If you 1) live in the California Bay area, particularly Oakland (especially Piedmont and Montclair) San Leandro, Alameda, Albany, or El Cerrito and if you 2) Feel like doing me a solid, then I could REALLY use your help. Please email me at this address, and you KNOW it is important to me, or else I would say something like, “shoot an email to my first name at symbol my first and last name dot com,” or perhaps direct you to my much-lower-traffic contact page. Posting a direct link to my email on the blog makes it one-click easy to respond, but I know from bitter experience it ALSO means spiders come with a veritable FLOOD of emails offering me a huge increase in the size of my non-existent penis. *martyred sigh*
In other news, every animal in my house is conspiring to make me INSANE and break my heart. Except Schubert. And okay, probably I cannot blame the one-brain-celled critter who has been so often renamed that I think I will just call him Wholly Innocuous Fish. But Boggart and Bagel are scheduled to be killed and eaten later this evening.
A few years back, my friend Lydia made me a Book Beast. It’s really gorgeous, an animal totem doll with beadwork and tapestry panels and velvet embellishments. I love it. I put it on the family room bookcase, where I display all my own books, their foreign editions, and my most especial personal book collection. All these books are signed AND personalized and were either written by people I love, or they rocked my world with their greatness, or both. I set the Book Beast to watch over these things.
Lydia made several Book Beasts, and each was affiliated with a great writer and had a Magicness sewn up inside that was to do a special thing for the Beast’s owner. There was a Book Beast for inspiration, for conquering writer’s block, for finding a new idea, for commercial success, for finding the right words…My Book Beast was named Emily, and as I now know, her magicness was a copy of Emily Dickinson’s Exclusion, printed on beautiful parchment and folded into an intricate heart.
I know what the Magicness is, because yesterday Emily was vivisected.
I kind of blame me, because I was trying to draft a tricky scene in the new book, and Boggart was playing with this hooty-bird beepy cat toy. I am convinced the hooty bird was hand crafted in the bowls of deepest hell by a chortling minion of Satan because no sentient being who was remotely capable of empathy would EVER purposefully create an object that made those maddening beepo-tootle NOISES. I went and YOINKED that hooting little bastage out of Boggart’s grasp and put it way high up on the shelf. Right by Emily.
I am the one who forgot that Boggart is part furry serpent and part ninja, and crafty enough to wait until I was in the shower, unable to see or hear him, before he went slealthing straight up the wall to snare his hooty bird and drag it away. In the process, he knocked down Emily. Into the waiting maw of Bagel.
I am also the one who got very sick, and put my whole family under extreme stress, and of course we all manned up and powered through it while it was going on. But now that it is OVER, we have all sort of fallen into blubbering chunks and can’t manage things. Our PDSD is manifesting in weird ways, like Saint Scott actually was impatient once, for almost four seconds. Sam’s hard won school organizational habits have deserted him, and he is scattered and pretty much living in detention. Maisy, my girl who was born made of happiness and Sunshine, is WEEPY. And SOMEONE whose name rhymes with Smoss-ilyn (not SMOSH-ilyn) is hella more volatile and quick tempered than usual so that things like people shortening her name to rhyme with SMOSH is making her homicidal…We are all discombobulated and shaky and off our games and digesting the idea that I am actually mortal (who knew???) and our stress has translated to the dog, who has responded by returning to his old nervous CHEWING habit. In the last week, this dog, who has turned up his nose at even basted rawhides for YEARS NOW, ever since he stopped teething, has stress-eaten Maisy’s pink crocs, an old throw pillow, a friend’s baby’s mercifully unused yet spare diaper…and now.
Bagel ate Emily.
And as much as I want to blame Bagel and Boggart, it’s my fault.
I am going to send Emily back to Lydia. Maybe Emily can be repaired. I hope so. I don’t want a NEW Book Beast, I want Emily back, even scarred and a little frayed around the edges. She’ll have to be restuffed and she’ll maybe have some dog suck on her magic heart, but still, she will be Emily. And considering how things are around here right now, a broken and reconstituted Book Beast may be the perfect totem for my family as we grab on tight to each other and try to get on with it.