Monday, February 4, 2013


Every blogger gets to gas on about themselves in a special MEMEME post, at least once a year. I have a friend who likes to grill me in interview form and embarrass me in public. All I can do is let her rip (sigh).

F:  So, let's start out slow. What is your idea of a perfect beginning to the day?

ME:  I'm up just before dawn. I sit on the deck and watch my dogs chase themselves all around the yard in the dark. In my hand is a cup of best Nicaraguan coffee, strong enough to leap at me like a lion, and heavy cream bellying through its black depths. There are still stars and gemmed planets belting across the heavens.

F:  Now I'm going to shout some questions at you freaking  fast, and you have ten seconds to answer them. Why do you like those terrible Asian movies that you keep boring me with?

ME: That deserves a whole post. But for now, I'll say it's the intensity mixed with stunning surprises. Like in ASHES OF TIME, where the great Chinese actor Leslie Cheung ("Who I never heard of, what a surprise," mumbles F) plays the cruelest, coldest thug you ever imagined in your worst nightmares--he drives ice into your bones--and at the end, you find out that this monster has been eating himself alive for years because of a lost love. He's terrible. But--his intensity? Wonderful!

F: (To herself) Sweet Jesus God.  (Aloud, with a huge false smile) Hell yeah, I can't wait to rush out and rent it!  (Turns aside and sticks her finger down her throat) Now let's talk about something that will be more--to put it mildly--interesting to the readers. Umm...what are some beauty secrets for a mature woman?

ME: Meryl Streep says,  Hold your stomach in, and wash your hair a lot. Sounds good to me. Oh, and if your face is drying up, pour on the olive oil. Elizabeth Taylor used  Crisco.

F: I noticed that in your New Year's post, you threw in this stunner about forgiving your enemies. What's THAT about??

ME: Better than that. I've not only forgiven most of them, I've forgotten who they are! A friend and I were shopping  and she pointed out somebody I thought was a stranger. She told me who it was; and also about something sad that had happened in his family. When you can't even recognize the face of your enemy, and when you do, you're sorry for the troubles he's been through...maybe it's time to give up the grudge you held so dear.

F: I can't decide if you're becoming more Zen, or just going soft in the head.

ME: This last year I understood that we don't know what other people have suffered. That woman I thought of as a 60-year-old Mean Girl? Well, maybe she was. But she's been through hardships and tragedies I've never known. She's survived them better than I would have. Maybe we could at least admire her strength.

F: (Shocked) But surely not that other one, that appalling crone, a stone-cold liar,  and such a pottymouth people thought she had Tourettes... AND there was that rumor she hacked into people's emails and forged nasty messages--

ME: (Thoughtfully) She would have had the skills, but that doesn't mean she did it. Besides, (with a huge sunny smile) she moved away. Forgiven!

F: You said you forgave MOST of your enemies.

ME:  Well, one or two are so malicious they're basically nuts. It would be like forgiving a wart. You can't really do much about the kind of person who takes a year off from work so she can spy on the neighbors at her leisure. Jody--let's call this person Jody--is busting a vein trying to catch somebody doing something naughty.  Jody is obsessed. She wants power over other lives that she never earned or deserved, and that she would misuse if she had.  And eventually you figure out that the real burr under her saddle is her envy of other people's happiness.  Jody is stuck.

F: (Laughing) If Jody is obsessed, she's reading this. Do you have any remarks you'd like to address to her?

ME: Yes. Writers have a saying. 'If you don't like what I wrote about you, you should have behaved better.' But what I like to do is concentrate on the good neighbors, and there are so many. Like the man who sacrificed his own interests to take care of his invalid mother. Or the woman who didn't have a lot of money, but she worked patiently for many years to improve her modest property, to make the most and best of it, and now it's a small jewel. I like the quiet virtues, not noisy ones. I don't like the sort of person who never does anything kind unless somebody is taking a picture.

F: If somebody planted a bug in your home, what would he or she hear?

ME: (laughing)   Lots of shrieked Cantonese and explosions from the Hong Kong movies. A lot of coffee grinding. The normal this-and-that of a long marriage. I try out dialogue and ideas from stories I'm writing, out loud, sometimes shouting. And we've got the sweetest, most devoted,  most vocal dogs in the world. We're never afraid of prowlers, because our dogs would yap one to death. They're Shelties, of course.  Oh, and every once in awhile I read a Psalm aloud, for the beautiful language. Then there's Chopin. Led Zeppelin.  Good luck sorting it out!

F:  What is your idea of a very strange personality disorder?

ME: Voyeurs. Anybody who'd rather slobber over other lives instead of living their own.

F: Most intense recent food experience?

ME: Warm apple tart like a sweet little wheel, the pastry tender and crumbly, drifted with vanilla-scented cream....

F: Are people basically good or basically bad?

M: Basically good. But keep an eye on the ones who are so in love with their religion, or their sexual identity, or their wealth, that they think it's their place to rule. It's not.

F: One word to describe your response to existence.

ME: Gratitude. Or maybe YIKES!

F: And on that high note let's take our leave, because God knows what you'll say next.
Ciao ciao ciao, paisanos and paisanas!