"Christeene Fraser is a vibrant new voice on the poetry scene. Starkly confessional, yet warmly human, her writing strikes a nerve in the audience...a poet to watch."

Bruce Haring, Director, New York Book Festival

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Phrases That Make Me Cringe

At the risk of sounding like a total elitist language-Nazi wench, my face erupts in a series of ticks when people use certain phrases. It's not that I'm judging them (well, maybe a little). It's more like my actual nerve endings reject a certain brand of ignoramus. I'd love to say that I had a neatly compacted 'Top Ten' list, but for now I submit the 'Top Seven' that are nagging me this week.

1. "We're pregnant"--No, actually, SHE's pregnant. Is HE also downing prenatal vitamins like candy, hovering over a toilet every thirty minutes, and experiencing a strange darkening of the areolas? No? Then "WE" are not pregnant. I can accept "We're expecting" on a technicality, but even that makes me wince just a little.

2. "Going green"--Let me clarify by saying that this phrase only makes me cringe in advertising. Just because you are a store that is now offering to sell me a crappy reusable bag that I will inevitably forget to bring during my next shopping experience does NOT make you an environmentally friendly company. I am not fooled; but thanks for the new lunch bag anyway.

3. "You people"--It's the favorite phrase of bigots everywhere for a reason. Fury-inducing cringe-worthiness.

4. "I hate to bother you, but..."--Remember that song from School House Rock, "Conjunction, junction, what's your function?" Well in this case, the conjunction 'but' is meant to describe its speaker. As in, you ARE one by using this disingenuous phrase to feel less guilty about bothering me.

5. "Can I ask you a question?"--This is the epitome of backward-logic-falsely-polite-I'm-too-insecure-to-just-spit-it-out-waste-of-a-phrase. You need to ask me permission to ask me a question? Oh, the irony. That level of self-doubt could cause a head injury.

6. "Parking in rear"--Do I even need to say anything about this one? Your inner middle-schooler should take care of this nicely.

7. "She/he's my boo!"--Excuse me, what? She's your boo? Are you scared of her or something?

What's on your cringe list?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Christeene's Bucket List

Have you seen the movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman in it, "The Bucket List?" Neither have I. But I hear it's fantastic. The basic premise, I gather from those who've watched it and reported back, is that two old guys are dying and they decide to make the most of their time on earth by doing things on their bucket lists; as in, 'kick the bucket' list. I asked myself, what are the top 20 things I want to do before I die, without concern for money, talent, or practicality? Here's what comes to mind immediately, in no particular order:

1. Participate in the annual "Running of the Bulls" in Spain: One pair of, Nikes $100. Plane ticket to Spain, $800. Being able to say you barely dodged the horns of a raging bull by mere inches? Priceless.

2. Meet and talk with Gabriel Garcia Marquez, my favorite (living) author of all time.

3. Direct a movie version of "The Giver."

4. Jam session with Coldplay.

5. Create a collection of couture wedding gowns and premiere them on a runway in New York City.

6. White water rafting in the Colorado River.

7. Spend a day in the Vatican archives.

8. Have coffee with the president.

9. Get published in The Paris Review.

10. Backpack through Spain, southern France,and Italy.

11. Learn to play the violin or guitar.

12. Earn a black belt in a martial art of some sort.

13. Go on an extended missionary trip in South America: Jesu Cristo se ama.

14. Star in a Broadway musical: jazz hands people, jazz hands!

15. Deep sea fishing for Marlin ala Ernest Hemingway.

16. Tour the top ten greatest libraries in the world.

17. Open an amazing bookstore/coffee shop in the McDonough Square.

18. Spend a season on a commercial crab fishing boat in Alaska.

19. Go to the "Body Farm" in Tennessee. Yes, it's as weird as it sounds:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_farm

20. See my name on the spine of book on a Barnes and Noble bookshelf (even if it's the bargain section).

What's on your 'bucket list?'