And now a request from the audience

Prompt: Brag


Hi Wednesday,

Here I am, laptop in lap, watching Stephen Colbert on TV, wondering why I am so completely and utterly bored by superhero movies, and why Trump doesn’t seem to understand we notice his extreme vanity; i.e. the long ties to make him look taller and less wide, the poofy yellow comb over, the orange tan with reverse raccoon eyes. And more importantly, that he doesn’t seem to know that those vanity strategies don’t actually work for him: we know he’s fat, bald, old, and pasty. None of that would matter a whit if he was a decent and competent man, of course. But that he tries so very hard to be something he is not, and tries so unsuccessfully… well I can’t help but wonder, as I sit here with my laptop.

I don’t have a lot to brag about. I’m aging, I get grey hair, I would like to be less wide and have an impossibly lustrous mane of hair, a dewy youthful complexion. I just never occurred to me to take bad advice about those things. We all see people who have their personal vanities— usually these are harmless and sometimes even endearing. Many women (and men) succumb to inadvisable surgeries and other augmentations. But how many people do you know who go the the transparent and ineffective lengths that the Donald does? Exactly how insecure is he? And should such obvious shallowness, vanity, and cluelessness have alerted voters?

Yes, me and my laptop wonder.

Meanwhile, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons, the first of which is the only one that relates to today’s prompt, “brag”?

cartoon that-s-the-last-time-we-brag-about-our-kids-new-yorker-cartoon_u-l-pgpmlt0

cartoon singer-smashes-banjo-matthew-diffee

cartoon trumps africa


The real prompt was about not being afraid to recognize and appreciate your good qualities, if not brag about them. Let’s do that!

Peace and love,

~~FP

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New Dread

Prompt: Fear


Hello Wednesday!

I’m shocked to discover it has been over a month since I last posted— the month of December, 2018 does not exist for Fluffy Pool. That was an alarming discovery. If Christmas memories weren’t so vivid, and I wasn’t sitting here inhaling spruce fumes from the most aromatic Christmas tree ever, then I might start to wonder if December ever really existed— or if I existed in December. It’s a little like taking down a favourite photo album of a memorable wedding or holiday, and finding it full of blank pages.

I was not well in the month of December, 2018. I had some disturbing health issues that seemed to throw me into a spiral of depression. Or was it the other way around? In any case, it was a difficult time; and a difficult time to be ill, as there were significant plans made and special people to entertain. There are lots of metaphors for the feelings of depression, sadness, chronic pain: clouds, fog, darkness, quicksand. For me it was something like being blindfolded— think Sandra Bullock in Bird Box*— completely disoriented and lost, but the alternative was somehow, irrationally, more frightening.

On the advice of a friend I am trying now to bring some kind of structure to my life in 2019. I’ve been working on my book— it will be a compilation of many of the stories and characters I’ve introduced here**— and the organizing, filtering, editing, discovery, and new writing so far have been challenging and illuminating. I’m trying to be more active despite, for example, this morning’s layer of ice on the sidewalks and roads. I am moving away from destructive habits. I have plans to reconnect with old, true friends, rekindle old passions, learn new things, be open to new adventures.

I won’t say more, as it sounds a bit like the dreaded New Year’s resolutions which are traditionally doomed to fail. But wearing blindfolds is debilitating, even dangerous— and I need to learn to embrace light and truth instead of fearing them.

“Fear” is the prompt for this Wednesday, so may I present a few of my favourite cartoons related to that theme?

cartoon alternate dickens

cartoon-i-can-t-deal-with-your-fear-and-paranoia-new-yorker-cartoon_a-g-14828399-15519954

And this one is probably too close to truth to be satire!:

cartoon-new-dread-the-magazine-of-undiscovered-fears-new-yorker-cartoon_u-l-pysgez0


Please stay tuned!

Wishing you a year free from fog, darkness, quicksand, blindfolds, and scary tea.

~~FP

 


  • *Bird Box is the much-watched horror-style movie currently on Netflix, a service which I will shortly be cancelling since they suddenly decided to raise the monthly fee by 40%. Grrr.
  • **I will be looking for beta readers for the book, so if you are interested please contact me here.

Still Life with Chocolate Cake

Prompt: Superpower


Hello Wednesday!

I’ve been busy with Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month), having completely changed the novel almost half-way in— as if the challenge isn’t daunting enough for me as it is. So I’ve neglected Fluffy Poolity and have some catching up to do!

When I haven’t been also neglecting household duties and ignoring friends and being housebound and opening cans of soup for dinner, I’ve been rigorously trying to go Trump-free since his presidency keeps outstripping every low— subterranean—expectation. When he goes low, he then goes lower. I now talk like a millennial: I just can’t…

So it calms me to think of a world where Trump is no longer in my face. I wish the man no harm; just happily dream about his retirement, which is what I love about the following collection of sketches. Hope you enjoy too.

trump_paintings_USE_this_051917


Peace and love,

~~FP

Corn for Tallness

Prompt: Express yourself


My dear Wednesday,

I (and you, and anyone) have the opportunity to express myself (yourselves) for thirty days this November, which is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, or Nano. The idea is to sit down with a fresh sheet of real or virtual blank paper and start writing— about 1600 words per day for a total of 50,000 words (about the length of Catcher in the Rye) by the end of the month. A first draft of a book. A novel. Written by me/ you.

I’ve met the challenge every five or six times I’ve “competed”— it is an honour system tally. You post your word count to the NaNoWriMo website and your finished manuscript, which they mechanically verify and then declare you a Winner. You get to print out a full colour certificate, frame it, and hang it on the wall of your office or dining room or nail it to the fence.

I am generally a “pantser” which means I start writing without the benefit of detailed outline, as opposed to a “plotter” who organizes most the structure, theme, plot, and characters ahead of time.

This year I am trying the Save the Cat formula, which divides the story into three acts with specific pivotal plot points (called Beats) in each. So I actually have a story outline, but as yet no defined hero character at all.

I realize plot and character are interactive; each forms part of the other. As the plot affects the character, so does the character affect the plot.

…So what makes a compelling character?

I await your answer.

Seriously.

Meanwhile, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons, only the first of which is even tangentially related to today’s casual prompt, “express yourself”?

cartoon decorator-farming-new-yorker-cartoon_a-G-9180543-8419447

cartoon freshly-ground-pepper-new-yorker-cartoon_a-l-9476900-8419449

cartoon man-on-deserted-island-writes-tuesday-nov-27-dear-diary-still-no-si-new-yorker-cartoon_a-l-9168868-8419449


Peace, love, and lots of writing,

~~FP

Community Service

Prompt: Community

1950 Brownie Uniform

Dear Wednesday,

When I was nine or ten it became urgently necessary that I join the Brownies. This community group was a kind of junior Girl Scout troop, whose uniform was a delicious chocolate-coloured dress with a belt, a scarf, a tam; a little military in nature. On Fridays all the Brownies in my elementary school wore their cool uniforms to class and then afterward went on to their exclusive Brownie meeting. It was imperative that I become one and learn their secrets and most important of all, strut my stuff in the uniform.

It took months of pleading with my mother because the outfit wasn’t cheap, but I somehow convinced her I would be a lifelong Brownie with community-minded virtues, and also be completely out of her hair on any Brownie excursions.

A Brownie was a legendary figure, a kind of fairy. How cool is that?

A brownie or broonie (Scots), also known as a brùnaidh or gruagach (Scottish Gaelic), is a household spirit from British folklore that is said to come out at night while the owners of the house are asleep and perform various chores and farming tasks. The human owners of the house must leave a bowl of milk or cream or some other offering for the brownie, usually by the hearth.

Hmm. Details. On to my first day as a Brownie!

Oh my, the uniform was glorious. I would have badges of accomplishment all over it! I stood up straighter in my classes that first Friday, in sisterhood with the other proud Girls in Brown with the same name as a delicious moist fudgy treat!

The gathering took place in a classroom where all of the desks had been pushed against the wall to make room for the, er, big toadstool that Grey Owl, a big mean-looking lady who led the group, had placed in the center. We all sat cross-legged on the linoleum tiled floor and then I’m pretty sure that before we all paid our weekly dues (a quarter or a dime, I forget which) someone danced around that papier-mache toadstool. What kind of shit is this? was my un-Brownie-like thought.

But the Brownie Mystery Trips! These were well-organized bus excursions to unknown destinations, maybe to a farm or a zoo or a museum or a water park. Who could say? It could be anywhere!

Funny thing is, I have no memory of any of the destinations. Perhaps they were to a nuclear plant? Or a brain-wiping research facility? I do remember part of one trip though, in the bus, charging through the countryside with my fellow Brownies, all of us excited in a very Brownie, lady-like way. I pretended I was allergic to bridges. I wasn’t sure what “allergic” actually meant, but I had a vague idea and decided to scam my Brown Sisters of the Bus, so I made quite a show of sneezing every time we drove over a bridge, large or small. Grey Owl said nothing, bless her. I got blessed, often— every time I fake sneezed.

The thrill of being in a virtuous para-military community organization with cool uniforms was beginning to wear thin. The odd Mystery Trip did not truly compensate for the big toadstool, not really. The last straw were the badges. I earned only one badge during my short tour with the Brownies: Dishwashing. Dishwashing! Where were the badges for spelunking or chainsaw sculpting or archery? My mother (proudly) stitched my one badge onto the sleeve of my uniform. I think it had an image of a teacup or something on it, a tribute to my knowledge of how to properly wash, rinse and set dishes on a rack to dry.

I’m pretty sure my mother used that badge against me in retribution for an expensive uniform I only wore for a few months. I know I got way more dish duty.

May I now present a few of my favourite cartoons loosely related to today’s casual prompt, “community”?

cartoon my-client-is-willing-to-do-community-service-new-yorker-cartoon_u-l-pgs22v0

cartoon boy-scout-break-glass-1

cartoon would-you-like-to-buy-some-girl-scout-crack-new-yorker-cartoon_a-G-9178735-8419449


Peace and love,

~~FP

Paper or Plastic

Prompt: Fright


Dear Wednesday,

I’m interested to know if your experience when you sat down with yourself to identify what frightens you was the same as mine: My mind went blank. I apparently have nothing to fear? I tried to muster up some goosebumps about an impending hurricane or perhaps an atomic bomb or maybe a vicious home invasion by psychopaths in masks.

Nope, those images did not appear, probably because the likelihood of such scary events is next to nil. How fortunate I am. Now I will ponder that for a few minutes…

But of course there are things I do fear. I actually have an irrational fear of earthquakes (since I currently live far from any fault lines). I will run screaming if a fat moth or Junebug flies too close. The thought of torture makes me break out in a sweat. Death is a big one, but I both fear it and am curious about it. You know, joining a universal and glorious spiritual meld of souls has a certain appeal.

I’m afraid of embarrassing myself. Afraid of the dentist. Afraid of drunk drivers. Afraid of old age. Afraid of relentless stupidity (seriously, look what happens when stupidity votes). Afraid of my neighbour’s dog. Afraid of absolute darkness. Afraid of squirrels.

Just kidding about that last one. I suppose one way we control or defuse our fears is by finding the funny side of them– which usually involves us realizing that we generally have no influence over what scares us so laughing them off and moving along. To continue one of the best segues into my cartoon selection ever, may I present a few of my favourites relating to today’s casual prompt, “fright”?

cartoon hogging covers

cartoon paper or plastic

cartoon satan


See you tomorrow for Throwback Thursday!

Love and peace,
~~FP

The Internet Wing

Prompt: Internet


Hello Wednesday,

In the mid-nineties my cousin coerced me into signing up for the World Wide Web, aka the Internet. I had Windows 3.0 on my computer and I remember being thrilled about the possibilities. I kept a couple of magazines by the monitor because sites took minutes—minutes— to download.

Now my privacy is constantly in threat of invasion, nefarious groups influence elections, vile rumors are spread, and it all only takes seconds to download.

I love it anyway. And may I present a few of my favourite cartoons related to today’s casual prompt, “Internet”?

cartoon-internet-yelp

cartoon internet wing

cartoon moses waits


 —

Peace, love, and privacy,

~~FP