About Joshilyn

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Syllogistically Speaking

Dogs are bad. Bagel is a dog. BAGEL IS BAD.

SO I was home for MAYBE 24 hours (Thursday and Friday), and NOW I am in Dahlonega, one of the settings in SOMEONE ELSE’S LOVE STORY, for their lit fest. March is crazy with lit fests and travel, so of COURSE March is when the book starts bursting at my seams, making sense in my head and trying to scramble out of my brains and onto a page.

So, imagine FRIDAY. I am in my office with MAYBE 4 hours before I have to leave for the litfest and 19 hours worth of ideas leaking out my ears, TYPE TYPE TYPE, and Bagel decides he MUST be a horrible turd bucket.

My office door leads to the screened porch, and it has a window—if he stands up, he can peer in it. All he has done this morning is STAND UP AND PEER IN AT ME while scraping his front feet down the door, SCRAPE! SCRAPE! SCRAPE! Rending the door paint LOUDLY and FORCEFULLY, scraping and scraping and scraping his feet down my door in a horrid WRITE-RUINING and door damaging noise, peering imploringly at me through the glass.

HE IS NOT ALLOWED TO SCRAPE HIS FEET ON MY DOOR. He is allowed to coem to the door and make a throat clearing noise, like a chuff0-bark, and then I let him in. But when it is not about IN, when it is abotu BREAKFAST, he foot scrapes like a relentless BUCKET OF TURDS. When he does it, he can’t COME IN or GET BREAKFAST until an interval has passed or I will essentially be rewarding HIS HORRIBLE TURD BUCKET SELF for doing a thing I hate.

When Maisy appeared, Bagel had interrupted my train of thought, been called a horrible turd bucket, and told to go away nine times. BUT a good three minutes had passed, so I thought it might be safe to let Maisy give him breakfast without reinforcing TURDY BEHAVIOR.

Me: MAISY! Thank God, there you are. GO FEED THE HORRIBLE TURD BUCKET.

Scott *passing by, does a double-take*: Why would anyone want to feed a horrible turd bucket?

Me: So it can make more horrible turds.

That’s just LOGIC:

Bagel is a turd bucket.
Food makes turds.
Bagel needs food to fulfill his primary function in life.

That is both VALID and SOUND. You can’t fight a good syllogism, ya’ll. But you can give it a FOOTECTOMY if it doesn’t stop scraping at your door.

bagel is desprit

Cherry Flavored Retreatification

moonshine me As you can probably guess from the silence + the jug of WEIRD LIQUOR, I have been on writing retreat; That is cherry moonshine, which made me feel very TILTED WORLDy. (That’s a reference to a novel about moonshiners called THE TILTED WORLD. I do NOT mean I drank it until I fell over, JUST TO BE CLEAR.)

The moonshine was FULL of these absolutely MURDEROUS looking cherries. They’d been soaking in what amounted to rubbing alcohol since time immemorial, and when we purchased this mason jar of liver-death, the ABC store owner shook the jar so the cherries wobbled threateningly in the oily liquid.

“Eat the FRUIT!“ he told us conspiratorially. “That’s what really gets you all tore up.”

They also had strawberry flavor, but let me tell you, STRAWBERRIES that have been sitting in jugs of alcohol? *shudder* They fuzz over and de-seed themselves until they look like SPLEENS. We eyed them and thought they were strawberries in ‘shine. But MAYBE it was a jar full of lumpulous organs from Dexter’s basement.

We went with lovely, symmetrical, spherical CHERRIES, which at least looked like they had once long ago been a style of food instead of medical waste.

I am happy to report that 46 is VERY different from 26, in that we declined to eat the fruit and “get tore up.” We did ingest moonshine in tiny, fortifying sips, plain over ice, in the evenings when the work was done and we needed to shut our clicky-clacking brain-trains down and go to sleep.

It was not unpleasant.

I got to dovetail the retreat into a couple of events with Quartermoon Books, a righteous Indie over in Topsail, North Carolina. The store let me stay in a beach house ALL WEEK and I got SO MUCH BOOK done.

I squatted with five other writers, also in for the events. Here is us, in order, Lydia Netzer, Me, Barbara Claypole White, Ariel Lawhon, Kathleen McCleary, and Ann Ipock.

topsail writers

Most of us were on deadline, and when we were not at bookstore events, we holed up in pajamas in our rooms, eating all our meals in our respective beds in front of laptops, making the sheets all gritty and dank and feverish with crumbs and art-sweat.

There were some brief spurts where we frolicked about and had mad joyful abandonings: the book store wine and cheese party , the bookstore luncheon, the OSCARS—-mostly for dress porn and to see if Lupita won, Spoiler: SHE DID YAY! And one day 5,000 dogs appeared on the beach and we ran down to kiss their faces and miss our own dogs.

And two of us, I will not say who, may have had a passionate, Moonshine-fueled duel over a super hawt pirate. AHHHH WRITING RETREAT, thou bastion of indiscriminate drinking and torid, hook-handed love. COME FOR ME AGAIN SOON.

pirate love

What did you do this week? I MISSED YOU, oh my best beloveds, and wanted to blog just to GET COMMENTS. But instead I wrote book, like a good monkey.

Better Left Unsaid

This is from FASTER THAN KUDZU almost exactly ten years ago—-I wrote it in early March, 2004, and the picture is from that time, too.

Me in 2004

Me in 2004. This was used on my first two books, gods and Between

Yesterday my friend Sara Gruen had to kill some people. Just a couple. But she liked ‘em.

At the same time, I was watching my people have sex in a bathroom.

Honestly? I might rather have been Sara. My novels always seem to get fraught with sex and violence, but it’s often more fun and usually easier to write about the violence. You can chart violence meticulously, and the aftermath is always interesting. Meanwhile, if you chart sex, it reads like a biology lesson, and the aftermath is always finding your pants.

Truism: You never realize how much sex you have put into novel until the day you know your mother is reading the MS.

Meanwhile, my Printer has its eye on a new career — it wants to become a COMPLETE PIECE OF CRAP. It is very close to achieving its goal. It is inserting extra blank pages at random and making the edges of the paper CURL like the ends of 50′s girl hair.

Author shot from my third novel, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming

Author shot from my third novel, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming

I need a new one. *cuss cuss* Ask me how interested I am in spending a bunch of money to replace my POS printer….go on, ask.

*waits while you ask*


I had to go get an “author photo” taken for the book jacket and like every human being on the planet, I ALWAYS hate pictures of me. There are pictures of me on this very website that make me want to crawl under the sofa and live with the dust camels. So I went to see Liz, a photographer friend of mine from the way back back. Elizabeth Osborne is a total and complete raving genius extraordinaire, which won’t all fit on my one butt cheek or BELIEVE ME, I would tattoo it there. She managed to make me look like a grown-up with a real hair cut.

Also I get to put a big fat CHECK by one thing on my to do list. So now all I have to do *checks list* is…

I think this is around 2007?

Author shot from my fourth novel, Backseat Saints

1)Do all Line Edits
2)Write Second Novel
3)Successfully Raise 2 Children to be Kind, Happy Adults
4)Make Supper
5)Drink the rest of this Shiraz before it goes bad.

Eep. Better get right on that. I pick 5.

Fast forward to February, 2014

I recently went to an event where the coordinator had used that VERY first black and white picture from 2004 on all the promo materials.

Me: WOW! Where did you dig up that author photo?

Event Coordinator: Google. Why don’t you use it on your site? I hope you don’t mind me saying, but it’s a much better shot of you. The author photo that comes with your media kit is not nearly as flattering.

Me: *laughing* I am sure I DO look a little fresher in that one— I am 35. The ones on my site show me now, at 45.

Her: *gets the panic eye, smiles brightly and SO UNCONVINCINGLY* Oh. Um. You haven’t changed a bit! NO, REALLY! I didn’t mean THAT. Ha ha heh ha, I meant I, um, I always like black and white photos more than color.

From A GROWN UP KIND OF PRETTY, my fifth book

This is from A GROWN UP KIND OF PRETTY< my fifth novel

I laughed it off, letting her off the hook, mostly because I have HORRID foot in mouth disease and say TERRIBLE THINGS I wish I could take back, instantly. But I tell you, between 35 and 45, I HAVE learned. A little. For example, I HOPE YOU DO NOT MIND ME SAYING, as sentence start---it always bodes ill.

A woman recently said to a pregnant friend of mine, “I hope you do not mind me saying, but you seem very, very large to only be as far along as you are.”

My friend, who is chuffy and cool-headed looked right at her and said, in a tone both firm and polite, “You know what? I do mind you saying.”

Here is some wise advice for living, culled from the ten years spanned by these photos: If you hear yourself beginning a sentence with, “I HOPE YOU DO NOT MIND ME SAYING” --just stop talking.

Immediately end the sentence with, “BUT I HAVE TO PEE.” Then evac to the restroom and lock yourself in a stall and reconsider, because whatever your mouth is about to unleash is probably NOT kind or all that helpful.

SO, what’s the worst I HOPE YOU DO NOT MIND ME SAYING thing you ever accidentally said out loud to someone? OR what’s the worst “helpful” thing a person ever said to you?

Current author shot---on Someone Else's Love Story

Current author shot—on Someone Else’s Love Story

BOOKS I READ in 2014 (I am marking ARCS so you know they are not pubbed yet. If you want a thing for NOW, GO READ THE GODS OF GOTHAM. FANTASTIC!)

In Progress: The Home Place by Carrie Le Seur (ARC )

The Gods of Gotham by Lindsay Faye
The Cutting Season by Attica Locke
Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trolloppe
The Patron Saint of Ugly by Marie Manilla
Help for the Haunted by John Searles
Southern Sin Edited by Lee Gutkind and Beth Ann Fennelly
Heap House by Edward Carey

Queen Lucia E. F. Benson
How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer (ARC)
Sense and Sensibility Jane Austen
Invisible Sisters by Jessica Handler
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
Stardust by Neil Gaiman (Audio)

Picking Pizzes

snow man oedipus This is Oedipus, Maisy’s snowman. I named him Oedipus because he only had eyes for about five minutes. No worries. He did not become eyeless via a huge, regretful gesture after learning that the Snowqueen he just married was actually his mom. Oops, I forgot to warn you: that may have been a classic Greek SPOILER.

No, the moral of this Oedipus tale has little to do with hubris. It’s more like Do not have eyes made out of Cheerios in a yard so fraught with squirrels.

I also named him Oedipus because his fate was sealed the moment he was born a Snowman in Georgia. Last week, we had Hoth-lanta Part 2, with four days of cancelled school and much computer game key clicky clacking and joyful running in and out of the house, door banging and alternating between SLED-In-LAUNDRY-BASKETS-MODE and THAW-MODE. This week, it has been sunny and bright. Last night, Scott turned on the AIR CONDITIONER so we could sleep.

Poor Oedipus. He is currently nourishing the Bougainvillea.

Here in AIR CONDITIONER LAND, it is also Winter Break. Can we pause for a moment and appreciate the all the hideous Alanis Morissette style non-ironies inherent in this sitch? After missing nine days due to SNOW, the kids are home again, all week, for a sunshiney beach weathered winter break. Which means I have had kids home for 3 of the last 4 weeks.

I am not getting ANY work done, and the book is GOING in my head, so it is an inherently frustrating February.

Look, this animal appeared down the street around the same time Oedipus was having his Rock-Star’s life, both glorious and brief . It is either a sheep or a poodle. I call it the Snow Snoodle. I think The Shnow Shnoodle would be more correct, but it just sounds like all the Snow Days have driven me to hard, hard drinking.

snow shoodle

Hmmm, perhaps it is EVEN MORE more correct.

THE GOOD NEWS IS I have almost completed my 3 season Binge-watch of ALL of Veronica Mars PRE-Kickstarter-movie. I have tickets to the Atlanta premier. SO EXCITED!
You have seen this whole series, yes? IF NOT, you need to get to Netflixing.

I am having bitter arguments with friends, as they are #teamPiz and I am, against everything that I would seem to stand for, staunchly #teamLogan.

Because, yeah, if it was me? Piz all the way. I would SO marry Piz. He is The Best. But let me say, she don’t love him. She loves Logan. And that’s all. She loves Logan, and Logan loves her, and the very air sizzles when the two of them are in a room. When she says Piz is a theme park with no rollercoaster—-well she loses the right to choose Piz. *shrug*

Piz is too fine and delightful a commodity to be ANYONE’S second choice settlement for reasons of peace. Piz deserves an epic love story, all his own, with a girl who finds him to be chock full of loop the loops and anticipatory chugs up a slow hill to some belly-dropping, awesome, steep drops.

I am a connoisseur of The Nice Man. I am ALWAYS for The Nice Man. I married the Nicest one, EVER. But he makes the air sizzle for me. Nice Men should be the best, first choice, or left alone. They are too, too rare and far too quietly spectacular to be ANYBODY’s consolation. Go with my blessing to sizzle with Logan, Veronica Mars. You like that kind of thing, and it likes you. Leave the Nice Ones to those of us who pick them first and best and always, the way you pick that inarticulate, fisty, surfing miscreant you SO adore.

What about you? Which would you pick for you and which would you pick for Veronica?

As for me, I will just be trying to hang on to my sanity until March, when I have a writing retreat scheduled that may PLEASE LORD help me catch up. I am not at ALL worried about March, that poseur, messing me up with any kind of silly lion and lambing about with its weather. Please. March is an amateur!

This February came in like Oedipus and is going out like a Snow Shoodle, man. If I can live through that, MARCH WILL BE CAKE.

Belated Romantic Twaddle, The Best/Worst Edition

v day 3 Here was our worst Valentine’s day: I was a newish Mom. Sam was about to turn one, and he was eating a lot of solid food and weaning himself.

I’d had a year of zen-nursing hormones. While on that heady brain cocktail, I’d felt lush, lovely, generous, and magic. I lolled about, MAKING FOOD WITH MY BOUNTEOUS LOVELINESS. I exulted in my physicalness, my true animal self, looking at Scott all bright-eyed, my baby in my arms, saying, “I REALLY AM A MAMMAL! LOOK! I WAS A MAMMAL THE WHOLE TIME!” in delighted, reverent tones.

As Sam transitioned to people food, the hormone-crazy swung the other way. Suddenly, lush changed in my head to huge and swollen and lumpy. Magic was replaced by sour and smelly and repulsive. I felt suddenly about as kissable as cattle, as enticing as a milk cow.

Now, anyone who knows me well knows I am not a big DATES girl. I don’t remember birthdays and I don’t much care about MY birthday. I have no idea when Mother’s Day is. I forget that October ends in Halloween EVERY YEAR and have to scramble up some candy at the last second and my kids always had to pick through the costume leavings in late late late October. I used to know my anniversary because it was engraved in my ring, but then I got a tenth anniversary band, and that tenth one was the last anniversary I ever noticed happening.

Scott is the same way. Well, he KNOWS what the date is, but he doesn’t CARE about that studff. Between my date-challenged nature and his apathy about holiday traditions, even Christmas can sneak up on us. We never even got a TREE up last year. Our collective family will get nothing for a slew of birthdays and then a sudden bouquet 3 weeks after the fourth missed one. They all either love us anyway or just keep their loathing kindly to themselves.

SO Valentines day happened. This was not a day where we had EVER done things for each other. I never knew when it was and he didn’t care. But that year?

v day 2 I got Scott a card and some gummy hearts. And I gave them to him that morning, and in my crazy UGLY-FAT-MILK-COW-feeling head, I had this thought that he would WITH NO HINTS OR WARNING FROM ME THAT IT MATTERED do something crazy romatic and great to let me know HE still wanted to kiss me, anyway. Because I needed him to.

He looked up from the card, stricken, and said, “Oh, I didn’t realize we were doing anything. We don’t usually do anything…I mean we never…”

And I said, “Oh, that’s okay. I know we don’t. It isn’t important. I don’t care, really. Not at all. No big deal.”

And then I burst into tears and cried and cried and cried and cried and cried until I threw up.

SO! That was fun.

The next year, I got up on Valentine’s Day to find the kitchen had been transformed into a pink and red streamer-coated balloon filled gooey love wonderland and he had made a mix tape and written me a really for true love letter and gotten me flowers and a HUGE thing of delightful chocolates, and he presented all this with MUCH love (and a teeny bit of lingering terror) in his eyes.

Valentine’s Day has kinda been a thing we do, ever since, and THANK GOD for the big displays they do at Publix or I would never know it was happening.

This year, SNOWMAGEDDON PART 2: THE ATLANTAN UNDOING happened, and he couldn’t get out of the HOUSE to prep anything. SO we went out to dinner and canoodled and made eyes over delicious crab fritters at Float away Café, and he told me about this fellow we know —Let’s call him James—who had an even worse one.

A couple V-days ago, James was dating a lady, and he realized he was feeling very serious about her. Very serious indeed. He realized he was wanting this relationship to deepen and stay, and that he was in it for real, for life, for marriage.

So for Valentines day, he got her a card, and in it, he helpfully wrote her a helpful list of ALL THE THINGS SHE COULD DO BETTER IF SHE WANTED THE RELATIONSHIP TO CONTINUE.
v day 1 Bahahhahaha. I love boys. Like, it came from a place of, NOW I AM SERIOUS and THINKING IN TERMS OF FOREVER. But how do you think that read to her? She took the card, read the list, stood up, looke d at him, and just got up and WALKED silently out.
Well it has a happy ending. The next year, he made her a different list—everything he loves best about her, everything that makes his heart go all sparkle- pop when he looks at her.

They are married now.

This is LATE, I am backed up on blog entries because THE BOOK IS GOING and I have been writing it like crazy. But do belated love with me, please? Tell me your best or worst?.

Burnyng Bryte

Okay, so this is a cool thing that HC is doing. Debuts are kinda risky. Like, if I see Haven Kimmel (I am waiting. I am standing on tiptoe, peering at the Kimmel horizon, trying to see if anything is preparing to rise.) or Tom Franklin or Laura Lippman or Carolyn Parkhurst or Lee Child has a new book out…no brainer. I buy it and I read it, because their books always interest me and entertain me.

But debuts? You just do not know. And maybe this is why I have a soft spot for them. Last year I read a couple that just took me by STORM, truly. Where the Moon Isn’t. Where’d You Go, Bernadette. I LOVED them, and they were so FRESH to me, and I can’t wait to see what these writers do next.

I read HOTEL NEW HAMPSHIRE first, of all John Irvings, and even though I came to love Owen Meany most and adored Cider House Rules and Son of the Circus and A Widow for One Year and so on, he could never again surprise me with bears. He could never again take me by storm, because I KNEW him.

Very often, when I meet readers, their favorite book of mine is the first one they read. Not always. But often.

And then, too, there is the thing where you get a debut and you just HATE it and you toss it across the room and then apologize to the room for lobbing such CRAP at it, and you think WHY DID I BUY

But Wiley Cash is mortal. He could get eaten by a tiger on his VERY next zoo visit. Or he could decide he hates writing and go try to be a professional snow boarder. (Haven? Haven Kimmel? ARE YOU SNOW BOARDING? Or are you WRITING? Secretly? I am waiting. I am waiting for you.) SO you have to keep risking the debuts to find your next delightful thing.

Then I got asked to curate this thing, and I did it, and this is a neat idea. Because it is JUST debuts. And it is free. So you can browse risk free, and SEE what is delicious to you, and then try THAT one. It is like bookstore browsing, but ONLY new voices. And then if one or two make your heart pound with hope and hunger, you can go to your local indie and get THAT one, and then, should the tiger get Wiley after all, you are still covered.

Go be taken by storm.

Meanwhile it is hard to BLOG MORE this week because the book is GOING. It has elephant gods in it, and deaf cats, murder. ALSO I am snowed in, AGAIN, and the house is full of children. Yesterday we baked cookies, and I ate ninety cookies.

What’s the last debut that made you hope the writer would have a long, artistically fruitful, tigerless life span?

Huff, Puff

toledocoversidebar From March, 2004

Today I am supposed to be working on line edits.

Did you know ELOCUTE is actually not a word? I mean, you can use elocution obviously, but you can’t make it act as a verb. If you put it into SPELL CHECK, spell check says you probably mean EELPOUT. Eel? Pout? Eelpout is a word?!?!? I was so happy to find the word eelpout I should have left it alone. I had to go look it up. It’s a stupid noun. Bah. I SO wanted it to be a VERB. “Veronica eelpouted her way through the last half of the party.”

Line edits, by the way, are when your editor sends you a copy of your MS that she has marked up with a pencil to show you exactly how many times you have written “breath” when you really meant “breathe.” Then you go in and put e’s on all of them. You have probably used “breath” to mean “breathe” a humiliating number of times for a person with a masters degree in English. Actually, twice is a humiliating number of times, and you are so far over twice you can not discuss it. Someone might ask you, “So how many times was it, really?” And you won’t say.

All this BREATH for BREATHE makes you realize just how OFTEN you, as a writer, tend to update the reader on how well or poorly and with what sounds or intonations your characters are processing oxygen. The breathometer. The people in your head sure seem to SIGH and EXHALE excessively. They snort and puff and gasp and inhale sharply, and one of ‘em even freakin’ whistles.

You begin to wonder if you ought not off the whistler NOW, here in line edits, where you still have the luxury of changing things like THE WHOLE PLOT, like for example who lives and who dies — or rather, as you would put it, GASPS THEIR LAST BREATH, except probably sadly truly really you would say GASPS THEIR LAST BREATHE. You begin to wonder if you have a complex. You realize you probably do, because why else would you CONTINUE to RELENTLESSLY refer to yourself in the second person???

*blows air out nose like an exasperated horse*

TheCuttingSeason Me now: Yeah, Pretty much this. I just went back to the first draft files of my current WIP, and in the thirty pages there were FOURTEEN detailed descriptions of how people were processing oxygen.

In later chapters and in revisions I seem to have decided to let the reader assume everyone is processing oxygen more or less correctly without the constant updates—except the one character who isn’t processing it at all. *DUN DA MUSIC!*


In Progress: The Cutting Season by Attica Locke
Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trolloppe
The Patron Saint of Ugly by Marie Manilla
Help for the Haunted by John Searles
Southern Sin Edited by Lee Gutkind and Beth Ann Fennelly
Heap House by Edward Carey


How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer
Sense and Sensibility Jane Austen
Invisible Sisters by Jessica Handler
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
Stardust by Neil Gaiman (Audio)

French, then Scott-ish

french book club pick

I just got a note from a French grad student who is writing a thesis paper on gods in Alabama. Or, as she called it — as ALL the French apparently call it—-The Day I Killed Jim. I went to look up the translator’s name and stumbled across this webpage. It is a French psychology webzine (as far as I can tell), and THE DAY I KILLED JIM is their recommended read.

YAY, but also Wha???? because look how google has translated the site’s menu. Kama Sutra, sure, that’s um, plenty psychological, and just under that? Are what appear to be instructions on how to MAKE A PSYCHO?

Don’t we have enough of those? Perhaps the French are running low. OH Google Translator, such wacky linguistic hijinks! I wish I read French, so I could figure out what exactly it all really means. Also, apropos of nothing, did you know there is a YA novel called THE DAY I KILLED JAMES. In English. JAMES, not Jim, so this is a more formal murder. The French version of my book is a little more relaxed, and if we want to get downright shorts and flip flops casual, perhaps somewhere there is a book titled The Day I Killed Bubba.

scott reads I hope there is. And I kinda hope Bubba is an Alligator.

Mr. Husband just came home after what felt like 17 years on a work trip. He was SO excited to be home that he was very giddy in the airport. If you know Scott, he is not a giddy person. He is thoughtful, quiet, introspective, SMART—LOOK I will sum him up VISUALLY for you. Look, here is his light airplane pleasure reading: Scientific American and some religious philosophy.

SO he is walking at a good clip toward baggage claim, and this couple is coming toward him. The man half of the couple has many MANY bags. The lady half has almost no bags. As they come toward him, they have this conversation.

Man: That is a very far gate.

Lady: Your FACE is a very far gate.

Scott opened his mouth to holler YOUR MOM’S FACE IS A VERY FAR GATE, and he barely stopped himself in time. That’s how giddy he was.

I am SO GLAD TO HAVE HIM BACK. He brings the Less Crazy and The Happy with him.

Also, anyone been ziplining? In the spirit of BLOG MORE< I have decided to take up ziplining. Or, as I like to call it, Dying in a Gulch. Will I die in a gulch? Would you do it? HAVE YOU DONE IT?

Retroactive Spankings Required

sense and sensi I find it VERY hard to post these retro posts with no commentary. Sometimes—say, NOW—I want apologize for my silly self that was, and SWEAR the 10 years later improved version of me is WISER and less of a DORK. It’s probably not true, though.

Look, here is the first real entry to FTK, from March, 2004:

I have converted to the south beach diet in an evangelical wild-eyed rabid fanatical way. I seriously want to print reams of poorly drawn tracts filled with bad grammar and threats of hell aimed at anyone who doesn’t eat exactly like the SBD tells you to eat for the REST OF THEIR LIVES. I want to go door to door and pass these tracts out, preferably taped to the top of big grilled chicken breast salads coated in balsamic vinagrette. I THINK NOT EATING ENOUGH SALMON BROILED IN PESTO SHOULD BE A HANGING OFFENSE.

I was having dizziness probably associated with hypoglycemia probably associated with living on fat-free sugar with sugar sauce with a side of sugarysugarsugar. NOW I AM MIGHTY.

Phase one is a BAD PHASE that causes 200- 250 dollar a week grocery bills YIKES, and also it’s a little too “LOW CARBY” to be terribly healthy I think. I say avoid it like plague. But phase 2 is FINE, it’s WONDERFUL, it is all about whole grains and leans meats and olive oil, it won’t even feel like a diet, and phase three is just — living.


Yeah, so, guess how long that conversion lasted. A year? Maybe. I want to paddle my past self and be all, like: DUDE, You will never stick to this. I can tell you why in three words. The words are


Now I say: The un-bread-eaten life is not worth living.

I still do like Salmon baked in pesto.

Okay, so—you, ten years ago, anything you wish you hadn’t espoused so very vehemently, since you kinda got over it? What did you believe passionately then that kinda makes you go MEH now?

The 2014 What I Read List

In Progress: Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trolloppe

The Patron Saint of Ugly by Marie Manilla
Help for the Haunted by John Searles
Southern Sin Edited by Lee Gutkind and Beth Ann Fennelly
Heap House by Edward Carey


Sense and Sensibility Jane Austen
Invisible Sisters by Jessica Handler
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
Stardust by Neil Gaiman (Audio)


The next generation of nerds spent the first SNOWY internetless evening playing old school D and D with REAL DICE.  NO actual demons were summoned and their souls were not stolen, in direct opposition to several highly acclaimed D and D movies from the 1980s.

The next generation of nerds spent the first SNOWY internetless evening playing old school D and D with REAL DICE. NO actual demons were summoned and their souls were not stolen, in direct opposition to several highly acclaimed D and D movies from the 1980s.

I actually prefer SNOPOCALYPSE, but I have been voted down by the kids.

Wow, the panicked Southerners were right. I should have gone a-stabbing at the Publix and gotten me some milk.

ftk flowers literacy Today I am supposed to be in Memphis, Tennessee speaking to 500 literacy loving sorority sisters about FIRST BOOK, a wonderful literacy program that gets books into the hands of kids living in poverty. But all flights to anywhere were completely cancelled, and even if the flight had been on, the roads to the airport were impassible due to ice and a LEGION of abandoned cars.

It was BAD. A lady gave birth in a car on 285. LUCKY people had 4, or 11, or 15 hour commutes. Less lucky people ran out of gas and abandoned their cars and trekked off to sleep at the closest Home Depot or Waffle House. The unluckiest people of all had no coats or little tender children in the car with them and could not march to Home Depot.

They sent terrorized cell phone messages to facebook, and then brave people who lived close by went out into it all with trucks and chains and bottled water and saved them, which was SO freaking beautiful. It reminded me that I love people. I really do.

Since I couldn’t get to Memphis, they Skyped me in. I am so glad I could not see myself. I would have been on giant screens and gave my talk ANYWAY. I put on eyeliner, a colorful scarf, AND I brushed my hair, so I looked quite respectable from the neck up. I am pretty sure no one could tell I was wearing hot pink enormous fantasy pants I pulled out of a French dumpster.

They sent me a picture of the flower arrangement on my Author table. Now I am trying to talk them into FED EXing me the actual lunch.

We are fine. When snow started pouring from the sky I had a bad feel in my heart, like, OH NO this will go BADLY! I went and yoinked my kids out of school and was home before things fell apart.
ftl sled basket I called Scott to tell him I had a bad feeling, and he said, “Baby. I am already in my car.” It took him less than two hours to get home.

THE GOOD PARTS? The kids played HARD. Since it is Georgia, day one was pretty sledless, and so all the kids were sitting in laundry baskets and hurtling downed the hilliest lawns of the neighborhood. I wish I had gotten pics!

By the time I thought about my kid-icicles were inside with cocoa, but you can see a lot of other folks did the same things. Ly baskets are utterly destroyed, and I feel pleased about this, because it seemed so GOOD TO DO, you know?

ftk sled maisy By day 2, some of the kids had mystically FOUND sleds — here is Maisy taking a turn with a couple of friends.