Art and Love Gone Wrong

Second of a series of excerpts from my memoir Loveyoubye: Holding Fast, Letting Go, and Then There’s the Dog, released April 2014. 

Quick catch-up. My husband starts taking off for weeks at a time. No explanation, no apology, just yards of attitude. After twenty-five years of marriage no less. Here I’m thinking back to when things were good between us.

2014-10-07 01.27.35

I remember the day I cast his face in plaster of Paris for the mask. He lay on his back on the cement front deck, Vaseline smeared all over his face, his beard and moustache matted with the goo. I’d finally persuaded him to go along with my experiment, but he almost lost it when I kept slathering on Vaseline. He couldn’t even stand sunscreen on his face. So there he lay, two straws sticking out of his nose while I kneeled beside him with a bucketful of plaster, slapping it on. I hoped this was the way it was done. All I knew for sure was that I had to hurry and finish before the stuff set. Just as I was about to plop down the last handful of plaster, he grunted.

“What’s wrong?” I yelled. Sticking his index finger in his ear as if I’d broken his ear drum, he made a rolling motion with his other hand for me to hurry.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m almost done,” I said just as his hand came down on top of mine. Plaster flew everywhere, some of it plugging the end of the straw sticking out of one nostril. He made a snuffling sound and, Frankenstein-like, struggled to his feet.

“Wait, wait!” Jumping up, I glanced around desperately for something to clear the straw. A bamboo twig? Too thick. He flopped back down and growled. I crouched over him.

“Snort it out!” I burst out laughing and couldn’t stop. Doubling over, I staggered around, crying with laughter. He reached blindly for me, his growl now a muffled roar.

“Sorry,” I managed to gasp, and I kneeled beside him. I touched the plaster. It had set.

“Listen, I’m going to get this stuff off right now, it won’t be long, okay?” I bit my lip to stop the giggle that bubbled up and started tugging on the edge over his forehead. He roared in pain.

“I told you we needed more Vaseline!” I shouted. Twenty minutes and a million microscopic tugs later I held a hair-speckled mold of Larry’s face in my hands. He sat up and glared at me.

Now I couldn’t help the grin that stole across my face. His encouragement had led me to the world of the arts, a world I’d yearned for back in Zambia and didn’t know it.

Available at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and IndieBound (support your local bookstore!)

And for worldwide FREE shipping, go to Book Depository

Being in The Moment

I did it! Last night I officially launched my memoir Loveyoubye, at Laguna Beach Bookstore! The day began at 4:30 am, when I awoke with my heart pounding and my eyes stretched wide like they’d been pinned open, ala Alex of A Clockwork Orange. The day was here! Maybe the earth would open up and swallow me whole before 6 pm.  I could only hope. It didn’t.

Book Launch6:10 pm: It’s happening. There I am behind The Author Table, all eyes on me. Full House. Wobbly opening. And then I’m reading the first excerpt. I can do this. Second excerpt; I remember how much I love to read aloud. Third excerpt. Maybe I could keep going? Of course I can’t. I stop where I’d planned to. Questions anyone?

There were questions. Great questions. Ones I could sink my teeth into, that excited me. I forgot everything but being in the moment and answered the questions from my heart, from where I live. I didn’t hedge, I didn’t waver. I’m not sure what came over me. Whatever it was prompted a local to remark on Facebook, “Turns out that nervous, scared oh-my-god-what-if-I’m-a-flop was all an act. You’re a natural, Rossandra, it was like sitting with you at a coffee shop, more a friendly conversation than a presentation. Such a wonderful hour!”

Wow! Who knew I had it in me?

S is For Staffie Extraordinaire

That would be Sweetpea, my Staffordshire Bull Terrier who died on this very date three years ago.  Now, I can’t go on too long about this because it’s still a very tender spot. So I’ll just leave you with an excerpt from my memoir Loveyoubye.  This was not long after my husband left me and a couple of months before dear Sweetpea died. I still have Jake and now Fergie, both of them Staffies.

“Sometimes, Sweetpea sat opposite me in the other chair (of my new bistro set), butt sideways, constantly having to shift her paws to stay put on the small round metal seat. She and Jake had worked it out; he never once tried to sit there even if she wasn’t around. Every now and then she did her little throat-clearing thing and stared off into whatever direction she happened to be facing at the time. Whenever I spoke to her she would turn, ears fully pricked, white-rimmed eyes boring into mine. I’d say something like, I love you, or You’re so beautiful, and her ears would relax, and if she were human I could go ahead and tell you that her face would soften, her eyes would crinkle at the edges, and she would give me a look as intimate as any I’ve ever shared with anyone.”