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I am supposed to be sequestered at the beach right now in little vacation condo, taking 7 days of pure silent focused writing time to hit my punch list on the new book before I turn it in. This week was to be the SPROUNCING revision, where I creep through the finished book a thousand times, making sure every word Ginny says is a Ginny word and letting Mosey and Roger be their wry and funny selves, making sure my cowardice doesn’t lock me out of showing the underdark that is Liza, killing my pet darling sentences, making sure my thematic purpose shines through the gunfire and the kissing, making sure the gunfire and the kissing are causally related to and springing from Ginny’s internal landscape. All my favorite parts. Pure revision. Yum.

It’s like BOOK Spa, where the book gets a mani-pedi, a fresh haircut, and maybe even gets its ears pierced—Hey! Turns out, my book is a lot like my daughter: It is something I made that is turning out to be braver than me. This is a good thing— in both books and daughters. Oh, which reminds me…

THE EAR UPDATE: My personal pediatrician does not do ear piercings. All the ear piercing pediatricians near me will only pierce the ears of their own personal patients. So. Not doctor. And as I said right off the bat, I am incapable of going to a piercing parlor or tattoo place. GUNS! AMERICANISM! Which is code for NO THANKS, NEEDLES. This leaves…Claire’s.

...and I think you follow me.

SO the day school lets out for Christmas break, I am taking Beautiful Maisy Who Is Barely Eight to Claire’s to get a the double-tap simultaneous ear shooting special, because I want her home for a couple weeks after so (as per your wise advice)I can supervise the thrice-daily ear cleansing and prevent death. Whether or not I will join her is still in the air. Maybe I will. Maybe I will not. It depends a LOT on if Scott is driving us so I don’t have to operate a motor vehicle. If you follow me…

Back to whatever I was nattering about before ear-natters, I am NOT on retreat. Instead, I have spent the last five days in bed wallowing in mucus and soup and more mucus and fruitless applications of zinc and local honey. I am so sick I didn’t even finish the book. Still missing the last half of the last chapter. Instead, I have watched countless hours of the various Law and Order Marathons that are on basic cable every minute of every day, drifting in and out of sleep, so I crash when Benson is arresting a spindley pedophile only to snap to when Jack MacCoy pounds a table in rage and refuses to make a deal with a blonde bombshell who has a bad husband killing habit.

The only thing I have turned my jaundiced, extremely critical, and ready for a week of revisions eye upon is commercials, and may I just say, aside-ily, WHT is up with those CHARMIN BEARS and pooping? Any creature that enjoys pooping that much needs old school Freudian-style therapy and a HOBBY. This is NOT okay:

Also, REALLY, Mars Candy company? You think that showing me that if I stuff a Twix in my mouth, I will have more time to think up a good lie to tell my girlfriend who has just caught me hot-texting with another chick? This is going to sell me? Why not just apply the slogan, “Twix! The candy for VD addled adulterous jerks!” Yum-fail, and pass me that sack of Girl Scout Trefoils and a couple of Hershey Caramel Kisses. Tagline for THAT combo? “Same Twix-y taste experience, less herpes!”

I should totally go into advertising.

Meanwhile, you may be asking, “Joss, why didn’t you get a flu shot,” to which I say, “I should have! What do they give those with, again?” and you say, “Needles….” and I make significant, cowardly eyebrows at you and honk into my thousandth tissue of the day.
I am BETTER, though, this morning. I plan to get up tomorrow and speed draft a hellacious roughed out second half of the last chapter, and then leave for the beach to revise it a thousand times, along with the rest of the book.

This week’s motto: “More prose sprouncing, less mucus.” Or maybe, “More editing, less staring glassy eyed and medicated at the TV commercials and wondering WTH is wrong with America.” Or maybe… “I am taking Kleenex Cottonelle to the beach house with me, because even though the whole GET FRESH WITH A FRIEND campaign horrifies me—-REALLY, Kleenex? You want me to talk to my friend? ABOUT POOPING? —-it horrifies me LESS than that pack of Ursine perverts.”

19 comments to Retreat-Not

  • Oh thank you! I have been appalled by those Charmin bears for ages! The ad with the “acceptable pieces ‘left behind'” leaves me wide-eyed and shaky. When did it become okay to TALK about that outside your family walls with small people? Seriously!

    And I’m so sorry you’ve been sick, but am extremely glad you’re feeling better! Of course there’s a selfish component in that (new book, New Book, NEW BOOK!!), but the get-well wishes are sincere on their face too.

    Enjoy the beach and don’t worry about Maisy’s ears. She’ll be fine. But I do hope Scott can drive you, since a lovely martini booster might be just the thing.

  • I took my mother to get her ears pierced when she was 60. I called my dad to tell him that I took her “for some piercings.” She was very brave. Just close your eyes.

  • I have hated those Charmin bears since the very beginning. Really?! You’re using a cute and cuddly animated bear for a toilet paper ad? Because they do $#!+ in the woods?!?!!

  • Kitty

    Commercials like that always make me wonder: who is in the focus group viewing that ad campaign and saying “oh yes, I really like the cuddly bears talking about poop!”

  • Laura

    Okay, the bears are revolting, the simultaneous ear piercing is the way to go for sure (my daughter had hers done at Claire’s last winter) and just to shake things up you should watch Law & Order UK- available on demand. Very good. Very Britishy. The Crown Prosecutors wear wigs! Good stuff.

  • Zoe

    The bears are the second-creepiest things on tv, right behind the giant-headed BK. The “bits left behind” thing ALWAYS makes me think of this post from Noble Pig, http://noblepig.com/2008/02/08/10-things-you-should-know-about-before-your-next-trip-to-the-gynecologist.aspx, and really, I’m talking trauma, people. The Charmin people need to quit letting their ad guys smoke crack while they work.

    Zinc is great, but zinc+lysine? Yeah, baybee. People don’t believe me when I tell them to go to Wally World and buy the generic supplements… no brand names necessary… and take twice the dose (maybe even thrice – no harm done, I promise). I’ve had 1 serious cold and 2 sinus infection in 4 years, and the tiny sniffles that would dare to attack are usually quickly rebuked with the Magic Combo.*

    *Results may vary. User agrees not to hold this commenter personally liable for… well, anything, really.

    Hope you feel better soon. 🙂

  • jeanette

    Even grosser than animated bears walking around with TP bits stuck to their butts? The commercial with non-animated, supposedly “real” women talking about needing stronger TP to avoid “break thru”. EEEWWWWW. We all know about toilet paper, and I’m pretty sure most of us buy it, so why, OH WHY do we need commercials about it?

  • jeanette

    Also, on the ear piercing front: I was not afraid to let my daughter get her ears pierced, and she has been successfully alive for several years now with holes in her ears. My fear (which I would like to share with you so that you too may obsess about yet another thing) revolves around this trend of giant dangling earrings. I can not, will not let my daughter wear them, because I am convinced that as soon as she leaves the house with long dangly things hanging off her perfect ear lobes, one (or BOTH, God forbid) will somehow become tangled up in something and rip clean out the bottom of her ear lobes, leaving her with two sets of “split lobes.” Oh the horrors……….It’s almost too much for me to even think about.
    FYI: She IS convinced I am crazy and does NOT understand why ALL OF HER FRIENDS can wear these potentially ear deforming adornments and she can’t.

  • Christie

    I misread your to do list for your revisions and I thought one of the items was ‘making sure the gunfire and the kissing are causally related’ FULL STOP. Now I kind of want to read that book!

  • jessica

    Amen to the needles and flu shot issue. My boss, however, tells me that one of our local clinics will give the nasal mist to adults. I am an adult and I refuse to get a flu SHOT; however, I may be persuaded to get a flu MIST. (Although, as I was typing that, I just realized it sounds like I’m going to go running through a fine cloud of flu.)

  • Haley

    I have always stood by the fact that I would rather get the flu than a flu shot. Needles. Scare. Me. Although in one doctor’s visit, I got 40 steroid shots directly into my ribs, so one little flu shot seems kind of negligible after that, but still. Me and the needles, we do not mix.

    If you are still nervous about Claire’s, adult jewelry stores and cosmetic counters also pierce ears. My mother says my piercing was done as a baby at Merle Norman, which I am pretty sure does not exist anymore.

  • Therese

    You should totally go into advertising! But only if it gives you more time to write your wonderful books and great blog posts.

  • Brigitte

    We had a local clinic where adults could get the Flumist as well. I braved the needle, but it turned out to be a superfine one I barely felt. NOT like the mongo elephant needle my hubby got at his doctor’s.

    Maybe that’s what he gets for enjoying pooping as much as that bear.

    God forbid that “get fresh with a friend” campaign, I think any friends of mine would run screaming if such a matter was brought up!

  • Bridget

    Mz Jackson-
    You can get the “flu mist” as an adult up until about age 50
    ….so you’ve got about 25 more years you can do that right?

    Be well, drink your fluids and start feeling better so we
    can all enjoy your next zinger of a book.

  • Love, love, love the picture of revision being like a trip to the book spa. I may have to put a trackback about that on my little blog. As always, thanks for such a witty post!

  • Did that Barry-White-Singing-Bear wash his hands before he cuddled back up to his OBVIOUSLY addled (and likely e-coli infected) girlfriend? Because that is just wrong, wrong, wrong. And I’m pretty sure I spotted a Twix in his back pocket – I’m just sayin’. It’s all so unseemly. This is why I watch nearly everything on DVR now. Otherwise I’d never be able to leave the house.

  • Susan

    I will donate blood, but I will not get a flu shot.

    Donating blood=good deed & warm fuzzies & COOKIES!

    Shots=pain & weeping & conviction that I would have never gotten the damn disease

  • Elizabeth

    It is simply not possible for me to read your blog and not laugh out loud. For once, I am alone and not at the office.
    My mother forced me to get my ears pierced. That is, we had struck a bargain and she was not going to let me back out of it. She went through w/it (at 45, b/c her mother had said “only gypsies get their ears pierced) and I went back the next day after initially chickening out (at 11). We both survived. It was done w/a gun (even in liberal NYC) and it’s the best way. FAST. PS my cousin who had it done by a doctor suffered horrendous infections and to this day must wear clip-ons. (Far more painful than a gun or an n…..

  • Michelle-who-is-Shelley

    I got my very first flu shot yesterday. I don’t like needles, but I find that if I can manage to NEVER SEE THE NEEDLE, then I can deal with getting a shot. I look the other way and say to myself, “it hurts less than pinching a pimple”, which I can honestly say it hurt WAY less than pinching a pimple.

    BUT, like you with the ear piercing, I HAVE to be at my doctor to get any kind of shot.