The Three Year Vacation

Victoria Baths via Wikimedia, by GBPhoto27

I feel as though I’m walking into a large, empty foyer with a lantern, and that what I write here will echo blankly across the walls, bouncing back at me to confirm what I already feel: that nobody’s left here to listen to my timid greeting. Which is to be expected; it’s been two and a half years.

I feel as though I am walking into a mansion where fabulous parties once took place and some of the best conversations happened and some of the best meals were served and some of the best guests attended.

It’s been a three year hiatus, I think to myself as I turn on the old gas stove and start looking through the cupboards for canned foods. I see a loaf of bread so covered in mold the only recognizable feature is its shape, and next to that there’s a jar of peanut butter that was left open and was so chemical-ridden it has somehow resisted decomposition. As I start to heat up some Campbell’s soup, I warm my hands over the stove top, listening to the crack of expanding metal, and glance at the photographs hanging on the walls of the guests who used to attend those parties, and realize how much I miss the constant exchange of ideas and experiences.

Taking my warm cup of soup I dampen a washcloth, then move to the kitchen table and wipe off three years’ worth of dust. The last time I sat here thinking up stuff to write was in 2013, June, when I wrote about Introverts and Extroverts. That was a long time ago. I find, though, that there’s still a notebook here, with a pen sitting there next to it wrapped in a cobweb. I brush it off, click it open, and start writing a list of things that have happened between then and now.

Ran a restaurant. Went to China. Finished college.

For a year, I worked at a bank. Then I was an accountant at a seafood distribution company. Then I did archival work at a TV station. Now I’ve been a receptionist at different places, on and off since before Christmas.

Grew a mustache. Moved away from home. Lost most of my plants to weather. Lost dear friends. Made new ones. Learned a language. Got cultured and became disillusioned with it at the same time.

I started a couple new blogs, but it just hasn’t been the same. Frankly, I miss all of you, and I miss the freedom of expression I had on this particularly themeless blog, this particular House of Happy which is now whirring as the boiler in the basement kicks on. I turn on lights in the different rooms and find half-read books on sofas, unwashed coffee cups on side tables, sheet music still open at the piano, the paper yellowed with age and the notes all but faded away.

Gosh, I’ve missed this place.


I Watered Chekhov’s Roses!

Has it only been four months? It seems like longer. All right, y’all, it’s time to let you in on what I’ve been doing lately.

A couple weeks ago I finally got back, exhausted and in want of a shower, from spending a month in Ukraine, the second-largest country in Europe that mostly nobody knows anything about. Let me tell you…What a fantastic time I had! I stayed with some friends in Kiev but made a couple solo trips, too.

I guess I really can’t sum up what the entire thing was like, so I’ll just have to resort to a little slideshow.

Overall I had a great time. While I was in Yalta I saw Chekhov’s White Dacha, where he spent most of the last five years of his life, entertaining famous visitors like Tolstoy and Rachmaninoff. It was a cute place and I’d love to have something like that someday. Walking through his famous garden, I glanced around to make sure no corrections-officer-type museum ladies were watching, and poured the rest of my bottled water onto Chekhov’s roses. Just to say that I did it.

Anyway I’m hoping to be back to blogging now that college and my big trip are out of the way for the summer. I won’t promise to be here frequently but I plan on popping in once or twice a week. It’ll be nice to talk to you all again!

Warmest regards, JP

Too Busy

The other day, among friends, I mentioned that I wasn’t giving my characters much time lately.

To which someone standing nearby said, “Yeah, because you’ve been busy spending time with all your real friends!”

And it’s true…This isolated writer’s life got real social all of a sudden this year.

Writing is important. But Living is more important than blogging about pirates and how much I hate the English language. 🙂

So, sorry for my absence…speaking of which…

The plants & I have finally escaped our bunker. (I REALLY suggest you follow that link if you want to have any idea what’s going on here!) We made the descent down the mountain (you’d be surprised by how fast plants can run!) quickly, amidst bright-yellow tranquilizer darts and feathered arrows, and when we got to the bottom, we found our escape jeep waiting for us. Phew! The radio message got through to the Riley Squad! So excited. We hopped in the jeep, and sped off down the dirt road.

We drove for a good hour over potholes and ruts, while I was trying to identify the trees and terrain for some bearing on what country we were in. Couldn’t get a reading…some of the trees I’d never seen before. They were twisted, greenish and hearty, and had huge, fuzzy, bright pink pods hanging off of them, and sometimes the pods would explode. Our jeep got a little singed (we ran over a couple).

Gershwin, our resident linguist, tried a few languages with them, but even he couldn’t understand what they were saying.

With Gloriette and Ophelia manning the machine guns out the back of the car and fending off the Blue Foots, we played through the obstacle-course of land-mines that the Space-Cowboys and Pirates had left for us. They must have known we were coming this way…

Finally, we reached it. The Riley Squad’s headquarters: low, cement barracks surmounted by a single watchtower with a crown of cannons. We were welcomed by Captain Gmnchisu Åårdesçk’kaadisidy, who told us the country name and what languages they spoke. After staying with them a while helping strategize against the enemy, they escorted us out of the country, on our word that we wouldn’t tell anyone the name of the country.

So, that’s the end of my epic excuse…my plants and I are back home and safe, enjoying some sunlight, and coming up with our next dog-ate-my-homework alibi. 🙂


A Message from Us


Hi. This is Gershwin. I’m writing today because we (The Plants) have been keeping up with Seph’s blog, and noticed that right after he wrote “Black Hole Week Is Over,” he promptly took a week off from blogging. We found this quite unacceptable, and wish to remedy it.

Planty thought we could sneak onto his computer while he was sleeping, but he would most certainly take notice of it, as getting on his Word Press the next morning, he’d realize that not only did he have a bunch of hits from all of you who adore us, he would also have a new post on the home page. Which is kind of a giveaway.

Aided by the girls and Arun, I came up with a proposal to present to Seph, who thought it was a good idea and accepted. I now have a Word Press account (Writing from it now!) and I’m in charge of taking care of the blog this week.

So, today I’m writing a post, Ophelia and Gloriette want to write something tomorrow about, I dunno, plant pot fashion maybe? No idea. I think they said something about interior decoration…And Planty would love to do a political piece on Friday but Seph has told him not to be too controversial. Planty said OK but none of us have fallen for his compliance act. (Fortunately they will all be using my account thus they have to get my permission first, so don’t worry about getting offended, lol)

I guess this was my post then! It’s a pleasure and a thrill to be taking care of the House of Happy, and this is going to be a bucket load of fun!

Gershwin McLelund, Planty Van Shuegeld, Ophelia Caddy, Gloriette Emiline Sullivans, Arun Cadmire-Hancock.

P.S. If you have no idea who we are, or what’s going on, read this page.

Black Hole Week is Over

This Sunday he sits
With the Sun in his eyes
And a hand to his face
To block its bright cries
Of morning Good Mornings
—Sunday’s Hello.

Had he known
The Sun had only
Wanted to greet him,
He wouldn’t have beaten
The curtains shut
To block out the gluttonous
White rays of
Bright days
And Sunday’s

This week was my black hole week for blogging, and my apologies to everyone for not showing up—

We, as writers, tend to write from experience. And what would our writing be without experiences? This was vacation week, and I really should’ve told y’all first before disappearing off the grid, sorry—but it was a week to stop writing, and start experiencing. You can only write so much sitting in a chair all the time.

Soooo…That’s my excuse…

Hope the poem made up for its lameness. 🙂


Charlotte: I’m versatile.
Wilbur: Does “versatile” mean “full of eggs”?
Charlotte: No, it means I can change with ease from one thing to another.
(From Charlotte’s Web.)

If you caught me eating breakfast, I might be “Full of eggs…” But as of right now, I’m only versatile in the changeable sense.

At least, so I am according to Deshipley of Ever On Word, a blog I recently discovered (rather, a blog that recently discovered me!) where a talented writer writes (What else would she be doing? …Frying eggs?) a blog that is both delightful and easy to read. I recommend it if you’re in need of another blog to read!

Yes, because of my versatility, I’ve been awarded the versatile “Versatile Blogger Award.” (Hey, if you say that enough times, it doesn’t even sound like a word!)

So the rules of this award:

Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them.

Done that. Thanks, Deshipley!

Tell your readers 7 things about yourself.

Give this award to 15 recently discovered bloggers.

Contact those bloggers and let them in on the news.

Here we go! First item of business…Hope you like listening to blabber. 😉

1. I can read and write a little Tamil, which is a Southern Indian language (think Tamil Nadu). I studied it a few years ago, but had little to no use for it, so I dropped it. Maybe I’ll pick it up again someday. I dunno.

2. I have a picture of Neil Armstrong hanging on my wall. Why? I saw it at a friend’s house, thought it was awesome, and they gifted it to me. It’s old and kinda faded, and kinda nineties, and in a gross frame. But, it’s Neil Armstrong, and if it weren’t for people like him, hey, I bet his family would really miss him. And after all is said and done, isn’t that one of the most important things?

3. I also have a portrait of Edmund Valcourt Deedle is hanging on my wall. Mr. Deedle is the fictional (questionably racist) scientist-inventor founder of the Land of Blue, in which my book is set. The portrait stares out the window all day every day and makes sure that my house is not invaded by the armies of the French Renaissance of the Post-Radio Era …Cough, cough…More on that later, maybe. 😉 (I have a lot of time on my hands to create fictional history…)
4. I’m right-handed, but I write like a lefty! Or so I’ve been told. Anyhow, when I hold my pen, it looks a little like this [See left]:
5. I recently learned about “The Game.” What’s the game? Well, everybody in the world is playing The Game. The only rule is that you can’t think of The Game, and as soon as you think of it, you lose. Which you have to tell everyone by saying, “I lost The Game!!!” Which, I guess, subsequently takes out everyone else in the room because then they think about it, too. But don’t worry…as soon as you forget about The Game, you’re back in.
6. I love weird names! Just switch out a vowel or consonant, and I’m Game! (Oh no, I just lost THE GAME!!!) Stieve, Arriet, Ejake, you name it. 😉 Ha ha, no, that wasn’t a pun, really it wasn’t…It wasn’t, really…uh…
7. I have persnickety hair. If I don’t take special care of it, it gets all dry, twisted, and sometimes impossible to work with. I have a part in the wrong place, strands that can’t decide to be curls or waves, and under the light it turns green…sometimes purple. I’m glad I have hair, but somedays (not to sound flaky) I can’t do a thing with it!

Enough about me.

Now, to give away this Versatile Award! Unfortunately, I don’t think I can hit the 15-blogger requirement, so I’m going to do a fifth of that…

1. Tiyana Marie White. She writes everything from book reviews to flash fiction to writing tips! Stop in and visit her!

2. Paula Tohline Calhoun, who “Lives” over at Reflections From A Cloudy Mirror. She’s got a snarky sense of humor, and also does bad poetry (which gets you “Cool” points in my book, PTC!). If you’re ever feeling witty, stop in at her place for an epic poetry battle, or just to read about life through a Cloudy Mirror.

3. Samantha Bangayan, who is a Canadian Ex-Pat. Interested in South America? Drop by and pay her a visit today, for everything Peruvian! She also “treats her blogging friends like gold.” (Thanks for those retweets, Samantha!)

Keep up the good work, guys!!!

Waaaay behind!!! KLMNOP


Okay okay, I am so behind it’s not even funny. Actually, if I try hard enough, I might have you laughing by the time this is over. Expect the unexpected. It’s time for a lesson in catching up…

© Gveret Tered. Label says: "Softening stubborn children." 😀 I told you to expect some offbeat stuff today!!!

Um, yah, not that kind of ketchup. Catch-up. Duhr.

The first three letters…



Northernwards they fly,

Swimming onwards towards July, if I

Could memorize


To the 100,000th digit…

Oh wait, oh wait!!!! Click here!

(I give the credit for that last idea to the person who was watching me over my shoulder… 😉 But seriously, who does that? Who watches other people while they blog? Must have been a very bored person…)

Is catching up on letters like this defined as creativity or laziness? Are lazy people by nature creative? Or are creative people lazy?

As Eli Whitney once said [okay, he didn’t, but it’s a nice illustration and was probably what he was thinking], “It’s so much work doing all this cotton junk by hand…I think I’ll be creative and make something called a cotton gin.”

If somebody knows why they call it a gin, please tell me. Cuz idk.

kk. ttyl.


jpc ;p