I have always loved TV. TV is magical.
When I was very young, I believed it was real. That Marcus Welby was a doctor,
that Laura and Rob were really married.
But then confusion set in when Laura changed her name to Mary Richards
and moved to Minneapolis, leaving Rob and Richie behind.
Only then did I realize it was made up. And I loved it even more.
I loved Mary Richards; I wanted to be her – but not in Minneapolis. I already lived in a
winter place; why couldn’t she live in NYC, like That Girl?
I also wanted to be That Girl, but without the meddling father and goofy boyfriend.
I was in love with Bill Bixby, both as Eddie’s father and David Banner.
I was raised on TV dramas.
Little House on the Prairie, Emergency!, Gunsmoke.
I preferred ridiculous comedies – The Monkees and The Partridge Family; I snuck upstairs
to watch Soap on my parents’ TV. I rushed home to watch “Afterschool Specials” on
teenage alcoholism, pregnancy, the occasional STD.
In my 20’s I loved Marshall Herskovitz – Thirtysomething, then later, My So-Called Life and
Relativity, though they each lasted only one season.
I adored unusual characters like Mary Hartman and Molly Dodd.
I once saw a few minutes of Everybody Loves Raymond – funny show, but too real. And as reality TV
flourished, I gravitated more to the most unreal TV, that which has the least to do with my real life.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer remains my favorite show ever; absurdly violent dramas like Sons of Anarchy,
True Blood and Copper currently keep me riveted through short but ruthless seasons.
And while I'm amazed by American Ninja Warrior and will watch almost anything on HGTV,
I’m always up for a mindless episode of H.R. Pufnstuf.
I put up a good fight, though futile, and was sent to Catholic school in grade seven.
Kathy had already spent a year there; after a scandalous 7th grade at the public middle school
she was shuffled off to St. Paul’s, as if it were a convent. She didn’t care – as long as it wasn’t
an all-girl situation, she was fine.
But when I started 7th grade, she had already moved on to high school, so I was on my own.
On my own, and not Catholic. Granted, Episcopal – about a pitching wedge from Catholicism but still, not Catholic. The “Hail Mary?” The rosary? Crossing yourself? I had no idea.
So I learned the words, attended Mass, and copied the person next to me saying, “amen,” when
the body of Christ was offered.
One day a Priest asked me a question and I didn’t know the answer; he yelled at me and I confessed I wasn’t Catholic, which very obviously earned his contempt.
Another time, we all marched over to the Church to test the newest innovation in Confession.
No longer to be an anonymous experience – whispering through a wall to the priest on the other side –
it would now be face-to-face. You would sit in full view of the priest and he of you.
It was meant to foster a greater sense of comfort, a more personal experience.
I brought a book; I was exempt.
I was pleased to be exempt. I didn’t want to confess anything. I’d rather have the Priest hate me
for what I had no control over rather than for something I had purposefully done; I didn’t need an agent of God poking around in my business.
Episcopalians silently confess their sins to God; they know the value of discretion,
and He already knows it all anyway.
I love my first sip of coffee in the morning. I love teaching Pilates.
I love being a student of almost anything. I love sparkly jewelry that doesn’t cost much.
I love Jane Austen books, but I really love Jane Austen movies. I love watching those movies when
everything else in life is so upside-down and unpredictable because, in the movies, everything is going to be okay – the Dashwood sisters get theirs, as do the Bennet sisters and Anne Elliot.
I don’t understand avarice. I understand even less the desire for fame for the sake of fame.
I love black and white movies. The Big Sleep, Casablanca, Manhattan. The lack of color imparts both
a softness and an edge, especially to the characters. Would Elsa or Mrs. Rutledge have been so compelling in color? Well, probably.
I hate sweeping generalizations. I hate neighborhood associations which dictate mailbox colors and the
disallowing of tree houses.
I love Halloween. I love dressing up. My favorite is still when Mike and I and Noelynn and Ian were The
Incredibles. I love Mike, Noelynn, and Ian.
I love sweating when I’m exercising. I hate sweating when I’m not. I love my cat,
even though he bites my legs and the legs of my friends who look after him when I’m out of town.
I hate when things get caught on other things. Like when the blow dryer cord gets caught on the drawer handle and when I yank it free, the drawer comes out and falls on my toes. That happened recently. I hated that.
I love to drink water, but hate being in water. I love that I finally learned how to swim, but I hate swimming.
I love writing these 300 words, and I really love the fact that you read them.
I was born in Oswego, NY,
"I had always wanted to be a writer, but was impeded by the belief that to be a writer one had to be extraordinary, and I knew I wasn't. By the time I was ready to give up my academic career I had realized that while books are extraordinary, writers themselves are no more or less special than anyone else." The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield