Pontchartrain was an abandoned, scared little kitten that I used to feed outside of the writing office in Mid City New Orleans.
It was time well spent, as she provided an abundance of company and companionship through the course of time that it took to write my first book (which will be coming to this very website in April.)
I appreciated the fact that we both seemed to find ourselves at a challenging time in our respective lives and later felt it appropriate to tattoo her likeness on my inner arm a couple of years ago. Try explaining to the guys WHY a cat is tattooed on your arm...at least there's a cigarette dangling from her mouth.
As a side note, the original co-founder of Pontchartrain Press is an old writing buddy of mine, Dick Rosenthal. He wanted to name the company “Big Dick's Wayward Writing Shack.” I wonder what THAT tattoo would have looked like??
Anyway, little Pontch was later placed in a loving, happy home...or hit by a drunk driver. I can't exactly recall.
On the eve of the anniversary, I sat down with two of my fellow writers, Todd and Marie, to do something that we haven't done together in a long time...remain sober.
Instead, we sat around the kitchen table until sunrise. Using nothing but pen, paper and the largest pile of loaded nachos that I've ever seen, we wrote the following anniversary column.
Because Marie is the most girly girl that you will ever meet...she brought chocolate cupcakes and candles to celebrate.
In case you're wondering, Todd's, and my, record remains soundly in tact in that we were unsuccessful in talking Marie into showing us her breasts.**
**There's always next year
As we blew out the candles on our (dry) cupcakes, Todd and Marie decided that this particular writing project should be a little different.
There would be strict parameters which would specifically challenge our individual writing styles. Something outside of our “norm” if you will.
And so...here's how a random Monday overnight unfolded this week for three dysfunctional writers with a giant trough of nachos, a pan of dry cupcakes, no alcohol and a shared level of disdain for Mike, the editor:
First up, Marie.
Marie is a talented writer who holds a degree in Classic English Literature with an emphasis on the Victorian Era. She also holds an Art history degree (pronounced colossal waste of tuition money.)
Additionally, she possesses an endearing attitude in that she sees the very best in every person and every situation. Sort of like Oprah, only without the financial ability to award a bunch of poor people in a studio audience a new SUV.
Picture Charlotte from Sex and the City or the young, assistant librarian with dark framed glasses, vaguely reminiscent of the one from your senior year of high school. The one who worked late after school organizing the Dewey Decimal System index cards as you surreptitiously ogled from across the room while impatiently serving your 20th after-school detention sentence.
You pretend to be studiously scanning a pile of American history books that lay before you, only you're actually using the books to hide the fact that you're looking at boobie pictures of primitive women who reside in a remote tribe somewhere in central Africa as chronicled by the award winning magazine, National Geographic.
Desire fills a young man's head, imagining a day when the librarian slings her glasses against the pale yellow Formica counter top and rips open her low cut top, finally announcing that she's secretly had a crush on you all year.
She then tips over the 30-foot bookshelf, killing three obnoxious high school football jocks who used to bully you and, finally, makes sweet love to you on top of a pile of scattered books outlining the Underground Railroad and the end of slavery in the United States.**
**American Historical Note: The 13th amendment did not, unfortunately, outlaw inner-city gangs, payday loans or rent to own establishments.
We challenged Marie to use her poetic knowledge to craft a sonnet...only this one must be artistic AND sexual in nature. A literary piece of art as written from the perspective of a kinky backstreet hooker.
I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz or a bottle of Crown Royal:
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire, the type of fire that burns within my loins:
I love you as one loves certain obscure things, such as the precise location of the Reverend Jesse Jackson's church, the secret ingredients in Kentucky Fried Chicken or the natural remedies for genital warts.
I love you secretly, between the shadow, the soul, a third sexual partner for an additional $100.00 and thong underwear.
I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries the light of a bouquet that I stole from the lobby of a Holiday Inn Express; I relentlessly beat you with them and strangle you with a Versace' belt as though you have stolen something from me.
Mine is a pure love, hidden, within itself. And thanks to your love the not so tight, slightly putrid aroma, with a hint of Mountain Fresh Fabreeze, rises from the earth and lives dimly in my body and lingers for years to come...like herpes.
I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love, thanks to a creepy uncle, habitual drug use and an after-school sexual experience with a high school volleyball coach, Ms. Campbell.
Except in this form in which I am not nor are you,so close that your hand upon my chest implants is mine,so close that your eyes close with my dreams.
Not exactly a sonnet but absolutely beautiful Marie! Bravo!
Since it is a foregone conclusion at this table that I, typically, do NOT write anything remotely romantic, poignant or brief, Marie and Todd dropped a wager at my feet challenging me to craft a brief, insightful, socially acceptable personal wish for the upcoming year..
I have to do so in 90-seconds, using only 150 words!!!
Because Todd is mature, the wager was for a shot of Irish whiskey.
I wish what everyone wishes...for Anderson Cooper to finally reveal his sexual orientation.
To never miss an opportunity to live vicariously through the crystal clear panes of my front window, which happens to overlook one of the most beautiful corners in New Orleans.
To never take a compliment for granted; to always appreciate my friends and the encouragement that they often offer.
To say “I'm sorry” more often; to NOT do things which require an apology.
To stop being a damn fool...unless there's money involved.
To judge myself more than others.
To live like there's no tomorrow, appreciate tomorrow when it becomes today...rinse & repeat.
And now I wish for Todd to go to the corner convenience store and then the pub and bring me a pack of Reese's peanut butter cups and that shot of Irish whiskey before his mean wife demands that he come home immediately.
After a round of shots, we finally get to gang up on our old friend, Todd. His is a seemingly simple writing challenge which Marie and I felt appropriate since he and Melissa's 7-year wedding anniversary is coming up next week.
We asked that Todd write a short love letter, no longer than one paragraph, describing everything that he loves about being married to sweet Melissa.
|copyright Pontchartrain Press 2012|