This post is my sixth post in the Fortnight of Flash, a guilt-free celebration of brief memoir, fiction, and whatever else you can flash. No length too short, less than 750 words, and prizes!
Spectacular spectacular, I said, of the marshmallows burnt on the sweet potatoes. Past burnt! Charred! Charcoal!
"What is Thanksgiving without at least a few burnt things?" I'd asked. There are always burnt things, literal and figurative, and after each I try to come back, center on the story. This is good, I've told myself, so many times. For the day spent twisting my insides in ringlets over someone's vicious criticism of me. For the off-cuff statement that hurt more than it should. For the friend, who had my number, who got me right when I wanted to skate through a comment or an essay with a pass. I'd make something better out of it. I'd tell the story. I'd dig deep inside the thing until it came out right.
We did the marshmallows again. We did the meal right, we sat around and said that we were thankful. We loved each other on Twitter and Instagram, we loved each other without saying it right, we loved the food inarticulately. We took our children home or to bed, we dinged our bells on parting, we sunk too into sleep, we awoke to pie and news of shopping.
In a fit of tired, overly-full bright hope before bed, I tweet, "my friday is going to be all the colors! rainbow friday! i'm going to write and consult and market and sew and bake. #takebackfriday," in the morning I tweet, "to kick off #takebackfriday, i'm going radical anti-consumer: three kinds of leftovers for breakfast! (ok, so two of them are pie.)" I do this on Facebook too, not meaning anything, being happy. I can't shop anyway; I've spent all my money on turkey and cream and brussels sprouts and butter and beef, bought from my friends, bought with so much love.
From everyone I get love in return, but one, who calls my silly takeback "fashionable resistance," who says I am "toasting self-righteousness." I worry. I wonder. Am I?
The irony is that I had no money to spend on Black Friday shopping. The irony is that I was about to put on display my own need: for you to buy gift subscriptions to this most beautiful magazine. To give stories instead of stuff. To #takebackfriday for fiction and family and if it is black? Make it black-and-white Friday. The irony is that I need all my media contacts and can't afford to burn that bridge. The irony is: I am giving all I have to live this value-packed life and I get it wrong so much, so often, I spend too much time on Facebook and I read a book instead of making contracts for our writers and I must close this window and type something for money.
Save me from this wringing of hands and "like" fingers. Save these stories, that cannot be published unless we sell subscriptions by the dozens. Save Friday. Make it what it should be: pie for breakfast. Gratitude for everyday. Lazy and lush. About the story. Subscribe to Stealing Time. Give Stealing Time. For me. For us. For that one guy who thinks me self-righteous. For Friday.