Jumpsuit by Lisa Montagne

Published by Running Wild Press, 2016


The jumpsuit was a thing of beauty. Made of dark-blue, shiny denim, it had an orange zipper that spanned from the crotch to the cleavage. It even sparkled ever so slightly in the sun, like it had been dipped in a vat of finely grained fairy dust. It sported capped sleeves, a wide collar, and bellbottoms. It was worthy of Cher or Liza Minnelli—certainly a back-up singer for Diana Ross. Nonetheless, it made me queasy. But, the jumpsuit also made me feel sexy and daring, which incited an occasional wave of sweaty armpits. In it, I was anxious to flaunt my new body and my new image. Seventh grade, here I come! I thought. There was no stopping me. I would no longer be the nerdy, fat kid. I would be a star.

Any rational adult would be stunned that my mother let me buy a body-hugging, denim jumpsuit for my thirteenth birthday. My mother was a real-deal Southern belle; she begged to me to wear make-up the moment I turned twelve.

“Lisa,” she would say, “after putting on your lipstick, you blot it with a Kleenex.” The purpose of this was lost on me, but she would grab whatever was nearby—Kleenex be damned—a bank deposit slip, a piece of notebook paper, a movie ticket stub—and press her lips around it. There were bits of paper everywhere with her red lip prints on them. In the car. Under the couch.

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The Multi-Tasking Dancer by Lisa Montagne

This was originally a guest blog at atomicballroom.com.

The other night, on a pleasant summer evening in Southern California, I was out social dancing at a Swing event. There was a wealth of lovely, willing leads. The band was exuberantly playing some loungey swing classics, like “Fly Me to the Moon,” “Mack the Knife,” and “Something’s Gotta Give”—then, suddenly, like an unexpected but welcome cool rain, there was a Waltz.

A male Swing lead, a long-time acquaintance of mine, looked at me and said, “What the heck is that?”

“That, kind sir, is a Waltz,” I replied with no little amount of enthusiasm. I waited expectantly, but he just looked discouraged, tinged with a trace of disgust, and he walked away. It was like when my grandmother used to shake her head in exasperation at what the world was coming to when Madonna pranced around in her steel-studded underwear.

Later in the evening, when a Cha Cha came on, that same lead was even more uncomfortable, and finally, when there was a Rumba, he was completely demoralized and left. Quite a few others followed him. Fortunately for me, my escort for the evening was a lead who can dance when a Waltz, a Cha Cha, or a Rumba is played. Except for the fact that probably 20 people bailed like vegetarians from a steak house just like my friend, it was a very satisfying night out. And, despite the sin of playing a variety of music, this Swing band did its job; the musicians played very well and created a fun atmosphere—and who wouldn’t appreciate that?

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There and Back Again by Lisa Montagne

When I was eight or nine years old, I read The Hobbit. Even though I was so young, it set the course of my life. The Hobbit was to me what Harry Potter is to the millennial generation. The Hobbit took me to an alternative world where there were lush and dangerous landscapes, whimsical Hobbit holes and elevensies, romantic heroes fighting interesting evil creatures, an exciting journey far from home, and a tiny under-dog who suffered and triumphed. This book whisked me away from the reality of bullying at school, and angry voices rattling their way down the hall from my parents’ room.  After The Hobbit, I read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy. And then, I read CS Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia series, Madeleine L’Engel’s A Wrinkle in Time—and countless other books that inspired me. The result of all this reading, sparked by the magic of The Hobbit, was that I wanted to be a writer–and perhaps even a university English professor, just like Tolkien and Lewis. I wanted to be able to take people to an extra-ordinary place away from the mundane, but mostly I wanted to share with others something that is still difficult to articulate; the best that I can do is this: I wanted others to feel the magic that emanates from a written page just like I did—and just like I still do.

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Barstool By Lisa Montagne

So Jesus Christ walks into a bar. Not just any bar; my bar.

With the cool confidence of the Son of God he parks himself on a barstool and throws down a C note that he peeled from a wad of cash. He stuffs the wad back in his overcoat pocket, and tosses his fedora on the bar.

“Bar keep,” he says, “scotch whiskey, neat. And none of that cheap hootch you try to peddle. Make it a double malt.”

A man with taste in a dive like this, I think. I gotta admire that. He glances my way. He’s got big, intelligent eyes like he knows things.

“What you drinking, doll?” Jesus asks.

“Gin Rickey,” I answer.

He motions to the bartender to pour me another. I like a man who takes charge.

“Thanks,” I say. “What brings you to this dump? Shouldn’t you be out blessing the poor or something?”

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My Own Personal Tina Fey by Lisa Montagne

Talking Out of My Pie Hole
Dr. Lisa Montagne--And, my hair in 2013. Much of a difference?
Dr. Lisa Montagne–And, my hair in 2013. Much of a difference?

My Own Personal Tina Fey by Lisa Montagne

September 9, 2013

Throughout my life, I have been told that I resemble various actresses: in the 80s, it was Sally Field; in the 90s it was Julia Louis-Dreyfus (something to do with the big 90s hair); in the early 2000s it was Megan Mullally as Karen Walker on “Will and Grace” (please note that I am a generous—and not a mean—drunk); and for the past four or five years, it has been Tina Fey. I admire these women immensely; they are all smart, talented, sassy, and pretty in the kind of way that gets the blood of pasty-faced nerds flowing. I am happy to be compared with these women; I wouldn’t mind being any one of them, especially Tina Fey. She has many impressive talents and accomplishments, all wrapped up in wit and wisdom, but I especially admire her for pulling off kissing Paul Rudd on the big screen in a 2013 rom com—that was truly inspiring. If, as a woman who came to be a movie star late in the game, she can get hired to play the love interest of such a yummy cutie-pie as Paul Rudd, then I feel as if I can do anything.

Speaking of being able to do anything: Compared with most of the women in the world—both today and in the past—Sally, Julia, Megan, Tina, and I lead pretty good lives. Granted, I am not a movie or a TV star, although in my daydreams I am alternatively a cabaret singer who performs burlesque in a skimpy corset and has legs as long as the Pacific Coast Highway, and a stand-up comic, a girl version of Steve Martin who packs stadiums and jams on the fiddle between cerebral jokes. The truth is, of course, that I am just an anonymous worker bee in the business of life. However, I do have so much to be thankful for. Continue reading “My Own Personal Tina Fey by Lisa Montagne”