May Update: Thoughts on American Almost-Idol Adam, On Turning 36, and My Continuing Writing LifeMay 20th, 2009
by Suzanne Burns
It’s been a crazy month. I am working right now on a new novel, a poetry manuscript about Paris, freelancing for the local arts paper and co-writing a script about the Thai sex trade. I turned 36, watched the complete season of American Idol (fell in love with Adam, finally, when he wore that gorgeous outfit of Kiss boots and metal wings), sold a few poetry books, took a class on baking with chocolate, went on a ghost hunt in rural Eastern Oregon and watched a handsome waiter in my favorite local restaurant bring me a piece of pecan pie with a candle on top.
My writing life has been pulled in so many directions lately. I am asked to write blurbs on an almost regular basis, which I think is beyond, beyond cool. I am jealous of up-and-coming writers like Riley Michael Parker and that clever guy who wrote Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I wrote a little ditty about going to the mall. I am all over the place. Which feels good and full and almost as satisfying as a Snickers bar. The cherry trees are full of pink blooms. I got carded twice when I bought wine last month. Oh, and my short story collection debuts in a few short weeks!!! (Instead of saying debut, I want to be like a rapper and say “drops.” My short story collection “drops.” Ahh…)
I sign off with the micro-piece about my most recent trip to the mall…
My niece Kathryn is the kind of girl who is so beautiful, even white jeans never make her look fat. With her blunt-cut platinum hair¸ her wintry blue eyes, her tan skin, she glides through life with as much buoyancy, and knowledge of fashion, as an L.A. socialite. I shop at the kind of discount places whose dressing rooms evoke visions of industrial confessional booths where, unlike priests, the mirrors never lie; the closest you’ll get to heaven is following the multi-hued constellations of gum, abandoned and stuck to the dressing room sides.
Last week Kathryn, technically my niece-in-law, invited me on a whirlwind trip to the Valley River Center mall in Eugene, Oregon. Riding beside her in the car was like observing a hummingbird flitting from cell phone to CD—the newest rap phenom “crooning” I’m Christopher Columbus, y’all just the pilgrims—to divulging tales of her boyfriend’s fraternity in Corvallis. (By the way, the parties they throw are, “off the hook!”)
Kathryn’s shopping goal centered around finding “killer sales.” My goal, upon recently dying my brown hair black, was to locate an exact shade of matte red lipstick—tomato red, to be precise—to compliment my obvious mid-life crisis. My niece knew the exact store to go to, though she warned me, her pink lips shining like a frosted donut, “You’ll have to ask the saleslady for it. They keep the stuff older people like (She’s 23; I’m 36.) behind the counter.” She applied another slug of gloss to her glowing mouth. “It’s not like matte lipstick is exactly in.”
Out of the mouth of a bleached-blonde babe, for I knew, in an instant, that neither was I.