When I was a teacher, every now and then we had to take extra classes to keep our certification up-to-date. I took this really great class with a professor from Weber State; he was such a great guy and had such good ideas for teaching. He taught us a writing style called a triptych.
There are triptychs in visual art - it's basically a work of art divided into three panels. But it can be used for literature, too, because literature is art. (This reminds me of my professor when I was in study abroad in London. There were a bunch of people planning to go to a local museum to see an exhibit on furniture. I wasn't planning to go. My professor demanded to know why I wouldn't go to something so cool. I said something like, "Well, it's just furniture. It's not like it's art." "Furniture IS art!" he yelled back at me. It was funny. No, I didn't end up going. And it became a running inside joke with us Londoners. "Furniture IS art!")
So when you see triptychs in the literary form, they will be separated into three parts and labeled with roman numerals, I, II, and III. Each section will be a few paragraphs long. And they have a common theme. I remember this professor from Weber State did one with three different stories about jogging. And then I think he did one with three different stories involving one friend in his life. Triptychs are beautiful and fun.
Well, you are in for a treat, because I'm going to get all ambitious and write a quadriptych for ya. I haven't seen a quadriptych in literature, but I do know that there are quadriptychs in works of visual art. So I say, if you can do it with a painting, you can do it with words. Here's your quadriptych.
Kay, this is going to reveal how exactly puritanical I am - I wasn't even really sure what the male anatomy looked like until I got married. For reals, yo. I mean, I had seen some pictures in books when I would do research papers on the Holocaust in high school. There were skeletal naked men in some of those pictures. But when I glanced at their privates, I thought, "That can't be right. They were starving to death." And I never wanted to linger long looking at their privates. They're called "privates" for a reason.
It's like when I go to a movie and there's a sex scene. I get intensely uncomfortable. I feel like I'm intruding. Intimacy is private. When I was in college, I went to Shakespeare in Love. (This was during my Rated-R Period. Kind of like Van Gogh's Blue Period. I've been on a non-rated-R streak for about...10 years? It was really hard for me, but I have that habit beat. Now if I could just break my swearing habit...)
Anyways, the Shakespeare in Love love scenes made me soooo uncomfortable that I took a long bathroom/get some soda/get some candy break. I felt like what was going on with Shakespeare and What's-Her-Name (Viola?) was private and just between them. Even though it was fictional. And it was two actors.
Puritanical. That's me.
Anyhow, I remember reading The Count of Monte Cristo when I was a senior in high school, and one of the main characters is Monsieur Danglars. It's supposed to be pronounced "don-GLAHR," but mentally when I read it, my brain said, "danglers." And, for some perverse reason, whenever I read his name, I pictured in my mind my imagined/slightly damaged Holocaust version of the male anatomy.
I felt really badly, because I really am a good girl. I guess that when I thought of things that...dangled, I thought of....male things that...dangle...
Every time I watch The Count of Monte Cristo (we have the movie, I think), whenever Monsieur Danglars is referred to, I snicker.
I was a bridesmaid to my darling friend Rachel in college. We were at her parents' house the big day of her wedding, getting all dolled up, when her younger brother (he was maybe...four?) ran through the living room, buck nekked.
I was in shock. It was my first time seeing...those.
I screamed and closed my eyes and Rachel laughed and laughed.
Remember, I didn't have any brothers growing up. I had noooo idea what non-Holocaust danglers looked like. It was a shock.
Several years ago, I was visiting my Aunt Marilyn at her house at Christmastime. Her Christmas tree is always really beautiful. But something was bothering me as I looked at how she arranged her ornaments. She would put them in groups of three. There would be one of those pretty, lengthwise, kind of pointed ornament in the middle. Like a pointy egg. What is that shape called? Hmmm.
And then, flanked on either side of the long pointy ornament, were two round ornaments.
I stared and stared, thinking, "Why is this bothering me?"
And then I realized. It looked like....male anatomy.
I started laughing and laughing, and Marilyn was like, "What? What?" I kept telling her it was nothing, but she insisted on knowing what about her tree was so hilarious.
"Well......um.....the way your ornaments are hung....it kind of reminds me of....um, men's junk."
This time she was the one screaming and closing her eyes, while I laughed and laughed.
Later, I felt badly. I probably ruined her Christmas with that comment. I really should have kept it to myself. I wonder if she rearranged her ornaments after that, or if she pushed what I had said out of her mind. I really hope it was the latter.
But a bunch of her kids read my blog, so they will most likely remind her in the next few days. So there goes that.
I am sooooo sorrrrry, Marilyn. And I love you. And I know you love me. Because I'm your favorite niece. (I always jokingly refer to myself, when I'm speaking to any of my aunts an uncles, as their "favorite niece." "Hi, Aunt Marilyn, it's Karlenn, your favorite niece!!" I know it's probably not true. But I entertain myself in this way. It's fun. I'm my own best audience.)
I went to an Oragami Owl party a few months ago. It's like Mary Kay, but with necklaces. And they're cute. They're see-through lockets, see? (Say that last sentence like a 1920's gangster, if you please.) And you put these teeny-weeny charms in them. You can change the charms out if you want for special occasions or to match your clothes or whatevs. They're adorabs. When I went to the party, I ordered one for my mother-in-law for her birthday. Here's what it looks like:
Now, when you get one of these lockets, it's en vogue to get this little charm that dangles alongside it.
They really do call them danglers. When you order your parts for your necklace, you literally say, "I'd like a crystal blue dangler, please."
So, wanting to be en vogue, I ordered a dangler. A cute red one to match the little heart on the little book charm. But the cute consultant lady forgot to order it. Which I wasn't mad about at all. She had a few others on hand, and wanting to get it to my mother-in-law in time, I looked at those and picked one with a tree on it. It was cute, and Gloria loves to garden and landscape and stuff, so it felt fitting.
But the dangler just....didn't dangle right. It flopped all over the front of the necklace, like so:
Ben and I thought that maybe it would look better if we ordered the red dangler. When it arrived, I think I was at work or something, and Ben called.
"Is this the right dangler?" He sent me a picture of it.
"Yep, that's the one."
"I don't like it, Kar. It's weird. It flops all over the front of the necklace."
"Dang. I was hoping that, because it's smaller and round, it wouldn't do that. I wanted it to sit up and to the side. It looks so cute in the catalog..."
"Can we just give this to my mom without the dangler?"
"Sure, hon. Package it up and mail it."
Gloria loves her locket. Even without the dangler.