Monday, August 22, 2011

Whatever Floats Your Tube

Instead of stopping to smell the roses, make time to float a river in a tube. Seriously. We should all spend more time floating instead of flying through life. 
Nothing brings people together or cleanses the soul like canned beer and slightly moist, mostly salty snacks. Today, I’m thankful for friends who are willing, year after year, hurricane after hurricane, to plop their asses in inner tubes and float beside me. 
Friends, here are some vital lessons (in no particular order) I’ve learned from tubing: 
  1. The river is a great place to talknot arguepolitics.
  2. Judging is a four-letter word. 
  3. If you have a lesson on anatomy, by all means, bestow it. Don’t be shy. (See #2.)
  4. Tubes should be named (and christened) appropriately.
  5. Nostalgia should be embraced with a bear hug.
  6. It’s mandatory to laugh, and it’s also perfectly acceptable to cry.
  7. She may make you pee, guide you into sharp debris and write bad poetry, but the river will ALWAYS provide.
  8. Beware of The Mateo and raccoons with laser-beam eyes.
  9. We really, really should have commemorative t-shirts. 
  10. Why can’t someone just invent a floating fire pit? 
  11. If anyone is on the verge of capsizing, save the cooler. 
  12. Rapids ahead. Asses up. 
  13. Sure, a tent will protect you from lightning and gale-force winds. 
  14. Taquito hunting is a sport. 
  15. If you buy a pair of croakies for $11.95 at a gas station for yourself, and yourself only, well, that’s just short-sighted. 
  16. Nearly naked is not naked. 
  17. If you touch a frozen donut, you buy a frozen donut. 
Seventeen is enough. For now. If you’re feeling this vibe, feel free to drop some knowledge of your own. Just don’t drop a deuce. In the river. 

I'm the pretty one in the purple tube.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Check One, Two, Three, Four, Niner

Dear All One of You Who is Faithfully (or Not-so Faithfully) Following Me:
[Scene: The sound of a woman clearing her throat, followed by a pause, followed by the sound of someone passing gas (because face it, that's always funny), followed by the woman asking, “Is this thing even on?”] 
I need to read something dramatically genuine. A dear friend of mine and I are going to once again enter The Missouri Review’s audio contest (check out: Last year we got our shit together way too late and felt fortunate just to submit something.
This year we have the freedom of more time before the deadline (typically in March), but I’m still fretting about my voice. Does anyone like the sound of their own voice? Keep in mind, I’m talking about reading, not singing. Because my singing voice is like a songbird. (Imagine the screech of a one-winged seagull circling a landfill.) 
Maybe I’m over-thinking it, but if you happen to have a flair for the dramatic, and have any advice, please go ahead and belt it out from your shower now. Trust me, I’m listening. 
In the meantime, I’ll get back to doing what my dear friend suggested: gargling whiskey. I mean, practicing. 
The Notecracker 

I only want to sound (and dress) like her in the shower.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lost & Hoping to Find

Dear Story,
I feel like you’re lost, and while I know I have to make myself write to find you, could you pretty please give me a hint on your whereabouts? My subconscious? My basement? Behind the veggies in the crisper? 
I remember what you were last wearing: an ascot of cinnamon heather and an overcoat of sandy beige. (No, it isn't called orange. It’s all in the details, sweetheart.) 
By the way, I refuse to utter the words Writer’s Block because that's Whiner's Bullshit. (Excuses, excuses. For now, let's just go with WB, for short.) Still, I’m feeling a little tapped out these days. I need some inspiration. A muse. Or amusement. Maybe it’s work. Maybe it’s too much revising and not enough creating. Maybe it’s too much Bravo TV? 
I know. You’re right. It’s probably all three.(Okay, maybe not the Bravo.) Just remember, you don’t even have to text or send an e-mail or facebook me first. You can just show up. Unannounced. Out of that wide blue canopy we call a summer sky in Michigan. Go ahead, stalk away. You know where I live.
I’ll be waiting here with open arms or bated breath or some other cliché that I'll just have to delete later.  
A Humble Storyteller 

Isn't this free stock photo of broccoli adorable? 

Monday, August 8, 2011

I Really, Really Love My Pets and Am Not Ashamed to Admit It

I picked up my cat’s ashes last Friday. As I waited to pay, all the "kids" at the front desk kept eyeballing me, eyeballing the box of ashes on the counter, eyeballing me. I think they expected to witness a meltdown. I’m a veteran though. I’ve been through the drill before, which isn’t to say, I didn’t sob about it earlier in the week or won’t sob about it again. I miss the daily presence of my cat in my home. He was part of our family for over 14 years. I still miss Ruby, the Black Lab we lost over three years ago.  
I don’t judge people for making the choice to not have pets. Just as I don’t judge people for making the choice to not have children. That being said, I know I’ve been judged for loving and grieving the loss of my pets. I know I’ve been viewed as The Crazy Cat or The Crazy Dog Lady. I spent hundreds on medical care related to our cat, Ben. (I spent thousands, yes thousands, trying to save our Ruby.) I don’t have children, so I can’t say what I would or wouldn’t do to save a pet if I did. 
Then again, should love have a hierarchy? 
I don’t think so. And I’m glad I’ve reached the point where I don’t give a shit if people think I'm The Crazy Cat or The Crazy Dog Lady. I refuse to feel bad about giving my heart to anyone: feline, canine or human. Nobody is going to convince me the price tag I put on love is too high. 

RIP, Ben. (I don't know why "they" put your name in quotes.) 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

(Me)mentos: The Freshmaker

After my father passed away in 2007, I asked my stepmom for some mementos of his to remember him by. Unfortunately, my father and I weren't as close as I would have liked us to be. I'm not placing blame. To be honest, we were both at fault. (Accountability is, in fact, a two-way street.)  

It was strange to be asking my stepmom for something that would somehow embody my dad's essence. It was stranger still when among what she gave me, I found photos of our childhood. Photos of mainly my brother and I. School pictures my mother sent my dad so he'd have some mementos of his children. 

When I asked my stepmom for "photos," I meant photos of my dad, because I don't have many (especially of him in more recent years). Why would she have sent the photos of my brother and I back? Were they too much of a reminder of his absence or the lack of family connection between all of us? I don't have an answer, but today, I put one of these school photos to use by downloading it as my profile pic on facebook. It became clearer than ever to me: I do look a lot like my pops. So I guess I'll have to settle for carrying around his essence in my DNA. 

Me and My Pops

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Yes You Can Write The Perfect Status Update!!!

Quotations can be thought-provoking. Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Sarah Palin, The Dalai Lama, Einstein, Jesus, Papa Smurf, Helen Keller, Winston Churchill, Lady Gaga, Socrates, Oprah—they’ve all delivered nuggets of wisdom. Don’t think of it as plagiarism. Remember that Charles Caleb Colton said, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” 
Don’t be afraid to express some enthusiasm by sprinkling in an exclamation point (or three). 
Shake things up by telling a dirty little secret about yourself. Maybe you:
  • steal silverware from restaurants;
  • had a one-night stand with your best friend’s mom; 
  • like white wine spritzers;  
  • downloaded Carly Simon’s Greatest Hits; 
  • ate shrooms before your stepdad’s funeral; 
  • don’t believe in recycling; 
  • overlooked paying your taxes in the mid-90s; 
  • got a tattoo of Bob Marley that looks more like the guy who works in the cubicle next to yours. 
Whenever possible, refer to yourself in the third person, and by all means, embrace your omniscience. 
Nostalgia rules. Tell people:
  • how your heart bleeds for your alma mater; 
  • how you loved your grandfather who put salt in his Budweiser and let you fishtail his pickup years before you had your license; 
  • how lilacs remind you of spring in Michigan.
Keep The Good Book handy. Bible verses will do in a pinch. 
Song lyrics will make you look hip. It doesn’t matter if you’re a closet admirer of Garth Brooks— “‘Cause I’ve got friends in low places where the whiskey drowns and the beer chases my blues away”—or Lil’ Wayne—“I’m a cash money millionaire look at my Rolie girl. Drop to your knees top ya hair, ah ah slow me girl.” 
R.I.P. FILL IN THE BLANK. Give a shout out to someone no longer among the living.
When in doubt, post random numbers. While the first digit that pops into your head will suffice, posting the sign of the devil or your ex’s phone number is sure to raise eyebrows. 
Lay the sarcasm on thick as buttercream frosting. E.g., Amie Heasley 
  • has learned about humility from watching America’s Next Top Model. 
  • ’s voodoo doll has an abnormal tolerance for pain. 
  • is a frontrunner for the Nobel Prize in Physics. 
  • has biceps of steel from doing Buns of Steel
  • doesn’t fear humiliation, white supremicists, death, cockroaches, brain tumors, headcheese, failure, tornadoes, plane crashes or everyday clichés. 
  • is The Greatest Ever.  
Mundane doesn’t have to be synonymous with ho-hum. Devouring a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich can be worth sharing, particularly if one is allergic to peanut butter or the jelly is petroleum.
If you must throw a pity party, do it in private. Now is the time to pull out that Thesuarus and show off newer, bolder ways to smile with your words. 

Positively Rejected!

"Thank you for submitting 'XXXXXX' to us--we enjoyed it quite a bit. Unfortunately, after some discussion, we decided that it wasn't quite right for us. We wish you the best of luck in placing this piece elsewhere, and hope that you will consider submitting to us again in the future."

This is what's "known in the business" as a positive rejection. There really are some positive takeaways here, and I'm not complaining. Wait, I guess I am, a little. I have received a lot of these lately. While I'm glad at least some of what I'm submitting is helping spread enjoyment among the publishing world, I wish said enjoyment would result in actual publishing. 

Remember, there is only one I in FAILURE. Thankfully, one thing I've never been is a quitter. So for now, it's back to the clickety-clacking. 

Word(s) = Love! 

Typing With Purpose

I told you I made t and a my bitches. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Fellow Bloggers & Blippers

How on earth do you stop editing yourself? Good God, I can't help myself. Edit, edit, edit. Nothing like re-posting something 1,000 times that 1 person will probably read.

All Smiles

“When you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you.” How could I—how could anyone—not be seduced by these words? So what if a toothpaste commercial borrowed Louis’ line? 
Borrowed. Pilfered. Plagiarized. Bastardized. Whatever. 
Before you decide to read on, be mindful of one key fact: this is a manifesto about teeth, not truth in advertising or the power of positive thinking or jazz’s shift from collective improvisation to solo performance. To be clearer: this is a mission statement about how I, Amie Heasley, view my teeth. (It’s okay. I hear the buzzing of your oven timer, and yes, of course tater tots are best served medium well. Sure, now is a good enough time as any to get back to that documentary on gypsy weddings.) 
Still reading? 
Then let me continue avoiding the point. While I have plenty of anxiety when tackling new writing ground, I’ve found my angst is at a fever pitch when I’m not writing anything. Idle minds are fine, but I simply cannot bear idle keyboards. (Because I type with purpose. I make those keys, especially t and a, my bitch.) That being said, sometimes I do find it painful—like a shin perpetually ramming a coffee table—to write. The pain comes from two sources: 1. lack of confidence and 2. lack of plot. 
For this dissertation, which again, is about teeth, we’ll briefly examine 2. (Because let’s face it: nobody can save my SELF from my ESTEEM. I will find the right literary moment to replace “drunk” with “tight,” but I’m certain I will never ever locate my inner Hemingway. Okay, it’s official: there are too many colons and parenthetical statements in this piece. Fuck, fuck, fuck, I’m leaning too heavily on adverbs. And obscenities. I shouldn’t start sentences with and. Or end them with and. Or start them with or. Fuck.) 
See what I mean about plot. 
Despite my issues with confidence, I like to get good and lost. Most of the time I like to get good and lost in characters. Human beings are what interest me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been embarrassing my loved ones by ogling people in all settings, from churches to strip clubs. (Actually, I’ve never been inside a strip club. This is another “problem” with writing. It encourages you to [James] Frey.) 
What in God’s name does any of this have to do with teeth? Patience. We’re getting there. We’re just taking the scenic route. You said you wanted to see the largest ball of twine in the Midwest, so you will goddamn see the largest ball of twine in the Midwest, along with the tiniest ball and the medium-ist ball. (And yes, we will snap pictures of you smiling in front of each ball.) 
Back, ahem, nearer to the point. 
Like most people, one of the first things I notice about other people is ... wait for it ... wait for it ... their smile. Research has shown that those who often smile are “perceived to be more in control, at ease and attractive than those who don’t” (Lau, 1982). Studies have even revealed a link between smiling and general health and well-being. 
Today, teeth aren’t just for eating anymore. Bleaching, bonding, contouring, reshaping—cosmetic dentistry has become an art form (albeit a creepy one). Everyone seems to be paying the price to say cheese celebrity style. Everyone, that is, except me. 
Look, my mother couldn’t afford braces for me growing up, but now that I’m all growns up, I could spring to have at least some work done on my grill. So if I’m not confident in my smile, why don’t I do something about it? I could tell you it’s because I, like the other 9 to 20 percent of Americans, am afraid of the dentist. (I guess I just did tell you that. Yet again, it’s stretching the truth. But I managed to sneak in an insightful statistic.) 
Yes, I’d probably rather spend an hour cleaning my toilets than sitting in a dentist’s chair. Yes, I’d probably rather spend hundreds on stuff that stains my teeth than stuff that whitens them. Yes, I have superficial wishes I wish I didn’t have—wishes of being prettier, thinner, younger. Smilier. 
Yes, my crooked teeth are part of what makes me Amie Heasley. They aren’t perfect. I’m not perfect. Maybe they’ll change. Maybe I won’t. Either way, I hope my teeth reflect more of my character and less of my plot. I’m happy, I’m blessed far beyond most, and on the inside, I’m all smiles. 


Welcome. If you're looking for a blog about embracing the Harley lifestyle, you've come to the wrong place. Chopper is my nickname. Nothing more. I don't ride motorcycles. I may or may not tell you why it's my nickname. If you'd like to keep reading, we can be friends. If not, take your chaps elsewhere.