December 10, 2007

Pony-Keg. Not in that Order.

Yes, oh yes, wise best beloveds, as you tell from the entry below, of course I am up to my hips now in the new book. The crazy, she is out. But this is GOOD. It’s GOOD that the crazy is out because it means things are beginning to come together and feel solid and pleasing fictionally, so of COURSE the floor drops out from under me elsewhere. Like, say, in reality.

On Saturday I called Karen Abbott after a triumphant morning of the kind of submerged, satisfying work where after you surface from it, your bones feel crunchy, your eyes feel grainy and used, and you wish you still smoked. Over the course of several hours, the connections between three things that MUST happen finally gelled, and I after, in a post-revising breathless glow, called Karen up and said, TODAY THE AIRPORT CHAPTER OPENED UP FOR ME LIKE A FLOWER.
And she said, Dude, you hang out with me too much. You talk like a Yankee now, did you know that?”
And I said, “Shut it, Philly.”
And she said, It oopened oop fuh me loik a FLOW-Wah. That’s what you sound like now.
And I said, Zomgah, will you SHUT IT?
And she said, WHO in Georgia says SHUT IT? What’re you? From BOSTON now? You wanna Pahhhk the Cahhhh in the Yahhhhhd?

I hung up on her. I swan I am made entirely out of TOFU. If you set me by the soy sauce, I get salty. Set me by the cat box, I get manky. Set me by Karen for too long, and yes, I get…Northern. On the flip side, if I go visit my relations in Alabama, I come home with a drawl as broad as a barn door, but even THEN, regular infusions of Karen have made the word “Wuhdr” a perma-part of my regularly scheduled vocabulary. (It’s Philly for “Water.”)

What she doesn’t know is that Frank Turner Hollon just mailed me some hard physical evidence that SHENANIGANS went on during Southern Writers Reading, AKA my annual Fairhopian Lost Weekend, including a picture of Karen in a sombrero the size of the largest moon Jupiter has going for it, and she is doing the frat-boy crab dance while making an, “I just French kissed a weasel” face. And the weasel had not flossed.

So. I’m not saying I am going to scan it in and post it here or anything. (Admittedly, this is, mostly, because I do not know how to WORK a scanner.) So I am NOT going to post it here…I’m just trying to offer her a compelling-ish reason to NOT CALL ME A YANKEE, is all. Not that there’s anything WRONG with that, Jerry. Some of my best friends are Yankees.

At any rate, by the end of this week, I expect I will have the first third or least the first quarter of this novel UP AND SPRINTING THROUGH THE MEADOW LIKE A LOVELY DEER. At which point my trigger-happy narrator will no doubt gut shoot her. And I will be back in the flailing I CANNOT DO THIS part as I am forced to ACTUALLY DRAFT instead of pleasurably reworking the stuff I already miserably drafted. SECOND VERSE! SAME AS THE FIRST! I’m ‘Enry the 8th, I am, I am, World without end, amen.

SO, in order to find the time and the headspace to get the 30 solid hours of keyboarding-in-pajamas time I need to GET this first serious chunk going before CHRISTMAS eats me, Karen and Renee and I are driving out to Sara’s place to have writer’s working week. We all have goals and work spaces and scheduled rewards that include riding the horses and drinking blue cocktails, MOST EMPHATICALLY and ONLY in that order. Because sometimes, almost by accident, people DO learn from their mistakes.

I think I can blog from Sara’s, so HOPEFULLY you will hear from me. If not, I will be back on FRIDAY. Peace out, dogs. Or, Tally-ho. Or possibly, Catch you on the flip side, Clyde. Whatever it is we chicks from Boston say these days.

Posted by joshilyn at December 10, 2007 9:33 AM

My husband swears that whenever I'm around my family that my accent thickens like molasses in winter. Whatever, he of the no-accent. I'd rather be country than nothing at all!

Posted by: Leandra at December 10, 2007 9:56 AM

My husband being from Brooklyn and me being from Virginia, we had some accent/cultural differences. But let me just tell you how it made my heart smile for the first time to hear my husband say "y'all" for the first time. It rhymed with how he says "bawl" for "ball."


Posted by: aka nik at December 10, 2007 10:11 AM

Writer's working week sounds awesome, especially blue drinks.

How scary is it that I am a girl from Boston, yet I don't know what the girls from Boston are saying these days? I need to get back for a visit, or I'll lose my Yankee cred.

Posted by: Aimee at December 10, 2007 10:55 AM

wait a minute.. "bawl" and "ball" aren't pronounced the same???

Posted by: Karen Abbott at December 10, 2007 11:02 AM

I'm with Karen, "bawl" and "ball" sound the same to me! Of course I was from Indiana and now I am hip deep in North Georgia about 45 minutes from Joshilyn. I was SO confused when we first moved south (to Birmingham) and the lovely people had to ask "paper or plastic" 4 times before my ears understood them.

Posted by: Kristin at December 10, 2007 2:36 PM

Not only am I from a state with a bad rep for accents--Rhode Island--but I grew up in a town with a bad rep within the state. When I got to my own state university, I was mercilessly teased out of my accent, mostly by fellow Rho Dilanduhs. I went on to hold several nonformal education jobs and was complimented on my DICTION. I LOVED that evaluation form. I was teaching in a school heavy on ESL students and the teacher noted how my VERY GOOD DICTION made it so much easier on the students. *preen*

However. When I spend time around my family or go back to my hometown, I drop Rs, insert them where they don't belong, and generally come back sounding like an extra in a Matt Damon film. Tofu, indeed.

Posted by: amy at December 10, 2007 5:12 PM

I have a mild southern accent. Since looking at Icanhascheezburger, I am now talking like those lolcats! k thx.

Posted by: Rhonda at December 10, 2007 5:39 PM

If you and Bobby are still thinking about that silo, you'd better hurry. Jennifer Crusie is considering it now.

I thought writers would rather stimulate their creativity with beauty and nature rather than climb into a hole. On the other hand, a hole with blue cocktails may not be so bad.

Posted by: Elizabeth at December 11, 2007 11:44 AM

I, too, am like tofu. Mostly I speak quite precisely - to the extent that sometimes people think I might be British. But sometimes the attitude occurs, and I sound a bit southern (I spent 3 years in MS). And, a couple of weeks ago, someone accused me of sounding like I was from Minnesota. What?! But I never EVER use that Philadelphianism for H2O. One of my closest friends (who has mostly managed to shed her accent) is from Philly, and I have to call her on it when she does that. And when she "lays down" instead of lying down. Because, really, there ARE limits!

Posted by: Diane (TT) at December 11, 2007 6:38 PM

Enjoy the blue cocktails, the pretty horsies, and write us bunches of good words.

Posted by: Cele at December 12, 2007 1:22 AM

It's called "Chameleonism" and it a very very good thing for a novelist to have- tell Ms. Philly Cheese Steak I said so. this is what lets you get in the heads of characters different from you- the sweet little thing from Georgia.

Gotta say, I almost wanted to tell you to "shut it" with a jealous heart at the mention of a writing weekend. Dude, I so need that.

Posted by: linda at December 12, 2007 11:03 AM