Author Archives: Elisabeth Crisp / @crisplyspoken

The Mother of All Jobs: Don’t Be Basic



The word, basic, doesn’t mean what it used to. I realized this when I took my fifteen-year-old shopping for a new backpack.

“That’s so basic white girl, Mom.”

The line was delivered with such a sneer of derision. It made me ask, “What does that mean? What’s wrong with basic?”

Cherry said, “You know. Basic. Duh.”

The density of my advanced age was working against me, so I let it go. When we got home, I surreptitiously looked it up on, the go to source for when I haven’t a clue what my children are saying. Basic scored 33 entries, 98 percent of them not appropriate for polite company. Midway through, I found one that almost made sense.

“Without SWAG. Not unique.”

I logged onto twitter and typed, basic white girl, into the search box. I found @basickwhitegirl. The avatar is Disney’s Frozen Princess Elsa, drinking a Starbuck’s Frappuccino, the coffee drink with everything in it but coffee. The satirical twitter took the lack-of-SWAG-jab a step further, summing up the meaning of life to a basic.

I understood. A few weeks later, I found the t-shirt in the photo above. Cherry loved it.

Stay Up Late

As I write this, I can barely keep my eyes open. It’s 9:11 a.m. I’m on the couch in my pajamas with a blanket wound around my legs. There’s not enough coffee in the world to erase the fog on my mental horizon.

Tough night, you ask?


Project procrastination run amok?

Nada. My family all hit the pillow before 11:00 p.m. I finished the dishes, pre-made this morning’s java, and fed the dog before they all succumbed. No bells, whistles, or sirens interrupted our slumber. My only deadlines are self-imposed. They can be moved in iCal with a drag and drop, removed with a tap to the delete key. So why do I do this to myself?

LeeChildLast night it was Jack Reacher. Will Jack’s elbow dislodge the gun before his assailant pulls the trigger? Somehow, it always does. Reacher has the fastest elbows in the West, and Lee Child, his creator, has more than a few sleepless nights to answer for. But, it’s not really Lee’s fault.

I like to stay up late. Alone, the Fantasia of my mind sparkles brighter after midnight. When I debate the value of schedules over freeform daydreams, the later always wins. Author Steven Pressfield calls it resistance.  When the alarm rings early, I agree with him. Amen brother. No truer words match my depravity.

But, my Night Owl Rebellion won’t be cured by motivational speakers, the self-help industry, or the fact that I have to drive my youngest to violin sectionals before 7:00 a.m. Being nocturnal is my drug of choice. After 1:00, I rearrange the file cabinet of folders in my head, straighten my gallery wall of imaginary picture frames, clean the fingerprints off my internal lens.

Without the late night, my juice is fruitless, watery beyond recognition. Without pulp.

Portable Magic: February 2015


Books are a uniquely portable magic.

—Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Here’s the plan:

  • Read fifty books in 2015. I won’t count a book I don’t finish.
  • With a few exceptions, most are written by women and published in 2014 or 2015.
  • On the first day of the month, I’ll post the last month’s list. I’ll also post on Goodreads where you can find a short synopsis of every book. See the link to my Goodreads account in the side column.
  • I’m a reader, not a critic. So, no reviews. But, I’m happy to share in the comments and learn what you think, too.

Here’s what I read in February:

  1. The One and Only by Emily Giffin
  2. The Matchmaker by Elin Hilderbrand
  3. Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich
  4. One Plus One by JoJo Moyes
  5. Personal by Lee Child

All of these books came from the San Antonio Public Library.  They are shelved in the New Book or Express Collections.

Total books read so far in 2015: 14


Not Quite Stieglitz for 2/28/2015

Here’s the photo of the week:


A limb from an ancient Live Oak tree near our home. Photo credit to Bacon .



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