Clarice James

Smart, Fun, Relatable Fiction


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Words That Strike Fear in My Husband’s Heart

Persuasive-Essay-IdeasWhen I utter this specific string of five words, I see the fear in my husband’s eyes, I hear it in his voice, and, I swear, I smell it oozing from his pores. The words in themselves are innocuous; it’s what they represent that scares him.

Some husbands panic at “We have car insurance, right?” Others tremble at “Mother’s coming for a visit!” And a few quake at “Honey, I think I’m pregnant.”

Not my husband. First, he doesn’t let me drive that often. Second, my mom won’t leave home for more than three hours at a time. And, third, we’ve decided to wait to have kids.

[That’s a joke for those who are looking at my profile photo and wondering if I’m delusional.]

“What could those words possibly be?” you ask. The five little words that strike fear in my husband’s heart are . . .

“Hey, I have an idea!”

He tries to hide the terror, but his subtle body language tells me otherwise: the slumping shoulders, the eye-twitching, the convulsing, the hand slapping his forehead, or his head banging against the wall. He thinks I don’t notice, but I’m observant, if nothing else.

I don’t know what his problem is. My “hey-I-have-an-idea” ideas have been good ones, if I do say so myself.

  • Rent out our house to friends while it was on the market. [Okay, so placing huge couches in front of the fireplace and front door wasn’t the best staging strategy.]
  • Begin an online publishing syndicate. [I admit working twelve hours a day and watching $13,000 go down the cyber drain was not the most fun we’ve had.]
  • Create an art piece to draw attention to our living room’s cathedral ceiling. [Can you believe he took issue with lifting and hanging my 4-foot by 8-foot masterpiece built of wood, tile, and stone?]
  • Start Party of One, A Fellowship for Those Tired of Dining Alone. [Some found it unusual that I asked my husband of four years if I could start a group for singles. Who knew?]
  • Initiate a marketing campaign for my fellow literary clients—all 154 of them. [Sheesh. All I asked him to do was take pictures of the books individually on our bookshelf; size the photos; create individual Facebook cover photo banners; Photoshop e-books into the bookshelf; and, oh, create the nonexistent book spines for these e-books.]

Hmm . . . Hey, I have an idea!

Since my husband is so good at executing my ideas, I think I’ll make him a nice meal today before he executes me or, worse, gets any of his own ideas about that singles group.

hanging

Actual size of wall hanging: 4′ x 8′


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In My Humble Opinion

Humble PieIf you ask me for my humble opinion, I will give you that and more: I will help.

My tagline reads: “Writer ~ Editor ~ Encourager.” I find joy in giving others encouragement, in any way I can, even if I have to force feed it to them.

A few years back, my son told me that his wife would love my help decorating their new house. In the past, I’d helped my daughter and my friends with decorating projects, so this was a task I could handle. Still, as a mother-in-law, I checked with him twice.

As soon as I got his okay, I started making the rounds of my favorite stores, filling my trunk with samples: area rugs, lamps, artwork, pillows, vases, curtains, and blanket throws. I was sure I’d hit the mark with many of my purchases.

Good thing I kept the receipts; I was wrong. Turns out my daughter-in-law did a perfectly fine job on her own.

[I can hear you, you know. Yes, I should have checked with her first.]

In the writer’s critique group I founded, members often ask about the publishing process. I have given talks on it, handed out lists of books on the subject, conducted workshops, and emailed them links to multiple industry-related blogs. “Overwhelm” is the word that comes to my mind—and theirs.

A few months ago, a friend asked me to review their church’s new website. They’d been working on it for a while and needed another set of eyes. I went through every page, read every word, checked every jot and tittle, looked at every graphic, and commented on it all in a five-page report. No half-hearted efforts on my part! I doubt they will ask me again.

Recently, a young man wanted my feedback on his fundraising letter. I attacked the task with vigor, practically re-wrote the whole dang thing. When I was done, it sounded nothing like him, but a lot like me. He used very few of my suggestions. Gee whiz, why not?

My husband is fond of saying, “People really don’t want your opinion; they just want to hear their own opinion in someone else’s  voice.”  I don’t want to believe he is right, but I’m having second thoughts.

Or could it be that I need to dial it back a bit? Perhaps I should ask people to be more specific in their requests? Maybe I could ask myself why I think I know what’s right for them? Or maybe I could just say no?

Or . . . could it be that my humble opinion isn’t so humble? My conundrum: And how will I know when it is?

Tell me, please  . . . in your humble opinion.