A Dangerous Beast

Like the werewolf, that half-man, half-beast, I have had to come to grips with the frightening but indisputable truth:  I am a creature controlled by some cruel fate that had twisted and warped my personality so that at the first sign of personal involvement, I became transformed from human being into the most feared and dangerous beast on earth, the observer-writer.
Neil Simon in the Introduction to The Collected Plays of Neil Simon. Volume 1.

Might this be the beast my mom saw lurking when she declared, just yesterday, after a conversation about hotel reservations, "And don't put that in your blog!"  Unlike with short stories, that seem to be theoretical at best, rarely appearing and even then, years after an initial inspiration, the blog is immediate.  I try to assure friends and family that the exposure is scarier for me than for them.  But my in-laws, in particular, can see right through that.  My father-in-law panics whenever I mention the word memoir, regardless of context, and demands never to be mentioned in mine nor anyone else's.  Suddenly, I am curious.  What is he so eager to hide?  My mothers-in-law, all of them, certainly provide a healthy quantity of material, but they, unlike my own mother, are somewhat immune, given that our relationship is optional rather than mandatory.  And even my own mother (mandatory), who was completely uninterested in the blog until discovering that she herself was a subject, is growing suspicious of the beast.  The children will have enough to rebel against without me publicly parading their innocence.  I am afraid that leaves only my husband highly vulnerable.  Those who know him will not deny that he is a gold mine of plot and dialogue, conundrum and controversy, quirk and contradiction.  He suggests that perhaps I participate all too eagerly in games of husband bashing.  It makes the mothers nervous.  But my dad gets it.  There's nothing funny about a couple who gets along famously.

So as the days draw near to Thanksgiving and the relatives begin to gather, I try to devise a disguise to hide the beast, one that will allow me to move about this, shall we say "idiosyncratic" family undetected, innocently serving turkey and stuffing while secretly gathering much needed fodder for the blog.  But I'm afraid that, no matter, they can no longer be fooled.  There is one mother-in-law, who always gleefully quotes Joan Didion when I am in ear-shot.  "Writers are always selling somebody out!"

The mild-mannered Human Being suddenly dashes for cover behind his protective cloak called skin and peers out, unseen, through two tiny keyholes called eyes.  He stands there undetected, unnoticed, a gleeful, malicious smirk on his face watching, penetrating, probing the movements, manners and absurd gestures of those ridiculous creatures performing their inane daily functions.  "How laughably that woman dresses . . .  How pathetically that man eats . . .  How forlornly that couple walks . . . " The writer is loose!
Neil Simon, ibid.

More stuffing, anyone?


  1. "We have been working on a new song, not quite perfected yet. It's really cool! We were going to play it, but we're not going to play it with *you* here"

  2. Rainbird, That's probably a good idea. Is this the "Royal We" you speak of, or just the "bees and me" we? Will you and your we be on tour so me and my we can come see?