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Bewildering Stories

KJ Hannah Greenberg, Oblivious to the Obvious:
Wishfully Mindful Parenting


Oblivious to the Obvious:
Wishfully Mindful Parenting
Author: Channie Greenberg
Publisher: French Creek Press
(April 26, 2010)
Length: 146 pages
ISBN-10: 9655440036
ISBN-13: 978-9655440034
Whereas many a hibernaculum of imaginary hedgehogs are satisfied with fixating on shiny things, such as bits of leaves or with focusing on insidious backyard beasts such as cats, crickets and misdirected butterflies, other purviewers of words insist upon being given ample portions of correctly annunciated nonsense alongside of their servings of correctly formatted semantics. To the latter population, imagery without accompanying auditory stimuli rots.

Oblivious to the Obvious: Wishfully Mindful Parenting solves such problems. In this compilation of snazzy, finger-snapping creative nonfictions, the semantic bathtub and kitchen sink have been chucked to make room for ferocious writing. Solipsisms get waved at, sanity in syntax becomes transformed into hot stock and all manners of illicit synecdoche whimper away having been outlawed.

While many volumes of word worship roam contently among safe topics such as volcanoes, cosmic storms, and the ravaging of select species by larger beasts, Oblivious to the Obvious refuses to tread gently on more sensational starting points. This book rushes into fear-provoking subject matters, including: laundry, diapers, dishes and the random disappearance of socks and kitchen towels. In Oblivious to the Obvious, beach balls receive as much attention as do teenage angst, sibling rivalry and the exhaustion regularly experienced by middle-aged mothers. Similarly, in Oblivious, calories are knighted into sources of catharsis, dirt is designated a mere mundanity, and the choice to stay up late enough to greet the sun, in order to talk to friends on the other side of the world, is given tacit approval.

That said, individuals who appreciate word play as well as persons possessed of even an iota of empathy for the plight, flight or sight of moms, will enjoy this collection. Similarly, people apathetic about the impact of lice, of beetles, and of stray pups on homes brimming with random-sized children, too will likely hoot and holler when reading Oblivious to the Obvious: Wishfully Mindful Parenting. After all, although allegedly rooted in truth, good essays actually consist of witnessing accompanied by ample helpings of imagination.

Fiction and Phobias

Mortimore lives in my youngest daughter’s room. He’s a stag beetle. At least, I think that’s what he is; I have never had the dubious pleasure of eyeballing him. I do not want to meet him. I hate bugs. I am even afraid of them.

Most of the times, I avoid such encounters by sequestering myself in my office. There, not only do I escape the attention of members of the Lucanidae family, but I also manage to quell any of my preexistent, harmful passions.

As a Mommy Writer, I brim with prehistoric, fire-breathing tendencies. Such propensities arise from the combination of my inherent, female, chemical soup and from my inherent, female, parental need to put an end to all of the local, recurring, coups d’état.

Specifically, when toy geese go swimming in the toilet, when the hamburger meant for dinnertime gets consumed as an afterschool snack, or when the circuits shorts, especially while I am penning a “masterpiece,” because too many electronic entertainment devices have been simultaneously plugged in, I rage. Using only my screen as a protective device between my feelings and my young, I storm through alien creatures and careless love arrangements. I take bites out of government officials and deconstruct all possible escapes that wanton mangers might have considered evoking. My fictional worlds make my real one safer.

As my fury abates, my construction of tales becomes less a conduit to emotional safety and more like the eating of grapes; the bitter sweetness of creating even a single narrative evokes my culling of another and then another. I forget the favorite shirt shrunk by careless laundresses and forgive the son who smashed last year’s best piece of ceramics. I reflect not on my children’s overdue library books, or on the tattooed friend one teen brought home, but on why a gelatinous monster spaced off with a hedgehog and on how I am going to explain to a beloved editor that one of my offspring was not homebirthed.

Eventually, I begin to regard the inner quality of my eyelids. My husband softly raps on my office door and reminds me, ever so gently, that he’s going to bed. Down the hall, electronic music, courtesy of one son’s bass, wafts among the starlight. An awkward chord jars me. Suddenly, instead of skipping among mentations about motorcycling lizards or about manicurists who survive doom day scenarios, I am remembering another of my children’s incident with a neighbor’s Dalmatian. It took eight months of allowance to pay off that damage. Although I told the children repeatedly, they did not heed my warning, that ignorant beasts ought never to be tempted with trout.

While visions of shattered crystalline chanticleers and of burnt toast compete for my attention, I force myself to return to my literary reverie. If I don’t record these moments of life, even in allegory, even in hyperbole, then my children will outgrow this stage before I can capture it.

So, I write about gun-toting foreign nationals, about new ways to make less mess while changing diapers, about the importance of hydration after a hangover and about small dolls’ lost smiles. In the end, however, long after the stars had posted notice and the sun has yet to report to work, a shriek, clear as an ice cream truck’s bell and loud as a crow’s fervor, breaks my stride. Mortimore has returned to my daughter’s room and apparently, this time, he’s brought his Mrs.

Copyright © 2010 by Channie Greenberg

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