December 31, 2005

Resolutely

Well,come on, Obviously I have to do it, right?

1) Clean out my office. This may not seem like it deserves to be my very first IMMEDIATE resolution for the New Year, but you only think this because you "hae" not seen my office. Right now it has so many piles and stacks of books, papers, trash, and cereal bowls (I set them down so the cat could lick out the milk dregs) that you canot see the repulsive old ratty carpet, which is in some ways a definite mercy but in other ways, namely "my mom got me 'fix your office by buying you paint and new carpeting' for Christmas" it is NOT a perma-mercy because unless they can SEE the old repulsive carpet, the carpet-ripper-uppers can not ripper it upper.

Well, you can see a little STRIP of it in a slim track that leads from the door to my chair. Once it is cleaned out, we are going to paint it a nice shade of green that some guy who got fired from naming lipsticks has chosen to call CROCODILE TEARS. I think tht's such a cool name that I would "hae" bought the lipstick, too...and then the old carpet, newly splotched with CROCODILE TEARS paint, will be taken away and used to pad a landfill somewhere.

2) Fix the stinking V key on my laptop. SEE the word "hae" ABOE FOR WHY. Actually, just see the word ABOE for why. Grrrrr. Right now you hae to POUND it a few times to get a V to appear. And I am so mad at the V key, pounding it feels rather nice, but I can't help but suspect being pounded in the V is not nutritious for the computer as a whole.

Really, I think that's about enough, don't you? I mean, I ALREADY have to become a better person and ALSO not eat my children even when they fight about whether or not it is morally reprehensible to sing WHO LET THE CATS OUT WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF instead of who let the dogs out. Sam is firmly on the side of NOT CATS because you DO NOT let cats out, at least at our house, where our obscenely fat one-eyed hairball factory has delicate toes that have not touched grass in YEARS. Then Maisy hears all his explanations and sings it anyway, just to make him foam with rage which he obligingly does. COME ON - you would "hae" eaten them by now. I think I deserVe a PONY or a MEDAL for not, especially since I haVe not eVen had CUP ONE of the black nectar of life.

OH WAIT --- I do"hae" one more: Be a more faithful blogger...The holidays ate my head. I will be back TUESDAY to begin B4B a day late and possibly a dollar short, and to also tell you what we did for New Years Ee. By Tuesday i will be back in my own home on my own computer where the V key will be works and I can tell you what I did for New Years eVVVVVVVe.

Posted by joshilyn at 7:25 AM | Comments (11)

December 28, 2005

If It Sounds Dirty, Blame Your Filthy Ears

WARNING, this entry is rated Rated PG Sperm-teen, which means that if you aren't old enough to read the word sperm about 500 times without giggling, stop reading. Of course, this probably means I am not mature enough read it, so forgive the typos. My own edict forbids me from proofreading.

I have MT BLACKLIST to get all the CIALIS links out of my comments, but I JUST deleted a comment that was directing people to buy the SEMENAX SPERM PILL. Which...I almost left that comment up. WHAT THE HECK IS A SPERM PILL? I hope to GOD it is not a pill MADE out of sperm that claims to give you glossy hair. Because, ew. I TRULY HOPE it is a pill you have to GIVE individual sperms. I wonder what you would do to make them take it? You could maybe hide it in cheese or peanut butter? What do Sperms like? Or maybe Sperms are like cats and you just have to STUFF it in and hold their mouths closed til they swallow, their little tails wriggling and thrashing in spermly rage. The fact that every man walking around has, like, a BILLION of them means there is potentially a HUGE market for this product. Ah well, I shall never know. I DID delete it on principle. Can't encourage the comment spammers...

In comments, the non-Spam Aimee Parrott said she almost "Sproinked Herself." I have no response to this, but felt it was worth repeating in an entry titled, "If It Sounds Dirty, Blame Your Filthy Ears."

My brother, who gave up cursing for Lent one year and never went back to it, has invented his own cursewords that sound dirty but are not, and the foulest of them all is, "Pony Hole." Ew.

I maintain that "Succulent Vines" sounds REPULSIVE.

Not Dirty Sounding: When I returned from Christmas, I had three packages piled on my dining room table. They were VERY GREAT.

Package One: The ARCs (advanced reader copies) for BETWEEN, GEORGIA. It is SO freakin' sexy to hold and sniff the ARCs of a book I wrote that there should be a filthy sounding word for it.

Package two: MY SECRET FRIEND EXISTS. I got an email from her and also GODIVA DARK CHOCOLATE COCOA and SANTA while I was gone! But she has remained determinedly secret, and yet Christmas is OVER... Perhaps because I was such a pony hole this year and revealed too early, MY SF has decided to remain unrevealed.

Package Three: Lip gloss and a shirt and necklace from my best friend. HUZZAH!

Clearly Santa exists. And even more clearly, I was a VERY good girl, right up until the point that I posted this not-actually-filthy blog entry. BUT IT IS SIMPLY TOO LATE. I have my loots already, and I don't have to worry about being good enough to garner loots in 2006 until January.

Let the naughtiness commence!

And to begind it I present unto you, a Bonus Transcript of a Filthy Conversation With Mir

Mir: Monkey has a thing on his thumb, and I thought it was a wart but he says it hurts.
Me: Warts can't hurt?
Mir: So that makes it... what? A boil? The plague?
Me: Um some sort of wartlike hurty thing? That is my diagnosis speaking as a doctor.
Mir: I have some of those wart-away strips, but I don't want to use one if it's a booboo.
Me: Maybe it was a wart and he scraped it and hurt it and that is why it hurts?
Mir: But he has no recollection of having hurt his thumb.
Me: Well, that means nothing -- my child will come home spurting arterial blood with no leg and not know how he got hurt.
Mir: Haha true --- how do I determine if it's a wart?
Me: If in 2 days the soreness has abated and it looks like a wart, then it is a wart. If in 2 days the soreness has not abated, then it is NOT a wart, and he must go to the vet and be treated for plague
Mir: You so smart.

*pause*

Mir: GAH I went looking for pictures of warts and clicked on a link and it was GENITAL WARTS
Mir: MY EYES!!!!

Posted by joshilyn at 1:48 PM | Comments (14)

December 27, 2005

Southern Voices

Oh Best Beloveds, I have returned from VACATION, sleepier and fatter and loaded with fine, fine baggages that are brimful of Christmas loots. Tomorrow, I return to WORK. I had a huge epiphany about my Novel-In-Progress while I was stuffing myself sick with ham, and now must rewrite the first five chapters, but I am beginning to get this growing, inescapable feeling that I am "experiencing growth as a novelist." I try NOT to experience growth of ANY KIND as a matter of course, but I am not sure I can help it with this book. This book is turning into a leap, faithwise, and I feel challenged and fairly buzzing with hope and light. Perhaps it is just post-Christmas afterglow, but I don't think so. I think this book....Ah well, I do not want to jinx it. I only hope I can carry it off as well as it deserves.

I am having a discussion on a list serve of mine about WHAT makes a novel Southern Lit, and since I am deeply engaged with WRITING SOME, I wanted to bring the discussion here...

I say: Southern Lit springs from Voice and a SERIOUS sense of place. Just ask Faulkner.
Period doesn't matter. Thematically, it's hard to get clean through SL without at least tapping Jesus or race or both as you go by.
Haven Kimmel, by the way, says she writes it. I accept that. Digression the first: I am having a t-shirt made for myself to work in that says "WHAT WOULD HAVEN KIMMEL DO." If you have read Kimmel's second novel, SOMETHING RISING (LIGHT AND SWIFT) it's an even better shirt.

There seem to be two kinds of Southern Writers; those who can't live here but cannot stop writing about it, and those who cannot live anywhere else and can't stop writing about it.
It has to do with Anger. Almost all Southern writers, are, I think, both angry with the South and in love with it. The ratio of Anger to Love determines which of the two kinds of Southern writer you will be. As I squat here in the Georgia cotton, picking my teeth with a weed, I think it is obvious that I am in camp B. I love it more than I am angry with it, but Lordy, if you think I am NOT mad, then you are buying my veneer. And who could blame you?

I am a southern woman. And NO ONE, not even those flat-faced corpse-eyed guys on WORLD POKER CHAMPIONS, can Veneer like a Southern woman. The problem is, you won't know if we are masking weakness or enough strength to remove you from the earth, yea, verily, you and all your get, down unto the seventh generation, until you get past that veneer. We tend to hide our strengths as if they WERE weaknesses, because to be strong is not... ladylike. It's one of the reasons I love the South, and ALSO one of the reasons I am SO dern mad at it.

And the other reason I am so mad at it is, of course, the racism. One bit of crit I got about gods was that the kind of racism I was dealing with was DEAD in the New South. I heard this from a couple of book clubs of URBAN Southern ladies with 125 dollar haircuts (not counting the highlights, just the CU|T, mind you), and I had to politely cover my mouth with a napkin to keep a loud BRAY of shock inside. They do not live in the same South I live in. (AND YES gods was set in the 80's and 90's and yes that makes a dif)

BUT! Just the other day, at an (educated) friend's (well paying, middle class) place of work, one of her co workers (who looked completely homogenized and American in her ubiquitous Gap sweater and khakis) said, of her engagement, "The only thing that worries us is that by the time we have babies, there won't be any PURE babies left for them to marry when they grow up." Allow me to say, YIKES. And this place of employment is SPITTING DISTANCE from Atlanta. But we are NOT Atlanta, or even a suburb (yet.) We are a small town, and it's like Palmolive, the racism is, Madge. We are soaking in it.

It is a weird and specific thing, Southern racism --- every place has racists, but ONLY in the south is it SUCH a black/white issue. The racists I met in Chicago freakin' loathed EVERYONE who wasn't their personal favorite race. Southern racists are for the most part either whites who hate blacks or vice versa, and then they have this ODD, slightly patronizing but accepting neutrality toward everything else. You almost don't count as a separate race if you aren't black or white, which is ALSO racism I suppose, but not the kind that will cost you a job or a house in the neighborhood or anything TANGIBLE. I'm not even sure it is RACE based -- you would get the same attitude from these people for being a lily-white Yankee as you would for being Japanese.

Digression the Second: We tend to call all Continental U.S. Dwellers who are not Southern, "Yankees." My friend Karen is from PHILLY and insists that means she is not a Yankee, but Oh Honey, oh CHILE, in Georgia she SHORE is. If you aren't SOUTHERN, and you aren't from from California, you are a Yankee. If you ARE from California, I believe the Southern Term for you is "Pot smoking Communist Nutbag."

Judaism is seen more as a religious ussue than a racial one to the Southern racist. The Jewish faith is mostly seen by Southern racists as a little STRANGE but certainly not OFFENSIVE --- kind of a PATRONIZING feel to it, as if to say, "Many nice folks are Jewish -- too bad they are so obviously hellbound. Like, say, the Catholics." But, you know, quite a few Church of Christ folks think the BAPTISTS are obviously Hellbound for believing ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED, so it is not RELIGIOUS PREJUDICE exactly. It's more like religious prejudice's second cousin: You can be obviously hellbound and still be considered a good neighbor.

Here in my small town, we have a Methodist church, a Church of Christ, a Jehovah's Witness Temple, and about Nine Baptist churches. Almost EVERY church is all black or all white, or CLOSE to all back/ all white.The closest Episcopal church is 40 minutes away with no traffic. There is NO Catholic church or Temple within a half hour's drive.

There are also BLOOD racists in the south, creatures I have NEVER seen elsewhere, although they may exist somewhere. EXAMPLE: I have a cousin who adopted a mixed race child, and everyone ADORES that cousin and that child---that child is simply family. NO hint of racism in their love for and treatment of that child. I have another cousin who gave BIRTH to a mixed race child, and several of my relations (ones who LOVE the adopted child) will no longer speak to her and treat her baby like a disgusting, leprous worm. The rationale: The BIRTHING cousin has MIXED their personal blood with the blood of another race, and can't be forgiven.

Given all this, how can I NOT be angry? At the same time...how can I not love it? You have to love it, for the way we treat our lunatics, if for no other reason. If you don't know what I mean, read THE PRINCE OF TIDES. There's a chapter in there that sums up the best of us in a nutshell, and HOLY GOD but Pat Conroy understands the love/hate relationship Southern writers have for this chunk of land -- understands it better than most writers breathing.

Ah well, I have spent a lot of time on the worst of us here, but can't give equal time to the parts I love--I am out of time today... I do not read Southern Lit when drafting as it screws with MY voice, but I quit work for Christmas and so finally got to sit down with Paula Wall's THE ROCK ORCHARD. Go read WALL---She understands what is best about us, way down deep in her BONES she understands. I am her new big fan.

Posted by joshilyn at 10:16 AM | Comments (17)

December 23, 2005

B4B Winners and Holiday Hijinks Etc.

OH FRABJOUS DAY! We have heard back from Lara Zeises, and we have B4B winners:

"1st. place - Travels in Booland (and not just because someone named Skaterboy figures prominently in the story). I like the writing style - very Francesca Lia Block/Rachel Cohn - but also love the selflessness Skaterboy has shown this couple.

2nd place - Perfection on a Curve - everyone needs at least one girlfriend like that.

3rd place - You're My Favorite - because I'm a "big sister" to my parents' two fur children and I just became the mama of a fur child of my own."

CONGRATS winners -- as always, I thought it would be hard to pick from the seven finalists, we have some DERN FINE writers regging it up here -- but I admit, this time I did think Booland was the horse to beat. Awesome entry, above and beyond the call of duty and all that.

The winner shall receive a signed first edition of Lara's new YA novel, Anyone But You which was a Teen People Top Ten Pick.

As for me, I am AFK -- blogging live to you from my fathers house and completely unable to answer any email til after Christmas. SO.
Ahhhhhhhhhh Christmas at the Jackson homestead, which of course, as always, includes a poitive SLEW of rousing Holiday Wimbletonian AIM BALL tourney madness.

If you do not remember AIM BALL it is the version of Tennis that Scott and I play because while I LIKE tennis, I lack some of the things Scott has, like hand eye co-ordination and athletic ability, so that if we play by the standard rules, it is a simply a slaughter. We play AIM BALL instead. We trotted a half mail down the road to the tennis courts to warm up, and I mean that literally. It's like 30 degrees out there. When we got to the courts, we refreshed our memories about AIM BALL, and I shall now refresh yours...

Me: THE FIRST RULE OF AIM BALL IS...
Him: YOU DON'T TALK ABOUT AIM BALL.
Me: The second rule of aim ball is...
Him: I must hit the ball directly to you.
Me The third rule of aim ball is...
Him: You do not have to hit the ball directly to me, in bounds is nice, but I must return it if I can even if it will be out.
Me: The fifth rule of Aim Ball is...
Him: THERE IS NO FIFTH RULE OF AIM BALL
Me; Yes, there is. And it is this. *adopts a hideously sugar syrup squishy sweet voice* No matter what the FINAL SCORE is, with us, it always LOVE! LOVE!
Him: *puking noises* The sixth rule of Aim Ball is SHUT. UP.
Me: CORRECT! And we are ready to play!

Svetlinka Muppineska (that would be my Aim Ball name, by the way) won the first Set handily, 4 - 3. At one point, during the HOTLY CONTESTED last game of that set, The score was 30 / 15 (advantage ME), and then I scored again but I objected to 45. I realized Ididn't want to be 45 -- in fact I am not even ready to be 40. I felt like a better score would be 15 / 35, but then he said that 35 / 15 would still lead to jail time in most states, and I should just suck it up and be 45. So I was getting crabby about then and KICKED HIS BUTTOCKS. BUT! I the second match, I ran into some trouble with the YETI factor.

THE YETI FACTOR is very hard to explain, but I am going to TRY. See, I recently noticed that there are these cars that have REALLY stupid names. They are named after LANDSCAPE, of all things, and And here I point you to the GMC YUKON or, worse, the Toyota TUNDRA which is named after a frozen wasteland. The only name ever stupider the TUNDRA for a car is the NOVA, which was released in Mexico under that name, and which in Spanish literally translates to "Will not go." In the same way, A TUNDRA is an icy, inhospitable wasteland, and the frozen Tundras are practically FAMOUS for not going anywhere at all. Ever. If you LEAVE the frozen tundra, when you come back, it is very likely to be right in the same place, unless you want to count continental drift. I do not know about you, but I do not want to drive to Kroger at the "speed of continental drift."

SO this has been really bugging me. I have decided that Toyota should change the name of their great big truck to "THE TOYATO YETI" which still implies huge size AND ruggedness, but also, you know, MOVES. Moves SO quickly, in fact, that you only ever see very blurry photos of them. Scott, however, contends that this would lead inevitably to slogans like "THE TOYOTA YETI... Just LIKE a Yeti, except it won't eat your head!" He felt this was poor marketing. I responded that Yeti have never been actually PROVEN to eat people, and are probably actually vegetarians. SO then he got affronted and said, NO REAL MAN WANTS A VEGETARIAN TRUCK, and he was very unreasonable about the whole thing, I feel.

SO anyway, we are playing AIM BALL, and I keep doing my YETI STANCE as a psychological intimidation effect. If you and I were playing, you would be SO intimidated you would probably just put down your racket and concede and maybe even cry, it's THAT spooky, but Scott is of hearty peasant stock and somehow managed to withstand it. Although no description can do the fearsomeness of YETI STANCE justice, it's a little like this: I stand feet apart, racket cocked and loaded, and bounce back from one foot to the other very fast and say, "YOU ARE DOOMED! I AM QUICK, LIKE A YETI!" He says it IS disconcerting, and I admit it gives me a certain psychological advantage.

So anyway, after I handed him his BUTT for the first set, and I was COMPLETELY already winning the first game of the NEXT set, (The score, was, I believe, 15/30 again) and I felt kinda bad for him, so right before he served, I said, "Go like a yeti," meaning, he could do the STANCE if he wanted to. But instead of doing the Yeti Stance he tipped his HEAD back and kind of...ululated. It was this huge bellowing, haunting cry that was VERY high pitched and shrieky and sounded a little like YIKI YIKI YIKI YIKI but also very GARGLE-Y sounding and way down deep in the throat, and RIGHT AFTER he....ululated, he SERVED, like, in the next instant. And of course I failed to return because I was laughing so hard I had LITERALLY fallen to the ground and was trying desperately not to wet myself.

The ball sailed away over me and Scott bellowed, "ADVANTAGE! A YETI!" And I just lost it. It took me like three minutes before I could stand up and not pee, and then I had to hobble quick to the clubhouse and avail myself of the ladies room. It broke my concentration and he won the next set 4 - 0. Pathetic. I should have invoked the sixth rule of aim ball. Sigh.

AH WELL, We will play the Match Set tomorrow. Because Christmas without the Aim Ball tourney isn't Christmas at all.
And this, my best beloveds, will be my last post until after the holiday. May you have a lovely Christmas, if that's what you celebrate, and if you are celebrating Chanukah or Kwanzaa or some other celebratory something I do not know the name of, may you have a pitch perfect and delightful that, and if you are NOT celebrating, then have yourself a gosh-dern NICE DAY.

Posted by joshilyn at 1:22 PM | Comments (14)

December 22, 2005

3 Things I Want to Tell You (unrelated)

1.) There's a very interesting (and funny and well written) take on the new Pride and Prejudice movie on .Salon.com You should go give it a read. The reviewer is peeved that Jane's been made so sentimental, so gooey, so lovestruck and double plus romantical. Jane was a pragmatist, and she had a biting black wit that the movie loses almost utterly in favor in rain swept moors and snogging. The reviewer's points are well taken, however... I just loved that movie. Shamelessly.

I started reading Jane Austen when I was twelve. I still read her, and get through every one of her books about once every two years, I would say. I even read Lady Susan and the fragments.

And this movie...it was the movie of the book I read when I was twelve years old, NOT the movie of the book I read NOW. At twelve, her books were love stories to me, pure and simple. I adored them. At some point in high school, I realized the books were FUNNY. I was in college by the time I realized how keen-eyed and insightful she was. I have loved these books at every age and every stage, and think all my points of view on them as I grew up were true and valid, even if not EQUALLY true and valid. YES, Jane's pragmatic, but she believes in marrying for love. She believes in warmth and the beauty of human attachment---and that was ALL I saw her in books as a pratling.This is the movie of THAT book, the book of my pale pink pubescent heart, and accepting it as such, I quite enjoyed it.

Knightly was a lively and delightful Elizabeth and for some reason made me think of the nickname that Garp gives the babysitter in my third favorite John Irving novel: Little Squab Bones. Also, I LOVED Sutherland's mumbling, wry, understated take on Mr. B. I say, oh heck, give it a tumble.

By the way, just so you know I am enough of a lunatic fringe Jane-lover to have an opinion, allow me to insert that I will never forgive Patricia Rozema for the abasement of MANSFIELD PARK.

2) Yesterday I was talking with a friend about geography, and I realized once again how much my memory is tied to SMELLS. I can't remember places very well, or things I see, but I remember smells perfectly, and smells bring back memories for me more than any other sense. Every year, when it gets cold and the air gets that sharp, winter smell, I inexplicably become happy. Except not really inexplicably. In fact, I can explit it: The air smelled like this the first time Scott kissed me, and we agreed to probably get married and have a bunch of babies that same night.

Of course, there are bad parts to smell being such a gateway to memory for me... San Francisco, a gorgeous city I adore, is for me forever tied to the stench of those sea lions. Cute, but LORDY, they smell like the sulpherous farts of the damned in hell.

3) Yesterday my mother called me and said, "Can you run to Target and see if they have the KEEPSAKE TINS of YU-GI-OH cards? We are sold out here and if I have to go to one more store looking for them, I am going to end up strangling a clerk. That will NOT be Christmassy."

Reader, I WENT. I went to TARGET on the Wedneday before Christmas. Let me say, I called my mother after and told her we were even. No more hanging that "I carried you in my body for ten months because you were late and then suffered 30 hours of hard labor because this was before they invented the really GOOD drugs" over my head. I am PAID UP.

It turned out to be good for me, as well, because I realized that, while I had done all my TRUE Christmas Shopping in October and November, I had waited to buy stocking stuffers out of a misguided feeling that the candy might go STALE or something. I forgot that this is America, and candy here is actually 5% candy and 95% a mix of preservative chemicals, hormones, SOMA, and mind control fluid the government puts in to make us ALL think we have "RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME" so that big pharmeceutical companies can sucker us into trying to cure it by gobbling up great fistfuls of their RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME STOPPING PILLS, and thereby fund the mass emailings of SPAM advising my penis-less self to hoover up delicious Cialis SOFT TABS as if no one is going to think, "Do I really want to take something called a SOFT TAB for Erectile Dysfunction???" BUT. I. DIGRESS.

The point is, I had Maisy with me, so I thought I would not get to BUY my stuffers....but she fell asleep in the car. I slung her up in one arm, pushed a cart with the other, and marched all over Target for 30 minutes through the congested, teeming aisles. I was like a Salmon swimming upstream, if Salmons had to tote 30 pounds worth of sleeping pre-schooler. AND I GOT ONE OF THE LAST THREE YU-GI-OH TINS TO BOOT. I TOTALLY won shopping.

Bonus thing: Mir decided to be my UNsecret friend (because my secret friend had some sort of internet problem and I never heard from her again after that first time). Mir sent me a CHARMING book and a pair of teeny handcuffs with one side labelled YOU and one side labelled YOUR KEYS. Very, very needed. I am pleased to have an UNsecret friend, since I did such a BANG UP job this year of being unsecret myself, as you may recall. I sent MY secret friend a letter that went something like this: "HI IT IS ME YOUR SECRET FRIEND! Love, Joshilyn." That was...slightly less secret than I wanted to be. Signing your NAME is not like a CLUE so much as it is like THE ANSWER. Next year I will be all CLEVER and sign off with a RIDDLE instead of my name. Something like, "Love, SECRET FRIEND whose name rhymes with SHMOSHILYN except with a J in front and the H si silent!"

Yeah. That ought to do it.

Posted by joshilyn at 8:55 AM | Comments (18)

December 20, 2005

3 Questions: Tamara Siler Jones

Tamara Siler Jones knows how hard it is to break into traditional publishing probably better than anyone---heck, she created her own genre. Hey, it's harder and harder to get a debut novel picked up by a publisher, so sometimes a girl has got to do what a girl has got to do. Threads of Malice, the second in her series of "Forensic Fantasy" novels featuring Dubric Byerly, is still warm from the presses, and Jones, who won the Compton Crook Award for the first book in the series has a growing fan base as more and more folks decide to give her "forensic fantasies" a try. I sat virtually down with Tamara and asked the obvious question, and then I asked two more.

JJ: What on earth is a forensic fantasy?

TSJ: It’s a forensic murder mystery that just happens to be in a fantasy setting. Unlike most traditional fantasy novels, the mystery’s the main focus, not the fantastical elements. There is some magic, but it’s essentially illegal and not very common. There are no dragons or elves or great epic battles, just a rather gruesome murder mystery with a paranormal bent – the main sleuth, Dubric Byerly sees ghosts – in a pre industrialized world.

threadscoverMED.gif

JJ: What authors (forensic or fantastical or both or blended) influenced you to head off into this rather uncharted direction?

TSJ: With my first novel, Ghosts in the Snow, I just wrote the story I wanted to tell and let it find its own home. There really weren’t any influences in either arena, let alone a combination. Many people, including established writers, told me that to set out to sell a fantasy-murder mystery-thriller was impossible. There’s a lot of established history that the way to go is with a single-genre base. I find that too restrictive, and breaking my own path seems to work for me. In Threads of Malice the same group of investigators return to solve a new-and-separate crime and that, too, is evidently unique under the fantasy umbrella. Many fantasy series follow one right after the other to tell a single tale (like Lord of the Rings, for example). There are some story threads that continue through my books, but each mystery and the story around it stand alone so you can read them in any order. Sort of like an Agatha Christie mystery, only Miss Marple changes a bit each time someone dies. And they’re a lot gorier. And scarier. Off the top of my head, I don’t know of any other speculative fiction writers who are doing stand alone serial fiction like that. Lots of mystery and thriller writers do, though, so I have the best of both worlds.

JJ: A lot of writers read this blog, for them, can you explain how having a sort of HYBRID of genres helped or hurt you as you tried to market your book.

TSJ: Starting out, I think it hurt. I mentioned the cross-genre nature of the book in my agent queries and, with the established niche-marketing premise firmly in place, I believe that made it a tougher sell, made it more difficult to be taken seriously because everybody knows you’re supposed to pick a niche and write to fit it. One agent asked for a peek, and he signed me less than a week later. He only approached top-tier publishers and some of them, too, expressed concern about the hybrid nature of the story, but we soon found a very happy home at Bantam.

Bantam has been behind the books 110%. From the very beginning they’ve touted it as something new, a blend of mystery, fantasy and horror with a splash of romance, and I’ve had an amazing amount of advertising and marketing push for a brand new author. I’ve also had pretty decent sales and a rapidly growing fan base. So, now that the books are out, I think that the hybrid genre concept is a plus. It’s unique, and can appeal to a lot of different readers. Regular mystery readers (who wouldn’t touch fantasy with a 10-foot cattle prod) enjoy them, traditional fantasy readers enjoy them, paranormal readers, even some folks who prefer literary. They’re good stories with heart and depth and they’re accessible to anyone.

Posted by joshilyn at 7:15 AM | Comments (4)

December 19, 2005

7x7

I have been MEMED again. I got MEMED last week but was unable to MEMify because I had to paint my HUGE basement red. And really, I ask you, WHY? Why red? Three coats later, we are getting close to a redlikeness. Maybe ONE more coat. And of course by now I have forgotten who tagged me and have lost the e-mail where I was told I was tagged, and I did a search of the meme's key phrases and my name trying to find the LINK from her blog to mine where she tagged me and google tells me NOTHING. Therefore I cannot link back to hers. Therefore I am a bad person. And so is Google. Please put the link in the comments? Or email it to me and I will insert here: FUTURE POSSIBLE LINK

I found doing this that I don't really have the attention span for seven things. You may have met a man with seven wives when YOU went to St. Ives. But me? At about wife four I saw someting shiny and wandered off. Hey, I did my best.

Seven things to do before I die:

1. Become a better person. I know I say I am going to become a better person every dern day, and then I relentlessly DO NOT, opting to instead stay the same old half-assed NON-better person, but I think it's important to make the vow, you know? I am going to keep it at the top of my goal list in the hopes that for a golden moment or two before I die, I will bloom into a kinder, gentler version of me. Joss Mach 2.
2. Lose five or maybe seven pounds. As a life goal, as a thing to do BEFORE DEATH, I realize this is pathetic and shallow. And yet, I had a hard time not making it number one, which shows you how TRULY far I have to go before I can put a check mark by "become a better person."
3. Actually follow through on my near constant vows to quit writing and become a rock legend.

No, that's a lie. Actually, I want to quit vowing to quit writing and go do somethign improbable, and admit and accept how much I freakin' love being a novelist. It's hard to NOT create drama---and one can never discount the SOMETHING SHINY factor. Yesterday, Karen showed me these Mod Poddy Rertro WALL ART THINGS you can MAKE YOURSELF, and my immediate response was to say, "I think we should quit writing, and possibly also quit bathing, and become art deco fabric wall art makers. Count me in. I am sure we will get a gallery show and be nicknamed THE SMELLY BUT AMAZING WARHOL TWINS for our true artistic greatness." I fuel a constant stream of hypothetical BAD career moves, and I need to SHUT UP. So really #3 should read "STOP CREATING DRAMA before I die," which if you think about hard, actually translates as "Be happy with who and what I am."

For things that are the diametrical opposites of "Be happy with who and what I am," I refer you to 1 and 2, above, and would like to point out that being happy with who and what I am might NEGATE 1 and make 2 obsolete, and I would never have to actually become a better person or diet AT ALL! Tempting! I accept. The ONLY thing I TRULY want to do before I die is learn to be happy with who and what I am. Wow. Who knew. I hereby declare "be happy with self" to be all seven of the things I should do before I die.

Or, no, let's make that 1 - 6, and for 7, I want to learn the tango. It would help if I could lose five pounds so i could look smashing in the tango dress FIRST, and also I should become a better person really quick BEFORE I became happy with myself and attempt the tango, because I feel a better person (if I became one) might have a modicum of grace (which I do not.) In fact, on Saturday night I got out of my seat at the Mexican Cantina which, BY THE WAY, had no dance floor and, more importantly, NO MUSIC PLAYING, and I attempted to do THE RUNNING MAN dance move from the 80's (HAMMER TIME!) and my friend Karen laughed until she was practically crying and said, "I'm not saying it was BAD, even though it was pretty bad. I am only saying it looked more like a Can Can.." And then when I looked crestfallen she added, kindly, "BUT IT WAS A GOOD CANCAN! And only the people on this side of the restaurant actually saw your underpants. So THAT's good, too."

By the way, the fact that I so immediately digressed from the whole MAYBE I SHOULD LEARN TO LOVE MYSELF WHICH IS THE GREATEST LOVE OF ALL, THANK YOU YOU WHITNEY, only shows you how deeply unlikely it is that I will manage to actually DO IT before I die when you take into account the human life span AND my attention span, and so therefore I want to change my DO BEFORE I DIE list again to read, "I want to go to Thailand and Australia and Japan and Alaska and Hawaii and the Galapogos Islands and learn to tango." There. That's seven.


Seven things I cannot do:

1. The Running Man Dance Move from the 80's
2. Sing
3. Become a better person, apparently.
4. Make a roux.
5. Lose gracefully.

Seven things that attract me to my husband:
(to the literal-minded of those tagged by this: substitute your own spouse or a significant other if you have one or a best friend if not)

1. The big tall tallness of him. I like a man that seems like he could pick you up and hurl you out of a burning barn, and then go back and do the same for your horse.
2. The big smart smartipantsness of him. Chuck just said, of Scott, "He seems like the kind of guy who is so freakishly smart he has to kind of DIAL IT DOWN in order to go into the public." That's...pretty accurate.
3. THE BEARD. I MOCKED him when he started growing it, said, "I HATE beards, yick, I hope you don't think I am going to run around KISSING YOU with that FURRY THING on your HEAD!" And then once it came in I was all, like, "WELL HELLO THERE, MISTER BEARDED MAN! LET'S MAKE OUT!"
4. The sci-fi geek factor.
5. The fact that he is so so so so so nice to me, even when I am saying 1 - 4 of the things I say most often. (see below).

Seven things I say most often:

1. Do these pants make my butt look big?
2. LET'S HAVE A PEACE RIDE! (a peace ride is where children are not allowed to talk in the car, and we all listen to music or bang our heads against the windshield, whatever, as long as we do it silently.)
3. I am never going to get this book done, and even if I somehow do, it will be terrible because I am terrible. I hate myself and my book and oxygen and I wish you would hit my head with a rock til I stop thinking. Thanks.
4. I am a complete genius. This is the best thing I have ever written. Seriously. The best. I think you should rip that bannister off the wall and whittle it into some sort of memorial STATUE of me. Thanks.

Note: Some days, I say both three and four ALTERNATELY every hour or so, with absolute sincerity. AND HE IS STILL NICE |TO ME. I would have drowned me like too many kittens YEARS ago.

5. Where is/are my keys/purse/children/coat/head

Seven books I love: (and here I limit myself to books I read this year, in the order that they occur to me, and also I limit myself to books avaiable NOW, because I read a lot of ARCs this year):

1. Something Rising (Light and Swift) - Haven Kimmel
2. The Garden Angel - Mindy Friddle
3. Diana Lively is Falling Down - Sheila Curran
4. Truth and Beauty - Ann Patchett
5. Love Walked In -- Marisa de los Santos
6. The Final Solution -- Michael Chabon
7. Case Histories -- Kate Atkinson

It's hard to stop at 7---also I really liked The Bitch Posse, Cast of Shadows, Same Sweet Girls, Cinnamon Kiss, Broken for You, and that's just this year. I read too freakin' much.

Seven movies I would watch over and over again:

1. Grosse Pointe Blank
2. True Romance

That's about it. I can't think of another movie I am always happy to sit and watch. Although I DID love Garden State and Serenity and both those may end up being infinitely re-watchable.

Seven people I want to join in, too:

1.) You. And shoot me an url. I hope you get to all 7.

Posted by joshilyn at 9:35 AM | Comments (8)

December 17, 2005

B4B Finalists

Scott and I are painting the basement RED this weekend, so my hands look coated in GORE as I type this. I interupt my paintly exertions to bring the following message re: finalists from Anne Fitten...

"Thank you all for your entries to December’s Blogging 4 Books. As usual, all entries were engaging, unusual, moving. Thanks for sharing and for putting yourselves and your work out there.

And this is a contest, so, without further ado or explanation, and in no particular order, the seven finalists are:

Jen Duffy

You're My Favorite

Citywords

Travels in Booland

Perfection on a Curve

Running Rio

The Age of Aquarius

Happy holidays to all. Anne Fitten (aka Edgy Mama)"

HUZZAH! Remember, all seven of these entries will be read by author Lara M. Zeises. She will pick first, second and third place. First place gets a signed first edition of her new YA novel, Anyone But You which was a Teen People Top Ten Pick.

anyone_but_you.jpg

Congrats, finalists!

Posted by joshilyn at 3:39 PM | Comments (6)

December 15, 2005

TSTL

TOO STUPID TO LIVE: A common complaint about poorly written romance novels in which the heroine cannot seem to brush her teeth without beginning to choke to death on a crystallized lump of old Crest which air-hardened into a threat because she did not screw the cap properly, even though in the last chapter the hero TOLD her this could happen, and she, in a misguided attempt at feistiness, rebelliously decided to NOT screw the cap and therefore he has to rush in and administer the Heimlich maneuver at which point she is saved and decides she will, in the next chapter, screw, if not the cap, at least maybe the hero. These are the heroines who are biologically incapable of LOOKING before they cross a street, so that they are constantly imperiled by trucks. They can't go on a nature walk without choosing the path with the signs that say WARNING: DEADLY PUMA, and if they can douse themselves a spray bottle full of gravid puma urine that they have mistaken for a perfume atomizer before they go, so much the better. They blunder off cliffs, fall off ships, willfully shriek 'til the avalanche starts, hurl themselves in front of bullets and arrows and stampedes, are equal parts beautiful and flammable, and if you say to one of them, "Just don't touch that big red knob, see it? The one with the sign on it that says NO NO! DO NOT TOUCH! ENDS ALL LIFE AS WE KNOW IT. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, ANY KNOB BUT THIS!" , their immediate and response is to say, "What, this knob here?" while reaching out to give it a good, experimental yoinking. And I, ladies and gentlemen? I am horrified to report that I am one of 'em. Too. Stupid. To. Live.

Every year, one of the things that makes Christmas feel like Christmas to me is being involved in a Secret Friend program. Yes. I know. It's dorky. But when I have claimed to be an Undork? Hint: Never. So.
And it makes me happy, which means, Sheryl Crow assures me, that it can't be that bad. And I am Too Stupid Too Live, so I think I get to take that literally.

So I signed up again this year and was having a high old time, signing my letters to her Sherlock and sending her Snow Globe kits and scented soaps and whatnot, it's all good fun 'til someone loses an eye, right? Anyway. I wrote her this very long letter about children's books, and in the middle of writing it, apparently something SHINY ran by and I forgot who I was writing to or what the purpose of the whole thing was or just suffered a random brain fart... no clue.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I SIGNED it. I SIGNED the letter. With my STUPID NAME.

I feel all let down and sad. Blew it. No one to blame but myself. And YES OKAY I KNOW, it's a stupid thing to be unhappy over, but it was important to me. I'm all weepish and ruint over it. Like I've grinched myself. I can't even WRITE to her now, I am SO embarrassed. I think instead I'll go run with this stick in my mouth. Because, really, what's the worst thing that could happen?

Posted by joshilyn at 8:07 AM | Comments (12)

December 14, 2005

B4B

Tis the last day to enter B4B. You must get 'er done by Midnight your time tonight. I will have to hand approve the comments, so if your entry does not show up right away, relax. I am sure it is there. You enter by leaving the url in the comments of THIS ENTRY...

FTK friend and beloved fellow bloggette Ann Fitten (the Bloggess behind aka Edgy Mama) is our SPECIAL! GUEST! BLOGGER! She will narrow the entries down to seven.

If you are one of the seven finalists, your entry will be read by author Lara M. Zeises. She will pick first, second and third place. First place gets a signed first edition of her new YA novel, Anyone But You which was a Teen People Top Ten Pick.

I have not blogged today because I realized I am too stupid to live; my brain is SO faulty, I cannot trust my autonomic functions to it. I am having to concentrate VERY hard on turning oxygen into carbon dioxide right now. I will tell you HOW I came to discover I am too stupid to live tomorrow. For now, I have to keep manually pumping my heart since my brain cannopt be trusted to reliably do such chores.

Posted by joshilyn at 3:39 PM | Comments (3)

December 13, 2005

INTERNATIONAL PAJAMA DAY!

I hereby declare today to be INTERNATIONAL PAJAMA DAY. Today I shall clean up a little, make some phonecalls, do a little revising, finish at least one of the three books I am in the middle of reading, play with Maisy, dabble in Warcraft, talk on the phone, and lavish affection upon the hapless cat. In other words, nothing that requires me to get out of these pajamas. The pajama bottoms are pink with HUGE obnoxious grandma' s couch style cabbage roses all over, and I am wearing them with an old pink maternity T shirt circa 1997, and Sam was a BIG baby. He weighed in at almost 12 pounds. SO, this shirt is so floppy that I could fit the cat in here with me and probably a Llama and a small herd of those miniatuer antelope. I am not going to brush my hair, even. You can't make me.

BY THE WAY, I just learned from a woman who writes horror fiction that those BRATZ dolls (which already creep me out) have CHANGEABLE FEET. Yikes. You can yoink their feet right off and stick on entirely NEW feet. It is because they have such complicated, hookery shoes, so you can't actually CHANGE the shoes themselves. I won't have those things in my house. They are so NOSELESS and HORRIFYING. I think they have no noses because they did not get their syphilis treated, and the dern things rotted right off. Now they have brain lesions and dementia, and THAT explains the hacking off their own feet any time they want to change shoes.

My new policy is to only buy toys that do not exhibit the symptoms of untreated venereal diseases. I am all about Polly Pocket and My Little Pony.

Yesterday I went Christmas shopping ALL DAY with my friend Karen. HIGHLIGHTS:

1) At Macy's, there is a PIG. It is either A) a live pig, or B) a ride, or C) a ride with a live pig on it. It cost three dollars to see for sure. I felt it was only worth the three dollars if it was C) a ride WITH a live pig on it, so we did not go.

2) At the big mall in Atlanta, they have a real beard Santa with LONG blow dried feathery white hair. He looks very cheerful and ... coifed. He is clearly a rich people's Santa who has been to Vidal Sassoon.

3) They had some sort of advertisement thing on the floor. I wish I could explain this. It was like a big FLAT SCREEN, maybe 8 feet by 5 feet? And the screen would have images or ads on it, and you could move things with your feet by walking or dancing on the screen. It was SO ODD. Like, there was a BANK AD. The bank's logo was submerged in a fish pond full of goldfish. And as we STAMPED on the goldfish, they would RUUUUUN, and the surface would ripple as if we had kicked the top of a real fishpond. Each ad would stay on for maybe a minute, and about every third add, a GAME would come up, like a soccer field, or an air hockey table, with a ball you could move by stamping and kicking at it. We set down all our packages and and stamped all over that thing for at least ten minutes, completely oblivious to the fact that from any more than 3 feet away, where a person could not see the screen in the floor, we must have looked like complete LOONS who had shed several hundred dollars worth of merchandise and thrown theuir coats on the floor to giggle and shriek and dance around with no music and NO VISIBLE CAUSE.

4) At the French Soap Store --- and here let me pause and say, Yes, Virginia, there really is a French Soap Store. An ENTIRE huge store devoted to NOTHING but French soap. Quite shocking to a rube like me. Why, I had to burp in surprise and scratch myself! Okay, that is not true. But I SAY IT because French Soapstress came over to tell us about the wonders of French Soap, and after a few minutes of her burbling Joie de Vivre-ally about "The Lanolin covered fields of Sheepful Provence" and me boggling at the 65 dollar pricetag on a teeny box of French Soap shaped like a bee, the Soaptress asked if we lived in town or were visiting. I said I was in town visiting Karen, and Karen said, "Yeah she lives way out in South Cobb County." And the Soapstress LEAPT BACK in horror, as if Karen had held me up with tweezers and said "LOOK! I BROUGHT YOU SOME POO!"

I was clearly not qualified to buy French Soap, so we went next door to Ann Taylor where I forgot I was Christmas Shopping and accidentally spent 97 dollars on a cashmere sweater. <---not true, Scott, if you are reading this. And pay no attention ot the Ann Taylor bill when it comes later this month. They were smoking a BIG HOOKAH full of opium when we were in there, and they may have accidentally charged me for a cashmere sweater I would not ever buy myself right at Christmas. Drug addicts, every one of 'em. AND ANYWAY I did not buy the 6 month old African Gray Parrot we saw at PetSmart, who was 1300 dollars and who CLEARLY LOVED ME and WANTED me to buy both him and about 700 dollars of Parrot-Keeping equipment and toys and feed and perches. So. We didn't lose 100 dollars, we gained 2,000 and a REALLY nice sweater. And maybe a camisole.

Posted by joshilyn at 9:11 AM | Comments (16)

December 12, 2005

Baby Games

The number is down. I wrote the unrelated chunky hunks of the disembodied scramble formerly known as "Chapter Four" into an ACTUAL Chapter Four. It even has plot points! And segues! And a circulatory system! AND A BEAK! This is the part I LIKE, taking some half formed mucalage and turning it into WRITING. I was very pleased with myself all weekend, AND we painted the trim in the basement. I want several gold stars. I also got into a discussion on an e-mail list I belong to about reproductive choices (NO NOT THAT DISCUSSION, A different one...)

You know, after I had Sam I really felt I was done because as much as I adored him, he ate up 93% of my life. I could live and work just fine in the seven percent left to me. But then when I thought about another baby, that would be ANOTHER 93% of my life, leaving me with Negative 86 % of a life, and I thought my sanity deficit would rival the Federal Government's if I were trying to live and work in Negative 86% of my life.

By the time Sam was five, I felt I had it as together as I ever have it, and we made ourselves a Maisy with Malice of Forethought. BUT, I have to say, for the four+ years I did not want any more children I was driven INSANE by The "when-are-you-having-the-next-one" People, who then looked at me like I was a BUG, an INSANE BUG, a BUG who had clearly gone OFF HER MEDS if I said I did not think I WAS going to have any more kids. And of course, when I then DID decide to have another one, all the SAME people who had driven me crazy to have one EITHER puffed up with smugness and had to get in my PREGNANT FACE and say "Oh, well, we KNEW you did not mean it" or worse, they would say, "Well, if you were going to have another why did you wait so long, goodness you have to start all over and they WON'T play together."

WORST were the ones who BOTH smugged to me that they had TOLD ME SO and ALSO fussed at me for spacing them five years apart. YISH! And really -- you should not bait the pregnant. They are lucky I didn't leap at them and chew their throats open. I am a VERY grumpy pregnant person. I got VERY fed up with and one time when a couple with three kids brought it up again, AGAIN, I launched into a HUGE and very descriptive riff about what my OBGYN had said my CERVIX looked like at our last appointment, and when they got flustered and embarrassed said, "Oh. I thought you WANTED to discuss my personal business...." <---lie. I never did that. But it was a HUGE fantasy of mine.

I also loathe it when people ask you, when you are pregnant, what you are naming the baby, and then wrinkle up their noses like they just smelled poo and say, "Really? No but....REALLY?"

I remember when I was about 3 thousand months pregnant with Sam, we had to go for another ultra sound because he was late and big. And I was in the room with another hugely pregnant women, a pretty little blonde who was about 75% belly, and she was also having a boy, as our side-by-side monitors clearly showed, and she asked me what I was naming my baby. I said, "OH, we aren't positive. Maybe Samuel, maybe Harold or Maxwell, we have to see who he is when he gets out....what are you naming yours."

And she said, "Simian."

And I said, "I love Old Testament names---are you guys spelling it like S I M I O N?" (Which means, by the way, "He Who Hears")

And she said, "We are spelling it S I M I A N." (Which means, by the way, "monkey.")

And if I could restrain myself from saying HI YOU DO REALIZE YOU ARE NAMING YOUR CHILD MONKEY???? (and I did!!! I DID!!!) you would think that the three hundred people who wrinkled up their noses at me and said, "Maisy Jane? Two names like that sounds Rednecky." Or "Maisy? Isn't that a CARTOON MOUSE?" or "You mean, MACEY, right? Not MAISY. MACEY. Because, you know, MACEY is a nice, normal name. Very popular!" would have been able to control themselves a little better. Alas. They were not.

I better shut up now. I was PRODUCTIVE all weekend, but this blog entry is PROOF that productivity makes me GRUMPY. Sane, but GRUMPY. Or GROMPY as Maisy Jane (who was, BY THE WAY, named after a character in a Henry James novel, NOT A MOUSE) would say. Perhaps I can use this as an evidence that I must henceforth lie on the sofa and eat cheese popcorn and read Lee Child novels all day....

Posted by joshilyn at 7:07 AM | Comments (18)

December 9, 2005

Frolics with Sigmund

The number, she is a-rising again...I had a hideous dream about BETWEEN, GEORGIA last night, not least among the horrid events in this dream: Warner changed my beautiful Anne Twomey cover to this three dimensional thing with half a Barbie coming out of the front, on a SPRING, so she BOBBLED around. And she had blackened eyes, like Beaten-Up Barbie, and snarly ratted hair and streaks of filth on her cheeks and was wearing nothing but one long spangly earring and a tube top.

I saw the cover when I went into a bookshop that is actually in Seattle and that I have never been to, but in the dream it was in California. And Fran, a bookseller I know was there. I realized I was only wearing one shoe and had my hair done like a Cupie Doll's with two shaved bald patches on either side and one long CURL on the forehead....LIKE THIS:

cupie.jpeg

I felt, truly, that I MIGHT NOT look my best. So I just POPPED IN to say a quick HI to Fran and she said, "Oh no you have to meet these three women, they HATE your book. They are camped out in front of where we shelved it, and they scream like banshees and pelt anyone who tries to buy the book with their shoes and oh -- maybe if you came and met them they might be nicer? Be nice, okay?"

SO I sit down with them and one looks at my hair and says, YOU LOOK EXACTLY LIKE I THOUGHT YOU WOULD SNICKER SNICKER.
Me: "HI, why do you hate my book so?
One of 'em: Dunno. Just do.
Me: Well -- is it not what you expected?
Another of 'em: We expected it not to SUCK, so. You could say that.
Me: Oh, um, is it just that it is different from my first book? Like, you liked gods in Alabama and you---
Third one: Oh no. We hated THAT book too.

I think I don't need Freud to figure out what this means...Anxious much? Why, yes. Because in my secret pink heart I love this book and am almost nauseatingly proud of it. So trhis has to be anxiety. And if Freud was here, I think he would take careful note of the fact that there are THREE women. That means something, probably something mythological, like furies or fates or a penis.

Freud would also know WHY I had the dream: We are at the point with BETWEEN where we are looking for BLURBS. Warner and I are asking a buncha folks I admire and who do not know me from Adam's housecat to please read my book, and what if they HATE AND REVILE ME, and you just want your heroes to like you back, you know? So. I am going to sit here and think good thoughts about NOT THROWING UP.

You, meanwhile, need to concentrate on getting your B4B entries up. THE DEADLINE APPROACHETH! Or, if, say, Barbara Kingsolver happens to be your sister, you could busy yourself asking her to consider reading my book. Hey, whatever keeps you out of bars.

Posted by joshilyn at 10:24 AM | Comments (13)

December 8, 2005

In Which I Successfully Become Stephen Hawking

Well---that title may be optimistic AND premature. I WILL become him, anyway. Any second. Not actually HIM, you know. More like a POOR man's Stephen Hawking. Very poor. Like, a destitute, starving, oxygen deprived, nearly dead, boil covered, prehistoric, low-browed, grunting man's Stephen Hawking. But still.

It's because I realized I have to have an understanding of Chaos Theory in order to write this book because the main male character is a pure-math geek turned engineer. And in order to understand Chaos, turns out, you have to understand PHYSICS. Which, allow me to say, "Yikes."

This is, seriously, the BEST THING that has ever happened to Scott. He is SO HAPPY. Remember how there are things he sometimes REALLY wants to tell me, but I REALLY do not want to be told? Like, say, allallall about Hoover Dam?

Well, CHAOS THEORY is another topic I have with malice of forethought actively and perniciously avoided learning about. I figured I heard enough about it from Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park to last me the rest of my life. Plus, I got to look at Jeff Goldblum, which made it more palatable. Tall dark haired and geeky? Check! Why Dr. Livingston, I believe we have discovered MY TYPE. So I watched Jeff Goldblum explain the way a drop of water rolls and then not get eaten by dinosaurs, and really, that was about enough for me. My chaos pocket was full. I thought possibly forever.

But no. I had to pop a big fat mathematician in the middle of this novel, so he needs to sound like he has a vague idea what he is talking about. SO here I am, watching all the documentaries about Chaos and Quantum-ness that I SWEAR TO YOU my husband ALREADY HAD TAPED OFF THE DISCOVERY CHANNEL and kept SITTING IN THE BASEMENT betting against all odds that the frabjous day would come when I would look at him and say, "I really want to learn about CHAOS THEORY, and possibly also PHYSICS."

That day, ladies and gentlemen, was yesterday.

So he is trying to explain to me about how Schrodinger's cat goes in the box blah blah, and is it a dead cat or an alive cat or does it exist and somehow this is related to or he segued into the theory that the more you know about VELOCITY the less you can truly posit about LOCATION which seems counterintuitive but as he also told me, Physicists seem to think a point of light CAN be in two places at once, so they INVENTED counter intuitive, so okay, Velocity, smeared half dead or living cat in a box, yeah, blah blah, and I accidentally quit listening right then because I started thinking, "If I put MY cat in a box I could easily posit the alive-or-deadness or existence of him by the yowls of rage and the ripping foreclaws shredding the steel allowing pretty much the whole cat to come bursting out to treat me to multiple wounded one-eyed baleful looks, but at least this theory gives me an excuse to name the cat who appears in the novel "Schrodinger," which has HUGE appeal." I want to get a whole another really cat just so I can name him that.

In a bit of news COMPLETELY unrelated to physics (but related to pet names, so there's the only segue you are likely to get today. Enjoy!) my friend Lydia is getting a PUPPY for Christmas (or as soon as he is weaned) and they have already met him and named him. His name is -- brace yerself Bridge, really -- his name is:

Marzipan Go-Go.

Now, the PREVIOUS best pet name (which has been practically unchallenged until now) was a friend of a friend's African Hedgehog named, improbably, Pigling Bland. But the PUPPY name is giving P.B. a run for his sleepy, prickle-covered money. In fact, it is SUCH a great pet name I wish *I* was a pet just so I could be named Marzipan Go-Go, and also so I could be excused from trying to understand even the tiniest CORNER of Quantum Physics. Being a pet gets you out of a LOT, I would imagine: "Oh, sorry, I can't vacuum the house, or drive to Eckerd, apply Occam's Razor, or practice The Method in the local community theatre production of Our Town---did you not notice I am a Budgereega?"

Ah well, if you truly want to understand Schodinger's cat, you can go to someplace like MIT and spend nine years getting a slew of advanced degrees. BUT if you want to play an amusing interactive game that explains the cat in layman's terms AND gives you a SAVE THE CAT option should your dice roll the wrong way, then you can SKIP MIT and CLICK HERE.

Posted by joshilyn at 1:25 PM | Comments (12)

December 7, 2005

In Which I Fail to Become Stephen Hawking

Last night I dreamed I was working, and I wrote this little slew of FRAGMENTS, and they were SO brilliant, I mean SO SO brilliant that I stopped and closed my file and typed them again in a separate window, where their succinct beauty and deep meaningfulness gobsmacked me into awe.

I realized the fragments said EVERYTHING! Everything worth saying, ever. EVER! EVER! My editor was there suddenly, the way people are in dreams, and she was wearing an extremely hot vintage Chanel suit and an up-do, and she asked me to print the fragments because, really, that was all she needed, thanks. And off she went with the sheet.

We weren't even going to title it. She was just going to print the fragments as my next book, and the cover would be a deep, cerulean blue and say something like, "EVERYTHING WORTH SAYING, EVER. I was SO relieved because I realized I could TAKE OFF the next day and get my TREE up instead of writing 2 or 3 thousand words this morning (DIGRESSION: of which, in reality, I have written ZERO so far and if I do not get my stinkin' Christmas tree up this week, my children will trade me in for that soft-bosomed brit from Super Nanny, but Chapter four is giving me fits...)

BUT, back to the dream, had this been a MERCIFUL dream, I would have woken up NOT remembering what the fragments were, just remembering that they had been BRILLIANT, and then I could have smugly lived out my life convinced that I am the universe's premier GENIUS but unfortunately only SUBCONCIOUSLY, and so the world would never get the full impact of my astonishing insight.

It was not, however, a merciful dream. I remember the fragments PERFECTLY, and brace yourself, Bridget, because I am about to share them with you. The fragments read thusly: "She monkeyed! Oh, Monkeyed! Monkeyed with pranceful conjoinings."

Yes. Really.

Oh, how I wish I was kidding. I don't even know what that MEANS. The dream interpretation machine is decidely unhelpful, only dealing with MONKEY as a noun, and saying it means deceitful people are surrounding me or maybe I am immature, which, SHUT. UP. Also, it has NO entry for the words "pranceful conjoinings." Imagine!

Although a literalist might say this is a dream which means, "If you were thinking of becoming the world's premier genius, perhaps you should not give up your day job just yet."

Posted by joshilyn at 12:16 PM | Comments (22)

December 6, 2005

Blogging 4 Books!

Blogging 4 Books is LIVE NOW.

I am clinically insane, and this is LATE. Scott returns tonight. Sorry I forgot B4B. I will get better.

Welcome to Blogging 4 Books. The Original Rules and the FAQ are hosted on The Zero Boss, because he made it up.

The short version: You blog on a chosen topic. You post a link to your blog entry in the comments below this entry. B4B closes at MIDNIGHT your time on Wednesday, December 14.

If you have no blog, you write the essay and cut and paste it (no attachments please) into an email to Ann Fitten (the Bloggess behind Edgy Mama) and ask her sweetly to host it for you. She is also this months SPECIAL! GUEST! BLOGGER! She will narrow the entries down to seven.

If you are one of the seven finalists, your entry will be read by author Lara M. Zeises. She will pick first, second and third place. First place gets a signed first edition of her new YA novel, Anyone But You which was a Teen People Top Ten Pick.

If you want to knopw what the book is about...Critter and Jesse have been close to Seattle since her dad moved in with their mother. Closer still since he took off six years ago and Layla decided to raise Sea as one of her own. It’s a decision none of them regrets, especially not Critter. He’s more than a brother–he’s Seattle’s best friend.
Now it’s vacation, and Seattle and Critter are stoop sitters, at least until summer school starts in July. It beats working like Jesse, or worse, studying like Layla wants them to. It’s too hot for Seattle to be on her skateboard–too hot, even, for Critter to be scamming on girls. But Sea comes up with a plan for them to bluff their way into the ritzy swimming pool the next town over. Big mistake.
Soon Critter’s got his heart set on a Penn Acres princess, while Seattle’s trying hard not to fall for a skater boy on the rebound. For the first time in a long while, they can talk to anyone but each other. Then Seattle’s dad shows up unexpectedly, and the way of life Critter and Seattle have always known begins to change even more. . .

anyone_but_you.jpg

And now, THE TOPIC!

In ANYONE BUT YOU, Seattle notes that "family, it turned out, was something you really could choose for yourself." Write about someone you've chosen to be a part of your family (biological, spiritual, vocational, etc.) and what that person has brought to your life.

GO!

Posted by joshilyn at 5:17 PM | Comments (13)

December 5, 2005

TAGGED

Cornelia does not blog and Mir had a Very Bad Day , so I tag

HEATHER of MADAME RUBIES and

hot shot horror writer Deborah LeBlanc, who understands the bayou and blogs on Murder She Writes and

Our Own B4B helpmeet, Edgy Mama.

PS b4b goes live TOMORROW, a day late and a dollar short, because, face it, the inmates are running the asylum here, and I did not even know it was December...IT IS REALLY JUST ABOUT TIME SCOTT CAME HOME HUH.

Posted by joshilyn at 7:52 PM | Comments (5)

Meme-y Meme-y

GOING ON TEN DAYS. NO SCOTT. NOT GOOD. Soon I will begin drifting about the house in filthy pajamas and eating ice cream for breakfast and writing bad haiku about absence.

(Pull on my same jeans
Why launder, why smell good, why
even sniff-check them?)

It is all downhill from there.

In brighter news, author Nichelle Tramble Tagged me with a MEME! I NEVER get tagged with a meme. I feel all MUTUAL OF OMAHA'S WILD KINGDOM. My ear is a little sore, but I am game! <---GET IT!!! I am GAME??? Get it? HA! Where is a rimshot audiofile when you need one?

10 Reading Secrets, because I do not have 15. My life is AN OPEN BOOK. (Where is that RIMSHOT? OMG the PUNS -- see what happens when you take SCOTT away for too long. PUNS! And BAD HAIKU!)

1) I had a BIG crush on Henry in THE SECRET HISTORY. Yeah, he is kinda big and ugly and a complete geek and he, you know, KILLS people, but something about the smarty-pants classical Greek training, the Apollonian mind yearning for Dionysian release...Oh. Yeah. Kiss me, ya big murdering dork.

2) Which is the micro-cosm of the macro-secret which is, I DO get crushes on characters in books I read, which is SO dorky that if only I would start killing people I would probably be an e-harmony dot com perfect match-up for Henry.

3) When I was growing up, I wanted to be Trixie Belden. I thought Nancy Drew was a snot.

4) When I was about 10, I STOLE my parents copy of Alex Haley's ROOTS which I was expressly forbidden to read until I was older because they thought the themes in that book were much too adult for me to process, and um, YEAH. They SURE were. I read it at night, buried under my blankets, fascinated and horrified, weeping until the snot ran out of my nose that people could be so mean to other people. I had until then not known.

5) I also stole and read JAWS. Which I just thought was cool, AND from which I learned SEVERAL cursewords I had not yet heard spoken aloud.

6) My brother made me read all the Conan books AND H.P Lovecraft AND all the Gray Mouser books. I am convinced that this is why I am a geek.

7) The only reason I do not write space opera, I am convinced, is that I ALSO read Peter Pan, Charlotte's Web, both Bronte sisters, A.A. Milne, all of Jane Austen, Little Women, all of Roald Dahl, all of Tove Janssen, and A Little Princess to ABSOLUTE tatters. And secretly, I STILL enjoy the STINK out of all those books. Yes, even A Little Princess. WHEN SHE GIVES AWAY FIVE OF THE SIX HOT BUNS! OH! OH!

8) You know that I am not allowed to read on stairs, but I ALSO used to walk down the streets of Chicago reading, and I had to stop that because I kept getting almost mowed down by busses when I forgot where I was and gamboled cheerfully out into traffic.

9) I am such a fangrrrrl of certain authors that I physically FEAR meeting them because I am sure I will open my mouth to say HELLOILOVEYOUYOUARETHEBESTGREATESTONEEVER and instead I will vomit down my front. I had a CHANCE to meet one of my favorite authors of all time, and I PHYSICALLY could not make myself go. I was SO sure I would puke.

10) I once read 10 or 12 of the MOST LURID romance bodice rippers I could FIND in a SINGLE weekend because I had decided to write a LURID BODICE RIPPER with my friend Lydia, and I firmly believed and believe you can NOT write anything decent in a genre you have not read extensively. SO after my crash course, Lyd and I went out to a Martini Bar and PLOTTED the whole thing out with kidnappings and dashing rescues and many, many, torn petticoats and bosoms of the heaving variety, and THEN we named all the characters. Unfortunately, we also taste tested Green Apple-tinis and Crantinis and Godiva-tinis and I remember NOTHING of the entire outline, except the villian was going to be named HORACE MONTMORECY, THE EARL OF EMMESWORTH. And the lead character was named Veronica or January, we got in a fight about that. And then ordered Citrus-Blast-Tinis and forgave each other and decided to call her soemthign completely different. I think at one point, one of us may have even said, " I LOVE YOU, MAN." Sad. Sad. Sad.

I think I am supposed to TAG people here? See, no one ever MEMES me so I do not know how to behave? Okay well, LET US DO THIS, let's tag via COMMENTS -- first three commenters can TAG a blogger, and I will then come back and list them here, and shoot them YOU HAVE BEEN TAGGED e-mails. GO!

Posted by joshilyn at 10:44 AM | Comments (20)

December 2, 2005

Last Chance!

Tomorrow I am going to inscribe the Holiday Books on order at the ALABAMA BOOKSMITH --

Reserve your copy before noon tomorrow!

205 870 4242

Posted by joshilyn at 5:34 PM | Comments (3)

Momwroters

Not a typo. It's the past tense to avoid trademark infringement and because I think the group I refer to is dying.

FORGIVE me FTK regs -- I have to hijack my own blog for a sec to discuss something with the regs here who are also on the MW list-serve.

The truth about e-mail list serves is, the big ones eventually blow up. If you have ever been on a list serve, you know this. They get big, they get active, factions form, bitter sworn enemies are made, OMERTA happens, everyone wants the last snarky word, and unless you have a mighty list-parent who silences the rabble and kicks off the instigators, the list, eventually implodes. OR, sometimes, a good list going gangbusters will have a single EXTREMELY crazy person with the guile of machiavelli get on and purposefully eat it up from the inside. At any rate, they blow up, then splinter into several smaller groups, who begin growing and eventually implode and splinter---it's like the life cycle of the list serve. If you enjoy list-serves, and I do, you accept this. You look for the good ones, you weather the BOOMs, and when they splinter you cheerfully pick up your rucksack and join whatever splinters appeal. Because list-serves, even though at their worst they resemble nothing so much as a chance to re-live middle school in an online microcosm, can be entertaining and a neat way to meet people. I met Jill on a list serve, and now she is a part of my writing group and my small circle of close-est friends.

Momwriters (tm) was a list I thought could not implode. 1500 members, and a firm system of rules and policies in place that sometimes felt constricting to individuals (especially MAD individuals who wanted to blow up the list serve!), but that made the list pretty dern bombproof. Then two days ago, the list mom suddenly announced that it would cost everyone who wasn't some sort of mod or other volunteer charity or program co-ordinator for the list 5 bucks a month to stay on the list. More if you use PayPal. More if you are on any sublists. All who did not pay will be removed come January.

Allow me to say....BOOM.

If everyone stayed and payed, quick math-heads noted that's 90K a year for running a yahoo list serve. NICE WORK IFYOU CAN GET IT. BUT, in her defense, the list mom was quick to point out she fully expected the group to be less than 1/5th of what it was before, and that most would prefer to take on working for the group's charity efforts than pay. There was absolutely NO response on list, because the moderators nixed any discussion of the event on list. NO messages were allowed to come through, as the first rule of momwriters policy is you dont; talk about momwriters policy ONLIST. It's like FIGHT CLUB that way.

So I decided to blog it and to say, if you are on MW, and you blog, can you please link to this entry in your blogs, so other MW's can find it? Since we cannot discuss it on list, here is a place you CAN discuss it, in comments. If you blog about THE BOOM yourself, please put a link to your entry in comments. so other MW's can find YOUR entry.

Also, one splinter has already snapped off --- some of your fellow MW's are beginning to congregate HERE: http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/thewritingmother/

THANKS to everyone who responds. I really want to hear your opinion and what you are going to do, and I cannot hear it on-list do to MW policies. If you are angry or upset, I understand--I am rather upset myself---, SAY so, please, feel free, but remember my 14 year old nephew reads this blog, and he hears The Very Bad F Word QUITE enough at his school, I am sure. Let's be mad and upset ELOQUENTLY. *grin*

We will return to regularly scheduled FTK concerns tomorrow.

Posted by joshilyn at 10:07 AM | Comments (63)

December 1, 2005

100 Thing About Sam

1) At birth, Sam weighed 11 pounds, 13 ounces.
2) He was also two weeks late.
3) He OWES me.
4) He was like, babe-zilla. All the other babies were about half his size. Twelve hours after birth, he could hold his head up.
5) When Sam was born, the doctor's were de-sliming him, and Scott got this odd, puzzled, musing look on his face, like he'd just noticed the kid had five eyes or a tail. I said, "What! What? IS HE OKAY IS HE OKAY?" And Scott said, "It's the strangest thing, I've only just met him, but he looks...familiar."
6) Later Scott realized he looked familiar because he looked like Scott, in all Scott's baby pictures.
7) He STILL looks just like Scott.
8) But if you just knick the surface, a big flood of me pours out---the kid is a Jackson down to the bone.
9) He CANNOT sing.
10) He does not realize this.
11) When he was three, Scott and I were standing in a park watching him play. Scott's mother was there, and the priest who married us, Edward, was there. Sam was up in this big jungle gym climber shaped like a pirate ship, standing like a captain at the wheel, heading into some imaginary adventure. Edward called up to him, "Where are you sailing off to, Sam?" And he called back, with no baby slurring, clear as day, "TO THE LIQUOR STORE!"
12) He is fierce.
13) He is loud. He has no volume under 5. Even his WHISPER is a big PUSH of air that people in Mississippi can hear if the wind is going right.
14) Last night a bunch of the younger kids at church got candy at their class, and I found him standing outside the class, eyeing the basket and saying in FAKE, HEARTY tones to the teacher, "Well, that sure is interesting candy! Shaped like fish? How FASCINATING. Where ever did you find such a thing?" and she, of course, filled his pockets with them.
15) I wanted to pinch his head off.
16) He really talks like that. Like a 35 year old accountant. He is the only 8 year old I know who says "perhaps you could talk me into an interest in that deal" when I say I he can have a little extra Video game time if he does a good job cleaning his room.
17) This is my fault. From the time he was born, I read 19th century fiction aloud to him.
18) I also went through a LONG phase when he was ababe-in-arms where I talked TO him as if he were a 40 year old accountant. "Well sir," I would say. "My goodness. The committee feels that we shoudl select the green OshKosh overalls for today's meeting. And this onesie. This is a power onesie. You will give 'em HELL today, sir, I feel convicted."
19) He has many, many, many pernicious cowlicks that are going to make him clinically insane when he is a teenager.
20) He cannot keep a shoe tied.
21) Not even one.
22) Not even for 30 seconds.
23) He has a remarkably kind heart under his blustery little boy propensities toward violence.
24) HE READS! He reads like I read, absolutely sucked in, so you can stand there saying, SAM? HEY SAM? SAMSAMSAM and he reads on, oblivious, ten miles into Narnia's strange landscape and still marching inland.
25) He thinks Roald Dahl, C.S. Lewis, Lemony Snicket and Ian Ogilvy should be collectively known as "Da Bomb." They rock him down to electric avenue.
26) When he was six, he sank so so deep into a Lemony Snicket book while coming down the stairs to breakfast that he plummeted all the way to the bottom, tail over head over tail.
27) A week later, he did it again while reading a different book.
28) Two days later, he did it again.
29) I made a new rule: SAM SHALT NOT SIMULTANEOUSLY READ AND WALK DOWN THE STAIRS.
30) For several weekas after, I had to help him get in the habit of STOPPING reading, coming down the stairs, and resuming. He would look up, and I could see he was PHYSICALLY having to THINK about keeping his gaze lifted from the page.
31) Less than week later, I tumbled ALL THE FREAKIN' WAY DOWN the same stairs because I was reading I think Jane Austen. Heh.
32) SAM WAS SO HAPPY. He told me a zillion times, "NOW WE HAVE A NEW RULE ABOUT NO ONE CAN READ ON THE STAIRS, MOM. BECAUSE YOU FELL DOWN THE STAIRS, MOM. YOU WERE READING, WHICH, YOU KNOW, CAN PERHAPS BE DANGEROUS ON THE STIARS, MOM, AND THE YOU FELL DOWN, LIKE, ALL THE WAY, AND WE DEFINATELY NEED A NEW RULE FOR YOU, MOM."
33) He is my faithful ally in the war of wanting a parrot.
34) When I tell him he can't DO something, for example, stand on the upstairs landing and throw everything he owns over the bannister so it crashes into the foyer and smashes and breaks, just to "See what drops fastest, Mom," he will then go and FIND his sister, and tell her SHE is also forbidden to do this thing it never once occurred to her to do, and tell her with such VIM and SORROW, like he can't believe she will NEVER be allowed this pleasure, that she will weep and come to me begging can they just hurl SOME of their stuff over the bannister to smash and break in the foyer.
35) He has brown hair.
36) He had BLACK hair at birth, thick tons of it, but it grew in blonde underneath.
37) I don't mean the black fell out--- I mean the individual hairs that were black at birth began GROWING blonde. At one point, he had an inch of babyfine blonde hair with another inch of jet black hair on top of it. He had ROOTS. He looked like he was recovering from a goth-baby dye job.
38) He likes to TALK.
39) He has always liked to talk.
40) His first word was NOT "Mommy."
41) It was also not "Daddy."
42) It was "Kitty."
43) He said Kitty in his ninth month on earth and it was the only word he had for several weeks. He never stopped saying it. He woke up calling for the kitty. If the kitty was in the room, he said kitty to the kitty. If the kitty was not in the room, he called endlessly for the kitty to come. If the kitty came, he explained and re-explained to it that it was, indeed, a kitty. When the kitty got bored and left, he would yell KIIIIIITY KIIIITTY at the disappearing cat butt, like the cat's hind end was STELLA.
44) The cat at that time was a monstrous white behemoth named Wally Mavis, and Wally-Cat hated Sam and all Sam stood for and babies in general and the earth and all living things that crawled upon it's vile surface, except me, he liked me okay, and kibble, he LOVED kibble, but he hated everything else and REVILED Sam and Sam would stand in his play pen and YEARN palpably at Wally and Wally would turn his dead flat baleful gaze upon Sam and Wally was thinking, you could SEE him thinking, "If that kid says KITTY one more time, I am going to off myself."
45) He values the experience over the thing. That is to say, he would rather GO AND DO than HAVE. The zoo trip is more important than the overpriced zoo shop toy he might get at the end.
46) He is a geek-in-bud.
47) He loves space/sci-fi/fantasy.
48) He loves Anime.
49) He loves MMORPGs.
50) I suspect he is the kind of kid who will spend prom in a basement somewhere, rolling 30 sided dice to see if he gets the vorpal snicker-snack bonus on his plus three sword of orc-slaughtering hoe-downiness when he attacks that Balrog.
51) I, for one, think that is an EXCELLENT way to spend prom.
52) Yesterday he used the owrd pernicious in a sentence. Correctly.
53) He likes the newts. He REALLY wants his newt, Spotty, to be a male, even though all the blank eggsacks that show up and fade seem to indicate we have an all girl tank just now.
54) We had a bunch of folks from church over for supper and he was earnestly explaining to them that he thought Spotty was for sure a BOY newt, and one foolish guy who doesn't yet have children asked the 64,000 dollar question: "How can you tell Spotty is a boy," and Sam said, earnestly earnestly, "Well, the other day, the newts were stacked on each other, and Spotty was stacked on top of Fig, so I am pretty sure he is the boy."
55) There was dead silence.
56) Sam had recently been given a illustrated book called WHERE DID I COME FROM that explains, well, you know, where he came from, and where baby animals come from and etc.
57) He had apparently really logged some good hours reading it.
58) At least he didn't read it on the stairs.
59) He is a good big brother.
60) Mostly.
61) He REALLY wants me to understand how to play YU-GI-OH.
62) I REALLY do not want to ever understand that.
63) I will lay you 7-3 odds, right now, that my future daughter in law is going to be a tall blonde. He likes him some tall blondes.
64) Just now, however, girls are icky. There were a whole tribe of boys playing in our house and I could hear the buzz and babble of their conversation but not what was being said, and then Sam spoke in his super-sam volume, and all the parents, sitting around my den, distincly heard him say, "WHEN I AM PRESIDENT, I AM GOING TO MAKE ALL THE GIRLS EXCEPT MY MOM AND MAYBE MY SISTER GO LIVE ON AN ISLAND."
65) My husband immediately deadpanned, "And then we'll blow up the island!"
66) Even in 2005, at 8, he retains a shred or two of his delightful innocence.
67) The other day he came home and said, "Mom there is a RUMOR at school that Santa isn't real. Kerbin says that Santa is your parents. Is that true??"
68) I said, "What do you think?" Because I was NOT prepared.
69) He thought about it and then said, "I think Kerbin's full of it."
70) He still genuinely, no REALLY, thinks "Shut Up" is "a bad word."
71) If he leaves the house with five things, he will come home with two things, and one will be broken, and one will be a completely new thing that bears no relation to the original five.
72) Once when he was two I looked away for an INSTANT and when I looked back he had popped the child safety cap on the cat's heart pills and scattered them all over the floor and we did not know if he had eaten them, did not know how many there originally were, and he had to go to the ER and they ran a tube up his nose into his stomach to fill him with charcol to try and keep the pills from being digested and I said to the nurse, urgently, but calmly, "You need to tell me how serious it is. This medication---how serious can the effects be?" And I could see her hating to tell me, but she told me, "It can be very serious." And that wasn't good enough. I said, "Are you saying he could die?" And she said, "If he he took enough, I am saying his heart will stop." And my heart stopped.
73) He didn't take enough.
74) Another time, he choked on a bean and was SO choked he wasn't coughing, just silently dying with his arms waving and his eyes SO surprised, and Scott grabbed him up and I screamed, SCOTT FIX IT MAKE HIM BREATHE SCOTT YOU HAVE TO FIX IT NOW RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW.
75) Scott fixed it.
76) Like all 8 year old boys, Sam thinks he is immortal.
77) He has huge emotions that sweep through him in waves: He loves, he loathes, but never, never is the child lukewarm.
78) From the time he was three until the present, has had the best, loudest, clearest parenthetical YOU MORON I have ever not heard. When he talks down to you --- OH AND HE WILL --- because you have been sadly born too stupid to underastand YU-GI-OH, you can HEAR the unsaid YOU MORON so clearly, and it HANGS in the air, palpable and smelly, for HOURS.
79) When it is aimed at me, the parenthetical YOU MORON makes me want to pinch his little head RIGHT off.
80) He was born with true blue eyes. Not that cloudy, changeable newborn blue -- real blue.
81) They were my father's eyes.
82) They stayed true blue all the way until he was three.
83) I was so happy, because I loved seeing my father's eyes in my son's face, and everythign I read said that a babies eye color is set by the time they are three.
84) At four, they went relentlessly green.
85) Now they, like everything else about the kid, look just like Scott.
86) I like that, too. But I still treasure his baby pictures where he looks out guileless and pleased with my father's eyes.
87) He is good at SPORTS! Which, how did THAT happen? Except, I think he got that from my dad, which is nice since he gave up the eyes.
88) He hated the water from birth and screamed his way through bath time and refused to learn to swim until he was six, when he suddenly turned into Fearless Fish because he discovered there was such a thing as a Water Slide.
89) When he was three, he had an imaginary friend.
90) It was a cow.
91) It lived in the shed behind our house.
92) It was named, "Ontog."
93) When he was tiny, I used to carry him around and whisper and whisper into his ear, "You don't want to be a soldier. You want to be AN ARCHITECT!"
94) I have no idea what he will be when he grows up. None. Nada.
95) I can tell you this: It won't require huge organizational skills. He will immediately be fired from any job that requires him to not lose, say, important top secret documents. Or his coat.
96) I can tell you this, too: When he finds his niche in the world, it is going to be ODD, it is going to be nothing I have imagined for him, but he is going to love it and be successful at it. Because that's who he is, already. He seeks out odd spaces that suit him and he fills them up. He fills them to the brim.
97) I never knew how perilous a place the world is until Sam, my first child, the singular and living center of my heart, was let loose upon it.
98) A hideous change is coming, and coming, and coming soon: I will have to stop blogging about him. He will begin to not like it and to be embrarrased by my adoring gaze and his friends will be finding this blog via search engines and I may have to take the entire SAM RELATED loin fruit section DOWN. Maybe not this year Maybe not even next year. But soon.
99) This is because he is growing up, changing from little squirmy kid-thing into an actual person, the star of his own movie, and Sam's growing up is for me both a constantly defining miracle and the most heartbreaking thing to ever happen, all at once.
100) Luckily, the good outweighs the sorrow, because you know what? The person he is becoming? I really, really like him.

Posted by joshilyn at 7:42 AM | Comments (20)