I had awaken with what I will call a Balloon Face. Yes, I am exaggerating, but that was what came to mind. My eyelids were puffy and when I glanced downward, I could see the left side of my face poking out. A look in the mirror confirmed my ghastly appearance. I had diligently scrubbed and rescrubbed my face the night before. My face had been deeply caked with artfully applied makeup the day before to render my face appropriate for a professional looking photograph. Amazing stuff, that makeup. The resulting pictures were quite impressive. I believe that my face trauma was due to the fact that under normal circumstances it is generally naked. I am not a big makeup person. Eyeliner and mascara complete my look. When I was in high school my face was occasionally splattered with stage makeup for plays, and I will admit to experimenting with some more extensive looks, but ultimately my face became used to a minimalistic approach to embellishment. My face was now rebelling and swelling.
This instance took me back in history to the only other time that my face reacted in such a way. The culprit, surprisingly, was chocolate cake; Black Forest chocolate cake. I have no idea why it’s called that, but it does sound rather eerie, doesn’t it? It wasn’t because I ate the cake, it was because the cake was smeared on my face by my friend Carol. We were not children. We were adults with our own children, and we basically had a food fight, or a chocolate cake smear to be more exact. I will admit that I started it. It was a beautiful chocolate cake that had not yet been touched. Carol said something very funny to me that demanded an extremely witty, sarcastic reply. Instead, I completely startled her by gouging the cake and depositing it on her surprised face. I will have to say that her expression was absolutely priceless and it was worth everything that I received as a result of my action. Of course she retaliated. Our other girlfriend and all three husbands watched in disbelief. They were sure that we had lost our giggling, childish minds. When playtime was over, we dutifully cleaned up our mess as all mature adults should do. That’s when my face began to swell. The ballooning of my face only made everything more hilarious to us.
The chocolate cake incident became the cornerstone of future practical jokes that Mandy and I would play on each other throughout the years. It is a fond, distant memory brought suddenly to my mind by my recent makeup induced face expansion. It is odd what can trigger vivid memories. I just hope that whatever was in the makeup that made my face swell is not the same ingredient that we were eating in that cake!
Light On Dark
Behind the crafted mask you wear
I know what’s really hiding there.
Within the silken threaded lair
Lies a not so clever snare.
I step inside from light to gray
Knowing I will likely pay.
Fragile flowers I will lay
On the dark and dense decay.
The flowers rest upon the stain
Wilting as they soak the pain.
Their dimmed brightness is not in vain
Dark is lighter where they are lain.
I really like waking at O’ Darkthirty on most days. It gives me a chance to breathe the quiet and settle into my day. A new day that could and will bring anything. Some things expected, some surprises. My goal is to make each one count. I meet each predawn with anticipation and a musing cup (or 3) of coffee.
In the stillness of the morning dark,
Void of the call of any lark,
The trees are silent and waiting.
The day ahead could bring anything.
The quiet air surrounds me.
I am enveloped in what could be.
Before the bustle of the coming day,
I breathe the dark before sun’s ray.
I feel your presence all around me.
I see your face, but unclearly
Intermingled with the truth and pain,
Laced in love and joy within the stain.
I embrace it all to live what’s real,
To grow and die and truly feel.
Striving to be unhampered by
Superficial things that bind and tie.
I am very happy to announce that Eggsplats and Mudpie Rainbows is now available for purchase. Its all about stuff that kids love and find fascinating. The book is guaranteed to bring smiles to children and nostalgic memories to adults. Play in the delights of childhood. Find the happy Here!
I want to introduce you to an amazing artist that I have had the pleasure of collaborating with on my upcoming children’s book Eggsplats and Mudpie Rainbows (due to be published this summer). He has been able to breathe life and spirit into the elusive vision I had for the illustrations to go along with my whimsical words. His name is Mr. James P. Cottage.
James Cottage grew up in Springfield, New Jersey, and graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he studied Illustration and Creative Writing. He worked for a major retailer designing and illustrating signs for about seven years before deciding to focus on his passion for children’s books.
He has illustrated a children’s book called Grandma Found a Gecko by Vincent Golphin which is a witty romp pitting Grandma against a mischievous gecko who has taken a fancy to her shoe. (Available on amazon)
James has also provided the illustrations for an educational e-book called Whale Fall, written by Robert Bajor. Whale Fall uses a natural phenomena by the same name to engage it’s readers in a conversation about what happens when we lose someone we love. Whale Fall contains a robust glossary, beautiful full color imagery, and breath-taking videos to tell the story of Baleen, a blue whale near the end of her life.
Currently the book contains one chapter, which will be expanded throughout the year. (available on the itunes store)
He also works on a web-comic, at www.after-comic.com. (For a donation, he will send you the comics)
More of his work can be found at: www.jpcimagery.com
This children’s book began several years ago as disjointed poetry scattered throughout my journal. Over time, a theme emerged. I tweaked them and compiled them into a picture book. I desired just the right kind of pictures, but was unsure exactly what I wanted. Years past before the illustration ideas crystallized and I found the perfect artist to breathe life into the pictures that capture the spirit and mind of a child. I am very happy to be sharing this with you today.