Guest Post by Foxglove Lee
I want to tell you about a certain birthday dinner prepared by a certain special girl, which went on to become a certain YA comedy short called Happy Birthday, Klutzface! I want to tell you about it because it was about as far from perfection as any celebration could possibly be.
We all want our lives to run smoothly, am I right? Smooth is, after all, the path of least resistance. Rocky terrain is fine for hiking, but we don’t want our relationships to be jagged or unstable. That goes double (triple… quadruple!) for special occasions. Home-cooked birthday dinners, for instance. Everything needs to be perfect.
My sweetie pie and I usually go out to eat, especially if we’re celebrating something. This year, when my birthday came around, I opted for a meal at “home.” Like Mila in Happy Birthday, Klutzface! I happened to be housesitting on my birthday. As a result, I had access to an amaaaazing kitchen: gas stove, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances. So much more luxurious than my kitchen the size of a postage stamp, or Dee’s broken down, peeling-vinyl place.
Dee has cooked for me before. Girl’s got talent, so I had high expectations. I was really looking forward to my birthday dinner. She arrived at my (borrowed) house after work, loaded up with bags of groceries, marinating meat in a cooler, and a black forest cake in a white bakery box.
It was all downhill from there.
I won’t go into tremendous detail, since I superimposed my life directly onto Happy Birthday, Klutzface! but I will say this: when you’re fanning an ear-splitting fire alarm with a tea towel while your girlfriend curses burnt meat (alongside cries of, “It’s not my fault! I’ve never cooked with gas!”) and all you can think is, “This is gonna make a great story!”… well, that’s a pretty good sign you were born to be a writer.
Fiction becomes a filter for life. Stories like this one, which is so close to lived experience that I can still taste the lopsided birthday cake, become a way of processing weird stuff that happens. Things don’t always go as planned. We know that. Stuff gets screwed up, one thing gets overthrown by another, she cuts her finger, the cat throws up… and you always have the option of getting worked up about it.
I have a history of becoming… oh, let’s say “irritated” when things don’t go my way. At times, I’ve had trouble acting maturely when plans didn’t work. I could be juvenile, not as compassionate as I wanted to be, not as charitable or as understanding.
But being a writer has helped me to see the big picture, even while the house is filling with smoke. This too shall pass. Whatever it is, we’ll get through it. In the moment, we deal. When the moment has passed, we realize it wasn’t so terrible after all. After a while, we laugh.
That birthday dinner was terrible. The worst! But I didn’t stress about it. I knew, even in the midst of catastrophe, that it would make a funny story.
Foxglove Lee is a former aspiring Broadway Baby who now writes queer fiction for young adults. She tries not to be too theatrical, but her characters often take over. Follow Foxglove on Twitter @foxglovelee or stay tuned to her blog (foxglovelee.blogspot.com) for exciting announcements!