In the Spotlight: Lori Lee Palmer
Lori Lee Palmer’s teenaged dream was to be an artist. She was forced to become practical when her mother died during her junior year of high school. She went to college for business and has been impersonating a boring accountant for her entire adult life. Roy Peter Clark of the Poynter Institute and author of seventeen books on writing told Lori that “accountants make great writers because they are so organized.” Lori has been taking writing classes to improve her skills and hopes to publish her first novel in the near future. Find out more at her website: lorileepalmer.com, or follow her Facebook page: Lori Lee Palmer, writer.
Disclaimer: The author does not condone violence against inanimate objects, and no property was destroyed during the writing of this story.
Marcie hated to watch TV. She had the eerie feeling that the TV was watching her in return. Watching her reactions, listening to her comments, gearing its message to her specifically to brainwash her into believing what the government wanted her to believe. She especially tried to avoid watching the news at home. The loud, differing opinions and bad manners of politicians and political commentators gave her violent migraines.
Her boyfriend Todd usually watched sports. He liked all kinds of sports, but Marcie especially loved when he watched golf. Golf was quiet, and listening to the sportscasters’ hushed tones was soothing. She liked to watch Todd’s physique as he practiced his swing with the golf club he kept in the living room. He was fifteen years younger than her, and she admired his firm, toned muscles along with his fair hair and bright blue eyes.
If Marcie was honest with herself, she would have to admit that her attraction to Todd was mainly physical. She met him two months ago at a neighborhood bar where he bartended, and enjoyed flirting with him while she nursed a glass of red wine and waited for a friend who didn’t show up. What she had originally thought would be a one night stand turned into a fling, and then little by little they seemed to be spending most nights together, so she gave him a key to her apartment. He flattered her, and dating a younger guy boosted her ego. It wasn’t until she came home from work one day and saw a gigantic TV in the living room that she realized he had moved in.
“I hope this is OK.” Todd straightened up after hooking up cables to the back of the TV. “Since the bar is temporarily closed because of the coronavirus, I thought I’d hang out here instead of at my Mom’s. I’ll cook you dinner every night, and keep you happy,” he pulled Marcie into his arms and kissed her neck. She sighed, and instinctually elongated her neck to give him more room to work with.
Marcie told Todd how she felt about television, and he agreed to not watch news shows unless she wasn’t in the room. It was a shock to her to find out that Todd had political leanings that were very different from her own. Whenever he said anything that went against her morals and values she would say, “We’re going to have to agree to disagree on that. I don’t want to argue about it.” She would then go and lie down on the bed until her headache subsided.
Ultimately, Todd left the TV turned to Fox News while he went to the kitchen for a snack. Marcie walked out of the bedroom where she was working from home during the pandemic. She was about to walk by the TV when a familiar whining voice caught her ear, and she inadvertently turned her attention to the hated political leader on the screen. “And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning?” Blood rushed to her head, and her body cramped up with overwhelming hatred for the man whose orange face she couldn’t turn away from. Her head felt like it was being squeezed in a vise, and flashes of light appeared before her eyes. She felt like she was watching herself in a dream as she picked up the golf club and proceeded to challenge the TV to a battle.
Marcie came back to herself and gasped with shock when Todd screamed, “You crazy bitch!”
“Did you hear what he said? He told people to drink or inject disinfectants as a cure to the coronavirus!” Marcie’s face was red, and she gasped for breath as she spoke. When she was a young girl, a neighbor’s two year-old child accidently drank Pine Sol and died. It was a traumatic experience for Marcie, and she was extremely protective of her baby sister afterward.
“I’m sure the President didn’t say that! He says some crazy shit, but he’s not that crazy! You’re the crazy one for destroying my TV! I hope you’re going to replace it.”
“No, I’d rather replace you. I can’t deal with you and your defense of that vile human being any longer! Get out, Todd! And get that propaganda machine out of my sight. Now!”
“You got it, you old cougar! I don’t want to see your scrawny ass in my bar when we reopen, either!”
Todd grabbed his shattered flat screen TV and carried it to the dumpster. Marcie pulled stored Amazon boxes out of the closet in a frenzied haste, threw in his few belongings, and thrust them outside the front door. His beloved five iron was left behind in the rush. She thought he would call and ask for it back, but she never heard from him again.
Some days she missed Todd, but most days she didn’t. She was relieved to not have to live with the noise and daily drama of cohabiting with another person. Her headaches floated away. Marcie put a plant on the stand where the TV had been and talked to it often. She thought about adopting a few cats.
An interview with Lori Lee Palmer
- I’ve been enjoying your writing in the Write Practice workshop, and now I’d like to get to know you better as a writer. Can you tell us a little bit about your journey?
I’ve always been a reader. Going to the library with my father on Saturdays and picking out as many books as I could carry is one of my fondest childhood memories. After my husband and I sold the house where we raised our kids to downsize in anticipation of retirement, I had so much time on my hands that I was reading at least a book a week. I felt a little guilty at the passiveness of this occupation, and remembered how my best childhood friend and I used to talk about writing books when we grew up. I told our son, who was still in college, that I wanted to write when I retired, but would need to take classes to refresh my skills. He encouraged me to start now, so I signed up for Composition I at the local community college. It was the equivalent to the Freshman English class I took forty years earlier. I’ve taken three creative writing classes since then, and enjoy interacting with the students.
- In a recent submission to the Writers’ Workshop, you wove humor into a story about political differences and their effect on a relationship. What motivated your decision to write this delightful story?
I work in a small office with all men, who have political views on the opposite end of the spectrum from mine. The TV is sometimes tuned to Fox News, which really aggravates me. In my story I let the character give in to her baser instincts and destroy the voice that provokes her anger. I tried to make it funny in the same vein as the Borowitz Report published in The New Yorker, as political satire.
- Do you have a writing routine?
I wish I did. When I was writing a first draft of a novel in Write Practice’s 100 day book challenge, I wrote on weekend mornings from 9:00 am until noon, and on two weeknights after dinner. I gave up exercise time to do so, and unfortunately gained a few stubborn pounds. When I’m taking a writing class I always adhere to the assignment deadlines. When I’m writing for myself I tend to wait for my muse to speak.
- What is your favorite genre to read and/or write?
I love Women’s fiction with its emphasis on character arcs. I also like to read Young Adult fiction because there is a part of me that will never grow up. I love psychological thrillers and stories with magic. I tend to write in the Women’s fiction and YA genres.
- I met you through Write Practice, so tell me why you joined up with them? Has it been helpful having a community of writers?
I joined the Write Practice’s 100 day book challenge two years ago. The required weekly postings kept me accountable, and I enjoyed both giving and receiving critiques with other members. Taking the Write to Publish course which followed was fortuitous in that I became part of the Active Alumni Writers group and feel like I am part of a writers’ cartel.
- What is your proudest writing accomplishment to date?
I am both proud that I finished a first draft of a novel, Luna Jade, and disheartened by the fact that I haven’t been able to make myself go back and revise it. I need to sit down and story grid the structure. I need to make sure I have all the obligatory scenes, and that I have enough conflict to make it interesting
- Where are you going from here?
In both taking classes and participating in Write Practice critiques, I find that my love of reading is greater than my love of writing. I get a warm fuzzy feeling by giving other writers suggestions and encouragement. The Write Practice is starting up a Pro Mentor program, and I will be one of the mentors. I’m excited to give back to the community that has given me so much.
- Are you currently working on any other writing projects at the moment?
I have a few ideas on revising a short story I wrote as an introduction to the characters in my novel. Be on the lookout for a revised Mystery Dad.
Previous Authors in the Spotlight:
April 2020 – Nocturne in Ashes – Joslyn Chase https://www.facebook.com/StoryChase
March 2020 – The Light and the Darkness – Lyn Blair https://lkblair.com
February 2020 – The Seafood Capital of the World – exerpt – Jonathan Byrd https;// byrdmouse.com
January 2020 – Lost Hope – exerpt – Edmund Stone https://edmundstoneauthor.com,
December 2019 – Wylde – Chapter 1 – S.E. Laughter S.E. http://selaughter.com/
November 2019 — My Best Mistake – Chapter 5 — Carole Wolfe https://www.carolewolfe.com/
October 2019 — The Babysitter — Justin Boote firstname.lastname@example.org
September 2019 — What the World Needs Now — David Rae Davidrae-stories.com
August 2019 — Flickerings –Evie Haskell . http://www.echaskell.com
July 2019 –The Love Birds Saga I–Margherita Crystal Lotus: https://thecrystallotus.com
June 2019–Where There’s a Will-Chapter 1–Pat Leo email@example.com
April 2019 — Love is Messy (Finding You Again – Book 1)–Callie Sutcliffe https://calliesutcliffe.com
March 2019 — The Dieppe Raid — Des Dixon firstname.lastname@example.org
February 2019 — I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead–Jodi Elderton http://jodielderton.com
January 2019 — The Raven Watched–Karin Weiss https://kweisssite.wordpress.com%20%20
December 2018 — Blessed Mother, Blue Sky–Terry Chase http://www.drterrychase.com
November, 2018 — Heidi–Izzy Richards https://izzyrichardsblog.wordpress.com
October, 2018 — Darkness in the Amazon–Stephanie Colbert https://www.stephaniecolbert.co/