On Free Milk and Dispelling Negativity

Details–> Created on Tuesday, 02 April 2013 15:34 Written by ivy

Tonight’s the night! It is still not too late to sign up for the free trial class of “Humor Writing with Ivy Eisenberg,” 7-9 PM tonight.

I’ve successfully winnowed down about 2 years’ worth of workshop gold—insights, samples, tips, tools, habits, exercises, words of inspiration—into what will be a great 2-hour session. Have you heard the expression “If they can get the milk for free, why buy the cow?” My mom taught me that one. It meant that I shouldn’t have sex before I get married because if boys know they can do me without having to endure the expense and agony of a lifetime of being married to me, they will never “buy” this cow. Unfortunately, this cow is happiest giving her milk away for free. And guess what? I found a bull to marry me anyway. (He looks more like a billy goat, but that’s another story.) So, what I’m saying is,[B] come tonight for the free milk [/B](and of course, sweets).

Speaking of milk, I started my career as a workshop instructor rather auspiciously, at six years old. I was standing proudly on top of our metal milkbox on the porch, teaching the neighborhood kids something or other.  (We used to have these metal milkboxes on the porch. The milkman would deliver bottles of milk and place them inside, in case the Donna Reeds were out back hanging the cloth hankies and crinolines out to dry on the clothesline and couldn’t hear the doorbell). The milkboxes looked like this:



At a particularly poignant moment in my lecture, I fell off the milkbox, and the corner went right into my left thigh. It made a huge hole in my leg and it was gushing blood. My mom called a taxi and we rushed me over to the doctor. I was so freaked it was the only time in my life I didn’t run out of the doctor’s office. He swabbed and patched and packed and wrapped and eventually stopped the bleeding. He decided I didn’t need stitches. My mom always felt that the 1-inch square hole in my thigh probably should have been stitched up, and she’s probably right. The big scar is still there, with that weird, smoothish feel and wrinkled-saran-wrap look to it.

That’s why I write. I have these scars that were never stitched up properly. What about you? Whether or not you are coming tonight, what scars do you have? What stories do they tell?


So, what’s with the fortune up there on top? I carry a couple of Chinese cookie fortunes around in my wallet. My thought was to use one as a writing prompt, and the first one that spilled out of the wallet was “Dispel negativity through creative activities.”   The stuff I wrote above started to take its own turn, away from the “prompt,” or so I thought. I captured my actual inner monologue, as it was playing out in my head as I started writing. Somewhere along the way, I think it was when I decided to refer to my husband a billy goat, my mind quieted down and I finished the post. It always happens somewhere along the line, if I keep at it. I can finally dispel negativity and get down to creative work. Here was my inner monologue:

[I]\[Inner monologue. Ick. This isn’t funny….there’s nothing funny here…. I never finish anything. My mind races ahead too quickly to finish a thought. Isn’t this post a bit self-serving?… I really need to work on my work website and be pitching my “real” business to people…. Okay,if get this post out, I”ll take myself out to lunch today. …I have to get a real program to edit pictures vs. the free Microsoft Paint program – everything looks lame. It’s very limiting. Should I spend money on Photoshop? Or Fireworks, or whatever David uses?…. Was that eventbrite invitation too confusing to use? Was that stupid to make it 2 invites? Here I am a purported Usability expert and no one knows how the f**k to sign up. Sh**t. … I need to organize my pictures. Keeping everything in the downloads folder is a recipe for disaster…how many points are the chocolate covered potato chip fragments I just ate? .3 oz. I’ll count them as 1…I still have room left for lunch…][/I]

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