October 11, 2007


I’m home from the mountain cabin my friend Anne loaned me so I could get some work done. I wrote and felt great and I lived in the mountains and YET! I was completely NOT killed and eaten by bears and I felt QUITE pleased about it all, it all, RIIIIIIIIIIGHT up until I hit the place where I had to stop writing because I have NO freakin’ idea what happens next in this book and can’t understand the timeline and I realized I spent three hours drafting a scene that is SO not needed and also a device I am heavily using is DEVICEY and must GO and then I threw all my junk in the car and pointed it toward home in a welter of despair and ate half a pound of dark chocolate honeycomb while berating myself for not having a clean garage to drive home to and on the way DOWN the mountain I leaned out my window and yelled to the bears, YOU SHOULD HAVE KILLED AND EATEN ME, YOU POUCHLESS MARSUPIAL PIECES OF CRAP!

Which, you know, you can’t be pouchless AND a marsupial. And also? Bears are class CARNIVORA. I should have said YOU POUCHLESS CARNIVORA PIECES OF CRAP, and even then, ALL Carnivora are by definition pouchless so it was a WASH, really. I think the bears were too confused to even feel properly insulted. And then I came home and slouched around whining about the dirty garage. And then I said to my husband:


Which, really the man is FORTY and I don’t think he has enough years left in his four score and ten to catalog the COMPLETE answer to that question, but he tried. I’ll give him that.

Him: Nothing is wrong with you. You are writing a book.

Me: BAH. POOH! POOH ON THAT! I am ALWAYS writing a book, and I am never like THIS.

*long meaningful silence*

Him:*cough* Um….You do this every time you write a book, every time you hit a wall on it. Right about now.


Him: Okay…but you do this every time. And it is never the garage.

Me: I do NOT, I never did!

Him: I am going to get a camera and FILM this because you never remember this part where you get like this but you are always like this right about now….hey wait. I think you even BLOGGED it last time. About how you were LIKE THIS and Lydia said you ALWAYS are right about now and you said NO you were not it was…whatever thing it was then. Not the garage. Not bears. But something. I remember you blogging this EXACT PHENOMENON with LYDIA in the role of person who reminds you that you always do this and you in the role of The Floppy Sorry-oo.

Which leads me to 3 conclusions:

1) I wish I had a retired racing dog, a greyhound, that I could name The Floppy Sorry-oo.
2) I don’t remember that.
3) Neither do you.

I think the FIRST conclusion is EMPIRICALLY TRUE and the last last two conclusions are like fairies, in that if you and I BELIEVE truly with true hearts that I never did this before or blogged it and that TRULY a clean garage would FIX IT ALL, and if we would only show our belief by CLAPPING OUR HANDS, then the day would be saved. Because if we clapped our hands LOUD ENOUGH for Scott to hear the clapping ring out over the world, then maybe he would go and clean the garage! AND THEN! OH THEN! HAPPINESS WOULD BLOSSOM LIKE DAISIES OPEN TO THE SUN AND THE BEARS WOULD GROW POUCHES AND KILL AND EAT PEOPLE UPON MY COMMAND!

I would fix the garage myself, but I have to go have chicken-n-dumplins and mental illness.

Posted by joshilyn at October 11, 2007 5:26 PM

But if we said that we didn't remember this (which we most certainly *DO*), we'd be lying, and I'd be willing to bet that's covered on Sam's moral dilemma list right next to the eeevil church coke machine.

(pats the Pretty Tulip and murmurs comforting words while handing her a dirty martini)

Posted by: Beth at October 11, 2007 5:53 PM

I am clapping SO HARD and I even have my head thrown back and my eyes squeezed shut because the force of the clapping is SO INTENSE that surely, SURELY, Scott is hearing it right now. And feeling shame.

Posted by: Casey at October 11, 2007 5:58 PM

Here is the most important thing I learned in college, ever so slightly modified to fit your current situation. Okay? Are you ready? Here it is:

If you clean out the garage, however many hours that takes is how many hours you don't have to spend writing.

Posted by: alala at October 11, 2007 6:24 PM

I cannot clean your garage, nor can I muster the energy to clap that much on account of my week was utterly sucktastic, but if you are online tomorrow morning and need some therapy that does NOT involve food, we could play Literati.

Sorry, that's all I've got.

Posted by: Mir at October 11, 2007 7:59 PM

I don't know if I could help in any way, but I have one question: Is it wrong that I take some comfort in your pain? Probably. But I am tackling my own first fiction and it sometimes makes my eyes bleed. Knowing that it can be difficult and mind-numbing to you, oh-great-one, helps a little.

{I'm ready to duck when the bad karma comes. I deserve it.}

Posted by: Lisa Milton at October 11, 2007 8:12 PM

I'm with Lisa ... feeling guilty that you, too, are so human. I had to put my book aside for awhile so I wouldn't despair. Plan to get back to it in November. Or December. But then again, I don't have a book contract or a deadline... just a nagging voice inside saying, "Just do it!" And that carrot on the string... a first book published. sigh. thanks for hanging out down here with us, Josh!

Posted by: Susan Cushman at October 11, 2007 9:53 PM

Well *I* think what would fix it all would be if you told us more about the dark chocolate honeycomb, preferably with photos. ClapClapClapClap!

Posted by: DebR at October 11, 2007 11:14 PM

Okay, somehow I missed the clapping part. . .were the bears clapping? Either way--clapping or no--I most certainly DO remember this happening to you before. . .but I think you had lost your keys. . .and maybe Scott was out of town. . .or something.

Butweloveyouandthinkyou'rewonderful AND did you know that your book on tape can be RENTED at Cracker Barrel????? No lie!!!!! My friend just told me. She rented it to listen to and she said you were FABULOUS.

And, indeed, you are. Clapping bears eating dark chocolate honeycomb but not you and all.

Posted by: Roxanne at October 11, 2007 11:26 PM

Went back--re-read--found the clapping. I will clap-clap-clap for your clean garage wish. And though the whole mental illness thing is probably VERY unpleasant for YOU, it is the promise of yet ANOTHER wonderful novel for US!!!!!!

Posted by: Roxanne at October 11, 2007 11:53 PM

Oh our pretty Joss, have some more chocolate... and watch out for Mir she's serving up nipples and grits. Which really would be a good title for a book.

Posted by: Cele at October 12, 2007 1:28 AM


Posted by: aka nik at October 12, 2007 3:26 AM

I'm just wondering if the bears would keep the leftovers in their pouches for later.

Posted by: Brigitte at October 12, 2007 5:28 AM

Clap Clap Clap Clap!

My mental illness is telling me it is my office that is keeping me from writing this week. But surely if I had a garage it would be that too.

Posted by: Michelle at October 12, 2007 8:24 AM

Wait, though. Wouldn't it be better for us to not pretend like we didn't see this play out before? Before - each time before - it had a very happy ending with a very good book enjoyed by all of us and many many more people. So. If we remembered seeing this before (and I'm not saying we do. I'm just saying I, personally, don't NOT remember having seen this before and seen a wonderful book rise up all phoenixy in the end), wouldn't that be a better fate than a garage that, if its anything like my garage, won't ever be clean? Isn't that better? Awesome book vs. perpetually yucky garage? See? Better, right?

Posted by: Em at October 12, 2007 9:03 AM

Yes, Em, much better. Joss, don't know which way the plots's gonna go? Turn on the tv, channel surf to hear one sentence spoken on each channel, use that sentence to steer your book in a new direction! Whether it be commercials, comedy, drama, huntin' or fishin', you can find something that will tick your tock.

Ex: "You're an absolutely exhausting woman" from an ad for Wheel of Fortune; "I just wanna point out eventually your going to cave in so you might as well pull out your checkbook and buy her a new bathroom" Nash Bridges; "Loosing over 70 lbs my thighs are now slimmer than they've ever been!" Ad for a weight loss product;"If we just didn't have to dig for everything" from Mission:Organization. (Oops now you're mind is back on the garage! Sorry.)

Posted by: Rhonda at October 12, 2007 10:03 AM



Posted by: RuthWells at October 12, 2007 10:15 AM

Seems to me there was an episode with a dead-alive snake and catharsis back there somewhere. But I'm old and my memory is faulty...so maybe not. Certainly not in an April post, last year say? :-)

I will clap for a clean garage, certainly, but I have to be honest and say that I'm more likely to clap for marsupial bears and dark chocolate honeycomb (whatever that is).

But mostly I will clap for you, Peach, because you're at work on a new novel, even though you're stymied right now. Perhaps a good bout of WoW will fix it?

Posted by: Fran at October 12, 2007 11:07 AM

*Joining Scott in the pointed silence*

I heart you, Tulip. If you want a dose of what you call "mentally healthy" and I call "hanging on by my fingernails" give me a call. ;)

Posted by: Amy-Go at October 12, 2007 11:28 AM

I don't remember it? Okay, if you say so. I do believe in honoring the process, and if part of the process is not realizing that it IS a process, then so be it.


Posted by: Aimee at October 12, 2007 11:49 AM

I think you have the sort of thing I have when I'm pregnant, so that when my husband says, You are insane when you are pregnant, and I say, Oh no I am NOT I could TOTALLY have another baby, and he says, I cannot live with you while you are pregnant, and then we are at an impasse, because surely he's not talking about me? And I bet gestating a book is actually harder than gestating a baby, although the whole deadline thing is probably similar...

I've actually HAD chocolate honeycomb! I feel so special. I thought it was kind of gummy on the inside, though, and would have been better without the honeycomb.

Posted by: amy at October 12, 2007 9:02 PM

Hmmm... you know, Scott is often right about things.

Posted by: Lydia at October 13, 2007 8:31 AM

Not only did you do this last time (and the time before that) but, and I'm truly sorry about this, we find it hugely entertaining. I wouldn't dream of clapping in opposition to Scott, who, along with Yarn Harlot's big ol' Newfoundlander rock producer husband Joe is one of my favorite fictional people. (My affection for them is based on what I read of them, hence fictional.)

However. Muffin.

Here is scant comfort, though. Neil Gaiman's blog this morning begins:
"I'm in Chapter Five of ODD.... I think this is good, although I have just realised I have no idea what happens next and that the plot I thought I was writing isn't the plot at all, and that everything's different.

This wouldn't be a problem, but the book is meant to be handed in on Monday. Argh."

So it's cosmic, not personal. As if that helped.

Posted by: rams at October 13, 2007 8:40 AM

I think a better plan - we should get the bears to clean the garage. They could put everything you want out of there into their pouches and take it back to the mountains, never to be seen again. Or, lacking pouches, they could eat everything, take it back to the mountains, and then a outdoorsy type would be hiking along a trail some day soon and find bear scat with things like broken bicycle parts and oil rags and other garage-y type things in it and be confused for the rest of his days.

Is it wrong that I love your mental illness days so much? If it is, I don't care. It helps me feel less alone in my.... version of reality.

Posted by: Laume at October 13, 2007 5:27 PM

Um, Joss? As much as I puffy pink heart your lovely self, as a veteran FTK-er I must say that Scott is correct. You DO do this every time. And he HAS told you so before. And so has your agent. And your editor. And us, your FTK friends. Oh, but sweetie, we adore you for it -- it is one of your most entertainingly endearing qualities. We've come to recognize this as the literary equivalent of morning sickness; that it aflicts you every time you are great with story and it is kicking. And though you might not like this part, FTK regulars like myself know it as a sign that all is progressing normally. Pass the chicken-n-dumplins and mental illness, please.

Posted by: David at October 13, 2007 10:33 PM

Damn girl. You just convinced me I probably don't want to write a book after all.

Posted by: poopie at October 13, 2007 10:38 PM

You are wonderful.
I am so glad the bears did not eat you in the woods. I haven't laughed this hard in weeks.
Thanks and KEEP WRITING.

Posted by: timmi at October 14, 2007 6:29 AM

Does it matter whether this is typical behavior? A clean garage would cure lots of ills, I'm thinking. :)

Posted by: Deborah P at October 14, 2007 7:52 AM

I adore dark chocolate honeycomb (they call it seafoam, at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and if you make it yourself, you could call it sponge candy and dip it in whatever color of chocolate you prefer)! Sometimes, if it's not fresh, it does get gummy, but mostly it's deliciously light and crisp (a bit molasses-y) and a lovely contrast to the chocolate.

Best wishes! While a clean garage would cure a lot of ills, I agree that the process of cleaning it is better left to others.

Posted by: Diane (TT) at October 15, 2007 2:23 PM