Gritty Details

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Saturday's Storyteller: "Make it about puppies."

by Belinda Roddie

Make it about puppies. Make it about kittens. Make it about bunnies and hamsters and ponies and baby deer. Make it about something fluffy and cuddly and cute and capable of nuzzling all the anxiety out of you. Wet noses and twitching whiskers and bouncy shenanigans you can capture on video and make it go viral. Make someone coo at their screen. Make them claw at their keyboard, filling up windows with emojis and likes.

Make it about flowers. Make it about pretty things that are fragile and tremble in the breeze. Make it about plants and trees that could wilt or topple at any moment. The impermanence of beauty captured on a smartphone. Filtered and uploaded with a catchy slogan about living in the moment. That easily snapped, framed moment. Wrapped up in plastic or dipped in glass. Stuck in amber. Amber's pretty, too. Take a picture of a dragonfly stuck in it and share it with your friends.

Make it about the ocean. Emphasize the sand between your toes and the shells you collected in tiny red buckets, and the salty air as the water kisses the shore over and over and over again. Ask a mother for permission to photograph their child building a lumpy castle out of wet earth. A castle with no drawbridge or gate. No windows or doors. Two towers, disintegrating in the water. Now shift to a young couple walking a dog across the dunes and holding hands. They'll break up two weeks later, but that moment is still there. That petrified moment. Fossilized in digital technology.

Make it about lattes. Make it about glasses of red wine with the perfect light refraction. Tall steins of beer with a perfect crown of foam. That diadem of carbonation, that trickle of cheap booze down the face of the glass. Make it about iced teas and mimosas on Sunday morning, having brunch with the girls in a small café next to the clinic where the homeless hang out with hypodermic needles in their sleeves. Show off your new engagement ring, show off your new everything. You'll move into your new condo on the seventh. He'll join you on the nineteenth. All the way from Philadelphia.

Make it about rain! Make it about lightning and storms and thunder, and then the calm afterward. There should always been calm after something violent. You try to ignore the signs of trouble on your news feed. Pictures of the latest gas attack. Pictures of the corrupt administration. Pictures of bombed out mosques and shopping centers in a country you try not to care about. Just cater to your fellow pluviophiles and smell the petrichor. It will center you, Strengthen your core. Find your chi? I don't know. Something. Turn the negativity off.

Oh, yeah. Make it about yoga, too. And green tea. And alternative medicine and vitamin supplements. Be the nutritional guru for all your friends to learn from!

And finally, make it about your philosophy. The slogans, the mantras, the words superimposed on pictures of forests and jumping fish. My, how those fish jump. They don't pay attention to rising water levels. Or carbon pollution. Or the steady marches. All those marches. Selfies and selfies showing those marches. Cute hats. Funny signs! Bring the humor out in these trying times. Explode the vein with the enlightened statements you inject. Expel out the bad and draw in the good like sparkling water. Breathe. Good. Focused. Resolved. Happy.

You may lapse from time to time. Just little hiccups. Reality has a way with suffocating you. But you'll always find more air in your little bubble. Take a break once in a while if you have to. Step away from the deluge of information. So much text to read! Your eyes can't handle it. Cute photographs, though - those always help. Go back to the imagery, the visuals. Rainbows captured by your apartment window. Don't forget to Snapchat.

And of course, if all else fails?

Make it about puppies.

This week's prompt was provided by Jocelyn Roddie.

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