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I did a Facebook Live interview on June 12, 2017:

Join us for a Facebook Live on Monday June 12 at 11 am ET

Join me on Monday, June 12 at 11 am ET right here for a Facebook Live Q & A about my latest book Life, Death, and Beyond Smiggle's Bottom

Posted by Gay Partington Terry Author on Thursday, June 8, 2017


My father was an unconditionally honest man, obsessive in his habits. My mother was a saint, helpful to everyone, never a harsh word. I’m an only child who aspired to be a badass, but I had no role-models.

I look terrible in black; not so much vampirish as weak, sickly, possibly contagious. My tattoo fantasies are shattered by the fact that I’m prone to keloids. I’ve never owned a gun. I get loopy on a second glass of wine and I’m too clumsy to wear sunglasses in the dark. When I speak loudly or too much, I lose my voice. I can’t eat red meat because, apparently, I’m deficient in an enzyme required to digest it. When I break rules, I hear my mother’s voice. I want to be Patti Smith but lack her style and talent. I admire Tom Hanks. (And Keith Richards—so there! ) My competitive instincts are deficient. I’ve been frightened by my husband’s old brown shoes, thinking they were an animal lying in wait.

My favorite tai chi teacher assumed I was a “second sister.” I’m not sure why I lack the outer poise and self-assurance of an only child. My parents did their best to assure me that I was clever and capable, but I never quite believed them.

However, once I chased down a purse-snatcher with no regard to what I might do when I caught him. (Luckily, others arrived to help.) I have spoken out, when I probably should have kept my mouth shut. I’ve stood my ground (quietly) in awkward situations. I’ve offended people I don’t like—on purpose. I’ve embarrassed myself in countless ways, married a boy everyone said was wrong for me, and have no regrets. Though I don’t think of myself as courageous and conduct myself unobtrusively, there is a line I will NOT cross or allow others to traverse in my presence. I do not tolerate bigots or bullies, but I don’t argue with them. I’ve learned that it doesn’t do any good, better to walk away, block, unfriend.

I’ll never be known for bravery or boldness and, alas, there is no glory in being a connoisseur of daydreams, a gifted flaner, cloud visionary, or adept wallflower. The impression I make is amiable, entirely reputable. But make no mistake, in my heart I’m bad to the depths of my tawdry illusions.

Color notes from an “art drop-out”

In the course of shopping for gifts this year, I notice a lot of elaborately designed coloring books. They’re everywhere, toy stores, book stores, craft stores, even grocery stores. I can’t help wonder who has time to fill in the intricate patterns in these books? I barely have time to keep up with friends, email, laundry, errands, (grand) kids…and I don’t have a real job! It’s true I probably watch too much TV now that there are Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and cable options. But that isn’t until the dinner dishes are cleaned up and I’m incapable of being feasibly productive. I suppose I could color while I watch TV but that would be like watching with subtitles, wouldn’t it? You don’t see the actor’s faces and often miss weather the line was spoken in dead seriousness, or jokingly, ironically, threateningly… Sometimes you don’t see enough to tell one actor from another.
But the subject is color.

It’s said that a healthy diet should be rich in multi-colored fruits and vegetables. And life is fuller with colorful friends, even if that friendship consists solely of reading their clever/uplifting/intelligent Facebook posts (Twitter, Instagram… whatever app you use to stalk interesting people who might not be willing to come to your house and share a tub of store-bought ice cream).

My mother was an amateur painter. She was a fan of green. Not bright green, turquoise, teal, any sort of vibrant shade or rich blend; but bashful institutional greens, the green of school walls, hospital corridors, government offices. Today some of these institutions have begun to include color in their environment, but in those days an indistinct green was thought to be soothing. My mother was a calm woman. Her home and clothing choices could soothe you to oblivion.

I, on the other hand, am a fan of color. Fall is my favorite season. The worst part of winter is the absence of color—grey skies and people huddled in amorphous dark clothing. I admire summer colors though I’m too old and plain to aspire to drastic vibrancy.

I covet rooms and fashions that are bold colors but, unfortunately, I was laughed out of art class in the seventh grade. I have little sense of what goes together. I know when the end result clashes but have trouble predicting disharmony. I can’t visualize what a color will look like on a wall from a tiny sample or even a stroke of the brush, though I know it’s wrong when it’s completed. When I needed a file cabinet and was offered a pink one, I thought I’d hate it and end up repainting it but, frankly, I think it looks great with the mismatched blues and teals in the room. It matches the skin of the actor on my Peking Opera poster and the faded red of my Carson & Barnes circus poster.

My son doesn’t take a position on color but his wife is very good at choosing dramatic shades and putting them together. My daughter has a curious relationship with color. Her home and clothing are shades of black, white and grey. I would never have thought these “colors” come in shades, but she puts a great deal of attention to whether there’s too much pink in the white, or green in the grey. These are nuances I miss, lessons that must have been taught in art classes beyond grade seven.

Cowgirls and Pirates

One of my favorite readers admired this photo of me (“Life, Death, and Beyond Smiggle’s Bottom” p23), in my cowgirl outfit. Alas, I have to admit that I never had cowgirl aspirations. I’m a great admirer of those that do. I did love the Lone Ranger but thought of myself as more of a “faithful companion” type than actual hero. From the age of four until I was eight (the “Fourgoose Era” in the book), my daily playmates were three boys that lived nearby and playing “cowboy” was a popular pastime. I’m quite agreeable to costumes. You can tell because Halloween is my favorite holiday.
My preferred fantasy identity was pirate. I never saw a real ocean until I was19 years old, but as a child I was fascinated by sailing ships, seafaring outlaws, and, of course, pirate acoutrements. I was determined to be a sea captain until junior high when my failure to understand algebra convinced me that I wouldn’t be unable to navigate a ship (never having read beyond nineteenth century sailing techniques). I learned later in life that I’m extremely susceptible to sea sickness—so there went that fantasy. Arrrrr…

Another question was about my name. No one ever called me Felicity; that’s a nom de plume I used in the book. I have always, always been called Gay because of my early crankiness. It’s not the name I was given at birth. I don’t use my birth name for superstitious reasons.