I bought them at a large box store that begins with the letter C. They were by the men's socks — the kind my husband likes — near the motor oil and the big book table, which was directly across from the towering cans of tuna fish. I didn't need them, I didn't even know things like this existed, but the minute I saw them we bonded. So I bought them, this long string of purple grape lights, and I put them up in my office. Actually, I draped them over my grandmother's old secretary desk, plugged them in, and laughed. My husband said, what are those? My dog crawled out of my office. My friend came over and said, you've got to be kidding, Joan. So I took them down and forgot about them until I was attempting to clean the basement — note the word, attempting — and I found my grape lights in a box. Right then, I heard the voice of a professional organizer I know say, if you haven't used something in a year, toss it. Well, I hadn't used these in three years, I didn't even know if they still worked, but I wasn't tossing them. I brought them back to my office, arranged them over my grandmother's desk, plugged them in, the lights beamed on, and I laughed.
I'm not sure why these grapes speak to me the way they do. Perhaps it's because they are just so deeply weird and wonderful. Perhaps it's because I'm starting a new book and I want it to be bold and a little crazy. Perhaps it's because grapes have always reminded me of a fruitful harvest. No matter. I think everyone needs something equivalent to grape lights that no one will understand but you. So here they are, world. Love me, love my grape lights. Get something bold and stick it up. I'm not kidding.