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Tag: Growing Up

Writing About Life – the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The thing about life is, if everything went smoothly, just as we plan, all the time – no awkward experiences, no “get me outa here!” moments – it would be much harder to appreciate the pleasant moments. Life can be like people we may date: Awkward, odd, horrifying… but then, along comes a good one. After all the bad dates, you appreciate him/her all the more.

With dating in mind, I share some awkward dating moments in my up-coming book, “Craving Normal.” Here’s the beginning of one blind date I write about.

Right when we meet and get into his car, the guy starts making gaga eyes at me, trying to hold my hand, not taking the hint from my don’t-touch-me body language – arms folded over my chest, body pressed into the passenger door, and nervous laughter. At a stop light, he stares at me for an uncomfortably long time and says, “You remind me SO much of my dead sister.”

Nooooooooooo!

Oh, and it only got worse. The entire night he stared at me with a creepy reverence, as if I were an angel whom he’d never let go. Hence my physically wrestling him all night until I finally fled.

Still talking to myself on this blog, but if you happen to read this share one of your “date from hell” stories. I’m not the only one, right? We’ve all endured crappy dates. I know. Tell me about it.

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Wild Child

You can take the child out of the wild, but not the wild out of the child… apparently. This may explain many of my stories. When your brain is formed a certain way – on freedom, travel, adventure – makes it hard to be happy sitting in a cubicle, or locked up in school, following bells, rules and clocks. It’s a huge reason I’m self-employed. And why I’m still wild today.

Photo: Nude beach, Mykonos, Greece. I’m second from left; Little sister, far left, with beach friends.

I write about living in a rock hut on this nude beach in my book, “Craving Normal.” The story’s called, “That’s Not An Eel!”

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Fighting for My Right to Paaaaarttttttyyyyy!

In my book, “Craving Normal,” I write about my childhood experiences, memories and perspective of growing up in the era of 1960’s counterculture. But I follow those pages with stories of my own teen years in the ’80s. An era nothing like the Sixties. My teen/young adult stories in the 1980s are often pretty goofy. But so was that decade – a blur of neon spandex, head bands, big hair, and bouncy dancing. Totally counter to the years in which I grew up, where everyone seemed so deep and serious. But my teen years? Not so much!

Back in the 1980s, I was brain-dead. A lot of young people were. I don’t know, maybe the mass idiocy was our only way to rebel against the generation before us, those “Flower Children.” They dropped out, sat in, protested, and wanted to start a revolution. The most revolutionary thing I did was to discover the height my hair could reach with hair spray and a big comb. The only thing I ever fought for was my right to party. Hey, it wasn’t easy to rebel against a generation that enjoyed public nudity and dropping acid. I guess I could’ve gone punk or goth. Instead I went vapid. Hence the plethora of shockingly stupid moments I’ll be sharing with readers in my book.

I should preface my book with this cautionary small print: “Don’t try this at home. Results may vary.”

Photo: Yep, I’m wearing a headband. Must’ve been too tight, because my brain was numb. Excuse the bad Photoshop. But I blurred out my friend, as to not insinuate she’s as lame-brained as I was.

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Who is Michele Miles Gardiner? And Why is She So Weird?

Hellooooo-looooooo-loooo-lo! (I can hear the echo bouncing off the walls of a massive empty room)

Anybody out there? If so, I’m writing this just for you. Oh there you are. Hello! I have to tell you, setting up this new site and blog feels a little like being the new kid in school again.

My first school, I walked into the school yard, parting a sea of cardigan sweater-wearing kids, dressed in my smelly sheep coat. They stared at me while holding their lunch boxes, most decorated with TV show characters, as I clung to my transparent produce bag filled with that day’s lunch. Dad packed it.

But the worst part of the day, watching kids in the cafeteria open their lunch boxes. Torture. They’d smile while chewing their American cheese on soft, snowy-white bread, as I’d choke down my grainy sandwich. I’d be pulling sprouts from between my teeth, as I’d hear the crinkle of plastic coming off some lucky kid’s Twinkie. If only I had a treat to trade, I’d think. But no kid wanted to swap one of those golden treasures for a natural yogurt. Every now and then my mom added treats. But I knew whole grain wheat fig-filled cookies from the health food co-op were lame imitations of soft and moist Fig Newtons, the same way carob’s a sad, waxy imposter of chocolate. They didn’t fool me. I used to eat the real stuff back in the suburbs, back when my parents were sane.

Now I’m here writing to myself in this virtual school cafeteria. And I still don’t have Twinkies (Have you read the ingredients? Turns out my mom knew what she was doing). To make myself feel like a weirdo all over again, I’ve been writing about myself in the third person on my bio and home page: “Michele Miles Gardiner has written essays and articles for newspapers and magazines, and performed her stories on stage. She’s currently working on her true tales, “Craving Normal,” a collection of stories about being born to suburbanites who veered way off and transformed into nude-beach-loving, world-traveling-hippies, and other adventures of growing up during the ‘Me Generation,’ and beyond.”

See, she’s a weirdo! But she wrote a book, so this is what she is supposed to do to promote her book.

Anyway, nice talking to YOU. You’re a very patient person and a great listener.

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Come to Our Commune

My first blog post!

Here I am in La Jolla, dancing and singing to The Fifth Dimension’s “Aquarius,” just before these men (on the lawn) talked my dad into taking our family to stay at their religious commune in San Diego. Not that my dad was religious, just that he had a deep reverence for penny-pinching. Getting stuff free was the closest he got to a spiritual moment.

Wearing my super groovy vinyl dress, I danced and belted out, “This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius…” clueless about where we were headed.

More about this commune experience in my up-coming book, “Craving Normal,” in the story titled “Jesus Freak for Cheerios.” To keep posted on my new non fiction book, join my email list here: http://michelemilesgardiner.com/

 Observation: Looks like the woman in red scarf is scoffing at our hippiness, and/or at the dude on the left who may be toking a joint.

 

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