June 2009

Me and My Manure

I’m in Home Depot today wandering down an aisle when an orange-aproned older gentleman says, “Can I help you, ma’am?”

I am tempted to say no thanks, because I’m not in a hurry (and I hate being called ma’am–I don’t think I’m that old yet), but I get the sense he’d rather not be putting together whatever it is he’s been wrestling with so I say, “Okay. I’m looking for some cow manure.”

He says, “Well, for that you should get yourself a cow.”

Ha. ha. Not laughing. That can’t be the first time he’s said that, right?

“Yeah, I know,” I reply. “But that’s, um…not happening.”

So I follow him down the aisle where I get to choose between the cow variety and the sheep variety. It’s even advertised as “no odour”! Woo hoo. There’s the premium brand and the discount brand. Since I am only trying to help along my up-until-now pitiful patch of rhubarb (Who the H can’t grow rhubarb!? Me apparently.) I don’t really want to make this an overly complicated exercise. I point to the cow stuff that’s on sale and say, “Thanks, I guess I’ll take this then.”

He offers to carry it to the cash for me. Gosh, that was nice. After my “Thank you, have a great day,” me and my manure went home.

© Lizann Flatt, www.lizannflatt.com
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.
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Went on Road Trip…went to jail!

This past weekend saw me far from home. I went on a six-hour road trip for my son’s lacrosse tournament. I did not grow up with rep sports of any kind, so having kids who by times travel for their sport is a new thing for me. Costs aside, I’ve decided to embrace the madness.

I mean, if I’m going to have to go to towns or cities within the province that I’d not necessarily actually choose to visit, I figure why not make the most of my time there? There’s gotta be at least one interesting thing in most of them, right? This weekend it was Cornwall, Ontario.
So we hopped in the car and started on our odyssey. What a cool drive. We started in our granite outcroppings and boggy forests and lakes, drove through rolling forested hills, and on to the Ottawa valley with its flat farmlands. Fascinating to see the land change. And then we were there (only two major bicker sessions between the kids, yay!).

Check out this bomber out front of the place we stayed at! That’s the St. Lawrence River in the background. For scale, a nine-year-old is about as tall as those bushes.
Too bad the bomber’s also a pigeon perch.

Spent Saturday in an arena. But before the gold medal game on Sunday we had some free time. Yay! I went to jail. Here I am behind bars.

That cell was rather cramped. Lucky I was only visiting. The Cornwall jail, which was in operation from 1834 until 2002, is now a museum. It was quite an eye opener for us all. I’m not sure which we all found most fascinating, the graffiti all over or the replica gallows from the days they hanged offenders in the courtyard. Or maybe it was the story of the bodies still unaccounted for that were buried in that courtyard.

Right after that it was off to lacrosse for the final game. After the weekend’s tie, win, win, win, the Hawks lost this final game by two. They did themselves proud and took home the tournament silver medal. Congratulations!

Then it was the six-hour drive home. We pushed through pretty quickly, because it was Sunday and the kids have this last week in school. Nor was I looking forward to driving during peak deer/moose roaming hours. We did stop for a break at my fave picnic spot on Golden Lake where my daughter found this dragonfly in the water.

Jumped back in the car and finished the journey. Only one deer sighting, and it decided not to play chicken with me. Phew!

© Lizann Flatt, www.lizannflatt.com
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.

A name, a name…what’s with my name?

Lately a bunch of things have come up for me, all related to names. For one, I’ve been toying with a tagline for my website based on my name. More on that in yesterday’s post.

This week I had a fun Facebook wall comment thing going with Pamela Ross and Carolyn Double Owen about being called names as kids. We’re all claiming to be in contention for the most easily abused last name. Pamela’s was Morak aka moron. Carolyn’s was Double aka double trouble. Of course I am Flatt (yep, pancake, tire, you name it).

I can still vividly recall my worst name related incident. It was grade 7, and a certain male whose name I remember to this day, but who shall remain nameless here, stood up in geography class just after the teacher stepped out into the hall. He proclaimed to the entire class his opinion that I, Flatt, was the Great Plains and another unfortunately named girl with the last name Biggs was the Rocky Mountains. Sadly our chests did indeed mirror our last names. I was mortified.

Uh, yeah. I think I win. Sorry, gals.

But there are other benefits to an unusual name, and time generally takes care of the frontal development issues. As I said yesterday, at least it’s easy-ish to find you on the internet if you have an odd name.

I had a lovely exchange this past week with a woman doing family genealogy. Turns out our families are indeed related. The great-great grandfathers were brothers. And this winter another distant relative sent me a lovely poem written by her grandfather in memory of my great-grandfather.

Then there are the famous Flatts you might actually have heard of. Rascal Flatts just named their band that because it was memorable according to this article or this one. And there’s Rachel Flatt the US figure skater. My figure skating daughters like to imagine they might just be even a tiny little wee bit related to her.

So here’s to all of you out there with names that people have toyed with, mutilated, and otherwise abused. Maybe we’re memorable.

© Lizann Flatt, www.lizannflatt.com
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.

To Tagline or to Tag Line?

If you troll the internet for advice for writers, many sites urge writers to come up with a tag line or tagline. Sometimes it’s lumped in with something called a platform (yikes), sometimes it’s called branding, and sometimes it’s just a tag line. You know, that one line used to describe a product, business, movie? I like to think of it as a slogan.

So I started thinking of one for myself. But I write nonfiction, poetry, short stories, and fiction (although no book-length fiction is yet published that’s the longterm goal). How to sum all that up? Should I even try?

I have an odd name, both first and last. I can admit that now. I hold no grudge against my parents for this, honestly! But it was hard having such an unusual name growing up. Today it actually makes electronic life on the internet much easier because there aren’t a bazillion others in the world out there with my same name. I’ve decided to play off my odd name in my tagline and came up with “flatt-out fantastic.”

I guess it’s basically like this:

Books by Lizann Flatt…Flatt-out Fantastic!

or as it is on my website

books by Lizann Flatt
Flatt-out Fantastic!

Of course, it might actually fall flatt (okay, bad pun). But I’ll wear it for awhile and see how it feels.

In case you’ve been thinking about one for yourself, here are some helpful resources more related to authors and writing. (If you google “tagline” there’s a ton of info out there.)

Creating Author and Publisher email taglines
http://www.midwestbookreview.com/bookbiz/advice/taglines.htm

author branding from Booksquare
http://booksquare.com/author-branding-2/

author Mitali Perkins on branding generally
http://www.mitaliblog.com/2009/06/virtual-author-branding-five-tips.html

good look at taglines in general and how to come up with one
http://www.suzanstmaur.com/?Writing_Tipz_from_Suze:Tipz_Archive:Taglines

What’s your tagline? I’d love to hear how you came up with it.

© Lizann Flatt, www.lizannflatt.com
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.