sdkfhsdlk

Monthly Wrap: Times We Turned Pink

by Susan Henderson on November 7, 2008

Before I get to the monthly wrap, I just want to acknowledge this historic election. I haven’t felt so emotional and deeply grateful since my kids were born healthy. (With maybe the one exception of when one of my boys got me a Madeline tea set for my birthday so we could have tea parties together.) It’s an amazing time – turning away from divisiveness and towards what we might become if we work together.

*

This month, we told stories of the foolish things we’ve done. I do foolish things on such a regular basis that it just seems like part of life-as-me includes walking into a tree after passing someone cute, or carrying a briefcase upside down to a job interview, or managing to parallel park underneath another car, or answering, You’re Welcome when someone asks, How are you?

But I’ll share a story I told to my friend, Kimberly, the other day when we had lunch together.

As many of you regulars know, Mr. Henderson and I started dating when we were both 19. That’s more than half of our lives ago. But we did break up for a significant period of time, and this is a story of that in-between time, when we were broken up but trying to hang out as friends again.

He showed up at my place and said, “We’ll go wherever you want.”

I offered up The Cricket Lounge. It’s a place I passed on the way to the university every day. Painted on the side of the building was this giant tuxedoed cricket along with the words “Go-go! Go-go!” I told him I’d always wanted to dance there, and he found this “interesting.”

Already, I felt defensive because how could anyone who supposedly knew me well not know how much I loved go-go? Despite the campus’ preference for mopey alternative music, I still preferred anything with excessive drums and cowbells, blasting my records by Trouble Funk (the band I’ve seen in concert more than any other), Experience Unlimited, Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers. I had a favorite go-go club back in DC that was jam-packed on the weekends with people trying to out-dance each other, and the best dancers got paid spots on raised platforms a la Soul Train. Since high school, I wanted to be one of the girls dancing above the crowd.

I wore a dress Mr. H had always liked because – even though we were just going to be friends – I still didn’t want him to look at anyone but me.

We entered The Cricket Lounge, where I expected to hear the crazy drumming, the cowbells. This was where I’d show the crowd that no one can out-go-go a girl from DC.

But this was not the same sort of go-go club. This was the kind of club with nude ladies dancing. Sad, old ladies. Bad dancers. Mr. H knew this all along, apparently, and I could tell he got a kick out of the look of surprise on my face. He asked if I wanted to leave, and I said, No, because then they’d know we made a mistake, and who wants to look like they made a mistake? I ordered something with scotch in it, and  Mr. H whispered to me, “Good dancing here. Want to ask for a job application?”

We drank fast, then wandered all around town, looking for something to do, both of us very conscious of trying to walk the correct distance apart so our hands didn’t bump. Finally he said, “Well, we can go back to my place. I’ll cook for you.”

It was one of the sexiest non-dates I ever had, sitting on his living room floor, eating tater tots and watching the Headbanger’s Ball on MTV. We sat so close that, if he had turned his head toward me during an Iron Maiden song, we might have accidentally kissed. There was the possibility there for a kiss so amazing he’d forget how much I’d hurt him. And because I couldn’t have known, then, that nothing at all would happen, it was a feeling that anything was possible.

By the way, I found a photo of that Cricket Lounge mural on the web, and I see they’ve now made a clarification on the sign for folks like me

*

What I read this month: Rachel Resnick, Love Junkie (I agree with Janet Fitch’s blurb of this memoir: “Reading Love Junkie is like watching a sleepwalker taking a stroll on a freeway. All you can do is pray.”); Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns (beautiful writing and a beautiful heart, though it didn’t pierce me the way The Kite Runner did, and maybe because I am always most moved by stories with children at the center of them); Mark Spragg, An Unfinished Life (every book he writes helps me understand my Montana relatives better); Amy McKinnon, Tethered (a really engaging read about an undertaker who finds herself in the middle of a murder mystery); and Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (just halfway through this one because I am savoring it). What I’m reading to the boys this month: Lois Lowry’s Messenger (in this world, you can trade your soul for your heart’s desire – wonderful and freaky). Mr. H is reading them Terry Pratchett’s Pyramids  (they laugh; I don’t).

Thanks to everyone who played here this month; to my guest, Dan Conaway, for sharing his insight and expertise; and to those who linked to LitPark: Editor Unleashed, Helen Dowdell’s Satin Black, Biscuit Cream, The Write Report, Maureen McGowan, and Every Second of the Moment. I appreciate those links!

And one more link for you: Kemble Scott’s thoughts on Prop 8 (it’s a response to pastor and author Rick Warren).

*

Oh, p.s. Last night, Mr. H was filming a scene for his film noir in a Brooklyn alleyway. Here’s a still:

There was a guy living in that alleyway, so they gave him cash and a pack of cigarettes for the trouble of moving out of the shot.

{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

troutbum70 November 7, 2008 at 1:33 am

I have an arrived at a not what you thought bar story. My ex wife and I had justed moved to Minniapolis and it so happened that new years was the new millinium. So of course we were going to go party like it was 1999, seeing how the world would end the next day. We get a late start and the bar we had chosen to go to was packed and there was a line around the block. I’m a pretty tough guy but I’m not standing outside a bar on December 31st in Minnesotta even if the world is about to crash down around us. So we drive down the road and my ex sees a wine bar and bistro that appears to be open so we stop and go in. The hosttess tells us that we are to late for dinner and we explain we only came for drinks, she immediatly hands us champagne and ushers us to a table by the bar. We ordered our drinks but the hosttess never let our champagne glasses get empty so we didn’t order a second round. I noticed at the table next to us that the couple sitting there were making out hot and heavy and I was happy for my fellow man for making the most out of his last night on earth. I nudged my ex under the table and she smiled a coy smile and beckoned me to come to her side of the table. Me feeling the effects and being impressed by the passion on display next to her I gladly moved to her side. Then my buddy next door came up for air and to my surprise it was a woman kissing another woman. I took a quick look around and noticed that all the couples save us where same sex, we had been there for at least an hour and had not noticed that for once we were not the norm. As we sat there drinking our champagne and waiting for the ball to drop a drunk man in leather pants accidently stepped in the tail of my jacket that hung on the back of my chair. He procedded to straighten it and tried to dust it off, I told him it was fine and that he needn’t bother. He looked me in the eye and said that he was very particular about clothes and that he wanted to make sure it was clean. Being eye level with his open fly I pointed out to him that he hadn’t been to particular about his zipper. He of course looks down turns and zips the zipper then sheepishly smiles and walks off. The hosttess arrived with party hats and noisemakers and of course more champagne, we all went outside and as the clock struck twelve and the fireworks went off and all the people began to kiss, I pulled her close and kissed her deep. We paid our bill and thaked our host and went home to set off our own fireworks. You never know when you walk in a door that it may just be the right best place for you at that exact time. That was probably my favorite new years eve I have ever had… Especially since the world kept spinning and my bank account didn’t disapear. Obama moved my to the verge of tears when he spoke after the election, I have never heard anyone as eloquent and inspiring. God bless him and all of us…

Reply

kategray November 7, 2008 at 8:28 am

Ok. Mine is just proof of Bill Cosby’s take on kids, particularly teenagers. We’re brain damaged. For a long time, I never would have told this story, but now, nineteen years later (OMG! 19 years!!!), it’s taken on a jokey tone in my mind. I was one of those kids who was skinny, geeky, and way too sensitive. I’d been picked on and bullied for ages, until one culminating event pushed me to decide to run away…to New York City. I have no idea what made me choose there, or why I thought I would survive with only my allowance. Probably I’d read The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Bail E. Frankweiler one too many times. Who wouldn’t want to try to live in the Met?
I came up with some accomplices, two other dissatisfied girls who thought we could pool our rescources. We decided to run off of school grounds, which we did, with someone chasing after us, I forget who. We caught a cab to the New Haven train station, where we were immediately picked up by the local cops. They then made fun of us the whole way back to the cop shop. I, of course, was in misery, misery, misery. But then, the guy who ended up being head principal (he was an assistant one at the time), took me into his office later that day. He said that he understood what had happened, and that he wanted me to feel safe in school. It’s only now that I realize that if I had just sat and stewed, and never let that moment be my voice in the darkness, I would have gone through my whole high school experience as a fearful little girl. He gave me the power to find myself and know that the staff would look out for me. Even though I could have died of embarrassment when I had to go back to classes, I was grateful that he’d understood, and not been like another principal I’d had in middle school, who’d told me that getting egged one day was my own fault!
Of course, middle and high school are just one big humiliations galore-fest.

Reply

SusanHenderson November 7, 2008 at 12:35 pm

Love that story. Especially this: You never know when you walk in a door that it may just be the right best place for you at that exact time.

Reply

SusanHenderson November 7, 2008 at 12:36 pm

I’m seeing a YA bestseller in the making…

Reply

kategray November 7, 2008 at 1:05 pm

Argh. What would I call it…where to start….

Reply

SusanHenderson November 7, 2008 at 1:13 pm

Easy! You hook the reader with that thing we all know, feeling awkward and ugly and misunderstood at school. Create three girlfriends who know that kind of hurt in different ways. That’s the first quarter of the book. The second and third quarter feature a great escape (that works!) into a neighboring city, and all the close calls, opportunities to feel grand and small and to miss the safety of home, etc. And let the end surprise you after you’ve written it that far.

I’m sure others here can improve and correct my ideas, but I think you’re sitting on a winner.

Reply

marilynpeake November 7, 2008 at 2:39 pm

Books like that can even be written within a world of fantasy. Holly Black’s Young Adult series that started with her novel, “Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale,” revolved around teenagers in difficult situations: http://www.blackholly.com/aboutholly.htm

Reply

Aurelio November 7, 2008 at 2:43 pm

I’ve often mused over the use of the term “exotic” dancing by these establishments. Why exotic? It seems to me all cities have these, which means they can hardly be considered exotic.

As a young child, I recall passing these places and, not knowing they were strip-clubs, being intrigued by the word “exotic.” I pictured elaborate scenarios going on inside, with women dressed as peacocks, huge pageants with chorines wrapped up in yards of tulle, singing and twirling, leaving trails of glitter in the air as they spun by. Or flaming torches, African drums, and loincloth-clad athletes, tumbling about, or building human pyramids while standing on their heads with bones through their noses. You know, something “exotic,” like Carmen Miranda, Sabu, and Josephine Baker. Like I had seen in the movies.

The outsides of these places always looks so dumpy though, and that made me question my first thought, and I never live close enough to one to peek inside.

Reply

aimeepalooza November 7, 2008 at 2:54 pm

OMG! Awesome. You accidentally went to a topless bar. We accidentally went to a gay bar once. It was empty but the few men there kept buying my friend Ike drinks. It took us like two hours to figure out we were in a gay bar. The girls felt really rejected for that two hours. Nobody wanted to talk to us…only Ike. I love gay bars…I just like to know when I’m in one so I don’t feel like the ugliest girl on Earth.

Reply

jodyreale November 7, 2008 at 4:38 pm

This may be my favorite date story ever. How many times have I stayed someplace I wanted desperately to leave just because I didn’t want anyone to know I had made a mistake? Someday I’m writing a book called I Meant to Do That.

Reply

SusanHenderson November 7, 2008 at 7:24 pm

You were a cool child, Aurelio. How great that you imagined peacocks and flaming torches and Carmen Miranda hats!

Reply

SusanHenderson November 7, 2008 at 7:25 pm

Good point about not wanting to feel ugly!

Reply

SusanHenderson November 7, 2008 at 7:25 pm

I would buy that book, Jody.

Reply

jodyreale November 7, 2008 at 8:45 pm

Let’s co-write it and make it a two-volume set!

Reply

DarylDarko November 7, 2008 at 10:13 pm

Back in the mid-70’s, the town I still live in to this day, had the only strip club in the county. Our town used to be a sort of truck stop with not even a population of 5,000. Now 51,000 people live here; we’ve become a upper middle class haven for soccer moms and corporate big wigs & wannabes. Anyway, as soon as I turned 21 I went to the strip club; The Wicked Eye. The reaction I had to seeing women stand on a bar and stripping was a hallmark of all the women I would ever become close to in my life. I wanted to protect them like a big brother and help them believe they didn’t have to do “this” to themselves. I wrote a letter to the stripper that night on a napkin and told her to call me if she wanted someone to talk to.

Reply

SusanHenderson November 8, 2008 at 8:11 am

You should pitch your essays to parenting magazine. Write me.

Reply

SusanHenderson November 8, 2008 at 8:14 am

Ha! The Wicked Eye – I love it!

(I have that same protective instinct.)

Reply

robinslick November 8, 2008 at 11:20 am

Hey hey – just de-lurking to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed the interviews and comments this month. I started to write about the time I felt foolish, but then I realized, after ten paragraphs in, that I was pretty much writing my autobiography and that I’ve pretty much felt that way my entire life. I was under the very sad and mistaken impression that the one saving grace about hitting middle age would be that I finally wouldn’t give a shit what others thought and that I’d finally be comfortable in my own skin. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Now I’m the crazy middle aged woman with the crooked lipstick talking to herself in public…the one I always crossed the street to avoid. Wah!

Anyway, I await news of book, Sue. I see wicked hints from both you and some of the people commenting so I’m either out of the loop and missed it or, as usual, you are keeping the news close to your chest. Man, you can really keep a secret, which is just another one of your admirable traits. I’m sure I would have posted billboards all over the universe by now, without a contract even signed. Which is why I’m also the crazy lady with the crooked lipstick and egg on her face…

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
P.S. Yay, Obama! I knocked on doors all day Tuesday, making sure people voted, getting them to polling places myself in case they could not get there themselves. I still haven’t come down from the high of his victory. And how sad that he had to apologize to Nancy Reagan for that hilarious comment. This country has completely lost its sense of humor…but I guess that will happen when you lose your job, your home, your pension, etc. I just wish his first act as President would be to order a full scale investigation of Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney and that those two would end up in…oh, I dunno…how about Guantanamo Bay?

Reply

troutbum70 November 8, 2008 at 11:42 am

Aww, thank you. By the way, I love Film Noir and always wanted to go to a movie premire.;D

Reply

Aurelio November 8, 2008 at 3:57 pm

I was still in that stage where I took things very literally, and a Super Ball had super powers, Instant Breakfast was a meal in a glass, and X-Ray Specs could really see through things. Amazed by everything and not yet wise enough to be disappointed.

It’s part of what draws me to sci-fi/fantasy fiction, that desire to recapture what it felt like to so easily believe in pretty improbable things.

Reply

SusanHenderson November 8, 2008 at 6:19 pm

Those X-Ray Specs were a total bust.

Reply

SusanHenderson November 8, 2008 at 6:21 pm

His film noir is a comedy. It’s meant to look like a classic 1930’s TV detective series, but this is the one that was never shown because it got censored. So, if you watch it with the sound off, it should look like the classic, and with the sound up, it’s like an episode of South Park.

Reply

SusanHenderson November 8, 2008 at 6:25 pm

OMG, that first paragraph killed me!

Rob, you are, and always will be, in the loop. When I have news, and the okay to share it, I get the lipstick and the billboard out, for sure.

(Thanks for knocking on those doors. I believe so strongly that it was the volunteers and the ground game that turned the election.)

Reply

Carolyn_Burns_Bass November 8, 2008 at 10:25 pm

Oh, Sue. Those break-up distances are like love itself. I had one of those. Not with my husby though.

Your go-go story, however, reminds me of a memory from my days when I was something of a street urchin, in between my parent’s divorce and my mom’s remarriage to the straight man. My friend Patty was babysit after school by her very cool and married older sister. We used to roam the streets of Pomona like we owned it.

Patty and I were eight. Together we were 16, but that still wasn’t old enough to get into the Go-Go Club on Mission Avenue. Patty had some go-go boots, but I didn’t. We were very curious about go-go dancing, so we decided we’d investigate. The sign on the front door said, “NO ONE UNDER 21 ALLOWED.” We decided the only way we’d see anything was if we said we were looking for our dad.

It was 4 pm mind you. So any dad at the GoGo Club at 4 pm, whose daughters had to come looking for him, couldn’t have been much of a father.

We walked inside and got no further than long counter that blocked the actual go-go stage. A man built like a Rock Island Railroad car stepped around the counter and glared. Patty elbowed me, like I was the one who had to talk, even though she was taller and looked older than me. I tried to speak, but got distracted by the veins on the man’s forehead. I grabbed Patty’s arm, we bolted from the place and ran as fast as we could to her sister’s apartment, laughing off the scare.

Reply

Carolyn_Burns_Bass November 8, 2008 at 11:09 pm

I so wanted to run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. That book had a major impact on my appreciation for art and literature. I still love that book.

Reply

SusanHenderson November 9, 2008 at 12:06 pm

Wow, you were brave to go in. I love how you thought of your ages, together, equaling 16! You must absolutely put that line in a book.

Reply

SusanHenderson November 10, 2008 at 9:33 am

Hey, if Lauren Baratz-Logsted is around, I have a question for you. I heard you were doing a Q and A somewhere this month and can’t find it. Can you give us all a link? I get more from your interviews than I would if I got an MFA!

Reply

LaurenBaratzLogsted November 10, 2008 at 9:52 am

Hey, Sue! I’m over at LibraryThing answering questions through 11/14: http://www.librarything.com/topic/48770. It’s been a little slow – damn that distracting election! (Kidding. Kidding!) Btw, also on Election Day, my husband Greg Logsted had his novel-writing debut with the YA novel SOMETHING HAPPENED (S&S Pulse).

Reply

SusanHenderson November 10, 2008 at 10:17 am

Right! LibraryThing! I’ll drop by today for sure.

I just peeked at Greg’s book. http://www.amazon.com/Something-Happened-Greg-Logsted/dp/1416950788/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1226327797&sr=8-1

Can I ask, is the story kind of gently talking about adult/child sexual boundaries? You know I used to be a sexual abuse counselor, right? Because if that’s what his book is about, I can tell you that the field is full of texts that are useful for counselors, but there is a giant hole for books that are suitable for young teens and books that give just enough information to offer help and not more trauma. Would love to hear more about his book if you’re up for chatting about it here.

Reply

LaurenBaratzLogsted November 10, 2008 at 10:26 am

Always happy to talk more! I didn’t realize you were once a counselor. Yes, SOMETHING HAPPENED is about a vulnerable 13-year-old, still reeling from the unexpected death of his father, who falls under the spell of a gorgeous English teacher with predatory designs. I’m admittedly biased but I think it’s a wonderful and important book, sensitively handled.

Reply

SusanHenderson November 10, 2008 at 10:36 am

My specialty was working with teens, though I also saw adults, and my youngest client was four.

Okay, sorry to be so interested in this, but our agency was literally desperate to find literature for boys and literature that honored not the really horrific and obvious assaults but that gray area, where a child’s instincts kick in (something doesn’t feel right) and yet there is nothing really clear to point to. Because I rarely saw people who were attacked out of the blue or by strangers. Looking back, there was almost always a long gray period where they had and then discounted their healthiest instincts.

Are you on LinkedIn? Are we already linked? Because I can introduce you to some big door openers if Greg is interested in marketing his book via sexual abuse clinics or mental health bookstores.

Reply

LaurenBaratzLogsted November 10, 2008 at 10:41 am

I’m not on LinkedIn. Sometimes, it just doesn’t feel like there are enough hours in the day to keep up with all the online sites. That said, I’m sure Greg would love to have you help open big doors for him!

Reply

SusanHenderson November 10, 2008 at 10:49 am

Let me get in touch with some folks, and I’ll see what I can do…

Reply

SusanHenderson November 11, 2008 at 9:54 am

Annette Hyder has started a blog for poets and feminists: http://blog.annettehyder.com/

Reply

SusanHenderson November 18, 2008 at 6:58 pm

Curious what you’d do in this situation. Let’s say publishing houses often woo/pressure you for favors. And this time, they’ve come to you with extra force about what they think is a huge new book and a soon-to-be huge new author. And when you get the materials, the name of this author which has been dinging a bell in your head, suddenly falls in place. Because before he was an author, he was an editor who wrote you, hands down, the snottiest and most uncompromisingly nasty rejection you’ve ever received. And in light of the Lieberman hearings and so forth, I’m just curious, what would you do?

Reply

darbylarson November 18, 2008 at 8:51 pm

do you mean they want you to blurb the book? People are people. Is the book good?

Reply

SusanHenderson November 18, 2008 at 8:55 pm

They want me to promote this person’s book, review it and so forth. I haven’t read it yet.

Reply

mlakers November 18, 2008 at 9:06 pm

I guess I’d look over the materials and see what I thought of them, objectively. If they turn out to be unimpressive, problem solved, do nothing to promote the work. If, however, they look really good and promising, then I’d decide whether I preferred to snub him for being a jerk when he didn’t have to be and should have known better as a fellow writer (what goes around comes around, buddy!) or whether I would get more satisfaction out of being the bigger person and rising above my emotions and promote the work. Either response is valid and your total prerogative.

Reply

darbylarson November 18, 2008 at 9:07 pm

If the book was good, I’d review it. If it wasn’t good, I’d review it poorly. I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a rejection that was really nasty though, or I’ve never taken rejection that personally maybe? But I also don’t know what it’s like to be woo’d/pressured by a publisher. All in all, I’m just completely the wrong person to be replying here.

Reply

SusanHenderson November 18, 2008 at 9:19 pm

Great points, Mary. I like the idea of looking at the piece objectively. Would it change your decision-making rubric at all if you knew that, to pick this person’s piece to review would deprive other great writers who haven’t been snotty an opportunity? Say, for example, a magazine allows for 5 reviews per year, and anytime you choose one thing, you are, at the same time, un-choosing another.

Reply

SusanHenderson November 18, 2008 at 9:22 pm

No, you’re exactly the right person, and this really helps.

Reply

kaytie November 18, 2008 at 10:02 pm

Is there a reason you can’t “conflict out?” Send a “Thanks for thinking of me on this one but unfortunately I feel a review from me could be considered compromised.” You don’t have to say why. Or maybe that would sound unintentionally mysterious or unhelpful.

(Edited because I didn’t intend to sound snarky.)

Reply

mlakers November 19, 2008 at 7:55 am

Yeah, I think it would change things for me. But, then, I am all about the underdog. 🙂

And from what I know of you Susan, I trust that you will make the right choice. You really think about things like this, agonize over them, even. How many other people do that?? Not many, I’d submit. For that reason alone, I trust your ultimate decision to be the best one for all concerned.

Reply

SusanHenderson November 19, 2008 at 8:08 am

Hee. Now I really want to hear the snarky version.

Reply

SusanHenderson November 19, 2008 at 8:18 am

Yeah, I do agonize about things, probably too much. But I thought I’d do it out loud this time because I was honestly on the fence. I’m not a grudge holder, so any personal hurt isn’t and wasn’t part of the equation. But I was struggling with what was at first my dilemma, which was a sense that it goes against all of my personal instincts to reward snotty or pushy or self-righteous behavior, and it also goes against my instincts to play some kind of moral authority.

But your note here tips me far into the side of letting this person’s book go because you reminded me of why I started this blog to begin with. Because there are a lot of really tremendous writers here who are kind and play by the rules and don’t have people strong-arming for reviews, and they keep getting passed over. And this isn’t a book, judging by the back cover, that I would have picked up without the pressure. And certainly, choosing him would have meant passing over some quiet writer who’s patiently waiting in line, probably for ten years now, and I’d rather find that writer.

Reply

mlakers November 19, 2008 at 8:53 am

I like that line of thinking. And another way to get to the same place would be to ask, “Where will my review/promotion have the most impact?” Chances are, if this author already has a big house solidly behind him, your contribution would be a drop in an already full bucket. But for that quietly waiting author…oh, yeah, it could be a tidal wave. 🙂

Reply

SusanHenderson November 19, 2008 at 10:18 am

I don’t know about my impact on this writer. Mostly, tying my name to him and pleasing a publisher would do my own career good. It’s like the power of lobbyists. But I’m not going to go there cuz I’ve decided I’m going to donate the book here:

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=33470239062

Reply

Kelleybell November 19, 2008 at 5:38 pm

What a cute story. It reminds me of one of my own:

I took a job selling roses in the local bars of St. Pete Florida on Friday nights, one summer, long, long ago…

One bar, called The Salt and Peppa was (unbeknownst to me) a front for a brothel.

The madam who posed at the front door collecting the cover charge took pity on me. She could tell I was young, inocent and struggling.

As I walked through the bar, every woman at every table literally begged her beau to buy my roses. When I got to the back of the bar my box was empty.

Then the madam made a motion to her girls I did not understand.

As I walked back to the front, each of the women pulled one rose from their boquet to keep, and stuffed the rest back into my box for me to sell at the other pubs on my route.

You see, the way it works, is the flower sellers give you a route, and advance you the roses. You sell what you can, then must pay for the whole lot. You earn just enough to pay the debt and buy a meal, but never enough to get ahead.

When I left that bar, I had a pocket full of cash, and a full box of stock to sell.

I literally broke down in tears.

These women understood, without even asking, what a tough time I was having, living on my own for the first time, and trying to find a real job. They knew how rough it could be, and they reached out to help.

It was the most amazing act of human kindness I have ever witnessed, and one I will never forget.

Reply

SusanHenderson November 19, 2008 at 7:57 pm

Awww. What a great story. Good to have you here, Kelley.

Reply

SusanHenderson November 19, 2008 at 10:27 pm

National Book Award Winners:

YA: Judy Blundell, What I Saw and How I Lied (Scholastic)
Poetry: Mark Doty, Fire to Fire: New and Collected Poems (HarperCollins)
Non-Fiction: Annette Gordon-Reed, The Hemingses of Monticello (W.W. Norton & Company)
Fiction: Peter Matthiessen, Shadow Country (Modern Library)

Reply

SusanHenderson November 20, 2008 at 8:13 am

Someone dropped me a note recently, asking about Joseph Campbell’s gravesite. I have pictures of it here: https://litpark.com/2007/01/12/weekly-wrap-our-2-sentences/

Reply

DConaway November 30, 2008 at 5:26 pm

Karma is a bitch, that’s my view. Given how many options there are in the world, and how many writers who need/could use/would die for your help, I wouldn’t give this another thought–in fact you’ve already given him far more consideration than he deserves. The most generous thing you could give him is to give him nothing whatsoever–which of course is the far kinder choice than just about any option I’d contemplate, under the circumstances. And if your guilt engine insists on weighing in here (“if I were a bigger person” etc), then counter the guilt-engine argument with the one you’ve laid out above: giving him ink and attention would deprive others of same, and why do that for somebody who used HIS opportunity in this regard (where you were concerned) to demonstrate his own small-mindedness.

Reply

SusanHenderson November 30, 2008 at 7:15 pm

Then I won’t give it another thought and I’ll simply use this space to brag about the Steelers…. http://bleacherreport.com/images_root/image_pictures/0013/1937/random_key_84234_file_9740506_Steelers_v_Cowboys_feature.jpg

🙂

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

sdkfhsdlk