SO! I am turning in THE SECRET WRITING PROJECT this week. Last night I borrowed a whole writing group from Susan Rebecca White (Lookit her fancy new website!) to get fresh eyes on this thing before I turn it in.
I have FIVE FULL SETS of notes on TSWP, and this morning was all about reading and rereading them, and then sorting the marked up MSes into piles as I decided which threads I needed to follow up on and integrate.
Let me show you what is NOT HELPFUL when one is trying to sort and integrate the valuable input of five disparate readers into piles that will allow one to tighten up one’s MS in a single intense revision instead of five separate whole MS pass-throughs. THIS! THIS IS NOT HELPFUL:
He moved from pile to pile, too, sitting on whatever one would be the least convenient for me in the coming moment with the kind of catly prescience that makes you understand why the Egyptians thought of them as divine.
He made the job take a good half hour longer than it should have, and I am pretty sure I LOST a page I really need in the wrong pile. I will either have to dig and find that page or I will have to MANUALLY REMEMBER exactly what it said, which is like saying “I will either have to dig and find that page or I will have to shoot a moon rocket out of my butt and colonize Luna.”
SPEAKING OF BUTTS, note that MangoCat was not SIDE-LOLLING or LOUNGING on his belly. He SAT on the piles. SAT! Still speaking of butts, he was effectively placing HIS all over the pages of my MS. Like a pink and disapproving STAMP!
It reminds me of that scene in Impromptu—one of my ALL TIME favorite movies. Did you ever see that? It’s Judy Davis as the writer George Sands, all about her mad affair with Chopin, played by a VERY young Hugh Grant…
OH it is an EXCELLENT scene – do you remember it? I can’t find it to embed, BUT here it is. If you have never seen Impromptu, RUN to Netflix. It is a rompy delight, start to finish.
ANYWAY, even though Mango seemed to be doing a milder version of HORSE-CRITIQUE with his back end, did I unceremoniously DUMP HIM off and work on in relative peace? No. I did not.
Did I so much as gently pick his MEASLY ELEVEN POUND SELF up and kiss his dear-dear-dearest nose and set him aside on a clear part of the table? No, I did not.
As he sat on a pile, I ear scratched him and crooned at him and buried my face in his luxurious mane to smell all the GOODNESS of him until he was ready to shift to whatever pile I might need next.
I have it SO bad for this cat. I have only loved an animal with this kind of consuming PASSION once. That was Gompers, also a yellow Tom, and after Gompers died… Well.
That was more than fifteen years ago and it still hurts. If you have read SHINE SHINE SHINE (Have you not? GOOD GRIEF, go GET IT NOW!) you may have noticed the excellent stalwart Captain is named Gompers, because Lydia is the most beautiful human on the planet, and she GETS how much he mattered to me. She had an animal of her deepest heart, too, a horse. So she put Gompers in space for me, hung him up like a star, and he is there forever.
I have had many, many animal friends, and I have loved them in a petly way and liked them all SO much and deeply enjoyed their silly company. But MANGO! OH MANGO! OH! This cat. OH this cat.
Sometimes I call him Mangompers. Not because I believe in Feline Reincarnation, but Mango and Gompers were both born in metro Atlanta, both long haired yellow toms with the same kind of lion face, the same kind of small, pert ear. Not too big a stretch to think they MUST share some genes, mayhap even a common ancestor. I like to think so.
I have developed the habit of singing to him, a song I think of as OUR SONG, and whenever I do, Scott cocks an eyebrow and shakes his head and has to LOOK AWAY in shame for me. And yet I am shameless, I am shameless in my love! HERE IT IS! THE LOVE SONG OF ME AND MANGO! You may think it is someone else’s love song, but you are very silly. And wrong. My love is more epic.
I especially like the lines about “All my life, I believed, I WOULD FIND YOU, time has brought your heart to me” because it is TRUE that I have been looking for HIM, the exact right right rightful cat. I saw Mango on the internet while surfing cat pRon in an ongoing MANY YEARS WORTH of hunt for him. I saw three little pictures, and I began yelling for Scott because I KNEW. I knew the second I saw him.
He was in a kill shelter and I called immediately and they said he was gone. I thought they meant “GONE!” So I hung up and got oddly WEEPY. Then I could barely sleep all night because I KNEW he was not gone. I KNEW. I felt so strongly that he was my cat. I called again the next day and asked for clarity. They said GONE meant only that a lady from a no kill shelter had come by with room to save seven cats. Mango, slated for doom, was the only non kitten she took with her.
WE IMMEDIATELY leaped in the car and went after him at the no kill place. The lady there told us he had kept putting his foot out of the cage to get her arm, ASKING her to please take him. He knew, too, of course, is how I interpret this. BECAUSE I AM DANIEL DAY LEWIS AND HE IS MADELINE STOWE!
When we went to the rescue to get him, he had just had dental surgery and he was logy and dispirited and unprepossessing, and yet I INSISTED. IT WAS HIM! I KNEW. SO we took him home, and he hid behind the clothes drier for a week, terrified and exhausted from being in shelters.
I just lay down on the tile floor and put my hand behind the drier and sang to him multiple times every day, until one day he took a little step forward and rubbed his face into my hand and then he came out from behind the drier, and he is in my lap right now, hampering me as I type this. He pretty much lives here, on me, and his default setting is purr. Me and Mango, we are an US.
Have you ever had an animal who was THE ANIMAL OF YOUR DEEPEST HEART? Who was it—or, if you are very lucky, who IS it?
This is an ocelot. Apparently. When I said we had them living in our hair, I was picturing a type of weasel. I chose Ocelots because the weasel is an inherently amusing animal---even the WORD Weasel is an inherently amusing word. But no, ocelots are a darling thing you get when a house cat has sex with a big-eyed anime cuteness deity. ADORABLE! I WISH I had one in my hair.
I am not DEAD. Let’s be clear—NO ONE is dead. I am just crazy with pounds of WRITERY GOINGS ON.
I haven’t been blogging much, but not because I am dead and not because I am BUSY.
I mean, I AM busy. Of course I am. So are you. You’re not even sure when you last washed your hair, are you? Me neither. There could be whole herds of transient ocelots constructing whatever kind of thing an ocelot would live in all up in our head-nests, and we would be too busy to know.
Everyone in this freakin’ country is SO ridiculously over-busy they are probably ALL ocelot infested. We cannot all move to Greece, but maybe we should stop working for two every afternoon and eat little plates of Mediterranean cheese and olives and drink ouzo. Yes? Yes.
But I have always, since you have known me, been BUSY, and so have you. Good grief. And yet I and You have both found time to watch the first two seasons of Game of Thrones or ________, respectively. (Put your own current unhealthy obsession in the blank.)
DIGRESSION: Scott’s sister Allison—WHOM I LOVE—who is wonderful and kind and dear and smart and funny – decided to move to Stone Mountain, Georgia, about 25 minutes away from us. When she told me, to my ABIDING SHAME, the first thing I said to her was… “OH YAY! YOU HAVE HBO, DON’T YOU!” Nice.
SO obsessed am I that I just watched THE STATION AGENT because I have yet to see any of GoT Season 3 and I am in DEEP, DEEP TERRIBLE DINKLAGE DEFICIT, which is a real true medical condition that causes over-bourboning and sulkage. You should watch The Station Agent. It has the feel of a really good PLAY more than a movie. I wanted it to be 12 hours long as I could have watched and watched and watched those people forever:
DIGRESSION: I love Joe in that film. Halfway in, I turned to Scott and said, “Joe is the human incarnation of Doug the Dog from Pizxar’s UP.” Scott, when he could stop laughing and breathe again, said, “It’s funny because it’s TRUE.”
SO! It’s not that I couldn’t find the TIME to blog.
It is a writing/room/brain/space problem. I have been doing so much WRITING. I have been writing like SUPERCRAZY and using up all the droplets of writer-juice even down in the very most bottom of my brainpan.
SO! I haven’t had any of that very specific and particular kind of energy left over for any other kind of writing. I have even been very short in EMAILS because I can’t stand the extra TYPING OF WORDS.
I have sent emails to people I LOVE that have said things like “Yes. –JJ” And “THANK YOU THAT IS SO NICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
It was all I could type.
What I have been writing is a SECRET SURPRISE THING the likes of which I have not written before. I will tell you about it As Soon As Ever I Can, but it was challenging and new for me. I am done with it now, done with a DRAFT anyway. I have a WHOLE draft I like, and I am revising – always my favorite part. I feel like I have all this room in my head now.
But here I am now. HI! I MISSED YOU! I AM SORRY I WAS GONE after I specifically told you that my absence likely meant tragedy.
I think I need to decide to blog like 2 or 3 days a week, all the same days, and then just actually do it. I don’t want to take blogging breaks this long because this blog is a weird, alive hub of small relationships.
HI! I remember you! Do you REMEMBER ME? I am the one with the very fine bushy red mustache.
After a break of this long, I feel weird and shy, which is DUMB, as we have known each other, you and I, for MORE THAN DECADE NOW. (Can you believe? We should get each other something. Wine, or the kind of gentle nit comb that can pick out all our ocelots without harming them.)
While I have been submerged in THE SECRET PROJECT, what might possibly be my favorite comment EVER to grace FTK happened—and, oh Beloveds, there have been some DOOZIES. SO you know this one had to be CRAZY good.
Anonymous said: I used to lick the church pews– when I was four or five. The flavor– it repulsed and delighted, simultaneously.
I am repulsed and delighted, myself. I love this SO much. I want to write about a person who was a pew licker as a child. An insubordinate, incorrigible pew licker.
I love people. We all have whole universes tucked away inside of us. No one, looking at Anonymous today as he or she does her job and goes to Kroger for some apples, NO ONE would know, would they? Anonymous could be your very own sister, who sat by you and stole tiny, secets laps of pew-flavor while you were doodling on the Order of Worship flier.
OH, How I love us, all us people. How endlessly interesting we are.
SO CATCH ME UP. What secret thing have YOU been doing, all this first third of May?
ADVICE NUMBER ONE: You should read Richard Russo on the toilet.
No, but, you really should. I was recently found by an old and very very very odd college acquaintance on the Facebook (OH! INTERNET! WHAT DID WE DO BEFORE YOU???), and when I asked him what he was up to these days, that was his answer.
“I am reading Richard Russo on the toilet.”
Well, there was more to it than that, because as you can imagine I questioned him about this …phenomenon (or should I call it a Lifestyle Decision?) quite extensively because it was such an odd answer and I am apparently not very good at boundaries. HEH.
We wrote back and forth quite a bit on this topic, and I have no idea if he ever married or had kids or what kind of work he does or where he gets his preaching or even what state or country he has settled into, but BY ZEUS! I know what the man is reading when he sits upon the porcelain throne.
It doesn’t HAVE to be Richard Russo, actually. But some great, and I mean GREAT, book. A book you LOVED. You put it in the bathroom. It’s just THERE, erm, should, um, you have need of it.
When choosing your literature for the toilet, here are his guidelines for the best experience.
1) Choose a book you read before, so you don’t have to follow the plot. You KNOW all the characters, but you don’t remember how gloriously each sentence and image is crafted. You have forgotten the EXACTNESS of it, but you remember the sense of it.
2) Never allow yourself to be so caught up that you take Richard Russo out of the bathroom. Read it in tiny bites, just appreciating the two pages or three paragraphs you get to before it is time to leave the bathroom and continue with your day. You read it word by word, just to love each word in turn. Consider the pieces, not the whole gulped thing.
3) HAVE A BOOMMARK. Lest you use your entire window of read-portunity to find your place.
He says that based on his current rate of reading, it will take him three years to finish Empire Falls. He fully expects to be a better person at the end of this time.
I have two bathrooms, ready to be loaded up with literature. I am thinking Jane Smiley upstairs, and the letters of Flannery O’Connor down?
ADVICE NUMBER TWO (see what I did there?? HA! I said number two after I was…oh Never mind. Here it is): Don’t give people advice. 90% of all people HATE to get advice more than 70% of the time. I made that statistic up, and I really feel that I have underestimated. Julie over at A Little Pregnant calls it Ass-vice. For a reason. Having to do with what one makes of oneself when one gives it.
Right now TONS of people reading this are making grumpy mouths as I intrude upon their most private moments and try to FORCE them to read Richard Russo on the toilet. EVEN RICHARD RUSSO WOULD PROBABLY FEEL INSULTED, told to take his own book into the toilet and CHERISH THE WORDS. As if he was some Philistine! As if he was not already reading PROUST in there!
Like most people, I have a very clear picture of how easily your whole life could be thoroughly fixed, if only you would LISTEN and DO WHAT I SAY.
At the same time, in MY life, I peer through a murky landscaped using a cardboard paper towel roll tube to narrow my vision to a pinhole. And I am not listening to you burble about all the parts that I am missing.
I am SURE you could fix my life, if I listened to you.
AND YET! I likely won’t. Even if you are right. Even if you have only my best interests at heart.
This is the human condition.
I have learned that when people ask for advice, what they really mean is, I WANT TO WHINE ABOUT A PROBLEM THAT I AM UNWILLING TO FIX BECAUSE IT WILL COST TOO MUCH TIME OR MONEY OR EFFORT BUT IT IS BUGGING ME SO I NEED TO HOLLER SO GAHHHH PLEASE DO NOT TELL ME HOW TO FIX IT BECAUSE THEN I MIGHT HAVE TO AND IT SEEMS HARD AND BORING.
I learned this by realizing that it is what *I* mean, much of the time. *grin*
I am trying to stop asking for advice when I don’t actually want it. These days, I just say, “I want to whine. Can you listen for five minutes while I whine and cry?” and people will totally do that. I am blessed with excellent friends.
OUT OF TIME! GAH! I will share the third REALLY HELPFUL piece of advice on FRIDAY, NO REALLY. This is not a pink sock. I WILL share it. Because I ADORE YOU, oh my best beloveds, and this advice… It could SAVE YOUR LIFE.
Meanwhile, perhaps, I AM HAVING A CYNICAL WEDNESDAY. Is my made up statistic wrong? Do people listen to advice? Have you ever had anyone TAKE your advice and go fix their life or has anyone ever fixed yours with advice? When do you listen, and when do you have to come to it on your own?
The last time I saw Jurassic Park, I was living in Oak Park Illinois, just outside of Chicago. Scott and I were SO freaking poor, I can’t even tell you. Scott had just completed seven years of higher education… in THEATRE. We were both just ecstatic he had a job.
It was a lower-than-entry level position, but it was a foot in the door in an industry that was related to his first love, Stage Management. His salary paid our rent and our electricity and that was about it. But it gave us HEALTH INSURANCE, which was SO awesome it felt like MAGIC; I was gestating the little wad of whatnot that would become the amazing Sam Winn.
We hadn't finished making even ONE of these yet.
I had just finished grad school with a degree in…Creative Writing, and that plus the pregnancy made me nigh-on unemployable. In order for us to afford little luxuries like, you know, food and underpants, I was babysitting 30 hours a week for a friend with 2 boys who was getting her PhD.
Poor, poor, poor—in our to-the-penny budget, we set aside 25 dollars a month for entertainment. We took a lot of walks to the frozen custard stand and shared a small. Or we got a 5 dollar pizza from the take out place. We rented older movies for a dollar. Maybe I never cut my hair to give him a watch chain, and he never sold his watch to buy me combs, but God, we would have…We were young and crazy in love; it was a pretty great time in our lives.
Every Friday in the warmer months, we had a standing date at a nearby drive-in. It was a flat five bucks a car to get in, and they let you stay for both the films. We would pack a picnic and stay there until they shut it down. I fell into a different kind of love with my still newish husband during this time— Long Haul Love. We created it with our feet up on the dashboard, eating leftover meatloaf sandwiches and talking through the movies.
One week, the second show was Jurassic Park. By then, I was hugely, massively, OUTRAGEOUSLY pregnant. Sam was almost a week late—when he was born, ten days later, he would weigh 11 pounds, 13 ounces. As it was, I barely fit in our little second-hand Saturn. I lolled in the fully reclined seat, huge and unwieldy, with a SERIOUS case of pregnancy brain.
We watched Nedry drive for the docks through sheets of rain, clutching that can of shaving cream with the false bottom. OH I hated Nedry. I was glad when he ran off the road, crashed, and slipped around in mud, trying to winch his jeep out of the stream with that CUTE, small, inquisitive, cooing dino following him. BAM! Out came those shaking head frills and SPLAT! The purple goo covered his face. The cute dino was a poison spitty! Nedry screamed, clawed at his face, ran blindly for his car….and died.
I smiled all dreamy, turned to Scott, and said in the dopiest, most sincere voice I have ever heard come out of me, “I like dinosaurs.”
Those words have become a touchstone for DUMB behavior. If we see someone doing something particularly brainless, we will turn to each other and one of us will say, “He likes dinosaurs.” The other will nod and say, “Oh yes. He likes dinosaurs a LOT.”
Yesterday, Scott and I took Sam Winn to see Jurassic Park again. This time in 3D, at IMAX. He didn’t remember it from the first time, of course, because of all the “being a fetus” he was doing during the first showing.
We took Maisy as well, after careful coaching. She’s a wreck in tense movies. In order to let her ENJOY IT, I figured out which characters were likely to be her favorites, and promised her that none of those four would die.(Even so, she spent the WHOLE movie UP MY NOSE, screaming and clutching at me! But in a fun rollercoaster way, so it was all good.)
Man, but Jurassic Park holds up! Laura Dern is so great at REACTING TO THINGS THAT DO NOT EXIST. What an actor. Jeff Goldblum is that Spock-cific kind of geek-sexy that I find SO attractive. The kids are cute, and the ancient special effects, polished up a bit for this IMAX edition, looked really, really good.
Twice I screamed and climbed up SCOTT’S nose.
Oooooh! Floppy Disk! Gone so long from earth!
The computer stuff was fun – at one point, Scott poked me and pointed at Nedry’s desk. “Look!” he whispered in the same near reverent tones Sam Neil had just used to point out a Triceratops, “FLOPPY DISKS!”
Weird how a silly, super-fun family movie can make me so nostalgic, remembering Sam so small and as yet unknown, Maisy Jane just a dream, and Scott so young and good to me, rubbing my poor swollen pregnant feet at night.
Did you go? Then? Or now? Were you even alive then? What do you remember?
1) My new life motto is green and to the left. I am doing it right now. YOU SHOULD DO THIS MOTTO. It is delicious.
2) Because you, Oh Best of All Possible Beloveds, are beautiful, I got SO MANY OFFERS TO BE MY NEW BEST FRIEND. Fully thirty human beings offered via comments and emails and the Tweeters to let me come over and watch Game of Thrones at your house.
Most of you were perfectly safe in applying because you could be all, “Of course, I live in Alaska and I raise wolves specifically trained to eat novelists, but I DO have HBO and by the way the season premier was AWESOME, sorry you missed it.” But you DID invite me, and it made me feel good. Because I am a weirdo.
I did actually get a really GREAT NBF offer from a fellow Decaturite whose dog is NOT scary or a wolf. Whose dog is, in fact, A Boston Terrier, which, I LOVE THOSE SILLY SMASHED IN FACE DOGS!
DIGRESSION: Lydia Netzer has one named Leroy who NURSES On people’s arms. Last book tour, I stayed at her house and she gave me Leroy as a loaner dog to sleep with. He relentlessly suckled my forearms, and I relentlessly allowed it; by the time I went home I had DOG HICKEYS the size of salad plates on both arms.
It was an absolutely sincere and kindly and welcoming NBF offer (VERY Decatur) and I was going to take her up on it but when I told Scott he said it was fine and I could go and it was FINE, I should GO. He said it a lot of times, reiterating exactly how FINE it was, and how happy for me he was, and I thought to my dim self, “OH! If the situation was reversed and he went and watched GoT without me, would I divorce him?”
But I might kill him in his sleep.
So in order to not be justifiably homicided in my bed I decided not to watch GoT until Scott can watch it, too. Perhaps I can swap the NBF HBO offer over to a dog walking sort of NBF, so I can glom on her black and white smashy faced thing.
This is Leroy. Whatever he just did, he feels BAD about it.
Scott and I, meanwhile, are solacing ourselves with catching up on WALKIGN DEAD (Which, after a VERY slow start to Season 2 has gotten suddenly good again) and JUSTIFIED (Which makes us talk to each other in Elmore Leanardese, calling each other Raylon, and saying things like, “Well, Raylon, Imma cook this meth, I surely am,” and here we all understand that “meth” is organic apple chicken sausage from Trader Joe’s, right?
It’s fun. It’s all fun, but OH! OH! None of them have Peter Dinklage…
3) On Easter day, I went to a Yoga class, and it was very heart openy: Shoulders back and down. Chest lifting. My yoga teacher kept saying, Peel your heart OPEN. Lift up, turn it to the light, turn it up to the sun and to all that is good, to renewal and resurrection, twist and open and let the light in.
SO I did. And as I did, an organ started plating over the chant songs with bells. An ORGAN. In my head.
And I realized that at church that day, we sung one of the oldest and most CLASSIC hymns, ODE TO JOY, which is BEETHOVEN ya’ll. Not some dirty-footed hippie with a sitar, okay? FREAKING BEETHOVAN, with lyrics penned in 1907 by Henry van Dyke, a Princeton man known for writing the Presbyterian BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER so, one can assume, not a frequenter of LuluLemon, and yet! AND YET! here is what he wrote and here is what I sang:
Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,
God of glory, God of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee,
Opening to sun above.
There was an internal melding, kinda like what is happening below, except assume Jesus is chocolate, assume yoga is peanut butter, and assume no one is wearing such blasphemously UGLY pants.
It was a neat Easter, letting go of any separation of church of yoga, and Yoga, for me, this last year especially, has become decidedly SO MUCH MORE than a work-out. It is about learning to “be still and know that I am God,” about the kind of prayer that has less to do with me opening my BIG YAP AND WHINING AND ASKING AND RAGING AND DEMANDING, and more about trying to hear that still, small voice…
One step farther. If I have Jesus getting in all my Yoga, and my Yoga teacher telling me to take my Yoga off the mat and into every moment of my life…
Expressly against the wishes of myself and all here, I seem to be relentlessly, relentlessly growing as a person—soon I will have to have a GaaP CATAGORY! MADNESS!—trying to learn to let that that chocolate and that peanut butter get all up into everything, trying to be kinder and quieter and more accepting, things so not in my PETTY JEALOUS LOOKATME wheelhouse, letting go, and all the while, and all the while, keeping calm, and eating avocados.
Now, YOU tell me one true thing. Or tell me three, as you like. I’m easy, baby. Just like Sunday Morning.
Here is a true thing about Pink Socks. It takes me a long time, but I DO believe I am getting better about matching up the pairs, here into FTK’s old age.
SO before I left for Virginia, I was telling you about how I was writing a FOR TRUE sequel for the first time. But not EXACTLY.
HEY! If you have no idea what I am mattering about, you need to hark back to a blog entry that SHOULD HAVE been named Sequel, Part One. It contains all my reasons for not sequel-ing, ever: CLICK HERE .
After that first entry, I got a note from a GENUINELY delightful human being saying— do not be mad at her, it was her one caveat in a lovely letter—that A GROWN-UP KIND OF PRETTY was the first book of mine she had cracked, and it felt lacking in the goodness, decency, kindness, and brightness she was hoping for, and how relieved she was to hear there would be a sequel…
Oh. Oops. PRETTY stands with BETWEEN, GEORGIA at the most very sweetest kindly end of my writing range. I need to warn her that if she saw no goodness there, no brightness, she should NOT read my other books. She will come to hate me and need therapy. My characters are flawed, sometimes flawed nigh unto death, and they oftentimes cut moral corners…
PRETTY is as gentle as I get, and while I personally think the humor undercuts the blackness and it’s plenty sweet and filled with human goodness, that’s just me. It is entirely possible my standards are low; I WILL take dirty bits of grace from any cesspit where I find them floating.
So, no, sorry. I will not be taking up pen and making things any better than I left them for Dear Big and Dearest Mosey and that godawful horrorshow it was my pleasure to name Liza. I personally thought that particular book’s resolutions were REALLY happy. Decidedly UNtidy, sure, but actively happy. Yes? No?
I am going to leave the Slocumbs there, regardless, as I cannot bear to re-wrecking ball that family. I love them so.
The sequel is for SOMEONE ELSE’S LOVE STORY, which comes out at the tail end of 2013 (THIS VERY YEAR!!!) and it is a QUASI-SEQUEL.
Much like how a minor character named Rose arose from gods in Alabama and refused to shut her pie hole, there was a secondary character in SOMEONE ELSE’S LOVE STORY who will not shut hers. Her name is Paula, and she is in my head an incarnation of the goddess Kali—- six arms, blue skin, a four foot tongue and she will fricken’ kill to win. She is kinda awful. And dangerous. And broken. But Kali is also the great Mother, the nurturer, who stops in mid-slaughter to nurse a crying baby on a battlefield. Where Paula loves, she loves so deeply.
But UNLIKE BACKSEAT SAINTS, this new book is a FOR TRUE sequel in that it takes place in space and time AFTER the events in SOMEONE ELSE’S LOVE STPRY, and I do not see how I can avoid recurring characters. I think it will have spoilers for the first book, as sequels must and do. I feel….displeased by this.
I am SO anal retentive about series books. If I read series at all (and I only follow a few: Laura Lippman, Lee Child, Deanna Raybourn, Connelly’s Bosch Books, etc) I HAVE to read them in order. I would NEVER read ANY book in ANY series out of order, and I am pretty sure that Leviticus SPECIFICALLY PROHIBITS reading series books out of order, proscribing that those who do this abominable thing should be “seized and killed repeatedly with stones.”
That seems… excessive. I don’t want anyone to be killed with stones. Certainly not repeatedly.
Instead, I want my publisher to infuse snapping-teeths into the sequel, SHARP ones that will close over the wrists of readers who try to go out of order and grind at them until they have rightfully read the first one FIRST.
ALAS! I don’t think Morrow uses Bookina Dentata, (really only Scholastic, who published Harry Potter, can properly install them) so I am not sure how I will resolve this. What do you think? Just say THIS IS A SEQUEL READ AT YOUR OWN RISK BUT PLEASE READ THE OTHER ONE FIRST?
Or should I try to NOT spoil for the first one, even though it will require me to FUDGE some things and be a little tricksy and simply not have the other characters from SELS be at ALL present, even though, gah, SOME OF THEM WOULD BE. And I think people who liked SELS would WANT to see them?? But it SPOILS…
I’d be interested to hear your opinion, provided your opinion is not, “Perhaps you should get some therapy and medication to help you with your obvious control issues.” Hee!
I need a new best friend. VERY badly. Are you her? I am going to write a personal ad about it.
Desperately Seeking My New Best Friend. MNBF should be female, live in the greater Atlanta area (Decatur preferred). MNBF has HBO and a strong desire to invite me over once a week to watch Game of Thrones Season 3 with no men in the room because, face it, brilliant and wildly entertaining as it is, that show is borderline pR0n and I can’t sit in a room containing both other people’s husbands and THAT many boobs flippetty-flopping about with such gratuitous abandon.
These are really my only requirements. I don’t care what MNBF thinks, believes, looks like, or even smells like. I don’t care if she practices some weird abhorrent religion where she eats live birds. I DO NOT EVEN CARE IF I AM EXPECTED TO BRING THE SNACKS EVERY WEEK. I will bring the snacks. I WILL BRING LIVE BIRDS FOR SNACKS. Just hook me up with The Imp, Arya Stark, and That BAD-ASS Khaleesi.
Speaking of pR0n: So, my OLD best friends— the suckish ones who either do not have HBO, or do not invite me over properly to watch GoT, or who HAVE HBO and WOULD invite me but cruelly choose to live in other states— will tell you there is no movie so bad I won’t sit through it. The last movie I walked out of was JADE, in 1997, because it committed a high trio of crimes: being SUPER boring, not making sense, and having David Caruso with no sunglasses whipping on and off.
But Lordy, I will sit through anything. I’ve seen every MINUTE of Gigli, Battlefield Earth and I watched Showgirls…twice.
I’m also not a prude. See: Game of Thrones, above. I watched MONSTER’S BALL (actually a great film) but the titular Ball is plural and belongs to Billy Bob Thornton, who shows it to us, along with its friend, and along with really ALL of Halle Berry, and then they DO Things. A lot of things. For a LONG time. I watched this movie with my DAD In the room, and did not leave or die.
Two films on my ALL TIME TOP TEN LIST movies are EASTERN PROMISES and A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, both of which star the dangliest pieces of Vigo Mortenson, pieces that I did not ever ever ever need to see. But I own both those movies and love them and will always see any film Cronenberg makes, no matter how naked and depraved, forever. Not a prude, ‘kay?
I say all this to say, I walked out of Spring Breakers on Friday. We were 45 minutes in. We had heard EACH line of dialog at LEAST TWICE, sometimes three times, repeated over different boring jiggley montages of boobies and spewing-beer-as-metaphor and fake guns as metaphor and Britney Spears songs.
This is not clever social commentary, because clever social commentary requires CLEVERNESS.
This is…a ham fisted presentation of the same BALDLY obvious contrasts and congruences, so OBVIOUS that my CAT gets it THE FIRST TIME and yet we, the people, are asked see them over and over. Yes, I see what you are doing thematically. Yes, already. No, it actually does NOT interest me MORE if you AGAIN show me the thing that failed to be intellectually complicated enough to interest me the first time.
Shall I now repeat a contrast for you? OKAY: I sat through SHOWGIRLS. Twice. Spring Breakers was not intellectually complicated enough to engage me.
And granted, I walked out before James Franco did more than yell four lines while wearing an X-treme Grill, but I thought I could be doing LITERALLY any other thing in that moment, including LOOKING AT A TOILET, I would be more engaged and entertained.
WHY IS THIS MOVIE 69% FRESH ON ROTTEN TOMATOES? Is American Art House film really this…bankrupt?
I never write bad reviews of things — If I like it, I tell you, if I do not like it, I shrug, I move on and try to find a thing I LIKE. But LORD, the critical reception of this film is so INEXPLICABLE. I need you to explick it.
Can anyone defend it?
Also, do any of them die? I walked out with two WILDLY critically acclaimed, accomplished novelists, both also bored and mystified by the positive Tomato Meter for such banal storytelling, but we all three hoped it would at least end in a blood bath. If you want to see this film (you do not), then do not read the comments, because I am FLAT asking for spoilers. Please tell me they all die.
I am on writing retreat in a VERY darling bungalow in Virginia with Mad Genius Lydia Netzer, and we wish you were here, assuming you are a homeless triangle in need of a thorough cleaning.
Because if you are, we can plug you directly into the shower as if it were a socket and you were the right-triangle-shaped-prong that goes in there. To be rinsed.
If you are shaped more like a tuba, or a pony, or a box of rock salt, or a Lady Novelist, you won’t go in the shower very well.
Also, if you ARE shaped like a triangle, but you are OBLIQUE, you can sod RIGHT off. No shower for you. Right or die.
I actually came here to WRITE or die. I suspect my body has chosen “die.”
I may or may not be stoned out of my GOURD on Dayquil, by which I am mean I definitely am. The box says DAYQUIL will not make me drowsy. GOOD JOB BEING A TRUE BOX! I am SUPER not drowsy.
The box did leave a few things out, like, it MAY make you LOOPY as spiral permed hair from 1983. The small print probaby covers that, and maybe it also says I may experience vision wavers, but I couldn’t read it because I am having all this dern VISION WAVERING. Also, I have this THOROUGHLY DISTURBING lightheaded sense of my ears quasi-detaching themselves to float up up up up UP and away off my head but on STRINGS. They bong against the ceiling, with the strings still running down inside and attached so that my brain gets jostled.
This Shower cannot be Explict. Or Bathed In.
I think now perhaps Lydia and I are on a Mucus Retreat. I came here, at great personal expense in terms of time, travel, lodging, and child care, came 1/8th of the way across the country, in order to leak foul juices from EVERY HOLE IN MY FACE.
I have Mucal Goal Bucket, and each day I hope to leak enough mucus to FILL IT, and at the end of it, I should have a complete TANKER TRUCK FULL OF INFECTED SLIME, which I will drive directly to Harper Morrow so they can reproduce and distribute it via Independent Snot Stores, Barnes and Snottle, Snots-A-Million, Snotazon, and any other venue where snots of all the finest kinds are purveyed unto the healthy.
Other activities a Lady Novelist might engage in on a Mucus Retreat: Suffering, Flopping, Sweating, Not Writing, Having Fevers, Having Chills, and hallucinating oneself into a right triangle shape long enough to bathe.