Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I have this strange knack for actually achieving goals I write down. I find old notebooks filled with lists and I am amazed. See Paris; Play drums in rock band; Ashtanga yoga; and yes, Creative Writing MFA. This makes me believe I need to up the ante and see what happens. I’ll let you know.

While flipping through old notebooks this morning, I found these three New Year’s resolutions from 2007:

2) Write cleaner sentences
3) Yoga/calm/discipline/stop the frazzled grabby hands

This might seem like a modest list but number one felt huge. After twenty years of restaurant work I wondered if I would ever get out. I couldn’t see it.

On my last visit to Durham, North Carolina, (where I lived and waited tables for 19 of those 20 years) a former industry cohort handed me a copy of Waiter Rant. (One of those blogs turned book deals Laurie posted about yesterday.) My friend had been given the book for Christmas, one of those presents people receive because relatives have confused “previous lives that incurred lasting psychological damage” with “interests.”

“It hasn’t been enough time yet. I can’t read this,” my friend said. She passed the book, eyes averted, as if handing off a removed appendix. She’s less than a year out. I am almost three.

I took the book to be polite but haven’t cracked the spine. I lived Waiter Rant. I am Waiter Rant. No thank you. On the back cover The Waiter describes entering his seventh year. HA. I thought. Boo freaking hoo hoo hoo. I remember that phase. I even remember when I thought I was doing the job so I could write about the experience. Try twenty mofo. Try twenty. Okay, I admit it; I’m mad that wasn’t my book deal. And I'm super jealous Anthony Bourdain wrote a blurb.

At least I’m out. No faking this time. I’m teaching and maybe I made $8,750 last year but the corner is turned. I’m done put a fork in it.

As for cleaner sentences, I am pleased to report a diminished number of prepositional phrases and unnecessary adverbs.

I still wring my hands though. I suspect I lack proper kissing.



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