Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Nonfiction Character Sketches

She wears her thin hair in a bun. She has homemade granola wrapped in sandwich bags and these inside tin boxes (from the dollar store) to give as gifts on Christmas. Her favorite subjects include: fundamentalist Christians, the Kabalah, my father, and the evils of Wal Mart. When she talks about something that she feels strongly about, her intensity can spread like infection, but it can also be so intense that it's terrifying, much like an out-of-control fire. If someone has an idea that she doesn't agree with, they'd better have a defense prepared.

He's cute when his brother isn't around. When he smiles, his dimples turn into quotes around his mouth. He paces around the house, looking down at his feet as though he's deep in thought. He wants to have fun and to be funny. "You're not the boss of me" and "That's stupid" are two of his favorite sayings. He is excellent at entertaining himself: legos, puzzles, and books keeping him occupied for hours. He talks to himself while in the bathroom. Every morning he plops the advent calendar marker into the pocket marking the next day: December 22. Three days until Christmas.

He's tall and skinny, but his stomach is as flat and hard as a board. He's always smiling and moves his hands when he talks. He talks about everything; God, his parents, tomatoes, "My Side of the Mountain" and other books, and trees. He hikes whenever possible, although finding time to do so is like finding water in the desert--it can happen, but probability is highly unlikely. He visits Idaho whenever he can, and the Kasino Club is his favorite bar; he swing-dances with strangers. He can also waltz, dance goth, and dance dirty. Like his range of subjects, he wants to live in a range of places.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Stealing because it's the right thing to do

This is a true story told to me by someone connected with my family.

So I’m standing in Yelena's kitchen, and she’s sitting on this white, royal-looking chair next to the back door. We’re both eating some of this stuff she made; it’s like a cookie made of almonds and marshmellows drowned in chocolate and then frozen. It’s crunchy and sweet and the marshmellows make it squishy. Abby, the golden dingo, keeps sitting in front of me raising her paw begging for a handout.

“So I noticed that Isabel has all this new stuff, and I asked if she’s been stealing it from Walmart,” she said. “At first she said no, but then she said yes. She said, ‘Oh but mom, I only steal stuff when I see a manager being mean to an employee because I don’t think they should be treated that way.’”

“So did you tell her it was wrong to steal?” I asked.

“Oh yeah. I told her that stealing shit from them just hurts the people making the stuff in other countries. They notice how much money they’re losing on the stuff that’s being stolen, so they lower the price and pay the workers less money, so they can get away with it.”

“Wow, a normal parent would have just said that stealing is wrong and they could go to jail for doing it.”

“Yeah, well, a normal kid would have said , ‘well I’m just doing it because you won’t give me money.’”