Fifteen Degrees
Cold morning duties as Dad-Man. Cinderella is down in U of I territory hangin' with the son. So I'm here, presiding over the early morning. Megan went to the midnight girl-scream-swoon-fest showing of Twilight. Chayo and I were up at 7:00. Fifteen degrees and Spongebob--Dada trying to figure out breakfast and lunch, signing mysterious third grade parent sheets, trying to engineer the daughter's hair-brushing (I Am Tangle-Man). Coffee. Um, where is the coffee? E mails from writers and readers--a woman upset I used the word "illegals" in Devil's Highway. (I just wrote Devo's Highway...awake? Nah.) I had to confess that was a product of sheer rage--I wanted to shove the bad word in readers' faces until they got sick of it. That's why I did all that stuff with terms ("undocumented entrant") and epithets ("wets" and "tonks") earlier in the book. But I'm less angry now, and don't have so much of an axe to grind, and if I wrote the book today, I'd follow a different path. Man, it's too early for this. Squidward is having an employment tiff with Mr. Crab. OH! It's time to walk to the bus!

Bundle! Hood! We walk down there in the brittle morning. My nose is burning with cold. Kids gather. One tyke says to me, "Are you an author?" I say, "Yeah." He says, "Cool." I say, "Yeah." He says, "If we see that turkey in our yard, my dad's goinna take his bow and kill it." I say, "You don't like the turkey?" He says, "It's irritating." I say, "But it's our mascot. Not every neighborhood is lucky enough to have its own turkey." And he says, "I want it dead."

Bus trundles off with the kids, I stagger back. Coffee. Not even for the caffeine--it's WARM. Feed the cat, feed the bird, check the rat--the dogs are in bed with Megan, who must have been bitten by the vampires because she is too pale and wan to rise for school. I'm supposed to write a book-blurb. Send poems to a journal. Send an essay to a magazine. Mail signed bookplates to a collector. Show drawings to a publisher. But I see Spongebob has a new episode starting.

Am I an author? Not right now. Not for a few more minutes.

Yrs., L

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