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Electric Boogaloo
Suzanne Burns

May Update: Thoughts on American Almost-Idol Adam, On Turning 36, and My Continuing Writing Life

May 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.



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2009-05-21 05:37:05

Welcome to 36, fellow child of 1973, Age of Aquarius, Year of the Ox!!!

I think your writing, your recent wave of success and your red matte lipstick is “off the hook” - so there!

I’ll be down for when your book drops. :)

Comment by Suzanne
2009-05-22 14:07:27

Thank you SO much! If we lived in the same town I guarantee we’d be fast friends!

2009-05-22 18:08:19

:: swoon ::

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by jmb
2009-05-21 06:45:41

A troupe of drag queens here do a gospel brunch that is really fine.
I was hoping they would team Adam with the two other finalists - who happen to be church worship leaders - for a fiery set of gospel numbers.
Could have been quite a moment and a nice gesture.

Comment by josie
2009-05-21 10:52:55

“Out of the mouths of babes” lol
Some of us are too cool to be cool.
Oh those unpriestlike mirrors - loved that.
Congrats on the writing frenzy and success… more than a drop, it’s a big splash!

Comment by Suzanne
2009-05-22 14:08:04

Thank you!!!

Comment by sheree
2009-05-21 16:02:39

Brilliant read! Thanks so much.

Comment by Suzanne
2009-05-22 14:08:30

I really appreciate your support. Thank you very much!

Comment by tina
2009-05-22 09:53:45

How was the ghost hunting?

Comment by Suzanne
2009-05-22 14:09:03

I chickened out at the last minute and didn’t do it!!! (I am afraid of ghosts)

Comment by Shery
2009-05-22 22:11:20

He had me at “Ring of Fire”!!!

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