In Mug of Woe: Wreck the Halls, Renata Roskopf proves that some holiday memories linger in your heart, your mind, and on an egg-stained door.
Your essay is about a Halloween that
"lingered." Tell us about another memorable holiday.
Rather than a holiday, I’ll tell you about my
brother's earliest birthday I remember. Of course, a tangible photo album
helped answer this one. Remember those heavy things that sit on your lap? No
Santa, not kids! Anyhow, in the photo, my brother, a year older, whose
birthday is a month earlier than mine, is smiling that gigantic smile kids have
when they're surprised. His smile’s so wide in fact, you’d wonder how such a
small face can contain all those teeth and outstretched lip, while maintaining
angelic countenance. He is a smile, beneath wisps of blond and two blue eyes,
while floating atop a pair of plaid pants. I, on the other hand, am leaning
into the table, that is not only supporting me but also a cake, goodies and
decorations. I am plastic-made curls and a face, red as some of the
decorations. Apparently, I had been crying as if every boogey-monster haunting
Halloween, paid me a personal visit. In fact, I was too young to have fully
realized that our birthdays, although close, were separate occasions. I vaguely
remembered the prior year, when I got presents, so this might have thrown me
for a loop. Maybe, I didn’t understand the concept, after all, I was only into
this life thing for couple years yet.
I remember my father leaving and returning with
an inexpensive red and yellow plastic robot that I removed from cardboard
backing. When you pressed a button, it shot spirals off of its chest. It
apparently also cured a case of
I’m-a-toddler-and-it’s-another-toddler’s-birthday-woes. That’s when I learned that
robots can be lovable, if you treat them with care. And flinging things? Good
for the soul.
Tell us about another prank you played or one
that was played on you.
Here, I will change names, other than my own.
When I was about 9, I played with two sisters
who were older than me. One was always trying to sing like Madonna. She claimed
she looked like Madonna. She was Brunette. Most would agree, she sounded a bit
nasally, but she was pretty and womanly looking for all of her 11 years. She even
snatched her mother’s brown eyeliner to draw a mole above her lip on occasion.
For the purposes of our street, she was Madonna.(In case there is any confusion
up to this point, I mean the singer, of course.) We jumped rope and played
kickball but “Madonna” usually wanted to rope both me and her older sister,
Chrissa, into informal beauty pageants.
One day, I gave in. Her brother, Paul (again,
this is a pseudonym to spare his I-don’t-know-what), for lack of a swarm of
participants, was judging. I had no make-up, unless I sneaked my mom’s ancient
expired makeup, or used water or even, ewww saliva, to moisten the colored
powder that came with my Barbie doll head to get ready. (These were the almost
life-sized heads you could practice hair and make-up on. Barbie is her real
name.)This was tougher than I thought. Chrissa offered to do my make-up if I
brought what I had down. Yippee I thought. Needless to say, in a few
short minutes, I lost the beauty contest, despite Paul's dysfunctional crush,
slash desire to put things from the street into my mouth. He once almost burned
the back staircase down.I can laugh about this little prank now. When I went
upstairs, I had green cheeks and red shadows on my eye lids. Almost dripping in
the summer heat, the colors knew no bounds. Hot.
If Hollywood was to make a movie about your
life, what would it be titled?
This is a tough question. Maybe my name, it's
not too common and as a bonus, it might help save spelling time with
Promote yourself. Where can our readers find
more of your work?
My poetry can be found in “The Boston Poet” and “The Watermark,” the UMass literary
Magazine volumes 1994– 1997. As early as 1991, I participated in The Boston
Public Schools, High School Zone Writer’s Conference held at The Boston
Globe.In 2011, I participated in the Cambridge Poet Populist Poetry Festival
and have also read at La Luna Café and Out of the Blue in Cambridge, MA. Two
years ago, I helped a team of wonderful people write and put together a short
film while learning a lot in the process through RIFC.
than that, I’ve drafted countless legal documents, devoid of as much humor as
possible. If people sneak into my room, they will find countless pages of works