Friday, April 3, 2009

Flashback Friday: Columns are Taxing

Today I am doing a "2-fer" - because it's "Flashback Friday" day AND a column day, I thought this time they might work nicely together. Since we are at 12 days and counting until the tax deadline, my column this week was timed appropriately for tax season.
I decided to write this week about tax deductions. You know how you are tempted to save every receipt that crosses your path during the year on the slight chance that it might be deductible? Like if you just wish hard enough, that cute pair of shoes might be a deduction? Yes, we wish. And hope. And then we finally toss away that big old box of receipts because - darn it - those tax forms just don't leave you much wiggle room.

But that doesn't mean you can't still TRY to finagle and finesse a few "grey" areas, right? (Well, Mr. H. would say "No" but I'm not such a "black and white" kinda girl.) So I thought it'd be fun to see if we couldn't approach tax deductions with a little humor, i.e. Can I deduct my cat?, which as it happens, is the title for this week's column.

So why does this post qualify as a Flashback? Ok, I am getting to that. Over the past 3-1/2 years that I've written my column, the question I'm most often asked is "How do you think of all the stuff you write about?" Since I've written close to 200 columns in all, that IS a lot of subjects, it's true. But the subject isn't always the thing. Sometimes I've got a subject - it's finding 800 words to say on the subject that gets challenging. For example: my most recent column that published today. I knew I wanted to write about taxes and deductions, but my mind was already in Long Beach, thinking about the pending arrival of Baby Emily. So I had to keep pulling my mind back to what I was doing, writing my column. This happens frequently. Life can get in the way of a column, which is (ironically) what my columns are about: Life. Weird, I know.
Another question I get asked a lot is how do I keep the columns funny? (I'm usually just happy to hear that people do indeed think they ARE funny!) When I began writing for the Morgan Hill Times, it was (another twist of irony) at a very "unfunny" time. We had just put our 17-year old dog, Lucky, down. And I had to write a funny column by deadline. As hard as it was to write humorously during those first few weeks when my emotions were so raw, in a crazy way it turned out to be good therapy.

So today, in addition to posting this week's column about taxes, I'm also going to post one of my earliest columns - it was the second one I wrote, published November 1, 2005. We had taken on The Home Rennovation Project from Hell - refinishing the family fireplace. To see "Is My Cat Deductible?" and my earlier column, "The Horrors of Home Renovation," click right here: Happy reading :)

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