivia-esque? Absolutely. If you are part of the Dramatic Writing class of 2013, you know I live to write those scenes.

As the months, days, beers, senior project rewrites, and parties went by, so did “Ho, Hey,” and my beautiful tableau. It wasn’t until today that I thought of it again. Not the elderly couple, not the song, but the original question that got my gears turning in the first place: “What will my children think of me?”

Maybe others have asked the same and some ask “what do” rather than “will,” but it was that question that inspired me as I walked home from my last class of the day. It was because I had nearly plowed over an old man crossing the street, stopping just in time to smile an, “Oops, didn’t see ya.” Rather than acknowledging this, he glared at me and kept shuffling on. I thought, “Oh, God. He probably thinks I’m a bird brain. Too far up my own ass to stop for elders.”

All right, I’m warning you. You’re entering Olivia’s brain right now. Steer clear of the bubbles, Tim Allen look-a-like nightmares, and chewing gum. Keep to the right, little further, watch it…there you go.

This everyday incident got me thinking how people see me. How the old man saw me, how my parents see me, how my students see me. Then I started thinking how I see them, really just my parents though.

Momma and Dad divorced when I was about four, so I can’t really pull any memories to the front. Like many kids of my generation I see my parents separately because that’s what they were, separated.

I see my mother as a strong, hilarious, creative woman whose emotions always get the best of her (thank you for that one :P), and never tires. That woman is never tired. Or so she pretends not to be. My mother has the greatest laugh. It comes from her toes. Not her belly. It comes from the tips of her toes and pushes its way through until it expels from her grinning mouth at a pitch that at times only the dog can hear. It’s beautiful.

My father wears his heart on his sleeve. It’s a big heart, you couldn’t miss it and it’s right there. Right there for everyone to fall in love with, for anyone to hurt, and was there  and ready for another big heart to stitch it up. He comes from a pedigree of  dimpled goofballs and will take any opportunity to get a laugh. He’s got calloused hands and ice blue eyes that could only be reflections of the North Sea.

When I think of myself I can’t help but think of these two. This is not to say others don’t have their fair share in me. My step dad has given me my wits. He’s logical and he’s brave. My aunts gave me great hair and a fun loving heart, my uncles gave me the jokes. My grandparents gave me love and my sister gave me a best friend from the day I was born.

But knowing how I see those around me will never answer how my children will see me, my life, their father, our marriage, and so on. And that’s a question I’m not going to have an answer to for quite some time, if ever. I’ll probably never find out actually. It will be written in a my biography after I’m long dead. The first chapter starting with “My mother was…” What?!? What will I be? Strong like their grandmother? Funny like their grandfather? A good friend like their aunt?

I’m curious. And with curiosity comes creativity. To be quite honest, I haven’t felt the urge to write a screenplay in awhile. Even while I was still in school. I wrote because I had to. I came up with a script because it was demanded or needed. I loved it, yes, but I never saw it so clearly in my mind. I always came up with something. Forced myself to picture it. But this question has scene after scene projected in front of my eyes. Characters are rich and textured. Places are lively and colorful.

I’m about to write. Winter is coming to Portland, Maine and I’m about to write…

Much Love,

Liv

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