November 6, 2006

In Which I am Scrutiating Famous

Scutiating Famous thing one: I got to write about my POOR titling skills over at Southeast Review. YAY. If you look at the sidebar under my pic and bio about who all is in this issue, you can see my favorite poet, Beth Ann Fennelly is there too. YAR!

Scrutiating famous thing two : After a Friday CHOCK FULL of key-molesting on my fingers’ part, about when my brain was ready pop like an overfed tick, I realized I was late to go get Sam and Maisy at school and playgroup. I ALSO realized I looked like a crazy person.

I have these pants I like to write in. I call them my Fantasy Pants. They are ENORMOUS FLOPPY Indian print drawstring pants. They are so voluminous that several friends could fit in them, along with a nice dim sum cart and a cash bar, and this is WHILE I HAVE THEM ON. Maybe even the cat could come along, although that might be pushing it.

I was wearing my Fantasy Pants along with an equally floppy and voluminous black and gray striped sweater that I once spilled half a jug of olive oil on, which, you know, you can’t get that out. It has this weird oily Rorschach stain all down the front. Huge stain---bigger than my head, but with more fronds.

I’d shoved my wet hair into a ponytail earlier, and it had gone ahead and dried all the way, so when I took it down I had a limp strings with that Pony-holder HUMP thing going on, and I was pale and wild-eyed from lack of sleep and lack of make-up and I was barefoot. I had eased over the line and become slightly feral.

All I did before I left the house was exchange my Fantasy Pants for a dirty pair of jeans and stuff my sockless feet into loafers. Then I went and grabbed Maisy and we were off.

Now, I have a long time in between MAISY getting and Sam getting. 45 minutes. SO I keep a book and a toy/art bag in the car, and Maisy and I go park in the carpool line and I read and she poddles around in the back of the van, drawing crap and making her dolls have very long conversations about weddings.

DIGRESSION: I’ve been reading fantasy and sci fi as opposed to Southern fic and book club type things, just to keep the voice in head clear.

I’ve been reading, for examples…Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which is sort of what would happen if a J.R.R. Tolkien book and a Jane Austen book ate a mushroom circle and ended up making a baby while at the Unseelie Court. In other words, it’s 850 pages of Awesome.

I JUST finished Neil Gaimon’s Anansi Boys, which is like what would happen if Neil Gaimon and African Folklore --- oh nevermind. It’s great. If you are going to only ever read ONE Neil Gaimon book, let it be AMERICAN GODS, but if you are going to go ahead and read TWO, let the second be Anasi Boys. And I swear, beloveds, by the time you read those two you will give up and be hooked and go ahead and read ‘em all.

When I say I had JUST finished, I mean that very literally, I got almost to Sam’s school when I realized I had NO READS. SO, we popped over to the bookstore, and I caught a glimpse of myself in the rearview mirror and almost didn’t get out. LORD but I looked like crazy hell.

BUT! Desperate times call for desperate measures. 45 Minutes in a carpool line with no book…I would not survive it. I picked up Maisy and ran like a roach along the wall to hide in Fantasy and Science Fiction and Horror, and discovered that I fit right in. The only other patron in that section with me was still IN his fantasy pants. So. It was fine. I ran my fingers along the titles looking for something tasty to read, then I sat down to see the low shelves, and Maisy sat down, and we were kinda TAKING UP the little aisle.

Woman: Excuse me
Me: OH! I’m sorry. Didn’t see you. Maisy come out of the way.
Maisy: *completely blocking her* MY MOMMY IS LOOKING FOR A BOOK TO READ.
Me: Maisy, let her pass, hon.
Me: Sorry. Sorry. *Picking up Maisy*
Woman: You look a little like Joshilyn Jackson. (Subtext: If Joshilyn Jackson had recently been found dead under a log.)
Me: Hi. *dies*
Woman: No way! I have your books up at the register. I was just buying them and I ran back to get this. *holds up another book*

SO, I went up and signed her book and wished I could burn to ashes or at least put lip gloss on, but man….THAT WAS SO COOL. That’s never happened before. And I find it a LITTLE heartening that even looking FERAL I am still recognizable from my airbrushed, professional hair and make up, beautifully lit Author Photo. Or at least, that I am recognizable as looking a LITTLE like the woman in that picture. If she was dead. And had been under a log for an unspecified amount of time…

Posted by joshilyn at November 6, 2006 9:34 AM

Awww, I used to have fantasy pants. Wait, do YOU have my fantasy pants?

Posted by: Lydia at November 6, 2006 9:43 AM

You're thinking of this all wrong! Clearly you did not look quite as wretched as you THINK you did, otherwise how could she have recognized you from your pretty author photo? So that means that you are so VERY pretty that even limp hair and no makeup and dirty jeans and olive-oil Rorschach sweaters can not disguise your fabulousness.

Posted by: Aimee at November 6, 2006 10:46 AM

Does anyone else, when they hear the phrase "Fantasty Pants", get transported back to old, long buried memories of The Bachelor and "Fantasty Dates"? No? Just me?

Oh, well... okay then...

Posted by: Angela at November 6, 2006 11:23 AM

This just adds to the growing mystique and ledgend that is becoming Josilyn Jackson.

Posted by: Cele at November 6, 2006 11:48 AM

I HAVE read American Gods, and loved it, and I ALMOST bought Anansi Boys this weekend. That's it. I'm going to get it.

All of my jeans were in the dryer last Friday morning, and I almost ended up taking my son to school in pink flannel pants with cats in dapper pajamas all over them. Instead, I just wore damp jeans.

I would have enjoyed just bumping into you in the book store, no matter how disreputable you looked!

Posted by: Jessica at November 6, 2006 12:01 PM

What Cele said. Was this in-the-know woman a FTK reader? If so, it was probably seeing you with the adorable Maisy which confirmed her suspicions.

I must be the only person in the English speaking world who can not get into Norrell and Strange. Now that you've recommended it, I'll try it again.

Posted by: Elizabeth at November 6, 2006 12:01 PM

Does Mr. Rourke welcome people to your fantasy pants? I totally hear him in my head: Weeeeelcome! To Fantasy Pantsland!

Posted by: Mir at November 6, 2006 12:43 PM

To me it just sounds like "fancy pants". . .but I'm sure were I a man, I could think up a whole new meaning for "fantasy pants."

Posted by: Roxanne at November 6, 2006 12:46 PM

When I hear the words "fantasy pants" I think of pants that, as soon as you zip them up instantly make the wearer look 6" taller and 20 lbs. thinner. But that's just me. :-)

I needed a laugh today and you and Maisy delivered, Joss.

Posted by: DebR at November 6, 2006 1:24 PM

Oh my, it's nice to know that my favorite authors can go out looking like I do when I'm home schlepping around. Except my fantasy pants have bats on them.

I agree about Gaiman, and I really loved both "American Gods" and "Anansi Boys"! So, if you liked those and you're still in a fantasy sort of mode, you should read Beddoe's "The Looking Glass War". Honest, you should, it's fantastic!

Posted by: Fran at November 6, 2006 2:36 PM

no matter how foul you THINK you looked, you're still my POTS. *awwwwww*

Posted by: Karen Abbott at November 6, 2006 2:46 PM

On the subject of Neil Gaiman, Coraline is nice too. And it's a YA book so you can read it really fast :)

The really nice thing about SF/Fantasy is when you go to the section at the store, it's almost guaranteed that at least one other shopper there will be more bizarre than you :)

I have Jonathan Strange and read the first few pages. I couldn't get into it either.

Mir, if Mr Rourke welcomes you to Fantasy Pantsland, I've really got to wonder what Tattoo points to instead of "DE PLANE! DE PLANE!"

Posted by: Laura L at November 6, 2006 3:12 PM

I always think of something my intrepid spouse said a few months ago, on the topic of writing wardrobe choices...

I.S.: I really need some new clothes.

Me (sitting at keyboard): I do too. Like, I bought these pants four years ago at a garage sale.

I.S.: (inspecting my pants with some distaste). Yeah, but *I* actually go to work. Among sane people.

Me: Well, there is that.

And I loved your title essay. My titling skills are so bad I once made Otto Penzler gag.

Posted by: Cornelia Read at November 6, 2006 6:46 PM

OH, I do sooooo, just luvvvvv You!

Posted by: desi at November 6, 2006 8:20 PM

by the way...where do you get those pants?

Posted by: Desi at November 6, 2006 8:33 PM

Neil Gaiman!!!!

I first got introduced to him in the Sandman series and LOVED Americn Gods. Thanks for the heads up about Boys. That will be next on my list.

Posted by: Shawna at November 6, 2006 9:36 PM

Aaaah, guess who's book is this week's choice for fiction at my online book club?? Yes, sugar, it's you!!!! "gods in Alabama" and I've already read it, before all the others!! Ha.. good for you.
I, too, tried to read Jonathan Strange (three times) then I gave up ... there's too many other books waiting for me ... which leads me to my next point - when's the next book coming from you?

Posted by: Christine in Los Angeles at November 7, 2006 4:31 PM

Personal grooming self-deprectation aside, I'm sure you made that woman's day, and for that she'll remember you as (deservedly) beautiful. Also, you have some good taste. I read Jonathan Strange in 2004 and its AMAZING. Neil Gaiman is a favorite of mine as well.

Posted by: marisa at November 14, 2006 8:35 PM