“What are you doing?”
I looked up to see my Cleric staring at me.
“I’m wasting time, answering one of those silly surveys on Face Book.”
“What is the survey about?”
“It’s called 10 Things You Don’t Know About Me. The idea is to share lesser known facts that you think might be of interest to your friends.”
“Oh, fun! So, what are you sharing with your friends?”
My Cleric curled up on the couch and listened attentively as I read:
“One – I can’t ride a bicycle. When I was a kid, my parents didn’t think it was safe to ride a bike in the city. When I was older, I attempted to learn several times, but I seem not to have the necessary balance.”
“So, you are unbalanced?” My Cleric quirked an eyebrow.
“That’s not what I said, smarty-pants!”
She smiled, and gestured for me to continue.
“Two – In spite of swimming lessons as a child, as a teen, as a young adult, and as an older adult, I still swim like a rock.”
My Cleric looked confused. “Rocks do not swim.”
“Three – I’m a lifelong slob. Back in second or third grade (when I rode my dinosaur to school), my desk and papers were constantly messy. My teacher used to make me stay after school at least twice a week to clean them out, but it never helped. The problem was so bad, the teacher finally made some of my classmates stay and clean out my desk and papers. I guess she figured peer pressure would force me into becoming neat. Never happened. I remained a slob long past my school days; I’m still a slob today. If anyone would like to come over and clean my house, I promise I would not be offended.”
“Your house is not that messy,” my Cleric assured me. “Your office, however…” She gave me a knowing look.
“Uh-huh. Moving right along…”
“Four – I can’t color inside the lines. Coloring books for adults are all the rage these days, and I have thought about getting myself one. I really enjoy coloring. But I would be too embarrassed if anyone saw my efforts. Trying to stay inside the lines would stress me out – just the opposite effect coloring is supposed to have.”
“Yes, there is no sense doing something to relax if it will have the opposite effect,” my Cleric agreed.
“Five – My penmanship looks like the scratchings of a drunken chicken.”
“Hmmm…reviewing items 3, 4, and 5, I think I detect a pattern.” My Cleric smiled ever so sweetly. I cleared my throat and continued.
“Six – I do not believe in UFO’s, alien abductions, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, or any reports that Elvis is still alive.”
“You do not believe in these things…yet you believe in the existence of your characters – elves, dwarves, ghosts, magic users, dragons.”
She cocked her head and studied me for a moment. “You are very strange.”
She chuckled. “Continue.”
“Seven – I am a horrible conversationalist. I’m shy, introverted, and socially awkward. I hate having to make small talk. But this makes me an excellent listener, so people rarely notice how quiet I am.”
“You can not converse well, yet you can write wonderful dialogues for your characters!”
“I don’t write those, remember? I just record what all of you say and do.” I winked.
She chuckled again, and nodded.
“Eight – I am on the 10-most-wanted list of the Fashion Police. I wear what I am comfortable in, typically torn and stained sweatshirts that were old when Jesus rode a tricycle; and jeans, usually black, brown or dark green, whether or not they match the sweatshirt.”
My Cleric looked at me, wrinkled her nose at my rumpled outfit, and diplomatically made no comment.
“Nine – I can’t read music. I had music in school. The teacher was great – I was not. I felt like I was trying to read ancient hieroglyphics.”
“Well, if it is any consolation, I can not read music, either.”
“So, that was nine items. What is last on your list?”
“That’s it. I can’t think of a tenth item that most people don’t already know about me.”
“I presume most people know that you were a successful freelance writer with several hundred published articles in local, regional and national magazines, in addition to a few pieces of magazine fiction and poetry; and that you are now an aspiring author, working on a series of Young Adult Fantasy novels.”
Yes, I think everyone knows that.”
“Do they know you are a nature lover, birdwatcher and amateur photographer?”
“Do they know you lived most of your life in a place called New Jersey, near an ocean, and only came to this place called Minnesota about a dozen years ago?”
“Yup, they know that, too.”
“Do they know you hate cold weather?”
“Oh, yes! That’s one of the few topics on which I’m very vocal.”
“Do they know that you are extremely short?”
“Hey!” I protested. “I’m not that short! Besides, nice things come in small packages.”
My Cleric giggled. “I believe your father used to remind you that poison does, too.”
I glared at her. She cleared her throat and quickly continued.
“Do they know you used to have horses?”
“Yup…and birds and cats and dogs and rabbits. I think most people know that about me.”
“Do they know you used to volunteer at a wildlife rehabilitation center?”
“I have shared that information several times.”
“Hmmmm…” The Cleric studied me, her cornflower blue eyes searching my brown ones, as if the answer could be read there. Perhaps it could, as she asked, “Do they know the song that means the most to you is Fill the World With Love, and that your greatest fear is that you have not lived up to that ideal?”
My jaw dropped. “I…I didn’t know anyone knew that,” I stammered.
“It is amazing how well one can come to know another when one lives in that person’s mind and heart.” My Cleric graced me with a warm smile.
“Someday, perhaps I will know you that well,” I replied, returning her smile.
“Perhaps…if you ever finish writing my book.” She winked at me, and skipped out of the room, humming a familiar tune.
If you’d like to get to know me and my characters better, feel free to stop back from time to time. I’ll keep the porch light on for you.