One woman, lots of paint and hundreds of tiles. If you're here because you found a painted tile, it's yours to keep.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Flower Eyes

After years spent mostly in front of a computer working, working and working, Flo realized that the most valuable lessons she learned were in her garden, where her mind wandered as freely as the vines that had silently taken over her tiny estate.

While pulling weeds in her neglected garden one weekend, Flo realized that she was working her life away, basically so that she could continue paying the mortgage on a house that had become little more than a giant cubicle. Work, work and then fall into bed. The hours kept getting longer, but the pay did not increase accordingly. The more she thought about her life during the very few hours she now spent in her garden, the less sense it all made.

Flo resolved to abandon her computer, and her evil workplace, and get the hell outside. When a neighborhood blog did a little story about her transition, the article got picked up by a local newspaper that had fired most of its writers and began relying solely on bloggers who worked for free ... Apparently, many cubicle dwellers and other workers decided they liked Flo's little idea. They printed T-shirts that said Go with The Flo and several stopped working overtime. Their days of volunteering for large greedy corporations were finally over.

Instead they started digging into the earth and planting things that were beautiful, life-enriching and often edible. They began trading fruits and flowers, living in huts built from things found in nature, and eating together in the evenings. In their spare time (a term that had been long lost to many of them) they painted, made music and danced and drummed until they found their inner rhythm again. Their family members who still had to work in what they now called "the factories" to help support the gardeners dreams, were rewarded by the gardeners who were helping them to find their own secret niche so they could eventually transition out of the factories.

Pinot Grigio flowed freely at their New Year's Eve party. At midnight they raised their glasses of Blind Moose and said, Go, go, go with The Flo and then they danced like there was no tomorrow.

Flo, who has since changed her name from Florence to Flower Eyes, was dropped at Gateway Shopping Center earlier today. She's in an alley just across the street from a shop called Thousand Pound Egg and near Molly's Studio.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mary gets her shiny back

After way too many days and night in the word factory, Mary vowed to spend more quiet time in her old zone. She wanted so badly to hear that voice again, the one that fluttered in on golden wings and talked to her whenever she drew pictures, painted, played kazoo, cleaned, cooked or gardened. That little voice knew her inside and out and kept her work honest. It told her the little stories that helped her make sense of her life. Without that little voice, her life felt less shiny, less tolerable. Mary wanted her shiny back, and now she knew what she must do ... be real quiet and wait for the shiny to reappear. That it will reappear the very month that the Great Pumpkin makes its annual appearance is no small coincidence. Shine on Great Pumpkin, like a long lost friend.

Left Mary in a quiet zone at Tropical Smoothies Cafe on Cordova Road in Fort Lauderdale.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Stuck in the Gooey Gumdrops

Candyland is not always a game for children. Just ask Meghan who has been stuck in the gooey gooey gumdrops for some time now ... and with all this summer heat, they're getting gooier than ever, and the blue ones are getting particularly aggressive and ever so melty. They're threatening to take over and make her life messy, as blue gumdrops have been known to do at times.

Yeah, things are getting very gooey .... and with no yellow card in sight, Meghan fears she might be stuck in the gumdrops forever. Yet she knows that when it comes right down to it, we're all stuck somewhere we don't want to be and we just gotta tell ourselves stories to get through it. People keep telling her she's damn lucky that she still has gumdrops to be stuck in .... but Meghan's just not feeling the luck of the stuck. She knows that given the rising heat index, she's probably headed for a meltdown. But she thinks of that box of Crayolas she left in the car as a kid and tries to remain hopeful anyway, wondering what gorgeous new color her life will take on once all the melting is done.

If there's one thing she's learned from cleaning her tiny apartment, it's that things get a lot messier before they get neat again. It's just what happens when you pull all the guts out of everything and look at it up close with a sense of clarity that only comes when doing deep, deep cleaning. And Meghan's ready for a little tidiness again, even if it means that things get very, very messy first.

Meghan is hanging out on the counter inside the ladies room at Tokyo Sushi at 1499 Southeast 17th Street in Fort Lauderdale. She's on a little pedestal, waiting for her yellow card. Someone should go and rescue her from the gooey gooey gumdrops in her mind. She's on a pretty big tile, but you shouldn't be afraid to carry her out. If you are, then take a bag .... a sticker on the back assures that she belongs to the person who finds her and loves her enough to rescue her from the gooey gooey gooey gumdrops.

Not that Meghan's asking for help. She would never do that ... but getting unstuck is sometimes hard work. Sometimes all of your friends must come together and pull and pull and pull till your feet suddenly become free of the gumdrop muck and everyone falls to the ground and starts laughing, and they're all completely covered in gooey gooey gumdrops, and you realize you're really not alone after all.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Where have all the Freeples gone?

Ever wonder where the characters in a story or novel really came from? Some were born into those stories the way we’re born into families. Once born into a tale, many characters are content to make do with their storymates but sometimes a character wants more than a story can offer, so one day they just walk out of their novel.

Such was the case with Iona, who grew increasingly unhappy with her tale. The writing was uninspired, the transitions seemed forced and it took place in Texas. Iona isn’t even sure how she wound up there, as she hated country music, rodeos and most things associated with Texas. She didn’t even like how things were always bigger there … as she was kinda fond of miniatures. Despite that she had no business being in the Lone Star State, it took her a long time to depart.

When she first considered leaving her book, Last Tutu in Texas, other characters tried to talk her out of it, saying she oughta learn to settle rather than stray off into uncertain places. “Do you even have another book to go to?” one asked. “Or are you just gonna be a Freeple, ‘cause being a Freeple ain’t much of a life. You got security here in this book, and you can stay forever.”

But that’s what scared Iona most. She’d already been there too many years and she knew she could be there forever, but that the novel was never going to get any better. What good is the security of forever, she thought, when you feel unhappy most of the time?

She knew Freeples at least had hope, so she headed to Freepleville where masses of former book characters who’d joined the Freeple movement were trying to figure out who they were and what made them that way. Ultimately, the Freeples had to find a new story or remain on their own forever. Iona chose the latter, because a good story that one can just slide right into like they’d always belonged there is very rare.

The chances of that are about the same as the chance of happening upon a puzzle that contains 499 interlocking pieces and discovering you hold that 500th piece that’s been missing. Vacant story roles are typically too well-defined once a book has been written.

Before one could even consider a new role, there are questions Freeples must ask themselves, difficult questions like “Do I ever want to be in a new story again?” and “Do I want to be a Freeple forever?” Being a Freeple is liberating but Freeples must be tightly glued at all times, because they juggle so much and can’t afford, emotionally, financially or otherwise, for anything to go wrong. But things do go wrong nonetheless, and In Freepleville, all of one’s weaknesses eventually come to light, but so do all of one’s strengths. Sometimes people begin to unravel, and keep unraveling until all you see are their shiny little cores. It’s a beautifully honest, yet frightening, place at times.

It is in those core states that Freeples become more in tune to their own needs, and begin to see themselves and each other for who they really are. Some Freeples are unhappy with themselves, but instead of working on their issues, are looking for a story to complete them, but none ever will. Other Freeples just seek the unconditional love they received as a child and have left their stories to search for that. They fail to realize that this doesn’t happen in the adult world, where there are no parents to shield them from the ugly truths of life, to protect them when they fail. Some of the more distressed Freeples just keep hoping they’ll get swept into a good novel with a happy ending, that some author will conjure a tale that saves them, a tale that seems to have been awaiting them their entire lives.

The Freeples who go on to live the most fulfilling lives, however, are the ones who realize that they ultimately have only themselves to rely on, that a story is a choice, and not a crutch, or a savior.

Those Freeples tend to craft their own stories. It’s a difficult process and not everyone survives it. Some instead settle for temp work in short stories that never become novels, over and over again. But those who do the hard work of writing their own stories sometimes bond with others who are doing the same and occasionally they collaborate on tales that turn into brand new gorgeous heartfelt novels.

There’s no real formula to make this happen, but studies have shown that it happens more often when Freeples are looking inside, rather than outside, for their happiness. When the outer layers finally unravel enough for Freeples to connect with their own inner source of happiness, there’s a little glow that surrounds them and that glow sometimes draws people closer, close enough to see their shiny little cores and all that is inside of them.

That’s how Iona met Ernie, a character who clearly didn’t need a short story or novel to define or complete him. She loved his imagination because it was pure, unfiltered and innocent, the way she dreamed imaginations should be, but much like her, he’d stopped thinking about novels. He thought only in short stories or sudden fiction, which is really short, but easier to make come true. But deep inside Ernie came to want something bigger and intuitively, and almost subconsciously, sought that out … one tiny chapter at a time. That’s what Iona loved most about him, his ability to dream things up, in little baby step ways, and then make the dreams come true by simply believing them. She loved how all the little stories he dreamed up were interconnected, like there was a golden thread that ran through them and would eventually pull them both into one giant heartwarming novel.

Iona had lots of short stories too, just waiting to be told. And no one wants to keep all the short stories they’ve been writing in their heads bottled up forever, so eventually, they tumble out and sometimes they collide with another’s stories and those stories sit on fences together and listen to music and drink wine and roll down hills and lay in grassy fields beneath starlit skies and eventually kiss by the light of the full moon, because not doing so is not an option. Afterward they contentedly sleep all curled up beside one another like little puzzle pieces that have finally found their little place in the world.

Freeples are a secret underground movement of characters who have mysteriously gone missing form their original novels. Only very careful readers will even notice their absence because long after the reader falls asleep, book in hand, a character will escape and begin the journey to Freepleville. When this happens, the words of their original novel rise off the pages and swirl madly for just a little while before falling back into place, rearranged. If you return to a novel you’ve been reading and feel like someone is missing but cannot put your finger on it, just know that you probably lost a character to the Freeple movement, and just be excited for them. This tile was dropped off deep in the heart of Freepleville.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Jack's Tini-Weenie Fridays

Every single day, Jack had to wear a suit to work and act all corporate and official. But come Friday night, anything goes. That's when Jack goes home and changes into his favorite PJs - the fuzzy ones with little bears all over them - and his slippers that look like wolves. Then he mixes a pitcher of Cosmo-tinis and fries up some hot dogs that he will later slather in bright yellow mustard. He calls his little end-of-the-week solo party Tini-Weenie Fridays.

After the hot dogs and while still working his way through the pitcher of Cosmo-tinis, he conditions his hair, applies a mud mask and watches whatever Netflix movies arrived in the mail that week.
Jack lives for Fridays. His friends are always asking him to go out for a few beers or dinner or whatever. But Jack never goes out on Fridays.

His friends just laugh at him and shake their heads and ask what he's doing instead.
"It's FRIDAY," Jack would say laughing. "So you KNOW what I'm doing. I'm getting teeny!" They already knew that, of course. They just liked to hear him say it.

Dropped Jack in a box for employment newspapers just alongside of State Road 84 at the shopping center with the Big Lots, which is apparently having a huge clearance sale. The box is out by the highway near a mailbox. It's not the bright blue job newspaper box. That one's empty, because everyone and their sister seems to be looking for a job these days. Jack's just trying to hold on to his until he can find something better, and that requires washing away the stress of his week with cosmo-tinis and hot dogs.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Three Sisters

Sisters don't necessarily have to be related. they just have to accept each other for who they are, even on the crappiest of days, and especially if those crappy days fall on rainy days and they're feeling cranky, tired and hungry. Dropped the three longtime friends at Ernie's BBQ. Last I knew they were in the ladies room, the one on the bottom floor, swapping secrets about their lousy little day .... Probably getting ready to head upstairs to the patio, one of the best places to enjoy the rain without actually getting wet, and drink a few beers and laugh about all of their little tales of woe.

Wonder where the sisters will end up. Hopefully someplace nice with lots of chocolate and beer.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Malorey's not-so-little secret

Sometimes Malorey Merrit hid the things that mattered most ... she was only trying to protect them. But some things eventually grew too big to stay hidden forever.

Malorey is hiding out at Starbucks, the one near Southport Shopping Center in Fort Lauderdale, where she got her most recent caffeine fix. Do you know they have skinny cinnamon lattes now?