My Table

Let me take you back…about thirty years ago, to be exact. I spent a morning working down in my grandfather’s basement. Pop-pop had a full workshop from his many years as an engineer, and I think he was probably pretty happy that (even though he had granddaughters instead of grandsons), they were still interested in what he did. So we spent that summer morning building a cube. It was simple, it was easy, but, for me and my eight-year-old self, it was awesome. Later on, I drew flowers on it with a marker, and it disappeared somewhere down the line. But it was a big, solid block, and I think I even used it as a trashcan for a while.

Of course, Pop-pop was way better at it than I was. We still have one of the “Pop-pop chairs” in my house – one of the chairs made for my sister and me when we were little kids. They were awesome, and they’ve held up to years of abuse.

So, to me, making stuff is important.

Fast-forward. A few years ago, we got a big, comfy recliner to go in the bedroom. The only space for it was next to the bed on my side. The problem was that it was a bit bigger than we thought. It didn’t fit with the bed and my bedside table, so I moved my bedside table and began using a simple little IKEA table. It worked, and it fulfilled its purpose. But no matter what, it was a black, thin, fake wood (can it even be called “wood” with the word fake in front of it? And when it’s that obvious? And doesn’t that also imply that there could be some confusion and someone could somehow imagine that it was made of wood?).

More forward movement. I went away for my final residency at University of Tampa for my MFA in Creative Writing. And I came back to find something in the garage – Patrick had begun making me a table. Like from scratch. And from wood. Actual, honest-to-goodness pieces of wood that had once upon a time been part of a tree. He took some time to get it finished up properly, and just this past weekend, he finished it up and moved it into the bedroom, into its proper place.

Now let me tell you why it’s so awesome.

  1. Many years ago, I heard a story about Richard Pryor. Apparently he had an awesome idea for a joke one night when he was asleep. Being the clever sort, he had a tape recorder at his bed-side, and he woke up enough to share the brilliant joke with the microphone. The next morning, he woke up and listened, ready to hear – and jot down – his masterpiece. Except it wasn’t there. All that was on the tape was mumbling, punctuated with a lot of laughs. From him. He had no memory of what was so funny, and he had no way of interpreting his noises.

    Why bring that up?

    Because I’ve done similar things, only worse. Falling asleep, inspiration strikes! I know what to write about! I’ve come up with the first line – or the last line – of whatever I’m working on! I’ve solved the problem with my plot! (Or character! Or setting! Or whatever!)

    And my brain convinces me that I don’t need to write it down

    But I do need to write it down! And since it’s always late and dark that means fumbling around for something to write with or write on. But no more.

    Because Patrick is so awesome that he made the top of my table a whiteboard!

    So now I can just grab a handy marker and scrawl it out on the table so that, in the morning, I can look at it and say, “What the hell does that mean?” (I have a note in my phone that says “Robot Roosevelt.” Still have no idea why.)


  1. It has a totally custom, totally amazing inlay of a hummingbird. Last summer, I got this hummingbird tattoo.  Since I like my body art to be unique (or mostly unique), I contracted with Victoria Shipman to draw me a hummingbird and a blue rose – two images I wanted to merge for my tattoo. Well, Patrick took the original artwork and used the hummingbird to create the inlay. Super awesome sauce, right?


  1. As you can so easily see in the picture, it holds my cable to charge my phone! Patrick threw a little hoop on the back, and if the cord is threaded through it, the hoop holds it in place. So my cell phone can sit on the table and get charged without the cable always falling behind it when I foolishly unplug it to answer a call or respond to a text message.


So, now y’all can see my awesome table and be all jealous of how awesome Patrick is.





“Good Morning, Alabama!” Robin Williams’ Suicide and My Vacation

How do you “trigger warning” the news?

For those that know me, they probably know that I’ve spent some time fighting depression and anxiety. A lot of time, really. And on some days, just reading that news would have been enough to send me spiraling down and make me think about my alternatives.

When you’re there, you can’t think of the reasons to go on. They’re hidden behind a wall, a magician’s curtain.

Those days are like a skit from a Wiggles DVD. When they have a magic coloring book that goes from empty to full of colored pages. Only instead of it being something that appears when you say the magic word, the colors all vanish instead, and the magic word is “suicide.”

It’s a slippery slope in my brain, the slip and slide of depression and death.

I’m lucky, though. I’ve found good doctors and good medication. I’ve made some good choices. I’ve had some good support.  It’s been almost three months since I spent a day unable to get out of bed. Seriously unable. Nothing could convince me that it was worth it to get out of bed.

silly string - kateWe were all on vacation in Alabama when I read about Robin Williams. I was sad to hear it happened to him, but I was also glad that I wasn’t there anymore – not right now. Right now I could see that there were good things in my life, I didn’t need to look at alternative, I wanted to get out of bed and do things every day.

If you haven’t been there, then you can’t understand, and you can’t judge.

It’s easy to say that he did it because he was weak, because he was worried about his future, because he had other problems in his life…but all of that was incidental. The depression is what did it.

Whether or not we want to admit it, depression can and does kill.