July 27, 2011

Oh, NUTS: Frustrated Acorn Cupcakes!

So, yesterday, I asked my friend Eric to give me a noun and a general state of being.  This is what we've come up with.

"This is marvelously delicious", David seems to say, as he ponders the name in which he will don his fellow frustrated acorn cupcake friend.

Poor thing never really did get a name, but he was cherished (and first picked!), so that's nice.

"Gahhhhh!  We're all so fuuurussstrated in this house!  Why are we all so unfortunately stuck with these pangs of general DISCOMFORT??", Wei Wei (the yellow acorn) clearly inquires.  If you could see her face.  Which, I promise, was quite obvious at the time.

So, what's the deal with the Frustrated Acorn Cupcake clan you ask?  Pfff...what's the deal with YOU?? (they all say in unison...gah).

 Meet the F.A.C. clan!

CHRIS, the loud and obnoxiously frustrated American FAC.  He'll tell you how he really feels!

Wei Wei, the quiet, feminine type that keeps her frustrations and discomforts to herself.  This is not good for her health, and she has tummy problems.

Ralph will pass you in dark alleys, donning suspenders and a cigar, sputtering why he hates you and his job through the corner of his tiny, little angry mouth.  He won't hurt you, but he wants to, feeding into his already swelling pool of fuuurrrustrations!

Gaspard is chronically French.

Whistling Joe is that guy in the back of the group that, you know, tries to break the tension when somebody does something really embarrassing in front of a crowd.  He has no frustrations, but he's definitely getting a kick out of yours.

This little FAC was unloved by me because I drew him a silly pig nose.  I didn't even want to bother giving him a name.  This, as you can imagine, made him the most disgruntled, the most fuurrrustrated little acorn of them all...  Sorry little guy. xo

All of the acorns were edible.
Even their little penned faces
were drawn with edible markers :)

July 11, 2011

A Feast for the Pumpkin Men

Copyright Lauren Perez, 2011

When the streets are cold, and the air is thin
The Pumpkin Men are found within.
These nights are fraught with mischievous guile
They’ll knock on your door.  Could they sit for a while?
Be wise to never invite them to stay
They’ll plant and they’ll root without any delay.
They have no such eyes and they haven't two ears
They won’t hear you bargain, they can’t see your tears.
The one thing they have (and do fear the worst):
Is a deep, dark ravine of unquenchable thirst.
You’ll offer them coffee, you’ll offer them cake,
But its YOU they want, friend, and make no mistake!
They’ll slurp you through straws and they’ll nibble your bones.
The skin that’s left after they’ll serve with hot scones.
Your eyes they’ll be saving in old pickle jars.
They'll fight for your scabs, they favor your scars.
Short ones, tall ones, skinny ones, fat,
They’ll sit on your fingers, they prefer them quite flat.
"It’s better that way", they’ll say to the other.
"They cook so much better, we won’t need much butter."
Your heart and your spleen they’ll give to the cats
They don’t like the taste, they’re useless as hats.
And when they’re done dining, they’ll sink in the ground.
Your neighbors will search, nothing there to be found.
Until the summer again fades into fall.
Shrouding cold, windless nights over you over all.
Beware of the Pumpkin Men, my precious dears.
They know where you sleep and they’ll feast on your fears.

I am a MOVIE STAR (you can buy me a drink, now)

I have been without a phone for almost a week.  I missed  taking peectures.  Here is my fame, you may bask if you like.

July 9, 2011

Mustache Joe

Copyright Lauren Perez, 2011

Poor Joe, what happened to him?

He kissed a mermaid, she made him thin.

I think she may have forgotten his head...

Well, look on the bright side: he could be dead!

July 6, 2011

"Nosey Neighbors" or "How Lauren Would Like to Share With You Her Bizarre Fascination with the Closed Door"

From the time I was about 3-7 years old, I lived in a circus of a most interesting design.

On the outside, it appeared to be your ordinary, run of the mill suburban cul-de-sac.  All of the houses were fairly average.  People kept their grass cut.  The children played with each other in a musical way, never really harboring any sense of juvenile resentment; they wouldn't even know the first thing about what a "tagging" was, even if they had seen it on The Simpsons (which they probably weren't even allowed to watch, as it came on past their bedtime).

Yep, everything seemed to be pretty hunky dory in this picture perfect 1980's world of California stucco and squared hedges.   I didn't even seem to remember there being a resident Dennis the Menace....  I later realized this oversight existed explicitly because it was I who served as the neighborhood Dennis - a position I explored with thorough intensity.  I didn't just stick to one Mr. Wilson.  Oh no.  Everybody within the radius my tiny little stride fell victim to me knocking on their door, asking if I could come in for a bit.  Around the age of 5 or so, I learned that what may appear neat and normal on the outside (of a house, in this case) wasn't necessarily congruent with what was going on INSIDE, and I began my journey of discovering exactly WHO lived in this little microcosm of mine.  Hi!  I'm Lauren.  What's your name? / Why yes, thank you, I would LOVE some milk and cookies.  / Could I stay for dinner?  Okay. / Hey...what's in that closet?  Can I see...? / Oops, I'm sorry.  I don't know how to read, so that's why I didn't know that said "Private".  I thought it said "Cake".  But can I wear these pearls to dinner, anyway?

As you may have guessed, I was a curious child.   So boorishly curious, in fact, that it had driven my grandfather to invent an imaginary monster he'd named "The Big Black Bug" who lived under the stoop outside and ate little girls who snooped around in drawers that didn't belong to them...   My dad, obviously cut from the same cloth, used to tell me that if I didn't sit still and stop looking through his glove compartments every single time we got into the car, he'd press the "Triangle Alarm Button" (hazard lights) that would signal aliens as to where I was and they would come take me to outer space (which I was TERRIFIED of, at the time).  So, it became obvious to me that I needed to smarten up.  Figure out  how I could follow the rules of being "socially normal", but still get to peek into the lives of the people around me.

How did I get inside to see these houses?  Well, my most favored method of operation came around the time I met my first Girl Scout.  I learned vicariously that if I had something appealing to sell, I could get into ANYWHERE (and isn't that the truth??).  So I took things from about my room and created various pitches, hoping to appeal to my neighbors' individual sense of taste.   The biology nerds?  I brought them bugs I found.  I learned where the kids lived and what they liked, and I'd figure out a way to come by with it in spades.  I never really LIKED hula hooping, per-say, but the girl across the street did!  I became an expert hula-hooptress that summer, and I got to learn all about Chinese effigies from her grandmother as sweet, sweet payment.  Looking back, this is startlingly calculating for such a young person...but it's fairly easy to attribute this to growing up in Suburbia with a mother that did not use television as a crutch (thank GOD).

The conclusion that I came to was simple: people are looney tunes.  If not looney tunes, TOTALLY different in their safe zones than what they show street-side.  But the truly amazing thing that I learned is that although everybody was so different, we were all pretty skilled at getting along without a hitch...and in fact, enjoyed each other for the most part.  Well, all except that crazy old guy that barked at us like a dog if any of us got too close to his grass...  You get what I'm trying to say.

So, I'm in the process of brainstorming a YA book of a magical realism persuasion (don't let my terrible sense of punctuation fool you...it's a co-project and Eric is the grammatical genius between us two).  Anyway, I must say, if any successful artist/writer/musician tells you that they don't pull things from their past or copy things they see and love they are LYING to you.  Simple as that.  As I am writing for children, it is entirely obvious for me to go back to the world I remember (created), as these are the most realistic moments of discovery I can draw on...or if you're being a grammar nazi "upon which I can draw".  In doing this, I've mapped out our old street (thank you Google Maps), and added a few mental notes I remember about the people that lived there.

Click to Enlarge
So, I posted this on Facebook and tagged my family and next door neighbors, asking them to help me fill in the gaps.  One neighbor, who I will keep anonymous should any of the mentioned happen to stumble upon this blog, wrote me an email to help me fill in the gaps and further tickle my little girl curiosities.  I need to share this with you, because 1) I couldn't believe how ON THE MARK I was, and 2) it. is. HILARIOUS.