Tuesday, May 9, 2006


When I was in first grade, I thought that "elemeno" was an adjective to describe the very special letter "P." I didn't know what "elemeno" meant, and I didn't know why "P" was so special, but I was 6 and there were lots of words I didn't know yet. I was used to that.

I knew how to read, of course. But I can't remember a time when I didn't read whole words. The Alphabet Song was a song to me. I got that it was about letters and letters made words, but it's not like I was singing The Alphabet Song while sight-reading in first grade.

I still remember the feeling of incredible confusion followed by clarity and embarrassment when it all became clear. I was working on an alphabetizing exercise and trying to figure out where to place a word that started with L, M, N, or O, and using The Alphabet Song to help me. I ran through the song several times in my head, then decided to "cheat" by looking up at the alphabet posted above the chalkboard. Lightbulb!


I'm applying for the Summer Writers Institute at Washington University this summer. In Creative NonFiction/Memoir. I'm late to this decision, and late to the application process, though I'm told that the Institute isn't full and they're still accepting applicants. I don't know how hard it is to get in. I do know that my sample piece is very new and very rough. But I really, really want to do this. So maybe they'll want my money enough to take me anyway.

Paul's reading my sample right now. He's laughing aloud and riding some emotional waves, but he's not exactly an objective reader. After all, he's reading something that he actually lived, so he's tapping into memories.

Come to think of it, if I can get him to access his memories, most of which he keeps buried somewhere deep in his subconscious or lower, then perhaps I am doing something right after all.

Fingers crossed.


  1. She made me laugh and cry... and laugh... and cry... and then chuckle a little. I don't like when people play with my emotions. ;)

  2. Hee. Excellent of you to solve the Elemeno mystery all by yourself. At our house, Elemeno is completely missing. Just a quarter-beat missing between K and P.

  3. Common misconception elemeno. Even Zoey and Elmo talk about it in the Alphabet Jungle video.

    That's exciting about the writer's institute. I hope you get in.

  4. ooh! cool! A writing workshop!

  5. I thought elemeno was the letter that came before p, but thinking of it as an adjective is much more creative. None of the other letters get adjectives! If it were an adjective what would it mean?

  6. I appreciated both your chuckles and your tears, Paul. :)

    Mike, I like it!

    Amanda, an Elmo video? OMG, his screetchy little voice drives me crazy. I couldn't do it.

    PPB, I know! I really really want to do this. And in creative nonfiction! Who knew?!

    Hi, TrisomyMommy! I don't know why P is so special. Maybe because it's the one in the middle? We did read "The One In the Middle is the Green Kangaroo" that year too, and my middle sister is definitely my mom's favorite, so I was probably more than willing to believe in the power of being in the middle!

  7. The elemeno thing made me laugh out loud. I think we all have those little embarrassments. When I was a kid, I used to think that people got berries in cemeteries. I had no idea why everyone was so down on cemeteries. So someone is getting berries in the cemetery. What's the big deal? Hello! Who doesn't like to pick berries?


    Oh, and the most classic one that I'm sure a lot of people have in common with me: thinking those song lyrics were, "Everytime you go away/you take a piece of meat with you." Ah, an anthem about packing your lunch. Very necessary in today's fast-paced society. Don't forget that meat, my love!