September 21, 2005

In Which I Welcome You (in Your Guise of Ann Landers) to Newtopia and Virtue

THANK YOU, PRETTY INTERNETS. I took y'all's advice in the comments. That is to say, I called my production editor and begged for Clemency (the 6 hours of copy editing a day were making me want to lie on the sidewalk pressing a fork to my forehead and hoping a passing pedestrian-slash-aspiring-lobotomist would pause and kick it into my brain.) She gave me a week's extension. LET US NOW COMPOSE HYMNS IN HER HONOR. I got through the first read through and then threw the copy edits in a BOX to NOT THINK ABOUT for 48 hours.

(Digression: My copy editor, code name: Harold, would WHIP OUT THE PURPLE CRAYON and stab me with it, were she here! She would NEVER tolerate me getting THROUGH a read THROUGH and then THREW-ing. I love Harold.)

Then I hid the rest of my to do list from myself and sat down and had a big fun time writing me some BRAND NEW BOOK. I have an abysmal chapter one now, and the first ten pages of a putrescent chapter two. I already see that about 6/7ths of this draft must be destroyed before it poisons the land for mile around with its radioactive awfulness, BUT I can see the spine of something forming in the soupy and gellid bio-hazardous mass of words I have produced. I have learned (OH THANK YOU, THANK YOU, ANNE LAMOTT!) that most every good novel comes out of a crappy first draft.

Drafting, for me anyway, is an act of faith. Maybe not faith in myself---they were out of that at Kroger last time I checked---but faith in PROCESS. I assume that the bones of a good book will grow themselves themselves way down in the manure and mud I am writing now. But this will be my third novel (and the fifth I have written) and thus I have emperical evidence that if I keep generating crap and then digging out and tossing away the smelly parts, I will find the skeleton of my book, and then I can build a working animal around that frame.

It is a terribly inefficient way to write a novel, but it's the only way I know. I think a better process would be "Sit down and allow genius level prose of humbling beauty to drip langorously from my fingers as the rest of me writhes in uninhibited ecstacy to be in the presence of something so immediately perfect." That's kinda how I imagine Nabakov does it...

MEANWHILE, as a thank you for giving me commently encouragement to throw all my responsibilities out the window and do what I wanted to do anyway, I am going to give you a glimpse into....NEWTOPIA!


We cleaned out the tank, and Scott took a basic aquarium set up and, with the help of HIS CLEAR SIGHTED VISION FOR A BETTER NEWT-MERICA (and rocks dug out of the yard and a stick or two) made this newtly paradise with a big island and multiple climbing rocks and an arc de triumph and a log for getting under and basking places. He decided we needed more of a LAND MASS because Fig and Spotty have DROPPED their gills and become all LITHE and CREEPY. They now go STRAIGHT UP THE GLASS on their sticky little feet, even though I dearly wish they wouldn't. I have asked them very nicely not to, but they are strong-willed, or possibly non-native speakers. AND Sam and I took a field trip to the newt pond and after clever stalking caught ourselves a POSY FLOWER NEWT, a little Daisy Flower sized addition. Since Fig and Spotty are acting like MAMMALS (if mammals were hairless and slimey and could run straight GLASS UGH!) and barely deigning to stay damp, Sam worried Daisy would be lonely in the water.

In a totally unrelated tangent, lookit! This is my BEFORE picture. This is me and my mutants standing ready for church on Sunday. (Digression: Good grief but Sam is getting grown up and good lookin'!)


Notice how in that last pic I am cleverly hiding at LEAST half of my butt fat behind my charmign son. There's so much of it, I may have detached a wad and stashed it behind Maisy. Sure, that's probably child abuse, BUT if I stare into ALL of my butt fat at once, head on, I suspect I will GO BLIND. This is as much as I can take in.

OKAY, YES, THAT IS COWARDLY! Let us go back a few days in time to the QM2 and see a FUZZY picture of me speaking. Perhaps the BLURRY SOFT FOCUS caused by the relentless puke-making motion of the ocean will help me not go blind:


ARG! I am going to look and look and look at these very current pictures any time I want a COOKIE, because I am beginning 100 million years of virtue today. 20 days won't do it, so. In 100 million years, we will take an after picture, and AS GOD IS MY WITNESS you will all start begging me to come back to Milan and do runway. My after picture is going to look JUST like THIS:


Except I hope my skin won't be so GLOSSY. Why do fitness people always insist on OILING themselves? THEY ALL DO, and I am against it. Oiled people always look to me like THEY could run straight up the glass...But to get back on POINT. VIRTUE!!! DO YOU HEAR ME? I AM GETTING BACK IN SHAPE. VIRTUE AND THEN MORE VIRTUE FOR 100 MILLION YEARS! NO MORE with the buttered rolls.

So I have written it. So shall it be.

Posted by joshilyn at September 21, 2005 11:04 AM

You are PRETTY!! Your children are PRETTY!! And oh my gosh it looks so GREEN and PRETTY where you live! I'm so moving there.

Up here in Calgary, Alberta, Canada it is fully engulfted in fall like weather and colours. Which is ok because I'm a fall complexion person (hehe) but not so good because it is cold. But look at the pretty green grass and that gorgeous house behind you!

And you are PRETTY!! And your children are PRETTY! (Well, Sam is HANDSOME!!)

Posted by: Heather COOK at September 21, 2005 11:21 AM

Joss, with all of the love I can possibly feel for you I say - I hate your skinny, gorgeous ass. And while I have read your previous blogs regarding the truth of your own personal trauma with 5 pounds or so, I speak from the I-Wish-Like-HELL-that-I-had-trauma-with-ONLY-5-pounds club and I find myself wanting to scribble on your picture like I did the skinny chicks in high school and give you a mustache and zits.

By the way, your children are begging to be sprinkled with powdered sugar and washed down with a glass of milk. You are ALL yummy.

And now, I shall go sulk.

Posted by: Angela at September 21, 2005 11:55 AM

I kept looking at Newtopia and thinking, ugh they look like snakes...snakes, I tell you...INSIDE YOUR HOUSE...well really I only looked once because they look like snakes. Did I mention they are inside your house.

Snakes are one of two reasons I won't due survivor. The other is my menopausal gut, it's not cute, it does not look fluffy despite what my hubby says. Oh well I guess I have to count in a third reason - they are not knocking on my door for me to do Survivor, they must have seen the bags and sags edition of Women in Radio and known better to ask.

You on the other hand are very Pretty, very Petite, my pretty, and of the very small but variety. I envy your wanting to only rid yourself of FIVE post cruise pounds.

Cute kids, beautiful green grass, yukky newts.

Posted by: Cele at September 21, 2005 12:11 PM

Um, that picture, where you are hiding behind your gorgeous offspring? I know that outfit. In fact, I do believe I DEMANDED that you BUY that outfit because it looked so darn hot on you. And you cannot convince me that your ass in fat in there, because I've seen that skirt and that is not a fat skirt. So.

HOWEVER. The shot on the ship? Is the single most unflattering picture ever taken in the history of hipdom. NOT because you are fat, but because at that angle, Kate Moss would look bovine. If looking at that picture makes you happy (and virtuous) so be it... but you DO NOT look like that.

So there. Also, smooches.

Posted by: Mir at September 21, 2005 12:50 PM

Joshilyn - I second Mir, unflattering angle, not "hippy" author! There are enough other things to obsess over - as long as Mr. Husband is still kissing you goodnight and not moving out of the house I think you should take it easy on the 5 lbs - and maybe 40 days of virtue is all you need!

Sincerely with the amount of respect and warmth due to a favorite author who has only met me once ... in a crowed bookstore in North Carolina,

Posted by: Mit_Moi at September 21, 2005 2:27 PM

Whatcha talking about? You look great, girlfriend. And you have beautiful children and beautiful newts--all of you living under the same roof is rather incredible.

Posted by: Edgy Mama at September 21, 2005 3:50 PM

I'm bewildered by the fat butt comments. You look gorgeous! That photo of you and the kids is frame-worthy.

Posted by: DebR at September 21, 2005 4:57 PM

Fat butt, my ass. And I like your pretty buzzoms, too.

Posted by: Jilly at September 21, 2005 5:50 PM

MY, but those newts have GROWN!

GOODNESS, but those children just keep getting more adorable by the MINUTE!

SHUT UP about the five pounds! There's no butt-fat in sight! And you know how relentlessly blunt I am - if there was butt-fat I would TELL you! Gently and with presents to open afterwards, of course, but still. YOU. ARE. SKINNY. Try to stop rubbing that fact in my (round, fat) face, 'kay? THANKS.

Posted by: Amy-GO at September 21, 2005 6:28 PM

You are so svelte I feel the need to console myself with a bacon cheeseburger, by comparison.

The newts need a pinball machine... 'nuff said.

Posted by: Cornelia Read at September 21, 2005 9:59 PM

Hey, I'll do virtue with you! Only for reals this time, not like last time, wherein I said "OH THAT'S A GOOD IDEA, LET'S DO THAT," then I wandered away from the computer in search of a cookie.
Yea, verily, call me VIRTUOUS TOO. (I am, after all...ahem...walking half a marathon on Sunday. So.)
ps Cute skirt.

Posted by: Kira at September 22, 2005 12:49 AM

Joshilyn, don't sweat the five pounds. It certainly doesn't show in your pictures. The angle on the ship is one most of us have experienced. Cruel. Cruel. Cruel.


Posted by: Sonya at September 22, 2005 9:46 PM