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Susan L Corpany

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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: 11/10/2009 11:59:56 AM

Subject: On Building Boats and Broken Bows

Today's Meridian column comes straight from my heart. Please, make time to read this one.

Thanks to all of those who put reviews of my books on My sales have gone up recently, and your help is the only reason I can think of. I will be sending out the free books this week, as promised. The offer still stands, your choice of one of my novels for anyone who does a review of any of the four novels. If you haven't read them, I'll even send you one if you agree in advance to review it.

The editing process for my new novel, Heaven Help Us! is coming along. I have promised delivery to the publisher at the end of this month. It is National Novel Writing Month (NANOWRIMO) in which authors try to write a 50,000 word novel. I feel I am doing NANOWRIMO in reverse as I try to cut my novel from 120,000 words down to 80,000 without losing any crucial parts of the story.

For you, my faithful fans, I am sharing a short excerpt.

Unable to find a graceful way out when Karen volunteers to be the last-minute replacement to teach a class on spring cleaning, Sister Arletti does her best to pick up the pieces.

“And I have to admit, I never could get the reason for dustin’. I think my feather duster is the only thing in the house without dust on it. Ya stir it up into the air and it settles back down. Seems to me ya could spend your whole life just dustin.’ I have a rule with the kids, that if they write their name in the dust on the furniture, they ain’t allowed to put the year.”
Encouraged by the laughter, Karen continued, glancing at her notes. Cobwebs. Dust. Furniture. “Ya should pull out the couch and vacuum behind it, and ya should turn over your mattress so all them dust mites Olive always talks about will be on the wrong side and they’ll suffocate. I gotta confess, I can’t keep up with the dirt I can see, much less all that invisible stuff.”
“Just because we can’t see it, Karen, doesn’t mean it can’t be harmful,” Olive interjected.
Karen continued. “Here’s a tip for you single sisters. If ya trade off which side of the bed ya sleep on, it takes twice as long for the sheets to get dirty.” More laughter.
Olive broke in again. “I read that there has been a recent resurgence in the incidence of bedbugs. Not that I have personally ever had a problem with them, of course. Arthur just doesn’t understand that is why I won’t go with him to that convention and stay in a hotel for three nights of who-knows-what. You don’t know at what temperature the sheets are laundered, and they just put the same soiled bedspread back on the bed.”
“I dunno, Olive,” Karen offered. “I think ya oughta take along your own clean bedding and treat Brother Arletti to them three nights of who-knows-what.”
Olive blanched at that comment. As she felt the collective eyes of her sisters upon her, she slowly looked around the room with all the dignity she could muster, daring any of them to laugh out loud. Olive’s glare helped most of them contain their mirth.
Karen forged on. “For window cleanin’, my best advice is wait ‘til yer husband kicks off and get the Cub Scouts to come clean ‘em as a service project.”
Another quick glance at her notes. “For cleanin’ out closets. my rule is if someone’s life is in danger when you open it, time to clean it out. Sort through your clothes and take the ones that ya don’t wear down to the Deseret Industries.”
Sister Cooper raised her hand. “If you’ve lost weight, donate your fat clothes.”
“Nope, I say hang onto ‘em. It’s fun to go buy new clothes if you’ve lost a few pounds, but it ain’t no fun buyin’ new fat clothes. I’d much rather pull sumpthin outta the back of the closet after the holidays than to go try and stuff the back forty into a pair of jeans under fluorescent lights in some dinky dressing room at the mall.” She glanced in the direction of one of the more substantial women in the ward. “Ya know what I mean, Colleen?”
Bishop Parley heard a gasp from Sister Arletti. Karen continued, undaunted. “Speakin’ of the Deseret Industries, I was shoppin’ there one day, and I noticed some people lookin’ at me and snickerin’. Turns out I was standin’ under a sign in the furniture department that said ‘Large, as is.’ If I ever open one of them LDS Singles accounts, I know where to go to pose for a picture, huh?”
Karen joined in the laugher, Colleen Cox laughing loudest of all. Olive shook her head disapprovingly. Being overweight is no laughing matter. It contributes to heart disease, diabetes, strokes. Oh my goodness, I wonder if the sisters know the warning signs of a stroke! This could be on my head if I don’t teach them.
“Anyways, back to the lesson. After you’ve gone all through the house cleanin’ and dustin’, ya wanna get your floors clean. I take some of those mop cloths, ya know the ones that tuck in, but instead of buying the mop, I just put ‘em on my feet and tuck the loose ends into the tops of my tenny runners. Anyways, I spray some cleaner on the floor or right onto the cloth and I go around and clean the floor while I’m making dinner.”
One of the sisters spoke up. “Wow! That’s a great idea!”
“It came to me one night when I was readin’ the Paul Bunyan stories to Mandee. There was this part about how his fryin’ pan was so big that he strapped slabs of lard to his feet and skated around the pan to grease it up. I said t’ myself, ‘Hey, that’s a great idea for moppin’ the kitchen floor.’ Of course, my next suggestion is to just skip all this and get a cleanin’ lady. That’s my plan from now on because I just . . .”
Karen caught sight of the bishop shaking his head ever so slightly. She took the cue. “Because I just ain’t that good at cleanin’ house. Anyways, I hope some of this was helpful. I’m even a little bit more motivated myself.” Bishop Parley caught Olive’s eye and nodded in her direction.
Karen continued. “Sister Arletti is always readin’ us that scripture about cleanliness bein’ next to Godliness. I’m confused about that one, I admit. Ya see, I always figgered it meant bein’ clean on the inside, ‘cause that’s the part that makes me feel closer to God. I can’t picture God sendin’ some angels down to check to see if I’ve left any dust bunnies under my bed before He lets me through the pearly gates.” This time the laughter had the sound of a male chiming in with the sisters. Olive shot a disapproving glance in the direction of Bishop Parley. Don’t encourage her.
“In closin’ I wanna say that I’m grateful to Olive for lettin’ me fill in. Let’s remember to keep Sister Barnes’s family in our prayers, and I wish the Relief Society a Happy Birthday.”

In the kitchen, Olive unloaded to Sister Thompson. “I had a perfectly elegant evening planned before I had Karen set the stage. The evening is ruined, completely ruined!” she intoned dramatically, wiping her hands on her crisp linen apron.
“Calm down, Olive. Everybody’s having a great time!”
“Even my medley of fruit cobblers won’t be well received now, because with every bite each and every sister will imagine the contours of her derriere under fluorescent dressing room lights, thanks to Karen. And poor Colleen! Why I was simply mortified when Karen singled her out, not to mention what she implied about me and Arthur! The woman has absolutely no boundaries!”
“After Colleen got over the shock of it, she was laughing just as hard as everyone else.” Sister Thompson grinned. “And Olive, you’ve got two children, so we all know that at least twice you’ve been up to who-knows-what.”
Sister Arletti did her best to ignore the second comment. “You might have noticed I wasn’t laughing. I can’t believe you’re defending the woman!”
“Olive, don’t you see? Karen is without guile. If that had been any other sister, it would have been an unkind remark for the purpose of hurting Colleen’s feelings. With Karen, being a little on the heavy side is a point of fellowship she shares with Colleen. She realized that and somehow laughed it off. Karen keeps us all from being a bunch of stuffy Stepford Sisters goosestepping our way to the celestial kingdom. I loved what she said about the dust bunnies.” She held up a small journal. “I wrote it down in my quote book, right under the wise counsel from President Pearson in stake conference last month.”

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