September 10, 2007

There is NO REASON for This to Be in the Form of a List

1) I love the foot pad skin of Boggart the kitten. It is the exact color of Bazooka bubblegum, a fresh, fat pink, still shiny with newness. He has not been born for very long; he has hardly used it.

2) I went to Bookmarks over the weekend, a lit fest in Winston Salem. I wore the red kitten heeled sandals I do not think I have put on since I got arrested. (If you do not know the story and you do not follow the link, let me give you the abbreviated timeline: 1) Social security office screws up some paperwork I fill out. 2) Patriot Act passes. 3) I am wrongfully arrested, handcuffed, and carted off down the busiest street in my hometown while I am on the way to do a TV interview. It seems I must have at some point forgiven the shoes for being perp-walked in. Good thing, too, as the only other shoes I have that go with my Indian Print skirt are pointy-toed sling backs with three and a half inch heels. AND

3) the fest was outside. In Historic Bathabara Park, which Looks like this. The coolest thing about this park is not on that page…okay well, the buildings are EXTREMELY cool. But there are several HOLES where MORE buildings used to be, like STONE LINED holes, the ghosts of basements past, holes with stairs--- like this.

4) Me and my stupid strappy sandals had to climb in and out of the holes and SEE and run my hands along the stone or we – well I, really, those stupid shoes cared not a FIG now that I think on it, and in fact more than once a teeny poinky heel tip got CAUGHT in between two stones and I had to slip my foot out and wrestle the shoe free --- could not be happy. I wanted to be in the holes. They felt like houses to me---they still had presence, though they had been gutted, reduced to the hard undershell of something once lovely. The holes pleased and engaged me, especially since they were surrounded by the pristinely restored and perfectly maintained houses and the church and the brewery.

5) I want to take someone down in one of those holes and shoot at them with a pistol.

6) A FICTIONAL someone, you understand. No one in PARTICULAR, yet, just some future fictional someone I might need to murder. I like the idea of shooting someone through and having the bullets go into that old stone. I wonder what it would sound like. I wonder who the heck would be MEETING down in a an old stone house hole, and why, and…this is how books start for me. I find soemthign like this, a brain toy, and I play with it for a decade or two and then I write a book.

5) Once I had gotten DOWN in the hole in my STUPID SHOES I looked around and realized this HOLE was one third of the entire family’s living space. And these were families living pre good birth control. I thought about living in a house that size. I think I would be okay if I had internet. The stone hole would be my office. I would to work like that. tucked down under a teeny house lined in that old stone. I don’t actually like windows, don’t want light touching me when I work.

6) A SHOCKING number of people came to the festival to hear a buncha writers rabbiting on about books. SHOCKING. My tent was FULL and I spoke at 10:30 am. They do it right in Winston-Salem.

7) There was some sort of SPORT happening. Even so, the Bookfest was packed. And this was not, like, just another SPORT, this was some bloody old ancient cruel rivalry, a GRUDGE match sport. Midwesterners caravanned down to support the enemy team. They took over the 75% of the hotel that wasn’t jammed with writers. They were like HUNS! Huns in SCARLET! They ravaged the hotel bar, denuding it of microbrews and white wine. The HUNS reduced us to Miller Light and that strange pink sugar water they call white zinfandel. (I passed and had a Vodka, thank you.)

8) Every now and again, one Hun or another would make a chant, like a LONG slow drawn out LOWLY monklike chant, a deep mournful elongated HOOT of sound.It went like: “Goooooo, Big Re-ed!” Then all the other huns would yell “GOBIGRED!” In a rush of contrasting staccato voices. I liked it. I had a fun time yelling GOBIGRED on cue, too, but still managed to come away remarkably unscathed by any knowledge of who or what a big red might be. Other than gum. Someone later told me it was football? Okay.

9) Oftentimes at fests you run hither and thither and yon, but this was very laid back and so I got a chance to have actual, extended and interesting conversations with several writers. These are a few of their books…

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter. I had already read this rigth when it first came out in PB and LOVED it. It’s one of those books people either love or hate. Guess what side of that fence I landed on? Hint: Loved.

Down the Rabbit Hole. I bought this for my son, though now, after having met Peter Abrahams and talked about plot for a solid hour, I want to read his adult fiction. (And, erm I may have read his YA on the plane home. I may have not just skimmed but read every funny engaging word and YES, I DID know that I am 39. Shut. Up.)

Amazing Grace, William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery. Had a fantastric conversation with Eric Metaxas about faith, and now I want to read this. Of course, he also wrote some of the Veggie Tales books. All of which I have read--out loud, no less -- approximately 3,786,547,233 times now. Heh.

Posted by joshilyn at September 10, 2007 8:19 AM

I love house holes, too! I recently saw some at Fort...uh....Fort Something-or-other on Saint Simons. Frederica? Yeah, I think that's it. Anyhoo...those houses were tiny! I can't imagine what living in them must have been like -especially pre-deodorant -- but I love looking at those outlines and trying to imagine what their lives must have been like

Posted by: Leandra at September 10, 2007 8:38 AM

When J and I bought our current property, there was a hole-with-stairs there, although I think ours must've been an old root cellar or ice house or something because it was *very* small...way smaller than the photo you linked to. Cool though! Sadly, it's now covered over because one of the walls was starting to bulge in and collapse, AND we found a black widow spider nesting in there...the only one I've ever seen up close and personal, and I could've gone a lifetime without that experience.

There was also an old cabin on our place that I desperately wanted to save and use somehow, but it was too far gone too, so after keeping it for a while, we eventually let someone who restores log cabins come and disassemble it for parts. I loved how it sparked my imagination though. The oldest part had these big, rough-hewn logs that were all held together with wooden pegs - no nails in that entire section. The "new" section (which probably dated from something like the mid-1800's instead of 50 - 75 years before) had slightly smaller logs and it had nails, but they were more like these rough-looking little metal spikes than like nails we have now. Ooops, sorry, this is getting way too long. I'll shut up now, except to ask...

Did you see and/or speak to the writer that Drunky dragged out of his/her shoe??

Posted by: DebR at September 10, 2007 9:30 AM

Huh. Big Red is Cornell's mascot (how creative), but I imagine there are plenty of other schools who use it. I have a hard time believing many Cornellians would travel so far for our rather uninspired football team.

Posted by: ailo at September 10, 2007 10:53 AM

Man, I miss college football. The comradely. The sportsmanship. The drunkenness of it all.


I'm glad you had fun!

Posted by: aka nik at September 10, 2007 12:17 PM

Memory Keeper's... Isn't she a professor at UK? I am planning to read that book for that very reason. Go Big Blue!

Posted by: Heather at September 10, 2007 12:30 PM

The Huns were Nebraska fans. (I'm not one, but I spend a little too much of my Saturdays devoted to college football.)

Posted by: Daily Tragedies at September 10, 2007 12:57 PM

Heather! Fellow Kentucky fan! Go Cats!

(Jos - Go Big Blue/Go Cats are things we yell at University of Kentucky sporting events. Wanted to make sure you understood Heather's comment. *grin*)

The holes look like the graves of houses to me, not just their foundations. Spooky but intriguing. can't wait to find out who gets shot in one of those! ;)

Posted by: Amy-Go at September 10, 2007 3:28 PM

Apparently your interest has moved from dog extinguishing to people shooting. Which I'm okay with. As there are probably some characters out there that really deserve to be shot.

I love holes too. Have you ever been in a Kiva? Now that's a pretty cool hole!

As for reading YA fiction - we're not supposed to admit to this? Oh. Well, too late. I read it all the time and didn't know to cover up my crime.

Posted by: Laume at September 10, 2007 7:04 PM

loved the memory keeper's daughter.But still doesn't match the first line in gods!

Posted by: Desi at September 10, 2007 8:59 PM

Ohh I get it about baby animal feet. I was rubbing Willow's puppy toes and pads yesterday. Yes, I'm totally in puppy love!

Posted by: Angel at September 10, 2007 9:51 PM

I love Bathabara, and I so wanted to get over there to hear your talk. But it would have been all Saturday, when the semester just started and my daughter's daycare went crazy. (Which meant I was working half days and trying to catch up on weekdays.)

Did you see Old Salem? That is more restored and so more touristy, but still the real deal and very cool to see. Also, it's got a bakery. :)

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