Driving home this afternoon, I spotted a peacock resting in the grassy median that divides the road. His tail dragged like a wilted bouquet. I considered this a lucky sign (despite the myths about their feathers bringing bad luckonly if you pluck them!)
I had just returned from my latest chat with Arturo, a friend who has taken on the daunting task of designing my website. We met in his wooden cottage in the jungles of Coral Gables. His taco dog greeted me at the door, decked out in a camouflage T-shirt and an e-collar (or Elizabethan collar). Poor Gordito trembled so hard, the tiny bones in his back legs shook as he sniffed my palms. I pulled a treat out of my tote bag and his doe-like eyes widened.
"He was operated," said Arturo, leading me into his toy-cluttered office.
I sat on a child-sized stool, the vinyl seat decorated like Peppermint Patty's freckled face. It hissed as I settled back and blinked at the computer screen. Arturo, in ADD-mad genius-fashion, rambled about a million subjectsfrom the "extra toe" on a puppy's paw, to the surreal, stop-motion cartoons he watched in Cuba as a kid.
"This wizard would pull hairs out of his beard and they would turn into things," he told me.
Arturo knows about wizards. He conjures enchanted creatures for his Friends With You
battalion of designer toys for nostalgic children of the 1980s. My website will feature a similar hand-drawn aesthetic, starting with the puffy doodles you might find in a ninth grader's notebook.
"Can you draw a manatee?" I asked.
Within seconds, Arturo had sketched the lumbering mammal with his trademark flair, a manatee that might've been molded out of marshmallow fluff.
"Awesome," I said, laughing.
We spent a few hours discussing the design. I racked my brain, trying to remember what sort of material I would need on an author's website--links to stories I've published, a PDF of my resume, and so on. I never thought of including a photo gallery, but Arturo brimmed with ideas.
"You take pictures all the time, right?" he said. "This could go here as a hyperlink." He dragged his pen across the page, plotting out squares. I spent more time peeking into his sketchpad than looking at the computer. After mapping out the composition, deciding what goes where, Arturo will pass the job to a techy friend who knows everything about code.
I've never owned my own website before. Just talking about it makes me wonder, Is this really happening? And when is my editor sending the next revision letter?
On the way out, I stepped on something crunchy--Gordito's treat left on the floor. Oh no. I realized that I had brought the fish-shaped Greenies for Sula instead of a doggy bone. Next time, I'll bring two.