a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Sunday, March 3, 2013


The Slice of Life Challenge is hosted by TWO WRITING TEACHERS

Seven years ago today, on 3-3-06, I became an Auntie.  On that day Dena, my closest friend from high school, gave birth to her baby boy, Casey. 

In honor of Dena’s seven years of motherhood, and because my slice from yesterday has me itching to get artsy, I decided to capture the Dena I know and love through a book shelf.  Over the summer I wrote about Dena’s life as a reader and how the seed of our friendship was planted with the exchange of a book and a piece of art.  The book shelf I created using the Paper53 app on my iPad is filled with stories, of course.  However the book titles on that shelf hold far more for me (and for Dena) than the stories printed on the pages within. 
inspired by My Ideal Bookshelf by Jane Mount and Thessaly La Force

Here is the story behind one story.

Dena and I used to frequent a local Mexican restaurant in a quaint little downtown area near our high school.  She would order the breakfast burrito, despite the fact that we often met there for dinner.  I would order the grilled cheese and fries, despite the fact that it was a Mexican restaurant.  It was one of those places where they knew us so well, we didn’t even have to order—in fact, our drinks would be waiting for us on the table if they happened to see us pass by the window on the way in. 

One night, they had a psychic doing free readings.  Surely it was a means of advertising for the psychic.  I was game because I knew my skepticism would prevent me from getting sucked in.  Dena was game because, well, she was already sucked in.

After meeting with the psychic, Dena gushed, thrilled by how much the psychic had known about her.  She walked out of the tent clutching a scrap of paper that had The Celestine Prophecy scrawled across it.  The psychic had recommended she read that book.  It was clear Dena had every intention of following through. 

I was a bit skeptical and less enchanted with the results of my visit.  Most of the psychic’s talk had centered around relationships with guys and her prediction I would get married before college.  As this was not even close to my plans (nor did it happen), I was far less entertained than Dena.

When I dropped Dena off that night, I headed inside so we could sit at the kitchen table and share our adventure with her mom. 

“Mom, she knew I was an actress.  She could tell because of my aura!” Dena glowed in the retelling.

Her mom, with a dry, sarcastic rasp in her voice, did not miss a beat, “Oh.  It was your aura?  You mean it wasn’t the drama mask earrings you are wearing?” 

Immediately Dena’s face fell.  In the next few minutes, Dena’s mom proceeded to burst each and every psychic bubble Dena managed to grasp.  There was not a single thing the psychic had said to her that couldn’t be traced to something visually represented through Dena’s clothing and jewelry. 

Immediately I perked up.  The psychic’s comments to me made so much more sense—I had taken to wearing a ring stamped “destiny” on the ring finger on my left hand simply because it bothered other people that I was wearing a “wedding ring” and I wanted to rebel against societal conventions.

The only thing Dena had left to hold on to was that scrap of paper and the book title.  Which she did in fact read, if only to prove that she did get something of value out of that visit with the psychic after all.

And so, when I put The Celestine Prophecy on her shelf, it was to celebrate the side of Dena that is always searching for magic, for wonder, for awesome.  A side of her that helps make her the perfect mom to a little guy who has managed the perfect balance of logical skepticism and wild wonder for seven years today.


  1. LOVE this. I'm itching to write my own slice about the books that make me. I will also have to check out the app and see if I can make my own shelf! Cool beans.

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  2. Funny how a mom's words can make your own motherhood the same or different than your mother's...you illustrate it perfectly. I hope I have never burst my kid's wonder and adventure of what could be.
    Lovely tribute to your friend and the mother she has become.

  3. I have to check this app out. But, first I have to tell you how much I enjoyed your slice, which I did! Clearly, Dena has an excellent friend in you, right from those early days, when you let her believe in the magic she needed to believe (even though her mom did not cooperate!). How wonderful that you have been a part of each others' life all these years...still sharing the best of each other, Casey included.

  4. Reading this was like watching a movie. I love the way you wrote the story behind one of the books. You and Dena are both clear characters. To tie the story to motherhood makes a perfect ending.

  5. I remember that post you referenced. I remember thinking it was so cool how you both connected through such creativity. The book shelf is awesome and the stories of your friendship, equally awesome.

  6. What a special gift for your friend! I had to laugh at how Dena's mother crushed the psychic's predictions. This is a great story. I could see how this could turn into a book. Each chapter relates the story of the connection to the book. You should think about this!

  7. I love this story. Like Elsie said, I laughed out loud at Dena's mother's response to her. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I love the phrase "wild wonder". That is exactly what motherhood is.

  9. Now that's a great gift!

    Tell me more about this app on your iPad. (I'm finally going to take the plunge and get one this week.)

  10. You captured your friend. I could feel her excitement and then her sadness as her mom unpacked the psychic. Thanks for writing Christie. xo

  11. Christy, I admire your creativity to the max! Thanks for sharing the app you used...want to try this! Love the story and the relationship you have with those around you. : )

  12. What a great story! I think there is something about the way you know which details to put in (like who orders what at the Mexican restaurant) that make your stories so appealing. Not things that take the reader away, but somehow, even when they aren't details that are strictly relevant to where you're going, manage to pull us in and point us that direction anyway.
    Thanks for the story and for crafting it in a way that helped me think about my own writing.

  13. I loved how you connected your two stories, or maybe three - motherhood, books and friendship. And to think, each book title has it's own story to tell!

  14. What a tribute to your friend. Your story telling was inviting and fun. I love the book titles. More stories to remember and share.

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