So my favorite lawyer-slash-reprobate-slash- penner-of-superfine-fiction assumed that the YOU in my open letter was actually him, and the triple mysterious enigma that is frank turner hollon wrote me back and said:
Oh ! The tortured writer routine. I tried that once. My wife punched me in the face and told me to take out the trash. It wasn't until the swelling went down I realized she was right.
I intend to contact each resident of the little Alabama town, including the box-headed dogs and the dead donkey, and file a big fat class action lawsuit against you, the Yetti, your publishing company, and perhaps your friend, name redacted. These people will not be mocked by some rich-girl Atlanta socialite who thinks fifteen channels is not enough.
What would be enough, Missy ?
Frank Hollon, Esquire
SO I wrote him back, and may I say he drove me all the way to PROFANITY and I am heartily sorry, and shall name redact THAT too and replace the BAD WORD with little stars for the gentle minded among us, aka, my mom:
DUDE! I AM TOO tortured, and people who live in the glass house of "I dictate my entire novel to my secretary" should not be tossing rocks about with such mad abandon. I got the hotel for a WEEK, a WEEK mind you for 120 American dollars. 120 bucks for 5 nights. SO. The room smelled like dog, but it had electricity. I love my husband, who let me go, and only punches me in the face if I smart mouth him. Like I am about to smart mouth you.
Prepare to feel like the s*** you are. I am essentially writing about my grandmother, and she UP AND UNEXPECTEDLY DIED in the middle of this book. Now I am butt up against my deadline and I had a two month period where I couldn't write about her. YES, YOU FEEL BAD NOW, and so I will be needing I think 128 channels, thank you, with the final one being GAMESHOW NETWORK because I am the teeniest bit hot for Gene Rayburn.
If you still do not feel heartily sorry for me, may I remind you the hotel HAD NO PORN.
The chastened and elusive Mr. Hollon replied thusly:
You say Yeti, I say Yetti. Either way, the old hairy man is 40. May he live forever.
I am sorry about your Grandmother. I'm sure she would have liked to see the book finished, however, you have skillfully avoided the legal issue of stealing the soul of that little Alabama town for your personal gain. Prepare for litigation.
I didn't say I dictated my novels to my secretary. I said my secretary actually writes the novels and I sign my name at the end. It's a much better method than holing up in a suite eating raspberry danish all day in your pajamas for a week agonizing over every vowel.
Deadlines were made to be broken.
He is my favorite. I do not know why. He just is. And his secretary is one HECK of a writer. You should go buy his latest book which I have not read yet, because of all the suffering I am doing with my VOWELS. I havenâ€™t read ANYTHING *suffersuffesuffer* and I am jonesing. If you donâ€™t want to read one I havenâ€™t read yet, I will tell you THE GOD FILE remains my favorite of his, although the one I linked to at the TIPPY TOP of this entry tried VERY hard to displace it.
ALSO you should buy it because my editor has NO DOUBT read this entry and SEEN HIM tell me that deadlines are made to broken, so by this time she has dispatched ninjas to murder him in his bed. His wife and little children will need the royalties to give him a decent send off. He wants to be cremated at sea, which will involve a flammable bed of planks and an untold number of expensive sets of water wings to keep him buoyant. He is a great big fella.
MEANWHILE! May I just say that THIS is the kind of ABUSIVE MAIL I GET from my little circle of lunatics? While my friend KAREN, whose book is not even OUT yet, gets fan mail like this through her MY SPACE PAGE:
Wzup! I just thought you were a jazzy female so what about me & you getting to know each other. Iv'e been only staying here for a lil time. I'm from (New Orleans) 25 with no kids. I do good for myself and stay by myself on the Westside. It would be my pleasure if I could conversate with a beautiful female like yourself. So if thats sounds gravy holla back atcha Whoodie. Another thing I hate typing so if its cool I drop you a # that would be a relief for me. Holla back @ your dude ASAP!
HMPH! Sheâ€™s feeling SHAMELESSLY pleased that boy in his EARLY TWENTIES found her hit-up-on-able. And *I* turned 39 today---TODAY!!!! 39!!!! And may need MORE than 128 channels after all.
I am OLD and my husband is OUT OF TOWN on my BIRTHDAY andandand I am so completely the OPPOSITE of cool that I had had to look up WHOODIE on Urban Dictionary, and if you are under 25 now would be a good time to hit on me just to make me STOP the ENDLESS pity party and busy myself sticking your hip-slang-infested mash note in Karenâ€™s face.
Now you say, JOSHILYN! YOU SURE HAVE HAVE BLATHERED ON A WHOLE LOT! Does this mean you finished the novel? And I, who have been up since four this AM working on it turn a glaring, bloodshot eye your way and say, â€œShut. Up.â€
Or perhaps I say, â€œShut up and mail me a secretary.â€
I donâ€™t think you quite got the idea of HOLE, and CRAWL IN and PULL HOLE AFTER. I was not at the kind of Hotel that had a spa. Or room service. Or the TV menu that lets you pick recent movie releases and watch them for 12 bucks. The TV, in fact, had about 15 channels. No HBO.
The thing they called the gym was a janitorâ€™s closet with an empty crystal springs water dispenser, a single treadmill, and a pile of rubble that claimed to have been , at some point or another, an exercise bike. The continental free breakfast was the kind of individually bagged Danish you get out of Snack Machines and sludgy coffee with milk powder. Barren. Sparse. Wasteland. Sensory deprivation. SO UTILITARIAN was this tiny space that a person could not even order in pR0n.
It was a 300 square foot room with a bed, a computer desk, a sofa, and a mini kitchen complete with fridge and stove so I could take groceries there and not leave ever for even a minute. I had Scott take some of the guts out of my laptop so I had no internet. Then I packed one pair of jeans, one sweater, a buncha underpants and work out togs and 4 or 5 pairs of pajamas. I basically lived in pajamas for 7 days, eating South Beach frozen dinners and drinking COPIOUS amounts of coffee.
Now you say: WOW! THAT SOUNDS SO HOLE-LIKE and SPOOKY AND YOU ARE BRAVE AND GOOD AND TRUE!
And I say look pitiful and knit my eyebrows together and say: I AM! It WAS! PET MY HAIR!
And then you say: But HURRAY, you finished the book!
And I say: Shut. Up.
I am CLOSE, though, okay? Veryveryvery close. I am about Â½ way through the last chapter, although I already have 3 pages of single spaced notes of things I have to go back and tinker with in earlier sections.
This book has been HARD on so many levels----Usually, writing a book, I throw out about 60 thousand words to end up with 85 or 90 thousand words. I bet I have thrown away 150 thousand words so far, and I am not done throwing them out yet. This actually my third pass at the last chapter, and yesterday, when I checked out of the hotel, I realized I couldnâ€™t; write the last chapter until I drove over to Alabama and LOOKED at this town I am using all through the book---I call it DeLop in the book, but it is VERY much based on a real town actually, and Oh My Best Belovedsâ€¦.I spent yesterday there. Let me tell you, if I ACTUALLY and ACCURATELY described this town in my book, you would toss the book away and be mad at me for overblown hyperbolic tall tale telling. Real life is SO very weird, and it is almost always the few things in my books that I do NOT make up that I have to dial down to make them believable as fiction.
Case in point: In gods in Alabama, remember Phoebe the Chicken? Well. There really WAS a pet chicken like that, but I had to pare down the details of my fictional Phoebeâ€™s life in gods or every reader would have thought Iâ€™d gone SO over the top that they never would have forgiven me. The REAL Phoebe, hand to God here, had little OUTFITS that tied on like aprons, like a red white and blue star spangled fourth of July one, and little tie on hats and, no really, wait for it, wait for itâ€¦WIGS. SO. Tell me you would buy THAT in a bookâ€¦Fortunately, the REAL chicken did not meet the same fate as MY Phoebe. The REAL Phoebe lived for almost 20 years and then she died and the lady who owned her got an identical chicken, namedâ€¦Phoebe. Not even Phoebe 2. Lordy people are weird, and who knew chickens could live for decades?
Anyway, I spent all day yesterday driving around this crazy small town with my dad and snapping pictures surreptitiously with a teeny tiny camera because if the residents had seen us taking pictures they might have killed us and put us down the quarry hole and we would never have been seen again. No, Really.
We saw one trailer parked on a grassy lot with well over 50 ceramic ducks and geese and swans in all sorts of STAGED SCENES. Like one big enormous stone duck was leading a trail of small assorted water fowl toward a plastic kiddy pool full of greened out old rainwater. The duck house was across from this crazy survivalistâ€™s decaying double wide that was SO dilapidated it looked like it was melting into the soil. He had about 50 kinds of fencing all tied together with chain and barbed wire and BEWARE OF DOG signs everywhere. In the back were two pit bulls with heads as big as boot boxes and alligator mouths, and they were sitting staring out at me, flanking a HUGELY OBESE and EXHAUSTED donkey. The donkey was dead asleep with its nose in the dirt and I could smell the dogs from the car.
SO I AM BACK and must now go write the last chapter.
OH PS You, my niece asked me when she could read Between â€“ she is in middle school. I said, â€œWhen you are in high school.â€ She said, â€œCOOL, when can I read gods,â€ and I said, â€œWhen you turn 35.â€
That said, At 10 years old I snuck Alex Haleyâ€™s ROOTS under the covers and read it with a flashlight, and I am not sorry. At eleven I read JAWS and THE GODFATHER and THE THORNBIRDS. I would let a kid read an R rated book YEARS before I would think they were ready for an R rated movie. Sixteen, I would hand the kid the book and be done with it. Fifteen? Judgement call---it depends on the kid. You know your kid better than I do.
Scott always takes the kids when I get to a point when I have to draft. He leaves town with them, and I work in silence and glorious peace. That can't happen right now, and yet I have to write the VERY VERY end of this book. This week. NOW, in fact. SO since Scott can't leave, I am. I'll be holed up in a hotel for the next week with no internet. I'll be back next Sunday.
We who are about to crawl into a hole and pull the hole in after us salute you. See you soon.
To Love: The fabulous Deb Richardson interviewed me over on Create a Connection. I am so sleep deprived I messed up the timeline of MY OWN LIFE thoughâ€¦I wrote the story that had Arlene in it in Chicago, not the first part of the novel, and I wrote the second novel in Georgia, too.
Smoke crack much? You ask.
And I reply, Shut yer Pie Hole, I DO NOT. Much.
To Not Love: I found STITCHES in my dogletâ€™s former man-parts. Whoever did the surgery to make him UN-PUPPY-ABLE forgot to remove the METAL STITCHES. It looks like he has little bits of barbed wire threaded through the skin of his dangly bits.
YES! I know I have had the dog two weeks and am JUST NOW NOTICING, but I am NOT a bad dog owner. Ask yourself, â€œHow much time should a person spend up close and personal, inspecting their dogâ€™s testicular area?â€
If you answered ANYTHING other than, â€œZERO time,â€ please seek help.
Yesterday Bagel turned over for a belly rub in the back yard, and the sun REFLECTED off the silver wire so that his former testicles GLINTED at me in a bedazzling manner. So I looked. You would have looked too. And HOLY CATS, there was all this WIRE hidden. POOR guy. That CANNOT be comfortable. SO itâ€™s back to the vet today.
To Love: Odie the dog. *hat tip* to the esteemed Lady Snark for the tip and PSâ€¦ do you think Miss Snark is a MAN!??? Like, if YOU truly wanted to remain anon, right, why not take on a stiletto wearing, poodle owning, FEMALE persona and have everyone thinking you are Janet Reid, When REALLY the whole time you are one of the boys at Writerâ€™s House. It would be SO VERY Crying Game!
To Love: Miss Snark and Not just for the link to Odie.
To Love again: All the Iâ€™m a MAC, Iâ€™m a PC commercials. They just get BETTER. And they WORK in an insidious and influencing manner. I am beginning to want a MAC.
To Not Love: The Commercial where all these people experience WONDER AND AWE and say WOW. New baby? WOW! Sunset over mountains? WOW! Halfway through the commercial, I got the point. That they were going to show me a PRODUCT that was WOW in the end. Then the product was VISTA, the new Windows operating system that has already been SO perfectly mocked by the Iâ€™m a MAC, Iâ€™m a PC guys in â€Securityâ€ that I though to myself. â€œThatâ€™s really not even HALF as wow as the deer in the guyâ€™s yardâ€¦â€
To Love: The New PAPERBACK Cover for Between:
To Love: I will be at Southern Voices this weekend. Scott is going WITH me so thatâ€™s always BIG FUN! Hope to see you there!
For Valentines day, my husband gotâ€¦. A bag of chips. I would like to say they came with a card that said â€œYouâ€™re all that and...(here you open the card) A BAG OF CHIPSâ€ and then inside there would be a clue leading him the basement where his REAL present was, and it was something romantic, like a silk boxers draped over the head of a new putter, or maybe even a POWER TOOL (nothing says romance to my guy like something from CRAFTSMAN) but alas. It was pretty muchâ€¦ a bag of chips. With a card that something like â€œHI! I AM MOODY AND IMPOSSIBLE! AND YOU MARRIED ME! STUCK FOR LIFE!!! HA HA HA!â€ It did express those sentiments in pink script and the dots over the Iâ€™s were little hearty-hearts, so there was that.
The truth is I am trying to finish this book, and I FORGOT it was Valentineâ€™s day. Somehow. Scott came home yesterday with the kids and all their crap for school, and watching Sam and Maisy tape Superman and Disney Princess Tattoo cards to tiny bags of gummy hearts, I realized what day was loomingâ€¦
SO TODAY, since I pretty much only left my computer screen long enough get MILK, I did my Valentineâ€™s day shopping on the RAVAGED SHELVES of Kroger. There were a few boxes of chocolates (HALF PRICE! But he doesnâ€™t like themâ€¦) and some stuffed animals made by oppressed children in third world countries, (depressing and he doesnâ€™t really LIKE stuffed animals either) and in the floral department I found a BALLOON with a with a TRULY UNATTRACTIVE google eyed dog on it and the dog was saying â€œIâ€™ve got my eye on YOU, Valentine!â€ in this VAGUELY THREATENING manner with a big FANG jutting over his lip, and the balloon was tied to some DKNY moisturizer. â€œFOR MEN,â€ the moisturizer assured me, trying to look manly in its khaki and brown packaging. Butâ€¦dudeâ€¦.
Metro, he is not. He is more of a BEAR RASSLINâ€™ type, really, and I would have been more true to his inner self had I found him a balloon with a NICE dog on it that said â€œReal men donâ€™t moisterize. Periodâ€ and tied it to some GRAVEL.
SO. There I was, in Kroger. The cards were all terrible leftover things with RHYMES in them, (Oh Husband! Iâ€™m so glad I married you! Never has there been a love so true!) so I got the blankest one I could and wrote my own note. And then I got him chips. Because he LIKES chips, which was more than I could say for any of the other options.
Bad. Bad. Wife.
PS Did I meantion I got a REALLY pretty bracelet?
PPS and a card said that â€œWife, you are a hottie" And then you open it and says â€œTrue Datâ€ and saying TRUE DAT to each other is this LONG STAN|DING joke we do based on TEEN GIRL SQUAD.....(another geek test, oh yea!) and so the jewelry made me misty and then the card made me laugh so hard diet Cherry coke came out my nose.
Yeah. I know. He is the very best one, ever.
I am thinking he has big time cosmic owesies coming his wayâ€¦next V-day, he better JUMP BACK, because I am going to step up my game and throw in some onion dip and a six pack. Yee Haw.
Letâ€™s all say Comcastic together, and letâ€™s say it like it is the dirtiest word in the universe. The cable, she has been fritzing on and off and on and off and on and off, leaving me without internet, phone or television for long stretches. ALWAYS the stretches when I want to blog or when Supernatural is on, as if the cable KNOWS Scott is out of town and I am electronically helpless.
ALL the major appliances know Scott is out of town.
The heater, crouched in the attic like an evil Dalek, keeps snuffing its own pilot light and then giggling in an evil robot voice. It is, by the way, FREEZING here. The heater is just WAITING for me to try and fix it alone. SO far I have thwarted it by calling Scott every stinking time and having him walk me through the RELIGHT, but if he doesnâ€™t come home soon, I am going to mistakenly believe I understand the process, and EXTERMINATE myself. The unit will shield itself, explode the house, the kids, the dog, the cat and me, and sail off unharmed to try to assassinate Christopher Eccleston. <----by the way, if you followed the references in this paragraph, you are an ENORMOUS geek. You have no defense. ACCEPT IT.
(The following Digression is for geeks only. Cool people should leap down to the next paragraph: I think Christopher Eccleston is the hottest man since Spock. I am not kidding. TOTAL huge crush. Double yum, ears and all. When he showed up as The Invisible Man on Heroes last week, I leapt up and screeched THAT IS DOCTOR WHO! WITH A BEARD! WHERE IS THE TARDIS??? WHERE IS ROSE TYLER???? DOCTOR! STOP BEING INVISIBLE AND GET A HAIRCUT AND LETâ€™S MAKE OUT! The dog looked at me accusingly, like I was Hester Prynne, but if the DOGâ€™S husband had left HIM for ten days, he might consider a brief snog with a Time Lord, too. Not much worse than a Judgemental Canine. Sheesh.)
Back to the great appliance revoltâ€¦The dishwasher has FALLEN THROUGH THE FLOOR. I canâ€™t explain it any better than that. It is still in the kitchen, mostly. Itâ€™s just fallen through the floor a LITTLE. Itâ€™s TILTED or something. Like there is a sub floor under the real floor and the back half of the washer has busted through and SUNK three inches. If you kick it and scream profanities, you can get the door wedged open and shove dishes in, so I guess this one is hardly worth mentioning...
The hot water heater is vile and ailing. One day, MONTHS ago, I ran Maisyâ€™s bath and the water came out looking like LIPTON TEA. Scott went and talked to his friend the internet (see, he was HOME, so the CABLE worked) and then he bought a part and dragged some tools off to a secret place where the water heater lives. (NO idea where that is, quiet frankly, and I never saw a thing loitering around the basement or the attic or a closet or wherever they live and said THAT MUST BE THE WATER HEATER. They could be as mythical as UNICORNS and Scott could have "fixed the water heater" by sacrificing a bullock on the Magic Water Gods altar for all I know. I wouldn;t say, OH LOOK! A WATER HEATER, if one came into the kitchen and made itself a grilled cheese. I don't know if they are the size of a bread box or a buick, even. They are a mystery wrapped in an enigma to me, and I LIKE IT THAT WAY)
He banged tools around and later he said, â€œI replaced the blahblahblah and ran the blah blah to flush out the blahhhhhhhhhh. It is now fixed butâ€¦itâ€™s not forever. The tea color is RUST â€“ the system is OLDâ€¦Next time this happens, we have to replace the water heater. Could last a week. Could last another year.â€ It lasted four months, WAITING for him to leave town, and now we have Lipton water again and I am just taking fast showers and telling myself rust is full of skin antioxidants that reduce fine lines and encourage the production of collagen.
Just in case the fast showers weren;t making me smell bad enough, the washer and dryer are broken. Most times, the washer and dryer wash and dry clothes. This happens several times a week, all without my interference or even understanding. Sometimes, all my things are dirty, and I say, â€œOH BOOGERS, I have no SOCKS!â€ and I steal some of Scottâ€™s. Soon after that, I hear the washer chugging away, and then the hum of the dryer, and BOOM! I have socks again, neatly folded together in happy pairs and resting in the sock drawer.
NOW? With Scott gone? They just donâ€™t seem to DO that, even though ALL THE BASKETS ARE FULL OF FILTHY THINGS and I have said SEVERAL TIMES now that the sock situation is becoming dire. Yesterday I worked out in a pair of black yellow toe dress socks that I pilfered from Scottâ€™s drawer, and STILL the washer remained silent and dry. Itâ€™s like Scott not only left TOWN, but he took the magic washer fairies with him. Thatâ€™s just cold.
Much like my house, now that I think of itâ€¦freakinâ€™ heater system, and I canâ€™t call Scott to walk me through it at 5 am.
We who are about to blow ourselves up salute you.
Did I tell you that Scott is out of town? For another ten day jaunt? He will return on MONDAY. Forecast: Cloudy with a high of Mental Illness Number.
Itâ€™s all a matter of balance, though, you know. Good and bad.
For example â€“ BAD:
My smallest child threw up all over the foyer last night. I mean ALL over. I scooped her up as soon as wave one ended and rushed her to the bathroom. SO thatâ€™s bad. And she always seems to WAIT until Scott gets out of town before puking. Itâ€™s like she SAVES it for me as PUNISHMENT for letting Scott and Sam do the lionâ€™s share of litter box cleaningâ€¦
But then, also, there is GOOD:
We now have a dog.
That IS good, as long as you do not think about it too hard. <----Note how I switch to second person here. Itâ€™s a distancing trick, saying YOU instead of I, and it helps me not think about how these two GOOD and BAD statements are inherently connected.
By the way, let me also report to you that FAIRIES! Yes, you heard me, FAIRIES! drifted in on gossamer wings and CLEANED UP THE FOYER while I was upstairs helping Maisy be sick in the proper receptacle. Why that floor positively SPARKLED with a damp sheen of umâ€¦.fairy slobber.
Also, completely not connected, did you know you can brush a dogâ€™s teeth if you suddenly feel moved to do so? Itâ€™s true! I read how on the internet when I had an absolutely inexplicable desire to try it out. Immediately. Bagel rather enjoyed it and I suspect had experienced it before in his former life, as the toothbrush did not alarm him.
While I have you, allow me to tell you something else I INSIST is completely not connected to any of my previous revelations: my dog was allowed to OD on Dental Bones treats last night.
Other things I am NOT thinking about: The behavior I just positively reinforced.
Maisy fell asleep around nine, and Bagel and I lolled in bed together, watching House. (Bagel thinks that Lindsey is SO Spunky!) I kept breaking off little pieces of Dental Boney goodness, one after another, and poking them into his willing maw as we cuddled up, both of us with our freshly brushed teeth, both of us waiting for Maisy to call us in for wave two with HIGHLY VARYING DEGREES OF ENTHUSIASM.
Maisy STOPPED however. SO it was likely NOT a virus, just something she ate disagreed with her. Whatever it was, and here we pause and thank a Just and Merciful God, it went on to live in perfect harmony with the dog.
GRAMMAR came up as an aside in a recent entry over at one of my FAVO blogs, Miss Snark. Go read the entry AND THE COMMENTS and then come backâ€¦.
My response: Yikes.
I tried to leave a comment, but it kept sounding panicked and self justifying and defensive, so I crept away, tail tucked, and decided to be panicked and self justifying and defensive HERE instead of pouring it all over Snarktown. I left, but not before I---in an act of masochism SO SUPREME it could rightfully be called masochism bel grande----looked back farther in the snarkives and saw the last time I left a comment of Miss Snarkâ€™s blog, it had no fewer than 5 typos/errors, and probably more I didnâ€™t spot as I glanced over it, burning with white hot fevered shame. So. Full confession time. I did my standard disclaimer about my inability to write CLEAN sentences in blog entry and cited time constraints. And thatâ€™s true. Up to a point. PROOFING would take me twice as long as it took to write the dern thing --- FOUR times as long if I wanted to actually catch more than 75% of the errors.
When it comes to my own work, I am BLIND to homophones. I THERE when I mean THEY'RE or THEIR. I Proscribe Prescriptions and prescribe proscroptions. I have such a diffused understanding of defuse I should release both from the stable of my vocabulary while singing BORN FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEE, and never try to harness them again. I let sleeping dogs Lie or Lay, just as they choose, and I made so MANY breathe/breathe errors in my first MS I am surprised my editor did not have me assassinated.
I even CALLED her when the copy edited MS came and I saw that over the course of 400 pages I had not ONCE used either word correctlyâ€¦ This was gods in Alabama, our first book together, and I thought, â€œGREAT! Now my new editor thinks I am brain damaged.â€ So I called.
Me: *in desperate tones* I need you to know I DO know the difference between Breath and Breathe. Breath is a NOUN. BREATHE with an E is a verb. I DO KNOW! I DO, I DO, I SWEAR, AND I NEEEEEEEEED YOU TO KNOW I KNOW.
Her: I accept that you know. Perhaps Iâ€™ll assume it was a [political protest of some sort. If it makes you feel better, you are the first person I have seen use the word nonplussed correctly this yearâ€¦
Me: Yes. Okay. But THAT was probably an accident.
There is a REASON I spent more words in my acknowledgements thanking my copy editor than I have thanking my mom.
An editor who bid on one of my books once sent a letter to my agent that said MANY MANY GLORIOUS KIND THINGS. The word GENIUS, I confess, was bandied about, and my mind was compared to a warm bedroom and rollercoaster in the same â€˜graph. Delicious. Itâ€™s a letter I KEPT for dark days when the writing is going poorly and I suspect I should go get an accounting degree and stop tormenting hapless gerunds who, after all, never did anything to MEâ€¦But in all this praise â€“ some of the nicest things anyone has EVER said about my work---- is this sentence:
â€œAt one point I was prompted to wonder how a mind so brilliant could be so consistently baffled by something as simple as the possessive plural.â€
I am going to hell. I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW.
Rather than beating myself up EVERY DERN DAY, I have excuses that allow me to live with myself.
I say: Metaphorically speaking I DO NOT CARE if my socks match, as long as my feet are warm.
I say: I get so interested in STORY and CHARACTER that when I am writing, I do not really LOOK AT THE WORDS like, you know, words.
I say: I CAN reliably grade a freshman comp paper, but I CANNOT see those same errors in my work.
I say: I have an EAR for language â€“ I read everything I write out loud and I can HEAR when the structure is wrong, but I can't LOOK at a sentence and see what's wrong, hence the homophone and spelling problems....
All these things are true. But knowing that doesnâ€™t help me forgive myself when I reverse the N and G in EVERY ING word type. I feel SUCH shame over this ---especially reading comments like the ones that state with such authority that people (read: I) MUST NOT be able to WRITE a story simply because they (read: I) canâ€™t write an error free SENTENCE. â€œThese are not the same skill sets,â€ I want to yell. â€œNot every perfect English teacher can write a freakinâ€™ novel, and not every novelist can diagram one of Henry Jamesâ€™s gorgeous convoluted monstrosities.â€
I think this is part of my genetic poison, the A or F dichotomy that is INHERENTLY the gift and curse of every Jackson. Iâ€™ll talk about that more later. Right now I have to go lie down with a compress on my head and have self-pitying vapors.
I HAVE NOT HAD INTERNET FOR TWO DAYS NOW. We just got it back last night. SO. That is where I have been. And LAURA, of COURSE I read the comments. I check to see if there are new comments approximately every fifteen minutes all day long, when I am SUPPOSED to be working. But not when I have no internetâ€¦*martyred sigh*
There is a secretly a segue here, you just canâ€™t see it yet: my friend Julie has a most dreadful baby. He is a climb-y and a get-y, and if you look away from him for fifteen seconds, he will be standing in the center of the dining room table, an open bottle of household poison in one hand and a stick in the other, and heâ€™ll be readying to have himself a big old swallow while whacking at the chandelier like itâ€™s a piÃ±ata.
Itâ€™s partially the AGE â€“ heâ€™s nearing two, but Julieâ€™s other kids never courted hairy immediate death with such ceaseless vigor. Neither did mine. This kid is something special. Evil Ka-Baby-Nievel. He is also the most sweet natured, calm, smiley, low key child I have ever seen. When Julie takes him from the table, takes his stick, peels his fat fingers off the neck of the bottle of poison, he shrugs with good cheer and goes prowling off to find a fork to stick in an outlet or see if he can use the rain gutter to climb up onto the roof.
On Wednesday, they came over for a play date before church supper. The four older kids ran the dog down to a happy rag in the yard, and Julie and I chatted while she pulled her youngest child out of the knife drawer, off perilous steep basement stairs, down from high tottery barstools, and out from under the TV/DVD/Cable Box table where he was deciding which wire looked like the tastiest one to sink his teeth into and fiddling with the surge protector.
So after church supper, I sat down to blog the ongoing dog-cat friendship negotiationsâ€¦
(Dog: What of I come up toward you a LITTLE sideways and circle you while I make ingratiating whining noises, low in my throat? THEN can we be friends???
Cat: Sure. We can do that. Just as soon I see the demons of hell are strapping on ice skates.)
â€¦and saw I had ZERO. Also? No phone. No TV.
We called The Comcastical Cable Co, and they said, WHY YES WE SURE HAVE LOST ALL SERVICE IN YOUR AREA! BUT WE WILL HAVE IT UP IN A COUPLE OF HOURS!
We went to bed, and woke up toâ€¦.no internet. No Phone. No TV. SO we call again and they are like OH YES WE RESOLVED THAT A LONG TIME AGO HA HA. SO in short, I had to cancel all my crap yesterday and wait around for four hours for the cable repair guy to come.
He walked in and said, â€œI see from outside you have an amplifier. Where is your box?â€
I took him to the TV table, and he looked under the table----the table, remember, that the DREADFUL BABY had been under---- and he picked up a loose plug lying there, jammed it into the socket, and said, â€œThat ought to do it.â€
Sure enough, BINGO! Everything worked. Heh. I felt like the biggest moron in the universeâ€¦
Meanwhile, in the internet free days, progress has been made. Here is where we are now:
Dog: What if I WAIT until you are helpless and deeply asleep? And then what if I creep SILENTLY UP UPON YOU and lie down NEAR you--- NOT TOUCHING or anything, and I just, you know, have a PERSONAL MOMENT WITH MYSELF and I donâ€™t say anything to you or look at you or speak? Could we maybe do that?
Cat: Okay, FINE. But I still donâ€™t like you.
PS Big points if you know what the title means without resorting to google!