It is the LAST DAY to enter the contest to win a signed, personalized copy of Sara Gruen’s APE HOUSE…click this link to find the rules and enter. Contest closes at NOON EST Friday.I am packing to get on a plane to leave town for the rest of National Forget What Your Children Look Like Month (aka September). The good news is, I am BARELY leaving my house in October and November, so I should have time to FINALLY learn to play Halo Reach with my son, and play Littlest Pet Shop with my daughter, and stay in pajamas and finish the book.
I am getting close. I open the file and I find myself bouncing in my chair as I type because this part is SO fun. I’ve spent 220 pages getting a thousand plates in the air, all of them madly spinning, and now I am to the place where they start tipping and crashing and banging into each other and shattering in great shiny glass shard explosions.
A couple of people have asked if I am doing anything eventy or book tourish in NYC; I am not. I am there to meet my new editor, have big girl cocktails (assuming a cocktail can be both “big girlish” and foaming with pink at the same time) and chat business my agent, see Sara on tour, and to hang out in Karen’s apartment in my pajamas and WRITE.
Also, Karen is going to COOK A MEAL. Like, a real one. With actual ingredients that get mixed together, and then heat is applied to make food. If I forget to take the flip phone and capture this historic moment, I will never forgive myself!
Because I am southern and sound it, I often get jacked by NYC cabbies. They think I don’t know that they are taking me on a scenic route because of the accent; I know it should cost less than 35 bucks, tip included, to cab to Karen’s, even in the WORST traffic, and yet half the time the meter ends up saying MORE than fifty. I KNOW I am getting rooked, but I am too southern and passive aggressive to say so. This time, I called Karen in advance to plot against all Cab-kind.Me: SO I tell the cabbie you live on the whatter what side?
Her: Whatter what WHAT?
Me: Like the upper this or the thatter west? What SIDE do I say?
Her: Upper West—You’re coming from Queens, which is east of Manhattan. But don’t say any of that. You have to bark my address in a tone like, “Beeyotch I LIVE THERE so do not EVEN try.”
Me: As we begin should I say something like, “Are you going to go across the park or cut through east Harlem?” Like, pretend I know what that means? SO he thinks I DO know.
Her: No. Just say the address very fiercely. I bark the address and they never screw with me.
Me: Yes, but you can whip out that “I am from Norristown in Philly and I will CUT YOU,” tone.
Her: I will teach you. *Barks her address in an exaggerated Philly accent*
Me: *Barks her address like a girl from Georgia who is choking to death on a raisin*
Her: BAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHA. No.
Me: Okay…what if I CALL YOU from the cab and pretend you are my husband? I can say, “Hi, Honey. Yeah, I just got a cab. I will be home in twenty minutes.”
Her: That might work. If you wear all black and glare around.
Me: Can do!
I will report my cab tally back to you. I do not have a great deal of hope in this GLARE and BARK plan, I have to say. I feel a 50 buck tour of the park coming on.
Lastly, here is a COOL THING: I went to the DALTON-WHITFIELD PUBLIC LIBRARY as part of a lecture series there. I was speaking about Backseat Saints, and they did the COOLEST window display based on some images in chapter 1, when Rose Mae makes breakfast for her husband, knowing she plans to shoot him dead in less than two hours…. Here is the display and the relevant quote below it. The bacon is painted fabric strips, the eggs are plaster of paris, the biscuits are paper mache—it was amazing looking. The picture hardly does it justice:
From BACKSEAT SAINTS:
So on Thursday morning, I got my Pawpy’s old gun, and I lay for my husband near Wildcat Bluff. Thom liked to run a trail out there. It was too far from the picnic grounds to attract most day-trippers, and he got his miles in early, when he could trust it would be his alone. That day he had me for secret company.
Not two hours ago, I’d gotten up before the sun to make him real biscuits. I’d cut Crisco into flour until it felt soft, like powdered velvet. I’d mixed the dough and rolled it and pressed out circles with the top of a juice glass. I’d fried bacon and then cooked two eggs sunny side up in the grease. I had loaded his grits with salt and cheese and put thick pats of butter to melt on everything that looked like it could hold butter. There must have been a thousand calories in fat alone floating on that plate.
I’d often made him devil-breakfasts like this after fights, so I hadn’t thought of it as a last meal. It was more of an absurd apology. Like me saying, “Baby, I’m scared I might blow holes in you later, but look, I made you the naughty eggs.” Last night I’d made sex for him, too, in the same way, buttery slick and fat with all the things he liked best.