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The "Whenever Newsletter" containing the wit and wisdom of LDS author Susan Law Corpany is put out several times a year, but not on any set schedule. You will find the stories behind the stories, excerpts from works in progress, humorous insights, ideas for how to avoid doing housework. In other words--whatever and whenever. (Just a touch of rebellion.) Subscription is free and free from the contraint of a publishing schedule, because after all, writers are under enough deadlines. Enjoy!
Newsletter Dated: 10/31/2005 3:24:44 PM
Subject: Happy Halloween!
Halloween excerpts from "Unfinished Business" and "Are We There Yet?" by Susan Law Corpany, published by Hagoth Publishing Company (hagothpublishing.com) available at an LDS bookstore near you. (If you are unable to find our books, please e-mail the author at email@example.com and I'll rattle somebody's cage.)
The comment I get most often about Unfinished Business is that it is an authentic look at a grieving process. It helps people experiencing loss because they realize they aren't alone in their feelings. It helps those not currently dealing with loss because it gives them a better idea how to be supportive of someone who is grieving. I am currently giving FREE (even postage paid) copies of the first edition of this book to anyone who sends an email to me requesting one. It has been reprinted with a cover to match the others in the series, and so the publisher is using the first edition as marketing copies to acquaint people with my writing. If you know someone who is dealing with a loss, please consider sending them a copy of this book.
FROM: "UNFINISHED BUSINESS"
Background: Beverly is raising her little boy alone after the death of her husband in a hit-and-run car accident.
As Beverly dressed Davey is his Halloween costume--tiger pajamas complete with tiger-ear slipcovers that went over top of the ears on his Mickey Mouse hat--she contemplated the approaching holiday season with dread. She surveyed her little boy and tried to channel her thoughts in a different direction. He growled at her and moved his backside to wag his tiger tail around. Beverly had made his costume from tiger-striped flannel, so that after the ears and tail come off, it became a pair of pajamas. After all, sewing did not come easily to Beverly, and if she was going to spend time sewing something it was going to be for more than one night. She took Davey around to a few houses close by, meeting up with the Baldwins, a new couple in the ward with a little baby. They were dressed as The Three Bears. Sister Baldwin could really sew. Baby Bear was asleep in her stroller and oblivious to the holiday going on around her. Davey didn't fully understand, either. He was dressed up like an animal and people were giving him candy. A good time!
Beverly was fighting a down mood trick or treating with the Baldwins. So it had never been one of her fantasies to sit at her sewing machine for hours making Fred and Wilma Flintstone costumes for herself and Dave. It was her fantasy now! Davey could have been BamBam. Never mind that she had always taken the path of least resistance when it came to Halloween costumes before. It was different now. "If I had it to do over again . . ." She caught herself. "How stupid can I be? As if Dave is off in Heaven wishing we had once dressed up as Boris and Natasha. As if when I die, they are going to ask me: 'Were you a good person? Were you charitable to your fellow man? Were you honest and faithful? Did you make whole wheat bread? Did you sew homemade Halloween costumes for your family? Did they follow a theme?'"
When someone dies, everything turns into a opportunity for regret. When you're alone, the world is full of couples. Everywhere she looked, she saw some happy couple--a husband with his arm around his wife in Sacrament Meeting, a man holding the door open for his wife at the department store, a couple laughing in the car next to hers at the red light. From Beverly's perspective, the ward Halloween party had been full of Tweedledums and Tweedledees. And then there was Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear. Mama Bear could go home and say the words Beverly longed to be able to say: "Someone's been sleeping in my bed."
FROM "ARE WE THERE YET?"
Background: Bob and Beverly Buchmiller and family are attending the ward "come as your favorite character from the scriptures" Halloween party, along with their nearest Mormon neighbors, the colorful Samuelson family.
The first part of the evening was a chili dinner. The Samuelsons sat across from them. Clyde and his sons were dressed as their version of the Gadianton Robbers. Nan and the girls had lamps made of construction paper. Little Caroline proudly announced, "We're the wise versions."
Beverly looked the family over, amused by the contrast, not sure the wise virgins would partner up with the Gadianton Robbers, but acknowledging that the Samuelson men were the only men not in their bathrobes.
"Whaddya think of me 'n the boys? Great, huh?" Clyde asked between bites of chili. "Got a friend at work who is a biker, loaned us all this stuff." Clyde continued chowing down on his huge bowl of chili. "Got my Five-Alarm Chili going up against Bishop Buchmiller's Buffalo Burnout Chili again this year, and I'm not settling for second place this time."
Bob taunted him. "Now Clyde, you gettin' uppity again? You know my chili is legendary in this ward."
Nanette stood up with Liz by the hand, balancing little Emmalee on her hip. "Clyde, we're off to the little girls' room. I need you to hold the baby for a minute."
Clyde pondered this request and how it would slow down his chili consumption considerably. "Woman, what kind of a Gadianton Robber would I be, bouncin' a baby on my knee?"
"Thinkin' of it, this baby would fit more with your costume than mine. Take the baby, Clyde!"
By this time Liz had begun dancing and jumping around. "Ma, I gotta go!"
"Clyde, take this baby now or Liz ain't gonna have anymore oil in her lamp, if ya get my drift." Clyde reached up reluctantly and took his youngest daughter from her mother.
"All right, but hurry it up."
Naomi, holding a napping Jeri, looked back and forth between them with interest. They were not like any of the people in her ward back in Utah, certainly. She'd heard Beverly's stories about the Samuelson family down the way, but somehow she'd felt there was an element of exaggeration involved. Now she realized that Beverly had been understated and kind, as she watched the baby dip both hands into Clyde's chili bowl and help herself, while he continued to eat, oblivious to the mess she was making.
Aside from an incident with the two youngest Gadianton Robbers holding up several of the youngest children and robbing and pillaging their Halloween candy, the party was a smashing success. The Gadianton Robbers did not place in the costume contest, but Clyde's chili beat out Bishop Buck's by two votes. Clyde and Bob discussed it good-naturedly after the party.
"Your baby voted for your chili, I hear," Bob chided Clyde.
"Everyone at the party had one vote. That's what they said."
"Everyone old enough to eat chili. I could have put in votes for my babies and beat you hands down, you scalawag."
"Yer just ticked off I thought of it and you didn't."
"Yes, I am. I'll be back next year to reclaim my title."
"Besides that, Emmalee did have quite a bit of my chili, helped herself while I was a holdin' her, now that ya mention it. Didn't y'hear Nan yelling at me for that one? Nag, nag, nag, nag, nag."
"If ya don't want your wife to be a nag, Clyde, ya gotta treat her like a thoroughbred. Nanette's the only woman on God's green earth that'd put up with the likes of you. You're a lucky man to have her. If your baby truly ate your chili, then I guess y'all beat me fair and square, but I'll be back next year to reclaim my chili trophy if I have to kill and skin my own buffalo."
"Yeah, well I'll have the fire department standing by in case there are any casualties from any of these wimps that can't stand a few chili peppers."
Suddenly Nanette was by his side, Emmalee balanced on her ample hip. "Speakin' of which, Clyde, since you let our baby help herself to the chili, I believe I'll let you change this diaper."
NEWSFLASH! People are starved for humor. I once sent what I thought was a depressing e-mail to a friend of mine, full of the difficulties some people close to me were experiencing. After I reread what I was about to send, I decided to tack on a funny little story about something that had happened in our family, to lighten things up. When I heard back from her, quite some time later, she said she had laughed for five minutes when she got my email. At first all I could remember was all the depressing stuff I had told her about and I wondered what she was laughing about, but then I remembered the story at the end. That was what she responded to. I have a similar experience with my writing. While people will tell me about parts that made them cry, or think, more often they respond to the humor. For me, it just naturally finds its way into the story, the way it just naturally finds its way into my life. Even stuff on television, for example, that is supposed to be funny, is either contrived, canned or crude.
Please forward this newsletter to your friends you think would enjoy it. I am hoping to be able to go to The Erma Bombeck Workshop in March where I will get the chance to hang out with other funny people. Airfare from Hawaii is not cheap, and I need to move some books between now and then to justify the trip. As always, your support is appreciated by helping acquaint people with my writing.
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Susan Law Corpany