Speaking of TV (which I am about to do just under this) the new season of my favorite show from last year (which ALMOST got lost in the writerâ€™s strike but was simply too awesome to die) premieres TONIGHT after Heroes on NBC.
It stars the righteously talented and smokinâ€™ Damien Lewis, a shiningly hot beacon of sexy hope for pale red-headed fellows everywhere: Yes, my pasty Irish laddies, as it turns out, you CAN be delicious:
It also has a great supporting cast, smartly written scripts, a hooky premise, moral complexity, and is exactly the sort of show that keeps me from hurling my TV through the window whenever I see commercials with that peppery whiney chef fellow hollering about cockroaches or hear that there WILL be a THE BACHELOR SEASON 115.
For YEARS now, MAC has been kicking PC butt when it comes to the AD CAMPAIGNS. In spite of being a devoted PC user who has bought two MORE PCâ€™s since the MAC ads began, those commercials really MAKE me want to be a MAC girl. MAC is cool. MAC is FRINGE. MAC is jeans and ease and so geek-chic relaxed it becomes cool by not caring if it is cool. It is excellent branding that hits me right in my demographic. Hard:
I Love these ads. I have YET to tire of them.
Sadly, the PC ads have been SO SO SO awful in return. Like the one where they have people try windows Vista without KNOWING it is windows Vista and then the people say, â€œWow, I like it!â€ in overly cheerful voices. Terrible. Itâ€™s like PC commercial itself is trying to be the moonfaced gent in the brown suit, without having that actor's deadpan humor and terrific timing. Those commercials ACCEPT the identity MAC has created for them as â€œperceived as a sucky dorkâ€ and are DEFENDING against it. Once they have ACCEPTED MACâ€™s premise, they have already lost. Whoever helmed that campaign should probably be working in the insurance industry.
If I were to break the MOJAVE commercials down to their central message in the form of MAC/PC dialog, it would read like this.
MAC: *kindly* I am easy to use and great. Meanwhile, I am sorry to gently point out that you are slow and buggy and prone to viruses.
PC: *defensive and overwrought* â€œI do not suck NEARLY as much as everyone THINKS I do. HERE let me TRICK you into using me! Which no one would ever do without being tricked! But once I HAVE tricked you into using me, I think you may well conclude that I hardly suck at ALL!â€
If I think this â€“ me, a dedicated PC girl with FOUR high end PCâ€™s currently in my home (mine, Scottâ€™s, our private laptop and Scottâ€™s work laptop) then you KNOW it is very bad.
Then last night, I was lying in bed whining because I am STILL sick and am going to miss my HIKE today, and I saw THIS:
Itâ€™s like SOMEONE on the PC ad campaign accidentally turned it to Discovery channel and saw the COOLEST COMMERCIAL EVER (Boom De Ah DA!) and LEARNED by watching and came up with an ANSWER that is not self effacing and awkward and downright embarrassing. EMBRACE THE DORK!
Yes, Eva, yes, Deepak, yes, Vera, and hellsya guy in shark cage!
I AM A PC.
I do not have a beard.
I have been so sick for 3 days now I havenâ€™t worked at all. Iâ€™ve eaten little pecks of dry kashi vive cereal and parceled my time into wildly exciting activities like moaning, watching season one of Mad Men, feeling self-pity, asking Scott to rummage around the kitchen and the medicine cabinet and the dark alleys of downtown Atlanta and find me better drugs, and sleeping. Thatâ€™s JUUUST about all I have done.
But yesterday, spurred by your comments and the way I can see all faith and hope leaking out of you as if you were a rear tire with a nail in you, I had Scott print out the names of the GORGEOUS HUNDREDS of you who gorgeously signed up for the mailing list just as if you ACTUALLY BELIEVED there might someday be a mailing list.
Then, utilizing the methodology I had promised, I gathered Maisy, a wooden skewer, and a BUTT UGLY silk tie someone gave Scott as a present to wear eight years ago, on the night when that Prince song finally came true. In other words, it was a New Years Eve tie that had little 1999â€™s and 2000â€™s prancing about in a wavy print. ( I use the past tense here, deliberately, saying it HAD these things because it no longer HAS anything. I assume it is shreds in a landfill, because â€˜blindfoldâ€™ was its final job. As soon as Maisy had completed her stab-drawing, I told the tie, â€œTwo thousand zero zero, party over, you are out of time,â€ and I stuffed it down into the trash.) ANYWAY, I assembled all these things, and then I lay the six sheets of names out on the floor in a grid. It looked like this.
THEN I spun Maisy about all willy nilly and told her to LEAN forward from the waist and stab downâ€¦then said OH CRAP really loud and grabbed her arm and stopped her before tragedy ensued and SOMEONE lost ANOTHER eye. Typical cat, standing in the dead middle of the VERY thing you want to stab with a skewerâ€¦
BUT I got him shifted out of the way and she stabbed ten times, and I TOLD her to stab randomly---she did a good job. The names came from a variety of the six papers. I include this pic mostly because I like how Boggart is peeking from the stairs down to the basement, as if wondering if he has time to get in on the â€œbeing accidentally stabbed by a blindfolded first graderâ€ action.
SO---We have a DATABASE. You see it in the photo above, printed out and lying on the floor.
AND---We have CONTENT. I promised to send the names of the winners and as you can see, we have all ten winners stabbed out.
It seems like (Database) + (content) SHOULD = (mailing list). And yet I am BLOGGING this. Not sending out a MAILING LIST MAIL. SO perhaps you have gathered that PERHAPS there is not QUITE a mailing list. Yet.
Correct. There is NOT. I blame Lani Diane Rich, because HER mailing list comes out GREEN with a DAISY on it, and it doesnâ€™t look like a POO, which is what my TEST mailing looked like. In fact, I thought about titling it â€œA POO LOOKING THING FROM JOSHILYN WITH DEEPLY FELT APOLOGETIC FEELINGS,â€ because I felt full disclosure was the best policy. In this case, I was disclosing that I was well aware that my mailing looked like a poo and I was sorry.
But I couldnâ€™t do it. I balked. My fingers hovered on the keys, but the end, they refused to hit send on a poo-looking thing. SO I went and woke up Mr. Husband to work to make it NOT look like a poo. He is doing it RIGHT NOW, writing code at 7 am on a SATURDAY, Best Beloveds, because he loves me. Or maybe he loves YOU. After all, YOU did not wake him up and say, PLEASE MAKE MY MAIL LOOK PRETTY?
EITHER WAY. Soon there will be mail. Betcha. Probably. Maybe as soon as Tomorrow! Or MONDAY. It could HAPPEN.
DIGRESSION: It has come to my attention, Lo! These many weeks later, that a lot of people took the time to send me COURTEOUS NOTES saying lovely things about my blog or, even better, my books, when signing up for the mailing list.
ALAS, I did not respond or even know about 99% of these. The notes went to the mailing list and the mailing list is MOSTLY Scott and some code and a lot of THEORY and HOPE. WHen I realized this had happened I read a few of them and tried to answer but then I realized I could ONLY answer FROM the mailing list address, and that people would likely ANSWER my answer back to the mailing list address, which goes to Scott and I was starting a big mess that would never resolve.
SO! IF you sent me a lovely note when you signed up, I appreciate it, and I am not an ungrateful baggage who is ignoring you. I likely did not see it. A few were CCâ€™ed to my real addy, like the one from Dianna which signed up after the BETWEEN FOXES went up as a prize. Hers said:
â€œI haiku'd for a fox doll once upon a time.
Here I am, now that you're holding them over the balcony like pop-star babies.
I am SO glad I did not miss that. POP STAR BABIES. ZING!
Anyway, I am sure I missed a lot of other things I didnâ€™t want to missâ€¦If you want to say something to me, I DO read and answer about 80% of my email. The rest Microsoft decides is junk and helpfully discards for me, while forwarding 20 or 30 messages about CIALIS a day and ALSO letting through the plaintive missives of Mr. Simon Bontasabi who truly believes that the good Lord has led him to me as he dies upon his dying bed and he wishes so kindly to seek my assist in the small financial of to move 20 millions of dollars from his undisclosed country to my own, so that for purposes of commission I may keeping 20%. THOSE I get. Thanks Bill Gates!
Also, I always read the comments. Always. In fact, like most bloggers, I check the blog about 50 times a day to see if I have any new ones. SO. Granted, those sometimes ALSO get weeded out by Microsoft, and about every 3 weeks or so I go dig through and approve all the REAL comments it spaminated.
I love technology. When it works.
Isnâ€™t he fantastical? He was running down the middle of the Silver Comet Trail. Itâ€™s a bike/hike/skate paved path the state put in over the old rail road line that goes all the way across Georgia. There are places to eat and bed and breakfasts and hotels spaced out along it, so you can plan multi-day jaunts down it.
This young fellow was jogging right down the middle of it. No doubt he was trying to stay slim as November --- a dangerous time for fat turkeys --- approaches. He was VERY irritated with Scott, who was BIKING and who did NOT cede the right of way, as all the signs say bikers are supposed to do for foot traffic. Scott pointed out that â€œfoot trafficâ€ does not include things with wings, and if walkers have the right of way over runners who have it over skaters who have it over bikers, surely FLIERS should be at the end of that list.
The turkey was not having any of it. He sped up and sprinted AHEAD of Scott for as far as he could. It was long enough for Scott to dig his camera out of one of the thousand secret places you can clip things to his bike. (or maybe from a secret bicycle shorts pocket? I am not sure, but the bike and the shorts together probably have more compartments and gadget clips than Batmanâ€™s utility belt.) After Scott snapped the pic, the turkey pulled over into the grass. As Scott passed he let out a BLISTERINGLY ENRAGED gobble that made Scott very glad he does not speak turkey, because he had no doubt that Strong Language was being vigorously employed.
My son and husband have both joined the cult of the bicycle. They went 33 miles on their last outing together, and Scott, on his own will go 40 or 45. I wanted to try it â€“ nevermind that I have not been on a bike sicne I was FIFTEEN YEARS OLD, so we went and rented me one.
Here were the parts of biking I like: Spending time with Scott.
Here are the parts of biking I do NOT like: All the parts that have biking.
I did enjoy the endorphins as I cranked my way UP each hill, but what goes up then has to rocket heedlessly down to its doom. I screamed my way to the base of each cliff-like plummet, every time. Hills are TERRIFYING, and calling them GENTLE SLOPES does not change them INTO gentle slopes (cough SCOTT cough). Those were MONSTROUS KILLER hills and they all personally wanted to be the one to cause my death, either by helping me careen into a tree and perish, or by causing my mortal terror to crest all the way up to heart-stop level. The hills had malevolent intentions. I could FEEL it.
Also, a HUGE BLACK BUG came zooming down the trail on the wrong side of the road and he PINGED off my forehead and exploded into bug parts. After I ran off the trail and bumpetty-thumpied my way to a stop in the grass, I clawed frantically at my forehead. Scott pulled up by me and looked and ASSURED me I didnâ€™t have any bits of LEG or INTESTINE stuck to my face, but I could still feel the INTERNAL BUG JUICINESS that he had spattered ALL OVER me. He was a very large bug and I think he was nothing BUT juice inside. Repulsive.
ALSO I kept remembering that scene in ANACONDA where Eric Stolz has a bee fly down his throat and sting him and he spends the whole rest of the movie "in a coma down in the hold" which is movie speak for "off the set in France cashing his huge paycheck for one days work on a film that needed a name brand actor because no one knew who Jennifer Lopez was yet." I asked Scott if he had a pocket knife to perform an emergency tracheotomy in case the NEXT bug went right down my throat and I spent the rest of MY personal life movie "in a coma down on the hold" which is BICYCLIST SPEAK for deadeaddead. Scott did NOT have a knife---even with all the secret bike and short clippies and compartments he probably DOES have a rapelling rope and a juicer and a defibrillator----so I had to bike the rest of the way sipping air through a little PINHOLE PRUNE MOUTH much too small to allow bug access because my nose was stuffy because we were OUTISDE which is where they keep the bugs AND the pollen.
We went twenty miles, and I am glad I did it and all, but this morning, peacefully paddling along in the air conditioning on my COMPLETELY STATIONARY elliptical machine with the TV set on the 80s-n-90â€™s music station and Marky Mark assuring me that Donny D is on the back up and he is drug free so I should put the crack up, I understood how Odysseus felt, setting foot onto his homeland after his hell-fraught journey. Good Vibrations, indeed, Mr. Mark.
Now, you know I donâ€™t like songs all that much. Dead inside, etc etc. But you know what I have learned I like even LESS than songs? Nature.
OKAY SO! Between the block party on Saturday (I made Southern Living black bean salsa and 1 MILLION people asked me for the recipe--- it is an AWESOME salsa) and the shower at my house Sunday, I have not had 15 minutes to do the drawing or make the mailing list go. WHO IS SURPRISED? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?
Hmf. At least PRETEND to be surprised... It WILL happen. This week. Hand to the LORD it will.
DIGRESSION: If you want the salsa recipe, the basic version is HERE but I cut the kernels off 2 ears of grilled corn and add them or use a small pack of frozen corn or even a drained can. Grilled is best. Also, I use spring onions instead of sweet onion and I use a MILD pepper like a banana pepper or even sweet red bells instead of jalopeno or I just leave out the pepper altogether. RIGHT before I leave the house or serve it, I chunk up one or two avocados and add them in. Donâ€™t add the avocado too early because it can get mooshed. This salsa and a bag of chips are my standard covered dish contribution and I always come home with a licked-clean bowl and a big head from the compliments, and then people think I am a brilliant cook. HEE!
My friend Lydia used to be QUITE useless in the kitchen. Like, RICE defeated her. When that BOIL IN A BAG thing happened, that was a big day for those of us who practically lived at her studio apartment because she hadnâ€™t ever before managed to achieve rice. (For the record, neither had any of US who were freeloading at her place. ALSO she is now an AWESOME cook--- this was back in grad school and we pretty much LIVED on vodka and top ramen and canned green beans.)
Anyway, she had this part time travel agency job where she wore tiny skirts made of scarf material and brick red MAC lipstick and swanned around being hung over and darling and five-feet tall and peach skinned and as big-eyed as a bush baby. She was the PET of the office, and thatâ€™s gratifying in a lot of ways, but on other days one can begin to feel PATRONIZED.
SO they planned to have a special covered dish luncheon and everyone was like, OH LYDIA! YOU CANâ€¦ BRING SODA! NO? UMâ€¦ YOU CAN BRINGâ€¦NAPKINS? Because they all just ASSUMED that she was useless in the kitchen. Which she was. Which didnâ€™t stop her from being MORTALLY insulted by the ASSUMPTION.
SO she signed up to bring a BRAIDED HONEY LOAF and when asked what a BRAIDED HONEY LOAF was she said a bunch of lies about three types of baked meat in a braid forming fruity porky beefy honeyed perfection, and she had really had no idea what a braided honey loaf was because she just made it up on the spot and then she got off work and panicked and called me and asked if there WAS any such thing, and there was not.
I donâ€™t remember what she eventually took to that party? I remember ELABORATE PLANS to fake a car accident and be very late and say the honey loaf was ruined in the crash. We were going to throw MEAT all around her car so she could show them the place where it smashed into her windshield. We didnâ€™t do that. Maybe she called in sick or just brought plastic forks? Maybe she will say how it ended in the comments. I canâ€™t remember.
ANYWAY. If you are NOT a wizard of the kitchen, then that Salsa is a lifesaver. *nodnod*
BUT even though I am a very poor excuse for a hostess, the baby shower went off very well. Vicky got many many nice things and there was enough to eat and it was good. I had my WHOLE HOUSE cleaned up and as pretty as it can possibly look given the circumstances (and here the circumstances are understood to be 2 slobby adults, 2 even slobbier children, and 6 animal friends.)
The only room that was COMPLETELY unacceptable was my troll-armpit of an office, and so I took some SHOWER RIBBON and made a decorative locking mechanism to keep anyone from accidentally going in there and catching bubonic mold or realizing how FOUL I am or both. Here is my LOCK---Please not the Mosaic cat scratch pattern my thoughtful friend Schubert has drawn into the wood of the door to please me:
Also â€“ My fruit ring was LOVELY. It TRULY was. The juices were too dark to show the fruit properly, I should have used plain pineapple, but it was STILL fetching and I felt like a successful girl. Remember I said I was going to give all the guests cardboard rolls and force them to look through the rolls DIRECTLY at my lovely pink fruit ring and not at any other parts of my house?
Well, Scott thought handing guests our used paper towel rolls was not all that classy. SO. He made up FRUIT-RING-LOOKING GOGGLES and his idea was to MASS PRODUCE THEM and issue them at the door and then position guests around the punch bowl with their heads pointed FIRMLY at the Fruit Ring. UNFORTUNATELY we did not have time to get them made up at a factory, but here is my friend Julie, modeling the prototype. You can tell that the beauty of the fruit ring has so enthused her and filled her with vigorous wonder that she has no desire to notice my filthy baseboards.
My husband is a genius.
We are experiencingâ€¦technical difficulties with the mailing list. By which I mean, we cannot find the pick-up sticks. Also, I couldnâ€™t LOOK for the pick-up sticks because I had to go to Athens and eat cheese.
Yes, I DID TOO. That sounds like an excuse, but, se, Mir invited me to come to her house where she was hosting the THREE A DAY DAIRY PARTY and a herd of extremely darling young women with glowing skin and pearly-calcium rich teeth and degrees in nutrition tried to do cooking demos and explain to me and a buncha other folks that 3 servings of dairy a day will speed weight loss and also help our bones not snap-crackle-pop into shards when we are older, but I missed most of that because I basically face-planted in an enormous bowl of gouda-cheese-grits with flank steak and a man-sized slice of sharp cheddar and leek torte, and I didnâ€™t come up for air until I had healthfully imbibed about 12 servings of dairy. I am UTTERLY convinced now that God made grits specifically so lonely goudas would have the perfect place to come home to.
Also, file under useful information: This tastes like real cheese. Pinky swear.
But I am home now and I WILL add the LAST FEW NAMES to the mailing list and ready it for its inaugural send out! (Here we understand that â€œI willâ€ in this context means â€œSCOTT will.â€ Natch.) While he does that. I shall find the pick-up sticks or perhaps dig up a grill skewer, and I SHALL blindfold Maisy and have her point at the printed sheets of mailing list names so the prizes can be distributed, and all that will happen before MONDAY. *nodnodnod* I say this to give myself a deadline.
I have decided that without deadlines I would never do a dern thing, not even ONCE.
Hereâ€™s the thing about Mirâ€™s house: It is INTIMIDATING. Mir has a house that looks like grown-ups live there. Not just ANY grown ups, but the kind of true adults who have organizational skills, and a sense of style, and non-representational wall art. I have none of these things. I have pets and drifts of their shed hair and furniture with the stuffing coming out and an office so PILED with CRAPULANT CRAP PILES that the flooring has become Schrodingerâ€™s carpet: There is no way to prove or know that there is floor or not floor until someone PICKS UP and no one is ever going do THAT, so both floor and not floor exist simultaneously UNDER the crap. I suppose *I* could pick it up, but on several levels, this would break the laws of physics.
Normally this does not bother me, but I am hosting a baby shower at my crapulent house on Sunday, and after co-hostessing a different baby shower at my friend Mistyâ€™s SHOWPLACE of a glamorous home and then eating all the fine cheeses of the world at MIRâ€™s museum level palace of gorgeousness, I am feeling distinctly sorry for my poor friend Vicky, whose shower will be at CHEZ DREADFUL.
The only thing I can bring to the table is the PERFECT FRUIT RING for the punch. I am a fruit ring MASTER---it is my one and only GIRL SKILL. You may not KNOW about The Fruit Ring â€“ that holy grail of the southern girlâ€™s shower â€“ so let me tell you how to make one.
You take a simple punch recipe --- I usually use this one because it is crisp and refreshing and a pretty color and has only 4 ingredients and is lower cal as it does not contain ice cream or sherbet:
Large can pineapple juice
Same size jar of Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail
2 litre ginger ale
2 tsp Almond Extract (YES REALLY. It makes the punch smell faintly of far off magical meadows!)
ANYWAY, to make the fruit ring, you get your cast iron Bundt pan and pour a mix of the NON CARBONATED, non-sherbet-or-ice-cream punch ingredients into the bottom of it. (For the above punch, I use equal parts cran and pineapple with a little almond extract.) You pour just a couple of inches. Then you freeze it solid. Once it is frozen, you arrange cut fruit and whole strawberries into a pleasing pattern on the icy surafece. Then you pour JUST ENOUGH of the mixed juices to COVER the fruit pattern, and you freeze THAT. Make sure this level is frozen DEAD SOLID before you proceed, or your fruit will escaxpe and float to the bottom of the ring. Last, you fill the bundt pan the rest of the way, and freeze THAT.
At shower time, you run hot water around the outside of the frozen pan to LOOSEN the fruit ring, and then you take it out and float it in your punch bowl. It looks GORGEOUS, and it keeps the punch cold and brisk but does not dilute the punch as it MELTS.
I am making one for Vicky, and it is the best thing I have to offer.
I am just going to have to issue all the guests empty toilet paper tubes and cardboard paper towel tubes, and have them look through their tubes DIRECTLY and ONLY at the fruit ring the entire time they are here. I am going to tell them all it is A Shower Game called â€œFRUIT RING LOOKING.â€ Those who look only and always at the fruit ring will win fabulous door prizes, and those who glance away at my tufted, shreddy carpet or dinged up kitchen table get summarily blinded or stoned to death, depending on the length of the glance they perpetrate.
This seems reasonable and fair.
My friend Lydia called me on Saturday night, and my son answered the phone.
Lydia: Oh, hi Sam. Is your mom around?
Sam: No, sheâ€™s not.
Lydia: Is she out of town or is she just out?
Sam: Sheâ€™s out dating.
HEE! I donâ€™t think that sounded dirty in his HEAD. I donâ€™t even think it sounded dirty to him once it was spoken, quite frankly. But Lord. I was NOT Out dating. I was out on a date with my husband, which is a small but important distinction, especially if you are the husband in question.
We had the BEST time. It was a for real date where I wore blue satin ballet flats and lip gloss and he wore an ironed shirt and dress pants and we got a sitter and we held hands all through a movie and then had hibachi dinner at our favorite Japanese place.
The movie we chose was BURN AFTER READING because we are huge Coen brothers fans and would basically shell out 10 bucks each to see a series of Toyota Tundra commercials in the theatre if the Coens had written and directed them. This is a true fact, even though I hate THE TOYATO TUNDRA with a violent burning passion, and if you have one, I am sorry, but YOU DO NOT NEED A MCSUPERSIZED TRUCK. You do not. Unless you are a professional LOG HAULER or somesuch and you actually do, in which case, fine, but accept that your truck is ugly and has all the maneuverability of a trash barge AND is so tall one almost ran over my van at Target today.
But back to the movieâ€¦ Itâ€™s very good, as long as you donâ€™t think about it too hard. I think the movie is MOSTLY about marriage, and it has a bleaker view of humanity and the possibilities of connecting than NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. That said, it is SO funny you do not notice it has totally thrown its hands up in despair over the future of humanity until after, when you talk it over during dinner.
Anyway, we sat down in our seats for the 5:05 show and I said, â€œI canâ€™t wait to see Brad Pitt get EATEN BY A HIPPO.â€
I did not actually SAY I couldnâ€™t wait to see Brad Pitt get eaten by a hippo. I said I couldnâ€™t wait to see Brad Pitt â€¦SOMETHING ELSE NOT AT ALL HIPPO RELATED. I do not, however, wish to SPOIL the film for anyone, so we are going to substitute GET EATEN BY A HIPPO for the thing I actually said.
Scott said, â€œBrad Pitt is not going to get eaten by a hippo,â€ in dismissive tones.
I said, â€œOH YES HE WILL TOO. He will be eaten by a hippo and it will be AWESOME.
Scott said, in infuriatingly certain tones, â€œHe will NOT.â€
â€œWanna BET?â€ I said.
He said, â€œIt depends. Do you have insider trading script info? Have you been reading spoilers?â€
I had not. I have been looking forward to this film for a MONTH and was desperately afraid someone would spoil it for me before I could see it. I didnâ€™t even cruise by Rottentomatoes.com because I was scared some quasi-spoiler would be on the front page.
I am one of those people who canâ€™t STAND to be told too much about movies or booksâ€¦I even think being told â€œIt has SUCH an awesome twist at the endâ€ is oversharing, because historically, when I have been told that, I spend the whole movie thinking like a writer and plot dissecting instead of enjoying it, and usually before the movie is half over I have figured out the twist and written it down on a scrap of purse paper to show Scott after. I am right about 75% of the time, and the other 25%, we often think MY twist idea is better, or they cheated and the twist is not possible given some things that came earlier.
Anyway, I said to Scott, â€œI have NO insider info, but I feel in my heart he will be eaten by a hippo. Take the bet?â€
It was agreed that if I was right, he would have to buy me Tropical Vacation Drink after. He said, â€œWhat one,â€ and I said, â€œI do not care as long as it comes in a hollowed out pineapple and has a plastic mermaid on the rim and umbrellas and a live beta fish swimming around under the ice. I want a TRULY FANCY COCKTAIL. Like triple girled out. It should be PINK or PEACH in color, and cherries impailed on plastic dueling swords are MANDATORY.â€ We shook on it.
Anyway, about HALFWAY through the filmâ€¦.Brad Pitt TOTALLY gets eaten by a hippo. (No he doesnâ€™t, obviously, but the un-hippo-related thing I SAID would happen, happened, exactly as I said it would.)
This is what I got:
No plastic mermaid, but there were hula girls on the rim, and see that VOLCANO in the center with the fruit on it? When it came? That was ON FIRE. So.
I love winning.
PS: I was KIDDING about you guys signing up for fun run pledges. You people are too darling, but no more emails on this matter. I state categorically: YOU MAY NOT SIGN UP AND GIVE EITHER OR BOTH OF MY CHILDREN 35 DOLLARS FOR RUNNING IN CIRCLES! You have your own neighborhood full of underfunded schools and packs of hooligan children with sign up sheets.
PPS and aside, you need that PARTICULAR money to go buy THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING right now in hardback and have a nice sammich and a vanilla latte from the bookstore coffee shop while you read it. If you have already BOUGHT the book, then you are gorgeous and I adore you, and NOW you can use that money to get another copy for your friend or a parent---you know they have a birthday coming up---and again, you need some lunch and maybe a nice bit of pie for afters.)
Still, it is SO sweet of you to offer, you big-hearted devils. ALSO, just to be CLEAR, I am not buying any of yaâ€™lls kids HAMS.
PPPS: Remember how I was going to keep listing the prizes EVERY DAY so we could reach the end and have the drawing and make the lovely be-pink socked mailing list come TRUE? Yeah, well, yesterday I forgot. OKAY SO! Next prize is three prizes. I opened up my small cache of BETWEEN FOX DOLL MINIATURES that my brother sculpted. SO, three people will get a Signed copy of my second novel, Between, Georgia, with one of the little FIC-FACTS that goes with it.
If you do not know about these little Fox Dolls Sculptures, or what a fic fact is, they are explained and pictured here. And you could win one! WHEE!
Also, in case you spent your money on someone elseâ€™s fun run, I shall also draw for two copies signed, first ed, of THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING.
I usually quote a review or two when I tell you about the prizes, but these are MY books and I am getting blushful, so I will just say, you can see the reviews of both books here if you are interested. If you HAVE already read Between and TGWSS, this makes a great gift, and CHRISTMAS IS COMING! Really it is. I feel its breath on the back of my neck already. (Christmas has been eating mints!)
HERE ENDETH THE PRIZES. SO this is the last few days to get in on the mailing list. There are a lot of prizes but there are ALSO a METRIC BUTTLOAD of sign-ups, which YAY thabnks for caring! And I wish you all good luck. The drawing is going to be done by printing the list of email addies, blindfolding Maisy, spinning her, postioning her near the list, and having her point with a pick-up stick. I do not know how to be more random.
REPEATED INFO: You enter to win by signing up for the mailing list. You sign up for the mailing list by clicking this link which allows you to send an EMAIL to â€œMailing List at Joshilyn Jackson dot com.â€ Then Scott will ADD your email addy to the mailing list that already secretly exists, and whenever I get done PRIZE LISTING (or at the end of September, WHATEVER COMES FIRST) I will send you a mailing list TEST email that will tell you who won which prize.
Over on WOULDA COULDA SHOULDA, my dear friend Mir has an ethical dilemma You can read the whole thing here, or, to nutshell it, her kids are trying to win a Wii by raising money in the school fun run. The question, well debated in the comments, is this: Is it ETHICAL to combine their pledges so they have a better chance, or does each child have to get their own pledges? Subquestion: How will other families, some with 3 and 4 kids, handle the idea of PLEDGE/multiple child combo-ness, and does what other families do change what is empirically ETHICAL?
â€œPoo Poo,â€ says I, and I tuck ethics WAY back in the freezer behind the cold-yet-moldering Pillsbury pie crust packets that that have been icily rotting there since Thanksgiving of 2004 because I have a Cuisinart and can make my own pastry and also I never clean out my freezer.
POO POO I say, and then I add, MIR! COMBINE THE KIDS THINGIES FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!
Not because of Ethics.
Not even because of a Wii.
But because of good manners.
Here in south, manners trump ethics and double trump gaming systems every day, and even twice on Sunday. (MORALS are, of course, another story, and here in the South it is oftentimes considered good manners to peer around the beam in oneâ€™s own eye and gently and indirectly but POINTEDLY point out with your pointy pointer the eye-motes of others, providing, of course, you begin by saying, â€œBless your heartâ€¦â€)
My kidsâ€™ school is also doing a fun run, and that means every grandparent and aunt and neighbor and even TEENAGE COUSINS will be summarily HIT UP to sign on as sponsors. If they are asked to sponsor EACH child for a BUCK A LAP as suggested, that's a likely 70 bucks they have to pony up, as my kids run like foamy-rabid cheetahs and the lap cap is a whopping 35.
Now, granted, the relations could just say POO POO to the suggestions and sponsor each kid for 50 cents a lap, or a quarter a lap, or, in the case of teenaged cousins with girlfriends and gas tanks, I am suggesting my kids ask for a penny a lap, to be paid later. Probably. If gas prices drop again.
But the grandparents? If asked by each kid with big prize-wanting and sorrowful eyes for a buck a lap? Will probably sign on for a buck a lap. And I do not think that is a reasonable thing to ask a grandparent to do. Much less a neighbor!
I have bought all my neighborâ€™s childrenâ€™s popcorns and cookies and magazine subscriptions (and we live in a tiny neighborhood where I know the kids and parents and so door knocking is not an issue) but I hesitate to have my kids ask my neighbors for 70 bucks for the privilege of knowing my kids RAN a little bit. They can see my kids running pointless, butter-churningly swift laps around our shared cul de sac almost daily, and FOR FREE. Also, the things I buy from their kids are usually 10 or 15 bucks a popâ€¦
SO I ASK YOU! Is suggesting a dollar a lap unreasonable, especially when you have more than one kid? Is combining unethical, given that combining = more prizes for the kids? Should I make them DIVIDE UP THE FRIENDS AND RELATIONS, so that each neighbor and relative gets hit up by only one child? And is that fair, to limit who can ask whom, given that pledges equal prizes and we have a limited pool of possible pledges?
REMEMBER we are between churches, so our pool is VERY limited indeed. At our old church they would have SO many people to ask. I have bought HAMS from these peopleâ€™s children, WHOLE HONEYBAKED HAMS, I tell you, and enough Girl Scout Samoa Cookies (of which a main ingredient is CRACK, I am certain, these are so addictive) and Boyscout chocolate caramel popcorn tins to up me a dress size. But I have not yet made any child/school purchases at the church we are currently datingâ€¦WHAT TO DO??!?!?
DIGRESSION: However it pans out, I have to say I am agree with Mir in that I am digging the Fun Run SO MUCH MORE than the catalog of 10 dollar a roll SPOOKY CLOWN COVERED (All clowns have fangs, troo fax) wrapping paper fund-raisers. Those â€œPlease buy this crap for way too much money so the school can have a pittance and the wrapping paper company can gobble the restâ€ fundraisers are immoral, unethical, vile, pander-y, diseased and evil. I have said, many times, I would rather just write a check for a hundred bucks straight to the school and get a tax write off than write a check for 100 bucks to a wrapping paper company so the school can have 50 bucks and I can have 4 bucks worth of wrappy-CLOWNS. (CLOWNS!!!!)
But back on point â€“ They are all HET UP to begin sucking up pledgesâ€¦SO! Advice welcome. ALSO, PS, if you feel moved to make FUN RUN PLEDGE, I will buy a ham from your kid laterâ€¦
The mills of Faster Than Kudzu grind slowly, and they grind irresponsibly as well, which means that NOT ONLY could you totally lose a finger in there, but I am still not done listing the prizes and I keep forgetting to list them. BEFORE SPETEMBER IS OVER, we shall close the â€œmailing listâ€ chapter of our lives and lace as many fingers as we have left together. Then you and I, best beloveds, will walk into the meadowy sunset of HAVING A MAILING LIST togetherâ€¦it is going to be true and beautiful and IT. WILL. HAPPEN. and you will know whenever I have a new book out because the MAILING LIST will TELL you.
Meanwhile, my delightful and talented friend Renee Rosen has added a prize to the pile: A signed trade paperback of her debut, Every Crooked Pot. Itâ€™s about girlâ€™s troubled relationship with both her own face (she has a strawberry birthmark covering one eye) and her father (a larger than life successful salesman and quasi-failed musician) Booklist gave it a starred review, saying, â€œThere's real power in the writing,â€ and the father-daughter relationship is heartbreakingly well-rendered.
You enter to win by signing up for the mailing list. You sign up for the mailing list by clicking this link which allows you to send an EMAIL to â€œMailing List at Joshilyn Jackson dot com.â€ Then Scott will ADD your email addy to the mailing list that already secretly exists, and whenever I get done PRIZE LISTING (or at the end of September, WHATEVER COMES FIRST) I will send you a mailing list TEST email that will tell you who won which prize.
MEANWHILEâ€¦Maisy is still writing her own praise songs. I like a good hymn myself, especially ones from my childhood, and I will sometimes find myself humming â€œGreat is thy Faithfulnessâ€ or â€œHave Thine Own Wayâ€ as I wander the house, not cleaning it and not writing a novel. But Maisy is not a â€œLow Hum Fanny J. Crosbyâ€™s backlistâ€ kind of a girl.
Maisy is the kind of little girl who dances around the house singing her own soundtrack all the day long. She has her My Little Ponies performed high-pitched warbling opera when she plays pretend. Sample:
Pony One: *a soprano pony with hoards of vibrato* Do you want to play with me!
Pony 2: *An even warblier, Soprano-ier Pony* No! I DO NOT LIKE YOU!
Pony 1: Why canâ€™t you be my friend.
Pony 2: Okay then, I guess I can!
This dialog, all sung, can go on for hours. And Maisy has a history of performing praise music. Old School Best Beloveds may remember her magnificent hymn to both God and phenylethylamine from The Maisyâ€™s Greatest Hits of 2005. GAH!!!! The file is refusing to uploadâ€¦Iâ€™ll try to put it up later.
She also has the VOCABULARY of praise music down, little phrases that are lifted from her memory verses or other praise songs, that sound SO FORMAL coming from her rosebud peep of a mouth. The other day, while we were in my office, she was in the den playing with toys and unconsciously meandering her way through a homemade praise song. I transcribe it for you hereâ€¦
Oh, Lord you are so magnificent!
I love you so much! You are glorious upon the earth!
And I want to follow you, and do what you say!
I will always follow your rules!
I will not murder anyone!
No one in my family will get murdered by me!
IT KILLS ME (not literallyâ€¦) that we did not have the recorder running for that one. Scott and I looked at each other and started laughing so hard we almost fell out of our chairs. When we could speak again, I said, â€œWe REALLY need to find a church.â€ He nodded. Well, at least the child is interested in the commandments. I think she has combined two here â€“ honoring thy father and mother (by not murdering them in their beds) and not murdering anyone (especially oneâ€™s family.) Iâ€™m calling it a win.
At the Decatur Book Fest, I went out for cocktails with a bunch of writers.
You note the above has no actual time or date, because this is a pretty apt description of how I spent all the time I wasnâ€™t actively speaking or signing. Sometimes, instead of cocktails, you could insert the word BRUNCH or COFFEE. But mostly cocktails.
(DIGRESSION: Birdiâ€™s in Decatur makes a CLEAR Chocolate Covered Cherry Martini --not a cream based syrupy drink but a BITEY kind of cherry with a little chocolate linger on palate. It is awesome. The ownerâ€™s of Birdiâ€™s are CLOSING it in a month and retiring to the North Georgia Mountains to live at peace among the deers and eventually be savaged by bears and die.
If you happen to be a driven, type A, self-made wealthy person â€“ Diane Keaton might play you in the movie version -- who has made your fat nest egg and now you want to retire from whatever sort of exhausting capitalist piracy you practice and instead own a charming martini bar in an art-farty, coffee-house-and-bookstore-riddled, organic-grocery-loving town and have a cast of funny-weird employees who make for good, contrasting subplottage, please buy Birdiâ€™s and keep it open so I can pretty much LIVE there all during the Decatur Book Fest. THANKS!
PS. Do not change the menu. OR if you do change the menu, keep the chocolate covered cherry martini. And the artichoke dip. Because, yum.)
Most of the folks I posseâ€™d up with at this particular fest are agnostics. I am used to this. Subjectively speaking, most writers I meet tend toward various flavors of agnosticism. Iâ€™m quite often the only Christ-bitten little turd in the herd, and I am pretty up front and out about my faith: I love me some Jesus. I say so.
I say I am devout when the topic of God comes up, and it almost always does, because we are writers. Writers having cocktails -- again SUBJECTIVELY SPEAKING --- talk about God and love and death (because what the hell else matters?) and also about history in both the literal and the personal and subjective sense (because these are the contexts that exist for God and love and death) Also, sometimes we talk about how funny it is when a dog farts and then turns to look at his own butt all surprised and quizzical becauseâ€¦ WELL, IT IS.
Anyway, I out myself as a Christian and QUITE often the agnostics who are new to meeting me get this faint twinge of a LOOK on their faces. Not an unkind or disdainful look, just---SURPRISED. As if they only just now noticed that my nostrils have great swaths of dandling exotic peacock-ian plumage sprouting out and cascading down my chest in a colorful wave.
Sometimes I feel their surprise is a TELLING thing.
It can feel telling about how Christains are viewed, as in a â€œShe doesnâ€™t SMELL like she just came from setting a gay person on fireâ€¦â€ kind of surprise.
Sometimes it feels telling in another way, about me, as in, â€œI didnâ€™t think Christians were supposed to be quite soâ€¦ LOUD. Or quite soâ€¦SCATALOGICAL.â€
It is TRUE that I am very loud and opinionated and competitive and at times, SUPREMELY OBNOXIOUS. I wonder if I should be troubled that it strains credulity, even for that brief second, at the reveal, that I am a person of faith? I HOPE it is not me, representing badly. I hope it is just that most of the writers you meet at fests are agnostical-ish, and so I am perforce an oddity.
It was neat to have Patty Callahan Henry around in Decatur---she is a ministerâ€™s daughter and a devout Christian herself --- being loud and kind and dear and rowdy and delightful. I want to be like her in these ways.
Anyway, this has no POINT, ALAS. It is simply a mildy troubled, faithy rambling. As you know, I am DATING CHURCHES right now. We broke up with our church, (on good terms, we will always be friends, etc etc,) but dating a new church is forcing me to try to define who I am. And who I want to be. Iâ€™ll let you know how or if it goes.
I love that I can tell you guys without batting an eyelash that Frank Turner Hollon is a cannibal and you all just go, â€œOh. Thatâ€™s nice. Please sign me up for the mailing list.â€ FTH himself merely said, in phlegmatic tones, â€œSince people are not included in the meat food group, cannibals are vegetarians.â€ RIGHTO!
Jayne Pupek is probably NOT a cannibal, but I canâ€™t say for CERTAIN as I have never met her. I do have to say, this book is one I have been waiting for ever since I heard about it six months ago, and of course I canâ€™t read it because I am hip deep in drafting and it is first person southern, which mucks up my voice and can cause me to lose weeksâ€¦It is on the TIP TOP of my Southern-to-be-read pile for when I finish Rose, and it is acting as motivation. If you read it or HAVE read it, I would love to hear your opinion.
If you have not, probably you should. It is from Algonquin, and I tend to like most books that press puts out. Also it is getting great reviews, like this from Publisherâ€™s Weekly, which also tells you the premise, which is what made me want to read this book, and yes I know this is a run-on sentence and can someone please tell the grammartician sitting in the back to STOP JUDGING ME as I have been drafting all day and I cam CLINICALLY INSANE:
The absorbing, unsettling debut from Pupek centers on 11-year-old Ellie Sanders, who has already seen a lot of heartache in her short, rural mid-20th-century Virginia childhood. Her beautiful but troubled mother, Julia, who today would probably be diagnosed as bipolar, has frequent outbursts necessitating restraints and horse tranquilizers, administered by Ellie's father, Rupert. When a pregnant Julia suffers a bad fall, Rupert uses the incident to bring home more trouble, in the form of Tess, the teenage tomato girl who supplies his general store with home-grown produce. Intended as a caretaker for Julia and Ellie (and a bedmate for himself), Tess, who has troubles of her own, instead initiates a series of increasingly horrific events that leaves the family irreversibly altered. Issues of racial and religious intolerance are touched on lightly, but the real focus of this accomplished debut is the fatalistic accounting of the events engulfing Ellie.
I thought ELLIE would be the titular tomato girl, but I am GLAD she is not. SO interested in TESSâ€¦Anyway, I was so INTRIGUED that I randomly accosted Ms. Pupek and asked her to visit, and here is the result of that assaultâ€¦
JJ:What do you think of your cover and how does it compare to the cover you imagined when you were writing the book?
JP: While I agree with the adage, "You can't judge a book by its cover," I've bought a lot of books simply because I loved the cover art. I've undoubtedly overlooked many other books because the covers were drab or boring. Covers matter.
My poetry book, "Forms of Intercession," was published earlier this year. While I selected the artist whose work I wanted on the cover of that book, I didn't have the same level of control over the cover for "Tomato Girl." I basically chewed my pencil and waited to see the jacket design. I wondered what the folks at Algonquin would choose. A basket of tomatoes? Ellie's green chick? A jar with Baby Tom inside?
A friend reminded me that most of Algonquin's books are gorgeous. My ears tuned in on that four letter word "most." Meanwhile, I came across images online that made me cringe: a painting of a girl with a tomato for her head; a doll dressed in a red diaper and matching hat, supposedly to look like a tomato. I didn't know what I hoped would be on the cover, but none of these were it.
It even occurred to me that I could paint the cover myself. I'm a bit of a weekend artist, dabbling with watercolors and pastels. This idea didn't last long, maybe a minute. The truth is, I completely lack talent, a point underscored by the number of times my sons look at my paintings and ask, "What IS that?" They crane their necks like contortionists, as if somehow a different perspective will help them decipher goats from cows or a blue sofa from a mountain. How easily they forget who pays Santa!
During this process, I received an email from my editor. He wanted me to take a look at the cover. Oh, dear.
I took a deep breath and opened the file. It was almost like falling in love. There was Ellie, twirling in her yellow Easter dress. Behind Ellie: her father's tool shed, a white building with a red roof. And in the foreground was an envelope like the ones Ellie's father may have used to mail letters to his daughter. Printed inside the envelope: the book's title and my name.
I couldn't have imagined or chosen a more beautiful cover. I certainly couldn't have painted one. No matter how many times I've looked at the book (and believe me, I've looked at it plenty), I'm still amazed at how lovely it is, and how perfectly it fits the story.
JJ: I agree--- I think the colors and movement on the cover are FANTASTIC. Who did you dedicate this book to and why?
JP: I dedicated the book to a teacher named Dora, a woman unlike any I had known. In a blue collar family like mine, the women worked as hard as the men. After all the scrubbing, canning, planting, ironing, and so on, there wasn't a lot of time for leisure activities. When the women finally sat down, they were more likely to watch television or knit than to paint or read.
Dora was different. She had gone to college, and a lot of things interested her. She read books, including novels, memoirs and poetry. During the summers, she wrote to me on pretty stationary; she brought back shells from the beach to share. Dora had cats, not as mousers, but as pets. She also had several dogs, including a little white poodle she called Pooh. She took pictures of him, and once, even brought him to visit me.
She gave me pretty things that often had no use other than to be pretty. Even the candy Dora ate was pretty; shaped like ribbons, it came in a colorful tin. She also gave me my first kitten, a black and white fellow that I named Boots. I remember being stunned that my mother bought canned food for Boots. All the cats I had known lived in the barn and hunted for their food.
Dora also gave me books, including a wonderful book about a girl who lived in the woods. I read all the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, an author that quickly became a childhood favorite. And most importantly, Dora showed me how to write a poem.The poem itself was pretty bad as poetry goes, but I was immediately mesmerized by the act of creating with words. I still am.
Dora was not only an unusual woman, our relationship was unusual. Dora taught in the Home-Bound program, which was basically a visiting teacher program. Certain students--mostly sick children and pregnant girls-- were assigned a teacher to come to their homes and give lessons. I had been born with a neuromuscular disorder that placed me in a wheelchair by age two, so I, too, participated in the Home-Bound program. I did not attend public school until sixth grade, when Dora said she could not teach me the "new math." While my brother and cousin had a different teacher every year, Dora was my only teacher for six years. During those years, I spent as much quality time with Dora as I spent with anyone. She taught me how to find grace and beauty in things I may have overlooked. She did what any great teacher does: she opened new worlds to me. I couldn't imagine dedicating my first novel to anyone else.
JJ: Do you think of yourself as a Southern writer, and what does that MEAN to you?
JP: People tell me that an entire world exists beyond the boundaries of Virginia, but you couldn't prove that by me. I was born in the Shenandoah Valley, where I remained until I graduated from college and completed graduate school. Afterwards, I relocated to Central Virginia, where I worked in mental health for many years. I've never lived outside of Virginia. I married a Yankee, and he's all I know of the North.
Writers do best to write what they know best. For me, that is the South, particularly the Commonwealth of Virginia. To be a Southern writer means that the voices I hear inside my head belong to the people of the South. It means that the landscapes in my mind are ones that belong to this region. I believe the sense of place in my work is as important as the characters. From the foliage to the food to the way one sees family or religion, the South permeates my work.
"Tomato Girl" specifically fits into the Southern Gothic genre. Southern Gothic literature derived from the larger Gothic genre and includes a combination of supernatural elements, mental disease, and the grotesque. Damaged and delusional characters are important in this genre. Southern Gothic literature primarily uses these elements to examine social issues rather than for suspense. "Tomato Girl" novel raises issues of racial division as well as the stigma and isolation of mental illness. While I know and love the South, I tend to explore some of the darker aspects of our culture and people. Human complexities fascinate me. I'm particularly intrigued by the ways that upbringing and place influence how people behave.
I HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN! I have not. There WILL be a mailing list.
Secretly? Between you and me, O Best of all POSSIBLE Beloveds?
There already IS one. Shhhh.
Scott made it out of tape and black magic your e-mail addresses. (Duct Tape, he clarifies. Because he is a staunch convert to the First Church of With Duct Tape, I Can Do Anything.)
ANYWAY, the reason I am PRETENDING to have no mailing list yet is that I still have PRIZES to list, and with the CRAZED TRAVEL of the last bit of August, I did not have time to do that.
The Decatur Book Fest was INSANE â€“ I had ZERO time to put up prizes. This is because there is a word I cannot say. The word starts with N and ends in an O and rhymes with the GO part of Amy-Go. ALSO, I LOVE the Decatur Book Fest, it is one of the highlights of my year, so whenever ANYONE from the DBF called and asked me to do ANYTHING, I said the opposite word, which is â€œOH YAR YAR I WOULD LOVE TO!â€
SO that weekend, I did four introductions, two panels, and talked about The Girl Who Stopped Swimming to a standing room only crowd in the old courthouse, and by the end I was HAPPY but EXHAUSTED. The courthouse TGWSS thing was my favorite part, because I had talked about the book in three or four venues in Decatur before, so I did not tell the stories I have become used to telling while on tour.
Instead, I showedthe quilt and read what is perhaps my favorite little snip to read aloud (Uncle Pootâ€™s ghostly detached polka FOOT) and then I talked about where books come from. (â€œSometimes, when a mildly deranged person and a ream of paper love each other VERY, VERY, MUCHâ€¦)
Mir watched me haring off from one venue to another, wild eyed and sweaty in the 98 degree windless heat, even leaving one panel in the middle because I had another scheduled so that it overlapped, and she shook her head. Her husband, Otto, made me some FLASHCARDS. Ten of them. Each Flashcard had a SINGLE two letter word in the center, all printed up neatly in different fonts. It was that WORD. The N word. No, not THAT N word. The SHORT one. The one I cannot say.
Mir held the flashcards up for me, and I tried to practiceâ€¦
Me: Read whatâ€™s on that card?
Me: Does it sayâ€¦. ON?
Mir: No. *shows me the next card*
Mir: No. *shows me the next card*
Mir: No. *Shows me the next card*
Me: Turning head to peer at the card SIDEWAYS* â€¦ Oz????
I never quite got the hang of saying that word, but I LUCKILY I am passive aggressive and can get out of things I truly do not want to do by simply not showing up. *grin*
I AM KIDDING. Mostly.
But I digress.
SO! I am going to list a PRIZE every day â€“ EVERY DAY I TELL YOU- (and by this I clearly mean ALMOST every day, or, more specifically â€œevery day that I actually BLOGâ€) until they are ALL UP, and then I will do the drawing. I will not announce the winners HERE on FTK. I will, instead, send out an E-MAIL to the mailing list telling you the winners. It will be the inaugural test launch e-mail, and then my mailing list â€“ assuming it works â€“ shall not trouble you again until TGWSS comes out in paperback next summer.
You BBâ€™s know that I am a HUGE Frank Turner Hollon fan, and that I do not and cannot and will not EVER understand why he is not as well known as Philip Roth or Robert Penn Warren. Perhaps because lives in a hollow tree in the wilds of Alabama and is an agoraphobic and possibly feral cannibal. It is hard to be feral AND agoraphobic and still capture enough people to sustain a cannibal life, but he manages, Best Beloveds, he manages. He is my favorite.
I RISKED LIFE AND LIMB to get a signed copy of his latest book:
I got it at a rare public appearance he did at Lemuria. He was, of course, safely chained to a gurney with the Hannibal Lector hockey mask on, so his sig is a little hard to read. But it is his. This particular book may well be his best yet. And this is the guy who wrote THE GOD FILE and A THIN DIFFERENCE, so that is SAYING something.
You enter by signing up for the mailing list. You sign up for the mailing list by clicking this link which allows you to send an EMAIL to â€œMailing List at Joshilyn Jackson dot com.â€
(OH! Hey! SPEAKING of pink socks â€“ remember the FAQ? Heh. Me neither.)
Driving from Saraâ€™s house in Asheville to the Decatur Book Fest, I paused in Athens to pick up Mir. Once back on the road, she was telling me a very funny story and then she looked at my face and saw I had horror face.
She followed my line of sight and saw a large EX RABBIT on the side of the road. He was very very ex, most PROBABLY a rabbit although I would not say so under oath, and Mir looked back to see how my skin had paled and gone slightly green and said, "IT IS OKAY! DO NOT THROW UP! THAT RABBIT IS ...SLEEPING! HE IS SLEEPING!"
â€œSleeping?â€ I said, in a trembling voice. As we zoomed past him, I decided this was a program of sad-and-ill-avoidance I could get behind with a strong will, so I said, decisively, â€œYES! He is sleeping."
She echoed, "Sleeping!" in a cheerful tone and then added under her breath, "Sleeping with his nose shoved backward through his butt."
I pretended not to hear that. POOR rabbit (or rather, poor rabbit-like former animal).
Then we got to the festival â€“ more on that later â€“ and met up with Karen Abbott. I was a RAGGED PIECE OF MEAN to Karen every second. I was hateful about her taste in clothes as we purse shopped. I was a snarky about who would get what room and what bed and called her a selfish turd as we checked into the hotel. I mortally insulted her parentage all through dinner. After dinner, we hooked up with Patti Callahan Henry and Daniel Wallace to have martinis at Birdiâ€™s, and I remained completely AWFUL to Karen.
She kept saying, â€œWOW, WHY ARE YOU SO MEAN TO ME!!!â€
And I would answer, â€œShut up, I hate you.â€
And then we would both cackle like two of Macbethâ€™s witches at each other and then I would say, â€œSHUT UP.â€
This was Friday. You realize, Best Beloveds, that SUNDAY, just yesterday, was the day she and her husband packed up their furniture, rented out their Atlanta condo, and went to really and for truly and forever live in Manhattan? Well, they did, and allllll weekend, I was AWFUL to her.
Finally I said something ALMOST unforgiveable, and she said â€œOH WOW WHAT? Are you are actually MAD at me? I thought you were just being mean for fun?â€ and I smiled a facile smile and said, â€œ. Nope. I violently hate you is all.â€
She looked actually hurt, and then I broke and said, â€œOKAY FINE, Here is your other choice,â€ and started bawling and wailing, â€œPLEASE DO NOT GO AND LEAVE MY LIKE ROADSIDE RABBIT ALL IN A WED RED CHUNK WITH NO DEAR FRIEND IN TOWN AND YOU ARE THE CORVETTE WHO WENT BY AND SMASHED MY NOSE BACKWARDS THROUGH MY BUTT TIL IT IS UNCERTAIN THAT I AM EVEN A RABBIT AND YOU DROVE ON TO NEW YORK I WILL MISSSSS YOU WAH WAH I WILL MISSSSS YOUUUUUUU.â€ and then she waved panicky hands and teared up and screamed, "OH GOOD GRIEF, BE MEAN BE MEAN."
Daniel Wallace said, in fake, sage tones, â€œIt is easier to leave then to be the one left behind. Because see, Karen, the LEAVING one will make all new friends and have a fabulous time, while you, Joshilyn, will most certainly dry up and die.â€
We fell out laughing and pelted him with the fruit from our cocktails and the night went on, and I was mean as a SERPENT to her and she would smile back all sparkly with every new and vicious low I sunk to, because she heard the underwords. She knows that, â€œI hope you die in a fire,â€ was actually me saying, â€œI do not know how I will bear it---how sad and gapped my city will be, with nothing sitting in your place.â€