The Truth About Soul Mates


This is beautiful!

“They get all fired up by somebody and then they’re like, ‘Oh, we’re supposed to be together forever,’ and it might not necessarily be the case. Whatever they fired up in you, you might have needed fired up. And then you may need them to go so that you can go on your journey different than you were.”

Kevin Smith is Tough as Shit


A few things Kevin Smith’s memoir Tough Shit: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good taught me:

1. Bruce Willis is a jackass!

2. I’m partially justified in hating Hollywood.

3. Swearing isn’t an uneducated or lazy American-English accent.

4. “Chubby-chasers” are a real thing.

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Tough ShitThe first two are pretty self explanatory, so let’s start with number 3.

My dad taught me that curse words didn’t count as swear words unless you called someone a name. For example, “Bruce Willis is such a jackass!” Jackass would be considered a swear word in this case. But if I were to stub my toe and wail, “Cock-sucker-mother-fucker!” That entire sentence was just getting creative with curse words. Needless to say, swearing became a HUGE part of my vocabulary.

Then, my controlling ex-boyfriend told me I needed to quit swearing. He would say things like, “You’re a writer. Can’t you think of a more intelligent way to express your frustration?”

And I would reply, “No, I FUCKING can’t!”

Over the years, my dad forgot his little philosophy on swearing and started telling me, “Flea, it’s not lady-like to swear.”

_ _ _

This morning I reached a wonderful moment in Kevin Smith’s book:

Chapter Thirteen: Funny As Shit

“George Carlin was the first person who ever said fuck in my house. Back in the day, the movies didn’t feature that word too prominently; and nobody in my house was allowed to use vulgarity. But here was this intelligent, articulate, thinking man who wielded the word like a rapier–and that was suddenly permitted. The lesson: You can curse if you’ve got an impressive vocabulary to choose from. The conventional wisdom had always been, ‘People who swear are uneducated and lazy.’ This guy Carlin proved you can know a shit-ton of words–you could even command the English language like you’d found its magic lamp–and still opt to employ the occasional (or frequent) F-bomb. Someone cursing didn’t make my father laugh; someone cursing while being humorously truthful could make my father cry laughing. Duly noted.

GeorgeCarlinHappy1“And while [Carlin] seemed to revel in being a rebel, here was a man who also clearly loved the English language, warts and all–even the so-called bad words (although, as George would say, there are no such things as ‘bad words’–only bad intentions).”

Thank you George Carlin; thank you Kevin Smith for bringing this issue to my attention again. Who says women with a wide vocabulary can’t swear?


* * *


Kevin Smith brings this up several times in his memoir: “In much the same way my wife is a chubby-chaser–thus explaining how a hideous fucking CHUD such as myself can get some pussy as fine as Jen Schwalbach’s…”

It resonated with me since a few friends over the last year have brought it to my attention that I might fit into that category. I spent some time thinking about this and what it really means. So I’m being categorized as a chubby-chaser because a few of my past relationships were with someone who was overweight? Not everyone I dated fit into that realm, and even if they did, maybe I dated them because they were more interesting than your average B body type. Maybe it had nothing to do with weight.

Jen Schwalbach gets it. Do you?

Jen Schwalbach gets it. Do you?

Confession time: It didn’t have anything to do with weight. GASP! Perhaps we ought not to be thrown into the chubby-chaser category but the open-minded category instead: blind to color and gender … and weight.

Just like skin color shouldn’t matter, neither should weight. If you’re doing your best to be healthy, then fuck (that was necessary) those judgmental, skinny folks. They clearly miss out on meeting someone actually worth their time!

Chapter Twelve: The Shit That Happened On The Plane

When Kevin Smith was pulled off a Southwest Airlines flight because he was “Too Fat To Fly” for “safety reasons” and the convenience of other passengers, he bombed his Twitter feed with rage reviews as any normal, humiliated person of the 21st century would do. Lucky for him, he’s a celebrity so he got immediate response.

Silent Bob strikes back!

Eventually the manager of Southwest Airlines chased him down in the airport and sent him on another plane in hopes he’d stop tagging them on Twitter with negative messages. But they made another mistake. They stuck him up front with another heavy-set woman. A flight attendant pulled her aside for several minutes and when she returned to her seat, she was crying. So she and Kevin struck up a conversation and she told him that the flight attendant requested she purchased two tickets because she didn’t fit into one seat and that wasn’t fair to the other passengers.

"That's it! I've had enough of these mother-fuckin' Smiths on these mother-fuckin' planes!"

“That’s it! I’ve had enough of these mother-fuckin’ Smiths on these mother-fuckin’ planes!”

“They tried to make it about fat again, ever covering for the jackasses who colluded to get me off the plane. There was no reason for that flight attendant to have that conversation with that girl except to be a cunt. And the girl was telling me through tears, ‘I could still put the armrest down.’ We must’ve been quite a sight: a couple of chubsy-ubsies talkin’ about how proud we were that we could still buckle the seat belt without an extender, and you could tell it was the only shred of dignity we had left.”

Reading that just broke my heart. I don’t need to ask forgiveness for appreciating a little pudge in my life: a little life in my life.

Kevin Smith and all the other overweight people in the world should not have to face these discriminating acts. What makes this any different than a pilot removing someone from a flight because they look like a terrorist?

_ _ _

Why aren’t there stories of husky protagonists finding love and happy-ever-after? Have you ever thought about that? I’m sure all of your heavier friends have when they see these trim, model males always getting the girl. When a story does have a larger main character, there’s always something else in the forefront of the story to ignore the hero’s “fatcomings.”

The-Nutty-ProfessorFor example, in The Nutty Professor, humor is at the forefront. It is meant to poke fun at fat people, not find respect for them. It focuses on an obese man who creates a potion to make him magically turn into a B body type–fit and attractive … and arrogant. Boring, if you ask me.

Or how about Shrek? He’s an ogre. So right off the bat he’s an overweight monster, hidden behind onion layers of emotion. Same with Beauty and the Beast. The beast basically forces the beauty into loving him because he gives her no other options, but lucky for her, by the time she falls in love with him, he turns back into a sexy prince!

Finally, look at Charlotte and Harry in Sex and the City.

“All that’s left are the fatties and the baldies,” one woman says. Charlotte turns around looking for her baldy. You never see those girls date a fatty. Why not? With the personality they gave Harry’s character, he could have been bald, hairy AND fat and he still would have been one hell of a catch!

harry and charlotteNone of these stories are very kind to our fat friends. Where are their love stories?

Don’t shut someone down who has a great personality and is exactly what you’re looking for because he/she is overweight.

Boys don't like smart girls. I've told you that over and over. It wouldn't hurt you to act dumb.”
- A character in Colleen Sutherland's "Love in the Fifties"

She Survived Her Last Summer


Colleen Sutherland enjoying the outdoors.

Colleen Sutherland enjoying the outdoors.


I am so very sad to have to write this blog, but I feel I must. It is the only way to put this all to rest. I know she would want something like this written about her, especially since she could not share much herself in her final days.

A friend, former writing group mentor, traveling storyteller and fellow writer Colleen Sutherland passed away Saturday, Oct. 4. Over the last year and a half, she wrote blog posts to update loved ones about her condition and recovery period in partial sentences with missing letters and poor grammar. Definitely out of the ordinary for her! I remember wondering how she was dealing with this change. I couldn’t imagine what that must have been like.

Wade Peterson and Colleen Sutherland at a coffee shop for their writing group.

Wade Peterson and Colleen Sutherland at a coffee shop for their writing group.

About three years ago, I joined a writing group at Copper Rock Cafe with three others. Colleen was one of them. She often shared fascinating stories from her past, including weddings in Chicago the day Martin Luther King Jr. was killed. She would later write about it as a foreshadowing to her first divorce, as only a brilliant writer would do.

But then there were stories about Gary. They shared a love of nature and travel. Colleen hated the cold and snowy winters, and the two of them would often travel to warmer places so she could find inspiration to write again. When Colleen was depressed in the winter, he was there trying to cheer her up or load her with Vitamin D. When she decided she wanted a puppy after her operation, Gary went and bought her a puppy. She was a woman who believed in love but not in marriage. She was happy with Gary as her lifelong partner. Overtime, this has led me to believe that Colleen may have even been ahead of her time. This is a good indication that her stories may be more powerful years from now.

Black Coffee Fiction Volume 2 with short stories of Colleen Sutherland and Wade Peterson.

Black Coffee Fiction Volume 2 with short stories of Colleen Sutherland and Wade Peterson.

Over the last few years, Colleen and Wade, another writer from our writing group, started Black Coffee Fiction. It was a blog of short stories they published once a week. After about a year of this, they self-published two books! The second contained 33% more caffeine, of course. Colleen’s stories were humorous, typically revolving around finding love at the most inopportune times and depressing Christmas stories. Her work was bold and spotlighted many courageous women. She hated the 1950s culture and lived for the independence and freedom of women in today’s world.

Colleen gave me a new perspective on many things. One moment I will never forget is when we were discussing writing and completing our stories to send for publication. I mentioned how much I struggled finishing anything. How I have eight (or so) unfinished novels and about double that of short stories. She said to me,

“Life is too short to leave your stories unfinished.” She told me my stories should be told, so I should tell them. She also said I needed to work hard to finish them before it was too late to try publishing them.

“I’m nearly 70,” she said. “So I figure I have only a few years left to crank out as many stories as I can.” I didn’t know she would be so right about this. She may have been in her late 60s, but Colleen had the spirit and energy of a 20 year old.

Life’s too short.

I remember realizing how right she was. It was because of her words that day that I even began sending out my first story for publication, and I’m not giving up on it. Especially now that it’s Colleen’s words that are all I have left of her. If I had been able to say goodbye, I would have told her:

Thank you for sharing all your stories with the world, and I’m so happy I met you. Thank you for inspiring me to get published. Even if I don’t, at least I know you had my back. Your words will live on forever!

Life is too damn short.

Gary and Colleen taking Valentine's Day photos together.

Gary and Colleen taking Valentine’s Day photos together.

* * * *

Rest in peace, my dear friend. At least we will always have Toni Morrison and Black Coffee Fiction.