Thursday, January 08, 2009

Tea with your sister (or brother...)

I have to give a shout out to my new friend Amber, who recently discovered my blog and has been reading it when she’s supposed to be working. (Which I think is pretty much what EVERYONE who reads my blog does… get back to work, people…) I “met” Amber on Facebook, and as soon as I found out she loved M. Night Shyamalan’s “Lady in the Water,” I knew I’d discovered a kindred spirit. I mean, apparently you have to be some kind of really bizarre, unique person to appreciate Lady in the Water… there aren’t a lot of us LITW fans out there. LITW bashers outnumber LITW fans by about 99 to 1… (Hey, I’ve never been one to follow the crowd…) Anyway, thanks for all the nice compliments about my blog, Amber! :)

Speaking of people getting back to work (I’m serious, stop reading – you have stuff to do…) – I recently finished a project I was working on for Jen’s company up in Chicago. They have a line of perpetual calendars – you know, those flip-book type calendars that have a different picture or saying or puzzle or piece of trivia on each page. So you flip the page to the next date every day, and there’s something new to read or look at. This particular project I was working on was a “sister” calendar. So every day when you flip the page, there’s a new quote or saying about sisters. Things like, “sisters are great!” or “sisters are the best!” – but perhaps a bit more eloquent. Now, 315 of those pages were already taken care of – either by other present-day writers, or possibly by DEAD writers who already wrote things about sisters and can’t complain about anyone using their words. (Ha! That’s right, Benjamin Franklin – there’s not a thing you can do about it, is there?)

So that left 50 empty pages in need of sayings about sisters. And that task fell to yours truly. Now, when I first started to write these things, I had the idea that it would be a pretty simple project. After all, I was basically just writing 50 different sentences. How hard can it be to write 50 sentences? But somewhere between the twentieth and twenty-fifth saying, it hit me that I was only about half finished… and what’s more, those first 20 or 25 sayings had been much more difficult to write than I’d anticipated. Once you get past “sisters are great!” and “sisters are the best!” it starts to become a lot more complicated. There’s only so much you can SAY about a sister (actually, I guess there are 365 things you can say about a sister… but I could only manage 50…).

But I was determined to submit my 50 sayings at the beginning of the year (because they’d told me the deadline was the beginning of the year and I like to be punctual…). While we were in Chicago, we liked to walk over to the Argo Tea Shop in the freezing cold every morning, and hang out around a table clutching warm beverages. And what better place for creative inspiration than a shop that sells “teapuccinos” and “maté latés.” So I bummed a pen off my dad and some post-it notes off my mom and started brainstorming. This particular version of “brainstorming” consisted of asking everyone else if they had any thoughts about sisters, and listening to the barrage of comments that ensued. Since Eric was with us, things never really took a turn toward “serious” suggestions – instead, the object of the game seemed to be “who can make up the funniest saying about sisters.” At one point, Rick did attempt to offer a genuine idea, proposing “sisters are inseparable.” This, however, evolved into “sisters are inseparable if they’re joined at the head or share major organs… otherwise, surgery may be possible.” And I’m just not sure that’s the direction they wanted to go with the calendar…

Needless to say, I didn’t use any of the “suggestions” my family threw out. However, just sitting around the table talking and laughing and enjoying the warmth of a tea shop was enough to inspire me – I wrote about fifteen (serious) sayings in that shop. And I wrote the remainder on my flight back to Austin, so I was able to turn in all 50 sayings on time. It’s funny how something as simple as drinking tea on a cold day with your family can be such a fun experience… I hope I need that kind of “inspiration” again someday soon… :)


eric said...

"Sisters are like brothers. Only they're girls. And they're not as cool. And they smell."

Lisa said...

Ha! You're too late! I already sent in all the quotes! But if they do something like "Sister Calendar -- the Silly Sarcastic Sequel" I'll be sure to ask you for more ideas... ;)

Jannie said...

That picture of you with your brother - you are both so very cute.

And saw your comment over at Georgie's Cedar's Mountain - you are so to be admired for keeping your language (thus your very soul,) clean.

(Sorry if I ever swore here)

have I? :)

Lisa said...

Aw, thanks, Jannie! :)

And I don't think you've ever sworn here, but if you did, I wouldn't hold it against you. ;) And anyway, nobody's perfect, right? So I may not swear, but I'm sure I have plenty of other idiosyncrasies to speak of... :)

Jannie Funster said...

Your blog is damn good!

winks. smiles. laughs again at thong-undie guy!

Lisa said...

Heehee... you crack me up, Jannie... :)