Sunday, January 13, 2013

Woeful Spotlight: Renata Roskopf

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 telemarketers.  

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 CafĂ© 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.  

Other 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 in progress.

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