National Novel Writing Month Warm-Up, and Happy Halloween!

So, in preparation of what will certainly be one of the most tooth-pulling months of my life, with a short-month deadline of November 30 to bash out 50,000 words, I present to you 252 (title included) of something entirely unrelated:

Let’s Talk About Things That Really Matter

My sister is a grudgeholder. “Tighter than you’re holding that baby,” I say, and when I do, she shoots me that look, dark eyes like mine focused on me so hard that I smile, part my lips, and laugh a little.

“Stop.” That’s my mother at the kitchen sink, soapsuds up to her wrists. “Come on.” She doesn’t turn to look at us, even though she is best at the look. I know that she is forcing herself to keep her eyes down on the pots, the utensils, to save me from the double-look.

“Your words would actually mean more if you knew what the hell you were talking about,” she says, bouncing Sweet Baby James who is fussy and writhing in her arms. He is two months old and colicky. According to my father, SBJ has not allowed my sister or brother-in-law even a half-night’s sleep in six days. This was the first time I heard James referred to as SBJ. “Just like LBJ,” my dad said when I put my and Amber’s jacket on a hanger and looked long at him, my mother.

“You know LBJ? You know LBJ.” My father.

“The guy who took over for Kennedy?”

“Well, not really so much of a ‘takeover,’” he said, putting his hands out in front of his pot belly, extending his fingers toward me on the word “takeover.”

Amber says, “Sweet Baby James. SBJ,” and she kissed my mother first, and then my father.

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