Saturday, July 30, 2011

On Writing.

When I came to writing to cry about my relationship with my dad, the relationship became peaceful. When I came to writing to talk about my screaming kid, his screaming became endearing. Someone even called my letter to Brodie upbeat. It ended that way, sure, but I was not upbeat when I started writing. I was super serious about sticking him in Pops’ studio. I could hear my husband telling my sons in the other room, “If you know what’s best for you, you’ll leave your mother alone and let her write.”

Smart man, that husband of mine.     

Writing is my friend. It doesn’t get busy. It doesn’t have kids or a fiancĂ©. I can’t wear out my welcome here or go straight to voicemail. It doesn’t pass judgment, lets me figure stuff out on my own and by God if it doesn’t have the answers, it helps me look for them.

Subtly as possible, it suggests what I’m worried (scared, irritated, nervous, whatever) about might just be a style issue. Maybe I should just rearrange the paragraphs.

I like friends like that.

I’m starting to think self-discovery might happen when I don’t know I’m looking for it. It might even be the stuff I find when looking for something else entirely. I’m sure someone else has said that already. It doesn’t matter. This is my brand of writing. There really are no new ideas.


The first CD I ever owned was The Bodyguard Soundtrack. Does, I will always love you, ring a bell? Yeah, well, it was a cover. Dolly Parton recorded it in 1974. 18 years before Whitney Houston rocked my world with it. Now, I adore Dolly Parton, but I didn’t really fall in love with her until The White Stripes covered and released Jolene in 2004.

I love Lady Gaga. Like, love, love. That didn’t happen until I was introduced to her by a still unknown Haley Reinhart on American Idol singing You and I before it was even released. Until I heard a piano only duet of Poker Face on Glee.

Kurt Hummel introduced me to Barbra Streisand. The Dixie Chicks introduced me to Fleetwood Mac. Motherhood introduced me to Megan. My 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Brandon, introduced me to writing.

Writing is introducing me to, me.   

See how that works?       

I was accidentally encouraged by a book called Armageddon in Retrospect recently. It was written by Kurt Vonnegut. It was published after his death. The introduction was written by his son, Mark, also a writer.

Mark said of his dad,

“Writing was a spiritual exercise for my father, the only thing he really believed in. He wanted to get things right but never thought that his writing was going to have much effect on the course of things…Anyone who wrote or tried to write was special to Kurt. And he wanted to help…The most radical, audacious thing to think is that there might be some point to working hard and thinking hard and reading hard and writing hard and trying to be of service…He was a writer who believed in the magic of the process—both what it did for him and what it could do for the readers.”

Mr. Vonnegut is one of my friends and mentors now, but only because I first fell in love with the version his son wanted me to know. His son’s cover.

I was written about recently. Being written about by someone else was a gigantic boost for my ego, but not in the way you might imagine. Please don’t misunderstand me, the accolades are nice. Especially because Megan, part of my collective muse, and my brother, Austin, picked some of my rawer, non-generic characteristics to sing praises about. I’m glad they didn’t have to wait until I was dead. It makes me feel I might be doing something right. It’s nice to receive a compliment for doing something you didn’t think was a big deal, a “thanks for being you”. I’ll be honest, feeling that way is amazing! But I’m writing this because Megan makes me want to talk. Because Austin told me “You’ve inspired me to write.” That means something. It means a lot of something.

Especially because their writing is really, really good.


I feel better when I’m not telling someone what to do. Oh, don’t mistake me, I tell people what to do all of the time. I’m a woman, wife, mom, big sister, friend. I might even be telling you what to do right now. But I feel better about myself when I think I’ve accidentally encouraged them, instead. Encouraged them to do something they wanted to do anyway.

Lady Gaga wore a meat suit. A lot of people think she’s too weird. A lot more don’t. She’s an amazing song writer and I swear she stole some of those lyrics from me. Kurt Vonnegut wrote a book about, in part, aliens from another planet who laugh at the idea of free-will. About a man who becomes “Un-stuck” in time. It’s about as kooky as they come. I like kooky. It teaches you something, but in a crazy, weird way. I don’t want to wear a meat suit and I don’t think I want to write about aliens. That’s not the point. The point is they accidentally encouraged me by being just brainy enough and just ballsy enough to become pretty great versions of the people they already were.

So, here’s the lesson I’m learning today.



Crazy people don’t sit around and wonder if they’re crazy, but usually writers sit around and wonder if they’re writers. Some of the really, really good ones, in fact. There are lots of quotes about it. I looked them up. Writers love to hear the sound of their own voices. When I get unsure about loving the sound of my own voice or wonder if I’m really  a writer. When I get a little scared…fine, a lot scared, I’m learning to rearrange the paragraphs. Even though I met writing in the 5th grade and we’ve had an on-again, off-again relationship for years, there is still so much to learn. And somehow, it feels exactly the same.

I listened to Barbra Streisand and Kurt Hummel sing, As if we never said goodbye, today and I’m pretty sure it changed my life. Barbra Streisand is deathly afraid of being on stage. But, when she’s up there…

oh. my. god.

P.S. If you know my friend, writing, and wonder if it’s time to get back in contact. You’re probably right. Make sure you mention that Krysten says Hi. And Thank You.     


Friday, July 29, 2011

Boys, Boys. Big and Small

I live with boys.

Big and small.  

My world is full of disgusting smells and funny arm pit noises. There is a hot wheel or a lego or an action figure or a pair of dirty socks around every corner and under every other step. Boys love to watch stuff about blowing things up or ripping them apart or fighting in some epic battle. They point guns at everything. If they don’t have a gun handy, they find something else to turn into a gun. Or turn into a baseball bat or a golf club. Did I mention they think farts are hilarious?

Even the big one.

And they all love my attention. When I laugh at their jokes or scratch their backs. When I listen about video games or football. Books or movies. They want to feel smart and strong. They love to show me tricks and make me applaud.

There are many times I’d like to lock myself in a closed bookstore or get lost in a marathon of Glee or Grey’s Anatomy. I’d like to watch a show in the living room that wasn’t on Discovery Channel or Nickelodeon.  But most times I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than pay attention to them. They are pretty easy to please. They don’t ask for too much and I can usually figure out what they want. They are simple when they are small. They are simple when they are big. They might be a little forgetful, a little inconsiderate. Hey, aren’t we all.  

I’ve always liked boys the best. They all have a pretty universal language. Sure it evolves a little over time, but from birth to adulthood, at least in my world, they don’t really change much. They all tell me I’m beautiful, even Brodie in his own way. The grown up one likes hot food, cold tea and anything relating to combat. The little ones like hot food, cold Capri Suns and anything related to hitting each other with sticks. The grown up one likes being outside, a comfy place to watch TV and sex on a regular basis. The little ones like playing outside, a comfy place to watch TV and being fascinated with their own genitals.

Easy enough.

Sure kids are needy. Babies are needy. They only stay little for awhile. The rest of the time, they’re just boys.  

People always ask me if I’m going to try for one more child. The answer is no. But, they say, don’t you want to try for a girl?


I LOVE Toddlers and Tiaras. Yes, I said it. I’m not ashamed. That show is hilarious. I love the crazy parents and the glitz and the cute little head bobs and out of control mini-divas. I’m fascinated by Red Bulls for breakfast and flippers and Nini’s! Are you kidding me? What’s not to love? Could I actually BE a pageant mom? OH HECK NO! I would need 15 Xanax just to walk into one of those dress shops! My friend, Megan, knows. She walked me down the girl’s toy aisle at Target and I came pretty close to a full on anxiety attack.

True Story.

I can not manage to keep up with the toenail polish on my own toes. What in the world would I do with a girl? I can barely get from the closet to the car with heels on before I’ve switched to flip-flops. How could I ever teach a girl how to be chic?

I get that girls are great. They’re cute and sparkly and delicate. There clothes are cuter and their hair is prettier. Girls don’t tend to care much about farts or explosives. They do ballet. They Cheer. I’m a girl, I get it.

I believe that if I had a little girl, I’d love her more than life. I’d figure out pig tales and Bubble Guppies. I’m sure we’d enjoy watching Toddlers and Tiaras together. I’d watch her grow and mature and become a woman. I’d teach her everything I know about compassion and honesty and boys and manipulation and Lady Gaga. I’d be happy doing it.

Will I risk my sanity for it? No. A girl would have been fantastic. Duh. But I have boys and I don’t want the parents in my house to be out numbered by the children.

No girl.  

My life is full of boys. Big and small. I can teach them what I know about compassion and honesty and girls and manipulation and yes, even Lady Gaga. I can read books to them and listen to their jokes and teach them about trust and respect. How girls, big and small, are actually a lot simpler than boys make them out to be. They want to be validated. They need attention, too. They like to make you laugh. They want to show you tricks and make you applaud. I can make sure they understand that there is nothing wrong with taking care of themselves and taking care of others. I can encourage them to be strong and smart and polite. Stand by them while they head off into the world and make choices. There are plenty of lessons that both sets need to know.

Girls are awesome but I feel like I have a pretty good handle on my life full of boys. I don’t know how that dude from Sister Wives does it. A house full of women would be CRAZY!    

I’ll always be the only woman in my house. Queen of my castle. Princess of my own fairytale. My world full of boys is often loud and hectic. It can be a little demanding. Sometimes, it smells funny, but I don’t have to share the girl spotlight with anyone.

It’s not a bad place to be.

And hey, at least surrounded by boys, I’m the only one with PMS, right?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Brodie Kevin Nunn! Please stop screaming!

Boy, n.:  a noise with dirt on it.  ~Not Your Average Dictionary
Dear Brodie:

You are about as ornery as they come and have been from the very beginning. Things I never experienced when I was pregnant with your brother got me with you. Bad. I was sick. I had vertigo. I was exhausted all of the time. I had rhinitis so bad I couldn’t breathe for months.

I almost lost you. Twice. I knew then that you would always have the ability to BREAK MY HEART. But we made it. Together. I fought for you. You fought for me. Thank you for teaching me how to be a fighter. 

You were violently and forcefully brought into this world and I have the battle scar to prove it. I’ve never carried a scar so proudly. I was devastated when they told me you were coming that way. I cried for weeks. I felt robbed of my right as a woman to give birth to you naturally. I was so scared. Unfortunately, they told me if I tried to give birth to you naturally, I would die. I didn’t want to die. I wanted to see what we had fought so hard for.

Turns out, you were totally worth it. Thanks for teaching me that fear doesn’t last and on the other side is some really, really good stuff.

You’ve always been a screamer. “The Super Hawk Squawk” we called it when you were tiny. It was cute when you were tiny. Now, I’m afraid if you don’t learn to talk and stop screaming, I’m going to lock you in Pop’s studio until you do. Seriously, Kid, that noise is driving me NUTS! I know it has to be frustrating for you to not be able to communicate. I love to talk, text, write, sing.  If I couldn’t get stuff out, I would probably scream all of the time too. But for your sake, and the sake of Mamma’s sanity, you have to pick a new noise. Sing, hum, growl, make click-clacking noises with your tongue like they do in little third world villages…ANYTHING BUT THAT SCREAMING!!


I love that you dance to anything with a beat. Like, anything, not just music. The other day you were dancing to the beat of the washing machine spinning. You’re pretty cute. Two of the only things you say clearly and in context are “Outside” and “GO, GO, GO”. I absolutely love that about you.

You have quite the little temper. In fact, when you’re tired, you are downright mean. That’s my DNA. Sorry about that one. It’s going to cause you a lot of grief in life. It’d be best to get a handle on it now. Stop hitting. It hurts.  

You’re beyond funny. You crack yourself up and you crack me up on an hourly basis. I don’t always understand you, but I get your jokes. Grandma calls you “Brodie the Bruiser”. You very rarely cry. You very rarely get hurt. You are fearless. You climb on everything and tear up everything and get into everything. You keep me on my toes in a way your brother never did. You literally eat snails. We went to the park yesterday and you played faster and harder than kids way older than you. You think you are bigger than you are. You are already over being a baby. You don’t like to be rocked or cuddled. You have always gone to sleep on your own. I never knew a 16 month old could be so independent. You are. You don’t seem to need me quite as much as your brother did, as much as he does.

See? Power to break my heart…

Daddy says we only have ourselves to blame. He says it’s because we named you Brodie Kevin Nunn. See, your initials, BK, those are for your uncle Billy Keith. Your middle name is after your uncle Kevin. And your last name, well, there really was no hope for you. If I wasn’t so tired and sick while I was pregnant, I probably would have known to pick one or the other. Naming you after both uncles was really just asking for it. Those have got to be two of the orneriest men I’ve ever met. You get that heartbreaking ability from them. You get that fire and fearlessness from them. And, if you turn out half as good as either one of them, you’ll be perfectly fine.

Your brother is going to school in two weeks. It’s going to be just you and me, Kid. I’m excited about this and also a little anxious. Logan won’t be here to distract and entertain you anymore and I’m afraid that’ll leave you with no one to fight with but me. It’s good you’ve already been preparing me for the fight. I think I’m ready.

Even on the days you drive me crazy, I’m so glad you’re you. I’m glad you picked me. I look forward to watching how far you get with that fearlessness and orneriness. I promise to try and help you point it in the right direction. I love your Dai Bai Dang Face and your chubby, yummy knees.