Monday, September 27, 2010

10 Weeks of Word Oracles - Slice

© 2010 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

No matter how you slice it, slice is a great word for us to chew on for cool insights! Welcome to #3 in a series of 10 words drawn as oracles—spirited topics to ponder drawn just for our Hot/Cool community. Visit the post for Word Oracle #1 (Upper) for the history on what we’re doing at this wordfest and why.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but slice is a very good word for me, personally. I have issues with slice. I alluded to them somewhat in talking about the word upper. Auntie Mame is my heroine, and to me, “Life’s a banquet.” I have a great deal of difficulty limiting myself to a single slice of anything. I have a lusty appetite for food--and live with the health and weight challenges that go along with it. Same goes for most everything else in life. I couldn’t limit myself to one blog. (Now I have three.) Until two of them passed on, I had four pets. You get the picture. Overdo is my middle name.

Unfortunately, one of the side effects of overdo for most of us leads me to another word, overwhelm. Slice is actually an antidote to it.

Slice is like the joke, “How do you eat an elephant?” Answer: A bit at a time.

My office often looks like a total disaster area. I hate working in chaos, even if creativity springs from chaos itself. Still, the enormity of the job to get organized just leaves me with eyes glazed over, my visual orbs a pair of vortexes that are not exactly the white tornados of cleaning solutions. When I can do the job in slices, a piece at a time, I actually get something accomplished. Slice. What a concept!

Then there is the literary form, a slice of life.

slice of life

An episode of actual experience represented realistically and with little alteration in a dramatic, fictional, or journalistic work. ~ Free Online Dictionary

Since memoir writing is one of my strongest genres and my own life has given me plenty of slices to share, I’ll serve up an episode from my Pie of Life. This is the one my intuition told me to tell you.

Thanks But No Thanks

I’m a teenager, and I’m the lucky family member with garbage duty this particular night. Our small house has a postage-stamp sized backyard, and behind that is a garage. A long sidewalk runs beside the house and garage, and the garbage cans are located at the end of the walk, against the garage, where the walk intersects with an alley.

It’s autumn and gets dark early in the suburbs of Chicago. I am hugging my big plastic trash bag, carrying it down the walk by outdoor light, which is rather dim. I’m humming a tune to myself, thinking of some boy I have a crush on. I look up about half-way to the goal and see a man lurking by the garbage cans.

I scream! The trash bag flies straight up in the air, a good four feet, as I reverse directions on a dime and run to the back door, yodeling the whole way like my fanny is on fire. I don’t stop screaming when I get there.

Dad comes rushing to the kitchen where I’m now standing, still screaming. “What in the h— is wrong?” my father demands. I can barely stop screaming long enough to say, “Man—by garbage cans.”

Dad goes out there with a big honking flashlight, the beacon kind you take with you camping. He inspects and investigates. Of course, he finds nothing.

“I can’t see a damned thing,” he pronounces.

I insist that I am not imagining it—that there was someone lurking there.

Hw silly does this sound? He could have been a neighbor tossing a soda can in the nearest trash receptacle while walking down the alley from his own garage. Yet, somehow, I knew he was sinister—and my high-drama, Italian mother believed me.

She called the police, and they knew before they even investigated that they wouldn’t find him or anything suspicious; however, they share with my mom that there have been complaints in the neighborhood about a guy exposing himself. How did I know that? All I saw was the shadow of a man. I didn’t even see the shadow of his—uh—“exposure.”

Now, nearly 50 years later, I’m still chuckling over this scenario, which wasn’t so funny to me at the time. My psychic radar started very young, and believe me, I’m always into prevention. There was a slice of this guy I did not want to see!

Meditation and Journaling on Slice

Sit quietly in a meditative posture, whatever one works for you. Have pen and paper nearby.

1. Take three deep breaths. Say “slice” to yourself. Let it rest on your mind, then let your mind respond. What does this word mean to you? Take plenty of time to let the thoughts form or memories come back to you. Let them finish speaking. When they are done saying what they have to say, write down their message.

2. Return to meditation. Read this thought, and then sit with it in the silence for as long as it feels right: I am thankful for the ability to tackle life a slice at a time. When I am overwhelmed, I respond by imagining the natural slices into which I can break food, projects, feelings, and other larger forms.

3. When you come out of meditation, look at what you wrote about “slice.” Take some time to contemplate it. Carry these thoughts into your week. Learn as much as possible about your relationship to slice. Write a few wrap-up notes before the end of the week and our next word.

May this batch of word oracles, broken into ten slices, bring you some good “slice of life stories” and a new appreciation for savoring life itself one slice, bite, and morsel at a time.


Next week’s word: Drawing

Photo credit: Pizza Slice © Danee79

Reader Feedback Wanted: Let me know your thoughts on the Word Oracle series in the Comments or by e-mail.

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