Dear Sunday Letter Readers,
How are you? Fine I hope. When I was a kid, I started letters to friends in this way with six words, six syllables. The opposite of compelling. Flat as a flitter. Really grabs you and makes you want to keep reading, doesn’t it?
Makes you say, “Boy, I bet she’ll be a writer someday.”
The important thing to remember is that we all start somewhere whether we’re learning to walk or read, learning to write code for our blogs, learning to clean the p-trap so the bathroom sink will drain in good time.
Bottom line. We don’t get anywhere if we don’t start somewhere. This goes double for writers.
Question: Do you come from a place where flat as a flitter is/was a common phrase? If not, here’s all you need to know==> A flitter is flatter than a pancake. Flatter than a delta field. The flattest thing ever.
Free White Milk:
I’m starting this week’s Sunday Letter with exciting news! I won SECOND PLACE in the Writer’s Digest Short Short Fiction Contest (1,500 words or less) with my piece entitled Free White Milk. Results haven’t been posted online yet, but I read the congratulatory email about thirty-two times because I couldn’t believe it.
Only hours before the email hit my inbox, I quit writing.
Threw in the towel.
Not really. I simply took a two day rest which I recommend from time to time. (This writing thing can be all consuming, sometimes discouraging, brain depleting work.)
And then! Good news arrives from someone I don’t know. And like a pat on the back delivered at just the right time, I’m diving deep again.
Not to take away from second place, but the first place winner gets a paid trip to New York. The idea that my story was THAT close to first place astounds me.
Writers, it’s true—you can’t win if you don’t submit. And you can’t submit if you don’t write.
See the conundrum?
Whew. I’m not a Neanderthal!
For Christmas, Momma got me a 23andMe Kit. I spit in a tube, mailed it off, and received my results a few days ago. The results are fascinating! It’s like having your palm read by God.
Things I learned: I am 99.4% European (60% British/Irish with a small slice of French/German thrown in) and .3% Native American. My maternal DNA lineage has a Silk Road connection to a chieftain named Yu Hong, who was buried about 200 miles southwest of Beijing in 592 AD. I’m happy to report I have less Neanderthal DNA than the average person. For whatever reason, this delights me.
I am not a carrier for any of the 42 horrible diseases tested, but I am at slight increased risk for blood clots and possible macular degeneration. I am predisposed to weigh more than average (RUDE). And I sleep deeply yet move 16 times per hour. (Seems mutually exclusive doesn’t it?)
Results are specific. For instance, I now know that no matter how long I wait to pluck my eyebrows, I’ll never have a unibrow. Or back hair. A cleft chin was never in the cards for me.
After scanning through pages and pages of reports, I had aha thoughts like, “So that’s why I drink too much coffee.” Or “No wonder my hair gets frizzy in humidity.” 23 and Me answers questions for problems you didn’t know you had. It provides excuses for quirks you thought were bad habits.
Do it! Go get your kit and let’s see if we belong to the same DNA family. (#notsponsored)
Calls in the Dark:
Something I recently learned without aid of DNA testing…
Commonplace items I grew up with are now so strange they are displayed as historical educational artifacts in MUSEUMS. And if that isn’t enough to jolt the membrane of your mitochondrion, instructions to use said obsolete items are also on display.
Take, for instance, this rotary telephone, part of a permanent exhibit on Ozark history at the Shiloh Museum in Springdale. When I saw this I laughed out loud and cried a little inside.
Isn’t it odd how one day something is ordinary and then—poof—it’s gone. And, even though it’s gone, it takes a while for the total disappearance of the actual thing to sink in, if it ever does.
In case you’ve forgotten or were born in the mid-80s or 90s or yesterday…
To call in the dark, pick up the receiver, wait for the “dial tone,” place your finger in the first hole below the finger stop (this is the “0”) and pull dial around until you strike the finger stop. Let the dial return uninterrupted. The operator will answer. Giver her the number you want. She will assist you.
In all seriousness, I highly recommend a visit to the Shiloh Museum when you’re in Northwest Arkansas.
I made a promise to my daffodils. “The first to bloom will get your picture published on the blog,” I said.
Not that we’re having a race, but someone has to be first. Competition isn’t all bad.
Here she is. She outdid herself.
School Kitchen Tip #2:
A few days ago, I bought a new broom at Home Depot. Right off I managed to sweep my entire downstairs without following any of the official tips from The School Kitchen Textbook (c. 1915). This brings me to today’s Sunday Letter school kitchen tip (Chapter II, Sweeping and Dusting):
“The dress for home kitchen work should be comfortable in style and of washable material. The skirt should be plain and short, and the sleeves large enough to be easy over the elbow. Protect the hair with a sweeping-cap of thin material. Put away or cover all food before beginning to sweep the kitchen or pantry. It makes needless work and confusion through the house to remove the furniture into other rooms before sweeping. If you learn how to sweep without raising much dust and how to take up and hold dust, you can sweep a room without disarranging furniture. Brush the dirt into a dust pan and burn it at once, if possible, opening the pipe damper that the odor may go up the chimney.”
THIS deserves a spot in the Shiloh Museum.
That’s it for this week’s Sunday Letter.
Your friend 4ever,
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
If you’re new to my Sunday Letters (this is only #4), read past installments by clicking the links below.
The Foundations, Build Me Up