November 29, 2006

hi

My tiny, mighty, viperous, last left grandmother is really really really sick now. They've called the family in.
My husband is out of town for ten days.
I am....overwhelmed.

I'll see you guys next Monday, K?

Posted by joshilyn at 4:46 AM | Comments (30)

November 21, 2006

3 (More) Questions with Kyra Davis

Let’s give quick thanks for Kyra Davis as she is going to guest here at my blog today so I can continue to futz around with these TGWSS edits. You may remember Kyra who once dropped in to talk about her Sophie Katz Mysteries.

Now she is back to answer three Q’s about a book that seems a little more personal … So Much for My Happy Ending.

It’s the story of 26 year old April, who thinks that everything in her life is finally falling into place when her boyfriend of three months proposes. Between her flaky, tree-hugging mother and her she-devil boss, marriage seems like the place she'll find love and security. But soon after they're married, Tad's crazy, extravagant gestures are starting to look less romantic and more…well, just plain crazy. Are you still supposed to stand by your man, even if it turns out he isn't who you thought he was? Sometimes you have to figure out how to write your own happy ending…

The Boston Globe says, “Kyra Davis brings insight and energy to "So Much for My Happy Ending,"…In April, Davis has created a narrator with a sensitive, honest, engaging voice.”


JJ: What do you think of your cover and how does it compare to the cover you imagined when you were writing the book?

kyracover.jpeg

KD: I’m actually thinking of asking my publisher to send me one of the posters of the cover so I can hang it on my wall. It’s that beautiful and it captures the essence of the book perfectly. The wedding bouquet with the focus being on the thorns—it’s poignant, powerful and yet somehow gentle and feminine.

Of course it doesn’t compare with the cover I imagined when writing the book because I didn’t imagine a cover. I am the least visual person in the world. Seriously, I don’t remember faces, I don’t care what my house looks like and I can’t draw. But I can remember every word of a conversation I had 10-15 years ago and I can pick the perfect song for any occasion—go figure.

JJ: Who did you dedicate this book to and why?

KD: This book is a fictionalized autobiography. Like my protagonist, I married a man who turned out to be bipolar and like April’s husband Tad, my ex self-destructed in a rather spectacular way, leaving me with a huge mess to clean up. It was a scary and stressful time and I don’t think I could have gotten through it if it wasn’t for my friends. That’s why I dedicated it to them.

JJ:How true to life is this book?

KD: Very few events chronicled in this book actually happened but I have had a parallel experience to almost every situation I put April (my protagonist) in. I to a marriage proposal before I was ready, I adored the way my then-fiancée was protective of me without being possessive. I saw flashes of my partner’s dark sign but, unable to reconcile them with the rest of his personality, deliberately chose to over look them and of course I eventually discovered that my husband was suffering from a sever mental illness and had been lying to me about almost everything. And like April I got through it.

This book is for all the other Aprils out there. I want to let them know that they can get through it too.

Posted by joshilyn at 4:48 PM | Comments (2)

Polite Cough

Tomorrow I go to Birmingham to have a turkey with my mom and dad and sign books at the Alabama Booksmith. If you MEANT to order a signed book or two for delightful presents, it's last call, so belly on up to the bar. I'll go by the Booksmith in the afternoon, and I don't know that I will make it back there again before Christmas. ALSO, he is JUST ABOUT OUT of his stash of first edition gods in Alabama hardbacks. So. That's going to not be an option soon...

You can order using this form,
Or just call them at (205) 870-4242

In other news, the OJ book (titled something like IF I KILLED THEM, HERE'S HOW I MADE MONEY OFF IT IN SPITE OF THOSE PESKY OLD SON OF SAM LAWS) was pulled just DAYS before it was due to hit stores and I for one am having a weird little surge of hope for humanity in response. Good for us! YAY for people with souls, HUZZAH to good balky booksellers who just said no. Score one for decency. And maybe even another for good taste and even kindness.

Posted by joshilyn at 7:31 AM | Comments (11)

November 20, 2006

The Long Dog

My grandmother’s skin “done gone pure punkin color.”
That’s how my dead grampa would have said it.

When my mother called, she said it like this: “My mother has hepatitis.”
I thought that it was not true. I couldn’t imagine it was a joke----but how on earth…?
I said, “Has Grandmother been partying with Aerosmith? Again?”

Now I’m thinking about the white house Grandmother lived most of her life in----she had to sell it and go to assisted living a few months ago. My grandmother does not like to be assisted. She’s old and viperous and strong willed. She went haring off unassisted and broke her hip into teeny tiny unfixable pieces, so they cut her open and put in a fake new hip, and she had to have some blood and the blood they gave her was chock full of Hep B. Neat.

Aerosmith would have made a better story.

This particular grandmother and I are not what you would call close. She was viperous for a long time before she was old. I respect her toughness, I have to say. There are days I want to borrow it.

I remember staying at her house when I was too little to be asked my opinion. I remember playing make-up with the pink puffs on the mimosa tree in her front yard and watching a moccasin go wriggling up her creek bed with his head held high out of the water, his body making a writhing series of S shapes as he propelled himself along. I remember the dry gas heater smell of the house inside at Christmas, and the outdoor baked black earth smell of Alabama summer.

Dogs came and dogs went, but the best one was a wiener dog with extra nose. A good four inches extra. He was pointy and stubby-legged and wary.

I don’t recall his name but I do know he loved a particular foam red ball. It had chew holes in it and smelled of 1,000 coats of dried dog spittle and it didn’t bounce for crap. Still, he loved it beyond reason. It was about the size and shape of a fine tomato, and when my brother threw it straight up in the air, toward the sun, as high and hard as he could, the dog would stare up into the sky like an outfielder and crane up toward the ball so that his front paws left the earth in little hops and he would yearn at it and follow the arc with his crafty bright bead eyes and leap and snatch it hard from the air it as it came down.

He wanted my brother to throw that ball up at the sun all the time, one throw after another. Forever.

One day we went down the yard past the neighbor’s horses and the shed where I once found (and stole) the chipped glass pig, all the way to Grandmother’s huge vegetable garden. Bobby had the ball with him, which meant he also had the dog. Once there, he threw the ball up toward the sun a few times. Then he swapped the ball out for one of Grandmother’s prime tomatoes, and threw that.

The dog braced and yearned and leapt for the red orb, and his long snappy jaws slammed shut on the tomato. Which exploded. Juice and pulpy jelly went splattering in an ASTOUNDING radius, spattering our t shirts and shorts and freckling the bare belly-white skin of our Irish legs. The dog’s eyes rounded in surprise----we saw his eyes actually had whites. He was….nonplussed.

My brother threw the ball again. The dog leapt at it almost by reflex, and seemed pleased when his jaws closed around its familiar foam surface.

We did it again. All day. My brother would get him all comfortable with 5 or 6 ball throws, then slip in the tomato. SNAP! Went the dog. SPLAT! went the tomato. We went home covered in bloody vegetable remains and got yelled at for throwing something edible and valued at each other.

All we learned from being in trouble was to run backwards after throwing the tomato, so that the jellied shrapnel didn’t reach us. All the dog learned was a taste for fruit.

He starting eating Grandmother’s tomatoes right off the vine, and then he figured out how to crack melons open by pounding at them and rolling them with his long snout, worrying a hole them, and then he’d insert his ridiculous spare nose inches in the hole or crack he made and eat the sweetest meat out of the very middle, so that the next day, two or three melons would be listing to one side, half deflated like old footballs.

After a few days, all that fruit gave him horrid gas and then even more horrid diarrhea that he left all over the lawn as he waited for more tomatoes to sweeten and get fat and ready for him.

One day the dog was gone. He had been a stray before, perhaps he went on the road in search of low-growing peaches. Maybe Grandmother had him put down. If it came down to a dog or her ‘maters, fear for the dog.

She TOLD me she had found a home for him “in town.” Meaning Florence. You always hear about the dog of bad habits who gets sent “to live on a farm,” and they of course mean the vet has put him to sleep. But I like to think that for this good dog, it was really true. Maybe my Grandmother has a secret soft place in her that I never saw.

I like to think of this wary road dog somewhere in a town apartment. It would have been a small place that smelled like apple potpourri and had cabbage rose print on the sofa. There would have been an Old Dear with a soft bun of white hair, doting on him. Maybe he lived his whole long life out in a small warm place, getting fat on canned food, hot house grapes, and Bing cherries.

If he didn't. And I think he didn't. I don't want to know.

Posted by joshilyn at 5:02 PM | Comments (8)

November 18, 2006

Hi from Fairhope, Alabama

I’m with the Fairhope Posse (my beloved group of insane Southerny writers I have a huge collective crush on) at a lit-fest thing called Southern Writer’s Reading, I’m staying out at Joe Formichella and Suzanne Hudson’s place on the river. (I should put a FAIRHOPE POSSE link category in my links sections so you can easily find my hosts’ books and Tommy Franklin books and Beth Ann Fennelly books and Sonny Brewer books and Frank Turner Hollon books. I RESOLVE TO DO SO!)

It’s called Waterhole Branch. They have 7 acres and a fat yard dog who LEEEEEEEEEANS against your legs when you pet him and art on every wall and Fosters in the fridge. I don’t think they realize this yet, but I am not leaving. Ever. They let every cat who wants to stay have a bowl and a bed, and I feel like I prolly can too.

Karen Abbott and I drove down yesterday and managed to make a 5 hour drive last 8 through sheer small-animal-scurry-brain distractedness. We’d pull off to get gas, notice a bookstore and go to sign my store stock, notice a MOE’S and go see if they had Pellagrino (they did) notice a World Market and ague about whether it was a GROCERY store or a FURNITURE store, and go see, and it is actually some sort of WEIRD crafty looking place that has a few groceries AND a few furnitures. Win-Win.

Then we’d get back in the car and get on the highway and realize we hadn’t gotten gas. Luckily, the MONSTROUS Pellagrino meant we had to stop soon to pee, and while we FORGOT to pee, we did get GAS…on and on like that.

We had no breakfast before we left, and while on the road we ate:

½ a Bagel (tasted like a monkey. An OLD monkey. And old angry SALTY bad stale monkey who may have been dead a while. I don’t we even finished our halves.)
½ a small bag of Smartpop
A Sample Cube of gingerbread at a coffee place where we forgot to get coffee (but we DID pee)

By the time we got to Fairhope, LATE, I was so hungry and sick of the car I was ready to torch it and walk just to be doing something different. We parked by the Honey Baked Ham Café. We went in and they had a sandwich menu, but we eschewed it and asked if we could just get big hunks of HAM to chew at like carnivorous wildebeests.

We bought a mini ham platter and DRAGGED it outside as I think we were unwilling to do the kind eating we were about to do in PUBLIC. We went stumping across the road like a pair of ham-cannibal quasimodos and holed up in the car. We ripped into the packaging and fell to, snapping at the ham and gulping at it and maybe there was even a modicum of slavering, and AS GOD IS MY WITNESS, when I turned on the car to get the heater going while we ate our half pound of meat with a side of more meat, that old MC Hammer song was on the radio…

Can’t touch this!
I go around the world
From London to L.A.
It’s Hammer go Hammer, blah blah Hammer la Hammer
And the rest can blah blah something
Can’t touch this!

And then Karen looked up with half a chewed pig in her mouth and sang “HAM TIME!”

I almost choked to death.

I made Cherry Smashes (MAKER’S MARK FTW!) and Joe had all the things I had forgotten to get but needed to make them and he said

WHO IS YOUR DADDY?
And I said. YOU, JOE! YOU!
And he said, No. Lie. Frank Turner Hollon is your daddy.

Dude, he is right.

The only bad thing: Stinkin’ Frank has ripped his spine open in some terrible way and he is all GLOSSY with barbiturates and can’t stay up late. Or move. Or be upright. Other than that, this weekend is just about perfect.

Posted by joshilyn at 10:35 AM | Comments (14)

November 16, 2006

In Which I TOTALLY Rescue a Baby Goat. OH YES I DO!

And here YOU are, already thinking it must be metaphorical. Sez you.
I was on the earwig with Mir---

IMMEDIATE Digression: I love the earwig. I can screw it into my head and talk on the phone while in the car without endangering other motorists OR setting off Maisy Jane’s HIGHLY ATTUNED DANGER ANTENNA, because talking on a cell phone in the car is a SAFETY VIOLATION!

I think they must have had SAFETY WEEK at preschool. I lived through Sam-at-four’s SMUG reprimands every time I looked like I was about to imperil America by leaving a parking space at Target…

Him: MOMMY! You went back out of the parking space and did not LOOK BACK! That’s not SAFE!
Me: I DID look back.
…
Him: Well you didn’t look back ENOUGH.

Yeah. Thanks, kid.

I SWORE a MIGHTY OATH that any subsequent babies of mine would be SICK for all of safety week. Alas, that’s one of the downsides of having babies 5 years apart. I forgot about safety week in the ensuing years, and now Maisy has been SOAKING in it.

Four is an officious age, and safety week gives them the tools to find those glorious small moments when MOMMY is wrong and someone, SOME educated brave soul who understands the RULES OF SAFETY must sally forth and CORRECT Mommy in the smuggest, most insufferable voice IMAGINABLE. They take such UNBRIDLED RELISH in KNOWING the rules and quoting the rules and seeing no exceptions or gray areas----you know, MOST four year olds would make admirable DMV employees.

The other day I California Stopped my way through a DEAD-DEAD-DEAD intersection, and Maisy’s prim little voice came piping in from the backseat:

“MOMMY! You did not stop at that red! That’s … a SAFETY VIOLATION!”

It was almost physically impossible NOT to blurt out, “I totally paused!”

AND YET I MANAGED. I AGREED it was indeed a TERRIBLE safety violation and told her I hoped she would never perpetrate such horrors after she turned 27 and was allowed to get her drivers license.

I award me 50 mother points.

Anyway, so I was on the phone with Mir having a typical GIRLFRIEND conversation. They go something like this--- though this is the “Recently Engaged to Marry Otto” edition.

Her: Otto! Otto! Croon! Croon!
MeL Deadline! Deadline! Panic! Panic!
Her: Otto!
Me: …Michael C. Hall!
*pause for dreamy sighs*
Her: Question about anthologies?
Me: *TALK LOUDLY OUT OF MY BOTTOM IN AUTHORITATIVE MANNER*
Her: …Michael C. Hall!
*dreamy pause*
Her: SO anyway, Otto---
Me: WAIT! Can I call you right back? I have to go rescue a baby goat!
Mir: … um. Okay?

Granted that last is not the general way the conversations end. BUT there was a Baby Goat! And he was IN PERIL!

This is the same road I go down to get Sam every day----the road with the YARD CHICKENS, remember, and further down it, someone has put a goat pen in their front yard, right out in front of their craftsman style mcmansion. Well, where would you put YOUR goat pen? And this EXTREMELY teeny goat baby had gotten OUT through the fence mesh and was having some sort of seizure right by the side of the busy road.

I stopped the car in the drive and went over to investigate. He hadn’t so much as ESCAPED the fence as threaded himself through it, and now was yelling tiny baby goat yells and twitching miserably. I unthreaded him, and he stilled and looked at me with those flat gold alien eyes goats have and let me. Then he went trotting off to join the other goats.

Back in the car, Maisy said, “MOMMY! Do you KNOW that goat?”
Me: Well, we’ve not been formally introduced, but he seems nice enough.

After a long involved conversation about the LEVELS of how well one can TRULY KNOW a goat, I finally figured out what she was angling after…Going up to and touching strange dogs is a SAFETY VIOLATION, and she was hoping goats counted.

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

November 14, 2006

The Long Lick Good Morning

Four AM. The artist formerly knows as Waffles positions his enormous shaved personage on the corner of my bed and begins a long luxurious bathe. LICK! LICK! LICK! It is a carnival of loud raspy licking fun. It’s GROSS how much he ENJOYS it. It’s so DEDICATED and RHYTHMIC and ENDLESS. There is no sleeping through it. There is no stopping it.

It seems like something he’d want to do in private, or perhaps in SWEDEN, not HERE, on my bed in America, where SALACIOUS FELINE “mleh-tic, mleh-tic” sounds and moist, whistley nostril breathing have been banned and the penalty is NO BREAKFAST which, for Waffles, is synonymous with death. I ask him to stop in English and in cat.

In English, it goes like this, “SCHUBERT! STOP IT! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, GO BATHE DOWNSAIRS!”

To say it in cat, you simply hurl pillows.

None of it works. I end up pillowless and listening the endless, lugubrious pleasures of the bathe, feeling bitter toward Scott, who can sleep through ANYTHING. SO I get up and come down here and work on Chapter 5.

In other news, I am now getting 40 – 50 penis e-mails a NIGHT. I have to find some way to stop this spam. A lot of them are titled Hi, Joshilyn, which is how a lot of emails from readers are titled. So. I end up opening quite a few of them and reading and rereading and rereading the delightful news that I will

“Notice your penis to be wider during the first week of taking Penis Patch.”

Notice my penis to be wider? Does the patch help it widen? Or help me NOTICE? And do I WANT a penis to…widen???? I emphatically do not. Honestly, the literal translation thing SO RARELY works out.

There IS an upside, as my good friend Jill pointed out. I have 50 possible character names showing up in my box every morning. I will never have to resort to the 10,001 Baby Name Book again. I have this very morning alone received medical advice on how to NOTICE my penis widening by “taking” the entirely creepy sounding patch from

Earlene Slaughter,
Hilario McIntosh,
Annubis Delgado and, my personal favorite,
Jesus Schmegli

I SERIOUSLY welcome ANY advice on how to LOWER my wide penis spam volume while still retaining an easy way for readers to send me e-mails.

Posted by joshilyn at 6:03 AM | Comments (25)

November 13, 2006

What Kind of Paper?

Killed by my regularly scheduled events over here---I will catch you up soon--- but in the meantime, you have to go read about Butt Paper.

Don’t give me that look. You have to.

The writer is my best friend on God’s green earth, by the way. Dan is her husband. Benny is their son.

Posted by joshilyn at 1:02 PM | Comments (3)

November 9, 2006

Answer Comment Questions Day

BUT FIRST! THE HOLIDAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They are coming, you know. And with them comes present shopping in the dread malls of America. I personally finish my Christmas shopping BEFORE Thanksgiving or I get barn sour. I hate crowds and it brings my happy show down if I see mean people snapping at each other over the last BRATZ doll while a piped in Muzac version of Little Drummer Boy plays. I LOVE to shop for my family and friends though, but…malls? NO! NO! and NO AGAIN! This is why Al Gore invented the internet. So I can shop from home.

May I humbly suggest a signed, personalized first edition of gods in Alabama or Between Georgia? Or perhaps BOTH, if you RILLY like someone. I’m doing a Holiday Edition of the Virtual Book Signings I do with Alabama Booksmith…You have until the WEDNESDAY before Thanksgiving (That’s November 22nd) to get your orders in, and I’ll go by the BookSmith and sign em that day.

You can order here
or you can just CALL them at (205) 870-4242 and put your order in over the phone.

You’ll be supporting a ROCKIN’ independent bookstore, AND you’ll be supporting my novel writing, which allows me to buy little frivolities like food and medicine that make my life such a pleasure, AND you’ll get a portion of your holiday shopping done AND!!! You’ll have something personal and unusual to give Mom or your friend or your especial pet best auntie or your cousin Jack. Dude, we all win.

ONWARDS... In the spirit of Ze Frank ( Suh-Suh-Suh-Sumthin’ from the comments) I better answer some of the questions accumulating in the comments. It's like we're doing three questions, and you get to be me and ask, and I get to be the special guest answerer.

Speaking of my vastly overweight Walrus-Poodle, Jas said: Heck, he's a chunky kind of cat. My vet told me cats rarely overeat. Perhaps he is bored?

You know, perhaps he is. But he’s very world weary and jaded, and he cannot leave the house because he FIGHTS and he only has one eye. So. I’ve gone the cat toy route with him: Feather on a stick. Catnip mouse. Bell balls. I flail the stick around him and trail it along in front of him and hide it behind cushions and have it peek out at him, and he cocks the three-sprout of whiskers he calls an eyebrow and looks fondly down his nose at me, as if he thinks I am a very cute sort of disturbed person, and he hopes I am having a good time playing with my stupid feather thing.

He also has shown no interest in cooking classes, reading Proust, helping with the Domestic Engineering portion of my day, or watching Dexter on Showtime On Demand. The cat is clearly dead inside.

His favorite activity, when he DOES any sort of activity, is beyond my control. There’s this prissy little yaller cat with white feet, goes by Ginger, and Ginger likes to sit on our porch and sometimes our deck. When she does, Schubert’s one eye takes on a maniacal and murderous gleam, and he begins hurling his MASSIVE body at the closest window again and again and again, until the wall is shuddering, and all the while he releases this low pitched gravelly keening noise which I strongly suspect is the FIRST sound you hear should you be so unfortunate as to die and go to hell, the sound a TRULY happy deamon releases as it spots fresh meat.

I suppose I COULD get some sort of YALLER CAT DECOY and set it down on the porch as Trying To Bust Through The Wall and Murder Ginger is his aerobic activity of choice, but I’m not sure my windows could withstand a regular regime of such treatment.

Thus Sagt Edgy Mama: We need a shot of the ridiculous poodle tail up in the air, please?

I TRIED! Alas! He won’t HOLD it up in the air without LASHING IT ANGRILY. When he is at peace, the tail is at peace, and I have 30 pictures of an UPRIGHT LASHING POODLEY blur to prove it.

Desi, enchanted by the idea of HUGE FLOPPY FANTASY PANTS, asked, “by the way...where do you get those pants?”

First, you have to get my friend Amy pregnant. That’s key. Amy does pregnancy RIGHT, which means she gains as much weight as HUMANLY POSSIBLY without bursting her skin. Me too, by the way. I feel that pregnancy REQUIRES me to eat entire bags of revolting Palmer’s chocolate flavored wax, one after another.

ANYWAY. You get her pregnant. Then after she has the baby, she FINDS AND AQUIRES the pants to contain her post partum body. Then YOU have to get pregnant and gain as much weight as humanly possible. After Amy has returned to her normal size, you will have the baby, and she will GIVE you the fantasy pants. Three pairs in various Indian prints. It will make you feel good to wear them because even though they are large enough to contain the city of Amarillo, Texas, the tag staunchly proclaims them to be size “Medium.”

After you lose MOST of your baby weight (retaining 5 extra pounds forever PER baby, apparently) you do NOT pass the pants on to the next pregnant friend like you promised to do when the pants were gifted you. Instead, you decide to pretty much live in them whenever you are working. You can invite other people to come live in them too, whole crowds, but it might be distracting.

Good luck with the getting Amy pregnant, by the way. She already has three little rowdy boys. Also, her husband might not like you trying.

Posted by joshilyn at 8:23 AM | Comments (29)

November 7, 2006

Three Reasons Why You Should NOT Go Vote Today

1) If ALL of everyone everywhere would go ahead and NOT vote, then basically anyone I pick gets in. So. Just let me pick. If no one votes outside of Georgia, even, and I vote, I bet they will let me pick for other states too. You can be JUST as robbed, misled, and manipulated by the criminals *I* pick as by YOUR criminals…

2) If you don’t vote, the next time some boorish moron wants to discuss politics at dinner, you can say “Ah, but, see, none of us here voted. We let Joshilyn pick. So we don’t get to have an opinion. ALAS! We will have to talk about something else.” If you VOTE, you WILL be allowed to have an opinion and you will be defenseless against flat tax talk over appetizers and you will, God help you, be screaming at your former friends about the death penalty by the time you are divvying up the baked Alaska.

(Of course, the downside is if you DO get the boor off politics via NOT VOTING, he’s only going to swap out to religion, so maybe it would be SAFER to both NOT vote and to STOP INVITING THAT GUY TO DINNER. At least on the nights when you invite me...)

3) Have you noticed how much the volume of the ‘CANDIDATE JAMES “CRIME IS FUN” MCALVY WANST TO REMIND YOU TO VOTE ON TUESDAY’ calls have INCREASED? I swan, I got 15 yesterday. If you VOTE, you’ll just encourage them. Candidates will think the DON’T FORGET TO VOTE CALLS worked, and NEXT time we will get 30 a day.

Yesterday, trying to draft a RAWTHER tricksy bit of TGWSS, I thought I was going to stroke out if the phone rang just ONE MORE TIME and I answered to find a firm yet soothing contralto female voice or an authoritarian yet warm male voice reminding me via scratchy recording that this or that candidate wanted me to remember to vote.

By the time I was over ten calls, I was enraged. My HOME is also my WORKPLACE – imagine how you would feel if you got ten of these calls while trying to get your work done. Yeah – I was pretty much ready to murder people.

SADLY, at that moment, I got a call from a candidate who had ACTUAL ALIVE VOLUNTEER PEOPLE to do his calls instead of recordings.

Now, look, I HATE bad manners, I TRY to nevernevernever perpetrate them, but I had been driven like a wild dog to the cliff’s edge of my absolute endurance, and this call tipped me over, because, see, the recordings I can hang up on in 3 seconds flat, but a person you have to interrupt and excuse your way out of it. I had gotten a couple of live people before and I had handled it by gently saying, "You've called my office...are you supposed to call people at work? Can you please take this number out of your database?" and they would desist.

SO this POOR woman ---and as God is my witness I REPENT of this, I REPENT----this POOR woman, she says, “Hi, This is just a friendly call from candidate Steve Whatsi who is running for some judgeship or another, and we just want to remind you that your vote counts so---“
Me: What was the name again?
Her: Steve Whatsi
Me: I’m not voting for him.
Her: Oh…um…I ---
Me: I WAS going to vote for him. He’s my party. I dig his platform. But now I am not going to. (For the record, I have no idea what this guy's party or platform IS. wouldn’t know him if he walked up and bit me. I mostly vote a straight party ticket and go home.) So please tell the campaign manager that calling my house cost him a vote.
Her: Oh but ---
Me: In fact, if I get to the booth and it is him or a monkey. I am voting for the monkey.
Her: I am sorry we –
Me: If he is running unopposed, I am doing a WRITE IN vote for the monkey. Can you spell his last name please? I need to go call everyone I ever met and ask them not to vote for this guy.

At that point she hung up. I do NOT blame her. And I feel TERRIBLE now, but in the moment it was SO satisfying. And maybe if enough people take the TELL THE CAMPAIGN MANAGER THAT IF YOU CALL ME AGAIN I AM VOTING FOR A MONKEY approach, but with less irate rudeness to a poor volunteer and more unemotional, polite resolve, if we all say, gently, PLEASE INFORM THE DECISION MAKERS THIS TACTIC TURNS OF VOTERS, maybe the *&@&%|)#$^%@&^@^ # calls will stop.

Now you COULD say, in the reasonable and soothing voice you usually reserve for talking suicidal squirrels down off live electrical wiring, “But Bunny, you could have just TURNED THE PHONE OFF.”

But I would only roll my eyes at you and foam a little more and say, “NO because there were calls I WANTED to get, like from my friend LYDIA and my friend KAREN and my MOM.”

And you could then pat at me and say, “But BUNNY! You have CALLER ID, you could have simply not ANSWERED the ones from “unknown” or any 1 800 exchange.”

But then I would only turn red and leak brain blood out my eyes and use my harpy voice to shriek, BUT THEN IT RINGS FOUR TIMES AND CLOGS UP MY VOICEMAIL AND IT IS EASIER TO JUST ANSWER AND HANG UP BUT IT WOULD BE EVER MORE EASIER IF THEY DID NOT !@#^&@^+!^+#^@)( CALL ME AT HOME TO ELL ME WHY I SHOULD VOTE FOR A CRIMINAL WHO WILL PUSH THEIR POLITICAL AGENDA INSTEAD OF A CRIMINAL WHO HAS SAID HE WILL TRY TO PUSH *MY POLITICAL AGENDA* IF HE GETS A LITTLE TIME TO DO THAT IN BETWEEN CRIMES.

You would probably attempt to dab the huge beads of sweat from my fevered brow and say, But Bunny Rabbit…in those same MADDENING and RESASONABLE tones but I would never hear your next salvo because that’s about when I come after you with an axe and we have to involve the police and the kind of dart guns they use on wild kingdom, so maybe you should just skip the sweet reason portion of the program and go straight to giving the crazy-with-angry person all the mini milkyway darks out of your kid's halloween bucket.

MEANWHILE – I am off to vote. You don’t have to though. You stay home, safe and happy in the knowledge that the girl who just foamed and came after you with an axe is out at the polls RIGHT NOW, and she is picking FOR you.

You’re welcome!

Posted by joshilyn at 9:01 AM | Comments (20)

November 6, 2006

In Which I am Scrutiating Famous

Scutiating Famous thing one: I got to write about my POOR titling skills over at Southeast Review. YAY. If you look at the sidebar under my pic and bio about who all is in this issue, you can see my favorite poet, Beth Ann Fennelly is there too. YAR!

Scrutiating famous thing two : After a Friday CHOCK FULL of key-molesting on my fingers’ part, about when my brain was ready pop like an overfed tick, I realized I was late to go get Sam and Maisy at school and playgroup. I ALSO realized I looked like a crazy person.

I have these pants I like to write in. I call them my Fantasy Pants. They are ENORMOUS FLOPPY Indian print drawstring pants. They are so voluminous that several friends could fit in them, along with a nice dim sum cart and a cash bar, and this is WHILE I HAVE THEM ON. Maybe even the cat could come along, although that might be pushing it.

I was wearing my Fantasy Pants along with an equally floppy and voluminous black and gray striped sweater that I once spilled half a jug of olive oil on, which, you know, you can’t get that out. It has this weird oily Rorschach stain all down the front. Huge stain---bigger than my head, but with more fronds.

I’d shoved my wet hair into a ponytail earlier, and it had gone ahead and dried all the way, so when I took it down I had a limp strings with that Pony-holder HUMP thing going on, and I was pale and wild-eyed from lack of sleep and lack of make-up and I was barefoot. I had eased over the line and become slightly feral.

All I did before I left the house was exchange my Fantasy Pants for a dirty pair of jeans and stuff my sockless feet into loafers. Then I went and grabbed Maisy and we were off.

Now, I have a long time in between MAISY getting and Sam getting. 45 minutes. SO I keep a book and a toy/art bag in the car, and Maisy and I go park in the carpool line and I read and she poddles around in the back of the van, drawing crap and making her dolls have very long conversations about weddings.

DIGRESSION: I’ve been reading fantasy and sci fi as opposed to Southern fic and book club type things, just to keep the voice in head clear.

I’ve been reading, for examples…Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which is sort of what would happen if a J.R.R. Tolkien book and a Jane Austen book ate a mushroom circle and ended up making a baby while at the Unseelie Court. In other words, it’s 850 pages of Awesome.

I JUST finished Neil Gaimon’s Anansi Boys, which is like what would happen if Neil Gaimon and African Folklore --- oh nevermind. It’s great. If you are going to only ever read ONE Neil Gaimon book, let it be AMERICAN GODS, but if you are going to go ahead and read TWO, let the second be Anasi Boys. And I swear, beloveds, by the time you read those two you will give up and be hooked and go ahead and read ‘em all.

When I say I had JUST finished, I mean that very literally, I got almost to Sam’s school when I realized I had NO READS. SO, we popped over to the bookstore, and I caught a glimpse of myself in the rearview mirror and almost didn’t get out. LORD but I looked like crazy hell.

BUT! Desperate times call for desperate measures. 45 Minutes in a carpool line with no book…I would not survive it. I picked up Maisy and ran like a roach along the wall to hide in Fantasy and Science Fiction and Horror, and discovered that I fit right in. The only other patron in that section with me was still IN his fantasy pants. So. It was fine. I ran my fingers along the titles looking for something tasty to read, then I sat down to see the low shelves, and Maisy sat down, and we were kinda TAKING UP the little aisle.

Woman: Excuse me
Me: OH! I’m sorry. Didn’t see you. Maisy come out of the way.
Maisy: *completely blocking her* MY MOMMY IS LOOKING FOR A BOOK TO READ.
Me: Maisy, let her pass, hon.
Maisy: THEN WE CAN LOOK FOR A BOOK FOR ME! IF I AM GOOD! MY MOMMY SAYS IT IS ALWAYS OKAY TO GET BOOKS BUT NOT SUGAR OR TOYS.
Me: Sorry. Sorry. *Picking up Maisy*
Woman: You look a little like Joshilyn Jackson. (Subtext: If Joshilyn Jackson had recently been found dead under a log.)
MAISY: THAT’S HER THAT IS MY MOMMY’S NAME.
Me: Hi. *dies*
Woman: No way! I have your books up at the register. I was just buying them and I ran back to get this. *holds up another book*

SO, I went up and signed her book and wished I could burn to ashes or at least put lip gloss on, but man….THAT WAS SO COOL. That’s never happened before. And I find it a LITTLE heartening that even looking FERAL I am still recognizable from my airbrushed, professional hair and make up, beautifully lit Author Photo. Or at least, that I am recognizable as looking a LITTLE like the woman in that picture. If she was dead. And had been under a log for an unspecified amount of time…

Posted by joshilyn at 9:34 AM | Comments (18)

November 2, 2006

(more than) 3 Questions with Laurie Stolarz

OH MY BEST BELOVEDS --- I am hip deep in TGWSS this week and neglecting you like a sorry scumbag. I haven’t anything to blog about ANYWAY. If I were to tell you about my days this week (and I believe you should thank me for NOT telling you, but If I DID) it would look something like this:

“SO yesterday, I sat in my office, and I have these little BUTTONS, you know, like, with LETTERS on them, and when I press them REALLY REALLY FAST using only two fingers on my RIGHT hand and the NAUGHTY BIRDY finger from my left, the WEIRDEST thing happens. A NOVEL comes out! A novel with REALLY A LOT OF TYPOS. Fancy!”

Apparently there is some MEME called love Thursday that happens every Thursday and you are supposed to blog about love. Okay. For example, Mir got engaged, so she cleverly waited until Thursday to tell you, when it would be TOPICAL. GRATZ! Me and my LETTER BUTTONS, alone together, have no such momentous love-drenched news, so I can only say this for Love Thursday: I heart me some copy editors. All of them. Everywhere. You are a blessing upon the earth, long may you live and thrive.

Things I Do NOT heart:
Snooty touch typists who make it look effortless.
Roaches.

But I do like BOX SETS. -Warning! Segue spotted off the port bow!

Laurie Faria Stolarz writes YA---she’s got a box set of her colorfully titled and widely popular series about Stacey Brown, a typical teenager who worries about getting good grades and falling in love, but who also happens to be a hereditary witch who is blessed-or cursed-with a gift for prophetic dreams. Just in time for Christmas! But today she is here to talk about her new book, Bleed.

School Library Journal says BLEED is “…a funny, yet poignant book of interconnecting short stories in which the lives of 10 teenagers are seamlessly woven together….The author demonstrates the ability to identify with today’s teen experience…”

bleed.jpg

JJ: Can you talk a little about the significance of your title and how you came up with it?

LS: There is blood in each of the stories – sometimes literally and sometimes metaphorically – but, also, there’s a bleeding effect overall. The novel is made up of ten individual stories, ten different points of view, and the consequence of each character’s actions “bleeds” into the lives of all the other characters.

JJ: A lot of writers read this blog----how did you find an agent?
LS: I found a book that I thought was comparable to mine in terms of audience, marketability, genre, and manner of storytelling, and I sent a query to that author’s agent.

JJ: What's a day in your life like?

LS: I have a toddler so you’ll often find me at one of his favorite parks, playing baseball, soccer, or drawing with chalk. I also love to cook (particularly vegetarian cuisine) and he often helps me. I’m big into yoga and Pilates, so I practice everyday. And, oh yeah, I’m a writer, too, so I’m constantly at the computer working on my current project.

Jj: I know you are a blogger, too. Why do you blog and does it feed you or take energy from you?

LS: I blog to keep in touch with my readers. I’m fortunate to receive between 50 and 100 e-mails from readers each week (mostly readers dedicated to my Blue is for Nightmares series). I blog to keep in touch with them (in addition to answering their e-mails). It does take a lot of energy and I often don’t know what to write about – playing at the park with my son or doing four loads of laundry doesn’t seem exciting enough to report to teens.

THANKS, LAURIE!

Posted by joshilyn at 8:20 AM | Comments (8)