March 16, 2005

Fat Dog / Hot Dog (Rated PG 13)

Tomorrow I am flying to Nashville to speak at a lunch thrown by a big book distributor. It's a very different kind of book promotion than what I have been doing. BEFORE, on the pre-sell tour, I was sitting down and "talking like folks" over drinks with small groups of people about the book. I generally LIKE people, I ALWAYS like drinks, and I adore talking about my book, so it's been a case of, "DUCK? MEET WATER!"

This is more like...public speaking. 300 people, most with two eyes, will be POINTING THEM at me while I cower behind a podium. That's close to SIX HUNDRED EYES. People always think public speaking comes easily to me because of my acting background, but it's two TOTALLY different things. I have decided that the way to combat my nerves is MICROPLAN every moment of my presentation. I have a broad outline already and will work on it some more as the day progresses. So far it looks like this:
1) Introduce myself in a quavering, nervous voice
2) Throw up in my shoes
3) Flee in tears

I have to find a place in the above outline where I can sandwich, "Talk about gods in Alabama."

In the spirit of OH LOOK! SOMETHING SHINY! LET'S USE IT TO DISTRACT OURSELEVS FROM OUR IMPENDING DOOM! I have to tell you the sad, sad news that my friend Julie has contracted a rare mental illness called "CANINE MUNCHAUSENS BY PROXY FAT." She has a perfectly nice, normal looking dog and she will eat cheese in front of him and say, BUT ROCKY YOU ARE SO FAT. NO CHEESE FOR YOU.

I think it is because she is pregnant and she has managed to grow herself into my DREAM PREGNANCY shape, which is where you are tall and thin with a round pregnancy in front. She looks like ILLUSTRATIONS of pregnant women, slim and pretty with single, large ball stapled on, front and center. Me, I got pregnant with my whole BODY. Even my HEAD got bloaty. SO since she is unable to be fat, she is projecting the pregnancy fat she should be experiencing onto her DOG, see? And he is MALE. And NEUTERED. It's very ill.

In other dog news, my hairdresser, Amanda, got a little puff-ball of black and white fur that I thought was a guinea pig, but she SWEARS it is a puppy. She was doing a nice older lady's hair when I arrived to get my highlights freshened (so that the light will glint attractively off my stripey hair as I bend over to puke on my shoes in Nashville tomorrow.) This lady having her hair fluffed before me introduced herself, and we were chatting. Turns out, she is a pastor's wife. A BAPTIST pastor's wife. And as I was sitting down waiting and chatting, I was playing with the puppy. He had a pink, jingly stuffed bear to play with, It was just about his size, maybe a little bigger. It was one of those long-armed, big bottomed bear dolls with narrow shoulders that sit up on their butts with their legs pointing in different directions. Looks a lot like this:

Anyway, he got tired (he is a very young puppy) and he dragged the pink bear over to his bed. Where it fell down on its back. And where he MOUNTED it. And where he proceeded to hump it. VIGOROUSLY. In a PERFECT SIMULACRUM of missionary position. For TEN SOLID MINUTES.

Amanda and the pastor's wife and I sat there watching the puppy pepetrate untoward acts upon the bear's person. The conversation just...DIED. I cleared my throat. The clock ticked. The puppy humped.

Amanda: (after several eons) He's a boy dog.
Pastor's Wife: Yes.

Oh well. Perhaps I can picture the puppy humping tomorrow in lieu of making the entire audience be in their underpants. We who are about to stroke out salute you, and promise to tell the rest of the SOCK STORY if we survive public speaking.

My friend Wendi Kaufman pointed out that long-established blogger C. Max Magee was talking about gods in Alabama (and KUDZU!!!) over at THE MILLIONS. See the March 15th entry and join me in a rousing HUZZAH! MAN, I MISSED IT! See what happens when you decide its too repugnant and self-involved to keep relentlessly GOOGLING yourself??? I have learned my lesson!

Posted by joshilyn at March 16, 2005 9:20 AM

LMAO Jos, I had a dog like that. And like most men, they never grow out of the need to find the next thing to hump.

Posted by: Heather McCutcheon at March 16, 2005 11:05 AM

Personally, I would put the talk about "gods" between the quavering introduction and the vomiting. Because if you put it after, you have to do the talking thing with icky shoes and that's just never a Good Thing.

Don't worry, I'm sure your hair will look pretty, and that's what counts. :-)

Posted by: DebR at March 16, 2005 11:08 AM

definitely include the dog-humping story. ha. I have the same problems with public speaking and being an actor. Sheesh. Give me someone else to be and I'm FINE in front of a thousand people, but if it's just me...yikes. Maybe it's time for an alter ego...?

Posted by: carrster at March 16, 2005 11:11 AM

Oh yeah...and I no longer BELIEVE you will ever finish the Sock Story, EVER.

Maybe those of us who read Kudzu should finish it FOR you. I bet we could think up lots of interesting ways for the Sock Story to end.

It's either that or spend the next week in a swamp of disillusionmentand betrayal as the long-awaited story ending never comes.

Maybe we coud introduce the puppy to the socks. They WERE pink and fuzzy, as I recall.

Posted by: DebR at March 16, 2005 11:14 AM

I'm with DebR. I think the rest of the sock story is a complete fabrication to keep us all coming back. Jos, if there is no more sock story, just take the first step and ADMIT IT. We'll all be here for you!

Posted by: Amy at March 16, 2005 12:01 PM

I used ot act and it is SOOOO different that Public SPeaking. I am with ya.

Posted by: Heather at March 16, 2005 12:37 PM

invent a new character to be "Whizz-o Author Lady" and BE THAT while speaking. I am an actor, so I know how to do these things. Include just enough Joshilyn to carry the role, and you will be fine. Include the puppy story as an example of your public speaking jitters. It will get a laugh, and that will relax you.

Read a page or two of the book - it'll be familiar territory, and the puppy story will warm them up to your Personal Style and you'll get more laughs. You will then be a rousing success. Self Deprecation and humor - can't beat the combo.

I want that book.

Posted by: peggy spence at March 16, 2005 1:01 PM

Rocky would like to be very fat I am telling you. I am only slightly mentally ill on that topic.

Posted by: julie at March 16, 2005 1:23 PM

Hi, I stumbled upon your journal quite by accident (I think I linked from someone else's journal), but wanted you to wish you the best of luck with your book. I love to read and look forward to reading your novel. Karen

Posted by: Karen at March 16, 2005 5:12 PM

Don't forget to pull Ramona out of your closet for the talk -- she should be able to get you through without destroying a pair of lovely shoes!

Posted by: Beth at March 16, 2005 6:32 PM

I have a female dog, and she humps a pillow...kind of between the legs deal...and she's fixed! That can't be normal, can it?

Anyway, if you get stuck on your talk, do what I used to do when I had public speaking, I asked questions of the group, and let them talk! It works!

Start off anyone here been in Alabama?
Did you meet any gods with a small g there?

have fun,

Posted by: dee at March 17, 2005 9:04 PM