Saturday, March 19, 2011

Guest writer: Ramona Siddoway

Thou shalt not shake thy bootie on my porch

When I was a growing up I had a great deal of energy. The term we would use today would be ADHD. Back then, the less politically correct but probably more accurate label was “Spawn of Satan.” Let’s face it, the sixth child of seven was not going to get a lot of supervision from parents or older siblings. Summers were spent running shoeless and chasing chickens in nearby coops. I had my fair share of scrapes with authority figures and near death experiences—all before the age of eight.

I think it was a family thing. I had four brothers who, even as young teens, were hauled into city hall on accusations of being a “gang”. Mind you, this town was nestled in Southeastern Idaho and had a population of roughly 300 people. Farm boys tipping cows was the closest this town was going to get to anything resembling the LA riots.

Our family lived in a religious town and were considered by the good church-going townsfolk as
questionable (another politically correct term). My father could cuss like a sailor and hold his liquor but would never be caught sitting in a pew. Mom went to church most Sundays, worked full time, came home to help my Dad on the farm, and managed to keep her brood of seven fed. So when it was all said and done everyone and everything was stretched a little thin. By the time my little sister and I came along the only thing that was left to trickle down to us was more freedom and less brains. And it was this combination that made the other parents a little bit nervous.

When I was seven I had a friend who lived across the street. He was a year younger than me and to protect the guilty we’ll just call him Kimothy Tershaw. Kimothy and I loved hanging out and he kind of looked to me as a mentor.

It was the summer of free love and
Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In—TV’s gregarious show of the 60’s. It featured two men in tuxedos and bow ties, holding martinis, telling stale jokes while scantily-clad women (and a very young Goldie Hawn) danced around them in a frenzied manner. The women even showed their [whispers] belly buttons. My other best friend—we’ll call her Wessica Jorrell—had a mother who forbade her from watching Elvis Presley movies for that very reason. I, on the other hand, loved Elvis Presley. I don’t think I could have told you what a belly button was. Anyway, I digress . . .

So growing up on a steady diet of
Laugh In, the gyrating hips of Elvis, and bare belly buttons no wonder I was on a one-way, greased sled to hell. One day we were on Kimothy’s porch playing who-knows-what when I just got it into me to dance. I guess that is what you’d call it. Blame Elvis. Blame Goldie. But all of a sudden I started gyrating, wiggling, and jiggling like a possessed demon on crack. Folks, forget about the thousand and one demons wanting to inhabit the bodies of swine in the Bible. Here was a small seven-year-old girl with plenty of room and talent to spare. Maybe I was restless. Maybe I was ahead of the times and knew that in the future people would be forwarding drippy emails that would read “If you’re not ashamed you’ll forward this” and “dance like no one’s watching,” because that is exactly what I did. I started dancing like no one was watching and without shame. But someone was watching. And that is exactly why I think people should include the fine print in their “live life to the fullest” diatribe. If you really dance like that and someone catches you you’ll soon be wearing a new pair of rubber sheets and sporting a strange but spiffy retainer between your teeth. ALWAYS dance like you’re with your parole officer. It saves time, embarrassment, and a good witch burning.

Kimothy’s dad just happened to walk by and, when he came upon my spasmodic moves, he hid and peered through the crack in the door. I guess he was trying to give me the benefit of the doubt to make sure it wasn’t just because someone had forgot to medicate me that day. The next thing I know he is popping out from behind the door and pulling Kimothy inside. I was summarily dismissed from his porch. Dang. Where was my parole officer when I needed him?

The next day Kimothy told me his Dad thought it would be best if we weren’t friends anymore. I think I took it pretty well. At least I don’t have any memory of my head rotating 360 degrees nor spewing projectile vomit across the yard. I certainly took it better than the time my sister wouldn’t give me her money for extra candy. I kicked HER in the shins.

I now have my own porch and was able to make it through life without needing a parole officer. I still like to shake my bootie every now and then. I know I’m living life to the fullest because when I dance my teenagers start pulling curtains and clearing the room. But, the nice thing is, their dad still wants me on his porch.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"Nobody objects to a woman being a good writer or sculptor or geneticist if at the same time she manages to be a good wife, good mother, good-looking, good-tempered, well-groomed, and unaggressive."

--Leslie M. McIntyre

"It is within my power either to serve God or not to serve him. Serving him, I add to my own good and the good of the whole world. Not serving him, I forfeit my own good and deprive the world of that good, which was in my power to create."

--Leo Tolstoy

Week 4 Tasks: Recovering A Sense of Integrity

1. Environment: Describe your ideal environment.

Cabin in the woods. Probably the easiest task ever...didn't even have to think twice about that one. There have to be tons of trees, and neighbors fairly close just in case something crazy happens (I would be terrified to live in a remote house. You know the ones--where you're on a road trip and you see nothing for miles, then a single house, and then nothing else for miles on end).

Oh and the cabin has to have that cabiny smell. Not sure if it's pine or what, but that smell of wood has to attack your nostrils when you walk in. And even though I live in Texas currently, where there are no mountains (at least where I live), someday I will have this cabin in the mountains. Possibly with a lake. And a dock near the cabin so I can jump in the lake whenever I want.

What's your favorite season?

Here is my post on my personal blog in September of 2008 (I was living in Utah at the time):

I love love love the fall. I look forward to it every year. The leaves change to this beautiful red-orange color, there's a bite to the air, and for some reason, it always feels like something so exciting is just right around the corner. I always feel closer to family and friends during this time too. Maybe it's pre-Christmas feelings...who knows.

Fall means football, which always meant bonding with my marching band friends (since we were together pretty much every day). Now football means spending time with my husband, and having something in common with my dad, who is obsessed with BYU football.

Fall means that the hot, yucky summer is over. Houston summers are never very fun, despite how much I love the humidity. Although Houston does not show the change in seasons as well as Utah, fall was always a looked-forward-to respite from the heat for me. Now I get rewarded with not only less heat, but so much more magic here in Utah.

Fall means that not only do the leaves change color, but when they fall on the ground you can hear that satisfying crunch crunch as you walk around. I have a distinct memory of {Husband} and I wrestling in those crunchy leaves outside of Helaman Halls. I've had leaf fights with roomies. They get caught in your hair, in your clothes--signs of a battle well fought.

Fall means love to me, much more than Valentine's Day. That's when I had my first boyfriend, my first kiss, fell in love for the first time...Although {Husband} and I started dating in the summertime, I don't really associate our "courtship" with the summer. He was gone for most of it at college while I was in back home. No, it was in the fall.

Fall means hot apple cider, pumpkin everything, and lots and lots of candy corn. That pretty much says it all. :)

2. Write your own Artist's Prayer:

O Great Creator
You are the Ultimate Creator--the God of all things
Help me to Create
To not be afraid to be laughed at
To not be afraid to be corrected, either.
For I am always learning...
Always shaping who I am
Into who I wish to become.

O Great Creator
Help me come closer to you,
Because it is through you
That I can create beauty
To spread that beauty to others
But first I must create that beauty within.

Help me to become whole.

Just for your reference, here is Julia Cameron's Artist's Prayer:

O Great Creator,
We are gathered together in your name
That we may be of greater service to you
And to our fellows.
We offer ourselves to you as instruments.
We open ourselves to your creativity in our lives.
We surrender to you our old ideas.
We welcome your new and more expansive ideas.
We trust that you will lead us.
We trust that it is safe to follow you.
We know you created us and that creativity
Is your nature and our own.
We ask you to unfold our lives
According to your plan, not our low self-worth,
Help us to believe that it is not too late
And that we are not too small or too flawed
To be healed -
By you and through each other - and made whole,
Help us to love one another,
To nurture each other's unfolding,
To encourage each other's growth
And understand each other's fears.
Help us to know that we are not alone,
That we are loved and lovable.
Help us to create as an act of worship to you.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Week 3 Tasks

Okay, so I realize that I started out with this supposed 12-week program a couple of months ago. Shouldn't I be done by now? Well, let's just say I'm really being a sunday driver and taking my time. :)

Here are some of the tasks for this week. I realize this is a bit long, but this is more to make myself do the program. Read if you want-- it’s ok if you don’t.

1. Describe your childhood room.

My favorite room I had was in the third house we lived in in Texas. I had these gorgeous lace curtains along the three windows on my room. Actually, my mom decided to surprise me after girls' camp with them. I cam home from camp, and my entire room was painted purple (my favorite color) and those curtains were hanging there. I would sit on my bed on Sunday or Saturday afternoons, listen to my Celtic music and look out those windows with the lace. I would watch the trees sway in the wind, or notice the pattern the sunlight made as it streamed through the curtains onto my carpet.

Maybe I need to get some lace curtains!

2. Describe five traits you liked in yourself as a child.

a) I was family-centered. Of course I loved having friends and I still do, but I just had so much fun with my family...especially the sister just younger than me. We played together all the time. I lost this trait as a teenager, but I feel like as an adult I have gotten that trait back.

b) I wasn't afraid to stand up to people. When I was 5, I punched the little boy who was being a bully and wouldn't let me play in the sandbox. I also stood up for other people more, even if I was scared of the bully. I wasn't afraid to speak up. I think I became more of a people pleaser as an adult.

c) I was a dreamer. I had big dreams of what my life would be like, how I would fall in love, how I would be a writer or a singer or something else amazing. I also took the time to dream because I wasn't obsessed with being efficient or productive.

d) I was happy. Like, all. the. time. I did have some ups and downs, of course, but looking back I feel like it was just a good time to be alive.

e) I was likable. For some reason I feel like it was so much easier to make friends back then. That changes when you become and adult.

3. List three obvious rotten habits. What's the payoff in continuing them?


b) Checking my email a bajillion times

c) Trying to multi-task and spreading myself too thin

List subtle foes (habits that aren’t so obvious):

a) Belittling myself (thus perpetuating a “I can’t do this” attitude)

b) Thinking that I have a successful day when I cross off all the things on my to-do list, even if they are all trivial and I should have focused on self-nurturing things

Monday, February 28, 2011

Short story--Word limit was 750 words


Red hair. Such pretty hair. Wish she would look at me. She’s staring at her date.

As she spoke to her date, he turned away. He glared at her image in the window and clenched his fork.

She’s trying to convince him of something. I can’t tell what. He looks like he’s ready to attack her.

The man stabbed at his meat, still refusing to look at the woman who was pleading with him. He continued to only look at her image framed by the dim lights that draped along the edges of the window.

She’s noticing it too. She looks terrified. Surely he wouldn’t attack her in such a public place?

The woman said something else, and the man sprung to his feet. He raised his arm as if to strike her

Cerise. Crimson. Carmine. Coquelicot.

but instead turned and walked out the door.

The woman had turned pale and stared at her image in the window. She looked relieved to not see the man’s image across from her own.

“Can I sit with you? It looks like your date has turned sour.

That man was no gentleman.”

“Yes, I like to think of myself as a gentleman. Can I just say, you have the most beautiful hair I’ve ever seen.”

Our conversation starts out trivial. Filled with mostly me complimenting her, trying to cheer her up. She seems so sad. She keeps applying lipstick. Over and over and over, until her lips become such a pale pink that I fear they will disappear altogether.

But as the night progresses, I see the sadness start to dissipate. She starts looking at me in the eyes instead of at the window. The laugh lines that graze her face dig deeper as I tell her about my pet chameleon.

I take a sip from my glass. The amber liquid burns my throat. Scorches it. But I can’t say no. I don’t want to.


I kneel down beside her. We are sitting at the same table at the same restaurant where we first met. I open the rose-colored box and display what’s inside.

“Be with me. Forever. I’ll get you far away from your crazy ex. We’ll move to Puerto Rico and have ten kids and grow old together. We’ll paint our house a crazy color. Maroon. Coral. Ruby. We’ll nestle our toes in the sand, and watch our grandkids build sand castles. We’ll learn Spanish and eat fried plantains. We’ll dance in the moonlight. Whatever you want. Just be with me forever.”

I can’t believe the nod and smile that she gives me. I kiss those lips, now the color of lava. Against her pale skin it looks like her lips are too hot to touch. I kiss her anyway.

My lips are scorched. So much fire. So much pain. But I can’t say no. I don’t want to.


“I don’t understand. You can’t do this. He’ll kill you this time. You can’t go back to him!”

Cerise. Crimson. Carmine. Coquelicot.

“Why are you doing this? Can’t you see that he’s just manipulating you? Cerise. Crimson…”

Carmine. Coquelicot.

“Don’t leave! Please! I can’t do this without you. Remember when we met here? He had just left you. He was about to hit you in public! What’s going to stop him from doing again and again in private? You know I would never ever hurt you. I love you. Can’t you see that?

I reach out and grab her arm as she gets up to leave. I think that I grab softly, but the imprints of my fingers remain on her pale skin as she walks past. Scarlet lines that seem to mock me as they remain emblazoned on her skin. They can remain with her when I cannot.

Cerise. Crimson. Carmine. Coquelicot.
Cerise. Crimson. Carmine. Coquelicot.
Cerise. Crimson. Carmine. Coquelicot.

So much fire. So much pain. But I can’t say no. I don’t want to.


“Poor guy. Every night he comes in here, and every night he has the same one-sided conversation. Can’t tell if he’s crazy or what,” the waitress tells another customer.

“Cerise! Crimson! Carine! Coquelicot!”

I know people are staring at me. But if I keep talking, maybe someday she’ll come back. Maybe someday.


“Can I sit with you? It looks like your date has turned sour.

That man was no gentleman.”

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Still a writer's blog!

Just to let y'all know, I still am going to use this as a writer's blog/a display of my journey through Julia Cameron's book. My rant in the previous post was enlightening, but did not mean I was going to stop writing. I can write AND do other things too!

I spent about an hour this morning working on my short story.

So. fun.

Maybe I'll post it here, once I've edited it and such.

Just wanted to let you avid Sunday readers know: Sunday is still writing.

Sunday out.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Almost a month now...

I haven't posted in a while! To be honest, I haven't been that great as of late at pursuing my inner artist. Instead, I recently finished watching the last season of Ugly Betty on netflix. I am slightly ashamed that I have spent so much time watching that show.

I did, however, learn from watching Betty blossom. I found myself very jealous of this fictional but inspiring character. In this show, Betty knows what she wants. She succeeds because she ignores the people ridiculing her. She doesn't give up. I want to be like her!

Anyway I started this blog to pursue my writing. But after reading a few chapters of Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, I am realizing that I'm not exactly sure that being a writer is the only thing that I want.

You see I want to do so many things. I want to learn how to decorate beautiful cakes. I want to act. I want to play piano. I want to sing. I want to write children's books.

Instead, I am fixating on the fact that I feel excluded by some people, therefore I must have nothing of value to give. Or I am spending any free time I have (after spending time with husband and baby, cleaning the house, exercising, talking on the phone, etc. etc. ) watching tv.

What I've realized is this: I am deathly afraid of being alone with myself.

If I was alone with myself for more than the five minutes in the shower, I would have to get to know ME. Which could lead to possible artistic exploration. Which then could lead to possible embarrassment because I've put myself out there, and am rejected by the world or worst of all...myself.

So my goal of the week is to spend some time with myself. Find out what I am passionate about.
And go for it. It might take longer than a week, but you have to start somewhere, right?

Wish me luck!

Sunday out.

The Sunday Driver | Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial License | Dandy Dandilion Designed by Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates