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This All Mostly Happened Yesterday…Or An Ansley Re-Deferred

Yes yes yes, spiritual lessons from dogs whose insides seem to be half-bladder yesterday, spiritual lessons from dogs whose insides seem to be half-bladder tomorrow, but NEVER, it seems, spiritual lessons from dogs whose insides seem to be half-bladder TODAY.

SOCK ME NON OF YOUR PINK SOCKERIES, oh best of all possible beloveds, because I want to tell you about yesterday, because it explains in narrative form what a book tour is truly LIKE.

Finishing up the GROWN UP KIND OF PRETTY tour in Virginia, and last night a CRAPTON of hella-longtime-best-beloveds showed up, even though it was raining. It was so cool to meet people with WEIRD NAMES I KNEW. A pretty redhead said, “Sign it to Mit,” and I screeched, “Mit MOI????” And she was all, “Indeed.” It was like we were speaking a secret language.

This is why it is good to, on a blog community, not to call yourself Lisa, even if that is your name. It is better to be Michelle Who Is Shelley, or Leslie in Hiawatha, for examples.

This is why I have decided, when I blog stalk my next internetzian crush, to name myself in the comments, “Skunkpatch Bushwanga,” so that one day, when we do meet, I can say, “I am Skunkpatch,” and my crush can screech, “NOT SKUNKPATCH BUSHWANGA????” And I will modestly nod and blush and say, “The very same.” I hope that when that frabjous day arrives, I will have had the presence of mind to bring a plumed hat to flourish in a Frenchish Muskateery way.

I am very bitter that I did not know to stalk Jenny Lawson earlier, so that someone would have asked me to blurb her book, so that I could have had an ARC of it, and NO BOOKSELLER ON THE PLANET would let me have theirs this whole tour. Probably because it has a taxidermied mouse on the front and is awesome.

SO. YESTERDAY. My publicist had asked if I could do a really cool talk show called Virginia This Morning, and I thought I would be staying in Norfolk, and the call time was 8:30, so I figured I could get up at 6 and leave by 7 and drive the 75 minutes there, no problem.

Oh, shut up, it's the most delicious stres-eating satisfying hurt ON EARTH. Who are you, anyway? The New York Times cat?

Except it was the morning after RALEIGH. Heh. So I arrived in Raleigh with 3.5 hours before a one-two fun-punch of dinner with Lipstick Chronicles Homeys and my event, and instead of checking onto the hotel, I went to a 105 degree ninety minute GRUELLING hot BIKRAMMY HATHA-Hell kind of yoga peopled entirely by HUMAN WRITHEY SNAKES. These folks were made out of pipe cleaners and bendy straws and they ATE SUFFERING WITH SPOONS and then lip-smacked their bendable mouths and said “Please sir, may I have some more SUFFERING?”


By the end of it I was almost morally destroyed. I was so befouled and slick with vile human juices that I went into their showers FULLY CLOTHED — my yoga togs could NOT GET PHYSICALLY WETTER— and stood panting and heaving in icy water, peeling way the awful layers and then scraping at myself with loofahs and bleachy soapages until I smelled less like a yeti and felt clean inside and out.

Then I pulled new clothes onto my damp corpse and RAN, still sweating a little, to dinner with the frabjous Margaret Maron et al, from there directly to an event at a wonderful indie called Quail Ridge Books, from there to the hotel, arriving at 10 or so. I slept from 11 to 3, then leapt up and scrambled into clothes and got on the road by 4 to drive to Richmond for the morning show’s call time.

After the show, I headed for Norfolk. When I arrived at Lydia’s it was in this staggering cackley ruined state of moral turpitude and reprehensible giggle-weep exhaustion. She immediately let me borrow an EXCELLENT dog and put me to bed with him, where the soothing snorty noises of his relentless grunting and farting knocked me into a bliss-coma for 4 hours. She woke me up ten minutes before we had to leave to go back for the Fountain Bookstore’s Richmond event.

I staggered out to the car in my same clothes and smeared new make up on over the old make-up, and that’s why, if you came last night, I had a ragged wild-eyed lunacy about me that was about 3 notches up from my usual level.

It was kind of…awesome. But in the same way the yoga class was awesome. Painfully, truly, stinkilly awesome.

This is a microcosm of exactly what a book tour is like—it is both ends of the misery-pleasure spectrum with very little middle. You meet beloved people from the internet and speak secret languages and you sometimes smell like a yeti and you drive down awful bleak gray highways and make out with kindly new dogs and sit endlessly in awful airports that smell like the feet of a thousand teenage athletes and go to rocked out Indie stores and meet your most favorite readers and laugh until your throat hurts and weep and sniffle your way down concourses dragging hundred thousand pound suitcases and drink until you go blind and it is wonderful-awful-amazing-miserable-great in a long spastic unstoppable chain.

Every time I do one of these, I come to the same conclusion near the bloated, red-eyed end, and the conclusion is this: I am probably a masochist.

Because I really, really, really just…like it.

26 comments to This All Mostly Happened Yesterday…Or An Ansley Re-Deferred

  • Aimee

    So now I have to think of a nickname to post with. Hm. I will come up with something, because in the event you ever make it to San Diego, or in the event I happen to be able to GET to someplace where you are on tour, I would hate to walk up to that table and not have that moment.

    Anyway, I love this description SO much, because it does sound like fun! It does, it does. Sometimes those exhausting marathons are daunting to think about, but then you get sucked into the maelstrom and realize that you sort of love the maelstrom. And then you totally, like, make out with the maelstrom.

  • Well Brought-up Ruth

    OK then! Not just Ruth, but Well Brought-up Ruth, because my Baptist upbringing + current church secretary gig means VBS to me always = Vacation Bible School, and your use of that acronym throws me off every single time. And because someday you might just come to southern California (yes, there are well brought-up people in California!) and I will go to the reading and stand in line clutching your latest book for you to sign and I will ask you to address it to “Well Brought-up Ruth” and you will stare in amazement because it will be all too painfully apparent that the upbringing did not take.

    I kinda want to go on a book tour now. Without having to write the book, of course!

  • Right, right. I mean, if I’d used some super-clever online pseudowhatnot, you might have signed my book correctly. Here, I fixed it for you.

  • me

    I’ve been to booksignings and yes, I ask that my books to be signed to me. Because that is what I am known as on various authors’ blogs. Much confusion and giggling ensues. And it never gets old. Teehee

  • I don’t have a funny nickname because when I met you, if I had said I’m Dani-funny-nickname and you recognized it and said I’VE READ YOUR COMMENTS or some other such thing, I might would’ve cried or passed out. I was on the verge of it at Malaprops listening to you read and when I saw Sara Gruen was there too, well, that was icing on the cake that is YOU and all of your amazing books. I promise I will swoon less and speak more on the next book tour! Thank you for being a wonderful, classy author who signed my book and did not laugh in my face at my extreme awkwardness!

  • New name because you dubbed me so last night when you signed my book. 🙂 Lydia berated me on Twitter for not poking the two of you when I saw you at Penny Lane last night as we were leaving. I promise next time I see you eating in a public place that I will bother the crap out of you.

  • OMG, I met you and shook your hand and got a picture of you and YOU RECOGNIZED MY NAME! I was soooo bedazzled by your AWESOMENESS that is AWESOME that I could barely squeak out words. Like, “Yes, that’s me” and “You are awesome!” and, btw, “SQUEEEE!” I wished and wished after I got to Quail Ridge Books et al that I’d brought all my hard copies of your books for you to sign, most especially Between ’cause that’s my favorite. Then I thought, rather giddily, cause I was SHAKING I was so freaking excited to be breathing the EXACT same air as you, that I should have just brought ALL of EVERY ONE of the books I own (which is really a lot and would require a truck to haul them in and you would just have to move to Raleigh for a little bit to finish signing them all) because, while you didn’t write them, YOU ARE MY VERY FAVORITEST AUTHOR and you should just have your signature in every book I read. Just cause.

    And as you can see, I am still awash in my dorkish, star-struckedness that blasted into me on Wed. Yay!

  • Jennifer in NC

    You should always do some hot yoga before a book signing because you were awesomely AWESOME at the Quail Ridge event!!! It was amazing to meet you and learn some insights into your writer’s insanity. Thanks for sharing! Come back and visit us any time you like..pretty please?

  • I am in awe, Joss. And also excited for my own book tours someday. :hopehopehope: 🙂

  • Jill W.

    It is surreal to meet someone that you have heretofore only “known” on the interwebs. But I was pleased that you knew who I was when I saw you in New Orleans. : ) On the way there, I thought, “I once helped this woman redecorate her bedroom (I suggested the fabric on the wall), but I have never actually laid eyes on her before.” The internet is weird. Wonderful, but weird. (Boom-di-ah-dah)

    I am just now getting to reading AGUKOP (had to dutifully finish my stack o’ library books first), and so far I love it. I remember when you first started talking about the book on here calling it “the other Mosey Slocumb” and I immediately needed to know, just from that working title, what a Mosey Slocumb was and why there would be more than one of them. It is so fun to finally get the explanation I was looking for. I am trying to savor it, but can’t stop from tearing through it. I am sure I will have to read it twice to better appreciate the wonderful craft of it after my thirst for the “zOMG what happens next?!” is sated.

  • Jill W.

    P.S. Love the pink socks pic. : )

  • Linda J

    That does it! Next year I’m going to save some of my tax refund to be able to rent a car AND MEET YOU!!! That is of course when ever Love Story comes out I will be there. The family can rot a while, there is an amazing author I have to meet!

  • It’s a blog post!!!!! AND, since I finished AGUKOP on Wednesday night, I can actually READ your blog writing again without having my head full of Slocumb women and their supporting males that hearing your For Real and For True voice over here won’t make my brain explode. Srsly. That was an EXCELLENT read. X-sell-ent.

  • Shelley S

    Sure wish you’d do one of these tours on the West Coast. I am in the beginning of AGUKOP and really enjoying it a lot, trying to read it when I am actually awake so that I can remember it rather than just have consumed it in 5 wee hours like I usually do. Thank you!

  • Michelle-who-is-Shelley

    I am ever so happy that you dubbed me Michelle-who-is-Shelley because I am very bad at coming up with original, clever names for myself. I would probably have resorted to stealing some other made up name like Princess Consuela Bananahammock. 🙂

  • I so, so SO wish I could have driven to Richmond (and stayed with my Extremely Tall brother and his Curly-Headed wife and their Most Excellent Watch-Loving two-year-old son) to watch you sign my Very Own Copy of AGUKOP, new makeup on top of old makeup and wild-eyed lunacy and all.

    Couldn’t. So ordered one from the bookstore, and the nice people will ship it to me, signed by you.

    Next time I will be there.

  • edj

    edj works, right? It’s like EDGE. Like The Edge, although I do not play guitar nor do I have 100 million very cool and expensive guitars. sigh. My point is, you NEED to do a west coast book tour SOON, while I am still here, since my blog has the name Nomad in the title for a reason.
    Also, not to make you jealous or anything, but I do have an ARC of Jenny Lawson’s book and it is making me snort liquids through my nose which often alarms the children, especially since I can’t let them read it just yet. But oh, it is funny.

  • JMixx

    Thursday night is my usual billiard-league night, when I go out and attempt to whack the cue ball hard enough that maybe one of the balls that is supposed to fall in a pocket, actually does that. Instead of the cue ball falling in like it is *not* supposed to, and usually does.

    But–BUT!–I have begged and pleaded that, for your next book tour, would you please, please, pretty please try to come to Virginia! And LO! you came! Apparently enough of us joined voices, like howling wolves, that you had to come and see what all the excitement was about. And then it was a dreary, coldish, gray day that makes Richmond seem limp and bedraggled. (Sorry about that.) So I simply HAD to come and hear you! And you were exciting and vibrant and you know so many words for “verdant”! (*swig*) And all of your energy said, (and I’m quoting a speech by my favorite author) “LOOK at me! With your EYES!” For what it’s worth, you covered any “ragged, wild-eyed lunacy” with all the grace of a Southern Lady Who Was Raised Right. Not only did you recognize my (odd) nickname, but followed up with “You’ve lost weight!” as if it truly is possible to remember every googly-eyed, star-struck fan who shows up at your book-signing table.

    And, as I stood in line clutching my fresh-picked copy of AGUKOP, I virtuously expounded to a new fan about how I would ration myself to a few pages or a chapter or, at most, two, per day, so that I wouldn’t gobble the book up whole. Like scarfing down a creme brulee in two seconds, so that you miss out on a whole lot of the warm crunchy sweetness. And then, after I got home (I stopped off to see how my pool team was doing, and ended up smelling the beer-breath of a teammate’s family member as he expounded on the advantages of the 9mm round), I thought, “I’ll just read the first few sentences to get my appetite up.”

    Eighty-one pages later, at 1 AM, fuzzy-eyed and not yet in my jammies, I peeled my eyeballs off the page. And promptly thought, “OMG when I asked Joshilyn whether The Importance of Being Ansley Part the Third was up on FTK I hope it didn’t sound like I was being a demanding twit!!” And passed out on my face.

    Thank you for coming to Richmond! And being so delightfully… you!

  • Lora in Florida

    So you are coming to Orlando, and I am too excited for words. Like Dani and Tenessa, I am afraid that when I meet you, I will be all swooney too! I once met Lou Holtz, former coach of Notre Dame football, of which my husband is a tremendous fan. I ran into him during the summer when we were touring Notre Dame. I had run into this building to use the bathroom and he was coming out of the men’s room. I said “Mr. Holtz?” and he said, “Yes, honey?” To which I replied , “Bawawa bada da bah bah.” One of my finest moments. I was not even a real fan! I CANNOT imagine what a fool I will make of myself when you come to UCF. So when a very short-haired 44 year old woman stands in front of you in Orlando and says, “Bawawa badidi duh, ” please say , “Oh hi Lora from Florida!”

  • Mit

    OMG … this is the best Friday ever.

    You were SO MUCH fun Wed. night. And I brought a friend – and told her, “you’ll be SO enchanted – in an all consuming OMG-look-how-real-and-human-she-is”, kind of way.

    You knocked it out of the ball-park. Talking about your characters – and “truth-to-the-power” of writer friends who call you on your fears – and demand you face them to write a stronger book.

    I’m glad I’m MitMoi … and it allowed you to recognize me.:)

  • Have you felt like this at writing conventions, because I’ve experienced all this Sturm und Drang, minus the hot yoga, at regular RWA Nationals?

  • Jessica

    I post on other blogs as “Jessica (the celt)” (as seen on Jungle Red Writers), but for some reason, I used my more personal blog email address when I post here and a few other places. My husband is Neal (the viking), and our other bloggy email address uses the nicknames instead. I really don’t know why I don’t use that one here, too. Hmmmm…I guess I’ll have to start.

    Not that it matters if you never come to Minnesota again! *looks sad & pitiful to get Joss to come to MN soon*

    (psst…did it work?) (Ummmm…I’m not normally so demanding. I mean, I live in Minnesota and all. So… You know…)


  • I’m so glad to hear about your painful book tour. I was sure I was going to be around for this one since I was living in Chester, VA a mere 35 minutes from Richmond just last month. However the army has told us where we are to live in exchange for a paycheck once again and missed you. I did sign up for the VBS again and the nice people at Alabama Booksmith are sending your signed book to me to my APO address.

    You’re like a minx that keeps threatening to show itself but I always just miss. Keep writing so I can meet you one day. That and so I can keep reading and loving your books.

  • Sara

    I loaned you an excellent dog too! Okay, maybe I kind of foisted her upon you, but still…

  • brigitte

    Ha, Michelle-Who-Is-Shelley, I LOVE Princess Consuela Bananahammock!

    Joshilyn, you’re not the only who has gotten her clothes so disgusting that she’s had to get in the shower with everything on! Though mine is usually just from grubbing around in my (so-called) garden or the woods all day.

  • Holy Calamity of Personal Disappointments! Let me get this straight…I not only had to cancel my lovely weekend getaway to Asheville, knowing said cancellation would cause me to miss seeing your lovely self at Malaprops, but now I find out I also missed breathing the same book-scented air with Sara Gruen too? GARGH!!! This is unfair on so many levels! Mr Sweetie & I are sort of trapped in Boo Radley kitten rescue adoption madness and quickly losing hope of escape with our sanity intact. (Boo is turning into a food-stealing, iPhone drowning, foster Momma-tripping juvenile delinquent in a kitten suit…but I digress into totally irrelevant whining.) I actually pre-ordered the eBook version of AGUKOP so got it at midnight on release date and gobbled it up like Cookie Monster in a room full of Double Stuff Oreos and it is absolutely AMAZING! Seriously, it is about the best book EVER, even better than Like Water For Elephants (but don’t tell SG I said that) It was so good it made me seriously consider giving up on the whole writing thing so I could sit around reading your books…until I realized I’d have to wait around at least a year for your next book and the voices…they don’t shut up that long. Now I have to buy a “for realz” physical book copy so I can dissect its genius, but will have to live without a signed copy since I missed both Malaprops & VBS…unless you are planning any more events here in GA? (Hate to be greedy, but…did I mention this kitten almost murdered me?)