Good Teeth

I used to bite my fingernails, much to my mother’s regret. She went through this with all three of her children so, by the time I came along, she knew none of the famous recommendations for helping a child stop this habit worked.

My brother was the eldest child. When she tried painting his fingernails with hot polish that was invented to burn a nail biter’s tongue, she said her would stop biting his nails just long enough to say, “Hot!” before going right back at it.

Fortunately, I stopped biting my nails. I don’t recall when or why, but I’m glad I stopped. That is why a line from Prayers the Devil Answers, by Sharyn McCrumb caught my eye. To say Ms. McCrumb has a way with words would be a gross understatement.

In Prayers the Devil Answers, Lonnie Varden is in jail in Knoxville, Tennessee. He pushed his wife, Celia, off Hawk’s Wing – a rock that jutted out of a mountain. His cell mate, Ulysses, gives the following observation about the young Lonnie Varden:

“His nails were bitten down to the quick, which told the old man that this kid had two things he didn’t: more trouble than he was accustomed to and good teeth.” ~ from Prayers the Devil Answers, by Sharyn McCrumb

Prayers the Devil Answers, A novel by Sharyn McCrumb

As I read the book, I jotted down a number of sentences and paragraphs I liked. I have used two of them in my April 19, 2017 blog post,  P is for a Paragraph I Liked and my June 13, 2017 blog post, “Not a rope . . . if drowning”.

I want to be a writer who comes up with expressions and turns of a phrase like Sharyn McCrumb. It will take practice. Practice. Practice.

Since my last blog post

I had something to happen in the health category that led me to do some soul searching. It had a good outcome, and served as a bit of a wake-up call. I’ve reevaluated some things and how I spend my time. Life is short.

I’ve been reading and decluttering. I tend to keep things. My parents were young adults during The Great Depression, so it was ingrained in me from birth that you didn’t throw something away that you thought you might be able to use later. (Examples include rubber bands, scraps of paper, paper bags, scraps of yarn, string, bits of thread, and anything that looks like something that might eventually be useful.)

Hence, things that come into my house tend to never leave. Last week I recycled old magazines, cardboard boxes and loose papers. I shredded papers bearing personal information. (After all, someone stole our garbage once. You just never know!)

I sorted fabric I’ll never sew and clothes I’ll never be small enough to wear again and took them to Goodwill. I can see the improvement, but someone who’s never been in my house before would probably think I still have a problem. They’d be right. I am a work in progress. More decluttering is on my agenda for this week.

My new approach to “things” is to ask myself, “Do I want my nieces and nephew to have to deal with this someday, or should I go ahead and get rid of it?”

Until my next blog post

I hope you have a good book to read. I’m reading The Hellfire Club, by Jake Tapper.

If you’re a writer, I hope you have quality writing time.

Thank you for reading my blog. You could have spent the last few minutes doing something else, but you chose to read my blog. I appreciate it! Tell your friends.


7 thoughts on “Good Teeth

  1. Your cleaning out project is one I should get started on. I like the question you used to motivate your purging: Do I want to leave this for a love one to throw out?
    No, I don’t! 👍🏼
    When I was a young girl, I chewed my nails. Thank God, I stopped. It grosses me out now. Most bacteria and disease is captured under the nail. Then, you put your fingers in the dirtiest part of your body: your mouth. Just nasty 🤢
    Interesting topics and helpful advice in this blog. Thanks Janet 😊 Have a lovely day 🌷x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for your comments, Katrina. Thank goodness you also stopped biting your fingernails.

    I guess it’s a combination of turning 65 recently and having a health scare a couple of weeks ago that has me in a decluttering mode. I hope it lasts long enough for me to really get rid of some more stuff.

    Have a great rest of the day.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Janet, I adore lovely sentences too and I suppose in my prose I I do sometimes commit the writer’s cardinal sin of drawing attention to my craft in hopes readers will say, “Isn’t that sentence something?”. Thank you so much for these reviews you write for our benefit out heare.. You do such a wonderful job.

    Best wishes

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a lovely compliment! Thank you, David, for all the thoughtful comments you leave. You’re right — a writer isn’t supposed to write anything that pulls the reader out of the story; however, I love well-planned sentences and phrases and often think, “I wish I’d written that!”


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