Fiction and Non-fiction
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Den of iniquity

It's Saturday and my husband Mike has declared all rights to the den. The den is a new room that, like my second novel, still requires a few special touches before anyone utters, "Finished." But, unlike my novel, the den's beauty is progressing--especially considering it began as a storage room.
We painted the den lovingly over the Fourth of July, scrubbed floors, and arranged furniture to have, finally, a beautiful nesting place.
I understand why Mike wants it: the view from three windows is compelling. Large oak trees surrounded by English ivy, potted mini-palms set into large black ceramic pots and the swoosh of a curved road leading to the most beautiful golf course in South Carolina evoke deep satisfaction. It's a quiet place to relax, watch The Open Championship, even read FIFTY SHADES OF GREY by E.L. James.
So what's my problem? It's Saturday and I don't have a moment to spare. A severe case of "The Shoulds" catapults me into the laundry room, sends me reeling toward the kitchen. Loading the dishwasher, I think I SHOULD also clean the storage shed, marinate a pork loin, make beds and mail a sympathy card. Not to mention adding those few special touches to the den and that haunting second novel.
There is no reason for angst over Mike's perch in the den, except I want to be there, too, sprawled across the sofa relishing FIFTY SHADES as he naps in his Lazy Boy, narration of The Open in the background. I prefer the comfort of Mike's calm spirit to the frenzy of my day.
I'm a fly that can't light, that can't sense the light in this mind-cage of a housework trap. Yet I know it's not the den that fosters iniquity; it's the frenzy. Saturdays are for writing and languishing, not for a barrage of tasks or guilt over their state of completion.
Now I recognize how essential this den of iniquity is. Maybe it's time to slow down and light there.

From "simmer" to "boil": it's the stupidity

While in New Orleans with friends for JazzFest many years ago, I saw a T-shirt I wish now I had bought. The message was simply, "It's not the HEAT, it's the STUPIDITY." It's July in the South. We feel the heat, and we're accustomed to it . . . have become more durable in it over generations. What we're not handling well is the humidity. Humidity scrambles our brains like so many egg yolks, disconnects the synapses ensuring sound judgment.

I felt it yesterday, when a dysfunctional acquaintance tried to manipulate me by calling upon a dear friend and business associate to change my mind about a point of principle. The manipulator didn't call me directly, of course. He preyed upon a higher power--someone whose friendship I cherish, a person of sound reputation and pure heart. In her goodness, she was attempting to moderate a peaceful settlement.

Perhaps she didn't notice that my hair is red and this man's face was, too. While I admire her courage in entering a vat of fury threatening to turn us all into butter, I must believe it was the humidity that clouded not only her judgment in the matter, but also ours.

After a sound night's sleep, I see, fortunately, that she didn't want principle to stand in the way of having this oaf "owe" her a favor--one she'd been ruminating over for many months. This hot moment presented a chance to win and she took it. I'm not boiling any more; I'm laughing, raising my latté this morning in her honor!

Yeah, I'm feeling slightly stupid, but what's not to love about a survivor able to make the butter congeal in this heat?

Happy July to all, and have a splendid day!