September 23, 2005

A Gavel Bangin' Good Time Was Had by All

Herewith and hear ye, I nowly present unto and before thee my empirical evidence of a) a good day and b) a bad person. Ignoring my extremely poor attempt at legal-speak, you may assign points and decide: Was the day better or was the person worse?

1a) I had a GOOD dinner. I declare Bison to be palatable and nice if you don't over think it. And I didn't unvirtue-tize it by means of sour cream and the application of many beautiful melty Mexican cheeses. Just a SPRINKLE. I (mostly) forsook the crunchy fried taco shells and ate my bison in a 100% whole wheat flour tortilla with sautéed muchrooms, onions, and peppers and some vegetarian low fat refried beans as meat moisteners. (Digression....No, too easy. I mean, do I EVEN need to say it? I will just say EW and leave it at that.)

1b) "Isn't Bison Buffalo? Is that the same animal? Hey! Did you ever read that book, Bless the Beasts and the Children?"

2a) I AM WRITING A NOVEL! I AM I AM. It is, of course, absolutely impossible to write a novel. The very idea dizzies me. The audacity. To think I can. Of COURSE I can't possibly right a novel. If you need a novel written, call Barbara Kingsolver because I hear SHE is not a total spaz. And I bet she can DANCE, too. But I can't, obviously, SO I come in here on preschool days when I have the house to myself. I put Basement Jaxx on in the other room and write bits and pieces and paste them together and relentlessly cut the bad paragraphs and hurl them over my left shoulder (like salt to sting the eye of the devil), subjecting myself to the misery of pumping out new material and the pleasure of PLAYING on that material as if it were a jungle gym and I were a crack-happy monkey. And I say, OUT LOUD, bravely, right at the beginning of this paragraph, for example, that I AM WRITING A NOVEL even though it can't be done and if it COULD be done it would be Barbara Kingsolver doing it. But I say it ANYWAY. Because I SUSPECT (based on previous experience) that one day, about 8 or 9 months from now from now, I will hit my shortcut to MS WORD and open my THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING file and oh, what's this? Seems to be the rough draft of an entire novel in here. And then I will begin doing the PURE revisions and life will taste sweet in my mouth.

2b) "Lord, but you travel a lot. I mean, I wondered how you found time to write books with the kids and all before, but now with all this travel...I don't know how you do it. But you think you can? Really? Wow. Really? Wow. No, but...really?"

3a) Remember the auction for the crit? To help a fellow writer who lost all her worldlies in a fire? Well, I started working on that crit. I spent about two and half hours on it last night. SO. This auction winning woman, she's a MAC user. She sent me the pages as an RTF file. I double clicked the RTF attachment and it obligingly opened itself into MS Word. I read the whole thing. I then began making notes in bold type all through it. I made a lot of notes. (Let me just say here --- the woman can WRITE. Seriously. And she has a good, hooky concept. But it's a draft, and she sets the bar pretty high in a GREAT opening, so I am trying to find ways to help her make the drafty bits hit the rather high bar she's set for herself) I make a ton of notes over the course of two hours, getting through about half her pages. I AM A SAVE FREAK. I hit save like Maria Carey hits high notes, which is to say, until it is ACTIVELY PAINFUL.

Then I ran out of time. I hit save AGAIN and closed the file.

Heh. Those of you who understand how RTF files work just said "DOH!" Because all of that work was saving in a TEMP file and the minute I closed MS Word it CEASED TO EXIST. It didn't even PAUSE, didn't even pop a "Are you SURE you want to close this, bonehead?" window, It just cheerfully closed and deleted itself.

Later, when Scott was unable to retrieve it even through the magic of Scottness, I hurled myself to the floor to writhe and foam in horror and rage, but see, hurling myself to the floor put me on eye level with my printer, which is on a rolling shelf under my desk. And there were all these....PAGES in it. I pulled them out of the tray. It was the whole file. With all my notes. I had accidentally PRINTED IT at some point and hadn't noticed. (If it pleases the court, please also note that I have here in passing proven the existence of a beneficent God. Thanks.)


4a) About a month or so ago I sent a few manuscript pages of Between, Georgia, my book that is in production now, to an old theater friend of mine. I asked him to teach me to add the tiniest hint of a cajun slur to my Georgia for thirty seconds at a time, and then to pop right back into Georgia. Oh, and I needed the cajun voice to sound like a MAN, thanks. He hooked me up with a another friend, bayou born and bred, who read all of Henry's dialogue to me. Then I asked Scott, who has seven years of higher education and even more years of practical working experience in theater, to listen to me read those pages 900 times. I got Daren Wang (the brain behind VERB) to burn a good quality CD of me reading, kissed common sense g'bye, (I mean REALLY g'bye, kissed hard, with tongue and closed eyes, like I was sending C.S. on an epic journey with hobbits and hot elves played by Orlando Bloom, a journey from which there might be no return) and mailed the freshly burned CD away to Warner.

Yesterday my editor called.
In fact, I blush to disclose, that reportedly, words like PERFECT FOR IT were bandied about.

Upshot: Common Sense fell into the burning mountain and was utterly lost, and I WILL BE READING BETWEEN ON THE AUDIO VERSION. PANT! PANT!

4b) "Are you sure you want to do that? I mean, I hear that you are excited and all, but... your writing is already out there for people to judge and dismiss, and now here you go putting yourself out there in a whole different way. Most of those books are read by professional actors. I hope in comparison you don't get, you know, absolutely slaughtered in the audio book reviews. Because that would be a lot more personal you know? Like a criticism of you directly instead of your work. You could end up suicidal. Heh."

HEY! I hear they have Bison Mozzarella Roll-Ups in the jurors' room! MMMMM!

Posted by joshilyn at September 23, 2005 10:48 AM

Wow. I had already decided by reading that you were brave and good, but now, with the audio thing? You are Brave! And evidently (by the evidence), Warner thinks you are also Good! Very much congrats!

(I love how everyone, including me, who reads an entry of yours and then comments, somehow absorbs some of your adorable voice/style and injects it into their comments. Thank you for making us feel like Writers/Novelists (and Pretty) for these brief comment-y moments.)

Posted by: MySelf at September 23, 2005 11:04 AM

Way to go Joss, how awesome. Does this mean royalties in your future? Not that you aren't royalty to us, I mean really gods and the Queen Mary II, I bow to you - metaphorically speaking.

See I told the bison was just fine, you will survive another day. Bison mozzerella rollup? Honey you've definately were blessed with a perverse sense of reality. Bon Appetite!

I do all my crits in RTF and I've never had a problem, beyond my own failings, but now that you've brought the possibilities to my attention I can see this gremlin rearing its ugly head to grin on my parade.

Posted by: Cele at September 23, 2005 11:24 AM

Wait, can't you just open MS Word again and go to File>Recent Documents to get it back?

I clearly have no concept of what working in an RTF document might entail. LOL

Posted by: Heather Cook at September 23, 2005 11:35 AM

Do I know this bad person? 'Cause I'm thinking maybe I do. LOL

SQUEEEEEEEEE! Reading the audio!! Big fat hairy WOW! That's BRILLIANT! Am
nd now I'm British, too! Congrats!

Posted by: Amy-GO at September 23, 2005 11:50 AM

Technical note concerning the aforementioned rtf file. Those who don't care, please avert your eyes.

The fact that it was an rtf file was not the problem. The problem was that the file was never saved to the local hard drive. It was opened directly from the attachement in the email. When Joss hit save, there wasn't a local copy for it to save to. It saved as a temp file which is how an attachment is stored until you actually save it to a specific location. Word should have asked her to specify a location instead but alas, it did not. In searching, I only found a shortcut to the old temp location which no longer existed when I instituted the search.

End technical digression.

Resume witty banter.

Posted by: Mr. Husband at September 23, 2005 1:33 PM

But it makes perfect sense for you to read your own books -- Barbara Kingsolver, after all, does. ;^> Said she couldn't bear someone else getting the accents in Prodigal Summer wrong, and once you've heard her version of an eight year old tomboy saying "Shitfire," you know she was right. Warner is a canny, canny business enterprise. Awwwwwwful lot of people listening to books on their ipods while they work off those five pounds of cruisebutt. They know a moneymaker when they hear it/her.

Posted by: rams at September 23, 2005 2:23 PM


Please ignore all people who say rotten things to you/about you! Please recall the "reader" who didn't like the "effin" way you used dialog and the weirdo in the book store who had a GREAT idea for a novel, but couldn't read other peoples work or he'd loose his own voice (God can you please make that happen soon?) … clearly they were whack jobs …. only listen to those of us who come to visit your world daily. YES, YES, YES you should read! Although you are not a "Professional", aren't you a "professional" ie: you studied the theater at some point? Anyway, I have heard you read for “gods” and can’t imagine anyone else doing “Between” equal justice. My vote is you read … and we get to listen soon!

Posted by: Mit_Moi at September 23, 2005 2:59 PM

You will be FABULOUS reading your own book!!! I promise. One of my favorite books to listen to on tape is Fanny Flagg's "Red Bird Christmas", and it's because she read it herself. It just sounds perfect in her voice.

Posted by: liz at September 23, 2005 3:35 PM

LET THE RECORD SHOW that I gushed over your perfect demo tape while you told me to SHUT UP. (Listen, I am so rarely right; I have to flaunt it when it happens.)

Posted by: Mir at September 23, 2005 3:58 PM

You...beat out Jodie Foster? Um. Wow.
I can believe it.

Posted by: Kira at September 23, 2005 4:09 PM

Wow! I may have to buy Between in Audio just for that reason!!!

Posted by: Heather at September 23, 2005 5:26 PM

I will admit to a prejudice against audio books. I want to read books, not have them read to me. BUT...hearing Ms. Joshilyn read her story aloud herveryownself? Hhhmmm....I admit that tempts me.

I'll still buy the ForRealWithPagesToTurn version, but I may have to arrange to borrow the audio book from the library. (The librarian will faint.)

Posted by: DebR at September 23, 2005 5:44 PM

Wow! Can I just say that I SO enjoy reading your blog? I mean... really, I do. You entertain the socks off of me and I'm not really a blog reading kind of gal to begin with. So, this is a pretty spiffy deal for me all the way around. I read your book: love it. Immediately wanted to read MORE from you. And oh, what's this? More of this woman who wrote this charming book!

So, now on a near-daily basis, I read your blog: love it.

Can't wait to read a new book from you!


Posted by: Alicia at September 24, 2005 7:58 AM

After talking with you on the radio lo those several weeks ago I am not one bit surprised to hear that Warner loved your tape. Your voice is absolutely BEAUTIFUL. It's bell-clear, you have a gorgeous soft ladylike mild southern accent that is like buttah, and your timing is awesome. Must be a combo of god-given gift and theatre training - but whatever it is, you have IT. Just another reason to say YOU'RE PRETTY.

Posted by: Jilly at September 24, 2005 1:49 PM

Hey! Thank you for rambling relentlessly like the voice in your head-its really rather comforting. and added bonus-quite amusing!

One day I'll get my act to gethre and do something insane like you and actually write a novel. Its been lurking for some time now scrambling to get out. Nice thing about your glogging deliciousness is that I can get a little foretaste (is that a word) of what life might be like when I do. Thanks!

Posted by: sp8cemunky at September 25, 2005 2:30 PM

and yes I am a non spell checking my email numpty (little Britishness there for ya)

Posted by: sp8cemunky at September 25, 2005 2:34 PM

It appears I'm going to have to buy Between, Georgia in two formats -- and I've never bought an audio book in my life. Way to go!

Posted by: Aimee at September 26, 2005 10:15 AM

Ooooo. You'll have reading your own book on tape in common with E.B.White. Him reading his very own Charlotte's Web is our family's all-time favorite book on tape. We listened to the first copy we ever got so many times we wore out the cassette tape. I've personally bought & given away at least a dozen copies of that.

And I'm planning on doing the same for Between, Georgia (even without having read the book yet)!

My favorite books on tape are those read by the author(ess), (except for Tony Hillerman whose voice is NOT PRETTY) because the author(ess) knows best how the book should sound!

Way to go, Miss Joss!

Posted by: Lulu at September 26, 2005 8:57 PM

Um, it's me again (speaking of too stupid to live). And I meant to say that I've given away dozens of GOOD audio copies of Charlotte's Web read by E.B. White, not the worn out cassette of it.

Posted by: Lulu at September 26, 2005 9:00 PM