Save me from myself

I have a rock collecting problem.

Like any addiction, it more or less rules me.


I love rocks.

And shells.

And sea glass.

And even giant boulder-esque stone outcroppings that have any chance of being carried back with me.

Basically, anything that can quickly escalate my luggage up into the 80 or 90-pound range is just fine by me.

If I go anywhere with, near, in sight of, or on water, I immediately fill all my pockets with heavy earth-made goodies.


Once I found this amazing black triangle stone in a remote lake in northern Idaho. It was just lying there amongst a sea of round pebbles and oblong stones in varying shades of white and tan – a thin equalateral triangle in darkest ebony, with all three sides uniquely beveled. When I found I could stick it to my forehead and would stay there, I decided to keep it.



After a while I got it into my head that it was a magical rock. I would show it to people and they would always exclaim in disbelief that I had found such a thing sitting in a lake. It was perfect except for the rippled surface and some mild flaws in the beveling which made it clear that it’s strange shape was natural.



Eventually, I made a necklace out of it, and if I was on my older computer, I can guarantee there are at least two dozen pictures of me wearing that necklace, as I did so every day for almost a year. There’s actually one sitting in my bedroom that I glance at on a regular basis, taken by my friend Sam.



But I digress…  One night I went and saw David Sedaris read from a book in progress (later to be released as Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim), and he (Mr. Sedaris, in many ways a personal hero, as I adore anyone who can make me laugh – particularly with their writing. He is masterful in that regard, and some of his stories make me laugh hysterically, like the story “Big Boy” in Me Talk Pretty One Day about when he found the giant turd in the toilet at a friend’s house and was afraid people would think he’d done it and yet couldn’t figure out how to dispose of it. Hi-larious.). Anyway, what I was trying to say was that Mr. Sedaris, while signing some of my books – including Me Talk Pretty One Day – afterward, pointed out that my necklace strongly resembled a bathroom tile.


Although I was a bit hurt by the observation*, it did not deter me. I kept wearing it, even though I had to acquiese that if you didn’t notice the rippled and slightly grooved surface, it did look a bit like something you’d pick up in a set of 100 of Home Depot.


No. David Sedaris and his cruel, yet accurate, wit did not cause me to quit my necklace. What deterred me was a string of bad luck so horrific that ‘bad’ does not begin to justify it. ‘Bad’ becomes more like when Michael Jackson sang, “I’m bad. I’m bad. You know it. You know, you know…” and he meant it the other way. Like opposite day.



A series of terrible, appalling, horrific things occurred, and in my desperate hunt for some kind of reprieve (eventually to be found, at least in large part, in the form of a restraining order), I took off the necklace and buried it in my yard.



I think I started to believe in the potentially darker side of what people would sometimes exclaim about the rock – that it looked like something aliens would have made and left here by mistake. I used to dismiss this because, as a rule, I’m not a big fan of aliens, so thinking about that was unsettling. This could be because when the book “Communion” came out in the early 80′s, I was in Catholic school getting ready to have my First Communion. So I knew the word “Communion” and I suppose I thought I knew what it meant (or at least one definition).


Thus, I found it really upsetting – not to mention confusing - that the cover of said book featured the face of a scary grey alien emblazoned upon it. On the other hand, I’m the same person who spent about two years singing about “the dawning of the age of aquariums” because I had been to one and been very impressed and figured that’s what they were saying.


Anyway, in addition to the whole “Communion” misunderstanding, it seems to me that aliens are not a good idea – what with the body composition like vegetables and sticking probes into your brain and implanting you with freaky babies and all that – so I try to keep my distance. A wise relative once told me that they can’t abduct you unless you allow it, so I spent several years in my mid-twenties sending out silent messages of “Keep your distance. I’m not interested. Avert your dead, lifeless beady black eyes, thank you very much. These are not the droids you’re looking for…”


Happily, it worked, and I’ve never seen nor been abducted by jack sh*t…at least as far as they’ve allowed me to remember.


Anyway, with respect to the necklace, I somehow started to worry it was jinxed, so I went out in the middle of the night and got rid of it. Once in a while, I have thought about going back to that house and digging it up (because I’m pretty sure I could find it), but I always decide not to for one reason or another.





Moving on, the point here is that I love rocks and stones and shells and crystals and I’m not beyond making ugly neckalces out of them and then turning on them later when the going gets rough.


Today was no exception.

When I was finally able to get online late this morning, I was confronted with the following litany of headlines courtesy of iGoogle (and courtesy, by extension, of


  • Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is shrinking
  • Obama finds the world blames U.S.
  • Progress is slow in the war against autism
  • GOP warns ‘freight train’ may derail compromise
  • First lady, queen embrace; tongues wag
  • Ticker: Gingrich warns of Republican mutiny
  • Neighbor, 59, admits kissing missing girl, 8 
  • Mom urges kids to chug vodka, cops say 
  • WRAL: Shooter’s wife: ‘Wish it was me’
  • More annoyances for air travelers
  • Golf phenom fights the ‘r-word’
  • Bad pollen days hit dogs and cats
  • Valerie Bertinelli hanging on to fat clothes 
  • Proposal diamond slips through bridge

No wonder so many of the people of the world are feeling so pessimistic – if not downright depressed – lately. I would be too if I actually read this stuff.


As I got further down, I did notice a couple potentially positive nuggets tucked at the bottom

  • Laboratory researcher healthy 21 days after Ebola accident
  • Surgeons save man who accidentally swallowed scissors


I presume these are the ‘feel good’ stories, although they still manage to maintain a “holy hell, I hope that doesn’t happen to me” edge to them that isn’t entirely cheerful or encouraging like one might need after a mega-dose of doom and gloom.



I didn’t follow up on a single story, and yet I still felt myself feeling a little deflated by it all…and that’s no good for a humorous blog!



Thus, I decided to go for an exceptionally foggy walk along a particularly angry ocean, and pick up as many rocks, shells, and other objects as my pockets could hold.


It was the kind of fog where visibility is only a few feet and yet somehow it’s also really bright at the same time and you start thinking maybe you’re going blind (or maybe I am going blind? I do have terrible vision) but then rationalize that maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to blind, and who cares?; bring it on!; as blindness would remove the burden of a lot of superficial nonsense you deal with every day.


Depsite my near-blindness, I still managed to find some special specimens, which I present to you here. As you will see; earlier, I exaggerated. I didn’t just load up on rocks and shells for the purpose of loading up on rocks and shells. Nope. I kept only the truly special ones and those that were obviously charms and amulets of good luck and extreme super power. For ratio’s sake, the large one is the size of a bar of Dove soap…which was kind of part of its charm.

Sorry this is so blurry. I couldn't tell until I uploaded it here. If you ask me, the shell in the top left corner is the real prize. And - as a collector of sea glass - the big hunk of sea glass is pretty cool.

Sorry this is so blurry. I couldn't actually see that until I uploaded it here. I don't know if you can tell, but it seems to me that the shell in the top left corner is the real prize. And the big hunk of sea glass, seeing as I collect sea glass. I also collect sand, but I've now passed a rule that it has to be exotic sand, as I have so much sand. Foreign country or fancy-colored sand only...until further notice! Sea glass, however? No rules yet.



My luggage is no better off for my efforts, but I am happy with these little bits of the sea. They cheer me somehow and got my mind off the woes of the world. Moreover, and perhaps best of all, I didn’t accidentally swallow any scissors.

The magic is kicking in already!



* Note to self: When I am one day a famous writer, do not tease or otherwise make fun of people’s outfits or jewelry at book signings as you may be their personal hero and appear unfavorably in their blog years later.

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7 Responses to “Save me from myself”

  1. EarthHawk

    Rock on soul sister!!!
    When you let it go it pours out like that beautiful sand you collect through you hands.
    Leave those brain deadening constructs to the horrible writers that they are. Slaves to the pyramid of hell they keep up by sitting on the bottom. While the rest of us are free to make the choice to not read there lies and fabrications. We know how beautiful this world is and you have the shell to prove it. I unique one I might add. Can I have it?

  2. EarthHawk

    I know damn it a typo there at the end.
    A unique one is the proper way and know I don’t speak PIRATE ARRRRRRRR.

  3. Maxx AKA Marky Mark

    I’m thinking that the scientists have got it all wrong. There they are, thinking that sea levels are rising, when in actual fact the truth is Vanessa is lowering all the shore lines and stashing the sand and pebbles and shells at home. I’m thinking that your house is now at the top of a very large mountain yes ?? – Hmmmmmm thought so……

  4. Maxx AKA Marky Mark

    btw – there is an award waiting for you over at my place. Feel free to come and pick it up when you have a spare 5 mins….

  5. Lucky

    minutes… Talk about your quickie award:-) No but seriously, you spoke of your dark encounter with your Alien Communion, as for the brighter side of dark, I might suggest a brighter side of communion with the dark communion involving “Pinot noir”… The dark purple cluster of the “Alien “grape from a region of France known as Burgundy… It is said to produce the finest wine on the planet. Have an intimate taste for your self and allow those “grays’ to fade away. :-)

    Lucky’s last blog post..The Ides of March

  6. Andrea

    Had to think on this one for a minute, but ultimately decided to allow it. Thanks for submitting to the first edition of Ghost Stories Carnival!

  7. Esper

    awesome happy post. I feel really cheered up now :)