July 1, 2005

Men.Tal.Ly. Ill.

Joshilyn can't come to the phone right now. She is having some extreme mental illness. She is SO mentally ill that she is referring to herself in the third person, an affectation that drives her UNIVERSALLY BATCRAP when anyone ELSE does it, so she is going to stop now.

DIGRESSION: I have some grammar ticks. I am NOT a stickler. In fact, there is a copy editor in NYC who sacrifices a blameless white dove to the heavens every time she hears I am writing another book, because it gives her such a peaceful sense of complete job security. I like, for example, to put commas where I hear a PAUSE, which is not necessarily the same thing as putting commas where they actually BELONG. And while I don't randomly put in ALL CAPS screams in my fiction, I DO like to Make Things That Seem Thematically Important Into Proper Nouns. SO. I admit I am the POT, but there are some kettles that get on my LAST nerve.

LIKE: I can't stand for actual people who are not the Queen of England to use the royal WE. And as irritated as I get with PEOPLE who use the royal we and/or refer to themselves in the third person, it is a mild, gentle wave of yick-feelings compared to how VIOLENTLY I hate animated characters who do it. Anything animated that refers to itself in the third person should be put on a planet along with all of its tie-in marketing materials, yea down to the very last Burger King cup, and then we should go into orbit and nuke the whole planet from space. It's the only way to be sure.

The only thing worse than third person referring animated WE sayers is animated characters who say ME when they mean "I." There was an INTERMINABLE series of cartoon dinosaur movies for kids, and one of the little ENRAGINGLY PERKY little fat, gamboling lizardy things was always saying, "Me hungry!' and "Oh no, Me is scared." I was regularly babysitting some kids who ADORED those movies so I got to see them MORE THAN ONCE... I would sit there grinding my teeth and thinking, "Me needs to be thrown into a tar pit," and "Me needs to be vivisected by time traveling paleontologists," every time the little wretch SPOKE or looked like he might be thinking of speaking or listened when another little fat, gamboling lizard thing spoke or I looked at the box.

Why is this dinosaur suddenly bothering me?
Say it with me: Mentally. Ill.

Worst part is? I DO NOT KNOW WHY YET. I can't peg it. I am just having Nameless Dread and wandering around my house hand wringing and not doing the dishes and then looking at the dishes and realizing they aren't done and wandering the house some more. AND MAY I JUST SAY----I am completely uninterested in being mentally ill right now. I do not have TIME to be mentally ill. I am BORED of it already and I only just started YESTERDAY. Now what? Do I have to go be all INTROSPECTIVE and droop around THINKING and gazing deepdeepdeep into the depths of my navel until I realize what ectoplasmic existential gut-knob is incorrectly twisted in my meaty inner workings and process it and deal and have feelings? Because 1) I don't have time, and 2) OH LORD, but it sounds dreary. I'd druther go see Mr. and Mrs. Smith, quite frankly.

High mental illness numbers are time consuming. I HAVE A HUGE TO DO LIST. I have HOUSE GUESTS COMING and NO CLEAN FORKS. I have LINE EDITS. I have little CHILDREN who need to be dropped off at Spanish Camp and picked up at Singing, and I FREAKING HAVE HUNGRY NEWTS IN A DIRTY TANK, OKAY? But I am wandering the house and hand wringing, paralyzed by mental illness, so I am going to HAVE to figure out what is bothering me so I can quit sitting here obsessing about an animated dinosaur I have NOT SEEN FOR OVER TEN YEARS.

Okay -- I'm off. I need to go get my mental illness number down under 57 by 11 AM so I can take up my megaladon of a to-do list and begin to SMITE down thing after thing on it with righteousness and check marks.

Posted by joshilyn at July 1, 2005 9:23 AM

I hate that speech-disordered little dinosaur too. Why would anyone make an animated character for children, who are in the process of learning language, speak incorrectly. Don't even get me started on the Teletubbies.

Take a B-complex vitamin (read: energy placebo, but it works for me) and approach the megaladon with a large stick and a pan of soapy dish water.

Posted by: Edgy Mama at July 1, 2005 10:05 AM

Silly Joshilyn, there's ALWAYS time for mental illness. If you are you. Or me. Or we! *ducking*

Posted by: Mir at July 1, 2005 10:24 AM

Yipes! I always get like this after a big huge event in my life. In a "what can I possibly accomplish next!!" kind of way. I hope you feel better soon.

Posted by: katie at July 1, 2005 12:29 PM

Every time I read one of your blog posts I get this wicked attack of what I call Milan Kundera Disease, which sadly does not mean I resemble him in any writerly way, but is just based on a line from one of his books (can't remember the exact one because I read them all in a row really fast mumble-mumble years ago so it's all a blur of naked women wearing bowler hats and whether or not Ionesco was trying to be funny and wanting to live in Paris instead of Mitteleurop, what with all the tanks and firing squads, but still play the trumpet while hoping you're not the spa's cafe's waitress's as-yet-unborn baby's father and stuff)...

Um... anyway... in this one novel of his which shall remain title-free here because I am a spacewad dodo-head, two women are talking in a bar in the middle of the afternoon outside Prague or whatever and the narrator floats this observation that conversations often consist of Someone #2 butting in to say "that's just like me, I..." right when Someone #1 is making a really good and cogent and heartfelt point, whereupon Someone #2 hijacks the whole thing with an idiotic only-vaguely-connected transparent excuse of an anecdote as The Thin End of the Wedge to yammering on about their great aunt's horrible sciatica for hours.


Pretty much everything you write here makes me want to be that evil Someone #2 SO BAD it is shamefully shameful... like Horshack among the Sweathogs in Welcome Back, Kotter waving his hand and going "oo! oo! Mr. Kott-air!" and then having absolutely nothing to say at all relevant except "that's just like me, I..."

And in this case I want to wave my hand all around and say "I have a mental health number *too* and I hate pseudo-gramatically-infantile dinosaurs *too* and I capitalize things randomly For Emphasis So They Look Like That Weird 18th-Century Way of Writing (except without the lower-case S's that are actually F's, *hello* like they didn't think we'd notice) *too* and I got the Attila Score and I even REALLY REALLY LIKE SHOES and .."

Oh my God. Stop me before I run out and buy a crate of newt food.

But if you ever see some woman with disgracefully ill-blonded roots sitting in the front row at one of your readings with a crate of newt food in her lap, do not be alarmed. I mean it purely as homage, and won't say a word about sciatica during the Q&A.

Posted by: Cornelia Read at July 1, 2005 1:53 PM

Cornelia--you need to start a blog, girlfriend!

Posted by: Edgy Mama at July 1, 2005 2:01 PM

I totally should, if only so I can stop myself from hogging airtime in poor Excellent Joshilyn's comment section like a big verbose weenie...

Posted by: Cornelia Read at July 1, 2005 2:17 PM

Ooooh! Smiting!

Posted by: laura at July 1, 2005 3:20 PM

I am in LOVE!

I could not possible put down giA after I read the fisrt sentece. Literally. I started at 4 in the afternoon and read until the next morning in tears because it was over. Now - I have wondered onto this site and found a fabulous thing called a blog where I get little bits of ramblings. *head hanging, looking down at feet* I found it around 8 last night, was awake until 7 this morning reading every stinking archived entry. And most of the comments. And the links. Stalker? No. Obsessed much? perhaps a tad. Loving every freaking word? Absolutely.

Posted by: shawna at July 1, 2005 3:37 PM


I know that mental illness symptom.. and I hope you find the source soon. It's always frustrating to have your mind floating in a world you can't quite find.

And damn! CR's MKD reference is going to become part of my day-to-day language... and no one will understand the reference!!

I'm having my own kind of extreme mental illness day today... but it's kind of explained on my blog...

Posted by: Debra at July 1, 2005 4:03 PM

First Cornellia take a breath honey, that's right now let it out sllllooooooooowly. Now post the address of your blog please. If not start one.

Joss, honey, it's okay, really. Now go have a Juliep girlfriend. Or maybe a Long Island Icetea. Yeah that should calm you down, just don't mix and drive, okay?

Ah, all that talent at such a young age, and not enough time to satisfy your thirst to write is putt-ing you to INSANITY. Go work on Generals, write a bedtime story for Sam and Maisey, sip the Juliep and smile a big lazy southern chesire cat grin because some stupid Megantasarus can't speak proper American. And while I greatly enjoyed your veer from reality as many know it, it was only because I am forever fascinating with your love of words and er rants.

And remember you have the ability to turn off any ill eductated Megantasarus.

Posted by: Cele at July 1, 2005 8:22 PM

Wine. Expensive wine. Lots of it.

Posted by: Carolyn Hueston at July 2, 2005 2:09 AM

Yeah, Cornelia, GET YOURSELF A BLOG. Or post the address to yours here. Please.

In the meantime, I am going to steal your comments about MKD and post them on my blog so atleast some people (the important ones who read my blog) will have some vague understanding about what I am saying.

Hmm... to end the sentence with a dangling preposition or a participle? grammatical error choice #1 or #2??

Posted by: Debra at July 2, 2005 11:26 AM

OMG. I do the Proper Noun thing too.

Posted by: Heather at July 2, 2005 2:08 PM

You guys are wonderfully kind, but I am terrified of having a blog. I already spend so much time just flailing around reading other people's blogs (especially this one), and I'm supposed to be finishing revisions one of those pesky "book" things. And then there's the next one (which is oh my GOD due next JUNE and the first one took four years and what are they, crazy?) which means I should have finished the stupid revisions on the first one already so I could be doing the second one RIGHT NOW, but I cannot even say that part out loud because then I'll have to go lie down under the sofa with a thermos of dark rum and Fresca with a curly straw hanging out of it so I don't hyperventilate myself into an angst-coma.

Also I should vacuum. Especially under the sofa. After I shovel out the laundry and make sure there still IS a sofa under there somewhere. But first I'd have to find the vacuum, which is why I BOUGHT the yellow one, since I figured it should be easier to locate.

If they gave Green Stamps for procrastination (and procrastion-guilt--could we please have Procrastination Guilt Stamps?), I would have filled enough booklets for five toasters and my own island in the Bahamas by now.

In the meantime, I have to take a shower. And breathe.

But thank you for the blog egging-on-ing, you've made my day.

Posted by: Cornelia Read at July 2, 2005 2:44 PM

Oh, Joshilyn, I cracked up when reading of your hand wringing, paralysis while obsessing over NONSENSICAL things that have NO bearing on your current life as you watch your To-Do list NOT getting any shorter. Which of course leads to more hand-wringing and pacing. You described the past week of my life!

I say go for the wine. The dishes won't get done and the line edits won't happen, but you just won't care! ;-)

Posted by: Jenn at July 2, 2005 5:51 PM

Cornelia, your comments in this one portion alone are blog-worthy. It's a great writing outlet!

Posted by: katie at July 3, 2005 12:54 AM

OMG, we should have left the sherry for you after all!
And about the clean forks...like we're going to stop talking long enough to EAT anything. Like I need a FORK to EAT. RELAX...if I don't have E.coli from my own house I'm certainly not going to get it at yours...
Stop WIGging out, already *grin*

Posted by: julie at July 3, 2005 11:36 PM

Joshilyn, I've just discovered your blog and your book ... and I just want to say, I LOVE YOU! (Not in a weird, scary stalker-chick, obsessed kind of way, but just in a normal, I-Finally-Found-Someone-Who-Understands-Me kind of way.) Will you be my newest bestest friend?

Posted by: Linda at July 6, 2005 11:58 AM