I am Meg Moseley. Meg, a writer. Seeking the real God in the real world.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

An Eloise-ish Christmas

This is our first Christmas in our new-to-us house and our first Christmas with our eldest child having flown the coop via marriage. So the routine is a little different now. Decorating the tree, for instance. For years, my husband has been in charge of assembling our big, phony tree and stringing the lights on it, and then I take over, with or without help from the kids, to add the ornaments. Well, hubby has been busy. A few days ago, he got as far as putting the tree up but no farther. And the boys didn't take the hint when I suggested that they are as tall as their father and just as capable of stringing lights.

So I tackled it, standing on a chair. Huh. It's harder than it looks. I was careful to space the lights evenly on the first three or four go-rounds, near the top. Then I added the tree-topper, a red glass spire that looks Dr. Seuss-ish, especially with a strand of gold glitzy stuff spiraled around it that I added as a joke a few years ago, but it was popular so I left it. And maybe it was the Seuss touch that set me off, but when I moved the chair out of the way and started on the lower realms of the tree, I started having fun.

Like Eloise at Christmastime. Anybody remember the Eloise books? She's a fictional six-year-old who lives in the Plaza Hotel in NYC, makes up funny words, and drives the neighbors crazy with her energy. I haven't read the books in years, but I vaguely remember Eloise skippering and skibbling around the apartment and strewing Christmas decorations everywhere, even on thermostats and probably on the dog. Because Eloise really knows how to celebrate. With enthusiasm.

Okay, so I did an Eloise-ish job on the lights. They're sort of looped and strewn instead of neatly arranged. But you know what? Christmas isn't about perfection, at least not in mortal man.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Comes a Horseman, and he's scary

I'm interrupting my usual mindless ramblings with a book recommendation. Yesterday I started reading Comes a Horseman by Robert Liparulo, a thriller with nice, creepy cover art, and I'm hooked.

Set a couple of likable FBI agents on the trail of a killer who dresses like an ancient Norseman and travels in a VW bus with three bloodthirsty wolf-dog hybrids. Now add a selfish and powerful man who wants to believe he's the anti-Christ, and you've got a highly entertaining mix. And don't forget Mr. Powerful's warped but vulnerable Italian buddy who walks around with a couple of paperbacks taped to the sole of one shoe because one leg is shorter than the other, and the Catholic priest in New York who researches Near Death Experiences. The hellbound variety, not the kind that features beautiful light and eternal peace at the end of the tunnel. All these characters are caught in a conspiracy that's veering off course.

I'm only halfway through, but if the second half is as good as the first, I'll enjoy it to the last page. The squeamish might argue that the gore is depicted a little too realistically, but they can skim over those paragraphs if they must. The realism didn't bother me, and I appreciate Liparulo's portrayals of a broad spectrum of humanity. The good guys are far from perfect, and even the bad guys show hints that they at least used to be human.

You can find the book at Amazon or at bookstores, Christian or otherwise. If you want to read more about Robert Liparulo, his home page is here. Or you can go here for the first part of author Chris Well's interview with Liparulo, with the second installment posted today and the third tomorrow. Very interesting reading.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get my real-life duties out of the way so I can open the book again. I'm worried about the son of one of the FBI agents. I don't think they should have left the kid home alone when that Norse guy and his beasts are still on the loose . . . .

Monday, November 28, 2005

Found Things

I love finding surprises in old books from flea markets and garage sales. A little piece of somebody's life, somebody's story, left behind for me to wonder about. Maybe it's a note written in the margin, a clue to a previous owner's opinions. Sometimes it's a bill, a receipt, a bookmark or a pressed flower.

I've never found an old photo in an old book, but I have nearly as much fun browsing the photos at Flickr is a photo-sharing site, and you don’t have to be a member to browse. The pictures are tagged by category: sunset, Italy, family, weddings, cars, vintage, fashion, street scenes . . . you name it, somebody probably has a few photos of it.

My favorite category? “Found,” of course. This pool includes negatives and pictures that people found at flea markets or estate sales or even on the street. They range from antiques to pics that look as if they were snapped last week. I often wonder about the stories behind the pictures, and I wonder how they ended up in the “found” pool at Flickr.

For instance, there's a picture of an old guy watering his garden in a three-piece suit, like my dad used to do. There's another one of a portly gent sitting in a chair, beaming, with a Christmas tree behind him. Somebody must have loved those old men, but their pictures wound up at a flea market or in an estate sale or maybe in the trash until a Flickr member rescued them. The pictures have gone from being lost to being "Found," online, for the world to see.

I just hope the people themselves weren't as lost as their pictures.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Of Panama, Russia, and Dixie

I indulged in my favorite kind of shopping last Saturday morning. My husband and I strolled down the frosty sidewalk to a garage sale a few doors down. We've lived here less than six months and hadn't met these particular neighbors yet, so it was part social call, part business.

Soon another neighbor showed up with a box of books to sell. Fifty cents for hardcovers, a quarter for paperbacks. Such a deal. I walked off with a handful, including The Murder Room by P.D. James, which I'd read already, and The Tailor of Panama by John le Carre, which I hadn't, but I figured it was worth a shot since I'd loved his The Russia House.

I read the first chapter of Tailor tonight and found myself remembering my friend Dixie, who'd recommended The Russia House for a book group we were both in, probably seven or eight years ago. I was skeptical because I don't usually like spy stories, but Dixie was right; it was a very good book.

Dixie died a few years ago, far too young, but reading le Carre takes me back to book group and her exuberant laughter. Oh, the freedom in that woman's laugh! She knew how to cut loose and have fun. If I close my eyes, I can hear her now, bubbling with enthusiasm for le Carre, for good books in general, for life itself. I doubt that I'll ever read le Carre again (or Wilkie Collins, another of Dixie's favorites) without thinking of her and smiling. The connection has been wired into my brain.

What about you? Do you have any books that seem to connect you with a particular person in your past or your present?