Join A Slice of Orange

Enter your email address and never miss another post on A Slice of Orange.

Subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter

Archives

Calender

November 2017
M T W T F S S
« Oct    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

Things That Make Me Go Mmmruh…

March 7, 2013 by in category Blogs tagged as , , with 8 and 0
Home > Writing > Blogs > Things That Make Me Go Mmmruh…

Two weeks ago I started my own blog, Becoming GVR, and I blogged every day for a week. Then, I posted my The Next Big Thing Blog Hop interview. After a week of leaving that post up, I am back in the blogging saddle. So, what went on during that quiet week?
My number of book sales more than doubled, which is a way cool feeling! I set up my author page on Amazon. I made more connections in the world of publishing, books, and writers. I relaxed for 25 minutes in a row and finished that Father Brown episode. I commissioned the modification of  my advertising bookcards and ordered 500 to be printed. I approved the initial sketches of some artwork I’ve commissioned for my website. I made sure all my ducks are in a row for the OCC book signing this weekend. I worked my other two jobs.
Something else that happened was this: one of the two movies I saw in the theatre last year, Argo, won the Oscar for best picture. I love the subtlety and understated tension of Argo as it unfolds an incredibly intense story. As I watched it, I was on the verge of tears and on the edge of my seat for the entire film.
But here’s the thing – if I chose to see only two films in the theatre last year, why Argo?
Simple. The Iranian Hostage Crisis is the first real piece of history I can remember in my lifetime. Those “Free the Hostages” stickers that looked like American flags were everywhere in my young world – on school book covers, on cars, on toilet seats. I was horrified by the duration of the terrifying ordeal – nearly one whole half of my life that I could clearly remember since infancy and toddlerhood. One of the hostages was from my hometown – he went to the same high school my nephew now attends. As a result, I think of Argo as my movie – because I have such a personal and visceral connection to it.

Argo is mine. And I doubt I am the only one who feels this way.
These feelings of connection, possession, deeply understood truth, shared history – these are precisely what I strive to evoke in readers with my books and stories. For example, this is one of my favorite lines from She Likes It Rough:

How long would it be before everyone in my family stopped judging me according to the stupid things I’d done as a kid? Wasn’t there any statute of limitations on growing up?
And by the way, the other movie I saw in the theatre last year is The Avengers, the biggest money maker of the year. Something else I strive for when I write my books.
Feel free to check out my daily blog at becomingvr.blogspot.com




GVR Corcillo

author of
  


Queen of the Universe coming this Fall

Dog on the Roof

Blog by
GVR Corcillo

In two days, June 19th, Simon and Schuster/Touchstone will release Dog on the Roof: On the Road with Mitt and the Mutt by  political satirists Bruce Kluger and David Slavin. 


Bruce, my friend and sensei of sorts, snuck me a few pages of the book, and I have to say, I laughed my butt off. The verse, the pictures, the wit…and the dog! Seamus, with his spot-on observations and yearnings, will jump on you with both paws, lick you in the face, and have you laughing uncontrollably. 


But even more amazing than the book itself is the galvanizing story of its whirlwind creation. In January, Bruce and his writing partner, David Slavin, both regular contributers to NPR’s All Things Considered, decided to write a satirical book designed to come out during the height of the presidential campaign season. But they wanted to do it right. I mean, really right. So, as if the goddess Nike were their muse, they just…did it. No fussing, no fretting. They just got to work.


They pulled a few  bestselling satirical books off the shelf to study all the components that made them hits — from length to format to illustrations. Then they buckled down and wrote their sharp and clever fuax children’s book that gets its humor from a universally felt truth. Dog on the Roof’s truth? It sucks to be strapped to the roof of a car! That’s moving! 


Dog on the Roof‘s deeper truth for us writers? If you want it, just do it. Mmmruh!


So, I decided to do it. Publish my own book, that is. No more acting like a dog on the roof for me, waiting for someone else (such as an agent or publisher) to set me free, give me what I need, and make me happy. Thanks to the trailblazing bravery of so many OCC authors, I am self publishing my humorous women’s fiction novel She Likes It Rough this summer. Can wild outdoor adventures with an adrenaline junkie give an insecure city girl the backbone she needs in order to make her humdrum life count for something? We’ll soon see. 


But first, check out Dog on the Roofhttp://brucekluger.com/BOOKS.html




GVR Corcillo, the artist formerly known as Geralyn Ruane


































The Essence of an Idol


You once thought of me

As a white knight on his steed

Now you know how happy I can be…



I never watched The Monkees, not even one episode. Ever. But on the evening of February 29, a weird thing happened to me. I was driving when the radio announced the sudden death of Davy Jones. The Monkee, I knew that much. Huh, he died? Then NPR played a snippet of one of his songs, and this voice, so young, so adorable, wafted through my dark car. Suddenly, I was choked with tears. The man behind this fresh young voice, clear as bell, was gone?
That night, curious about my own largely unaccountable grief, I went to the computer and started looking some things up. First, the lyrics to “Daydream Believer,” the tune of which I couldn’t get out of my head.
It’s about a couple.
Composer John Stewart (of Kingston Trio fame) weaves dreamy metaphor into achingly familiar concrete detail to tell a beautiful love story: after the initial surge of romance ebbs and the tedium of life sets in, what you have left, when you’re with the right person, is everyday happiness.
Mmmruh!
Since the song got to me so much, I clicked on the Monkees video. And gosh I just fell head over heels in love with Davy Jones, the cute scamp singing about true love and core-deep contentment. His effortless exuberance makes me feel giddy and warm and fuzzy about the love in my life. He reminds me that bills to pay and other annoying obligations can hardly wear down daydream believers such as myself and my white knight. And I could see what his impish performance could do to a young woman: this adorable singer makes each girl listening believe that she could be The One in his life to bring him sweet joy despite anything, no matter what. He cracks open the possibility that such love is possible in anyone’s life.
That’s the essence of an idol: an idol lets you touch the magic – the magic within your own life, within your own soul. Kudos, Davy Jones.
Like moonbeams and the distant echo of a train whistle, idols possess the uncanny ability to make us go mmmruh. How do they do it? Not really sure. But I like the way it feels, this tapping of my deepest emotions.
The essence of an idol – if only we could package it, to take out and savor, again and again, whenever we wanted! But wait – it has been packaged, countless times. Just find that dog-eared copy of your favorite romance novel, and you’ll know what I mean.



-Geralyn Ruane

Lifelong believer in daydreams and idolizer of heartthrobs since 1977.






I Love to Fall

by Geralyn Ruane


It happened on October first. Like a witch on her brooomstick, the crisp thrill of autumn swept through the air. Mmmruh! A cold gust, the rustle of leaves, my hair in my eyes – it all makes me just so darn giddy, on edge, pumped to be alive. I notice drops of mmmruh with rain-washed clarity.

As I pull out of the driveway, Ron runs out into the street to stop my car. Wait! Take the 110 – it has less traffic than the 5! He cared that much about saving me time on my commute. What a guy! And then the other night, that cute shuffle dance he did on the patio, all because he thought it would amuse our dog RobertMmmruh!

I look down at my slipper and notice the crude stitching and remember how I ripped my slipper and it kept falling off my foot as a result. I commented on this one time when I was visiting home, tripping over my damaged slipper as I walked through the house. So, my mom grabbed a needle and thread and fixed my slipper on the spot! While it was still on my foot! Mmmruh.

The nights are just perfect for curling up under the quilt with a good book about vampires or early America. Mmmruh!

In October, life is good, and fantasies are divine.

Geralyn is most excited that it is, once again, Giants season, though she is egregiously upset with the NFL for some of its dubious decisions so far this year. Geralyn appears in the award-winning internet short comedy film Daryl From OnCar and her short story “Jane Austen Meets the New York Giants” is published in the New York Times Bestselling anthology The Right Words at the Right Time, Volume 2.

17 Again? As If.

by Geralyn Ruane

17 Again. Okay, so I went to see the movie twice so far. The plot is riddled with nonsensical gaps, but there’s still plenty of mmmruh to keep me pleasantly distracted for the 102 minutes or so. And sure, the idea intrigues scores of us: if I could do it all over, with what I know now… But the truth is, I wouldn’t be 17 again, not for all the condoms in the vending machine.

Low riders and thongs? So not me. But I remember myself at 17, trying to latch onto any fashion craze I could afford. So I am sure if I got zapped back to high school I’d be squeezing into a G-string for prom. Plus, I had no confidence as a teen and my dating life limped along, hobbled by my bruised psyche. Get this – when I was 17, I dated guys who didn’t love animals!!! And drove gas guzzlers!!! Sure, I was 4 sizes smaller, but what difference does that make? I still felt fat all the time. I was in better shape, but back then my shin splints hurt like hell. And in ’89, I was on the pill, an aspect of Western medicine I’ve completely eschewed since that stroke in ’96.

Truth is, I like the person I’ve evolved into. I’m not done chasing my dreams or shy about conjuring up new ones to pursue. Mmmruh! Sure, I’ve made some mistakes along the way – I think of the chances I should have taken, the houses I didn’t buy, the vaccinations I should have never allowed – but I would not go back. Well, maybe back to that day in the vet’s office. Yes, definitely back there. But other than that, I like my thirties A LOT. Recently, I tutored a college senior, and his place where we studied smelled like college boys. Not a bad smell, just distinctive and immediately recognizable. Oh yeah, and the room was decorated with beer – signs, bottles, cans, posters. AND I WAS SO GLAD I WAS NOT IN COLLEGE ANYMORE. I am also way grateful no longer to be in my twenties. God, was I stupid in my twenties!

You know, I did not go to my 5th, 10th or 15th high school reunions. Why would I? High school was mostly unhappy for me. Plus, I am not the super in-shape best-selling novelist I hoped to be by age 25. But then Jason Smith, a kid from my high school class who is organizing our upcoming reunion, tracked me down through this very OCC Romance Writers’ Blog. He told me about our upcoming reunion and invited me to join our 20th Reunion Website.

Aaaahhh!!!!! But I’m not super in-shape!! I’m not a best-selling novelist!! I haven’t even fucked anyone famous!! I can’t go back!

But Jason worked so hard to find me, and I remembered him as such a nice kid, so I joined the website.

And oh, my goodness gracious! Would you believe that all those kids from my graduating class – we all just grew up to be people! People!! With whom it wasn’t scary at all to reconnect. In fact, catching up with my updated past has been fantastic!

For the first time in my life, I feel completely comfortable in my own skin. Mmmruh! I feel good. I feel right. And all I had to do was face one of my greatest fears – THE KIDS FROM HIGH SCHOOL!!! (You should be hearing the Psycho shower scene music in your head right now.) So now I am going to face another of my shark-eating-me-in-the-ocean-at-night-type fears (cue the Psycho strings.): SENDING MY BOOK OUT TO PUBLISHERS AND AGENTS!!!!!!

I’m going to do it, damn it, and sell my book. Mmmmmruh!


Though our winsome blogger has resigned herself to the stupid loss of her 200 bucks(see her Jnauary’09 blog), she is gratified to see that possible misuse of said 200 bucks is under federal investigation. Other than throwing her money away, Geralyn also appears in the award-winning internet short comedy film Daryl From OnCar and co-hosts the radio show Better Times After 50 on AdviceRadio.com Her short story “Jane Austen Meets the New York Giants” is published in the New York Times Bestselling anthology The Right Words at the Right Time, Volume 2.

Boycott!

by

Geralyn Ruane


Do you know anyone who belongs to a restricted country club? I don’t, and I would be appalled to find out that I did. The idea of enjoying rights others are so flagrantly denied smacks of Nazism, fascism, racism and hate.

Yeah, I think everyone in California should boycott marriage. Everyone. Until everyone has the right.


Though she makes her film debut in Daryl From OnCar, our winsome blogger adores same-sex romantic movies such as Latter Days and Imagine Me and You . Geralyn co-hosts the radio show Better Times After 50 on AdviceRadio.com and her short story “Jane Austen Meets the New York Giants” is published in the New York Times Bestselling anthology The Right Words at the Right Time, Volume 2.

The Fix Is In!
…the romantic fix, that is.

by Geralyn Ruane

It’s cold and rainy outside, the news just gets more and more horrifically unbelievable, and Valentine’s Day lurks just around the corner. So, in case any of these reasons make you want to curl up to watch a wonderful romance, here are some dusty gems, pushed to the back of the jewel case . . .

In Crossing Delancy (1988) Amy Irving tries the traditional route – she lets her bubbe set her up with a nice young man. But then she decides to pursue romantic ideas of her own. Mmmruh!

Did you ever notice that many “romantic comedies” aren’t that funny? Well, The Guru is hilarious! And sooo heartwarming and curl-your-toes romantic! The Guru (2003) not The Love Gurustars Jimmy Mistry, Heather Graham, Marisa Tomei, Christine Baranski and Michael McKean. A winsome super-star wannabe arrives in New York from India and accidentally gets cast in a porno and then inadvertantly becomes famous as a self-help love guru. The porn stuff is pure comedy, not at all dirty except for using the words “wood” and “snatch.” And the love story between the hero and his porn co-star is surprisingly sweet and amazingly romantic! Mmmruh!

In Vivacious Lady (1938), shy botany professor Jimmy Stewart meets, falls in love with and marries nightclub singer Ginger Rogers in the space of one day. Then he takes her home and has to present her to his conservative family…and the hijinx begin. Mmmruh!

You will laugh your butt off when you watch Man’s Favorite Sport? (1968). Paula Prentiss finds out that dreamy fishing expert Rock Hudson is a complete phony who never fished a day in his life. So, she threatens to reveal his secret unless he does exactly what she wants. Jeez Louise, I love this one! Mmmruh!

Mogambo (1953) In Africa, big game hunter Clark Gable must choose between devil-may-care Ava Gardner, a woman he does not respect, and prim and proper Grace Kelly, a woman he wants despite her having a husband. Mmmruh!

In Murphy’s Romance (1985), struggling, sassy single mom Sally Field becomes friends, and maybe more, with the wise old town druggist, James Garner. Just perfect. Mmmruh!

Wild River (1960). Montgomery Clift from the Tennessee Valley Authority must kick Lee Remick and her family off the island home they have always known to make way for the new dam and the flooding it will cause. This one is intense, passionate and really sexy. Mmmruh!

Pick your poison and get your fix. Mmmruh!

Though she makes her film debut in Daryl From OnCar, our winsome blogger adores same-sex romantic movies such as Latter Days and Imagine Me and You . Geralyn co-hosts the radio show Better Times After 50 on AdviceRadio.com and her short story “Jane Austen Meets the New York Giants” is published in the New York Times Bestselling anthology The Right Words at the Right Time, Volume 2.





John Edwards Owes Me 200 Bucks!

by Geralyn Ruane

That’s right. Two hundred dollars. That’s how much I donated to his campaign last winter.
But he used MY MONEY to pay for his mistress!!!!!! He hired her to do a bogus job she was marginally qualified for just so he could have her handy along on the campaign trail! And part of my hard-earned, thinly-stretched paycheck went to her salary!
But it’s a new year with an awesome new president, so you’d think the smoke would stop shooting out of my ears and I would cease seeing scarlet every time I think of my 200 bucks. But I cannot just let it go.
Because it is partially my fault.
I invested my money into a campaign I believed in. I did that. Me. I’m responsible for for my decisions with my own money. True, he lied to me. Seriously, how much can John Edwards care about the middle class if he used our scraped-together dollars to pay off his chick to cheat with? But I’m in my thirties and reputed to be intelligent, and I’m surprised that a politician lied to the country? Shame on me.
I should have been more careful with my money. More thoughtful. I think from now on, we all must be more conscientious with our money and with our trust in public assertions and institutions. In 2008, so many people lost savings, security, homes and livelihoods at the hands of shady lenders, irresponsible regulators, overpaid CEO’s and downright swindlers – none of whom will ever feel even a fraction of the suffering they’ve caused. None of whom will ever pay their victims back. Those Americans who lost out are just plain screwed, because the bailouts don’t bail out the ones who really need help.
So where is the mmmruh! in all this? It’s not in the past, where Black Tuesday and Enron lurk to mock us; it’s not in the present, where corporate bigwigs in golden parachutes float over blocks and blocks of foreclosed homes. It’s in the future, where vigilance must be our watchword. There will always be devious sharks out there, trolling for prey to fill their bellies, and they don’t care how much we scream and bleed. But on January 20, a new ship will break through the thick red water, offering passage to those willing to lend a hand on deck. So climb aboard, but be prepared to work your ass off for a better tomorrow.


Geralyn Ruane’s favorite numbers are 18 and 1, and it’s January so she’s getting excited despite Plaxico’s debilitating aim. She co-hosts the radio show Better Times After 50 on AdviceRadio.com and her short story “Jane Austen Meets the New York Giants” is published in the New York Times Bestselling anthology The Right Words at the Right Time Volume 2.

Gold, Frankincense and Mmmruh!

by Geralyn Ruane

‘Twas the month before Christmas
And all through the season
People on Earth
Abandoned all reason

The black march on Friday,
Yanked-back civil rights,
All the jobs lost,
The oil and the fights.

What the hell happened
To good will to all men?
If we don’t do it at Christmas
Then wherefore and when

Will people stop giving it up to the fear
And instead give their love
To the people right here?

On Equality, on Charity!
On the Tenacity to Cope!
On Tolerance! On Patience!
On Niceness and Hope!

To the top of our hearts
And our souls and our minds!
Live and let live, and keep trying to find

The kindness and caring
The strength and the love
Because it’s all about us
Not what’s below or above.



Though she makes her film debut in Daryl From OnCar, our winsome blogger adores the holiday movies Holiday (1938) and The Man in the Santa Clause Suit (1979) . Geralyn co-hosts the radio show Better Times After 50 on AdviceRadio.com and her short story “Jane Austen Meets the New York Giants” is published in the New York Times Bestselling anthology The Right Words at the Right Time, Volume 2.

My Movie Debut
by Geralyn Ruane



October 29, 2008 – my world premiere! I play Darla in the film Daryl From OnCar. You’ll love this 9-minute flick on the web because it’s all about COC! Mmmruh…COC. Creator Owned Content.


Let me clarify. Daryl From OnCar isn’t exactly about COC. It’s a comedy about what happens when an ordinary man becomes too dependent on an overly obliging customer service rep. But while the movie isn’t about COC, it is a shining example of some of the greatest COC out there. Mmmruh.


Last winter I blogged about the Writer’s Guild of America’s strike. Screenwriters were fighting for more rights, more money and more credit for the sale and distribution of their work. The WGA ended up getting much of what they demanded from the studios, but the strike resulted in more than Internet rights, DVD royalties, and an un-cancelled Oscars show. Out of the ashes of the strike rose Strike TV.


Founded by WGA writers who met on the picket lines, Strike TV is a website that features original short films and episodic shows produced directly for the Internet. Some of the WGA’s most talented writers used their off-picket line strike time to produce comedy and drama unedited by networks, unchanged by studios or unaffected by corporate agendas. The site premieres new shows and films every week and the writers are producing more and more COC for their bombarded website.


The Revolution has just begun. Strike TV is creating a world in which writers break free from studio notes and network mandates. You can see this audacious new world if you try – it’s a world where writers no longer have to put up with non-writers telling them how to write.


This world is just around the corner, at Strike TV.



Though she makes her film debut in Daryl From OnCar, our winsome blogger likes the movie Can’t Buy Me Love even better. When not watching eighties movies or Giants football, Miss Ruane co-hosts the radio show Better Times After 50 on AdviceRadio.com. Her short story “Jane Austen Meets the New York Giants” is published in the New York Times Bestselling anthology The Right Words at the Right Time, Volume 2.



What You Don’t Know

by Geralyn Ruane


“Have you ever read anything about Bigfoot not

being able to drive?” from“Bigfoot Stole My Wife” by Ron Carlson

Does Bigfoot exist? How about ghosts? Love at first sight? Angels? Rodents Of Unusual Size? God?

There are tons of people out there who will tell you that Bigfoot is a myth. Others who will say there are no such things as ghosts or angels. Some will claim R.O.U.S’s don’t exist and still others who will fashion elaborate arguments to disprove the existence of God. And I’ll never forget that Shakespeare class in college in which scores of students were jumping in to snort that “Come on! There’s no such thing as love at first sight.”

But how do all these naysayers know?

Are they truly omniscient? Or are they playing the odds, deciding that an idea is simply too preposterous to credit? But how preposterous is “too preposterous?” A hairy man-beast bushwhacking through the woods of the Pacific Northwest? Heavenly creatures helping out those all across the prairie, from sea to shining sea? A black man running for president?

If you stop thinking you know so much for a sec, isn’t it wonderful how many things in this world are possible?

Maybe ghosts and God and angels and Bigfoot and unicorns and ESP do exist – maybe they don’t. I honestly don’t know. I believe in some of them, not in others. But I’m not going to turn my beliefs on others and allow my ideas to morph into The Truth, into The Way It Is.

Suppose all those people out there who believe in Bigfoot turned this belief into The Truth – The Bigfoot Is Real Party. Then suppose the Bigfooters decided to disenfranchise, imprison, torture or kill all those people who didn’t believe in Bigfoot, because universal belief in Bigfoot was so very important to them. What a mess. And like Bigfoot would even care.

It’s the very fact that others are free not to believe in Bigfoot and to live their lives as if Bigfoot does not exist that keeps the beliefs of the Bigfooters safe. The idea that reiki might be good for Sasquatch may be considered silly by some, but allowing for the possibility is what keeps liberty alive.


When she was growing up, Geralyn loved drawing horses and nurtured a huge crush on three members of Duran Duran. But to keep from seeming too painfully cliché, she pretended that she did not like reading the magazine Young Miss. These days she co-hosts the radio show Better Times After 50 on AdviceRadio.com. Her short story “Jane Austen Meets the New York Giants” is published in the New York Times Bestselling anthology The Right Words at the Right Time, Volume 2.


The Most Heroic Battle

by Geralyn Ruane


I got engaged almost four years ago, and I think I’m going to be engaged forever. Or maybe my true love and I will have a romance like the one between Elizabeth Montgomery and Robert Foxworth. Those crazy kids lived together for twenty years and then one day Montgomery looked across the kitchen table at Foxworth and said, “Let’s get married.” They were in their fifties but giddy as two runaways on prom night when they walked out of the courthouse. Mmmruh!

Married or not, however this romance of mine turns out, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Seriously. Not even for a weekend trapped in a cabin with Viggo. But I must admit, some days I wish my guy wanted to marry so desperately that those damn wolves at the door didn’t matter. And if you know us at all, you know we don’t try to shoot those wolves, or even shoo them away. Instead, we feed them, comb them for fleas, and make sure they’re warm and dry and de-wormed.

So, once the wolves are comfy, I ensconce myself in my writing room and think about the story taking shape in my head. I will spin a tale of a hero so desperate to marry his true love that he will brave fire and flood and filial disapproval, fighting and fighting until he has won the wedding the two lovers so desperately want. But how to make such a story engaging and believable, this heroic battle to wed? From Lydia and Wickham to Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue, couples have been defiantly eloping throughout the ages. I need to fashion stronger hurdles for my lovers to leap.

Perhaps I could write a historical novel, and curse the heroine with the sign of the devil. Then the hero could still want her so much that he’s willing to fight off the family and the church and the whole village to escape the ignorance and start anew with his beloved.

Or I could shift the tale into the realm of royal feuding in the Dark Ages – maybe something with the Normans and Saxons. Were they even a part of the Dark Ages?

Or I could update the tale and have a Sunni fall in love with a Shiite in Baghdad.

Or I could glide into the mist of the paranormal, and make one of my lovers a vampire.

Or maybe I could try to write something similar to Ladyhawke, with the lovers doomed to exist as different species.

But I am clueless about historical detail, and cannot find sufficient motivation to do the research. Same about international politics. And the paranormal? I am way too disorganized to create a different dimension and then keep the details straight.

My passion for writing revolves around the here and now, and more specifically, my here and now. California, 2008. I suppose some could see this as limiting, but Flannery O’Connor’s love for the rural South didn’t do her such a bad turn. The truth is, I love ferreting out the incandescent romance glowing around the corner and under the staircase of the world in which I live.

But where can I find this desperate fight to wed, pulsing beneath the covers of a modern-day unmade bed? In a world where quick divorce makes marriage so do-able, are there any dragons left to slay on the way to the chapel? How can I make this believable, my heart-wrenching, blood-thrilling, toe-tingling love story about a man fighting until the death if need be to marry his true love?

I’ll make his true love a man.


Geralyn Ruane’s favorite romantic movie is Latter Days, the story of a young Mormon missionary who falls unexpectedly and undeniably in love with an L.A. party boy, thus triggering a passionate affair that rips both their worlds apart. And when she’s not watching incredibly romantic movies on LOGO, the channel dedicated to gay and lesbian programming, Geralyn co-hosts the radio show Better Times After 50 on AdviceRadio.com. Her short story “Jane Austen Meets the New York Giants” is published in the New York Times Bestselling anthology The Right Words at the Right Time, Volume 2.



The Never-Ending Story

by Geralyn Ruane


He laughed as he walked through the front door.

I was in the kitchen looking for the bay leaves when I heard the screen door open, then the sound of him laughing. I knew he had to be laughing at one of the cats, but which one and what it was this time didn’t matter. The love of my life was laughing as he walked into the house . . . mmmruh!


This is the kind of life I want to live, one in which cats are part of the family and we laugh as we come home. Mmmruh! Do I have everything I want? No. I’m not the one who’s going to look into the Mirror of Erised and see nothing but myself. I think a lot of us are like that – always wanting more and more, even when we get what we want most.


I remember when I was young, I thought, If only we had Atari, I’d never be bored again! Well, guess what? We got Atari one Christmas, and indeed I dedicated hours of my life to Space Invaders, Pitfall! and Ms. Pac-Man. But those video games hardly made me happy for ever after. Lots of things got me down, despite the game cartidges and joysticks. Like the dog Dempsey. At least, that’s what I’ve called her in my head for about thirty years.


When I was a kid, I was waiting in our old Chevy while my mom ran into the supermarket when I noticed a small Toto-like dog climb out the window of a nearby car. I darted out of the station wagon, grabbed the dog, and proudly returned her to her family when they came back to the car. I felt like a real hero.

“Actually,” the mom said, “we left the window open on purpose because we’re trying to get rid of her. Do you want her?”

My mom said No. After all, we already had Grady the big red dog and Pepsi the tabby cat. But I couldn’t stop dreaming about how cool it would have been if we’d adopted that little dog. I would have called her Dempsey.

  • Nowadays, I rescue abandoned animals. Nowadays, I’d find little Dempsey girl a good home. So that’s one dream I made come true. Mmmruh!
  • Ever since first grade, I wanted a pet goat. So, when I was twenty-three, I adopted one and named her Cordelia. Mmmruh!
  • I used to dream I’d find a guy who loved me just the way I am, all uncool and unfashionable but unmistakably me. Not only did I find such a guy, but this is a guy who will crawl 200 yards beneath a strip mall just to save one ungrateful cat who doesn’t understand words like “fumigation,” “tenting,” or “toxic.” Mmmruh!


So, if I made these dreams come true, I can make my evolving dreams happen, too. And so can you. Let’s not be people who see life as a series of challenges to overcome, a litany of problems to survive. This too shall pass sucks as a personal mantra.


Let’s live life on a never-ending kaleidoscope of dreams to pursue. Mmmruh!


Geralyn Ruane’s new favorite numbers are 18 and 1. She co-hosts the radio show Better Times After 50 on AdviceRadio.com when she’s not drinking chocolate milk straight from the spoon or writing humorous women’s fiction. Her short story “Jane Austen Meets the New York Giants” is published in the New York Times Bestselling anthology The Right Words at the Right Time Volume 2.



Jupiter’s Darling

by Geralyn Ruane



If this be slavery
Give me slavery!
If this be slavery
I don’t want to be free!

So sings Gower Champion in the 1955 Technicolor extravaganza Jupiter’s Darling, when the ravishing Esther Williams purchases him at a slave sale so that her cute little personal slave Marge Champion can have a hottie for a playmate. As her slaves frolic, Esther Williams sneaks out of Rome to get a gander at the strapping Hannibal, played by Howard Keel in a mighty short tunic. He is encamped just outside Rome, preparing to attack. When Hannibal captures the enamored bathing beauty, he is so spellbound by her sexy sass that he forgets all about sacking Rome. Instead, he wiles away his days sequestered in his tent with the irresistible prisoner, as his soldiers and elephants wait impatiently to strike. When towards the end of the movie the Roman vamp and the barbaric Hannibal fight, as lovers often do, she escapes, high-tailing it back to Rome – by way of the ocean. Yes, indeed, Esther Williams has to travel via ocean to get from the outskirts of Rome back to, uh, Rome. This might seem like a stretch – plot-wise, I mean, just to get the titian-haired nymph into the water, but the movie redeems itself with an underwater Statues-Come-to-Life number that is much more integral to the plot. Not to mention, one of the best underwater swimming-in-ancient-Rome scenes ever. Mmmruh!


Jupiter’s Darling is wonderful! It is an insanely delightful trip into the preposterous! Seriously, the dancing elephants scene will make you wonder about the mushrooms you had for dinner.

These days, I am learning to embrace and rejoice in inanity whenever I can. What a thrill, what a release, what a way to find balance!

After all, so much of the ridiculous and bizarre sickens rather than amuses. Yes, someone actually thought the best way to become a mom was to kill a pregnant woman and cut the baby out of her womb. O.J. is free as a bird and living large. And yes, okay, our vice president did shoot someone. In such a world, is it really so foolish that candidates be chosen according to bowling prowess?

In 1841 Rochester, Frederick Douglass made no bones about how preposterous it was that America was celebrating Independence Day when one faction of its population enslaved another. “For revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.” Here, here! Way to tell it like it is! Mmmruh!

It’s a wacky , wrenching world worth fighting for, and against. And when you feel like you just can’t take it for another second – check out, kick back and watch Jupiter’s Darling.

Then reboot.


Geralyn Ruane’s new favorite numbers are 18 and 1. She co-hosts the radio show Better Times After 50 on AdviceRadio.com when she’s not drinking chocolate milk straight from the spoon or writing humorous women’s fiction. Her short story “Jane Austen Meets the New York Giants” is published in the New York Times Bestselling anthology The Right Words at the Right Time Volume 2.



Everyday Hero

by Geralyn Ruane


Far and away, my favorite Oscar moment this year (only because Viggo didn’t win) was this: after a commercial break, Jon Stewart invites Marketa Irglova back on stage to say the thank you she didn’t get to voice because the orchestra cut her off after she and Glen Hansard won for best song for Once, the little movie that could. My goodness, the woman helped make internationally beloved film music with little more than a magnifying glass and a kazoo. She deserved her moment at the mike. So good for you, Jon Stewart, for making sure she got it! Mmmruh!

I love it when that happens – when someone decides they do not like what is happening, so they do something about it. Mmmruh!

After Wilma Melville retired from teaching gym, she decided that 15 FEMA-certified Search and Rescue dogs in the U.S. were not enough. She has since trained 85 more FEMA-certified Search and Rescue dogs and teamed them with trained fire fighters. Canadian high school students David Shepherd, Chris Spencer, Travis Price, Nick Sullivan and John Kennealy got sick of bullies terrorizing kids at their school, so they started wearing pink shirts to encourage solidarity against bullies. Pink Power is now spreading across the land. Judie Mancuso and her husband decided to live on half their income so Judie could quit her job and fight 24/7 for animal rights and righteous animal legislation in California. Mmmruh, mmmruh, mmmruh!

I know, I know. We all don’t have an Oscar stage and an audience of millions at our disposal. And some of us have no affinity for dogs, no Gatsby-like posse, no passionate crusade. That’s okay, though. We get to be everyday heroes, and those are the very best kind. The kind that change lives for a moment, make a day better, make an hour sweeter. And what is life, if not a double helix of tangled moments, days and hours?

I met Zam freshman year in college: I had an abysmal wardrobe and a perpetual wallflower complex, while he had the aplomb of Cary Grant and the biting sass of Bea Arthur. But do you know what I remember most about Zam? One day we were standing in the Student Union at the top of a steep staircase when a woman started bumping her way down with a baby carriage. Zam dropped everything to help the pair get safely to the first floor. I stood at the top of the staircase looking down at Steve (Zam’s real name is Steve Zambriski), wishing I were in love with him – he was just so magnificently compassionate. Mmmruh! Good thing I wasn’t in love with him, though, since he turned out to be gayer than a box of birds. You’d think the nickname “Zam,” and the Cher karaoke would have tipped me off, but at least I didn’t fall for him and get my heart pulverized by the naked truth. But as naïve as I was, I could recognize the heroic – even through the buzz and bustle of the Student Union.

So hang up the cell phone and listen to your kid talk about how stupid his math teacher is. Give up your seat to the guy who looks really tired. Put your shopping cart back and make someone work a little less hard for minimum wage. Be an everyday hero.

Try it.

Every day.


Geralyn Ruane’s new favorite numbers are 18 and 1. She co-hosts the radio show Better Times After 50 on AdviceRadio.com when she’s not drinking chocolate milk straight from the spoon or writing humorous women’s fiction. Her short story “Jane Austen Meets the New York Giants” is published in the New York Times Bestselling anthology The Right Words at the Right Time Volume 2.



The Perfect Climax

by Geralyn Ruane


Every few years or so I dust off Touch Not the Cat by Mary Stewart and reread it, just so I can get to page 227, when Bryony runs out into the moonlit orchard and – well, I won’t tell you – but it’s the best part of the story.

And I’ll bet that everyone knows the feeling I’m talking about – reading a dog-eared book or watching a favorite movie just to get to that scene that makes you go mmmruh! We don’t skip ahead to the incandescent chapter, or fast forward to the culminating scene, because without the build up, the climax is a let down. Captain Wentworth’s striding in and asking for Anne in front of everyone wouldn’t grab you by the guts and never let go without that preceding heartbreak, betrayal, belittling and loneliness.

Build-up, climax, bliss – it’s the pulse of romance . . . and sports.

I watch sports to feel the thrill when that 3-point shot at the buzzer wins the game, when that amazing catch in the end zone defies physics, when that guy nobody ever heard of knocks out an invincible champion, when that bunch of college kids ices a communist powerhouse.

A romance writing friend once commented, “Geralyn, that’s why there are highlights.”

But come on! Who wants to read a romance that catalogs scene after scene of the heroine and her man having great sex because they are just so in love and their lives couldn’t be more perfect? Highlight reels provide no more than superficial thrills. But when you know what’s at stake in the contest, and when you sweat as you watch the fight, the pay-off is visceral. Mmmruh . . .

Romance, like sports, is an aching quest for the moment of perfect climax.

Why else was this Sunday’s Super Bowl XLII the most watched thing ever on TV, second only to the final episode of M*A*S*H? Are there so many Patriots and Giants fans out there? Maybe, but I suspect the game’s popularity was due to not just the foreplay, but more significantly, the guarantee of an explosive climax.

As Sports Illustrated so succinctly says, “The Super Bowl would be either a CORONATION or a COLOSSAL UPSET.” In one corner is a smug, undefeated, championship team who wants to make history by becoming the only NFL franchise to go 19-0 in a season. In the other corner is a scrappy wild card team who had unexpectedly beaten redoubtable play-offs rivals to become the second-worse franchise ever to make it to the Super Bowl. New York’s Plaxico Burress predicts a 23-17 Giants win. Tom Brady laughs at a press conference at the notion of his Patriots scoring a mere 17 points. Can the New York defense stop the locomotion of the New England offense? Tom Brady looms infallible – can Eli Manning, league leader in interceptions thrown during the regular season, step up?

As it turns out, Plaxico is wrong. The Giants hold the Patriots to 14 points, not 17, thanks to a defense that sacks Tom Brady 5 times and breaks up the Hail Mary. And in the last 2 minutes of the game, Patriots on top by 4, young Eli steps up. Courtesy of an offensive line that wouldn’t quit, he breaks out of a near-sack to throw to third-string receiver David Tyree who makes one of the most amazing catches in NFL history. Seriously, who catches a football with his head? A final pass to Plaxico in the end zone, and those scrappy Giants win the Super Bowl.

It was the perfect climax.


Geralyn Ruane’s new favorite numbers are 18 and 1. She co-hosts the radio show Better Times After 50 on AdviceRadio.com when she’s not drinking chocolate milk straight from the spoon or writing humorous women’s fiction. Her short story “Jane Austen Meets the New York Giants” is published in the New York Times Bestselling anthology The Right Words at the Right Time Volume 2.



Everyone Says So – But So What?

by Geralyn Ruane


Just because everyone says so doesn’t mean you have to believe it.

That’s right. You don’t have to believe it. Do your own research, make your own decisions and stick to your guns, even if it seems that everyone else in the room, the state, the world disagrees with you.

These days everyone is a spin doctor. And those who aren’t hire them. Information gets so manipulated that distillation of the truth becomes a Byzantine challenge. Listening to the hype is so much easier. But don’t let yourself be swayed or suckered.

I believe that The New England Patriots are cheaters undeserving of accolades, regardless of what sportswriters have decided. No matter how many people love rodeo, I still think paying and making money to watch terrified animals defend themselves is sick and should be illegalized. To hell with the FDA, I’m convinced that cold medicines are a bad idea, and so are any medicines that prevent the body from getting rid of the stuff it needs to get rid of. I’ve examined the facts and made my decisions.

Don’t agree with me? That’s okay. I don’t need mass approval in order to feel comfortable with the decisions I make. You shouldn’t either. Nobody should.

As America surges into Primary Season, my greatest hope is that voters make their own decisions. Don’t pay attention to labels and tag lines; instead, find out what the candidates are actually saying and doing. Don’t get swayed by the polls and predictions of political pundits; in the end, only the votes matter. Yesterday, the day after the surprising New Hampshire results, even NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson advised, “Throw out the polls and just pay attention to the candidates.”

Who will run for president in 2008 is still up in the air, and we get to decide. I do, you do. We’ve got the power and that makes me go Mmmruh! So don’t let your decision get swept away by all the hype and hullabaloo. Instead, keep your decision safe, make it count and make sure it’s yours.


Geralyn Ruane co-hosts the radio show Better Times After 50 on AdviceRadio.com. She also drinks chocolate milk straight from the spoon and writes humorous women’s fiction. Last year her short story “Jane Austen Meets the New York Giants” was published in the New York Times Bestselling anthology The Right Words at the Right Time Volume 2.


Strike Two!

by

Geralyn Ruane

The revolution will not be televised.
It will be downloaded.

-caption on a sign on the picket line
outside the NBC studios in Burbank
Every form of communication on this planet and beyond is careening toward the internet, unable to resist the magnetic pull of instantaneous speed and digital capability. More and more, viewers are downloading TV shows and movies instead of watching them on TV or renting them from Blockbuster or buying them on DVD.

Writers want to get paid when viewers access their work via the internet.

This is the key issue at stake in the Writer’s Guild of America strike. Movie and television writers do not get royalties for the work they create: screenwriters gave up the rights to royalties back in the 1920’s. Instead, TV and screenwriters get residuals – payment every time their work airs or sells. But they only get those residuals if the WGA fights for them.

Imagine if J.K. Rowling hadn’t made a dime for her Harry Potter books beyond a standard fee publishers paid her for penning each one. What if she got no money for the millions of books she sold? No money for the merchandising of all that stuff based on the characters she created. No money from those insanely successful movies that have launched careers and made billions and billions of dollars. Try to picture J.K. Rowling earning NOTHING from all that. Sure, she would be the author who changed the face of childhood mythology as we know it, but she would be struggling to make rent. Would that seem right?

Yeah, you might think, but that would never happen.

But that is EXACTLY what happened to screenwriters Irene Mecchi and Jonathan Roberts. They wrote The Lion King, Disney’s first animated feature that was not adapted from a fairy tale, book, or existing g piece of work. Mecchi and Roberts created an original story that went on the earn billions of dollars, yet they have never received any percentage of the revenue from the movie, its sequels, its merchandising, or its Broadway show. They have received nothing beyond the money Disney paid them to write the script.

Why? How could this happen? The answer is simple: The Lion King is an animated movie, and most animated work is not covered by the WGA.

This is what the Writer’s Guild of America does: it wrestles The Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers to make sure writers get a piece of the revenue they generate. Without the WGA, Hollywood writers are utterly vulnerable financially. Currently, writers of most animation shows and all reality shows are not protected by the WGA and as a result get both low salaries and no residuals. When the folks who worked on America’s Top Model tried to organize in 2006, they were all fired. When animation writers at Nickelodeon tried to organize in 2001, Nickolodean fired all the writers, blacklisted the “ringleaders,” stopped production on all animated shows and put 250 artists out of work. That’s right. The partners who wrote Sponge Bob Square Pants, which has earned Nickolodean $12 billion, wanted a $5 residual for every episode aired – that’s about 16/1000 of 1% of total revenue that they wanted, but the AMPTP refused to pay it to them. Seriously, it makes watching Sponge Bob or The Lion King feel like wearing the fashions kids make in the sweatshops of third world countries.

In 1988, when the writers went on strike to get residuals for sales of VHS tapes, the WGA accepted a dramatically low rate on residuals for VHS because the studios argued that VHS would not be profitable. Though this turned out to be egregiously false, later the same rate was applied to residuals for DVDs, which are even more profitable than VHS tapes ever were. Now the AMPTP wants to apply that same miscalculated, lowball rate to the residuals for material downloaded off the internet. This time, the WGA is determined to get a fair deal.

In this 2007 strike, the WGA writers want reasonable residuals for their work that is downloaded via the internet. They also want all animation writers and reality writers in the allowed into the WGA. The total cost of what the WGA demands is significantly less than the combined salaries of the CEOs of the six AMPTP studios.

But the studios want to screw the writers and keep all the money for themselves. And believe me, The Teamsters put it much more colorfully than that.

If writing is allowed to be devalued to the extent the rich, corporate AMPTP would love to see, all writers will suffer the consequences, as the idea of not paying writers for their work becomes more and more indoctrinated in American culture.

So find the picket lines closest to you and fight the good fight. The solidarity of artists fighting corporate domination is empowering to behold, and even stronger once you join the battle for all writers everywhere.

www.wga.org


Geralyn Ruane’s favorite Hardy Boy is whichever one Parker Stevenson played, and these days she writes romance, chick lit and women’s fiction. Last year her short story “Jane Austen Meets the New York Giants” was published in the New York Times Bestselling anthology The Right Words at the Right Time Volume 2.


Stealing Back the Thunder

by

Geralyn Ruane

Recent conversation that took place in a supermarket parking lot between me and a homeless man:

Homeless Man: Do you have any spare change?

Me: (Giving him seven bucks) Here ya go. Hey, I have some old blankets in my car. Do you need a blanket?

Homeless Man: I could use a blanket.

Me: Okay. I’ll be right back. I just have to run to my car to get it. You’ll stay here?

Homeless Man: I’ll be here.

I run to my car, grab a blanket, then grab an unopened bottle of water off the back seat. I hurry back to the man.

Me: Here. (I hand him the blanket.) And here’s some water. (I hand him the bottle.)

Homeless Man: Thank you! (Takes the stuff then looks me in the eye.) You’re a Christian, aren’t you.

Me: Actually, no.

Homeless Man: But you believe in the Lord.

Me: I believe in being nice to people.

Homeless Man: I can see in your eyes that you have the Lord in you.

Me: (Waving as I turn away) Take care.

Homeless Man: (Calling to my retreating back) The Lord is in you! I know it!

God is stealing my thunder and I don’t like it. Or rather, people are stealing my thunder and giving it to God. Why does everyone insist on giving a Higher Power credit for the things I do right here on earth – or for the good things people do in general? What about my friend Kristin? Does God get her thunder, too? She gave me those blankets in the first place because she knows I dole out blankets and socks to the homeless once the whether starts turning cold.

I don’t think the human race gets enough credit for its goodness. Sure, I actually know some people who help others because they are getting older and want to build up points for Heaven. But I know far more people who help others because, for them, there is simply no other way to live.

My ire on the subject of misappropriated thunder rumbles deep and strong, but not out of brewing jealousy or rankled pride. The big picture is far more disturbing, especially when you flip it over. Do you see it? Giving God credit for the good people do is the mirror image of making God the scapegoat for all the evil people do.

Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, pickets the funerals of fallen servicemen, shouting at the mourners that God is killing U.S. soldiers in Iraq to punish Americans for their tolerance of homosexuality. Does God deserve to take this bullet? Or does such inflammatory rhetoric instead serve to distract from the reality of what certain people are doing to other people, and why? If we give God the blame, or the credit, we miss out on what our fellow humans are doing.

Like the woman who chased me into Trader Joe’s the other day.

Woman: Excuse me! Excuse me! Do you drive the red Volkswagen?

Me: (Turning around) Yes.

Woman: You need to put change in the meter. I know it’s Sunday, but they’ll ticket you. The car in front of you has a ticket.

Me: (I follow her back to my car and see both the other car’s ticket and the sign I’d ignored posting the parking rules.) Thanks!

Woman: I just know that I hate to get a ticket.

Me: (Putting change into the meter) No, really, thanks!

Was God looking out for me by sending that woman to prevent my possible ticket? I prefer to let that woman keep her own richly deserved thunder. She helped me out. Mmmruh!

I steal back the credit or blame given to God whenever I can. No matter what Higher Power we believe in or how we pray, we should acknowledge the thunder of humanity. We need to recognize the good done by people, or we’ll miss the sublime moments of mmmruh! that give life its pulse and light and hope. And we need to recognize the evil done by people, so that we can do something about it.

Mmmruh! It’s all about people. John Lennon could imagine it. Can you?


Geralyn Ruane’s favorite Hardy Boy is whichever one Parker Stevenson played, and these days she writes romance, chick lit and women’s fiction. Last year her short story “Jane Austen Meets the New York Giants” was published in the New York Times Bestselling anthology The Right Words at the Right Time Volume 2.

Help!

by

Geralyn Ruane

In High School Musical 2, (mmmruh!) blonde teen queen Sharpay tells Troy, “We can all hold hands around the campfire later! Right now we have a show to do!” But Troy chooses decency to his friends over fame and fortune with her.

Gosh, I wish everyone were like Troy Bolton!

Because I don’t think we can wait until later to be nice. The world is going to hell in a friggin’ huge shopping cart NOW. Know what I mean? Can you feel it? A bloody quest for nothing noble. An election with no hero on the horizon. A bridge that collapsed because nobody bothered. Sports records broken by cheaters. Animal cruelty defended as status quo. Another year another size. That rejection letter in the mailbox. Everything is so messed up, and I can’t fix it all! Neither can you.

But I can help. And so can you.

All we have to do is be nice. Seriously. Just because living history throbs with the cadence of “Screw or be screwed, screw or be screwed,” doesn’t mean I have to march to it. And neither do you.

Help whenever you can. However you can. Some people look at the big picture and drive hybrid cars or picket on behalf of neglected Katrina survivors. But it doesn’t even take that much energy. Be friendly to the waiter even after he forgets the garlic bread AND the ketchup. Let the over-processed diva who thinks the world revolves around her go before you in the checkout line just so she doesn’t bite off the cashier’s head. Get out of the handicapped stall right quick when somebody disabled comes into the restroom. Don’t flip off the jerk who nearly side-swipes you. Give the one-armed guy offering to wash your windshield a buck or two. After all, how can he shoot heroin with only one arm?

A homeless guy I met last February refused the soup and sandwiches I’d brought him saying he had food already. He told me to go to the park and give the food to the homeless folks there. Gotta say, there’s a wrenching kind of clarity in a man with no shoes telling me to go help others.

A few weeks ago, as my guy and I were changing the tire to our twenty year-old tank of a car, the jack slipped.

Rrrrrr!

A truck screeched to a halt, two men jumped out to help us catch the car. Thanks to them, the whole shebang didn’t crash to the ground in a tireless crunch of sparking metal.

Mmmruh! They saved us! For no other reason than that they were THERE and they COULD! Do I think these two guys helping us was some sort of karmic payback for the blankets we’ve given homeless people or for stray cats we’ve fed? Does what goes around, come around?

Doubt it. I don’t think the cosmos is that fair. But at least each one of us can make the world GO around. Even if it never swings back our way, at least we can tilt it in the direction we want.

So go ahead. Give it a push.


Geralyn Ruane’s favorite Hardy Boy is whichever one Parker Stevenson played, and these days she writes romance, chick lit and women’s fiction. Last year her short story “Jane Austen Meets the New York Giants” was published in the New York Times Bestselling anthology The Right Words at the Right Time Volume 2.

Off on a Tangent

By

Geralyn Ruane

So let’s sink another drink

‘Cause it’ll give me time to think . . .

Morning commute, could barely keep my eyes open, but when Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself” punched through the car, suddenly, a beam of good cheer more potent than a double shot espresso blasted through me.

Huh?

But I don’t even like Billy Idol. I mean, I had some eclectic crushes back in middle school, from Richard Dreyfuss to Tommy Lee to Face Man from the A-Team, but Billy Idol was never one of them. And his music never did anything for me. So why was I suddenly so chipper, getting my groove on to a song I never liked?

After a few minutes, I figured it out.

Spike!

Platinum blonde British rocker Billy Idol reminded me of platinum blonde British vampire Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, seasons two and three of which I watched in marathon stretches with my two best friends. Mmmruh! What fun that was, just hanging out eating Chinese food and popsicles, indulging in and critiquing Joss Whedon and all things Buffy. Just like that, on a few beats of vintage eighties rock, my mind went off on a tangent and instantly made the connection for me.

I’m going off on tangents all the time, in conversation, in life, in home décor. I can never seem to keep myself on a linear path of any kind because, as Katherine Hepburn says to Spencer Tracy in Desk Set, “I associate many things with many things.”

The orange paisley comforter I picked out. My guy stood there in Bed Bath and Beyond looking at me warily. “Really? You want that one?” Heck, yeah! It reminded me of the bedspread I’d had as kid in the seventies, a riot of big orange flowers. Oh, to be six again, to have no reason to get up more pressing than that of watching Deputy Dog. Mmmruh.

Seem silly? Then again, life can come to feel pretty colorless and devoid of meaning if you just live it, getting through day by day, then just forget it all. Remembering, connecting, associating, whether deliberately or viscerally, add vibrancy, hue, flavor, compassion. Tapping into other times, places, feelings, worlds, even right within yourself – mmmruh. Going off on a tangent – a nifty knack for a writer, no?

Giants at Eagles, third quarter. Pass goes high, Plaxico Burress stretches to catch. He’s tackled on his descent with such ferocious precision the sound of impact makes me wince. The announcer chuckles. “Dawkins waffles Burress . . .” Suddenly, my eyes fill with tears. I’m no longer watching Sunday football, but I’m a thirteen year-old kid looking at Officer Green, standing on my front porch, hands on hips, holding something in his hand.
“Do you own a brown and white dog?”
I nod.
“It just got waffled down on Layton Road.” Then he hands me Rhoda’s busted collar.
To this day, I cannot hear the word “waffle” used that way without breaking down, without remembering how she was still warm when we went down to get her.
But all these tangents become the threads of life, never snipped off but left to drift and tangle. And if we can recognize and appreciate our own designs and textures, if we can better understand ourselves, can we more insightfully understand others? Can we express ourselves more effectively? Maybe. And in that maybe lies the everlasting mmmruh.

Geralyn Ruane’s favorite Hardy Boy is whichever one Parker Stevenson played, and these days she writes romance, chick lit and women’s fiction. Last year her short story “Jane Austen Meets the New York Giants” was published in the New York Times Bestselling anthology The Right Words at the Right Time Volume 2.

.
Rrrrrr! vs. Mmmruh

by Geralyn Ruane

It wasn’t my day. Or my week, month or year, apparently. Ants were taking over my kitchen; my cat was so sick I had to spend most nights at the emergency animal hospital; I’d lost my voice so I couldn’t teach and make rent; I got my summons to do jury duty; and to top it all off, I owed taxes when I’d been counting on a refund.

So, head pounding, nose running, sweats not at all fashionable, I went to Trader Joe’s to buy myself some junk food (it’s healthier if it comes from Trader Joe’s, right?) And as I was walking to the one open checkout stand, I nearly ran into this guy heading for the very same open lane. This GORGEOUS guy. He looked like an older, more roguish version of the character Peter Petrelli from Heroes. Seriously. We stopped and looked at each other in total acknowledgement that we were both racing for the same open register. Then he stepped back, smiled, and said, “Go ahead.”

Mmmmmruh! Is that the opening to a romance novel, or what?

The moment passed, but I’ve got to say, it’s these random drops of mmmruh – absorbing them into my life and incorporating them into my writing – that keeps me bouncing around in this maelstrom we call life. Endless war, random shootings, rampant indoctrinated prevarication, escalating gas prices, a widening gap in the ozone, an insane media circus. How can a warm spring evening that reminds me of home or a student telling me she’ll miss me compete with all that? How on earth does the creative spirit prevail?

Attitude, plain and simple. We just have to allow ourselves to drink in those moments of mmmruh, savor them, remember them, and make them matter.


Geralyn Ruane’s favorite Hardy Boy is whichever one Parker Stevenson played, and these days she writes romance, chick lit and women’s fiction. Last year her short story “Jane Austen Meets the New York Giants” was published in the New York Times Bestselling anthology The Right Words at the Right Time Volume 2.

.
Why Romance?

by Geralyn Ruane

Did you notice? Here on this E-zine for and by romance writers and readers, NONE of the things I mentioned in my last column, the things that make me go mmmruh, had anything to do with love, sex, smooching or marriage. So, if I live for these moments of mmmruh, why the heck and am I so spellbound and compelled by romance?

True, romance rips a pretty visceral mmmruh from me. A billboard on Ventura Boulevard: “Malia, will you marry me? Love, Roberto.” I drove right past it! A radio dedication from a man in Los Angeles, aching to rekindle a romance, to his former lover in Orange County. As I sped along the 101 listening to Nickelback’s soulful singing (I’ve loved you all along . . .), I realized that maybe the former lover in Orange County was, at that very moment, picking up the phone to call the man in Los Angeles! I was possibly listening to the most romantic moment in someone’s whole life!

But if I can be just as moved by a whiff of Chanel No. 5 because it reminds me of my mom, why do I feather my nest with books by Nora Roberts and Susan Elizabeth Phillips? And why do I own three different movie versions of Pride and Prejudice?

It’s simple, really. What is romance, but the perfect vehicle for delivering these moments of mmmruh? A love story is driven by such emotional intensity that it naturally provides fertile ground the poignant, enlightening aspects of life. And the more mmmruh woven throughout a romance, the more mmmruh seeping beyond the heroine/hero plot line, the more unforgettable the story.

Geralyn Ruane’s favorite Hardy Boy is whichever one Parker Stevenson played, and these days she writes romance, chick lit and women’s fiction. Last year her short story “Jane Austen Meets the New York Giants” was published in the New York Times Bestselling anthology The Right Words at the Right Time Volume 2.

.
Things That Make Me Go Mmmruh

By Geralyn Ruane

Mmmruh . . . you know, that sound you make when biting into the most succulent piece of chocolate – or when you see an incredibly hot guy and you know you’ll never have him – or when you see the absolute cutest pair of baby shoes EVER.

Mmmruh . . . I live for that sound. More precisely, I live for those moments that create that sound – those moments that reach right into the bloody pumping heart of me and squeeze – those moments that can sometimes make me hurt, make me cry – but always make me feel alive. Those moments that steep me in a well of pure sensation – a well so often iced over in a frenetic world.

Sometimes these moments of mmmruh are HUGE and witnessed from afar – the U.S. hockey team defeating Russia at Lake Placid (“Do you believe in miracles?!”) – or Matthew McConaughey flying in a chopper through the aftermath of Katrina to save a man and the stranded animals he would not abandon.

But the really cool thing is that these moments of mmmruh don’t have to be huge . . . they can be tiny . . . and they’re everywhere – like pearly drops of dew glistening on the grass at daybreak, just waiting to be licked off and savored by a thirsty cricket. These drops are so small, ephemeral, always there, too often unnoticed. Like the way the pot-bellied old man cradled the little white dog settled so trustingly in his arms as they made their way through the cross walk right in front of my windshield. Or like the car that pulled over on an exit ramp two lanes over from me so the driver could get out and help the man pushing his disabled car up the ramp.

These are random drops of mmmruh. Moments that cut right to the essence of love, trust, compassion, understanding, nobility. Moments that I savor in life. Moments that I crave when I’m reading. Moments that I strive to evoke in my writing.

If I can recognize these moments, find these moments, access these moments, re-create these moments – but most of all, remember these moments and the way they make me feel – mmmruh, what a wonderful world it can be.

Geralyn Ruane’s favorite Hardy Boy is whichever one Parker Stevenson played, and these days she writes romance, chick lit and women’s fiction. Last year her short story “Jane Austen Meets the New York Giants” was published in the New York Times Bestselling anthology The Right Words at the Right Time Volume 2.

Copyright ©2017 A Slice of Orange. All Rights Reserved. ~PROUDLY POWERED BY WORDPRESS ~ CREATED BY ISHYOBOY.COM

%d bloggers like this: