Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Much Ado About Nothing by Cathy Lee Carper

Cathy Carper, who usually writes under the pen name Lee Carper, is an aspiring author who is working on her first manuscript in a planned series about a serial killer investigation team. She holds degrees in social work and pre-med/biology, with a focus on profiling and forensics.  Last year Cathy was a judge for the Thriller Award - a prestigious award given by International Thriller Writer’s organization (ITW) - and has attended numerous conferences where she continues to learn about the craft of writing.  She is an avid reader, writes reviews and critiques manuscripts for fellow writers, and has at one time or another been a member of Mystery Writers Of America, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters In Crime, as well as several writer/reader sites. 

Lee has three children - now young adults - and many animals, including: a pot-bellied pig, several birds, and the recent addition of a new puppy.  She resides in the beautiful state of Vermont

Brynna Carper at her Mom's workspace

Much Ado About Nothing
by Cathy Lee Carper

Over the past few months, I’ve found myself in deep contemplation on what I might choose for a topic here today. Okay, so it really wasn’t DEEP contemplation - these days deep contemplation is usually what to make for dinner - but since many situations or events could be great inspiration for us writers, I found the choice difficult. Some of my recent experiences have been profound, others just plain old day-to-day annoyances or pleasures. There were so many interesting subjects to write about, which one would I pick? Before I get to my choice, here are a few of the ones I nixed. 

I much prefer discussing fun things, so let’s get the serious stuff out of the way first. Like for instance, divorce. That could have been an interesting topic to write about, especially since many of us have gone through the joyous (not!) experience, but who in the heck wants to read about something depressing? So I nixed that idea.

Or I could have written about say, aging parents. Or chronic pain. Or the biggie of all... the loss of a loved one, which can come in all shapes and forms. Perhaps it’s not death itself, but the loss of a treasured relationship. The list goes on, but at some point, most of these sad situations touch us all. Again, too depressing. Nixed. 

Moving on... let’s take some of the more minor annoyances that could have made interesting blog material. My house for instance. Come to think of it, I could easily write a full-length novel on that topic. But I digress. Where was I again? Oh yes... my house. I bought the place a couple of years ago, and many of you might recall the movie THE MONEY PIT? I’m convinced this place was the model for that one. My house looks great on the surface, but don’t touch the walls or walk up the stairs... and for gosh sakes, whatever you do, do NOT flush a toilet while running the washing machine. Can anyone say tsunami? 

In retrospect, perhaps I should have purchased a farm. I’m a bit of a country girl at heart, but there’s a lot of city in me too (hey, that sentence makes for a great country song). But I digress again. Why would I want a farm you ask? Because I’m an avid animal lover and own several pets, some of them considered “exotic”. I suspect my neighbors aren’t too happy about my pot-bellied pig, and probably a few other things as well. This is a neighborhood where everything is neat and tidy... until you get to MY house. Mowing occurs only when I have money to pay someone - which isn’t that often - and in autumn, I happen to enjoy leaves in my yard. We live in Vermont. Aren’t we supposed to have leaves in our yard? 

In any event, as soon as I moved in, I had an aviary built for my cockatiels and parakeets, and at the same time was forced to install a chain-linked fence because Pumba the pig engaged in The Great Houdini Escape Act over and over (let me tell ya’ll, the pig was one plate shy from bacon at that point). Aside from the pig, I had an Amazon parrot who continually screamed: “LET ME OUT!”, so when I began meeting all the neighbors, I assured them I did not in fact have a child held prisoner in a closet, but owned a rather loud and massively spoiled parrot.

The most recent addition to my household is a puppy. I’m convinced the neighbors think I secretly own an animal-rescue organization or maybe they suspect I’m a hoarder. This was a quiet neighborhood until I moved in - MUCH too quiet. I like to joke we live in The Twilight Zone. Or perhaps The Stepford Neighborhood. Lawns always mowed, leaves scooped up as soon as they hit the grass, dogs that don’t bark, kids that don’t exist - or if they do, they’re hidden - and I’m convinced even the wildlife around here understands they’re expected to remain silent. I’m sure when I moved in, it was a shock for everyone. They’ve put up with a gigantic pig roaming around the backyard, a screaming parrot, and now the puppy. Wait ‘til this weekend when I host a family reunion and there are *gasp* CARS driving down the street and *another dramatic gasp* PEOPLE to be seen. 

Okay, enough babbling - as if you didn’t notice, I’m great at that. Before ya’ll are yawning (too late for that, I’m sure) I’ll get to the point. There was a point? Oh yeah. The topic for this article. Here it is! Wait for it... wait for it...

Oh dear. I forgot.


Unknown said...

Oh my gosh, I loved it! I can see it now, LET ME OUT!!!! Too funny! Great job Cathy, I enjoyed every word.

cathy said...

Thanks, Cindy! :)

Morgan Mandel said...

How does that pig smell? It's really cute. And a puppy! They're also so cute, but are little devils. My Rascal is over five now, but still acts like a puppy.

Morgan Mandel

Vicki Lane said...

One of the best things about our mountain farm is that the neighbors can't see of hear us!

Love your pig!

cathy said...

Morgan, would you believe the pig used to live inside our house? LOL. It was a nightmare because he was too large - wrecked everything. He doesn't smell though. Yup, puppies sure are "hyper". ;) Yours is five now?

Vicki - You nailed it regarding neighbors! Most of mine are nice, but it would be better because of the animals, to live on a country farm. :)

Jill said...

You would fit right in in my neighborhood! Pig and all.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Jill - she WOULD, wouldn't she?! We need a little piggy on our road. I've always wanted a pig. Cathy - you'd love Boone.

Patrick Brian Miller said...

If you were intending to write a funny post, you scored high. The parrot sealed the deal.

Sylvia Dickey Smith said...

Enjoyed the meandering! It truly fit the blog purpose, and entertained to boot.

I laughed when I read Vicki's post and wondered whether the neighbors were far enough away they didn't smell them either! LOL

cathy said...

Thanks you guys/gals! :) You think I'd like Boone, Kaye? Last night my mom mentioned some people we know moved to Boone a few years ago (I'll email you with their name).

Jill - my pig would fit right into your neighborhood? LOL Sounds like my kind of place then.

Patrick... thanks! Yes indeed, it was my intention to be humerous (or at least pretty sarcastic - LOL).

Sylvia - this blog article was actually going to be about books and reading/writing, but as I started typing, it turned into something else entirely. ;)

Cleo said...

Absolutely loved it! I, too, have parrots (2) and dogs (2) and an aquarium of semi-aggressive fish. My ring neck starts saying "bye-bye" when she hears me in the bathroom putting my make-up on. We also hear "Hi" in a variety of nuances and a rip roaring "What!!!Oh my gosh!!!" every so once in a while. Sooooo love animals more than people. It's that silly unconditional love thing...especially if you have an almond or treat in your hand.

cathy said...

Cleo and Leo - Thanks for commenting. It's always nice to be in touch with another animal lover!

Take care.

Unknown said...


I really enjoyed it -- ESPECIALLY the part about the Stepford Neighborhood.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.