By: Kathleen Pickering

Last Thursday, Jordan Dane’s blog discussed how we stumble upon, or in the more focused minds like the scientists of NOVA, discover plots that ultimately form our stories. I’m here to answer Jordan’s ending question on motivating, strange events.

Jordan, I’m discovering the strangest things that make me think of a book plot come from my own family–my sisters and my mother. (My two brothers are currently exempt.) I’m convinced the women in my family have been sabotaging my thirty year marriage and hence, giving me fodder to plot murder mysteries.

For example, today, my bathroom sink drain wouldn’t open. So, I climbed under the cabinet to fix it and found a pair of perfumed women’s Spanx stuffed in the back. Now, mind you, Spanx are not a lacy, black thong, but a highly constructed, beige spandex body slimmer, thigh length. Not at all sexy. See what I mean?


I laugh and post the photo on Facebook because it’s too freaking funny. Between the constant flow of house guests and the occasional pet-sitter, I know there is an answer other than the obvious insinuation that my husband has been having voluptuous women over when I’m traveling. Because after all, I would have to plot a murder mystery based on his unexplained demise, should it be the truth.

A phone call from one of my five sisters solved the mystery: “Oh, Kath. Ha. Ha. That’s mine. I was wearing it at your party in January and it got too uncomfortable. Ha. Ha. I’ll bet you gave Jimmy a rash over that one! By the way, can you take the photo off Facebook?!”

Or the time, when I picked up Jim’s suit from the cleaners, only to have the man who didn’t speak English very well hand me a folded wax paper bag with a woman’s bra . . . lace . . . beige . . . not mine . . . that the cleaner had found in the breast pocket of his jacket! I had been on my way to pick Jim up for a trip to eastern Long Island at the time. Needless to say, this “find” made for some colorful conversation on our two hour trip.

What did we discover upon arrival at my mother’s? “Oh. Ha. Ha. Isn’t that funny,” says Mother. “When you were here last week, I was picking up after everyone went swimming. Saw the bra on the floor, thought it might be yours and stuffed it in Jim’s suit pocket.”

Ha. Ha. It was my other sister’s. Or the other time, my younger sister borrowed my clothes and Jim pinched her rear-end because from the back, he thought she was me? Or the time my other sister took off her shirt in front of Jim thinking she still was wearing a bikini top? Here is a pastel of the women in my family, minus the artist—the one Jim pinched:

Mary alice pastel

The stories go on and on. So, I ask you? What kind of family would sabotage their unsuspecting brother/son-in-law with a wife in possession of an over-active imagination unless they were trying to trigger her homicidal story ideas? There’s more, but I’ve already over run my 300 word count.

The strangest things come from my family, Jordan. I will be writing an autobiography very soon.


16 thoughts on “ANSWERING JORDAN . . .

  1. Maybe your family should consider going “commando”.

    There’s something to be said for stealth when it comes to family relations.

  2. Wow, my family raises some occasional ruckus, but holy cow! You’ve got to love them. Just think, if you weren’t the creative type, you wouldn’t have an outlet for all of that craziness. I’d guess you could take one of two paths- murder mystery or humor (like Erma Bombeck).

    My family has been putting up with my weirdness lately- “So, how many bodies do you think you can fit in the trunk?” “Was that a hand or a foot emergency brake in your car?”, etc. It keeps them guessing, kind of like getting even.

  3. Jordan! You are so funny! My oldest sister has suggested the same. I’ll have to insist, now! (BTW-woke this morning realizing I misspelled your name. Fixed it!) 🙂

    Chaco Kid–with my family I can go both ways. One would have you crying, the other laughing. Sounds like you get razzed as well. Oh, the joys of authorship!

  4. I couldn’t stop laughing while reading today. I am so happy to have found a blog I can read each morning to find something fresh and different.

    I’m wondering if there’s such a thing as family A.D.D. haha

    Thanks again!

  5. Who ever told you there was a 300 word limit? I think it’s probably a 300 word limit on a comment. Gilstrap can type 300 words down in the time it takes someone to put on a hat.

  6. That made me laugh out loud, Kathleen! A good sisterly payback would be labeling the photo of the offending Spanx by its owner’s name and leaving it on Facebook.

  7. Kathryn–I think the Spanx should have its own Facebook page. I’d friend it.

    And so would Miller, now that Barry turned him down.

  8. None that she’s told YOU about, Daniel. But thank your lucky stars that your mom is a woman of mystery. That’s not always the case.

    I once had a male author tell me that his mother actually corrected his sex scenes.

    I don’t know which is worse–hearing your mom STILL knows more about sex than you do–or getting those images from your mind after.

  9. Oh, yes, I can tell I’m in the company of writers. All of your responses are hilarious! And yes, a FB page for the Spanx should be in order. . . . Let’s name them first!
    Oh, my. My life. I told you it’s stranger than fiction!

  10. I’ll bet everyone has a story or two to share. So far your families deeds are stupid mistakes. When they become mean then you worry! Beautiful group of women!If I didn’t know how slim you are, I’d wonder if the spandex was a hint! Ha!

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