Five Things about my Mom. By Ian B (Age 9)

Number One) She has a temper problem.

Number Two ) She is kind.

( I believe this is the point where the editor, in this case the teacher, or possibly school psychologist, stepped in and changed number one from “She is really mean”  or possibly” She is always mad”  because  they saw the direction this was  heading and said gently ”  Maybe you could think of something nice to say about her?”)

Number Three) She likes to go to London.

( Yes that I do, I will give him that, and as often as possible, it helps tremendously with my” temper problem.” I can just visualize the editor wiping their brow in relief at this one, thinking “Well, maybe this won’t turn out quite as badly as I thought after all”)

Number Four) She would really like to lose a few pounds.

(Once again we see why investing in a good editor is of the utmost importance. Because I’m quite sure the first draft of this charming essay started off as “She is really fat.”  Something I had complained about constantly on a daily basis no matter what size I actually was his whole life)

Number Five) She is semi-awesome.

( I would say it’s a pretty safe bet the teacher suggested he go out on a high note and recommended he lie blatantly and say how  totally awesome I actually was, but being the writer, he must have final approval of the finished document. So he insisted on a semi being included and staying, for the sake of historical accuracy and the integrity of his work as an artist)

Now, in my defense… lol

Ian is mildly autistic, and was an absolute horror to live with for about three years at that time, So I had been in a pretty foul mood pretty much most of the time, but mainly because so was he. Life wasnt easy for any of us then , especially at 7 am when I had been  up writing all night after spending four hours arguing with him over 20 minutes worth of homework and I had to drag him onto the school bus every morning, both of us kicking and screaming. And couldn’t sleep until he got home at 3:30 because the school was calling every two hours to complain about his behavior.

And I had been calling myself too fat since I broke the scale at a whopping 120 pounds, so I really have only myself to blame for that one lol

BUT… He will never live down the SEMI- in that awesome!  And it has become one of our favorite family stories ever since!

I wish I still had the paper, with his adorable childish scrawl . But when he returned to school the next day with it still in his backpack and he told the teacher I yelled at him (you know, that whole temper problem thing I got going on) and then cried all the rest of the day and all night, they(the school) decided to throw it away and so by the time I found it hilarious, not heartbreaking and went looking for it to save forever, it was long gone.

We switched his schools soon after, to one I didn’t have to drag him to the bus to go to every morning, and one where the faculty full of “behavioral experts” didn’t feel the need to call me and complain about how they could “do nothing with him” for an hour three times a day during the only time I could get any sleep and suddenly he became a straight A student who was a joy to live with and hopefully I lost the SEMI in my Awesome.

It was a terrible year to be at Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice Festival, but there were still over 40,000 people partying all over the mound, climbing, screaming, singing, dancing, and chanting. It was raining that English summer country rain, the kind that goes on non-stop for days and comes at you in a fine mist from every direction and soaksnot just through everything you are wearing but all the way through you as well and chills you to the marrow. It was 4am. There were (at least) three longer, hard, hours until sunrise and any hope of getting warm or dry again. We were sitting on dirty black plastic bin liners, huddled up together, shivering, backs up against the stones, under a leaky, makeshift shelter made of an old umbrella and some scrap sheets of plastic we managed to find somewhere. It wasn’t helping much. We had just managed to get here an hour ago.  I had been on a plane all night the night before. I was exhausted before we even got here. This year, or me, so far,  it wasn’t exactly boatloads of fun. I wasn’t sure about Simon

    “Shhhhhhh…”  Simon said it so softly I almost couldn’t hear him at first, over all the chaos.

“Be very still… and quiet”

He pointed down at the ground, near to his right leg, at a quiet little spot (just about the only one, anywhere) where there happened to be no plastic covering the earth. There was a hole in the ground no more than an inch or two in diameter, right up against the base of the massive stone. Poking its head out the top was a tiny  grey creature with pointy nose and bright grey eyes, come to join us in our plastic womb (or tomb)  just barely big enough for the two (no, make that the three!) of us

“What is it?”

“A vole”

“I don’t even know what that is.”

“It’s kind of like a shrew. Just think of it as a sort off a fat, fancy, mouse”

“ Great. Now I’m picturing it in a top hat, dickey with a bow tie and a monocle”

It didn’t seem frightened at all.  Only curious as to what was all the commotion and who we were and just exactly what the heck was going on around here at this hour. I think if we had wanted to, we could have reached out with one finger and stroked it on the head.

“It’s only mid –June, it can’t be more than a month or two old. So it’s never seen a single person in its entire life. Look, it doesn’t know enough to even be afraid of us.  It’s never even seen one normal human being, and now there are 40.000 lunatics  taken over its entire world.”

“I think I know how it feels; I’ve had a few days like that”

“Can you just imagine? You’re just going along, doing your own little vole thing, every single day,  minding your business and this place is completely deserted.”

“And one day, you just wake up, and stick your nose out, and see …this?”

We now we are laughing out loud now, we are all warm and lit up from the inside, with all that special bliss that envelopes you once you understand the universes gave you the privilege of sharing with you firsthand, one of their  millions of wonderful, crazy, miniscule, everyday miracles happening all around you all the time that you almost never fortunate enough to notice, much less enjoy, or appreciate.

Once in a great while, you just get to “ to have a larrff” with the Mighty Forces of our Grand Universe , and join in on one of the Great Cosmic Jokes, even  if it’s just for a moment or two, even  if it’s just one with big grey eyes and pointy snoot, that’s only two inches long.

Our little friend spent all night with us. Every now and then he would scuttle out and take a few steps and a bit of a sniff, safe under our shelter, making the occasional trip back down below to do whatever it is that a busy baby vole must do to meet his vole responsibilities, and to fill his busy little vole day . I don’t know how long the average vole lives (but I hope it’s a long, long time.) I think of him sometimes when I think of Stonehenge, or Simon or I think I just heard the Universe give a quiet little giggle. And I wish I could see my little friend someday, so I could ask him… “Hey little buddy… Did you ever make it to the party again? “


Thats why I write from 11 pm until dawn! I feel like hell all day, especially if I dont stop until dawn the day AFTER, when in the zone ,and can never get anything done that rquires movement or brain cells between 9 and 5 (like get to the Post Office) but it is the only way to get any peace to concentrate on my work! This should be required  reading for anyone who knows , loves or wants to smother a writer in their sleep!


It is said that writers are a different breed. Hopefully the word different isn’t used in place of a less ambiguous word…like warped.

I don’t know if writers can claim exclusive rights to such a label, but they definitely don’t fit neatly within most accepted classifications.

With that being said, I’d like to talk about some annoyances and problems only writers will understand, facepalm

because in many respects we are different—but not in a bad way. There are just some things that we deal with on an almost-daily basis that normal people would react to with a shrug and a “So?”

Here is a partial list of such things – but it’s NOT a Top Ten List

Temptations, Obligations and Favors:

If you’re like me, you have a full time job, and the majority of your writing is done on the weekends.

While your friends are firing up the…

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