Really Actually 1) On Thursday, my post about The Mystery of My Sonâ€™s Missing Uniform Shirts was cryptically titled HAPPY DEAD RACCOON THURSDAY in honor of me being a barn sour hateful poohead who was not going to be doing any LURVE blogginâ€™, even though Love Thursday blogs have become Tradition. As my friend and fellow bloggess Mir put it in Comments, â€œLove Thursday is a nice distraction from the BLACKNESS OF MY HEART. But, wait. Am I to understand that a dead raccoon stole Sam's shirts? Am confused.â€
I admit, that title was not exactly clear. SEE I sat down to blog about a sorrowfully accusing and judgmental dead raccoon I met in a cafe, and JUST THEN my son came in wearing a filthy shirt saying it was the only uniform shirt in existence, and my HEAD popped off and I ranted on about shirts and forgot I already had that dead raccoon with his convicting stare in the title.
(MAY I DIGRESS and say that 14 days ago I went and bought this SAME shirt-eating son 12 pairs of white athletic socks and also some Khaki and Navy and Black dress socksâ€¦.and I just did his laundry. There was a TOTAL of 1 lonely white sock in the basket, apologetically stinking of boy foot and wondering where its mate and all its many cousins and relations have gone off to. There are no clean socks in his drawers. I CANNOT under stand it. I CANNOT! It has been only two weeks!
HOW? HOW IS THIS HUMANLY POSSIBLE???? Does he peel them off and throw them DIRECTLY into that other dimension? And this ONE sock missed the porthole and is now doomed to wander the house alone while its brethren swim happily about in the primordial soup of Dimension X where socks are the kindly sentient rulers and people have evolved into blobs with 50 or 60 FEET jutting out that the Socks use as seating for large sporting events? Which, now I am sitting here imagining what events would make up the Dimension X Sock-lympics and in another paragraph I will have veered away from the dead raccoon entirely. NO! NO! I SHALL DIGRESS NO MORE.)
SO! I MEANT to tell you about this place I went to eat upstate while giving the keynote speech at The Blue Ridge Writerâ€™s Conference. I WISH I could remember the name of this place, because I ate probably the best pecan crusted trout I have had since Hurricane Katrina, that vicious city ruining horror, took out Bella Luna.
Maybe you know the Georgia place with the amazing trout? Near Blue Ridge? If you do, say the name in the comments. It has a long name, like 5 or 6 words and SOME of the words may be â€œOn the riverâ€ or â€œBy the River?â€ Or it could have been â€œSomeoneâ€™s Riverview Something Something CafÃ©?â€ Like that.
I had been warned in advance that the placeâ€”letâ€™s call it â€œSomeoneâ€™s Something Yummy Trout River Oops! Deer Heads! Yikes! CafÃ©â€ --- I had been wanred that SSYTRO!DH!Y!C is dry, so they could NOT sell wine or beer, but if you bring your own bottle in, they will uncork it for you and let you drink it for a 3 buck surcharge. I was eating with a bunch of writers, and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US showed up with a bottle, and one intrepid sort had brought THREE, so there were literally more bottles of wine than PEOPLE at the table.
The upside is the food. The food was justâ€¦.awesome. The trout came with sautÃ©ed spinach that had had something DONE to it that involved oregano and tomatoes and the barest hint of cream, and it was a WONDERFUL thing to do to spinach. The trout was so flakey and light and sweet, and they had removed the HEAD which is important to me. I canâ€™t stand to have my dinner LOOKING at me accusingly.
Which brings us to the DOWNSIDE. They have a lovely enclosed glass patio where you can eat with the burbling river washing past. Alas, that room was FULL. THEREFORE, we were seated in the main dining hall by a picture window that looked down on same burbling, lovely river. SO that was nice. BUT! The OTHER side of the room was practically WALLPAPERED with trophy heads. MANY MANY MANY animals stared blankly down from that wall.
I felt BAD for them, which struck me as ironic: I felt terrible for the bears and the deers, but not the trout I was eating. I did not feel bad for the trout at ALL because if God had wanted the trout to not be eaten, he would not have especially BLESSED that chef with TOTAL TROUT GENIUS so he could make it TASTE LIKE THAT. Also the trout had no HEAD and was not LOOKING AT ME. Also, if those bears had still had bodies and working stomachs, they would have eaten the trout, too.
DIGRESSION: I am not opposed to hunting if you are hunting to eat. I am an omnivoreâ€”I can tell by looking at my teeth. Omnivores eat meat, meat comes from animals, meat is very super yummy, circle of life, moves us all, etc. I have to admit the NON-eating style of hunting just to SHOOT something bugs me. If you want to just SHOOT SOMETHING â€“ and I have recently discovered that shooting things is SUPER fun---allow me to suggest a Pepsi Can. And if you want to put the blasted remains of the Pepsi can on a plaque and hang it on your wall, I think THAT would be more charming than a deer head. JUST SAYING. Hanging dead HEADS is WEIRD. I donâ€™t get why you would want to keep the head of a thing you ate (or worse, SHOT FOR FUN) and paste it to the WALL to LOOK at you.
Anyway. I tried to keep my head turned toward the gorgeous river view, so much so that I got a crick in my neck trying to NOT look at the dead animal head wall. It wasnâ€™t IMPOSSIBLE to ignore them. After all, the trout was phenomenal, we had a ridiculous number of open wine bottles and I was not driving. AND the bear and deer were very glassy eyed----they looked extremely FAKE to me, like they had been constructed out of paper mache. I found by the second glass of wine, I did not TRULY believe they were ACTUAL DEERS. Because every actual deer I have ever seen has a BODY. In fact, if I ever saw an alive deer head floating serenely on a legless path through the woods I think I would be screaming SHOOT IT SHOOT IT WHAT IS THAT FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY SHOOT IT.
But the raccoon was another matter. Look, this is him:
As you can see, he is a WHOLE raccoon and therefore looks exactly like an ALIVE raccoon, and from where I was sitting he was angled TOWARD ME so that his gaze met mine every time my neck crick made me look away from the river toward Bad Animal Wall. Or maybe he was like a furry, taxidermied Uncle Sam, and I would have felt his gaze no matter where I moved. You can see that this is a raccoon that the world has failed. He was weary and exhausted by the many evils that had caused him to end up on a wall with his feet dandling sorrowfully down. I have never SEEN such a sad face, except perhaps on that craggy looking native American gentleman who did not want us to LITTER. Remember him?
Anyway, all through dinner I would find my hand freezing as it lifted another bite of heavenly trout to my lips, and instead of eating it, I would be staring back at the raccoon, feeling judged, and harshly. That raccoon found me SERIOUSLY wanting. I felt I had FAILED him and by extension ALL animals by enjoying the sweet meaty goodness of trout in his presence. â€œItâ€™s my TEETH,â€ I wanted to say to him. â€œI have evolved as an OMNIVORE. It is NOT PERSONAL. And I never ate RACCOON for the love-a-pete. You probably donâ€™t even TASTE good. Not that I would KNOW because I SWEAR I NEVER ATE RACOON! Or BEAR, for that matter.â€ I was diplomatically silent on the subject of delicious venison. Er, I mean, beautiful little deers. He was not appeased. Look at the moistness of his sincere gaze! He will never be appeased! He will stare down from his wall, judging us, until the day the lion lies down with the lamb to enjoy some hummus and corn muffins.
The moral here? It may very well be TAXIDERMY IS CREEPY. Or to put it another way, FRIENDS DONâ€™T LET FRIENDS DO TAXIDERMY. Or perhaps it is that we should all become vegans. Or that at LEAST we should only kill what we eat, and NO ONE should under ANY circumstances eat raccoons.
But I think the pragmatistâ€™s moral is this: If someone in the comments can come up with the ACTUAL NAME of the restaurant, and you decide to go there to have that SPECTACULAR trout, do yourself a favor. Wait for the all river-view patio seating.
Not 1) This does not NOT count as number 1 on the To Didnâ€™t List because it is not on the To Didnâ€™t List. This is an introduction and an explanation of what The To Didnâ€™t List IS, and I JUST thought of it and am ALREADY doing it, so CLEARLY it was never To Didnâ€™t-ed:
I have a packed refugee camp of tatty looking, aged, disreputable e-mails squatting in my inbox, needing to be answered. About every tenth one is FROM ME, and the title is BLOG THIS. During Hell Month (for those on a different HELL MONTH schedule, I held mine in April, because Scott was gone for most of it, and he took my sanity and the householdâ€™s ENTIRE stock of organizational skills with him) I have let the inbox pile up almost as high as the dust-bunnies have piled under beds, almost as high as an elephantâ€™s eye, almost as high as Cheech, and a good deal HIGHER than my Monthly WORD COUNT on the new book (and APRILâ€™s word count actually managed to enter NEGATIVE NUMBERS due to a sudden realization the story had to START in chapter 2, and so Chapter 1 went to live in a file called â€œPretty Cuts Goodbye Goodbyeâ€).
This fine morning, Iâ€™m going to MARCH through my inbox like a mad-eyed conquering army and ROUST them. They shall be ANSWERED, or they shall be DELETED, or they shall be forcefully blogged about and THEN deleted. I am blogging them in ORDER of where I find them in my in-box as I CHARGE FORWARD, which is to say, in the order in which random neurons went off and made me text-message my already bursting inbox from my phone.
Also Not 1) This ALSO doesnâ€™t count as part of the To Didnâ€™t List as it is not in my in-box. This is just a heads up: The Girl Who Stopped Swimming is the ATLANTA AND CO Borderâ€™s Book Club pick for Hell Month. I mean, April. If you are local, Iâ€™ll be on the show today â€“ it is on 11 Alive at 11 AM.
For those of you with Comcast, this is Channel 6 on your cable box, I believe. Or, if you have a different channel line-up, it is THE PEACOCK network.
AND, as an ASIDE, for those of you with Comcast, COME SIT BY ME and let us have a pity party! I am heartily sorry for youâ€¦does yours cut in and out all day, every day, popping off for two or three seconds at a time at least 12 times a day, abruptly ending your phone conversations and causing your browser to stop browsing and your emails to STOP downloading mid-way through and then resume again at the beginning so you get TWO copies of EVERY AD titled â€œOver The Rainbow Your Girl Can Fly With Your New Rod Enhanceâ€ <--- I did not make this title up. This e-mail was ACTUALLY in my inbox. Twice.
And have you noticed that when you call there is a PRE RECORDED MESSAGE that NEVER CHANGES that says â€œWe are currently experiencing an outage in YOUR AREA,â€ and it never says WHICH area. Just, whatever area you are in, we have an outage there. I canâ€™t decide if the pre-recorded and constant message is saying A) We always have outages in EVERY area, so this is a truthful thing to leave up as the regular way our Robot answers the phone, sorry we suck so hard, or B) does it ACTUALLY mean, we do not KNOW if or where we have an outage or outages, but if we SAY there is one in a nebulous and undefined place called YOUR AREA, perhaps you will hang up and go away without bothering us and we can lay off a few more customer service reps because we are a monopoly and you HAVE to use us. HA! HA ON YOU!
AND also as an Aside, BITTER MUCH? Why yes. Yes, I AM bitter much, thank you. We are into Day 28 of Hell Month, and I plan to be bitter as salted lemon pulp until May comes. I will be better, I Pinky Swears, in LOVELY LOVELY May, a month that is by definition Scott-filled, and therefore also blossoming, balmy, and fresh-scented. May is full of Win. I am ALL about May.
GAH! I am out of time. I have to go get on the elliptical or I wonâ€™t have time to work out before I have to head into town for TVâ€¦Once again, I completely TO DIDNâ€™T a single thing on the list. BUT I WILL. See the steely way I gaze at the horizon? See my knitted brows? SEE my mighty and unyielding spine stretching upward into a soldierâ€™s posture? WE WILL NOT BE DEFEATED BY THIS INBOX, BEST BELOVEDS. Look, this is ME:
Image courtesy of I Can Has Cheezburger.
There is a tradition started by some mysterious someone somewhere that on Thursday, bloggers are supposed to blog about love. I donâ€™t know who started it, but I have seen Love Thursday posts on Mirâ€™s Blog and a few others.
Well. It is Thursday, and, discovery channel videos I am STILL not tired of after 75 viewings in a single day aside, I do not love the whole world. I am grumpy. The whole world can, in fact, go suck it.
It is one of those days, and we havenâ€™t even hit 7 am here. I just went to my sonâ€™s closet and realized he has NO uniform shirts. Where are they? No one knows. It is a mystery! He had SIX. Now he has ONE that we found in a crumpled heap under the bed.
Where are your uniform shirts? I say
I donâ€™t know, he says, musingly, in a slightly puzzled tone that also conveys to me how VERY little he cares. Meanwhile, I am the one who payed 25 bucks each for the wording word word WORDY things. I care. Passionately. (and here, you understand, the word WORD means MANY MANY BAD BAD CUSSES that I am thinking SIMULTANEOUSLY. I have about 75 curses in multiple languages filing through my brain, a veritable ARMY of enraged profanity, and I canâ€™t wait until my kid is thirty and has a kid. CANNOT. WAIT. I will have these words written DOWN for him in a LIST somewhere because I DO believe in a merciful and just God, and ONE DAY, HENRY HIGGINS, Just you wait, his kid will lose Sam's CAR or fourteen pairs of shoes or BOTH. And I will simply hand Sam my list of cusses and then laugh til my SPLEEN COMES OUT MY NOSE as he searches it for the ONE that expresses the black depths of his parental frustration.)
Where CAN they they be? LAST WEEK he had SHIRTS. This week? Not so much. I have not noticed him coming home in the cool Georgia spring air with a bare and goosebumped belly, so clearly they cannot be left at school. I think I would notice a shirtless boy bounding down to the carpool line, and I would say, WHERE IS YOUR SHIRT and he would say, OH! RUFFIANS TOOK IT! or perhaps he would say A CLASSMATEâ€™S LEG FELL OFF EARLIER AND I USED MY SHIRT TO STAUNCH THE FLOW OF ARTERIAL BLOOD AND SAVE HIS LIFE. Something. Some explanation. But there is nothing. There is only Shirtless Thursday.
Yesterday, he wanted to earn money for a fieldtrip, so he asked for chores. I told him to gather up his school clothes and his sisterâ€™s and put them in the washer. LITTLE DID I KNOW that the BACK of the washer contained a portal to a place where pandimensional shirt-eating sentient squid lurk, they were squirting around waiting to suck uniform shirts through to their strange environs. I have no idea if any shirts went INTO the washer, actually, but I can tell you this: none came OUT. Even my daughter is down to two shirts.
WHAT HAPPENED? WHAT HAPPENED? I say to Sam and he furrows his brow as oif he is thinking about it but I am NOT FOOLED. He is actually only concerned about the froth that is appearing in the corners of my mouth.
Has my mother gone rabid? Like Old yeller? He is thinking. Will I have to shoot her?
I am thinking it might be a mercy.
So Scott is in Cali, and this morning he sent me the embedded You Tube video in an email that said:
â€œYeah, this pretty much sums up how I feel:â€
He loves the whole world AND the Discovery channel. I canâ€™t say I love either of those things. But I do have a soft spot of fondness for the giant squids. And I flat love Scott. So.
That video made me weepy with something that is KIN to â€œhope for the human race.â€ It is not an emotion that dwells within my bosom. I donâ€™t think â€œHope for the human raceâ€ has ever even rented a ROOM there. But I like it when it passes through and reminds me that underneath my standard issue 21st century cynicism, and even under the more immediate and pressing daily needs to go to Kroger and get milk and pick up the kids on time and brush my teeth and make the bed and get the dishes put away before the bugs come and eat us trudgetrudgetrudge, I am a person of faith. The sincerity of the people in that video makes me happy to be breathing and have a heartbeat and be part of it all, it all.
I am not being articulate â€“ you know who said a related thing perfectly? Lydia. Talking about those moments when â€our little crawling species attempts to do something fine.â€ That post is not what I mean exactly, but I am bone tired and single momming it until Saturday, so her take on it will have to do â€“ or your take on it, if you feel like saying it for me in the comments. I am going to sit here all foolish and misty and watch people sing love songs to mummies and magma. Boom de ah da.
On Monday, April 21, 7:15 PM Decatur Library, 215 Sycamore Street, I will be in Decatur to listen to Joe Formichella and Suzanne Hudson
speak about their books, Murder Creek: The Unfortunate Incident of Annie Barnes and In a Temple of Trees,
both written about a chilling, and still unsolved, 1966 Alabama murder. Hudsonâ€™s book, a debut work of fiction was inspired by this case and published to acclaim in 2003. Formicella, inspired by Hudson and surviving family members, launched a personal campaign to get to the bottom of this case, a tale of greed, race, and corruption.
You come, too?
Meanwhile, a palmetto bug attacked my friend Mir in her OWN house, and her response?
She sprayed it with 409 cleaner, CAPTURED it UNDER A GLASS and then made someone TAKE IT OUTSIDE AND RELEASE IT. As if it were a wounded BABY DEER.
This is clinically INSANE.
If you let them OUTSIDE, they make GENETICALLY MUTATED 409 RESISTANT OFFSPRING and then come back in to find you utterly defenseless and then they kill you and eat you. I saw it in a movie in late night TV once, and so therefore it is true.
They must be mashed into paste, and then the paste burned, and then 1/3 of the paste ashes should released into the wind, while another 1/3 is buried deep in the earth and the last 1/3rd is submerged in running water while you say a Hail Mary.
In fact, the BEST solution for a palmetto bug is to leave the planet and nuke the house from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
I love Mir but I told my friend Karen that I can never go back to her house because I KNOW that bug came right back in. He is in the guest bed, crouched at the bottom. Waiting. To touch me with his creepy bug feet.
KAREN says that SHE thinks Mir should win a thoughtful hostess and Bugmanitarian combo award because NOT ONLY did she SAVE the bug, but if he SHOULD come back in and wait in the bed to touch me with his creepy feet, I can rest easy, knowing said feet have recently been thoroughly cleaned by 409.
I am unamused.
Beloveds â€“ I am heading to MONTGOMERY for The Alabama Book Festival. Hope to see you there, but if not, I will see you back here Monday.
I met Susan Gregg Gilmore at one of my favorite indies, the fabulous Square Books of Oxford, MS. We were there to do Thacker Mountain Radio, and we were both as twitchy as coked-up squirrels over it. She was worried she would get light headed and faint, which is at least a LADYLIKE way to panic. I, meanwhile, was threatening to vomit.
She did a FANTASTIC job, reading a section about aâ€¦letâ€™s say, â€œuniqueâ€ aunt who could VERY well be one my own personal relatives. I bought the book immediately; itâ€™s on the top of my TO READ pile as soon as I get this DRAFTING done and can read Southern fiction again without it mucking my voice up â€“ I SO WISH her reading was recorded and somewhere up on the web. I googled furiously around for it but alas, I am full of lose at google today. I couldnâ€™t find AQUAMARINE SHOES either. Sheesh.
Library Journal praised her â€œtrue-to-life family dynamics and life in a small town; secondary characters add to the story's authenticity. Look for future literary works from this talented new voice.â€ You can get her debut anywhere, but I bet OXFORD still has a few signed copies of Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen and you can order it on the web or call them at 662-236-2262 to get your own.
JJ: Tell us about the perfect tomato.
SGG: Like Catherine Grace, I understand a Southern girlâ€™s commitment to finding the perfect tomato. Itâ€™s a pursuit, a crusade, a quest really of the most spiritual kind. And whether this commitment is a product of nature or nurture, I no longer know. Generations of Gregg men and women have always understood the nutritional and metaphorical value held within the firm fleshly skin of this most beautiful red, round fruit. My own daddy always left three of four tomatoes in the kitchen windowsill waiting for the day that one would be chosen for the evening meal, thinly sliced and lightly salted, and always consumed with the proper amount of thanksgiving.
JJ: What writers influenced your work and why?
SGG: I walked into my seventh-grade English classroom and found this young, beautiful, blond-headed woman sitting behind the teacherâ€™s desk. Hmm, I thought, this might be a really good year. Well, it was a life-changing year. The woman behind the desk was Lee Smith. Of course, I didnâ€™t know then that my English teacher was going to be, in my opinion, one of our truly great modern writers. Heck, I didnâ€™t even know she had written a book until about halfway through the school year. As a teacher, Lee taught me to diagram a sentence and develop a proper outline. As a mentor and friend, she has taught me to persist no matter how big the dream may be. And as writer, she has shown me that every life is a story worthy of telling.
JJ: How;d you come up with the title?
SGG: The title really was inevitable. I spent a good part of every summer with my grandparents, and my granddaddy was a sure-enough, country-bred Southern Baptist preacher who talked in the â€œhellfire and brimstonesâ€ vernacular. After church, Pop always took his granddaughters down to the Dairy Queen to get a Dilly Bar. And I think for me, salvation of any kind and a trip to the Dairy Queen are simply synonymous.
It seems like a weird title, but there is no singular form of the word bunnies at my house. When Sam was little, he called all rabbits, â€œA Bunnies.â€ In honor of his long gone babyhood, we still call single rabbits â€œA Bunnies.â€ Groups of rabbits are ALSO called A Bunnies, and the phrase is like FISH. It can be 1 A Bunnies or 75 A Bunnies, it is all still A Bunnies to us. A, you understand, is part of the proper name, not an article, so it is grammatically correct to say â€œYesterday, we saw an A Bunnies in the yard.â€ Or if more than one, you say, â€œWe saw some A Bunnies in the yard.â€ We would never say, â€œWe saw a bunnies in the yard.â€ That would be like saying â€œWe saw tractor in the yard.â€
Last week, my dog told me a lie. This is unusual, first because his brain is made of four separate cells that sit too far apart in the darkness of his skull cavity to ever be rubbed together, and I did not know the dog had the intellectual CAPACITY to lie. It was also surprising because Bagel is SUCH a diffident animal. He doesnâ€™t have an alpha dog bone in his body. I suspect his spine is made of taffy.
He practically genuflects when my one-eyed massive pirate cat walks by, and he is SO submissive that when we FIRST brought him home, he had a healthy â€œSIR, YES SIR!â€ style respect for a large wrought iron pig that sits on the hearth by the fireplace. He would run through the den and as he passed the pig he would go all LOW BELLY and shoot it a worried glance as he slinked and bobbed past it. He wasnâ€™t sure if the pig was ALIVE, but just in case it decided it WAS, he wanted to make absolutely sure the pig understood its authority was not being challenged.
But the KITTEN, Boggart the Dreadful, is another matter. The wrought iron pig has seniority, clearly, but Bagel was here BEFORE the kitten. He sees the kitten as a peer and they REALLYenjoy each otherâ€™s youthful, sproingy company as they bound through the house and wear each other out playing fun games like â€œLetâ€™s Ruin All the Furnitureâ€ and â€œCan This Be Eaten? (Yes!)â€
When we first got Boggart, he was about the size of Bagelâ€™s left ear-flop. NOW he is about the size of Bagelâ€™s head, so he plays with Bagel as if the head were the entire dog. Sometimes he plays with Bagel as if the TAIL was the entire dog, but he doesnâ€™t ever try to take on all 50-some pounds worth of hound. Bagel, chock full of good stupid goodness, agrees to forget the existence of whatever portion of himself the cat is not using for the sake of not accidentally killing my kitten.
THEN LAST WEEKâ€¦Bagel told me a lie. The lie was, â€œI RILLY NEEDTER GOTER THE BATHROOM.â€ Usually when Bagel needs to go to the bathroom, he creeps up to me sideways and, in a sorrowful and apologetic manner, makes the canine equivalent of a gentle throat clearing. It is a barely audible whispery â€œahemâ€ noise in the back of his throat, coupled with sad down-tilty hound eyes that telegraph how VERY sorry he is to be a bother. He repeats this endlessly until his bladder explodes and he dies, or until someone notices and takes him out to use the lawnly facilities.
Last week, he came tearing up and LIED TO MY FACE that if I did nto take him to the bathroom IMMEDIATELY, me and my carpet would suffer many vile indignities. I was in the middle of drafting a scene in the new book, but he lied with SUCH vigor, threatening all manner of indoor biohazards, that I hit save and marched him forthwith to the backdoor. The NANOSECOND I cracked the door, he EXPLODED out of it, banging me out of the way and tearing down the deck stairs.
That was when I saw an A Bunnies was in the yard. It was a small brown A Bunnies, with its slump shouldered little back firmly toward us, eating up the long grass in the center of the yard. It heard the clatter of dog nails on the wood, and it looked behind it, and it saw 50 pounds of A Bunnies Destroying Befanged Evil bearing down upon it like a slavering train. ALL A Bunnies had to do was run under the back gate, not 20 feet away, but Alas! POOR A Bunnies lost its total crap.
A Bunnies panicked. It took off in an entirely incorrect direction, trapping itself in a corner of the tall fence. I then lost my total crap, picturing my backyard as a Râ€™abbitoir: I saw four of the worldâ€™s most luck-free paws scattered to all the main points of the compass, a detached ear flopped into the azaleas, the head mysteriously golfed away or eaten, red entrails making a gruesome Christmas in the long green unmowed grasses that had called poor A Bunnies in the first place.
I started screaming, â€œNO BAGEL NO BAGEL NO BAGEL NONONONONONO.â€
Bagel was deaf. Bagel was blind to all but an A Bunnies trapped in the corner. Bagel did not slow nor did he veer. He charged straight up to poor, paralyzed an A Bunnies, and, gentle reader, I am sorry to reportâ€¦.he MOISTENED it.
See, this is the worldâ€™s most diffident dog, and he regularly plays with a kitten about the same size and shape of an A Bunnies. He basically scooped up an A Bunnies in his cavernous, maw, careful not to bite down, and joyfully SUCKED HIM LIKE A LOZENGE for a damp moment before gently rolling an A Bunnies across the lawn.
There was a brief frozen moment where an A Bunnies, ABSOLUTELY SURE that he was dead, sat in a saliva-coated, unharmed heap. And then he realized he was FINE and he went leaping away, in the correct direction this time, and goozled under the back gate and was gone.
Bagel came bounding back to me with fur breath and asked to go back inside. I said, â€œYou are a big liar pants. You did not EVEN need to go to the bathroom.â€ But by then he had already forgotten the whole thing and had NO idea what I was talking about. He also had NO idea why I took him inside and gave him and ENORMOUS lick of peanut butter off a spoon, but I know why. Itâ€™s because he is awesome.
IMMEDIATE DIGRESSION: If I did nto come to a town near you on the recent tour, thereâ€™s a new video interview up at Author Magazine where I make a LOT of really google-eye crazy faces and tell how I came to write THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING.
Come home! ALL IS FORGIVEN!
A lot of people who READ as much as I do claim not to like TV. Beloveds? I ADORE TV. If it wasnâ€™t for TV, I would never never never sleep. If I read at bedtime, I will be awake reading until I run out of book. Then I will lie awake thinking about the book. Books wake my brain up, but TV---especially BAD TV---is a finger that pokes my brainâ€™s pause button. BAD TV is my drug-free version of the creepy green moth of happiness, coming to touch me with non-narcotic feet. I have seen the first ten minutes of just about every episode of Becker ever made. I may have to buy myself a box set.
Good TV, on the other hand, keeps me fit. Well...as fit as someone who likes dark chocolate covered cherries and melted cheese sammiches as much as I do can possibly be. An hour long drama, minus commercials, is 44 minutes, which is exactly how long I like to spend paddling my elliptical. Then I watch a 22 minutes sit com which is how long I can stand to lift weights. DONE!
Becker has been on EVERY NIGHT to put me to sleep, but the WRETCHED WRITERâ€™S STRIKE has RUINED TV this year. Every night has been nothing but REALITY SHOWS, 90% of which make me TWITCHY with despair for the fate of humanity, and the other 9% bore me so much they work like Becker. (The last 1% is PROJECT RUNWAY which I flat adore.)
My favorite show right now?
Itâ€™s about a cop who was wrongfully convicted of murder and spent 12 years in the federal pen where he got infested with equal parts rage, crazy and zen. Yes. Zen. Itâ€™s supersmartly written, and I LOVE the cast.
Damian Lewis, who plays LAPD Detective Charlie Crews, is ackshully a Brit. He looks IRISH to me---he has the slitty mouth and pointy face with the weirdly flat, high cheekbones. Itâ€™s the longer version of Dennis Lehane Face. Irish faces, to me, always look like they have extra BONES in them. Itâ€™s a look that never fails to make my potato covered genomes flutter and make YUM noises. Look here, how the deep green of the illicit marijuana plants bring out his EYES:
I also like it that the romantic lead chick, not pictured (she plays Charlieâ€™s lawyer) has not had BOTOX. Itâ€™s weird to see a woman on TV whose FOREHEAD moves when she raises her eyebrow. Or indeed, one who CAN raise her eyebrow. I will never understand why ACTORS, of all people, are willing to PARALYZE THEIR FACES. Anyway, sheâ€™s gorgeous and as a bonus she HAS EXPRESSIONS, and I hope she doesnâ€™t cave and get pig botulism put in her face.
If you missed this show due to the SPOTTY FIRST SEASON (With the strike, it was not REGULARLY on) you can see whole episodes from the pilot on up on the web. I was scared it would DIE because no one would realize itâ€™s greatness due to the strike, but YAY! It will be back on Fridays at 10/9 central in the Fall, PRAISE THE LORD AND PASS THE CHIPSâ€¦oh no, wait, not CHIPS. I have SO MUCH TOUR still STUCK to my butt you better keep those chips where they are. I meant, of course, praise the Lord and pass the time on the elliptical. Yeah.
PS You know you are truly the best of the beloveds if at any time reading the above, you thought to yourself, MMMMM! SALTY PEOPLE!!!!! LICK! LICK! LICK!
Rebecca Flowers canâ€™t count, but Lord knows she can write. I unabashedly LOVED her debut novel, NICE TO COME HOME TO,, enough to say so on the cover, on this blog, and recently in a bookstore to a browsing stranger.
Rebecca very sweetly came out to an event while I was touring for THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING, and she was as delightful in person as her prose is on the page. Look, this is us:
JJ: What writers influenced your work and how and why?
RF: When I first decided to write a novel, I read something that saved my life. Some big important writer, like John Irving or someone like that, said, Donâ€™t try to reinvent the wheel, with your first novel. Just take a book you love and follow its plot. Donâ€™t worry, your book will be your book. But you need a sort of road map to follow, your first time up at bat.
THIS IS GOOD ADVICE.
I decided to try my hand at updating Jane Austenâ€™s Sense and Sensibility, mostly because Pride and Prejudice had been done to death.
I was interested in how two sisters with different approaches to life â€“ she of the head and she of the heart â€“ fall in love. Whereas the Dashwood sisters become â€œunmarriageableâ€ when they lose their dowry, the Whistler sisters are up against comparable modern-day forces: Pru is entering her late 30â€™s, and Patsy is the single parent of a young daughter. The men they fall in love with both seem too good to be true â€“ and with good reason. The book follows the sisters as they try to put their lives together again, after true love wreaks its usual havoc.
Although I went in different directions with my ending for both of the sisters, I have to say, as I slogged my way through that sloggity first draft, thank HEAVENS I had such an excellent road map.
Austen is just a master at creating likeable, complex characters. I admire that incredibly.
Also, I kept a copy of Nick Hornbyâ€™s About A Boy always in reach, while I wrote this book. I also very much love Elinor Lipman, Melissa Bank, and Larry McMurtry.
JJ: Tell us about your own experience with LOVEâ€¦ TWOO LOVE!
RF: My earliest readers had a hard time with Pru. One of them, a determinedly-single gal herself, had a violent reaction to Pruâ€™s desire to settle down and get married, even if it meant forsaking some kind of great love. It really took me off-guard, I must say. I wondered if there was something wrong with me, that by the time I reached 35 I was in a similar frame of mind.
A writer named Lori Gottleib wrote about â€œsettlingâ€ in the March issue of the Atlantic Monthly. She actually encourages women to do it, while theyâ€™re in their early thirties and optimally attractive. She thinks too many women wait for â€œtrue love,â€ which, according to Gottleib, doesnâ€™t exist.
By the time I was 35 I knew I wanted to marry and have children. Iâ€™d been working my keister off, and I was ready to do something that seemed like it would give me something back. I wanted to be nestled safe and secure in the bosom of my family.
But I was with a guy I did not love. I didnâ€™t know what to do â€“ marry him, because at least he loved me, and would happily father some children? Or hold out for quote-unquote true love? Which I hadnâ€™t experienced since the fourth grade? (Oh Danny Oliveri, you heartbreaker you!)
Well, the decision was made for me. I was dumped by my â€œsafetyâ€! I mean, what the?
It was the best thing he ever did for me. I owe that man like a case of Lowenbraus. Because that was when -- humbled, ashamed -- I met my husband. We were set up on a date by his brother, a good friend of mine.
We were supposed to meet for afternoon coffee; I didnâ€™t get home until after one in the morning. I smashed into a table umbrella while walking toward him at dinner; he didnâ€™t get the critical plot point of The Matrix. And â€“ this will sound familiar â€“ he wasnâ€™t exactly available to me. It didnâ€™t matter that he wasnâ€™t, because I was totally in love with him by the end of the first date, when he asked me why Neo had to be resuscitated after being pulled out of that gooey human pod thingy.
Luckily, he made a decision that let us be together. I wrote NICE TO COME HOME TO about what would have happened if he hadnâ€™t.
For the record, say I: hold out for true love. â€˜Cause itâ€™s just too hard to live with someone, under any other circumstance. And because yes, yes, YES!, it exists. Itâ€™s not what Lori Gottleib seems to think it is, however. True love is NOT the thing that gets you what you want out of life â€“ a house, a baby, a family, perfect and unerring happiness. True love is the thing that complicates life, that makes it messy. And wonderful. And joyous. And profound. But will it get you what youâ€™ve always wanted? Certainly not. Certainly, certainly not. Itâ€™s just like prayer, you know.
JJ: Tell us about YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE WITH A BAD, NASTY CAT.
RF: In NICE TO COME HOME TO, our heroine, Pru, finds herself responsible for her ex-boyfriendâ€™s very bad, very nasty cat, Big Whoop. Whoop seems intent on destroying the things Pru most cares about. But sheâ€™s stuck with him. (My husband likes to say that Big Whoop represents Pruâ€™s libido. Hmmâ€¦)
I, too, was the victim of a bad, nasty cat who came to live with me. Itâ€™s a good story, but starts out sad.
I was introduced to my husband by his younger brother, Gil, who ran the writing workshop I belonged to in D.C. Andrew was going through a divorce at the time, and I had just been dumped in a manner readers of my book will find familiar. Gil set us up on a date, saying not to expect anything of each other.
Well, we had to go and fall in love with each other. Then, about six weeks after Andrew and I started dating, a shocking thing happened -- Gil was diagnosed with primary liver cancer. Itâ€™s the kind of cancer old men get, after lives of hard drinking. It was totally random and unfair and horrible, and six months later, shortly after his daughterâ€™s first birthday, Gil died. I think he was about 35.
At the time of his diagnosis, Gil and Andrew and I were all living a few blocks from each other in Washington, DC. So when this all went down Andrew and I decided we would essentially live together, to make his apartment available to their parents, who lived in western Massachusetts, during Gilâ€™s illness
So, a mere two months after our first date, Andrew moved in with me, bringing his two cats along with him. Although Iâ€™d only recently vowed to myself never to live with someone again until I was married, I was secretly thrilled. Like I said, I dug this guy. In a big way. It didnâ€™t seem like much of a sacrifice, I must confess. And it felt good to be able to do something useful for the family.
But Zoe the cat was not a happy boy. He didnâ€™t understand why he was in this ladyâ€™s apartment. He didnâ€™t understand why she was feeding him, instead of Andrew. Furthermore, it smelled like other cats, even though other cats werenâ€™t living there. It needed to be marked as Zoe the catâ€™s territory. It needed sprayed, and sprayed good.
I wonâ€™t go until too much detail here, but read the book. Itâ€™s all in there. Just like Pru, I was driven to take the boy to therapy. And guess what? It worked. Within, I donâ€™t know, two weeks, he was a different cat. Less â€œanxiousâ€. Happier. NOT SPRAYING MY THINGS. It was exactly as Iâ€™ve written it in the book â€“ this therapist stood there telling me everything I was doing was wrong. I was to give Zoe everything a big fat old cat could ever want: space. Games. Petting. Food on demand. His choice of litter. And it worked! I had to swallow every bit of animosity Iâ€™d built up for that cat and learn to ACCEPT THE CAT FOR WHO HE WAS. I had to stop fighting, and start loving. It was very enlightening. Very Zen.
Zoe and I were never achieved pet-owner Nirvana, but we did manage to live together for a long time. Zoe taught me great lessons in tolerance, and opening to that which we think we canâ€™t accept, and enzymatic cat urine removers. We shall never forget him.
JJ: I know you are a blogger, too. Why do you blog and does it feed you or take energy from you?
RF: I blog for a lot of reasons, but mainly because I need the contact with people. Okay, make that FEEDBACK. VALIDATION. LOVE . Whatever you want to call it, I need it, baby!
Writing â€“ like bathing â€“ is a lonely business. Itâ€™s a lot of hours sitting there thinking up thoughts inside your head. The blog lets me get things out quickly and get back some oâ€™ the love â€“ or whatever it happens to be that day â€“ just as fast.
I have to laugh -- many, many times a day -- and I find the blog great for that. My friends are some of the funniest people in the world, I do believe. So when I find something that sets me off, I have to share it, immediately.
I love to check in there while Iâ€™m working. Sometimes someone will have left a comment while I wasnâ€™t looking. Itâ€™s like getting a note passed to you in Social Studies class.
SO, that was four years agoâ€¦And you know what? I hate all those clothes I bought that got me through the gods tour. Yes. Hate. Truly I do. I MAY be a spring in the face, but Best Beloveds, you better buh-leeeeve I am a WINTER in my heart. Itâ€™s black V-neck knit country down UNDER my skin in the all the parts that matter. Sorry, George.
After that first tour, I started wearing the Spring clothes less and less and less without really noticing. I picked up bits from Ann Taylor Loft over time to SUPPLEMENT the George-drobe, and those â€œsupplementalâ€ pieces were by phases more and more color-challenged and discreet. The bright colors began MIGRATING themselves to the back of the closet, first mixing with and then hiding behind the old butt-tastically ugly bridesmaids dresses and the wedding peignoir and the just-in-case-blizzards-attack-Georgia coat.
By the time I toured for Between, my clothes were mild-mannered Clarkella Kentess sorts, with only a few pink Super-girl pieces peeking out around the edges. Those leftovers stood out in my closet like peacock babies who have been thrust as eggs among a duck colony, and who will never never never be happy in the lake water.
Right before I toured for The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, I gathered them all up and gave them to a pretty friend who likes colors. Apparently somepeople do. *shrug* I toured in black jeans and pin striped brown slacks and simple print skirts with an assortment of muted tops that â€“ due to a speck of residual George-influeceâ€“ now include mossy greens and some navy and EVEN deep turquoise among the brown and black. (Worn with, of course, a DISGUSTING array of boots and TRULY hawt ballet flats that caused me to have to go up a suitcase size so I could bring them all. HEE!) And you know what? I admit I LOOKED better in the spring clothes. But I am HELLA happier and more comfortable NOW.
Still, I <3 George forever, because here is what I got out of my costume-y George-wear year: A character to play who wasnâ€™t terrified. I even had a name for her. Ramona. Yes, for the little sister from the Beezus books. In those clothes, I was Ramona-the-Brave. I could go out and meet booksellers and readers and be Confident Ms. Ramona the Real Grown Up and Writer in her hot pink embroidered skirt, and I was FEARLESS because if people HATED the woman they saw, it so CLEARLY was not ME that I couldnâ€™t possibly take it personally.
Now? I seem to have shed Ramona in the same way I shed the clothes. She wandered to the back of my mental closet and nestled herself back behind my total horror of roach feet touching me and the mental tick that causes my constant hyperbole, and I think she may have gone so far as to have left the building without even a thank you, thankyouverâ€™much. I havenâ€™t looked. She doesnâ€™t interest me anymore. I donâ€™t NEED her, and I donâ€™t need clothes that let me â€œDress up and pretend to be a novelist.â€
Because, see, I AM a novelist.
And I donâ€™t have to pretend to be a confident person who rilly rilly likes herself becauseâ€¦
Well. Iâ€™m a novelist. Baby steps, people. BABY STEPS!
The fact that it has taken me four years and three books to GET even this far isâ€¦well, TRAGIC. But I DO have a very high mental illness number, and prefer to think that the miracle is NOT the fact that it took me almost half a decade, but that I made ANY SORT OF PROGRESS OF AT ALL. I went on tour for this book as JUST MY LOUD SPAZZY SPOCK-LOVING HEHAW-DONKEY-LAUGH-HAVING GEEKED OUT DRINK-KNOCKING-OVER AWKWARD TWITCHY SELF. If you were kind enough to come out to meet me, then you actually did. This seems to indicate that GIVEN ENOUGH SPACE and time, I canâ€¦
Scott just poked his head in and said, â€œARE YOU GROWING? ARE YOU GROWING AS A PERSON??? AGAIN???â€
He likes to try and catch me growing as a person, because then I make cross eyebrows at him and say, WE DO NOT DO THAT HERE.
And we donâ€™t. But we do, apparently, get a little teeny bit more comfortable inside our freaky skins.
â€¦So I went to the mall and I started wandering into clothing stores and looking at what the mannequins were wearing. Most of the mannequins didnâ€™t have HEADS and yet they still had a better understanding of how to accessorize than I did.
As I wandered in and out of stores, I tried to imagine what kind of HEAD would go on top of various mannequins. I saw elegant ones best topped off with my momâ€™s head, cheerful, bouncy colored ones that needed the head of my teenaged babysitter, and a more than a few butt-crack showing, cleavage happy objects that were clearly asking to be topped with the over-painted noggins of whores. Nothing I could see myself wearing.
UNTIL! I wandered into Ann Taylor Loft. Right in the front was a mannequin in â€¦GASP!!! A v neck black knit top and a black and white print skirt. HURRAY! I WAS SAVED!
I was assiduously gathering newer, more expensive versions of my tragic wardrobe when I got â€œOH HONYE NOâ€ed by George. George was the manager. George had a certified fashionable hair-do that looked like it required PRODUCTS and the assiduous application of hot air to make it fluff and twine correctly, and then post-process, a HUGE portion of SHEER ANIMAL WILL to make it maintain through a long day. George had that sheer animal will by the BUCKET. (His carefully constructed hair in its perfect, artistic tousles would one day appear on top of Stan Webelowâ€™s head in THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING, but that day, I simply bowed to his hairâ€™s superior understanding of fabric.)
George took my black V necks away and insisted that with my hair and eyes and skin, I was a SPRING. So. George would know better than I, and out of sheer touring-horror I bought a LOT of outfits that George assured me would help me look my best. Lots of pink, God help me. Lots of true green and turquoise. No black. Brown in moderation. I traded my birth control glasses in for contacts.
I looked like this:
And you know what? It was good. It was very good! Because I was terrorized and I KNEW in my DEEPEST HEART that I was ABSOLUTELY not the sort of person who could manage to pull off a book tour. After all, I play WORLD OF WARCRAFT. I knew who IRON MAN was before they decided to make a movie about him. I trip over dust motes, vomit when I get nervous, and have a braying cackle of a laugh that gets away from me sometimes and shatters glass. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, PEOPLE, I HAVE, WITH GENUINE LONGING, CRUSHED ON SPOCK! I am so CLEARLY a total, spasmodic GEEK.
But in the George clothes, I also wasnâ€™tâ€¦ME. I looked in the mirror and it wasnâ€™t me AT ALL. With my background in theatre, this was a HUGE advantage. I went out on the road and acted as if I was someone more confident than I actually am, and the clothes made it seem like it was true, even to me. I acted as if I BELONGED on a book tour, and people seemed to magically accept that it was so.
At home, I kept everything rigidly separated. MY closet in the master bedroom was full of shabby, floppy, drab objects I called â€œMy REAL clothes.â€ The GEORGE clothes moved into the pristine guest bedroom closet, and I called them my, â€œDress up and pretend to be an Author clothes.â€ And if it gave me a teeny portion of Multiple Personality Disorder, so be it. Itâ€™s not like another dot of mental illness was going to get LONELY, hanging out in my brain. It had PLENTY of other mental illnesses to keep it companyâ€¦
BAH! I am out of time again. I will finish the Plumage Meditation tomorrow â€“ OH, and for those of you who asked to see Sam â€“ now ELEVEN! â€“ here he is at Maisy;s birthday dinner at a local Japanese steakhouse. Maisy is cowering in her cousin Danielâ€™s lap:
In 2004, I started this blog. At that time, I called my daughter Beautiful Maisy who is barely two, remember? How the time has flown---Here is beautiful Maisy now:
NOT TWO. Not two at all. More likeâ€¦six. Yes. SIX. She just had a birthday.
Back in 2004, I was a stay at home mom whose last job was teaching a pick-up English course at a small technical college. I made a little extra money babysitting. My hairstyle could best be described as, â€œHarried Ponytail.â€ My daily uniform consisted of fantasy pants and six year old black maternity T-shirts (to be honest? This is STILL my preferred writing outfit. HEE!) When I had to leave the house, I put on jeans with a black or dark brown knit V-neck top. On Sundays, I wore the self same brown or black knit v-neck tops over one of two or three muted print skirts in my possession.
â€œYour favorite color is DRAB,â€ said my friend Julie one day, trying to get me to go nuts and buy a bright blue blouse. I passed on the blouse and instead bought two new V neck knit tops. That time, however, they were charcoal gray and hunter green. WOO! DARING!
Then gods in Alabama sold, and then I heard that my house was going to tour me.
I was, of course, thrilled----Who wouldnâ€™t be? A chance to connect with booksellers and readers and talk with folks who had actually MET the people who live in my head? SUPER! Bring it! But then I realized I touring also meant I had to STAND UP IN PUBLIC and be SEEN BY PEOPLE WITH EYES.
Yikes. To say that my wardrobe was not equal unto the day is EPIC understatement. My wardrobe was not equal unto more than one dinner out between washdays. Between the collar and the bright red rabies tag and his engraved nametag, MY CAT owned more accessories than me. LITERALLY. I had a wedding ring and an engagement ring. My wardrobe was not equal unto my CATâ€™s day. HOW ON EARTH I ended up with a clothes-horsey little cheerleading bow-headed daughter, I have NO idea:
Having rejected the fantasy pants, the church lady skirts, and various pill-covered black v necks as viable tour wear, I went on a desperation rummage through the back of my closet. The picture did not improve. I found five pairs of schooling pants (for riding horses), two bridesmaidâ€™s dresses, my wedding night peignoir set, a HEAVY Chicago-worthy coat I had forgotten I owned, one black cocktail dress two sizes too large that my mother had bought for me when I was post partum, and another black cocktail dress a size too small given to me by a kind friend with faith in me and my gym membership.
On the floor, neatly packaged in tissue lined boxes, were many, many, many pairs of shoes, NONE of which went with ANYTHING I actually owned. If I planned to do the tour naked while standing on my head behind a podium so only FEET showed, I was all set. Barring that, I was screwed.
I tried to remember to back when I had had a sense of fashion, and got back to my FETUSSY days before realizing I didnâ€™t believe in reincarnation and I was out of thinking back room. High school happened in the 80;s and MY LORD but those were some ugly clothesâ€¦So I thought about college and my theatre days and then grad school. Back then, I owned an OBSCENE number of extremely gorgeous MAC lipsticks, and there ended my sense of style: Right at the bottom lip. In those days, I either wore jeans with a baby T or, for more formal occasions, black shirts with opaque black tights, cruel shoes, and the shortiest, floatiest skirt I could find.
It was a stayle that works best when you are in your twenties and in theatre, where MOST of your peers look they got dressed while drunk in the pitch black night, using items of clothing they picked by feel out of a good will bag. We usually looked like that, by the way, because that IS, indeed, how most of us got dressed. AH! THEATRE! MY LIVER DOES NOT MISS YOU, BUT I DO SOMETIMES!
Out of time â€“ more on Plumage tomorrow!
â€¦By the way, these images of Maisy Jane are from a recent spontaneous bookstore photo shoot done by my hyper-talented niece. I say hyper talented because Erin is an exceptional writer and a gifted artist, and NOW sheâ€™s been studying Diane Arbusâ€™ work on the side and has decided to play around with black and white photography. I saved my favorite for last:
There is a new and terrible trend I noticed in airports while I was on tour. In EVERY OTHER airport bathroom I stopped in, SOME PERSON in a stall nearby or out by the sinks was TALKING ON THEIR CELL PHONE.
If you are that person, remember, everyone trapped in a stall holding it because they donâ€™t want to think about some stranger, probably a MAN TYPE PERSON, standing innocently in a living room or office on the other end and HEARING THEM PEE hates you in that moment SO MUCH. SO SO SO MUCH. What you are doing is WRONG, cell phone person, so wrong that it is IS GROUNDS for being sent right straight to hell the second the angry mob forming in the stalls around you can get their pants up and lynch you.
And perhaps, BATHROOM CELL PHONE TALKER, perhaps you are thinking, â€œBut SOMEONE is going to hear you pee ANYWAY. You are in a public restroom.â€ Well, true. Point taken. BUT! We are in here with fellow pee-ers. Our PEERS if you will, all doing the same thing, politely pretending we have all gone deaf, tending to our own paper seat covers and belt buckles. I strongly suggest you close that phone and do the same.
Perhaps the person on the other end of the line is your husband, and perhaps YOU feel perfectly normal talking with him while on the john. Good for you. But I doubt you want to pee in front of MY husband (and here Scott would like to say, â€œEVEN IF YOU DO, can you please refrain.â€) and I emphatically do not feel THAT level of comfortable with your guy. I never even MET the man. Call him back from the airport Starbucks.
If you ABSOLUTELY MUST make a call from your throne, then please, ask the person you call to go use THEIR bathroom, and make a LOUD ANNOUNCEMENT that the person you are talking to 1) is female and 2) also peeing.
In other potty news, Boggart helped me make a lolcat this morning that has THEMATIC RESONANCE with the above entry:
Frank Turner Hollon has spoken! I sent him the entries, and he sent back the winners in the TODD-Contest.
Drumroll for the winners?
Honorable mentions to Caty and Mir, who are both completely twistedâ€¦
The first runner up -- who will receive a signed UK Edition of THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING, which launches across the pond on the 17th of this month â€“ isâ€¦
Leanne! Here is her entry:
My theory is that the person who took the message was somewhat hearing impaired. The actual message was from a shy fellow named Todd who worked in one of the bookstores that you've read in recently. He is a rabid recycler, and when he saw that you threw some paper into his garbage can, he wanted to let you know that you should be recycling that paper. But, shy guy that he is, he couldn't bring himself to approach your glamorous self to tell you face-to-face. So, he called ahead to one of the next stops on your tour, to leave a message that you've left your "recycle" in his "garbage". He asked that the message be passed along tactfully, because although he is a rabid recycler, he has compassion for those who haven't attained that level of social conscience as of yet.
FIRST PLACE â€“ who wins an Audio of THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING goes toâ€¦
Jo! Here is her entry:
It is painfully obvious that Frank Turner Hollon is Todd, but it goes deeper
than a simple prank.
Back in the eighties, Frank was a little blonde boy who loved cupcakes. His
parents had named him Todd. When little Joshilyn Jackson kissed her lovable
little cupcakes and offered them to him, his heart nearly burst with
happiness. He had to think of a way to get her to love him. So, he stole her
bicycle. And put it in his garage.
The trauma of the lovely pink bike's disappearance was blocked from young
Joshilyn's mind. So Todd waited, hoping she would miss the bike, but was too
shy to tell her of his love and treachery.
As they both grew and she drifted away, he heard she'd been accepted to
college up north of all places. After undergoing extensive plastic surgery to
make him impossibly gorgeous, he started seeking her out at parties. But,
when she smiled, he blurted out that he was gay and lost her again.
Finally, he went off to law school, still obsessed with the beautiful girl.
So, he went under the knife again, this time unsuccessfully, and changed his
name to Frank Turner Hollon.
He heard that Joshilyn had become a writer, started following her successes,
first with plays, then essays and finally a novel. He started writing novels
of his own so he could once again be in her circle. When she ventured out on
tour, and decided to reach out in one last, desperate attempt.
He called, his voice raspy from crying.
"Todd for Joshilyn Jackson: Bicycle of hers was left in his garage. Please
tactfully pass this message on to the author.â€
He knew that she would recognize him. He waited in the garage, sitting next
to the pink bike that he had dusted faithfully every day. And he is still
Winners â€“ e-mail me a snail addyâ€¦and thank you ALL so much for playing. I had a GRAND time reading the entries!