Octopus' Garden

Sunday, August 21, 2005

CONVERSATIONS WITH MY JAPANESE MOTHER: PROFESSIONAL PEP TALKS INSTALLMENT

PUBLISH OR PERISH:

JM: I'm so glad somebody finally want take some of your poems because you have such long dry spell when nobody want to publish anything. I so relief! I been so worry!

AH: (Defensively) It wasn't that long.

JM: Such long time. You don't pay attention like I do so you don't know. And I don't want to say anything so I keep my mouth shut. But I keep try to tell you have to keep writing, keep sending. Have to work all the time. I don't think you been listening to me.

AH: (Defensive WTF-style silence).

JM: See, you don't have anything to say for self. Whenever you don't like to admit truth about self you don't answer. I know you. I can tell. Just like ostrich stick its head in sand. That's how I can tell you guilty.

AH: Guilty of what?

JM: Guilty not publishing. Instead you perishing. (Laughs hysterically at her own joke).

BIG JINX:

JM: Don't wear that crazy shirt to give reading in any more, okay?

AH: What crazy shirt? (I know exactly what shirt she's talking about because it's my Good Luck Reading Shirt, but I so don't want to go there, so I'm playing dumb, and being all ostrich-with-its-head-in-the-sand-y.)

JM: You know that shirt I said look nice? Like Lady Murasaki?

AH: (Dubiously). Yeah?

JM: Well, I lying. I don't want to say anything before, so I just keep my mouth shut, but really, it look like muumuu. Very hippy looking. Not like professor.

AH: (To self: Fuckitty Fuck Fuck Fuck.)

JM: Hey. You hear me? Don't wear that one anymore, okay?

AH: Oh. My. God. Don't even make me say this out loud. You're jinxing my Good Luck Reading Shirt. Do you know what you're doing to me here?

JM: Hello good luck reading shirt! Don't be stupid. Is Bad Luck Hippy Muumuu. I don't care jinx it. I give you Big Jinx, so then you have to wear nice suit from now on and look dignify like professor instead.
posted by Artichoke Heart at 1:07 AM

17 Comments:

Dear God, I missed your JM!
Blogger mopsa, at 9:03 AM  
omg, what would happen if your adorable JM and my Mama Nez got together and had lunch with the two of us??
Blogger aimee, at 5:47 PM  
JM is too funny for words! I think all mothers have an inane knack for jinxing things for us.
Blogger C. Dale, at 7:18 PM  
Aimee, a lunch with my JM and your Mama Nez would very exciting, I have no doubt!

And C. Dale yes . . . mothers definitely know just how to mess with one's mojo.
Blogger Artichoke Heart, at 9:46 PM  
Oh, this is too funny! I can hear my own mother. My mother used to spook me with Korean bad luck. I was 16 before I realized she was making up her "in Korean tradition it is bad luck to _______" aphorisms just to get me to do what she wanted. I mean really, bad luck to not put your softball glove away!
Blogger Patty, at 5:04 AM  
You capture these conversations so well! Hee!
Blogger Ivy, at 9:56 AM  
HA! Thanks so much for the LOL! (I needed that. Been bummed - post-partum book depression along with real life happenings.)

With my mom (exact!) it was always: "Don't wear black!" WHAT?! No black for a reading?! No way. I was in Bush-years mourning clothes, and my lucky everything was black. (Then, I decided it made laundry duties easier, besides dressing - everything matches.) And, my hippy hair: my cross-legged ("You look like an Indian!") hippy-haired first author's photo drove her nuts — but, at least, I wasn't wearing black, she pointed out.
Blogger Lorna Dee Cervantes, at 2:26 PM  
Oh god how I have missed your mother but keep her away from my reading clothes!!!
Blogger early hours of sky, at 9:53 PM  
Reminds me of what my mom used to say about my brother Chupa-Chup's career as photographer. She used to say: If only he would send his photos to National Geographic. Then he'd be discovered and he wouldn't have to do weddings anymore. Great post.
Blogger Camicao, at 11:26 PM  
This is great. My mom's always telling me that if I want my poems to reach a wider audience I shouldn't be so shy and just contact Oprah.
Blogger Apartment Number One, at 4:43 PM  
See, you don't have anything to say for self. Whenever you don't like to admit truth about self you don't answer.

Ha. People tell that to me all the time too. My family's obviously been taking lessons from your mother.

- M. Luminous
Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:06 PM  
My head is on my desk.
I can not stop laughing.
It's a commiserate laugh.
Blogger Tish, at 1:35 AM  
The first time my brother went to jail my mother called me up to say, between sobs, "My God, if anyone had ever TOLD me one of my children would be in jail--well, I would have been sure it was you!"
Blogger loveandsalt, at 9:34 PM  
I have two lucky reading shirts -- a red one with black morning glories and a black one with purple and lime chrysanthemums. People are not tired of seeing me in them, and their numinous lucky power is in no way diminished by their attendance at rainy Tuesday library readings in small towns with audiences of two counting the librarian. The fact that I plan to wear one to next week’s reading should in no way imply "mummu," even if I am eight months pregnant. Further, they do make me seem exactly like Murasaki, that is, a literary genius and great beauty of the age. I am sure your lucky reading shirt is doing the same for you. I’m afraid I must insist you cling blindly to it, as a gesture of professional poet solidarity.
Anonymous Erin, at 2:21 PM  
Oh, I am laughing here - as is D., to whom I read this post. I don't know whether to sympathize or to secretly wish that you have more conversations like this that you'll be able to share with us. *impish grin*
Blogger Rana, at 11:09 PM  
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