Monday, October 31, 2005

Sweet People

Wow, yesterday this really sweet kid (okay young man) came into work to ask about buying flowers for his roommate because her boss's mother had died and he was worried she (the roommate) was upset. So dear it almost broke my heart.

Gotta go. Check out Franklin's site. Bless him, he figured out my latest techno-batty problem this weekend so my computer at home is functional again. He helps many, many people.

Friday, October 28, 2005

November Manners

Don't you dare forget to pick up the Iowa Source, available all over Eastern Iowa for FREE. Also avaliable online at Alternative views for alternative lifestyles.

Dear Meg,

I'm traveling to New Hampshire to spend Thanksgiving with my sister, her husband and his entire family. I'm happy to be invited and usually have a pretty good time but every year my sister seats me next to her mother-in-law and the woman wears so much perfume I can hardly breathe much less eat my dinner. I know it would be impolite to say anything, her mother-in-law is, like, 94 so I'm sure she has no clue about odorous she is. Can I ask my sister to make someone else sit next to her?


Dear Burford,

In a word - no. Nice try but since you've admitted that sitting next to your sister's mother-in-law causes you both respiratory and dining difficulties, you can't really attempt to pass the unpleasantness buck onto someone else. What you can do, however, is ask your sister to speak to her husband's mother. As the host it is her responsibility to make her guests comfortable. She might consider telling her mother-in-law how much she likes her perfume but sometimes she feels almost "outdone" in her own home. Ten to one the old bird will catch on immediately, show up for dinner perfume-free and you will be in for the best Thanksgiving you've had in years - conversation-wise. Let me know how it goes.



Dear Meg,

One of my best girl friends just got out of a relationship with a man who lied to her repeatedly. I think the guy is a borderline sociopath and that she should try to get back at him but she insists on being all forgiving and everything. She says if she doesn't just detach and focus on herself she will go nuts so it's mostly self preservation on her part. What do you think about this?


Dear Conchita,

I think you are better off letting your friend worry about her own relationships while you focus on you. Personally, I can't stand it when someone I care about gets hurt or is treated unfairly but unless they ask me to do something on their behalf I have to remind myself that the burden is, in fact, not mine but theirs. The best thing you can do is offer to comfort your friend and advise her to steer clear of the man in question. Let me also say that retaliation is just plain wrong, pretty rude and will ultimately make any decent person feel more than a little rotten about themselves.

A woman I care deeply about once had a man tell her he had had a vasectomy but "he didn't know if it had taken." The poor dear had no idea this was one of the oldest lines in the book for guys who just don't want to practice safe sex. Like you, I was incredulous on her behalf but I had to remind her that trust was a relative concept, people can and do let you down and she had better learn to protect herself in the future. Meanwhile, I secretly hoped the Buddhists were correct in their idea of hell being a rather long journey in the afterlife. I was thinking something along the lines the representation in "Jacob's Ladder", Adrian Lyne's film adaptation of Bruce Joel Rubin's screenplay interpretation of The Tibetan Book of the Dead.

It's a good thing ones manners are not judged based on what we occasionally think, no? It's wonderful you care so much for your friend. The most caring thing you can do is respect her wishes on this. It sounds as if she's got a good handle of what she needs. I suggest you follow her lead.



Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Rosa, Rosa...

Rosa, Rosa..... wishing you a sweet passage into the greatest of mysteries (leaving shoes and cares behind.)

Thank you for saying "No, I've had enough." You left this ol' world so much better than you found it.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Corporate Test Dummy?

Jeez, has it really been almost 20 days since I posted here? Times flies I suppose when you are having something that might resemble fun to a person who has been locked in a closet for a year or five. Okay, guilty! I'm exagerrating although I have been in a bit of a funk. As much as I love Fall, the thought of another grim, dark Iowa winter has me feeling rather down. I always forget that as it begins to get cold and grey, I just want to sleep and eat and have almost no interest in leaving my apartment. It's just too cold and I'm just not that tough. I'll make it through, I always do.

So what gives? Did I really hear some screwball story on NPR today about a plan to corporately finance the national park systems? That there is a possibility of naming trails in for instance, the Grand Canyon, after corporate sponsors? Laudy, laudy! "Ride your rented mule down Dow Chemical Trail to see the lovely river we once set on fire. Sign up right here." My God the world is getting more and more absurd. Okay, I think it may have been the Snake River and I'm not certain it was Dow Chemical but you get my point.

Modern technology continues to baffle me. I was at the grocery store last night and they had a new water refill machine which for the life of me I could not figure out how to use. I finally had to go to the deli and beg for help. This is a life long problem. When I was a child and Coke came out with a new dispensing machine, the first time I encountered one I couldn't figure out why the Coke machine didn't offer Coke anymore but did offer 5 other types of soft drinks. What they had done was make the button for Coke about 20 times larger than the one for the other drinks so I thought that button was actually just a part of the advertising for coca-a-cola products. It never occured to me that they'd make a button so big. I guess I wasn't the only confused soda swiller on the block since that model of machine didn't stick around for very long. Be interesting to see how long the new water refill contraptions last.

Hhhhmm ..... new career possibility for me? Corporate test dummy? Would I get a trail named after me in Joshua Tree?

The Didion book is heart-breaking. Almost finished. I can't read this one too quickly because it's just too hard. I hate to say it but I almost feel as if she wrote it too soon. I hope she revisits her grieving process in another book or article in a few years - so much changes and we learn so much. Ultimately, this doesn't matter one bit. If the process of writing and publishing the book helped her recover from the deaths of her husband and daughter within 2 months of each other, I'm glad she did it and despite it's subject matter, at times the book is almost a joyful read.

c megdoeswords

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Letter Y and The Veil

I am almost finished with The Black Veil and damnit I'm starting the like the thing, or more to the point, I'm starting to like Rick Moody more and more. In that one of the measure's of whether or not a book is decently written is if you care about it's characters enough to judge them one way or the other, I'll have to revoke my original assessment of the book as being poorly written.

The passage in the book when he decides to start wearing a veil himself and the subsequent first journey to Walmart (where he considers asking a sales clerk in which aisle one might browse if they were in the market for a soul) is heart-breakingly funny. I keep thinking about my plan 2 years ago to change my last name to the letter "Y". How I had convinced so many of my writer/artist friends of what a "cool" idea it was. I had a little group show at a public art space in town and put up a piece under the name of "meg y". Man, no wonder I didn't get much feedback on the thing. People probably didn't even know I had done it. I had also tried to subscribe to a couple of magazines as Meg Y but they all came back saying they could not process my order without my complete "information." At least Moody, had the sense not to wear his veil out to dinner. Well, not that he admitted in print anyway - wry smile.

Oh dear.

c - megdoeswords

Monday, October 03, 2005

Yep, It Was Eugenides

I'm sure I'm just as obvious to other people sometimes but I swear I was just saying to my friend, Ann, the other day that I was pretty certain that Rick Moody had to have been refering to Jeffrey Eugenides in his memoir in his passage about his post-college road trip to San Francisco because twice he called him Jeff, the budding novelist . I couldn't help but check to see if I was right. Sure enough Eugenides is from Detroit (where the road trip begins) and graduated from Brown in 1983 (as did Moody.) Hey, most of us have done this sort of thing and a good number of us will probably do it again.

Laura, stop laughing!!

BTW, The Black Veil is getting worse. The way he's talking about his fellow patients in the psych ward and treatment is just awful. I mean no empathy at all. I keep praying he's going to surprise me. I'll keep you posted.

Clearly, I need to spend more time working on my own work.

Can't wait to read Joan Didion's new book, The Year of Magical Thinking. It hits bookstores manana (I'm third in line on the hold list at the library - god bless 'em.)

Meg's October Manners

Don't forget to pick up your FREE copy of the October issue of The Source. Check your local bookseller, coffee shop, grocer, museum, etc. or go online to

Dear Meg,

Every year my husband and I go to his company's annual Halloween party. Every year he insists we wear the same 'ol lame costumes as the previous year. He goes as a forest ranger and I dress up as tree on fire. He brings along this old garden hose and makes me run around threatening to set others on fire while he plays the big hero saving all the other guests from me. Nobody thinks its funny. It's almost heart-breaking. I'm embarrassed for him and me. Even the owner of the company and her husband do edgier stuff. Last year they dressed up as Tiny Tim and Miss Vicki. Another couple came as Ruth Carter Stapleton and Larry Flynt. It was hilarious. Should I speak up and risk hurting his feelings.


Dear Helen,

Well, yes, speak up, of course. I'm not clear on why you think this would hurt his feelings. If stating such a simple request would prove problematic, may I suggest you dress up as Pet Rock # 1 and Pet Rock # 2, if you get my drift? There is nothing inherently "lame" about dressing up as a forest ranger, BTW. That's a pretty cool occupation. It's not only cool, it's honorable, as is any occupation that protects the environment. It does sound as if your poor husband has gotten himself into a bit of a rut and I understand why you wouldn't want to spend an entire evening running around pretending to be someone everyone else is supposed to be afraid of. If that's what you want, I suggest you try my SLA Patty Hearst w/ faux machine gun routine. I thought it was a riot but people on the street, in the nightclubs and at Denny's were definitely afraid of me. Oh well, it was 1978 and it was the south. I shouldn't have expected much else.

The most important thing, as always, is that you keep your husband's feelings in mind when you bring the subject up but, in this case, please don't be afraid to state your case. Point out to him how much you've admired his co-worker's get-up's and how impressed you were with their creativity.Let him know how much you love and admire him. I would tell him how it makes you feel posing as a threat to others year after year and suggest to him you feel as if you are in a rut. Never hurts to take the hit in order to attempt to get someone else to take a hint.

If none of this works, maybe you could suggest a role reversal? At the very least it would probably be a tad bit better to be the one playing the great protector for a change - chasing the burning tree around with that old garden hose. I'll bet his co-workers would find that pretty funny.

Best of luck,


Dear Meg,

I just had my first book published. My agent told me I'm not really up to snuff for any kind of visual publicity campaign, so we're sticking to radio. I'm doing all these AM radio talk shows from the convenience of my living room. I consider myself a fairly well-mannered woman but some of the stuff these radio people are saying to me are really over the top. I'm on sabbatical right now but I've got 3 more weeks of this starting in mid-October. Any advice?


Dear Nina,

I have a friend was once in exactly the same situation. She adopted a coping mechanism she picked up in junior high school which was that she essentially agreed with everything being said to her. For instance, if someone tells you might get more guys or sell more books if you spent more time on your appearance, just agree. Tell them you think spending three hours applying make-up, spraying and back-combing your hair and agonizing over outfits every morning would be a wonderful use of your time. You could toss in a quote like this one from shop owner, Truvy Jones (aka Dolly Parton) in Robert Harling's sentimental chickfest Steel Magnolias - "There's no such thing as natural beauty." Hopefully, a full read of this month's issue will do much to counter that silly notion.

Just toy with them, Nina, and keep your cool. You're the one who is selling a book and the better you come off the more books you are likely to sell. I know it's hard but, keep in mind, that taking the high road (darn it!) does usually pay off. I'm looking forward to reading your book. Keep your chin up.