Wednesday, February 24, 2016


They come in batches. That’s my theory on babies. I call it the Baby Batch Theory.

My worldview [And you have to respect it, if it’s my worldview. That’s what I learned in college.] My worldview is as follows: This is not our first go ‘round. We lived before—as spirits in Heaven or Valhalla or whatever you’d like to call it. I’m open-minded. 

What’s a spirit look like, you say? Just like you look, except without the zits and stretch marks.

So, spirits wait to be born into this life: to get bodies, to get experiences, to get eyes to watch the stars with; that sort of thing. Remember! This is my worldview. I am diverse. [Also a thing you must respect. I listened in college.]

So, back to my theory on Baby Batches . . . God sends those spirits to earth in batches. I’ve done the study. [Studies are the science of crooked lines. They tell us what’s real and what’s wonky. Again—college.]

For thirty plus years, I’ve watched the nursery at church. Last year, it was a wild batch, and when I say wild, I mean children that refuse to be potty trained, curse before they can talk, and are convinced they were born knowing how to drive the family car. We call them pips.

And I’ve seen years when it was a mellow crop of little darlings. These are the children who won’t walk until they get around to it, laugh at dust motes, and find life a stunning marvel to be embraced with chubby arms. They give us a nice break from the pips.

Of course, there are outliers. [You can’t believe how much I paid to learn the meaning of that word]. In every “batch” there are babies who groove to their own tambourine, thus proving the crooked line theory.

My husband was born into a poke ‘em first, ask questions later batch. Every family has one. You know the kid. He/she/pick a sex [Gender neutrality. College 101] is that kid who can get a perfectly quiet batch of mellow kids screaming in 2.4 seconds. My husband is still at it. He picks, mostly online. My brother was a picker. Might still be.

Which brings me to my next theory. God uses the batch method to keep the distribution even: one picker in the group—max—one pip to balance it out, throw in a mellow baby and shy one every once in while and poof; you’ve got a family.
I’m sure more studies are needed. In fact, I feel they are necessary for world peace and stability. So . . . I probably should get started writing that grant proposal for the additional funding further studies will require. 

Me? I was part of a smart mouth, know-it-all batch.

Linda (First Born) Zern 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Light It Up

My youngest son and I were in the checkout line at Kmart. He was confessing.

I was trying to look cool and unfazed, while choking on my own horror spit.

Youngest son was telling me that he and a couple of his buddies had been experimenting with an incendiary device of the low cost, high flammability variety—also illegal—sweet Mother McCrea. 

I won’t bore you with the details, and that way you won’t have to testify at the trial.

“But don’t worry, Mom,” he assured me, “we couldn’t get it to blow up.”

Sweet Mother McCrea.

Beyond shocked, but still trying to play it cool, I looked to the gentleman behind the register and appealed to him for some kind of mature adult support. I was hoping he would roundly condemn the mercenary actions of my son and his gang of four.

The male cashier said, “Ah lady, that ain’t nothing. Me and my buddies burned down a bridge once, a big one.”

The elderly man behind us in line started to chuckle gently. The cashier joined in, giving us a conspiratorial wink and looked wistful.

“They still don’t know who did it, but that was in New York.”

Another man in line sighed—nostalgically.

I am ever puzzled by maleness.

I have never, ever had the overpowering desire to ignite, blowup, or dynamite anything. I do, occasionally, burn some lemon-scented candles when I soak in the tub—but not the same thing—I’m thinking. I have never heard my daughters chortle and exult with triumph because they can (and did) urinate on a fire. I have never had one of my female type friends confess a bridge, barn or hay wagon burning to me.

I have never heard any women of my association rejoice in their penchant for mayhem by saying, “Come on girls, let’s get some rags, stuff them in a bottle with some gasoline, light it up, and see what happens next.”

Let me think . . . nope . . . don’t remember any sleepover stories like that.

Men are such a puzzle. If men aren’t from Mars then where are they from?

They’re from a place a lot farther away and hotter than Mars. That’s where. Burning down bridges. Indeed.

“And if you don’t put that sharpened stick, chunk of rock, or spear down this minute, mister, you’re going to lose an eye, and then how are you going to see to light up all those Molotov cocktail fuses?”

My tips on raising boys include setting up checkpoints for full body searches and always assuming that where there’s smoke, there is fire . . . or there’s going to be fire . . . or urine. Always be ready to remind your boy-child that burning down a bridge may sound like fun now, but does he really want to be working in the garden department at Kmart when he’s fifty-seven.

Pssssst . . . I have no idea how bridge burning and garden department cashiering are inter-related, but that’s one of my strengths—verbal gymnastics and convoluted reasoning. I’m a girl.

Linda (Fire Marshall) Zern 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

EXCERPT: FOLLOWING the STRANDLINE [Book #2 in the Strandline Series]


"Here was a scene from a tourist brochure. 

Come see Florida’s glorious freshwater springs. Wish you were here.

Remember advertisements, Roy Terry thought, biting back a laugh, scratching the end of his nose.

They were beautiful together, the girl with her mop of honey-gold curls and the young man dark haired and stern. The guy turned his back to the girl when she kicked off her jeans, keeping his eyes on the hedge of blackberry thorns that grew along the edge of the sand. Rifle in hand, he scanned and watched. Young but not foolish. Attracted to each other but not brainless about it. Survivors."

Monday, February 8, 2016

To Conserve and Protect

Liberal arts colleges run to liberal politics and those that embrace liberal ideas. That’s just how it is. When I comment on the phenomenon to my engineer friends, they snort and then scoff. Sometimes they use their words, but that’s not one hundred percent of the time. 

When they do comment, they often say things like, “What did you think, you were studying ‘the hard sciences?’” 

Then they solve for “y.” 

What are hard sciences anyway? Science that is solid like cement? Or is it just a lot of math disguised as fun experiments?

I am a writer. No, strike that. I am an author. No, that’s not quite right either. 

I am a novelist first, then a blogger, then a smart mouth with a lot to say in a soft sciences discipline. 

I am also conservative by today’s liberal art’s standards.

I know that making this admission is tantamount to stripping naked in public and NOT having a Chinese word tattooed on the small of my back—but it is what it is. I also know that I run the risk of being dismissed for the sin of . . . being . . . staid. 

Staid is a word that means tattoo free—also boring.

During one of my college classes we were regaled with the lively tale of our soon-to-be-retired professor’s adventures of smoking pot in an RV during the wild, cool, hippy years of her youth. Everyone laughed. Her hipness had been established. The point made: cool people get stoned, drunk, and experience all of life’s wild, hallucinogenic drama, so they’ll have good stories to tell the other villagers before complaining about drama monsters. 

Staid people remember growing up in a house with a cool parent.

It’s hard to fool me when it comes to the consequences of certain wild, untamed, screw the Ten Commandments behavior. No, strike that. It’s impossible to fool me.

Full disclosure: I have an agenda. I am the grandmother to fourteen [in May] . . . that’s children . . . not hamsters or pot belly pigs. I’d eat a hamster if I got hungry enough, just like they do in South America, but I digress.

I will have fourteen grandchildren and teaching them the right way to live and be happy is part of my job description. It’s a village thing. Sending messages to the young and impressionable that living stoned or drunk in someone’s garage and racing around on a giant human hamster wheel on the Internet is ‘living’ are right out. Can’t risk it. I have a pretty big garage and a barn with a hayloft. My agenda is that cool can get you crabs and staid pays off in the end. 

Hard work, personal responsibility, and being honest with your fellow villagers are the messages around here. It ain’t flashy or hip, but it keeps the baby villagers from having to worry that the Daddy villagers will drive the family station wagon into a gator lake—again.

Fuller disclosure: Smoke, dope, screw, and live a life of fluctuating, sand shifting relative values all you want. It’s your life, but please don’t think that you’re going to live in my hayloft like a giant human hamster when the power goes out.

Liberalism is about change.

Change is dramatic.

Drama is exciting.

Drama is also expensive and exhausting and everyone says that they’ve had enough of it.

Linda (Straight Shot) Zern 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Eclectic Boho Gypsy Style

Screw neutral. Let’s paint the walls gold and hang giant school maps from the 1950’s on them, and then let’s call it the eclectic boho gypsy decorating style.

My family mocks me, for my bold use of the color yellow, my relentless devotion to butterflies, and my nutty love of big maps. Tough. Decorating should reflect the inner spirit of those that live in a house. My inner spirit is a giant yellow butterfly in the shape of Greenland.

I don’t rent my house. My walls belong to me—mostly. So I hang things on the walls that make me happy: hats, maps, nests, teeth, bones, baskets, skulls, quotes, words, and a Maori dance skirt. I do not use colors of paint that can be described without an explanation point. And books. Books everywhere.

I wouldn’t even know what the words eclectic, boho, or gypsy meant if it wasn’t for books. Thanks books. 

My children are at an age when they are making children. Those children then grow and fill up the houses they live in, causing the buying and selling those homes. Their tales of having to turn their houses into neutral tan, non-threatening palettes of blah for potential buyers makes me sad. I understand the theory. Tan goes with everything—and is therefore neutral. Tan makes people think they won’t have to paint just yet. Tan is non-threatening. 

Tan is the underside of a leach—a neutral, non-threatening leach. For some reason people are comforted by that when they buy a house.

Buying and selling is not as much fun as being a wall hoarder, which is what my daughter’s husband calls her. She likes to hang picture frames on the wall full of old ballet toe shoes and mod podge . . . everything. 

Hey! That’s not wall hoarding; that’s her own kind of beautiful.

It’s nice when the buying and selling is over and the living begins: even if your decorating style resembles the inside of a tambourine tied with gypsy scarves.

Linda (Butterfly High) Zern 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


BEYOND the STRANDLINE and other books: 90% FIVE STAR REVIEWS for Strandline. Thank you readers & reviewers. Discover the stars for yourself at Linda Zern's author page on Amazon.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...