The Literary Undertaker

Not only do I live between cultures, I'm also caught between vocations. Case in point: this morning, after a long and painful struggle against yellow fungus disease, Gandalf, our bearded dragon, breathed his last. My husband began preparing the backyard burial service, the boys started digging a grave, and I was summoned from my over-the-garage writing cubby.

"We need a coffin, Mom," I was informed.

I offered a cardboard box; it was rejected. That's when we spotted the black satin box on the table. A complimentary Mont Blanc pen had been mailed to me as a gift from the PEN people after an International Festival in New York. I was thrilled when I received it. To me, a Mont Blanc writing instrument has always symbolized the prestige and excitement of a literary career.

Unfortunately, in the rush and bustle of mothering, the current whereabouts of this once-coveted literary status symbol is now a mystery. (I'm sure it will turn up, PEN friends, if you're reading this.) The empty black case, therefore, was available for other uses, and with only a slight pang, I offered it to the funeral directors. It was just the right size. One son laid Gandalf on the soft satin inside, holding the box up for one last viewing. The other son closed the lid as slowly and somberly as the occasion demanded.

So, thanks to a strange convergence of dueling vocations, a dead lizard now resides in Mont Blanc luxury. My apologies to the makers of the finest writing instruments in the world. By the way, did anyone out there borrow my pen?


Hey Mitali, it's Olivia. I hadn't heard from you in a while so I'm commenting on your blog. Hope your pen turns up, and sorry about your bearded dragon. By the way, who in your family is obsessed with Lord of the Rings? (I am too.) My guess is the boys...
Anonymous said…
I'm sorry to hear about your lizard:-(
do you plan to get another one??
Mitali Perkins said…
Hi Olivia! Glad you came to spend time with me on the Fire Escape. Are you writing this summer?

The LOTR fanatics in the family are myself and my husband. The boys, too, but they didn't get to love the books for YEARS before the movies came out.

Thanks for your sympathy, too, anonymous. It's so hard to lose a pet. We have a dog and two ferrets, both healthy, and right we don't feel like loving anything else that might suffer in front of our eyes. Plus, reptiles die easily. What do you think?
Mitali Perkins said…
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