February 27, 2008

In Which We Check in on Our Dear Old Friend, Mental Illness Number

HI!

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming is beginning to show up in stores, and today, I turn 40. Time to check ye old MENTAL ILLNESS NUMBER with the help of a YES NO format I am rampantly and shamelessly stealing from Mir’s blog. Yesterday, Mir stole HER format from Choose Your Own Adventure Books, so I feel justified in thieving from her. I loved those books…

Let’s begin with a mental illness of number of 20. I feel like 20 is my baseline, and 100 is barking mad. By baseline, I mean 20 is nuts enough to have a good time, but not so nuts that you need restraints.

I am not trying to get to zero. Zero is an unattainable goal. Zero is where you sit barefoot and infested with pure zen on the side of a mountain thinking about eternal Oms and the spiritual whatnot of the harmonic universe, and you drip well-being, and people hack their way up to the snowy peak to ask you for wisdom and you say something astoundingly simple yet slightly cryptic, and it is probably about butterflies, and the people go away both frostbitten and profoundly changed for the better. Zero is so mentally well that the SNOW on the mountaintop can’t even MAKE YOUR DIRTY BARE MYSTICAL FEET COLD.

I can’t get there from here. Heck, I can’t get there from ANYWHERE. So I have a baseline of 20, and I will look at the proofs and add and subtract as necessary.

YES, Yesterday I did end every phone conversation that I had with ANY PERSON even 1 year younger than me by saying, “OKAY WELL, GOODBYE FOREVER. Next time we speak I will be 40 and not nearly My Spacey enough to hang out with you kids, and I will have automatically lost the tiny shred of cool I managed to save secretively in the bottom of my shoe.” +15

Aside: When I was 39, I actually had TWO scraps of cool saved in my shoe, but then a couple of weeks ago I was in a crowded elevator and a Muzak Version of T’PAU’s Heart and Soul was on and I was so distracted I did not realize I was singing the lyrics out loud. Not the CHORUS even. VERSE lyrics. So. Oh! Actually that Aside has some evidence of Crazy in it. +10

YES, I actually used the above to end a conversation with a friend who is seven years and change older than me. She was notably unsympathetic. +20

No, I don’t really think EVERYONE automatically loses their last scrap of cool at 40. Just ME. -25

YES - I really believe I will. I truly feel I am 19 hours away from running out the front door in a muumuu, brandishing a rake and shrieking, “You kids get off my lawn!” +50

NO I am not checking my notoriously unstable and uninidicative Amazon pre-sale numbers and use them to predict how my beloved book is going to do! - 1,000, yes, you heard me, MINUS ONE THOUSAND, and I am NOW going to go to hit ebay to find me a dirty loincloth and a stick-on beard—SNOWY MOUNTAIN TOP, HERE I COME, BECAUSE I AM CLEARLY CHOCK FULL O’ THE ZENS!!

YES! All of the above is a blatant, blackhearted lie. + 1,000 and +20 more punitive points for perpetrating untruthiness.

NO I have not called Scott and wailed about being 40 OR about my Impending Book Launch nerves while he is in the middle of his meetings in California. – 50

YES. THE ABOVE IS ABSOLUTELY TRUE SO THERE! -10

YES: I did call my editor from a LEDGE and ask her to talk me in because I watched C span on the elliptical and became absolutely convinced that NO ONE was going to buy my new book because they are all too distracted by the primaries. I called her up gibbering as if it were a proven fact that people only go to EITHER a bookstore OR a voting booth in any given month. Never to BOTH. +70

NO I did not then decide to forget it ever happened. I CALLED my friend Karen Abbott up instead.
Me: DO you remember when Sin in the Second City was about to launch and you called me up weeping that no one was going to buy it because Harry Potter had just come out a coupla weeks before?
Her: Yes.
Me: And I laughed at you and told you that you were a sillyhead and was not at ALL sympathetic?
Her: Yes. I remember this clearly.
Me: I heartily apologize.
WHICH, that was a VERY sane and reasonable thing to do! So. – 15.

NO, I don’t; do math, but just GLANCING at the numbers it seems like I do not need to start drinking yet, here at 5 am. Perhaps, at 40 and on book 3, I am finally…DO NOT SAY “growing as a person.” Don’t even think it. We do not do that here. Perhaps I am…calming down? Or sinking into apathy? Or Scott is secretly hiding anti-anxiety meds in my chicken, the way I do for the cats when I need to cap their nails? I don’t; know.

I do know this. Today I turn forty, and my third book goes officially in the world in less than a week, and I am partially mostly pretty much probably okay with it.

Yay.

Posted by joshilyn at February 27, 2008 4:57 AM
Comments

Happy Birthday!! I think the fact that you knew T'Pau's Heart and Soul makes you infinitely cooler.

And thanks because now I'll be singing that in my head ALL DAY!

Hope you have a great day today!

Posted by: Leandra at February 27, 2008 6:17 AM

Oh Happy Day, Joss!

I don't do the math either. But I think, regardless of the MI number OR the number on your birth cert, you are BY FAR one of the coolest people I know. :)

And you're pretty.;)

Posted by: dee at February 27, 2008 7:22 AM

Happy Birthday! Lordy girl, I'm 58 and I'm not old (and still crazy too)! And don't even mention that I'm old enough to be your mother LOLOLOL It's all in the head anyway and let me tell you - 50 was my BEST birthday. So use 40 as an excuse to start looking forward to 50. And again, Happy Birthday!!!

Posted by: Jill at February 27, 2008 7:24 AM

Happy birthday and congrats on the book! Now go have a mimosa, you CAN have that before noon, and it's not really wine or dessert (hey! It's got vitamin C!).

Posted by: Brigitte at February 27, 2008 7:43 AM

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I can't wait to get the book (well, I can wait until payday but that is about it).

You know, I remember Oprah saying (years ago because you are considerably younger than Oprah) that all the good stuff started at 40. That she wouldn't be younger if she had the choice because the 40's are THAT incredible. Oprah said that. And Oprah would never lie to us. So congrats on starting the best decade yet.

Posted by: Em at February 27, 2008 8:13 AM

Happy Birthday! I already pre-ordered your book, AND I plan to vote, so there goes that either/or worry right out the window. :) And your version of calming down and sinking into apathy is much funnier than sitting on a mountain top with not-cold bare feet.

Posted by: amy at February 27, 2008 8:13 AM

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I had a birthday myself 11 days ago. The other day I received my copy of TGWSS from the large online retailer that rhymes with blamazon. It is taking major willpower, but I'm saving for our cruise that heads out late March. I'm not sure I can wait that long. Thanks for the gift of more of your great writing! I'm soooooooo excited to read it!

Have an amazing day and year ahead!! :)

Posted by: Andrea at February 27, 2008 8:41 AM

I already ordered your book too, and I've already voted at least once (we primary here). Plus I turned 40 last year. Sorry there--I totally lost my cool. But I didn't have much to begin with. You're bound to have some left when all is said and done...

Posted by: Jen at February 27, 2008 8:42 AM

Happy birthday! I, too, will be both purchasing your book AND voting, and now I totally feel justified in patting myself on the back for being all multi-tasky like that. That right there is your little gift to the world, or maybe just to me personally, which should up your zen scorecard somewhat.

Posted by: Badger at February 27, 2008 8:43 AM

Happy birthday! Enjoy the first day of uncoolness.

Posted by: Therese at February 27, 2008 8:53 AM

I think that anyone who gets arrested and can still see the humor in it is WAY COOL. Happy Birthday!

Posted by: Andrea at February 27, 2008 8:56 AM

Happy Birthday..and you look even prettier at 40..prettier than pink fluffy bunnies and hearts!

I hit that milestone last month and it did hit me pretty hard..I think my mental illness number went off the charts that day. But the next day I was fine. Ok..mostly fine. I didn't kill anyone and i managed to make it through the day with only one or two episodes.

Since i do not live in a country where there is currently election fever running high...I WILL be buying your book.. But IF i did have to vote that day..I would be buying your book first.
It is all about priorities.

Posted by: kim at February 27, 2008 8:57 AM

I just heard someone talking about having their own personal Sweet 16 party now that they're 32 or 48 or some multiple of 16. I wasn't really the sweet 16 type, but now it sounds rather fun and indulgent. So just think -- in a mere 8 years you could diva it up and have a totally over-the-top Sweet 16 party! (rather than just cashing in on the free birthday dinner at denny's or scalini's....)

Posted by: dramamama at February 27, 2008 9:09 AM

Happy Birthday, Joshilyn!!

And I must say as a fairly new reader... oh, I do heart the bloggy blogness!

Posted by: Jess at February 27, 2008 9:14 AM

There's an election coming up? I hadn't noticed! I was too busy waiting impatiently for my copy of TGWSS to arrive!

Happy Birthday, Joss! And here's a secret you can finally be told. There's a whole shiny, new batch of super-coolness points that you're not even allowed to KNOW about until you're at least 40, never mind start to earn them. Those are the coolness points that eventually lead us to become fabulous Divas - the sort of women other women want to be when they grow up. (Think Katharine Hepburn, Lauren Bacall, etc.) Ssshhhh...don't tell the kids. ;-)

Posted by: DebR at February 27, 2008 9:21 AM

PS...I don't think I've ever told you before, but you share a birthday with my maternal grandfather. If he was still with us, he'd have been 102 today. Now doesn't that make you feel young and dewy? :-)

Posted by: DebR at February 27, 2008 9:25 AM

Happy birthday, Joss!!!
Thank you for shedding bits of laughter on my days!!!
Being unemployed, I am waiting for the library to get TGWSS, but I am going to request it, right now.

Posted by: Judy at February 27, 2008 9:32 AM

PS - I am number 23 on the request list, so the library knows it is wanted.

Posted by: Judy at February 27, 2008 9:42 AM

Happy birthday!

oh, and according to the above your mental illness number would be 105. Excessive, perhaps. Does seem to suggest that it is probably drinking time, though. If not, it must be cake time, surely?

I have to wait till April for TGWSS, being in London - how ever shall I handle the anticipation?

Posted by: Sally at February 27, 2008 9:43 AM

Hello,

The above comments support what I was going to say -- only people who buy books vote! So this frenzy is actually a Very Good Thing.

Happy Birthday and welcome to the club! You do realize champagne is a mandatory 40th birthday gift, right?

Posted by: JulieB at February 27, 2008 9:58 AM

Libraries?! Waiting lists?! Nonsense and balderdash! My very own best-beloved pre-purchased copy of TGWSS arrived last Saturday, since when life has been a blissful round of reading, ruminating, and (now) beginning the First Official RE-Reading (which is richly rewarding on a whole NEW set of levels, thanks to your sparkly brain and all of the subtle goodies you have showered on TGWSS). And -- ultimate joy, since I have a road trip coming up -- yesterday the audio book arrived! So Happy Birthday! May you go on writing for many, many more, and I shall commemorate your Natal Day by listening to your very own voice reading your very own story to me. Life just doesn't get much better than that!

Posted by: JMyersbook at February 27, 2008 10:10 AM

Happy birthday, Joshilyn! Take it from a fellow 40-year-old -- 40 is the new 30. Really and truly.

Posted by: RuthWells at February 27, 2008 10:21 AM

Happy Birthday! I hear 40 is wonderful. And it better be because I'll be there soon. Can't wait to read the book!

Posted by: heidi at February 27, 2008 10:22 AM

Happy Birthday! I'm de-lurking to tell you that I love your blog -- you make me giggle most mornings. And I hope 40 is great, because it is sneaking up on me in about 100 days.

Posted by: Mel at February 27, 2008 10:28 AM

YES: Happy Birthday!

YES: In addition to sharing your birthday with DebR's maternal grandfather, you share it with my Dear Old Dad. He is Old (though I'd never say that to his face), you are young and pretty.

YES: I have already voted this month. I am anxiously awaiting TGWSS, and will no doubt have to go over to the store and see if they have it NOW so I don't have to wait for my signed copy.

YES: I do believe that there are extraspecialdoublesuper cool points to be obtained after 40. I'd better believe that, since I'm only about 7 months behind you.

Posted by: Aimee at February 27, 2008 10:48 AM

On the birthday subject:
Almost every day since my 40th, I think of Kathy Bate's line from Fried Green Tomatoes (the movie version, obviously)where she says: "I'm too young to be old and too old to be young."

The forties are daunting --but absolutely doable.
Happy Birthday.

On the new book subject:
I'm planning a decent-size road trip to a book signing. I'm pretty sure (even though I shouldn't admit it) I would never drive that far to vote.


Posted by: Tam at February 27, 2008 10:51 AM

Happy, happy birthday. Even when you sanity is slipping, you continue to delight.

May Zenesque vibes pour over this day. And Amazon? Pish.

We can too vote & read. I promise.

Posted by: Lisa Milton at February 27, 2008 11:02 AM

Congrats, hon! And Happy Birthday.

Posted by: Keetha at February 27, 2008 11:02 AM

I have marked - in red - on my calendar today to wish US a very happy birthday!

And I don't even hate you for being a full 365 days younger than I am. :o)

Also, not that this is a big deal to you, but even though I'm a fan of your blog I've never read your books. (I mostly read nonfiction because I am a frustrated reference librarian stuck in a marketing manager's body)

HOWEVER, fellow blogger Dory (Can't Remember Diddly) and I bought "gods in Alabama" two weekends ago and are mini-book clubbing it. We both LOVE it. :o)

PS - Dory is at http://42wallabywaysydney.blogspot.com

Posted by: City Girl at February 27, 2008 11:25 AM

Happy birthday, Joss! And the book will do fine because you are an awesome writer. :)

Posted by: Jess at February 27, 2008 11:38 AM

Just wanted to give you a plus to becoming uncool, which according to my son, I hit at the young age of 32.

You have full permission to wear whatever you want in public. You have no one to impress! Wear those fantasy pants to the supermarket!

Posted by: Jo at February 27, 2008 11:47 AM

Happy birthday!!!!

If you need proof that you are still cool, look in your closet at all of those cute shoes! Would some one uncool have the cute shoes you have? I think not! In fact-- you may need to go buy more cute shoes just to prove how cool you are. Yay, retail therapy!!!

Posted by: Jill at February 27, 2008 12:07 PM

Happy Birthday!! Since this is a feast day, bake yourself some real banana bread.

We don't get to vote in North Carolina until May, so everyone here will have plenty of time to buy and read your book.

As someone who is quietly stressing out about turning 42 this summer, it's good to know I'm not alone in the stress. Now you will be able to teach us how to be cool during our 40s.

Posted by: Elizabeth at February 27, 2008 12:07 PM

happy birthday, joss! i am waiting to buy my book until the booksigning in my very own town!!! i cant cant cant wait... it is showing great restraint on my part that i have not been stalking my nearest bookstore or amazon but am waiting.

because you are cool.

and 40. ;-)

Posted by: janet at February 27, 2008 1:04 PM

Happy Birthday!
congrats on turning 40 - best decade I've started yet. I don't care so much about being cool anymore and I think that makes me a little bit cool. (yeah, my MIN may run a little high.)
borrowing an ARC of TGWSS and about half way thru. trying to read slowly and savor. I will buy my own copy at your signing in March, promise.

Posted by: Elizabeth at February 27, 2008 1:33 PM

Not that WINNING is everything or anything, but....

http://captainsblog.livejournal.com/477888.html

(short translation: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!)

Posted by: Ray at February 27, 2008 1:43 PM

Happy birthday! And your book will do very, very well. In fact, I think the primaries will help because they'll want to escape the political mayhem that is being committed everywhere.

Posted by: Caryn at February 27, 2008 1:51 PM

I think reading all this gave me -30, just from the math. My brain hurts now. hehehe but HAPPY BIG FAT STINKING STRIPPER BDAY TO YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Liatris at February 27, 2008 2:47 PM

So good to hear your voice today, Tulip...Happy Birthday!

Posted by: Amy-Go at February 27, 2008 2:51 PM

Oh, and I am younger than Joss and she said NOTHING to me along the lines of "goodbye forever" so I think the M.I.N. may be stabilizing...;)

Posted by: Amy-Go at February 27, 2008 2:53 PM

Happy birthday!!!!!!!

Posted by: Jessie at February 27, 2008 3:24 PM

40 is the new 30...or so they say. Happy Birthday.

Posted by: Whit at February 27, 2008 3:25 PM

Happy Birthday, Joss!! Can't wait to read the new book.

p.s. I'm almost 36 and I totally would have been singing along to Heart & Soul in the elevator too.

Posted by: dragonfly at February 27, 2008 3:45 PM

Happy birthday, Joss! You're doing good from my vantage point. Well, even.

Posted by: RandomRanter at February 27, 2008 3:51 PM

Happy B-day!

I thought 40 was the new 20??? That's what I heard anyway. It's just a number (remind me of that in December when I hit it) but I usually like to celebrate the anniversary of my 21st or 30th or something. So if it makes you feel better think of it this way: You're celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Your 30th. ;-)

Posted by: mama speak at February 27, 2008 4:55 PM

Happy birthday! I know your book is going to do very well. As for me, I don't have to wait until I'm 40 to lose all my cool, because it's already gone. (To tell the truth, I don't think I ever had any.)

Posted by: Alison at February 27, 2008 5:19 PM

Happy Birthday!
Now I will finally go preorder your book.

Posted by: Jabberwocky at February 27, 2008 5:35 PM

Um, by my calculations..... 105. Who are you really and what asylum did you escape from?!?

Posted by: Luna at February 27, 2008 7:11 PM

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! (Incidentally, today is also MY birthday, so I'm feelin' the birthday love.)

Posted by: Barratt at February 27, 2008 7:52 PM

Happy Birthday to the woman whose name my HUSBAND knows and he hasn't even READ your books, that's how much I talk about you and/or your books (I'm working on him, don't worry). I'm totally serious, our FAVORITE thing to do is adapt your Thanksgiving Maisy story to whatever we are doing excessively at any given time; i.e., "He laughed and laughed. AND LAUGHED AND LAUGHED AND LAUGHED. Until he COULD NOT LAUGH ANYMORE."

Posted by: Casey at February 27, 2008 8:59 PM

Happy Birthday Friend, you are amazing and I am so very blessed to know you and call you a Friend, that in my book is +5,000 40 or older. Plus, just to let you know, I love old people but just to inform you, I will be 46 this year so You Are Not Old To Me! Can't wait to get that book. As Far as voting, I will just because but damn, damn at all this shouting!

Posted by: Sharliss Arnold at February 27, 2008 9:40 PM

Happy Birthday! and you look Mahvalus, you couldn't possibly be 40 ... and a new book out, you are positively glowing! Can't wait to read it!

Posted by: Patti at February 27, 2008 9:56 PM

HI! Happy Birthday! I actually liked turning forty, all the women I knew who were over forty were wise and didn't take any shit(oops!) from anyone. So when I turned forty I felt like I could do the same.
I can't wait to read your new book, I'm looking forward to your book signing at Yawn's Books in Canton.
Have a great Birthday!

Posted by: Carolyn at February 27, 2008 11:02 PM

If you check your email, Peach, you will probably notice one from the shop labelled "Our Display" and there's a nice (if somewhat reflective - we had sun today, who knew?) picture of the special window display we did for a Very Special Person's book.

And trust me, from here on out your coolness factor grows exponentially! DebR nailed it completely, and while I'll never be a diva (I'm really not cool enough for that), YOU have great Diva Potential! Work it!

Posted by: Fran at February 27, 2008 11:19 PM

Ooops, I forgot - both Lillian and I say

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Posted by: Fran at February 27, 2008 11:19 PM

Happy Birthday. EAT CAKE.
Do not PIERCE anything. (like my 40 yr old pal did last week- video on the blog...just offering it up, if you know, you have a few of those chocolately drinks and need a little entertainment..;-)
See you at Margaret Mitchell House on the 4th.

Posted by: lindasands at February 28, 2008 9:27 AM

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! I love your books and I love your blog - I can't wait for TGWISS !!

Posted by: Pamela at February 28, 2008 5:48 PM

Hi webmaster!

Posted by: Kazelaxb at February 29, 2008 10:48 AM

Hi webmaster!

Posted by: Kazelfil at February 29, 2008 10:55 AM