My son is on a bad team, for soccer. It is the team where they have tumped all the nosepicking googlers who run haplessly and joyfully across the field like cheerful goats. Confused but good-hearted goats. Goats with recent head injuries, uncomprehending, just running the same direction everyone else seems to be going in. Ball? What Ball? We’re just happy to be out in the sun.
OH! Not TRUE! There is one aggressive little booger who VALIENTLY MEANS IT and seems to UNDERSTAND THE RULES. But he is, unfortunately, less than 3 feet high. He is CONSTANTLY in the very thick of it, kicking wildly at the ball with his teeny legs with the entire other team swarming and surging HUGELY around him until he is enveloped and vanishes. Then the opposing team surges forward and there he is, a sad, small smear on the grass. But he bounces back up and RUNS RUNS RUNS to thrust himself RIGHT back in there. You gotta like him.
You gotta like the rest of them too, even though they can’t play SOCCER for SPIT. They trail after the other team, milling cheerfully about. First game, they lost 16 to 0. Second game. 14 to 1. The little guy somehow scored.
The best part: THEY HAVE NO CLUE. After the first TOTAL SLAUGHTER Sam came bounding joyfully off the field saying “MOM? DID WE WIN?” I hated to tell him, but I said, no, in point of fact, you did NOT win. But he didn’t seem to care. “MOM? CAN I HAVE A SNO-CONE?” Sure. Sure you can.
The worst part: I AM SO COMPETITIVE. I sit between my husband and my friend Julie and clutch desperately at the arms of my folding chair lest I leap wildly to my feet screaming KILL! KILL THEM ALL! COME ON BOYS! KILLLLLLLLLLLL! Julie’s husband is as bad as me.
Sam doesn’t seem to care. He has the JACKSON confidence, which is huge and often misplaced in that it generally has very little to do with one’s abilities. He is years from puberty, which is usually when the equal and opposing scoop of self-loathing gets activated in the Jackson genes. So for now, low self-esteem is NOT A PROBLEM HERE.
It’s a church league, and after the game, the coach gives out stars. A red star for the best goalie. A green star for best defense. Every kid gets a star, every week. So after the first game, they all gathered around for the prayer and star awards.
Coach: This blue star is for the best offense. Who do you think did the best at offense today?
Sam: That was probably me!
Coach: And this star is for good sportsmanship – who was a good sport?
Sam: I think I was!
Coach: This white star is for Christlike behavior. Who best exemplified Christ today?
Sam: Oh that was me. Definitely. I’m JUST like Christ!
And so on like that. He was FIRMLY convinced he had rightfully earned every star, and he was UNAFRAID to say so. In his loud, loud, trumpeting Jackson voice. He got the star for best defense, but even after it was awarded him he still kept nominating himself for every star that came along.
I was ready to bury my head in the earth. Or maybe to bury his. But at some point, Sam noticed his best friend, Nick, had not yet gotten a star. One of the last stars was for best goalie. When the coach asked who the team thought had done the a good job there, my son, my excellent son, stopped campaigning for best everything, even stopped hoovering up Sno-Cone, and he said, “I think that was Nick. Nick was the best.”
He can’t play soccer for SPIT. For SPIT, do you hear me? But I think I will keep him.
My brother read the blog and called me.
Bobby: So someone really thought she could outgeek my sister?
Me: I know. Sad, huh.
Him: If someone seriously wants to take you on, all I can say is…she better speak Klingon.
See? He knows. And why shouldn’t he? After all, it is ALL HIS FAULT.
I was a perfectly NORMAL baby and toddler and little kid. I was normal all the way to seven, when my favorite book in all of life was CHARLOTTE’S WEB. I read it and read it and read it, meanwhile my brother, a middle schooler, was deep into swords and sorcery and all manner of sci-fi. All was well, until he made it his business to turn me to the dark side.
One day, when I went to get Charlotte’s Web off the shelf, he leapt in front of me, blocking my access to the bookshelf.
Bobby: thrusting a copy of Conan the Cimmarian at me.* READ THIS INSTEAD!
Me: *reaching for book* That looks stupid. I want to read Charlotte’s Web.
Bobby: *blocking me* Charlotte’s Web is stupid. This has swords! And magic! And Adventure! And bloody death!
Me: *reaching* I want to read CHARLOTTE!
Bobby: *blocking* I glued all the pages of Charlotte’s Web together.
Me: *snatches Conan book and stomps off cursing all things brotherly*
Of course that was a BIG LIE. He had NOT glued all the pages together, but what did I know? I was seven. And two Conan stories later, I was ALSO hooked. And via Conan he introduced me to a world of boy-centric pulp fiction I had NO BUSINESS reading while my brain was still so unformed:
Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan and Pelucidar and Barsoom, and I ate them like candy and never once realized they were ALL THE SAME BOOK.)
Robert Heinlein (EARLY Heinlien, pre Stranger in a Strange Land. After Stranger he kinda slipped off the deep end and began writing inter-galactic porn.)
H.P Lovecraft (who kept me up all night cringing because Something Evil was OBVIOUSLY spawning in the crypt beneath my bed.)
I remember stumbling through the kitchen, 8 years old, with my nose poked deep into Cormac Mac Art. My mother saw the boobalicious chainmail bikini chick cover art and blanched and said to my brother, “Should your little sister be reading that?” And Bobby said, “MOM! IT’S ROBERT E. HOWARD! It’s, like, CLASSIC LITERATURE.” And so my mom let me. And that opened the door to Arthur C. Clark, Vonda N. MacIntyre, Michael Moorcock, Star Trek, and a pervasive and pernicious interest in Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology that haunts me TO THIS DAY.
Reading is dangerous. Burn ‘em all, I say.
My brother, meanwhile, grew up to make his living in the arts as well. He’s a sculptor, and and a dern good one. He sculpts the greens for miniatures and toys. Companies buy his sculptures and cast molds from them and make little guys that are sold in blister packs all over the country, and Bobby was one of the first miniature artists to have his work sold under his name. Because he’s just. that. good.
If you are a TRUE GEEK of the Gaming variety, let me go ahead and answer the question that is burning like Smaug's belly in your head. Yeah, he’s THAT Bobby Jackson. Pretty cool, huh? That’s like, 200 geek-cred points I get, right there, just for being related. Beats speaking Klingon, any old day.
A certain friend of mine (who shall remain mercifully nameless) is trying to outgeek me. What can I do but put on a pleated Kirsten Dunst-esque flippy skirt and try to make my hair be bouncy as I snarl, BRING IT ON.
Between you and me? She hasn't a prayer.
This whole thing got started because she found out my DEEP DARK LEET SECRET. Which is this. *cough* My husband and I have been known to enjoy an online game or two. So. She tried to counter my fondness for Ultima and Neverwinter Nights with a judcious application of MAGIC THE GATHERING ONLINE geek-goddess smackdown.
Which was, I must admit, a helluvva good opener.
At that point, I tried to give her a way out. I told her not to EVEN start with me, because my husband and I had geek cards as yet undreamed of, as yet unplayed. WHOLE CELLARS FULL. But alas, she would not listen. And lo, she did indeed start with me. She brought forth a pretty tame opener, a LORD OF THE RINGS movie addiction. Which, HELLO, with Orlando Bloom playing Legolas, show me one red blooded American girl who DOESN'T secretly like elves at this point? You can't.
In response to this, allow me to lay before you a few -- JUST A FEW, mind you -- of the astonishing array of Geek Cred Cards I keep in my hip-pocket.
You want Lord of the Rings? I will GIVE you Lord of the Rings. I am currently reading the ENTIRE SERIES out loud to my son. He enjoys it, sure, but I AM SECRETLY NOT READING IT BECAUSE HE ENJOYS IT. He also, after all, enjoys Magic Treehouse. *shudder* I am reading it out loud because *I* enjoy it. In fact this is maybe the 5th time I have made my way through the books, starting with The Hobbit and going all the way through to Return of the King.
I have ALSO read EVERY CONAN BOOK EVER WRITTEN, I have been dear friends with Fafhrd AND the Grey Mouser AND the Stainless Steel Rat. I've been to GEN CON four times, though not, I hasten to insert, in costume. I do have my limits.
I STILL have a POST CARD from Vonda N McIntyre that she wrote to me over TWENTY YEARS AGO in response to my RABID RAVING FAN LETTER about how Dream Snake CHANGED MY LIFE. AND AND AND!! My first crush EVER was on SPOCK, my second was on LURCH, my THIRD was on (no SERIOUSLY, this is TRUE) THE CONSTELLATION ORION. To top it off? AS GOD IS MY WITNESS, I had actual teen love fanatasies about kissing Elric of Melnibone on his PALE! CRUEL! MOUTH!
Lord of the Rings? PAH! Come back when you can say you've read....AND ENJOYED...The Silmarillian.
And who knows. Maybe she has a counter for all this. MAYBE. I am doubtful. I mean, how do you outgeek a crush on a GROUPING OF STARS? But maybe she does. If so, I will shamelessly play my BROTHER card, because my BROTHER is the tru-geek equivalent of a ROCK STAR. Just being RELATED to him gives me like a +7 bonus to any geek defense roll I have to make. PS if you understood that last sentence? You're a geek too. *grin*
I'll tell you about my brother tomorrow.
I have become ADDICTED to Boca Meatless Chicken Patties. Which tastes a lot like chicken. And Michael Season’s Soy Protein Chips. Which taste a lot like chips. And Morningstar Farms Meatless Soy Bacon. Which tastes a lot like Beggin’ Strips.
Soy is MAGICAL. You can make it into ANY shape or color and make it taste QUITE A BIT like whatever it is shaped like. WHO KNEW. Answer: A bunch of Vegans. If only they would make make SOY PROTEIN CHOCOLATE. I could hole up in a bomb shelter with a metric ton of it and FINISH THIS BOOK!
People keep eating my revision time with pesky little things like, HEY EXCUSE ME BUT UM DID YOU KNOW THAT YOUR HOUSE IS ON FIRE.
And I reply, NO, it’s just my KITCHEN and CAN YOU NOT SEE I AM REVISING A BOOK HERE????
Yish people, priorities.
Note to self: When you put eggs on to boil, it is IMPORTANT to keep WATER IN THERE.
Oh, don’t worry. The smell alerted me before anyone suffered actual death or damage requiring insurance forms to be filled out.
Moving on. I said I was going to tell you the Christina Schwarz thing! OKAY! I was just about through with my re-read of Bel Canto when it was time to leave for the airport, so I ran to my bookshelf and did a quick glance through looking for something I had not read in a bit because a plane without a book is like a root canal without valium and gas and hypnotherapy and your childhood stuffed rabbit named, inexplicably, Pink Baby. AKA: Not good.
And so I reached up and grabbed Drowning Ruth, Christina Schwarz’s first novel, because I had very recently reread her SECOND book (which is blackly hilarious, equal parts cruelty and beauty, love and envy-- one of my favorite books of all time.) SO I had my mouth set for her and I grabbed it.
I read it on the plane (and CRIED and got STARED AT by Philistines who clearly had never read the book or they wouldn’t have lifted an eyebrow. I LOFTED it at them and said, “IT’S JUST SO GOOD,” and a non-Philistine sitting near-by said, “It is. It is that good.” So then they stopped looking at me because she was more credible than I was as SHE wasn’t snuffling damply into her copy of SKY magazine. THANKS, Lady in Peach Sweater, for getting my back.)
ANYWAY what I COULD NOT KNOW WAS That Christina Schwarz was READING MY BOOK while I was reading hers! Or just before that. AND SHE LIKED IT!!! And when I got to NY my editor had JUST gotten an email from her saying THE NICEST THINGS EVER and she wrote a ROCKIN’ blurb for it and I am BLOWN AWAY with pleasure. It’s like if you were paddling around playing HORSE in your DRIVEWAY and Michael Jordan walked casually past and said. “Nice Hook Shot.” Like that.
There’s this thing I do when I visit Warner, or do anything related to being in public in a REPRESENTING MY ADORED BOOK way. The most honest name for it is probably “pretending to be comfortable.” After I get through the building security and before I get on the elevator, I slip into an alternate persona. I love her. I love WEARING her, dipping myself into her until she covers me. She’s slick and faintly sticky like fresh varnish or a coat of frozen honey. Her name is Ramona.
I do this because – no I AM SERIOUS HERE – do NOT laugh. I am SECRETLY paralyzingly shy. No one ever believes me when I say this, but trust me. I am shy on the INSIDE. Where it counts. Thus, in order to do the things I wanted to do – audition for plays, initially, and not DIE of the endless and repetitive MILLION rejections you get for every yes, and then later do readings and talk to folks about my writing and get an agent and garner even MORE rejections and not die and, gee, I don’t know, have ACTUAL CONVERSATIONS and even MAKE FRIENDS with strange human beings who were not personally related to me by blood and thus MORALLY OBLIGATED to like me – I had to create Ramona.
Ramona doesn’t bite her nails, spill drinks down her front, or trip when she walks across the room in what can only be described as OH! THOU CRUEL AND BEAUTIFUL SHOES! These are three things I personally specialize in, BUT NOT RAMONA. And if she did? If she did trip and fall right off her shoes and land smack on her butt? She’d pull it off and be very funny about it. Ramona is a good sport.
Ramona doesn’t hunch or crunch herself into chairs or fold up into a corner with her arms crossed defensively. She has open body language that says I AM TOTALLY AT EASE IN THE WORLD, when God KNOWS I have never been at ease ONCE in my ENTIRE life in ANY SETTING. Ramona remembers people’s names. Ramona is a good listener. Ramona looks people dead straight in the eye. Ramona genuinely LIKES PEOPLE, meeting them, talking to them, because she thinks they will probably like her back. SHE likes her, so why shouldn’t they?
See how that works? No? Me neither.
But something weird happened this time. I was very busy hanging around the building like a derelict, “pretending to be comfortable,” and all of a sudden I realized, HEY, WAIT A SEC… I am not pretending! I had slipped into a chat with my editor (LOVE! HER!) and lost track of my limbs, and while I wasn’t paying attention they had NOT gathered themselves around me into a protective shell and my shoulders had not folded inwards as if they were trying to touch each other and my spine had not curled itself into a fetal hump. I was standing there, laughing and chatting, ACTUALLY at ease.
Or as at ease I get. I do, after all, have the rich inner life of a squirrel on crack. So.
Each of the three times I have made the pilgrimage to NYC, that Mecca of the writing set, my Best Friend in the Universe called me before I left, and said, “GOOD LUCK! HAVE FUN! RAMONA THE HELL OUT OF THEM.” (She has a Ramona too. Hers is named Jane. So see, she knows.) But with this trip, there was a paradigm shift, and I am beginning to suspect something. I am beginning to suspect that Ramona may actually be ME. Well, okay. A me with 30% less mental illness and a better wardrobe. But still.
I AM BACK from the Warner thing in NYC. I have many many many many things to yap about! A quick overview before I go lie down and spend some MORE time SERIOUSLY repenting my ILL FATED and STEWWWWWWWWPID decision to open my throat and put in a bunch of alcohol. I would say I was RELAXED at the cocktail party, warmly toasted at dinner, and had I gone to bed then I doubt I would be at all sorry.
BUT I was SO wired I simply could not FATHOM going up to my room. So, (mother, avert your eyes) I went to the hotel bar. And sat there yawping on my cell phone with my agent like a drunken starlet for a good 40 minutes whilst I had a VERY VERY VERY BIG COCKTAIL, and then another, and that last one tipped me over the edge from toasty into what can only be called, to borrow the immortal word of Sarah Jessica Parker: Drunketty-drunk-drunk. AND LO, I WAS VERY SORRY LATER.
EVERYONE! EVERYONE! If you live ANYWHERE near Wilkes-Barre, PA, you are MORALLY OBLIGATED on my behalf to go to the Barnes and Noble in the Arena Hub Plaza and purchase SCADS of books (recommendations below). Because at the hotel bar I met the manager of that fine establishment and he was SCRUTIATING kind and sat around with me obligingly yacking about this lunatic business we are in ‘til way into the wee small hours and didn’t let me get killed or harmed in my dreadfully impaired state and was a perfect gentleman and an all around lovely human being. As I believe I told him. Several hundred times. Drunketty. Drunk. Drunk. Drunk.
I am heartily ashamed.
In my more SOBER moments I hit SEVERAL shoe stores. Hard. Bootsbootsboots. And if you are thinking something about didn’t she just BUY boots, um…shut up. Because these ones were completely different and NECESSARY.
I read two NEW books while squatting the required 2 hours in the airport and then as I sat for 2 more on the planes:
The Dogs of Babel Quirky, elegant and haunting – you WILL weep. Audibly. GOOD PLANE CHOICE, HUH?
Time Off for Good Behavior – charming and saucy – you WILL cackle. Like a hyena. So, once again, a fabulous choice for the plane.
And I reread two old favorites that I can always reread with intense spasms of pleasure, Drowning Ruthand Bel Canto.
I must remember to tell you about the DROWNING RUTH coincidence.
What else….I played SPEED CHESS in Bryant Park. Shockingly, I LOST. In I think about 8 moves. Fancy!
On MONDAY I walked 28 city blocks to see some art at the Met. PS, Did you know the Met is CLOSED on Monday. Yeah? ME NEITHER.
I went and saw EVERYTHING YOU CAN GO SEE in Central Park. Including turtles. AND I have to say: WHERE HAVE YOU GONE, oh famously rude and callous New Yorkers? All I had to do was stand still with my little map unfurled and look faintly puzzled and within 30 seconds some gracious native or ‘nother would bound up and point me in the right direction.
I did two research interviews with folks who have been helping me get stuff right for the book I am currently working on.
Matt took me to eat the food of half his people. He’s Jewish-slash-Puerto Rican, and he took me to a Kosher place. Mostly Kosher. More like Kosher-esque, Matt said. There he introduced me to MY NEW BEST FRIEND, the half-sour pickle. I SO heart the half sour pickle. Then we ate a LOT of brisket. It’s sad that I can never really return the favor. There aren’t many places that specialize in IRISH cuisine, mostly because the Irish don’t HAVE cuisine. We just have food.
Irish Sample Menu: TRY OUR NEW IMPROVED POTATOS! NOW WITH THE GOODNESS OF SALT!
I must go lie down and suffer now. I’ll tell you about the actual events at Warner tomorrow.
I love him. He has a terrible PUN problem. But I love him. He was on a TEAR last night. We were watching this VERY GREAT movie on Sci-Fi channel ...
< digression > The movie was about evil rubber puppets that melt people and are invincible as long as Q from Star Trek shoots juice into their foreheads and Q does this because some OTHER rubber puppets killed his parents but a COP or MONK whose child was killed by that chick from ROSWELL in blackface make-up is helping the SAME chick kill the puppets that Q is helping even though THEY killed HIS parents. The cop or monk is part of an organization that smells vaguely catholic and deamon-hunty. This summary is actually LESS confusing than the actual movie. < /Digression >
....This VERY VERY GREAT movie on Sci-Fi and during a break this commercial for a fish sandwich came on.
Commercial: Made with only the finest quality of white fish!
Me: As opposed to? Moderately bad whitefish? Once good but now just this side of spoiled whitefish? I mean, what makes whitefish the FINEST quality? What do you call sub-par whitefish???
Him: HAHAHHAHAHAHA THANK YOU! THANK YOU! HOW OFTEN DO I GET HANDED A SET UP LIKE THAT?!?!?!? *laughs himself into an aneurysm*
But hey. I LOVE him, okay? So I sat and watched more VERY GREAT MOVIE with him. In this part, the chick from Roswell went with the monk to a warehouse to do the Karate Kid style musical training montage, and then they went to see the HEAD monk of the vaguly catholic evil fighters who said a bunch of dire-slash-inspirational things about the devil and the end of the world and the last hope for redemption of mankind.
Roswell CHick: But how can *I* save the world???
Him: Aw Roswell Chick, just ask yourself, Are you a SuppliCAN'T? Or a suppliCAN?
Which, come on. I lost it on that one. There's no way NOT to love him.
I leave for New York at 4 am tomorrow morning. heh. I will tell all as soon as I return Wednesday. OH BUT I FORGOT! Last time I went they sent a CAR for me remember? And I promised to be a complete geek and TAKE A PIC of the guy holding up a sign with my name on it at the airport? The car guy? Well. I did. The car guy himself was VERY NICE ABOUT IT AND LET ME, but...Please note the guy BEHIND my car guy laughing his BUTT off at me. :
Kimberly wanted to know the OTHER two most embarrassing things I ever said. HMMMMM, um no, thank you for playing. It would have been BETTER to apply a liberal measure of tequila before dropping an OH SO CASUAL request for that information. Because without 2.5 margaritas the second worst will NOT be repeated and it would take a minimum of 4 TOP SHELFERS to pry the WORST one out.
Today I had NO power most of the afternoon. THANKS, IVAN! THANKS! I now know why they call you a tropical DEPRESSION, you great big rainy DRAG. It doesn’t help that our power company is a TINY LITTLE CO-OP. Every year we get a cheerful little check for five dollars from them that says HERE IS YOUR SHARE! BECAUSE WE ARE A CO-OP! AND WE CARE AND STUFF! ABOUT! YOU! THE! SPECIAL! PERSON!
Ugh. I feel like I get power from a hairy-legged generator in a long velveteen dirndle skirt and Birkinstocks. I just don’t think I should be dependent on a CO-OP for electricity. Co-ops are more like where you get MACROBIOTIC VEGETABLES. Especially OURS -- Our little co-op is VERY EMOTIONALLY SENSITIVE. If you LOOK at it funny it gets a hurt feeling and blacks out 20 blocks. How I long to be powered by a monstrously large corporate tyrant who exploits the proletariat and sees me as nothing more than an insignificant number on a spread sheet but that, oh, I don’t know, KEEPS THE POWER ON.
BAH. I am actually just irked because I missed Jeopardy, which UPSETTING TO ME.
Beautiful Maisy who is barely two and I watch Jeopardy EVERY DAY and whenever I answer the question (with a question, natch) Maisy answers me in this VERY serious tone. It goes like this:
Me: What is Madagascar?
Maisy: I don’t know.
Me: Who is Henry James?
Maisy: I don’t know.
Me: What is the Edsel?
Maisy: Mommy. I don’t know.
Seriously. She does that for a solid half hour.
It was especially irksome to miss it TODAY because I have gotten REALLY hooked on watching the Tiny Mormon Juggernaut clean house. I LOVE that small, smart man. He knows everything and he is so SOOTHING and CALM. If I was on Jeopardy I would be SUCH a spasm.
The other day the question was something like “What famous magician and writer had their famous friendship spoiled by their interactions with a medium.”
Me: WHO IS HOUDINI AND THAT WRITER GUY WHO BELIEVED IN FAIRIES YOU KNOW THE ONE DARNIT THE ONE THAT WROTE SHERLOCK HOLMES, UM UM WHO IS HOUDINI AND THAT GUY???
Maisy: I don’t know
ME: GAH IT WAS ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE!!!!! I MEAN WHO IS ARTHUR CONON DOYLE AND PS ALEC YOU ARE SO SMOKIN' HOT IN A SMARTYPANTS OLD GUY WAY.
And that was just me playing IN MY OFFICE. I would probably stroke out if I tried to play on ACTUAL TV.
Someone hit the comments and tell me what happened with the TMJ. Because the web spoilers--- Let me pause here to pre-emptively answer the obvious questions: Yes. OKAY??? Yes. As a matter of fact I DO crawl the web seeking JEOPARDY spoilers. AND YES. THAT IS INDEED SAD --- Anyway, the SPOILERS say he is GOING TO LOSE THIS WEEK AND I IF I MISSED IT I WILL BE SO MADDDDDDD. Did I miss it??? GAH. I will JUST die. If I missed it, please tell me WHO possibly beat him and what Final Jeopardy was and what HAPPENED. WAS IT THE MYTHICAL SHARON???? FROM VENTURA??
OKAY I have not blogged because I have been VERKLEMPT. The associate publisher at Warner who booked me for that first meet and greet NYC trip called. He invited me back to New York again to meet with more people and talk about my book with them and all that good stuff. I LOST MY MIND. I mean, I can’t really put in words what this means to me. But I shall try.
I LOVE MY DEAR LITTLE BOOK SO MUCH, IT IS LIKE MY PRECIOUS FLUFFY DUCKLING. My ONLY BEST DUCKLING, and I AM SENDING INTO THE YANGTZE TO BE RUN DOWN BY PAGODA BOATS, and when stuff like this happens it’s like NOT having your duckling run down. It’s like having people, people who KNOW ALL ABOUT DUCKS, say, “Yes, this IS a very fine duckling indeed! Let us pet it and feed it on nutritious pellets!”
I can not describe to you how it feels to have other people be nice to my duckling. *Weep* But it is very good.
So anyway, he calls and tells me they want to bring me back again next week, and I immediately start babbling some sort of SOMETHING about how my mom in law is coming for a visit on Friday anyway, maybe she can stay longer and watch my kids so I can travel, except she is a church secretary, and what if she can’t get off work and also no one knows where HURRICANE IVAN is going to land so she may not come at all because she is in Florida in which case I would need my church friends to help me babysit BABBLE BABBLE BLAH BLAH BLAH.
I was just SO EXCITED so of course I had to immediately channel SUPER-DORK. Eventually he gently interrupted my crazed ramblings and said, “So you want me to NOT push the button until you talk to your mother in law?” at which point – I quail to tell you this, really I do -- at which point, I said – and this is an EXACT QUOTE because believe me, BELIEVE ME these words are INDELIBLY printed on my cerebral cortex as one of the three stupidest things I have EVER SAID OUT LOUD IN PUBLIC and I am SO PLEASED ( <-- imagine these 2 words drenched in sarcasm) SO SO PLEASED (<-- also drenched) that I could say them to the very associate publisher at Warner Books who has SO GONE OUT OF HIS WAY to CHAMPION my book at every turn. Oh look, I digressed nine thousand degrees and managed to not tell you what I said to him. But I am going to. Brace yerself, Brigit.
Him: So you want me to not push the button until you talk to your mother in law?
Me: PUSH THE BUTTON! PUSH THE BUTTON! I DO NOT ONLY HAVE A MOTHER IN LAW! I HAVE A MOTHER! I HAVE WHEELS WITHIN WHEELS!
Thank you. I will indeed be here all week. I will be the one with my head stuffed into the electric oven, waiting to starve to death.
So then I called Scott and told him I was going back to NYC.
Scott: That’s great but. Um. Does this mean more shoe shopping?
Me: Of course not. Don’t be ridiculous.
Scott: Oh good.
Me: It’s SEPTEMBER. I must obviously now turn to shopping for BOOTS.
We are going to talk about clothes now. Avert your eyes.
SO I am going to be there three days and CLEARLY I must have boots. SO I went shopping for BOOTS and while in Ann Taylor I tripped and fell into a rack of clothes and got tangled up in this outfit. It LEAPT onto my body while I said ON NO OUTFIT! YOU MUST NOT! But it would not listen. And then once it was ON, well, what could I do?
First of all, imagine this buttery soft demure little clingy pink twin set, paired with a short and flippy skirt in black and pink and caramel. The skirt pattern is kinda geometric 60’s retro funk, but I have to admit that a TWIN SWEATER SET of ANY SORT is very “PRESIDENT OF THE PTA” and if it is a baby-soft pink that is RELENTLESS in it’s pinky-poo-ness, there is ALMOST no saving it. However. It was saved.
You have to imagine the twin set and skirt being worn with a pair of knee-high skin-tight high-heeled black leather pointy toed viciously SHARP cat woman sassy hot monkey love BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTS.
The twin set saves the boots from saying HOOKER and the boots keep the twin set from saying NUN and the kicky little skirt bridges the gap.
OKAY BOYS, OLLY OLLY ALL COME FREE. Fashion over. Tomorrow I will talk about something manly and/or intellectual. OH I KNOW!!!!!!! Tomorrow we MUST discuss that guy on Jeopardy.
...I am too stinkin’ old to stay up past 11 watching the closest thing to porn on basic cable, then get up at four and whip chapter 15 into a reasonable facsimile of Un-Ubersuck, then strap on six pounds of ankle weights and toggle up and down a Reebok Pro-step for thirty minutes. Long about minute 29, my heart burst and I lay on my face on the carpet DEEPLY REPENTING the decision to eat a Boca-Burger thirty minutes prior.
...The new plan is ALREADY in the crapper (So Klint is happy!) but I AM going to nap through Dora the Explorer. And yes, I CAN sleep while Dora, Boots, et al flimps and gyrates and sings odes to the map. It is a gift.
...I DID NOT ever eat horse vitamins or any sort of veterinary drug, AMY. I ate diatomaceous earth, which, okay, granted, you do feed it to horses as a dietary supplement. But it is not any sort of DRUG. It’s actually – well. I am embarrassed to tell you what it is. I sort of wish I had instead eaten horse drugs because I could have gotten a nice deal for a MEMOIR out of a triumph over veterinary medicine addiction (Weening My Inner Pony, the True Story of a Horse Vitamin Junky’s Survival). But what I ate was essentially….Dirt. With diatoms in it. Lily and I felt it would give us sleek hides and glossy pelts. Which considering 1) we were in our twenties and 2) in grad school, muddy algea was not the worst thing we put into our poor abused bodies. Not by a long shot.
...In spite of the fact that I am INDESCRIBABLY MUSICALLY CHALLENGED I today recognized that a song I had never heard before HAD TO BE a Basement Jaxx song just by HEARING THE BASE LINE. Then my heart burst and I had to stop listening to deeply repent a Boca-Burger. Thank you, I’ll be here all week.
...I AM NOT GOOD AT THE INTERNET. There are some songs I NEED TO OWN and I can’t find them to buy and DL online. This is because I want the weenie eurotrash remixes, not the actual original song. If you know where to find these PLEASE TELL ME.
1) Manhatten Clique’s dance remix of Kelis’ Milkshake.
2) Tim Deluxe’s Radio Edit of Basement Jaxx’s Good Luck (Does anybody speak deluxe in here???)
3) Basement Jaxx with Meshell Ndegeocello doing Right Here’s the Spot (NOT SURE WHO THE REMIXER IS! Which is Shameful!)
ADDENDUM! If YOU want to eat a big heaping spoonful of DIATOMACEOUS EARTH, you do NOT have to go to your local tack and feed shop to find Food Grade DE! It will kill your tape worm AND give you a good idea of what GROUT might taste like!
ADDENDUM 2: I called Lily and told her I had bloggedly outed her as a great big dirt eater and she said: Do you know what I remember? We were choking down our cups of sandy water, and I said something about this maybe not being a great idea, and you said, "OH NO I AM SURE IT IS FINE! A LOT OF PEOPLE EAT DIRT! WHAT ABOUT THOSE WOMEN IN THE ADIRONDACKS OR WHEREVER THAT EAT CLAY. THEY RELENTLESSLY EAT IT! YOU CAN'T STOP THEM! and I kept seeing this woman squatting on a hill just shovelling it in, you know, while her family stood around bawling and saying "Mavis, please, stop eating the clay. For the children, Mavis."
She cracks me up. AND FOR THE RECORD, it was HER idea to eat the stuff in the first place. And I just went along with it because I was already shampooing and conditioning with Mane n’ Tail (Leaves hair silky and manageable! Also repels biter flies!) so WHY NOT.
I have something shiny in my pocket. It is---drumroll---A NEW PLAN.
The new plan is very bad but I like it. It may cause death or mental illness. It may cause gassiness. It has been known to cause cancer in mice, BUT WHAT DOESN’T.
DIGRESSION: I suspect that one day scientists will discover that the reason so many things cause cancer in mice is that mice ALL naturally develop cancer when they hit the ripe old mousy age of two.
See I noticed something! I am revising this novel because---remember? I finished the draft? (Pause for mercifully brief yet unendurably smug preening) And I have noticed that EVERY TIME I GO TO SLEEP I wake up with a RAGING CASE OF THE INSIGHTS.
SO I leap from the bed and go galloping down to my computer and open the MS and type like a deamon for 30 minutes and LO! Some problem or ‘nother is fixed! Some image has ceased to be random and is now connected to a cohesive, thematic WHOLE, or some character issue has been resolved, or some glaring plot point has been made seamless.
This only happens in SHORT BURSTS right when I WAKE UP.
Since I have an entire novel to revise, and not a lot of time to revise it IN, it suddenly became obvious to me that I NEED TO WAKE UP MORE OFTEN, Duh! Which means I need to GO TO SLEEP more often, and sleep in shorter bursts. SO the new plan is this. I will stay up watching bad TV til 11 or so each night, and then I will get up at FOUR IN THE AM and have a wondrous insight and fix something. Then I will catch a 30 minute catnap when DORA THE EXPLORER is on at 9 and wake up with a teeny insite, gallop, fix. Then at noon o’clock I will go back to sleep with Maisy for 2 hours during her nap, Wake up, have insight, gallop, fix, and then stay up until 11 with my DEAR DEAR friend bad TV again.
I may have some tremors and mild hallucinating from disrupted sleep patterns, but HEY, just like you have to break a few eggs to make a soufflé, you apparently have to break a few hundred million brain cells to make a novel. As long as I don’t end up in a bell tower with a semi-automatic wearing a hefty-bag for a dress and raving about the mugwumps, I think it will all be fine.
I’ll keep you apprised.
1) THANKS COMMENTERS! I am very pleased to have GUILTED 17 PEOPLE into saying nice things to me!
Tomorrow I am planning to post about how bad I feel that I do not send all the bloggers I really like a pony! No, seriously, thanks really for all the comments and delurking. It was a nice side-effect to admitting I am a TACO BELL SUPREME WITH LETTUCE AND GRADE A SOUR CREAM DORK-RITO.
2) THANKS scientists who are working so hard to CLONE. It’s because of you that the ad for TANK THE PONY has a quantity field and an ADD TO CART button. Because of YOUR top secret boundary pushing cloning labs (go 70 miles below the earth’s crust and then take a left off the main hallway of the area 54 alien vivisection rooms) I can apparently add ten or even fifty Tank the Ponies to my cart!
3) THANKS porn industry! I sleep easier knowing that IF you are a 19 year old Asian girl, and IF last night you had a naked slumber party bubble bath with your hot young teen Asian girlfriends, and IF you took a lot of pics or even better, video'd it, and I MISSED THE WHOLE THING, you will be UNABLE TO GO ON until you send me an email notification and a link. Also thanks to my friend google, because I know you will send everyone who does a search for HOT NAKED TEEN ASIAN BUBBLE BATH straight to this blog now. And THAT will make for some interesting comments!
4) THANKS spam spiders! Thanks for making WISE OBSERVATIONS (crafted from clichés and quotes from literature that falls within the public domain) all over my blog! One clever spam spider (who was placing an ad for a site that allows you to play Texas Holdum) had a BRILLIANT INSIGHT!
Said the spider: We must not believe the many, who say that only free people ought to be educated, but we should rather believe the philosophers who say that only the educated are free.”
Which is pithy and deep and all, but very hard to apply to a post about converting to the South Beach Diet as if it were a cult. Perhaps the spider meant to say, “The fat free people need to be educated, as only the educated are free from processed sugars.”
5) THANKS favorite Christian dollar store, for stocking PACKS AND PACKS and PACKS AND PACKS of SUPER CHEAP Yu-Gi-Oh! cards. Because we do not have NEARLY enough Yu-Gu-Oh! cards here, oh my NO!
DIGRESSION: The ones the dollar store had were actually these WEIRD CARDS from THAILAND chock full of rare and MONSTROUSLY POWERFUL blue eyes dragons of various shiningnesses and double attack mode whatnot-ery and the text says things like "Here is the dragon of so many power, to make play of him is a destruction over the enemy who have assaulting you with trap.” So, okay, sincere thanks Christian dollar store, because Scott and I really like to lie around when small people who take Yu-Gi-Oh! VERY seriously are not present, and read these descriptions out loud to each other and giggle until our sodas come out our noses.
I read a lot of blogs. Three I check daily, and a large host of others I drive by a few times a month. I REALLY like my blog-fix with my cofffee, but I almost NEVER comment. WHY? I asked myself, and the enaswer was ugly.
I usually don't comment because I think the person is cool and someone I would want to LIKE ME BACK, and just THINKING about approaching them throws me into a state of geek-girl inarticulateness so acute that I will actually say INARTICULATENESS as if it were a WORD. When I DO comment generally humiliate myself with the intellectual equivalent of, “HI! YOU ARE PRETTY AND NICE! ALSO YOUR BLOG IS PRETTY! AND NICE! I LIKE YOU!!! DO YOU LIKE ME? CHECK ONE ___YES ___NO. XXOOXOX FROM UR NEW FREND!”
And yet….I ADORE it when I get comments on my blog, even the ones that just say, HI ENJOYED THIS, so therefore, golden rule and all, I OUGHT to be hitting that comment button like a natural born posting fool. And the reason I am not is VANITY. I can't just say something NICE to someone I think is cool unless I can be sure I will sound JUST AS COOL AS I THINK THEY ARE. So. That's really cheesy and petty and yick of me. Once I had the hateful realization, I could no longer withhold my stupid comments just because they make me look stupid. SO. I made a solemn vow to, you know, post comments and be a better human being.
Oh that old vow, you say. Didn’t you make that whole “be a better human being” vow a few entries ago in regards to not standing with the refrigerator open and your head poked in as you slurp GALLONS of icy left over kung pao chicken right out of the white to-go box? Yeah, I remember. You did. How’s that working out for you?
And I say, Heh. Shut up. And then I slam the fridge shut.
But I AM ALREADY KEEPING THIS VOW SO THERE. I went by one of my regular daily read-ems and DERN IT, I commented.
Problem the first, I typo’d in a moderately obscene manner. I said Butterfly WONGS when I meant WINGS and granted Wong is not a word any more than inarticulateness is, but….IT SOUNDS REALLY DIRTY. Especially when you put “butterfly” in front of it. It sounds like a poinky and dreadful insect-ual organ a deformed male butterfly might use to try and make more deformed butterflies.
Problem the second, my stinking typo-riddled comment posted every time I hit preview. So I would hit preview, and in MY browser, nothing happened. Hit preview again…nothing on my end. On like that. And meanwhile, on NOT MY BROWSER the comment was posting and reposting, proliferating itself like it was RABBITSES ON SPANISH FLY. By the time I gave up, Kira’s comments section was wall to wall wongs. When I went back to her blog I saw she had 50 million comments, so I opened them to read them and, gee, look, they were ALL ME. I had to e-mail her and ask her to please go edit comments because I was too dorky to correctly HIT AN ENTER BUTTON.
A lot of the blogs I read are infertility blogs because infertility seems to be genetically linked to both the ability to write well AND having a REALLY good sense of humor. But I have a VERY hard time commenting there. Most of the commenters are dealing with the same issues – they have a whole community growing and I am not a part of it so I feel like I should not intrude, you know? I am trying to wean myself off at least a few of my HOST of infertility blogs by reading weight loss blogs. But WOW. Infertile people are much funnier than dieters. Dieters are SO SO SO SO EARNEST.
Dieters are like, “So then I ate the banana which is high on the glycemic index and OMG the carbs but then the potassium is good, so I ate it, and then I got a mirror and watched my butt as I digested but there was no growth to the naked human eye so I started taking a picture of my butt every hour and then when I had the photos developed and made into a flip book I could see that, YES, the banana made my butt .oo2 cm wider.”
Which, okay, I could comment on THAT, but…I doubt I would say anything that would let me put a check in the box beside “become a better human being” on my to-do list.
OH I forgot to tell you a New York Trip thing.
I SWAN this is the world’s most disorganized blog. You read most blogs and they are like, LINEAR and say “Today I…” or at least “Yesterdsay I…” and then you come here and I spew reviews of ten year old movies all over you and say HEY REMEMBER TWO MONTHS AGO WHEN I WENT TO NEW YORK? NO? OKAY WELL SO ANYWAY!
This was actually my second trip to New York. A few months after the books sold, Scott and I hurled our little children at my parents and went on our first REAL kid-free trip since…um…our honeymoon. The book selling coincided with our anniversary, so we took a trip to celebrate ten solid years of making out and we picked New York because I had never been, they have arguably the world’s BEST theatre, great restaurants, and it’s romantical, and obviously I wanted to meet my editor and have some face time with my agent. (DIGRESSION: It’s a weird business. That man has worked SO HARD FOR ME and believed in me and shored me up and loved my work and demanded I finish things and revise things and picked out my titles – he’s been SUCH a mentor to me for five solid years, and until that trip I had NEVER SEEN HIS FACE.)
SO we went by Warner and there were BOOKS everywhere. Galleys and proofs and stacks of review copies and hardbacks and trade paperbacks. They were everywhere in piles, in shelves, whole rooms filled floor to ceiling with stacks and heaps and mountainous swellings of them, whole herds of books, tribes of them migrating through, and me, I am SUCH a junky I practically started drooling into my shoes, giving the book stacks covetous looks and licking surreptitiously at their glossy covers as we passed. And as we were touring this wonderland my editor said, casually, SO JOSHILYN WOULD YOU LIKE SOME GREAT HEAPING HAIRY FISTFULLS OF FREE BOOKS?
Which, hey, books are my crack of choice. And FREE is my favorite price. But I was all surprised and SHY and taken aback, and I was Raised Right by a Southern Lady, so I said, ever so politely, WHY, THAT WOULD BE LOVELY. I BELIEVE I WILL HAVE A NICE BOOK, THANK YOU. A SMALL ONE. JUST BREAK OFF THE CORNER OF THAT TINY ONE THERE.
OKAY so this trip? I was PREPARED. When Emily made the inevitable offer, I whipped open my purse, pulled out a giant plastic pumpkin bucket ands said FILL ‘ER UP! MORE! MORE! WHAT ELSE HAVE YOU GOT? I WILL TAKE IT! I WILL READ IT! WE CAN STUFF A FEW MORE IN THERE! HEY WHAT ABOUT THAT BLUE ONE HEY?
What’s neat is a lot of the books I snatched and ran away with ARE NOT PUBLISHED YET. They are GALLEYS. Galleys look like a trade paperback but instead of the jacket copy they say explain what kind of publicity and tour they are doing to promote the book and list blurbs from in house editors and other authors. It’s neat and reading them kinda makes you feel like a great big plugged-in hipster. I always was a sucker for those comic book ads…be the first on your block etc etc.
Today’s Valuable Lesson: The pumpkin was not enough. Next time I go to NY, I am taking an empty suitcase.
Hi! Did I mention I completed the draft? *PREEEEEEEEEN* And contrary to what Joe might be suspecting in comments, it has not soothed the savage loon in me. IN FACT I think it shot my mental illness number SKY HIGH.
Oh, yeah. For two days now I have been UNENDURABLE. I have pranced around singing odes to my fabulousness and then showing my family my back, indicating a righteous amount of self-adoration via Fonzie make-out hands. Really, I need to be beaten. My husband and I have had 9 ZILLION variations on this conversation:
Me: Do you know who is GREAT?
Me: NO. Not TEDDY ROOSEVELT. *blowing a raspberry in Teddy’s general direction* I meant, who is really REALLY VERY great???
Me: NO! That’s RIDICULOUS. Ghandi! FA! I am asking you, SERIOUSLY, Who is SUPREMELY VERY ASTOUNDINGTLY GREAT?
Scott: Hmmm….Is it you?
Me: *looking down at my toes with shy modesty* Why, yes. Yes it is.
Luckily, I am a LEETLE more sane today. Two things have shot enough holes in my balloon for me to come down to a bearable level.
1) Lily James read my first chapter – she’s my BEST critic. Nothing gets past her and she’s dead honest and articulate and solution oriented. ANYWAY. I was convinced this first chapter was NOTE PERFECT and then BAH! She found a trouble spot in it. Not a HUGE one, but a real one and I went and looked at it, and dern it, SHE WAS RIGHT. So it reminded me that YES I have a DRAFT but a DRAFT is not a book and I need to SHUT UP and get to work, taking comfort in the fact that NOW I am to the part that flips my cookie. (I love revising, hate drafting.)
2) Last week, Brenda at church asked me to lead one of the sessions at my church’s women’s retreat in October. Now, this is VERY flattering, and I said yes but...Hmm. Okay. Here’s the truth. I went to the first meeting about the retreat and the other session leaders are people that I think of as spiritually mature. Admirable, even. I think of myself spiritually as more like...Well hmm. Okay. THis winter my son took swimming lessons? He got to this point where he could generally get across the pool without drowning, but his methodology and form left QUITE A BIT TO BE DESIRED. He looked like a little frog with epilepsy, spasm-ing and convulsing across in his cheerful yet slow and herky-jerky way. That’s me in the Godwaters.
SO now I can at least SEE earth from where I sit and I am no longer convinced that I would win Miss Congeniality in a pageant that also had Anwar Sadat in it. By tomorrow I will be all the way back to my usual mental illness number of about 30, and from there I’ll be determining the entirety of my self worth on solid, tangible things. Like, for example, my butt-size and how clean the floor around my toilets is. Or is NOT, as the case may be.
Yesterday I decided to make my run of twos work for me. I had two chapters left to write -- 14 and 15. So. I wrote them.
I grunt pumped out 8,000 words in about seven hours. It was INSANE. I abandoned my children to the ministrations of my husband and shut myself in my office (WHICH HAS DOORS) and I alternated between crazed pacing and muttering to myself and machinegun bursts of frenzied typing. When I finally emerged, I was ravenous, wild-eyed, trailing great drifts of torn-out hair and scalp chunks in my wake. Not pretty. But I was so happy that I ran around and around the house in circles saying LOOKA ME LOOKA ME until my husband tackled me. He all but force-fed me chocolate until I was sedated.
A novel is about 80,000 words…so, hey! I pumped out 1/10th of a novel yesterday. Yipes. From this fact I shall draw TWO (yes two again) scientifically viable conclusions:
1) Maybe I AM a hen after all.
2) NOW that I have DOORS on my office, THEORETICALLY it should be possible for me to draft a complete novel in just over a week. If I don’t mind being completely self-snatched baldheaded. I think this grants me the inalienable right to drive past NANOWRIMO headquarters and yell CANDY BUTTS! CANDY BUTTS! out the window.
Hint: BARK! BARK! BARK!
WHO finished Chapter 14 in a BLAZE of GLORY.
Hint: ME ME ME ME ME!
I am one chapter away from a COMPLETED DRAFT! YARGLE BARGLE LA LA WOO! I better keep drafting while the drafting is going so well BUT
First I have to tell you. I am being relentlessly stalked and tormented by the black-hearted number two...
Remember right before the move I needed TWO root canals, then TWO trees launched falling-over-and-dying attacks on my roof and car and then TWO monitors BLEWED UP BUT GOOD and had to be replaced, thus neatly disposing of two years' worth of disposable income in two months? Well, the madness continues.
I was UNABLE TO CLOSE thanks to the pernicious demonology of lawyers, so I now own TWO houses and unless we can TRY AGAIN and close in....TWO DAYS on the SECOND of September I will be paying TWO mortgages. And really, considering how VILE and UNLUCKY the number 2 is being for me what are the chances that things will come up roses (and closes) on the SECOND day of September?
OH and then yesterday my van, which was full of my TWO CHILDREN popped a tire. AHA you say. THAT WAS ONLY ONE TIRE! SO! THERE GOES YOUR DUMB PERSECUTION VIA NUMEROLOGY THEORY!
Except wait. I thought, okay yes it was ONE tire but we have TWO cars so I waited for the other car to drop, so to speak, and nothing happened so I thought OKAY well maybe this is the end of the curse, except at the tire place they said, WOW this other tire is about to pop TOO. <---TOO! And so I had to buy how many new tires?
This episode of VooDoo Infested Street of Sesame Seed Scented Evil has been brought to you by the number TWO and the letter DAMMIT. Thanks for watching.