Tag Archives: fiction

Once Upon a Blue Moon

Last night truly was our first blue moon in 20 years. How cool is that?

Not a blue moon. Full moon over River Po, in Turin, Italy

Full moon over River Po in Turin, Italy. Credit: Stefano De Rosa

(FYI: The picture above isn’t a blue moon, but rather a full moon over River Po in Turin, Italy talken by Stefano de Rosa on December 2nd. I planned to put a real blue moon image here, but this was simply too gorgeous to resist!)

My grand plan for this early New Year’s morning:

…write a blogpost about all the amazing things that happened this past year. Instead, an image of a grandpa and teenage girl sitting on a porch looking up at the blue moon invaded my thoughts. I couldn’t shake the image. Becca’s story emerged. Here’s the beginning.

******

Once Upon a Blue Moon

I always thought “once in a blue moon” described a rare and magical event. Last night, we witnessed a New Year’s Eve blue moon. Grandpa said it’s been 20 years since the last time the moon turned blue. Two decades to the day, he told me.

Yes, something rare happened last night. But it wasn’t magical. Grandpa teased that my face looked bruised under the blue light. He was right, but it wasn’t from the blue of the moon. My face reflected my heart. Blue. Bruised. Broken.

I can’t tell anyone what happened last night under the blue moon, after Greta’s New Year’s Eve party. Only one other person in the universe knows what happened last night, but he won’t breathe a word of it to another soul. In fact, he’ll never take another breath at all.

How am I supposed to celebrate New Year’s Day with my family, as if nothing happened? Do I put on a pretty smile and pretend? Is this how Mother perfected that beauty pageant expression she always wears, as if it’s the latest fashion accessory? Is she the sentinel for dreadful secrets like the one I must protect? Does she hold her own little horrors inside?

Maybe I’m just like my mother after all. I feel a twinge of shame for all the times I despised her for her irritating self-control. Her lack of emotion. Her guarded responses. Now I want to take back the screaming fits where I tried so hard to get a rise out of her.

“Becca!”

“Coming,” I respond to my mother’s call from the kitchen below. I gaze into my dressing table mirror, trying my best to recreate the expressionless face she wears so often. Yes, that’s the one. I’m surprised. I see my mother’s wooden eyes staring back at me.

I push back from the image. My dressing chair screeches a loud protest against the pine floor. Good thing Grandma forced me to attend those dreadful acting classes with Frothing Freddy Jerrard. I’ll need them today.

******

I’m eager to find out what happened to Becca under the blue moon. Guess I need to get busy writing! Now you know what I’ll be doing in the wee hours of the early mornings in 2010 — my best time to write. (Yes, I’ll also be busy with our final five Space Shuttle missions and completion of Space Station assembly. What a year we have to look forward to!)

Happy New Year to you and your family!

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Filed under NASA, space, writers

How to Win Friends/Make Enemies

My buddy Mike Boon encouraged me to write a “real and significant” book, as opposed to fiction. (BTW, I’m ready to break 25K words — halfway point — in this year’s NaNoWriMo. WooHoo!)

As I explained to him, government ethics rules prohibit civil servants from earning a second income stream from the job we’re paid to do by the tax-payer — which takes these topics off the table: space, communications, or public service.

Then it hit me what I could write about — human nature.

That’s broad enough not to sic NASA’s ethics lawyers on me, don’t you think? After all, I started learning these lessons way back in high school when I locked horns with our band director. (Yes, that’s me with the whistle in my mouth out front. I still have those white boots and purple baton! I may even have the whistle….)

San Marcos High School band 1974

1973 Parade march: San Marcos High School Band

My book concept: short and not so sweet.

Here’s the deal. I’m envisioning a tiny board book, the kind you can buy at the counter in Barnes and Noble. I’m serious. Really. Think the itsy-est bitsy-est book you’ll ever imagine — the CliffsNotes version of my life experiences both inside and outside my career in the federal government (back off lawyers.)

Would you pay for my Top Ten Rules on how to stay in constant trouble?

Name your price. $5.00? $10.00…if I throw in Rule #11? Anyone? Ok. Fine. I’ll share them with you here. No purchase necessary.

Let’s be honest: I doubt you would choose to pay for trouble-in-book-form, no matter how small the book or price at the check-out counter.

Feel free, though, to correct my assumptions. I’m happy to take your money. (‘Kidding, ethics lawyers! KIDDing.)

So, what to do about the title? Since my grandmother always told me I’d be the first female President of the United States, I’m thinking about a book title that goes something like this:

Why I’ll NEVER be Elected President of the United States.

Or, if that doesn’t work for you, how ’bout this:

How to Win a few Friends and Make MANY Enemies.

Now that you’re on pins and needles, here ya’ go. My rules for a life worth living:

  1. Make a decision.
  2. Don’t waver from the decision (from principle, not stubborness).
  3. Take a stand.
  4. Stand tall, head high (eyes open and ever ready to duck flying objects).
  5. Pick a side.
  6. Stay on that side (but, not the slippery, slimy side. Please!)
  7. Speak out against injustice.
  8. Keep voice steady and clear (even in deafening silence).
  9. Stick up for the little guy.
  10. Give him hope for tomorrow. (Please don’t rob him of tomorrow. I didn’t say ‘stick up’ the little guy.)

Yep, that about says it all. Unless I come up with Rule #11. I’ll let you know if I do. (Ok, Mike, are you happy now? There. I’ve written my book. I’ll let you judge whether it’s real or significant enough.) 😉

movie poster for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

And, sorry Grandma. I don’t see national-scale politics in my future. I’ve barely survived office politics through the years.

My hat’s off to you, fictional Mr. Smith. They made a movie about you. I don’t think my little book will garner the same attention — except from the few friends I win and many enemies I rile up.

But just in case someone rushes in with a movie deal, do you think I can request Angelina Jolie to play the part of me? (No resemblance, I assure you. But what the heck? I’m the creator. Don’t I have a say?)

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