(* no wild pigs were injured in the writing of this book, albeit theoretically)
Moku heard the shot that killed the sow. He was almost relieved. The feral pua’a were overrunning the mountains and pigs stunk up the place. They’d made mud holes in Moku’s lawn again.
He hadn’t thought about the boar piglets until he saw them foraging under the mango tree. He pulled out the traps Auntie had bought to catch the mongoose that was chewing into her packs of cuttlefish. Every time she set them, the cages turned up empty, the bait missing.
The piglets had already lost weight. One was limping. Moku was never much of a hunter and they were good as dead anyway so Moku baited the cages with rotten mangoes stewing in a puddle of Bud Light.
By the next morning, two cages contained the thrashing bodies of small pua’a. Their snouts were bloodied from lunging at the cage walls. Their beady eyes panicked as they shook and squealed. It had been hard to see them as the true pestilence they were. The third cage was empty, both of pig and bait. The work of a mongoose.
Moku had laughed. Always the third little pig that gets away. He puffed up his chest and exhaled loudly and deliberately in the direction of the closest pig cage. When his lungs were empty, he laughed again, more loudly this time.
“Some big bad wolf, eh?” he’d said to the pigs.
Moku’s first impression of Carol was from her car. The three black boar had squealed in their kennel at the hairball hacking sound it made as it bounced down his dirt road.
Moku had been sitting on a plastic lawn chair on the porch, smoking and thinking about reseeding the St. Augustine grass where the pigs had torn it up. When Carol parked the green car, crooked and mostly in the road, it backfired and Moku had flinched. He had stared past her then, hoping she hadn’t seen. When she’d spotted him on the porch, she laughed nervously, shrugging and looking sheepishly from the car to Moku as though it was the first time the car had ever embarrassed her.
Up close, she was smaller than she had seemed from Pahoa’s house. Her cheeks were wizened from too much sun and sinewy blond hairs glittered against her tanned forearms. She walked like a mynah bird, strutting and stomping, a kind of falling forward like she was hopping from rock to rock. Before now, he hadn’t given her much thought. Auntie always had enough to say about her for the both of them. Carol probably didn’t know that Pahoa was such a gossip. He reported everything he saw or heard and he and Auntie speculated together.
Carol seemed younger that day, probably because she was so short. Her tank top had been tied into a knot at her middle where a thin strip of pale skin was visible when she raised her arms. It was white as coconut flesh. She had a quick smile, apologetic almost. He was the one who’d been sorry. She shouldn’t have come here.
“Hi, I’m Carol. Are you Manu?” The words were spoken clearly; the vowels clipped and with too much emphasis on the last syllable, just like a haole would say it.
“Moku,” he’d said. His high had been wearing off and it was making him raw, irritable but also open, like when a song touches you somewhere dark and fragile and you hear it for the first time.
I am a mom.
I am either a great writer or a great mom. But rarely both. And it’s a tightrope of guilt.
At this point, I’ve whittled down all other hobbies/interests/passions because my hours are spoken for. Any chance I had of learning to paint is on the retirement hobby list now. And somehow, there’s still a shortage of hours in my day.
Let me say, my kids bring me great joy. Definitely. Of course. Most of the time. Now that that’s out of the way, the truth is, I’ve never been ok with being just a mom. (I know, I know. Moms everywhere are rolling their judgy eyes. Just a mom?!?! I realize how it sounds) We aren’t supposed to admit it but motherhood is the termite of self-identity, niggling into our foundation and thinning us out.
Not that this is bad. Motherhood takes over because, many times, there’s nothing I’d rather do than roll on the floor with my two year old. Not do dishes, tone my abs or train for a marathon (haha. Just kidding. I wouldn’t do that stuff anyway.) and not write the next great American novel.
But it’s times like summer vacation when I realize how very contradictory my two passions are. Hmm, edit chapter 6 or get the wildling grommets out of the house before they start setting LEGO booby traps.
(On that note, writing and a toned butt are also currently duking it out. Luckily, I hate exercise and could happily write and eat m&m’s for hours so it’s not much of a fight).
Can’t I be fun, energetic, tanned, active, involved mom but also be reclusive, obsessed, pale, moody writer? Gawwwd, Kelly! Step up your game.
And when is “being busy” an easy excuse for not applying myself to my work? And when is it ok to put a dream on hold to spin my wheels picking up toys, wiping noses and reading Little Blue Truck for the 1000th time? And shouldn’t I always be joyful to do these insanity-inducing motherhood tasks? Because a truly great mother would. 🤨
Damn you, selfish self!
Btw, if anyone has any pearls of wisdom, lay em on me. Because sadly, this summer, I’m choosing great(ish) mom and by the time bedtime rolls around, I can’t even form full sentences.
Also, this is my summer reading… 😣
So, a friend of mine, Tricia, recently wrote a book. She’s written screenplays and movie scripts (both produced) and despite writing being her hobby, she has a keen knack for storytelling, drama and pace.
(She’s also one of my favorite editors, able to zero in on flaws with ruthless and confident precision. She has
red-marked, nay, red-slashed many a written page of mine. And I love her for this.) 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻
At the 2016 SDSU Writer’s Conference, Tricia’s book was voted best new work by not one, but both of the agents that read it. Must to the chagrin of the second agent, the first agent immediately asked for exclusive rights and is now her agent. This is the stuff writer fantasies are made of, amirite?
And they lived happily every after… However…
Of course we all know, like, logically, that writing a book is not the hard part. Publishing a book is the real work. We know, we know. We just don’t reeeeeally believe it.
And here is where my tale begins.
Tricia’s agent has her book in the hands of top editors in the industry, matchmaking to the best of her ability. And love has not yet struck. The fact is, finding the right publisher can be
shitty miserable humiliating frustrating. Continue reading
Ernest Hemingway once said “Write drunk, edit sober.”
One of my writerly friends says, “Write drunk, edit on caffeine” Pret-ty kitschy and more up my alley. I already edit on caffeine so…
I decided to test this theory, like, track it, test it, tie one on. 🍺🍻🍷🍸🍾🍹🍶 Oh, the things we do for science. 🤷🏼♀️
(Side note: There are A LOT of really great drinking memes. Don’t writers have better things to do? Doh. Guess not.🙄)
To be fair, I’ve inadvertently tested this drunk writing theory back in college. The result was lackluster and barely legible poetry. Overall, a fail. But I’ve grown, evolved, matured. Obviously.
Testing drunken-writing is probably not a true measure of maturity.
If alcohol lubricates social anxiety, couldn’t it also grease the wheels of creativity? Then, it occurred to me that many great and brilliant authors are/were alcoholics. This is either a 👍🏻 for alcohol or a 👎🏻 for writing.
For sake of research, let’s hypothesize that alcohol triggers creativity (with a few grammatical errors) and set the experiment parameters. This is very scientific after all.
1. While writing, I will track the time and alcohol consumption in 20 minute increments.
2. I’ll have to judge the material myself, with a sober set of eyes, because I can’t imagine letting someone else do it. Unedited?!?! Chah!
3. No distractions. This is no party! This is a rigorous experiment that requires I imbibe alone and diligently. No funny business.
4. When I sense a particular profoundness happen, I’ll mark it. My college inebriated poetry always felt brilliant… Until the next day. So here, I’m testing my drunken judgement of quality. Think beer goggles. (This could be the most embarrassing part of the experiment.)
5. Lastly, as I write, I’ll note the speed and ease (or maybe incessant brain-stalling) with which ideas are hatched as well as the inspiration to keep going. All the creativity of JR Tolkien doesn’t help if all you want to do it watch “This Is Us” and eat Red Vines… Not that I would know or anything.
Ready… Commence the spirits! And remember, I’m doing this for you.
Bibliolfactophelia* – the compulsion to smell books you love
(*okay so the word is made up, but it’s real, yo.)
Despite its name*, I have begun to populate my new Instagram @Minstralgram with kitschy blurbs that are small enough to put on an Instagram feed. Only the nibs, which are not always my favorite stuff. But no one’s going to read a poem on Instagram that requires more than 10 seconds. Except me. I would definitely spend my days reading poetry on a never-ending feed. No doubt.
*My husband has brought to my attention the fact that my insta handle @Minstralgram sounds just like “menstrual-gram”. After deliberation, I’m ok with this. The parallels are nothing if not poetic.