I am up at three am because I feeling well enough today for my insomnia to come back. The Brightside of my boring and endless anemia has been, I have been sleeping hours and hours and hours at a time, just like a non-insomniac might. There’s something WONDERFUL about waking up after 9 hours of blissful unconsciousness. I think it is called, “Not being tired.”
Alas, with the anemia this un-tired state of being lasts four or five hours, and then I have to toddle off and take a nap, like a great-great-granny. My animals LOVE my new schedule---a human who naps as much as they do, it is so exciting! They see me creaking up the stairs with a mug of Raspberry Zinger in the afternoon and they get up from wherever they are currently sleeping to sleep with me in the spot of my choosing.
I always choose the bed. They pile in around me in a careful hierarchy.First the oblivious dog who does not realize there IS a hierarchy, and then Schubert and Boggart exchange “Tiresome Philistine! Does he not know WHO WE ARE?” glances. Then the cats come, Schubert first, natch, and they arrange themselves in careful pattern where the two cats both must be touching me but not each other or the dog.
Then they all NAP TOGETHER in a big fetid snoozy shedding heap and for about five minutes I think I am not going to be able to sleep, and I wish I could move my limbs without disturbing someone, especially since the someone in question has pointy bits on their feet. Then I pass out for two hours.
ANYWAY. I say all this to say, I FELT GOOD TONIGHT, very good and like me, so much like me that I woke up at three with a clear knowledge of what’s wrong in Chapter 7 of the new draft and I had to come down and work on it. I am going to go work on Mosey for another hour or two, and then at six I am leaving for Augusta State University to teach at the Sandhills writer’s conference. I will be out of pocket for the next three days, but I left a blog behind in which I tell you 39 true facts about my agent.
Yes yes I know it is supposed to be 100 things. But, you know, I got to 39 at about 3 pm yesterday...and then I had to go nap.
It is the family retreat! My family is supposed to be camping with a buncha families from my church in a gorgeous state park in Tennessee. And indeed, this is happening; my FAMILY is doing exactly that. My husband is there. My kids are there. My friends are there. I am HERE, chewing a large wad of self pity as if it were a cud and I had four stomachs. When that is not occupying my time, I spend it eating snacks, saying disparaging things to the Feline Foot-Menace, and otherwise trying to make up for missing it by at least feeling that I have been productive. Or as productive as a person can reasonably be without getting out from underneath an enormous pile of blankets. YAY Lap desks! Yay wireless! And BOO on still feeling like hammered crap every minute.
What I have done so far just TODAY!
--Drafted more than 2,500 words of the new novel.
--Blogged about my plans to SPRING! CLEAN! over on Five Full Plates. No, I am not exactly sure how I will clean out my children’s closets from under this enormous pile of blankets, actually. But I have options. For example, I could take apart this old laptop and use the parts to build a fleet of teeny robot dogs to do my bidding. Of course, based on how well my OWN flea-brained fleshly dog does my bidding, I do not think I can reasonably expect my robot dogs to do much more than poop gears onto the carpet and grind up my shoes in their teeny, mechanical jaws.
--Caught up on e-mail. This included FINALLY allowing myself to delete my VERY favorite penis improvement drug spam, which has been in my inbox since 10/21/09. It was titled, “Become her Drillosaur!” This made me laugh every time, but it was clotting up valuable in-box real estate.
--Did some manuscript evaluations for an upcoming workshop I am teaching...It is strange how reading rough drafts with a critical eye and with my brain set on FIND CRAFT ISSUES! Can make me suddenly recognize spots in my own work where I am being lazy or self-referential or assuming that an image or idea has made it fully onto the page just because I see it so strongly in my HEAD.
--Petted the Brown Cat until his petting cup was full and he began chewing me.
I a little while, I am going to adventurously STAND UP and begin an intrepid event where I DO NOT LIE DOWN. I plan for this adventure to end with clean dishes. If that works out for me, then next, I may become truly bold GO GET THE MAIL. Yes, all the way outside!!!
My life is JUST LIKE a freakin’ choose your own adventure book...if no one ever picked the "Get out of bed" option..
FTK has been dark all week, and I am beginning to get messages from Facebook friends plaintively asking if I am dead. Which, thank you for that. It’s good to be checked on. My answer is a tentative, "Not yet." I have this ongoing and scutiating boring medical drama, and on top of that, two of my favorite boys in the whole world, Scott and Sam, last week took it upon themselves to become giant hives of feverish virus-soaked mucus, and I sat between them like the fingers of some poor little Madge-victim, soaking in it.THEY bounced back in 48 hours each. My boring ongoing medical drama has borked my immune system, and I am not doing any bouncing.
I've been sick all week. Today I actually got out of bed, my fever is gone, and I have one working nostril, so I am declaring myself WELL ENOUGH. I have been SO FREAKIN' BORED that I have been reduced to watching HARPER'S ISLAND on my Netflix Instant Q, which, Beloveds, that is very very desperate. Harper’s Island is a miniseries starring Engaging Girl With A Cute Nose, and it is about a bunch of incredibly stupid people at a destination wedding who drink A LOT and who do not notice that every time someone trots off for a pee or a swim they get horridly murdered and never come back.
The island is small enough that your wedding party can do a walking scavenger hunt that takes them to all four corners of the island in a single, booze-fueled afternoon, but large enough that you can build a pit trap and barbecue a VERY LOUD bridesmaid alive without anyone hearing. Also a crazy woodman with half a face can live in the bracken, raising attack dogs and setting up attack logs (this is not a typo. He makes LOG TRAPS and a HUGE log comes down and throws the bride and her dad down a cliff. THEN Half-a-face sics a leopard level stealthy German Shepherd on them and after they KILL THE DOG with a broken bottle and stagger back to the wedding, scratched up and filthy and covered in dog blood, they say to the groom, "Oh, we had a little accident." No mention of crazy Half-face, or attack dogs or being nearly killed by a log. And the groom says, OKAY, WELL HELP ME CHOOSE NAPKIN RINGS FOR THE RECEPTION! while everyone else has another round.
I think we are 9 murders in and NO ONE NOTICED ANYONE MISSING until five minutes ago when a cop discovered chunks of the priest floating in a bog. Also, a surprise axe trap went off during the rehearsal slicing someone into 2 tidy pieces in front of the WHOLE wedding party, which may cause a couple of them to notice that Something Bad is Happening. Maybe. Who knows. They have already ALL been drinking. OH TO BE THEM, but without the axe traps and priest chunks.
I am am going to declare myself WELL, or at least well enough, and go out to dinner with my kid tonight for his birthday. He likes the hibachi table thing, and although I have hibachi'd enough to know how to refuse trying to catch a rice ball with my mouth with such a gimlet eye that even the wackiest of fillet-knife armed hibachi chefs moves it right on along and I never, never, jump when the red string comes out of the ketchup bottle....my kids love the onion volcano and the leaping flames of death. And I like the salmon. So.
I haven't blogged both because I have been too brain dead to string words together ---even nearly nonsensical ones (SEE ABOVE), and on top of that, nothing has happened. My blog entries would have had to take place from my bed, where possible fascinating topics included, and were, yes, pretty much limited to:
1) What happened on Harper’s Island. (SEE ABOVE)
2) Brown animal wars. In direct opposition to proper Biblical imagery, my brown animals (Schubert the obese one-eyed pirate cat) and Bagel (my charming dog who, in lieu of a brain, keeps a single-celled organism floating in prune juice in his skull cavity) have been a war to see who can lay pressed up against my left side. No animal wants to lay by my RIGHT side. Left is BETTER, you understand. (I hope. I myself do not understand.) But while I lay sweating it out with a fever of 102 my answer to the endless queries of, WHICH BOILING HOT MAMMAL GETS TO PRESS SWEATILY AGAINST YOUR LEFT SIDE was "Please go away, I am busy trying to die peacefully." No one liked that answer. It led to the festival of shoving (me), and hiss noises (Shubert), and puzzled, wounded looks (Guess).
3) The fascinating, 'what tissue is better' debate. I bought Trader Joe's tissue, a little bit because it is all recycled and good for the EARTH, but, let's be honest, mostly for the box. Look, every side has little letters to you from your tissue. Very charming and the illustrations are very turn of the former century. I have that in the guest bathroom, Puffs in my bathroom, and Kleenex with Lotion by the bed from when Scott had this vile disease and lay there infecting me. Kleenex with Lotion kinda creeps me out. It feels ever so slighly....pre-sneezed in. And as for Tader Joe's? My letter back would read something like this:
While I am glad you are made of entirely recycled materials, I wish that those materials did not include sandpaper and bone splinters.
Love, MY NOSE IS SORE
Verdict: A nose in need deserves Puffs indeed.
4) I have weird, backwards drug reactions. DAYquil makes me pass out and NYquil makes me hyper. Does this mean I have ADD? Discuss.
1) It is the very last day to leave a comment and be entered in the drawing to win one of two copies of Roses... The entry is below. January is another month like JUNE where I resolved to have a book give-away every week. SO. Even if that HATEFUL number generator bruises your pure pink heart with his cruel and random ways, you can crawl back to Tara and puke up a radish and wave your fist at him and remind him that tomorrow is another day.
2) The only New Year’s resolution I managed to make in a TIMELY fashion was to make AT LEAST THREE MORE later and actually stick with them. So, I am going to resolve things. Resolutely. With a firm chin and a spine so rigid that I if I owned a BURN, WITCH, BURN T-shirt I could qualify as a Puritan. I have combed the comments and am stealing and adapting my favorites.
a) WIN the 5FP challenge. This is a gimme, and a cheaty because I did notthink of it as a New Years resolution when I made it in October. But clearly it IS one. And counts. One down.
b) From Dianna, I am stealing the resolution to accept compliments gracefully, with a THANKS or a HOW KIND OF YOU TO SAY instead of my usual toe scrubbing disbelief that leads to protestations of truth-telling and the fervent reiteration of the compliment that made me all shifty-eyed and diffident in the first place. This means my husband should resolve to tell me I am smart and talented and gorgeous and delightful and even tempered and charming and super, ALL THE TIME NOW, every minute, sometimes with bouquets of daisies or French Chocolates or expensive bath salts, so I can PRACTICE accepting compliments. *angelic smile*
c) From MANY people I amalgamated and stole the idea of becoming a more Whole Assed Person. Right now, I do most of the things I do in a half-assed way. Some days I am pleased to manage quarter-assed-ness. I want to do everything I do fervently and completely and well, and that means: Saying NO to things I do not have time or the talent set to go Whole Ass at. Throwing myself---whole ass first---into the things I say yes to. Not being lazy. Not procrastinating.
My friend Julie has the same resolution, but she put it a different way. Her pre-schooler, Max, is in the towel-cape-wearing, flapping around the house saving the universe stage. He likes to put on his underpants OUTSIDE His jeans, because Superman and Batman both do it, so it must be cool.
The other day she was trying to make him take off his outside underwear before they left for Target. He balked, and she said, “Think of all the people you have seen at the Target. Not a one of them has ever been wearing their underwear outside their pants. Wouldn’t they look silly if they did?” And he said, “Of course they would, Mommy. But this is because they are just regular people, is why. I AM A SUPER HERO.”
She did make him take them off, but when they got home, not only did she let him put them back on, but she put on a pair and rallied her two older children to put a pair of THEIR underpants on over their pants. Then they all galloped around the house saving the earth. This is HER year to be whole assed, too, even it means putting her underpants on over her jeans. That’s how I want to live, too.
3) If you noticed All The Cool Chicas on Facebook posting COLORS to their updates, it was part of a fast spreading and rather clever breast cancer awareness meme. My FAVORITE response came from my friend Chuck (Who was my counselor at Wiregrass Christian Youth Camp MANY MANY moons ago):
(ahem) — For the record, only as of 12:16pm EST Friday have I learned that these color lists signify bra color in breast cancer awareness. Yesterday I figured they were just some random "ooh, let's all name a color" fad, so I casually posted "magenta" above. Now slightly more enlightened, I, uhhh, hereby withdraw that entry.
Replace it with mauve.
THING ONE: Can you not comment? I got two emails yesterday saying comments were causing error messages and not posting. If you are having this trouble can you drop me an email at Joshilyn at the Joshilyn Jackson, dot to the com, dag yo. Please tell me what error you are getting?
THING TWO: Apparently, for MONTHS AND MONTHS, my favorite product in the universe, called “Nose Sniffy” by everyone at my house and “Zycam Gel Swabs” by the rest of the universe, has been in the news and sued and pulled from the market. I did not know until I went to CVS to buy another case and was told that APPARENTLY Nose Sniffy had caused a few million people to lose all sense of smell and/or taste. Permanently.
I am BEREFT. I KNOW in my heart that my beloved Nose Sniffy would never treat me so. Nose Sniffy makes the cold not happen, and as much as I travel, stewing in the foul human-dander-germ soup that is airplane air, I have come to depend on it.
Yes, yes, I know Nose Sniffy comes in melts and mouth mists and chewables, but, excuse me, they all taste like troll buttock. Worse, they coat your mouth with STEALTH troll buttock. The coating lasts for hours, and so, you gag your way through the chewable, and then two hours later, when you go to each lunch, you put a bite of ham in your mouth and the food REACTIVATES the troll buttock taste. No matter what you put in your mouth---food water toothpaste---- FOR DAYS, it all tastes like that foul foul foul hairy chewable. Zinc is SO repulsive that honestly, I think I’d rather have the freakin’ cold.
My friend Lydia, who is also tragically woeful over the disappearance of Nose Sniffy, put it best. She said, “"Who needs to smell things? I mean really. If I never smelled another thing I'd be just as happy as I am now. Which is freakin' ecstatic, every living second."
Amen. Call me when you discover Nose Sniffy causes irreversible brain damage. Until then, GIVE IT BACK.
THING THREE: I got a crackberry. I love it. I love it so much, so wrongfully. Yesterday I realized I could customize ringtones. So now, for example, when Scott calls me, it plays the theme music from UNDERDOG. Or when Karen and Sara call me, Beyonce starts wailing that if you had liked it, then you should have put a ring on it. I want everyone I have ever met to have a custom ringtone, until I have SO many it becomes meaningless because I forget who is The Fratellis and who is Tenth Avenue North. I think I am going to change my "you have a text" noise to Napoleon Dynamite yelling, "TINA! COME GET SOME HAM!"
It was a lot less expensive than I thought it would be. I asked the guy at my service provider’s phone store if I qualified for the SUPER HUGE CRACKBERRY discount and he looked and saw I got my last phone from them in...1997. SO. That would be a yes.
Now that I have this thing it is my plan to FINALLY learn to twitter. I signed up for twitter MONTHS ago and then promptly forgot it existed. I follow no one. I do not know how to follow. I do not remember my password. Or my username, which is probably Joshilyn or Joshilyn_Jackson or Joshilynjackson or somesuch. I forget the whole system exists until I get an e-mail that someone else is now following me on twitter. Then I have a brief moment of realizing I have no idea how to tweet or twit or whatever foul British-Cuss-sounding word The Young Kids call it these days, and then I forget it exists.
BUT NOW with the help of my new PHONE TOY, I shall learn. Next week. Apparently I need a platform, or so says my tech-savvy friend, Mir?
I hope that means new shoes.
I email back and forth all day with a few of my writer friends. We whine in the morning, then shut down the internets and go to work. Quite often we do “virtue checks” in the afternoon to see what kind of progress each of us has made. If someone comes up ROSY at a check----ploughed out a couple thousand words, worked out a tricky plot problem, figured out what was blowing the pacing of a key scene and fixed it---they are petted and feted and made much of.
It is water cooler camaraderie for those of us who work alone. In our pajamas.
Yesterday afternoon, I was making my way through a SLOUGH of e-mails, answering and deleting, boomboomboom. I came across a virtue check from Sara, mentioning she had met a goal in her revisions, but not, in my opinion, crowing enough about her triumph. Much too understated---she had had a win, and a win deserves a fanfare.
SO, I shot her back an email that said, "Oh! That is SO SEXY! Tell me again, slower, and just let that Flashdance home-cut sweatshirt slip off your shoulder the TINIEST BIT."
I was answering a lot of e-mails very quickly in a row, and I did not send that email to Sara.
Instead, I had clicked and hit reply to a Barnes and Noble community relations director who was asking me for an author photo and cover shot of The Girl Who Stopped Swimming so she could get the word out about an upcoming event.
I NEVER WOULD HAVE KNOWN. I assumed it had gone to Sara, and a couple of hours later I get a very HESITANT sort of ahem scuse me was this for me? E-mail from this poor B and N director, saying REALLY all that was needed was a high rez jpg.
AT LEAST A THOUSAND TIMES A DAY I say to my 12 year old, “Son,” I say to him, “Most beloved son, I pose unto you a question: Is it better to do something ONCE, slowly and correctly, or is it better to slop and shoot through on a speed high and have to go back and redo it a thousand times and clean up the mess from doing it wrong.”
He rolls his eyes and says, “Once. Slowly. Correctly.”
Maybe next time I should LISTEN to him.
Oh yes, it is time to don your Hammer Pants and Meme along with me.
Yesterday, a casual acquaintance said, â€œYou know I hope you donâ€™t take this the wrong way, (uh-oh) but you look like a famous person to me (double uh-oh) and I always hesitate to say so because people may think the person they look like is gross (UH-OH) but you kinda look like, to me, that pop singer, not that you DRESS like her, (Um???) that pop chick, you know, um...Katy Perry.â€ (Oh. Really? Howâ€™s that crack treating you?)
Bored people on the bus and at parks must play endless rounds of â€œWhat celebrity does this guy look like?â€ in their heads, because thatâ€™s the SECOND time I have heard I look like Katy Perry this month. Second time. Apparently crack is still quite popular. No, no, I jest. Sheâ€™s my virtual twin. I can see it. COUGH*
*And here we understand that COUGH means, â€œWhy yes, I WOULD look just like Katy Perry, if I had lips. And was twenty years younger. And thirty pounds lighter. And forty times prettier.â€ But we will just encapsulate all that in the code word COUGH and nod and say, YES, YES JUST LIKE KATY PERRY. (COUGH)
SO hereâ€™s the meme---post a recent casual photo of yourself, and tell your most flattering celebrity comparison, one or more of your most COMMON celebrity comparisons, and the one that made you almost punch someone in the face. I take Miss Perry as my most flattering. Hereâ€™s me a couple weeks ago, just at home working, not an author shot with professional hair:
And here are the celebrity look-a-likes, for good or ill, that I have heard more than five times each:
Paula Poundstone, Stockard Channing and Rosie Oâ€™Donnell. There is also a cute younger (by this I mean YOUNGER THAN ME, so, maybe 29 or 30 year old) who plays THE BEST FRIEND in a lot of stuff. A character actor, you would know her if you saw her, but her name escapes me. elizabeth from comments has told me several times I look like her. I canâ€™t remember her name.
And here is the one that almost inspired me to violence. â€œYou know donâ€™t take this the wrong way, and you are REALLY prettier, but in a weird way, you look like Rod Stewart. If he was a girl.â€
Can someone explain to me how to take that the RIGHT way??? I thought i had the worst one EVER until Karen Abbott told em that when she was little, someone told her she was a dead ringer for BOWSER. You know. From Sha-Na-Na. DOH!
If you do yours, PLEASE LINK BACK in comments. I want to see.
The title of this did not sound at ALL dirty in my head. But then I see it out there on the blog in black and yellow â€“ yeah---it looks filthy, actually, But the entry I assure you is not foul. Unless you consider â€œExerciseâ€ to be a four letter word.
Endorphins are my drug of choice. I genuinely LIKE to get my heart rate up and hold it for extended periods. If genetics had been kinder (or if I had a modicum of self control when it came to potatoes) I would have a killer figure. As it stands, however, beneath my delicate coating of red-wine-and chocolate induced lady-padding, you can USUALLY find a fearsome amount of cardio fitness.
I hike, I go to boot camp classes, and I paddle-paddle-paddle my elliptical 5 â€“ 7 times a week. Usually I put SONGS on when I paddle. I do not particularly LIKE songs*, but if I get on the dance channel the fast beat sets my rhythm and clears my head and short cuts me down into the world of my book. The songs fades to a useful background noise that controls the speed of my feet, and I get busy seeing ghosts and shooting things.
But I had that LONG bout of illness where if I got my heartrate over 100, I would cough until I vomited. SEXY! After 5 weeks of Whooping Cough induced sloth, my poor body felt like a sack of flounders. A mere twenty minutes of paddling my elliptical would leave me panting, and after, my body felt like a sack of ANGRY dead flounders, red and sore and pulsing with bad dead fish juju. It was hard to stay on longer than 30 minutes at a pop, and I was doing my evenings of boot camp at a draggy walk, yards and multiple reps behind the rest of the class.
I am bouncing back, though! Oh yes I am. But Slowly. Staying on the elliptical for my usual 45 - 50 minutes has been a challenge. SOâ€¦I decided to get some very good things to SEE WITH MY EYES to distract me while I made my muscles remember that they used to work out every day. I netflixed a BUNCHA high energy looking films, including SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. I REALLY wanted to see it in the theater, but my dates to go kept getting cancelled or superseded by DEADLY (!!!) yet OBSOLETE ILLNESSES.
When it came last week, it was the first thing I put in. The deal I made with myself in my head was, the movie could only PLAY while I paddled. If I stopped paddling, I had to stop watching. Beloveds â€“ I went 72 minutes before my calves started cramping and I had to hit pause and dismount. THAT MOVIE IS SO SO GOOD. I watched the entire long thing in two whopping great sessions, paddling like a crazed loon as it was so suspenseful and violent,and now I am SO sore the flounders have all been replaced by crackling bags of ZOMBIE BEES.
Completely worth it. I have not liked a movie so much since...A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, starring ALL of Viggo Mortenson, even a couple of his more...er...jouncy parts that I wish had remained a mystery.
You may hear it called the feel good movie of the year, which, okay -- I can see that. But SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is very violent and upsetting and harrowing. It is a brutal portrait of what itâ€™s like to grow up in the slums of India---and I would NEVER go see THAT film, you know? A REALISTIC PORTRAIT OF HUMAN MISERY! Um...NO THANK YOU! But this film---the director uses Bollywood conventions and Epic Love Poem plotlines as a candy shell, a shell so sweet that after people talk about how hopeful and uplifting and human it is and THEY ARE RIGHT. Mostly. And yet I came away with the same strange feeling of being shown something true and human hidden inside the EPIC POEM-ness of it...same kind of feeling that I had after listening to THE KITE RUNNER on audiobook.
You should see it. I wasn't able to take my eyes off it, and now my butt is reaping the refirming benefits.
*Some of you insist that you are SURE I must secretly really, actually, truly like songs. I think itâ€™s not fathomable to people who REALLY like songs that someone can be as soulless and unmoved by them as I am.
Itâ€™s okay. I feel the same way about chocolate:
I have met people who claim that they do not HATE chocolate, and who say they will eat a little here and there with a modicum of bored pleasure, but they say the chocolate has zero to negligible effect on their mood, their pleasure centers, their taste buds, and their post-chocolate-eating emotional state. They say they wonâ€™t go out of their way to AVOID chocolate, but they do not seek it out.
THOSE people are all clearly deluded, or perhaps robots. *nodnodnod*
Itâ€™s easier to turn 41 than it is to turn 40. 40 sucked and was shock and I felt very INDIGNANT about itâ€¦ this is just more of the same decade, and I am inured to the suckage of the 40â€™s at this point. 41. Big woo. The thing that helps is how fun this stage isâ€¦How COOL it is to watch my kids turning into genuine people. We are leaving Chuck E. Cheese behind (Thank you, Beautiful Lord) and heading into family game nights, where they can play actual GAMES we ALL ENJOY, and where we can go see movies together that do not make me want to stab my ears with a fork to make the dialog stop (*cough*POKEMON*cough*) and where they are TALL enough to get on the GOOD rides.
That said, I am not going to start aging gracefully or going gently into that good night or any CRAP like that. The something-ty-ones, through the Something-ty sevens rarely bother me, but I purely hate leaving behind the EARLIES and MIDS and heading into the LATES. I expect to have a TOTAL BREAK WITH REALITY and begin practicing Munchausenâ€™s by Proxy on the bad cat or, if I have already drowned Boggart in a toilet on general principles I am sure I can find some other form of damaging lunacy to indulge in when I bid 47 goodbye and head into 48.
MEANWHILE, I have decided to marry Bronchitis and have little phlegmy babies because we are apparently going to be together for QUITE some time. After the big allergic reaction/near death/seeing the face of God thing, I decided I can live with a little constant coughing and mucus. If this is sinusitis as well, I will go all BIG LOVE and marry sinusitis, too. FINE! We are all four in the bed together every night ANYWAY, just Scott, Bronchitis, Sinusitis, and me. Bronchitis is a screamer. Sinusitis hogs the remote. Even so, I am sure we will all be very happy together, just do not give me anymore helpful medications, THANKS. I will not have my first husband (Scott) sitting up all night again hollering, â€œCarol Ann! Stay Away from the light!â€
Oh hey! If I DO marry sinusitis and bronchitis, can I register and get stuff? Like a set of these bowls? Because right now I have a 28 ounce oversize bowl for popcorn and soups, and a flat pasta bowl, and an 8 ounce dessert bowl, and I really need an in between size for cerealâ€¦
I am going to go work on the book, butâ€¦Best Beloved Cheryl sent me a poem for my birthday. Now, generally I would rather get chocolate, but THIS poem, I truly truly love, and it relates in deeply amusing ways to subjects we have LONG discussed here. I want to post it here, copywrite be damned, because I suspect most people do not link crawl with an expectation of POETRY, but I cannot violate George Bilgereâ€™s rights. SO. A link. Itâ€™s a perfect moment of a poem, and very entertaining.
Right now, outside my office window, there is a little chipmunk standing on top of the low brick wall that borders my small flower bed. All four of his legs are stiff, his feet are VERY firmly planted, and his spine is rigid. He is PUFFFFFFFFFING out his cheeks and making a high SQUICK! SQUICK! SQUICK! SQUICK! SQUICK! noise.
Inside my office, I am NOT writing a book. I am supposed to be, mind you, but I am not. I wonder whyâ€¦
SQUICK! SQUICK! SQUICK! SQUICK! SQUICK!
INSTEAD of writing, I am RIGHTEOUSLY FIGHTING the almost overpowering urge to take Scottâ€™s dadâ€™s old pistol out of the gun safe and shoot me a chipmunk. We borrowed the gun as I have been learning how to shoot for this book. (I am shockingly great at it, although I have never tried to shoot an alive/moving target, and before this chipmunk, I never WANTED to. I was content to blow the EVERLIVING CRAP out of Pepsi 2 litres.) I am learning to shoot because my heroine, she likes, er, guns. *cough* And while sometimes, Dr. Freud, a cigar IS just a cigar, a gun is NEVER just gun. Rose knows her way around a pistol, is all I am saying.
Guns and love, in the South, they are as linked as salty peanuts and a coke. Even for me, today, indirectly, guns and love are linked; I am about to shoot a chipmunk for sitting outside my window and attempting, for HOURS ON END, to make a booty call. SQUICK! SQUICK! SQUICK! SQUICK! SQUICK! The noise and posture are meant to attract a lady-friend. SQUICK! is the chipmunkâ€™s go to move, the rodential equivalent of â€œCome live with me and be my love.â€
He has COMPLETELY failed to notice that it is AUTUMN.
No girl chipmunk is going to answer, because no girl to wants to interrupt a perfectly good hibernation with LABOR PAINS. He can stand out there and SQUICK! for all eternity, shading the squick to sound less like, â€œLetâ€™s get this party started,â€ and more like, â€œBaby, itâ€™s cold outside, we could just SNUGGLEâ€¦â€ No girl is going to buy it. We have ALL heard THAT line before. Sometimes a cigar IS just a cigar, but when a guy says, â€œWanna snuggle,â€ you can take it to the bank that he is perpetrating a euphemism.
UPDATE: Fat Ginger, a cat who belongs to Next Door, heard the love song. She hauled her mighty girth up onto her pointy feet and started across the yard. She seemed perfectly willing to kill the chipmunk and eat him, as long as she didnâ€™t have to, you know, RUN or BEND DOWN or SNEAK or anything tiring like THAT.
Ginger is getting old, and this must be what she does these days instead of good and proper stalking. This was more like an amble with murderous intent. The chipmunk saw her coming MILES off and stopped SQUICK!ing and went down his hole at a leisurely pace.
Ginger is now asleep on my porch, and I may actually get some work done, as long as she stays to put a damper on the chirrup-y wooing. Alas, when the kids Next Door get home, one of their chores is feeding Ginger. Any minute she will hear the sound of kibble hitting the bowl in their garage. She will heave herself up again and accelerate home at her top speed (a quasi-urgent joggling saunter). I best write while the writings goodâ€¦
SQUICK! SQUICK! SQUICK! SQUICK! SQUICK!
Sometimes, when I do a book club visit, they get me a little SOMETHING to remember them by. Itâ€™s often chocolate, which I used to eat, I remember, back in the beautiful misty yesterday before I realized I couldnâ€™t fit in any of my PANTS and had to stop, you know, eating things that taste good in favor of highly nutritive sawdust and herbal supplementsâ€¦ Now I feed the chocolate to my children who have taken to asking, all casual like, â€œGot any book clubs scheduled, Mom?â€ with Sugar Avarice shining lamp-like in their eyes.
Sometimes it is wine, which, all I have to say about THAT is, YAY! The last one I went to got me a very UNUSUAL little something, a charming and unexpected never-before-given thing, but alas! It made my heart quail with mingled love and terror.
It was a pot of Gerber Daisies. ALIVE ones. With ROOTS.
This book club did not know two things:
Thing one is, Gerber daisies are my favorite flower IN THE UNIVERSE. I love the shape, the rich fall-like colors, the cheerful wide roundness of their open faces surrounded by the petals. OH! OH! LOVE! I am not a BEAUTY OF THE EARTH flower type person, but Gerber Daisies speak to me, and they always have---Tulips, too, for some reason. When people send me daisies or tulips, my kitchen is a happy place for days, and I tend to warble while I do the dishes.
But. Thing two isâ€¦.I kill plants.
Plants, in fact, secretly call me Sweeny Joshilyn, the Demon Gardener of Death Street, and when I take a wrong turn and accidentally walk through the garden section of Home Depot, all the little pots of flowering perennials begin to pray fervently to their green and rooty gods, â€œPlease, please,â€ they pray, â€œLet the killer pass on by. Not me. OH PLEASE NOT ME.â€ Because if I do INSANELY decide to buy a plant, that plantâ€™s days are numbered, and its death will be black spotted and slimy and excrutiating.
So I am given this POOR DOOMED blooming gerbera by a well meaning book club, and normally when some sad plant is foolishly handed over into my protection, I gamely take a run at it, and it slowly and agonizingly dies, and then I put the pot in the shed and shrug. But, see, THIS WAS GERBER DAISIES. And I LOVE them in a way I am never going to love, like, the usual household ferns or waxy leaved whatnots. And I didnâ€™t even know Gerbers CAME potted, and that you could have them, ALIVE AND GORGEOUS, cheering oneâ€™s house up much longer than CUT ones, which die in a few days.
SO! I got this insane idea. SELF! I said to myself. SELF! You are going to take care of this plant properly and YOUR FRIEND THE GOOGLE will tell you how to make it thrive and be beautiful forever,
Let me just tell you, the only plant I ever managed to keep for more than a few weeks was this HARDY little cactus I got back in college. I was SO charmed by its inability to be killed by me that I moved it with me from Florida to Athens to Atlanta back to Florida and then to Chicago. In Chicago, Scott picked up its little pot and looked at it, and I waxed rhapsodotic about how I had managed to keep it alive and its name was Rexy and we had traveled lo half the country together, and blah blah etc and how once I had even accidentally STORED it in a U BOXIT SHED for a few a weeks and STILL it clung to life, looking exactly the same as it had when I got it.
He gave me pitying eyebrows.
Him: Donâ€™t you think thatâ€™s a little odd, that it looks exactly the same as when you got it? I mean, considering that that was more than six years ago?
Me: What do you mean?
Him: I mean, six years, and it is still in this same tiny starter pot. No changes at all, really?
Me: Oh. You think I have stunted it?
Him: *gently* No. No. Not stunted it, per se. Itâ€™s a little, umâ€¦.fossilized.
So I came over and gave it a HARD pinch and itâ€¦crumbled. Into little rocky dusts. So. Yeah.
BUT this time, I was sure, it would all be different because I do not LOVE cactuses like I LOVE gerber daisies.
So things have gone well for a few weeks. And then TODAY the blooms looked a littleâ€¦droopy. They looked down sadly at the tabletop instead of facing me. And so I said to it (THE GOOGLE says it is good to talk to plants) I said to it, â€œYOU need a speck of lovely morning sunshine!â€ And I put it out on the back deck in the middle fo my big table.
UNFORTUNATELY, while it sat outside and I took Maisy to preschool, something mysterious happened. I cannot figure it out. I THINK the climbing rose bush by the stairs must have told the Gerber EXACTLY who now owned it, and the Gerber, fearing its impending long slow torturous demise, justâ€¦.exploded. Blew itself to smithereens. Suicided using the methane from passing cow toots or borrowed dynamite from the monkey grass. That must be what happened, because I canâ€™t figure out any other explanation for THISâ€¦.
Yesterday afternoon, I headed out with Sam to endure Eragon, his reward for reading the entire 500 page bookâ€¦.heâ€™s nine so thatâ€™s a pretty impressive read. I KNOW he actually read it, too, because he had to tell me in excruciating detail exactly how the book differed from the movie. There were manymanymany ways in which they differed. Many.
If you are a nine year old boy hoping for a lot of fantastical magic-based violence and no kissing, it is the best movie ever made. Period. If you are not a nine year old boy, itâ€™sâ€¦probably not. I enjoyed it, but I shamelessly enjoyed Conan the Barbarian, Dragonslayer, and even Krull. So. Grain of salt. Even from a seasoned geek like me, the movie gets only a moderately cool thumb up, but I will break out TWO BIG FAT THUMBS WAY UP for the the big Smoke Dragon fight at the end.
ANYWAY. I was getting ready to leave with Sam for the movie and before heading out, I engaged in the following smatter of loving dialog with Mr. Husband.
Scott: I am going to run to Target while you are at the movie. Need anything?
Me: Izze pomegranate soda.
Me: Taking Maisy with you?
Him: *looks at me like I am being a nougat-head* As opposed toâ€¦
Me: Oh, I donâ€™t know. You could tape her to somethingâ€¦
Him: Like the cat?
Me: Well, you COULD tape her to the cat but I would prefer you to tape her to something stable. Like the wall. Or this bannister.
Him: I suppose I could tape her to you.
Me: Nah. The movie will scare her.
Him: Yeah. Plus you already specified something stable.
AH hahahaha! He is so witty. Or he was so witty. Right up until I killed him and ate him.
Actually I did not kill him OR eat him. Mostly because Scott may have had a POINT in not taping Maisy to me. I am NOT particularly stable right now. I am sleep deprived and working to a schedule that can ONLY BE DESCRIBED as DROOLINGLY INSANE.
To Wit: I go to bed at 8 PM, same time as Miss Maisy. I get up ---no alarm, just pop up---somewhere between 1 am and 2am. I work on the book and maybe blog until somewhere between 4 am and 6 am. Then I go back to bed and nap for an hour or two. Itâ€™s crazy but itâ€™s EFFECTIVE. I am liking the book more and more as I work in these small dead hours that belong to me and the cat alone.
The score right now is Book, 3, Mental Health, um, ZERO, but with a deadline looming February, I accept this as reasonable.
Apropos of nothing except the state of my union (the one between my left and right brain hemispheres, I mean, not my marriage) yesterday morning in church, we had a guest preacher, and I was ----well. Not stable. I was note passing like a naughty Tween, even though, evil as I have been recently, I probably could have stood to get a good scoop of preaching.
Me *writing along the edge of the announcements*: If we got a NICE BIGGISH DOG! We could cancel our security system. Because the dog would kill all the murderers that come trooping through.
Him: Yeah, and if we named the dog ACKERMAN, we could leave the security signs up in the yard and they would still be true.
Me: THAT IS BRIL! Can Ackerman be a LABRADOODLE?
Him: I was kidding.
I tried to listen to the sermon, and it was about how we are lambs; and how when we get lost, God leaves all his flocks and comes to find just US because our relationship with God is personal.
The preacher said, â€œGod calls you back by NAME.â€
And Scott passed me a note that said, â€œSometimes I think I am the lamb that God calls â€œDumb - - -.â€
He really did the little LINES like that, not wanting, I suppose, to write the word â€œassâ€ on our church bulletin that we would most likely forget and leave in the pew covered with arguments pro (me) and con (him) LABRADOODLE and very little that could be considered Godly or even decently human.
Which really, donâ€™t you think I NEED A DOG, right at this moment? RIGHT NOW? With the yard still not fenced and with a BIZARRE work schedule that is BOUND to lead to mental sleep dysphasia syndrome? I just made that syndrome up but I SUSPECTâ€¦
1) ...it causes one to eat hydrogenated-oil-filled-foods and then get oneâ€™s sonâ€™s super soaker water gun and fill it with unsweetened blue raspberry Kool-Aid and climb up a water tower to spray anyone wearing white on the theory that it is definitely AFTER Labor Day.
2) ...they already have a drug for it. And an obnoxious commercial for the drug that will tell you to please self diagnose and then ask your doc about the SPECIFIC drug you think you need because hey, they probably OWN your doctor and if you come in and ASK for it he will certainly scribble it on a pad for you. The commercial will tell you in great detail exactly what symptoms you need to trot out for your doc to give you the drug (â€œI canâ€™t stop with the Twinkies, and even though I KNOW the fashion industry INVENTED WINTER WHITE a while back, I canâ€™t help feel a helpless wash of blue tinged rage whenever I see someone wearing it in JANUARY...")
PS: The drug probably will wreck your liver and cause sexual dysfunction, but luckily, there are pills for THAT too.
Do I have to say the disclaimer? You know the one, about how I KNOW there are actually sick people who actually need drugs and that my issue isnâ€™t with medicine but with COMMERCIALS that hawk pills like they were shiny red scooters? I donâ€™t have to do that HERE, right?
The commercials work though--- someone is even buying all that CIALIS from the people who canâ€™t spell the word â€œYOUâ€ but who never the less think they are qualified to supply me with many fine prescription medications and who send me 50 â€“ 100 emails every dern day to tell me so. I know the e-mails MUST be effective marketing to SOMEONE, because Viagra is being gobbled up by all kinds of guys, many of whom no more have â€œEDâ€ than I have mental sleep dysphasia syndrome. Except I may have that. SO they no more have â€œEDâ€ than I haveâ€¦ a Labradoodle. Named Ackerman.
I saw it on Scrubs, which is TELEVISION! So you KNOW itâ€™s true. Plus then I risked all manner of truly creepy pR0n to GOOGLE it---the things I do for you! I must TRULY love you!--- But hidden in the festival of resulting ick, I found a slightly more credible source for the increased recreational use of Mr. Happy Pill----USA Today.
Some dark days, right about 4 am, the only thing that can make a girl feel cheerful about the state of the world is one of theseâ€¦
Or is. Iâ€™m not sure how to verb it, as the topic is the catâ€™s Halloween costume. It is not yet Halloween. Even so, here is the cat, already in his.
Schubert (aka The Cat) has a DRY SKIN problem, and as the seasons change --- especially summer to fall ---- he gets itchy and unhappy under his pelt of long luxurious brown hair. The fix is usually a soothing dip and shot of steroids, but when I took him this year...
HE WAS NOT VERY HAPPY. I could up the font size on the previous sentence a good ten points and STILL it would be understatement. Schubert isâ€¦.strongwilled. I once tried to transport him in one of those CARDBOARD cat-porters the vet gives out, and midway through the drive he DUG AND TORE a big rip in the SIDE of it, and RIPPED his way out, screaming feline obscenities.
If youâ€™ve read Between---that scene where the dog gets OUT through the fence crack? I used the memory of how Schubert looked tearing his way into the world like Yeatâ€™s Rough Beast. Once loose, he rocketed around and around the car like a brown blur of fury and plague, rending people and upholstery, releasing a thick cloud of panic fur into the air so that we could hardly see out the windshieldâ€¦
After THAT, I went and bought a reinforced plastic MAXIMUM SECURITY PRISON thing that has METAL SCREWS and a locking porthole gate. It is obviously a jailhouse vehicle for the transport of criminally insane miscreant cats, but itâ€™s called something perky (I forgetâ€”something like â€œThe HAPPY KITTY KARRY KASE) and that is SO inappropriate. Itâ€™s like calling an Iron Maiden â€œMr. Happy Fun Box.â€
Getting Schubert INTO the HKKK means blood will be shed (mine) and eardrums will be burst (also mine) as he calls upon Father Tiger to loose a dark ancestral jungle curse upon the world. We only do it once a year, combining his skin treatment with his booster shots. SO An hour after I hurled the Happy Kitty Karry Kase through the vet door and fled from the demonic yowling that came ceaselessly from the boxâ€™s confines, I got a call from the veterinary assistant.
Her: Um, Joshilyn? I think we need to SHAVE Schubert. I see you clipped his back already, so we can even that out, andâ€¦His belly fur has gotten matted and snarled up and the dip canâ€™t penetrate.
Me: I know. I canâ€™t really brush his stomach. He doesnâ€™t care to have it touched.
Her: *In a firm tone* Well, whether he cares to have it touched or not, it has to be done.
This is the same tone she uses when she tells me he is too dern fat. I KNOW, OKAY.
He is OBSCENELY fat.
I squirm in humiliation every time, convicted of cat abuse via overfeeding, and I say â€œBut he BEGS.â€
And she gives me a look that contains the elements of that same STERN tone and says circumspect things that imply, â€œYOU ARE THE HUMAN HE CANNOT POUR HIS OWN KIBBLE YOU MADE HIM FAT AND YOU WILL ONE DAY GO TO HELL FOR IT THIS IS WHAT WILL PUT YOU INTO HELL.â€
I sink lower than worm bellies and whine and cringe and grovel apologetically.
But he pokes me with his TOE, I say. I work from HOME and he comes into my home office with his DREADFUL TOE and pokes and pokes me until I feed him.
Then she says, So shut your office door.
I say, He can open it. Same toe. It is prehensile. And evil. You donâ€™t know how strong willed he is. He BENDS me. He BREAKS MY SPIRIT. He MAKES me feed him.
She has NEVER bought it and I get the YOUR CAT IS FAT AND YOU ARE BAD lecture every time I take him in. WHICH I DESERVE because he IS fat and I AM bad, but Lord, He wins. Call me spineless, if you like --- she certainly does. BUT HE WINS.
So she calls and wants to shave him.
Me: I donâ€™t think he will like that.
Her: Well, whether he likes it or not, it should be done
Me: Good luck.
Not an hour later she called back, asking for permission to sedate him. He WOULD NOT let the entire vet team subdue him enough to get him shaved, even with a cat muzzle. They tried wrapping. He tore through. When she called back she sounded breathless and iron deficient, as if she had recently lost a lot of blood. I asked how bad it was, and she said, â€œWellâ€¦letâ€™s just say he tore the vet up a little bit.â€
SO they put him out and shaved him and dipped him and shot him up and OH MY LORD but you should SEE this poor thing. It still has Schubertâ€™s one-eyed ornery head on the front end, but after that---thereâ€™s this sort of PACKED FAT TUBE of a body, like a walrus body, with four stumpy skinny legs that hold it up, and they left a PUFF of his LONG LONG hair on the end of his tail. Like a POODLE tail. He looks likeâ€¦.a cat-headed poodle walrus. In fact, that is what he is going to be for Halloween, and I am going to eat all the mini chocolate bars he collects.
BY THE WAY! When I picked him up? After he â€œTore up the vet a little bit?â€ First time I have ever NOT gotten the lecture. Our talk went something like thisâ€¦
Her: You should put him on a diet.
Me: I know. But he doesnâ€™t really LIKE to be on a diet.
Her: *Deep breath* Yeah. Heâ€™s veryâ€¦strong-willed.
Lady, you donâ€™t know the halfâ€¦
On the way to my sonâ€™s school, there are yard chickens.
Not regular red or white hens, either. These are more the kind of chickens you see at the county fair. FANCY chickens. There are TWO roosters (I thought you could only have one????) Both are strutty, and their backs and necks are glossy and golden. They have speckled sides and their green tail feathers puff up in an extravagant bouffant, crowned by foot long swooping feathers that shimmer like iridescent taffeta.
Most of the hens are those meticulously speckled black and whites that look too uniform to be Jackson Pollack. More like, 70â€™s WALLPAPER chickens, high contrast and so closely and evenly patterned they can give a girl flashbacks. There is also at least one blindingly white pinheaded chicken who is very skinny-necked and sleek. She has a huge tail that comes out the back all higgledy piggedly like a feathery Butt-splosion.
It doesnâ€™t seem like the sort of house that would have yard chickens. Itâ€™s one of those mini-McMansions---you know the kind. One side brick, bay window, deck in the back. It says, â€œHello, you are now officially in the suburbs.â€ And yet, and yetâ€¦.yard chickens. It gives me hope as I look at the small Georgia town we moved to a decade ago. A little hope. Because I also see two Super-Walmarts and 15 housing development signs on every street corner. Atlanta is eating us.
We lost out Mexican-Thai restaurant this last year, the only place in America where you could go in and order Tom Ka Gai and a taco. It couldnâ€™t compete with Chiliâ€™s and the Noodle Bar. Granted, thereâ€™s a Taco Bell in our miniscule downtown, and you can get a Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pizza there, and if THAT doesnâ€™t make you go HMMM â€¦.but that is somehow not the same.
But as long as there are yard chickens I may hang on here for a little. See what happens. There arenâ€™t a lot left. My friend Julie used to go biking down what is now a main thoroughfair, back when it was newly paved, and there was PACK of red hens and little Weiner dogs all mixed in together that lived in the front yard. They'd chase her bike from one end of the yard to the other, some barking and some releasing outraged, piercing clucks. Attack Chickens, Julie called them. They are gone, and they have taken all their weiner dogs with them.
The man who sat out on his front porch, shirtless, wearing overalls, and asked Sam to touch his piglet (and he was, thank God, holding a piglet when he said it) packed up and moved farther out into the wilds of Paulding county. The Sam-touched piglet has long been sausage, and now no new piglet will come to our neighborhood.
Iâ€™m sad about that.
We have good friends here and a good church, but as I watch more and more mini malls take over the fields between us and Hiram, more and more trees are bulldozered so 350K same-same-allsame houses can stick up like thumbs on the barren landscape with two bulimic option-package saplings flanking the uniform brick porchesâ€¦.I keep thinking, â€œNo one is going to like it if I put goats in my backyard.â€
And whatâ€™s the POINT, I ask you, of living outside the city then? The city is where the good theatre is and the only place to get decent Tapas and go to literary events and in the city I can find the kind of bar that knows how to make a chocolate covered cherry martini without resorting to squirting Hersheyâ€™s syrup and some Maraschino juice into tepid Vodka, and REALLY, I am SERIOUSLY asking you, what is the POINT of being AWAY from all that, if you canâ€™t put GOATS in your BACK YARD?
I love the city. I love the rural South. Iâ€™m just not sure I love whatever it is we are living in now.
Today I got tagged for a pretty dern cool meme, but oh my best beloveds I have had a DAY. Meme me no memes. YA'LL meme it up in the comments, I could use some good book recs.
Meanwhile, here is a little contest. I will send a PRIZE to whoever guesses where I was ALL STINKING DAY TODAY when I was supposed to be doing a spot on TV and then having a nice lunch with the book editor for the AJC... Seriously.
Hint: It is the LAST place I would ever expect to find me.
No hints from those of you who KNOW. Keep your yaps shut or the whole thing is VOID. She said crabbily. First correct guess only, and the prize pack will be nice! Audible, even, and foxy, and maybe I will throw in an ARC that I have lying around. BE IMAGINATIVE.
Hint: The answer is NOT "Kroger."
OFF TO WATCH PROJECT RUNWAY!
OH! PLEASE HEIDI! PLEASE! AUF VICTOR!
I belong to a Yahoo! group of mostly women, mostly mother writers --- I have been on this list for YEARS, actually. I love to hear the BING of an e-mail arrive when I am drafting because I can STOP for a moment go read it, so I belong to quite a few lists. (You can find the ones I think are good on my links ---not blinks, links---page.)
Anyway, this ONE I am on has AWARDS every year in various catagories, and everyone votes secretly and you can campaign for yourself and/or others and it's a huge HUGE list, bobbing up and down between one and two thousand members. We finished up the voting at the end of this month, and I was surprised to find I had won a couple. I took home “Most Likely to Become Famous” (and stop speaking to the rest of the list) Award and also "Most Outrageous" which is a sort of medicated second cousin to "The Funniest." I think it means "Funny, but Probably Mentally Ill." Thank you. I accept.
I was very very surprised to see that I had been nominated, much less won. WELL, that's not ENTIRELY true. I KNEW I would be nommed because I SHAMELESSLY nominated MY OWN SELF for Early Bird since I get up at 5 to write. Some chick that gets up at 4 beat me out. (Gratz Teena) But it was surprising that nominations not made BY ME FOR ME showed up --- I've been so quiet on that list lately. I was sure they had forgotten I exist. Lord knows I practically have forgotten. My slavering deadline, fanged and wearing tight pants, is stalking me. I am struggling to carve out enough writing time to get the book that is SO PERFECT here in my head out onto paper still recognizable as the lovely creature I IMAGINE it being. Story, moving from the head to the page, is the longest trip I know.
When they post the winners, they ALSO post ALL the nominees, which was cool because several of the people I nommed did not win, and yet they still got listed and recognized as cool, so. BUT! Perusing the nominations, I made the sad discovery that someone on that list SMOKES CRACK, positive BOATLOADS of crack, because I saw one person (and I can only assume it was ONE person) nommed me for "Most organized" After I stop laughing, I am going to have to schedule an intervention for that special lady. And here I pause to turn full face to the camera and say, "Whoever you are, if you are reading this blog entry, please step forward and let us help you. Crack kills, baby."
I am, in fact SO disorganized that I MISSED the annual CHAT where they announce the awards and stuff. I missed it because I forgot what day it was. I do not mean I forgot what day the CHAT was SCHEDULED --- I have been on that list for years, it's the same date every year. I mean, I forgot what the actual date was. I couldn't have told you if yesterday was Tuesday or Thursday (sources close to me have now informed me it was actually NEITHER), and I didn't realize we were even CLOSE to May's death and June's ascension.
I am SO disorganized that the SIGNED FIRST EDITION of Warren St. John's RAMMER JAMMER YELLOW HAMMER that I got for my dad for his upcoming birthday has been sitting in the middle of my office floor SINCE I got it at a lit conference that took place in the VERY beginning of May. It was sitting on the floor with about 15 other books in a veritable SNOWDRIFT of literature, and so for weeks now I have looked at that book on top of the snowdrift and thought, "If I don't get that thing off the floor, one day I will forget to put an appeasing sprinkle of food in the dieting-and-bitter-about-it cat's dish the minute I come down the stairs, and instead I will pour coffee and go to my office, and the cat will come roaring in after me, displeased, and ANNOUNCE I forgot the morning's kibble sprinkle in his usual manner, which is to say, he will take his mighty hooked claws and rend something on my office floor in twain, and since I don't have my favorite bone colored high heeled suede wedgie ankle strap sandals down here just now, he will choose a book, and even though there are at LEAST fifteen books there on the floor, only one of them is a signed first edition for my dad, and THAT will be the one. And then what will I do for my dad's birthday???"
I think I have had this chain of thought a solid TEN times over the last month...AND YET! I kept getting distracted by something SHINY in mid-bend-to-pick-up, and sure enough, this morning, I charged down the stairs with an epiphany I had just had about how to open Chapter 18, and I went directly to my office without passing Bowl or sprinkling 200 Kibbles, and as I was drafting, the cat came through like the wrath of the starving and long abandoned Aztec gods and SHREDDED the front cover of the one book in that book pile I REALLY wanted to preserve. GAHHHHHHHHHH!
AND MAY I SAY, Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer was sitting RIGHT BY the copy of How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got A Life I had ordered (USED) from Powell's on the same day I ordered Sloppy Firsts. (New copy, natch) Yeah, I wanted to read them side by side. PS Sloppy Firsts is a VERY sharp, smart, book--- strong voice and layered characters. Nails adolescence. Sticks the landing. ANYWAY, why couldn't the cat destroy the Opal Mehta book which was bought used and which, quite frankly, I am not ever going to give as a present?
Other things on the TOP of that 15 book drift in the middle of my office that went COMPLETELY unmolested:
Some falling apart galleys in bound MS page form
A National Geographic that Scott already devoured
A copy of gods in Alabama, which, as you can imagine, is not my ONLY copy of that particular work....
But no. Had to be the Rammer Jammer, did it?
Cat: *smug voice* Yes.
I HOPE I am organized enough to remember to go RESHOP for my dad before his birthday. Which is IFFY. Because last year, his birthday was in August, and that means it will probably be in August again THIS year, and what are the chances I can get organized enough to go shop and find and wrap before THAT deadline? Because I think it may be June today.
GAH I have now spent the tiny slice of life I had carved out to BLOG this morning babbling ON AND ON AND ON....GAH, I need to go jump back on Chapter 18, jump on it hard, jump RIGHT on it as if it were Johnny Depp in Full. Pirate. Regalia. ... Wait, what was I talkign about?
The Outrageous and soon to be Famous Ms Joshilyn "Oh no, now she got the Big Head" Jackson
Alert reader PATTIE sent me this, and it made my day:
"Today I worked at the Scholastic Book Fair at my daughter's school. They had two copies of gods in Alabama. They were on a table of books for adults, next to a cookbook entitled Cheap. Fast. Good!"
HEHEHEHEH First of all, I need that cookbook, just because I need to make dinners that are cheap and fast and good...
Second of all, if you have read gods in Alabama, you will know that in MANY ways the cookbook title is a string of adjectives that MODIFY Arlene, the book's narrator.
They do NOT, thank you, modify its author. Ahem.
I have a sacred paper calendar. If it doesn't make it from my computer, phone messages, or brain to the sacred paper calendar, I flake. Period. The paper calendar is the final authority that determines where I will be when to do what. It is the ultimate of ultimates. I say all this to say:
This morning, strictly of its own volition, my paper calendar leapt to its death. It hurled off its oppressive THUMBTACK and plummeted off my bulletin board to disappear behind a HUGE IMMOVABLE printer table. Ding Dong, the schedule is dead, and it took my date by date to do list with it. The part of me that is experiencing all the gorgeous lovely renewal of faith that spring and Easter brings began babbling that THIS was clearly a message from God, something about, "FORGET YOUR DEADLINES AND GO OUT AND ENJOY THE BEAUTY OF THE EARTH TODAY!"
I called Karen and entreated her via her answering machine to join me in hurling off the keyboardian shackles and taking a lovely drive north on scenic highway 400.
Don't worry, I haven't grown a soul. You can keep yer mountain vistas---I personally feel that a great deal of earthly beauty can be found at the outlet malls of north Georgia. I am not really an AH! SUNSET! kind of girl, but I dearly love a sling back. ALSO, I SO need a purse. My poor abused everyday darling fell into CHUNKS yesterday, in retrospect a CLEAR sign that I need to go shopping!
I was feeling very PLEASED with the Lord after the great CALENDAR sign, so I was very suggestible and willing to seek further signs while ON the shopping trip. Signs that weren't even about purses, or even SHOES. Hopefully there would be a sign or three about buying pants. (I take it as a given that if a pair of pants make a person's butt look good, that is a MESSAGE.) Then I thought, if the calendar's demise WAS a sign, surely the Almighty is sending equally loud and portentous messages to my editor right now, telling HER my deadlines for these interviews, bios, updates and articles etc. I am 'sposed to be writing to help get the word out about my most beloved Between, Georgia should be PUSHED BACK, and so I sat, breathless, cloaked in faith, EXPECTING the telephone to ring.
After a time, I heard a much quieter voice, one that might even be described as both still and small, mentioning that a trip to North Georgia to acquire COACH purses at the thrilling discounts, delightful as it might be, cannot really be counted as a spiritual journey . And then the phone rang and it was Karen, saying, NO, she can't go to the outlets with me, am I on CRACK, she has a DEADLINE, remember DEADLINES?
Oh. Right. Now I do.
Now I have to go crawl UNDER that behemoth of a table and fish out my calendar. I will no doubt get dust up my nose and maybe even swallow a bug. Bleh!
I SORROWFULLY TELL YOU: I still like dogs. I will tell you about the nose poodle NEXT time. I have too many deadlines this weekend, and clearly I am being cosmically FORCED to try to meet them.
I EVEN MORE SORROWFULLY TELL YOU: I cannot get my haiku judge on the phone. She is hiding. RESULTS as soon as I track her down. If only I had thought to dart her and tag her ear like they used to do on Wild Kingdom! Then I could turn on my little tracking device and IF, by CHANCE she was at the ANN TAYLOR LOFT OUTLET up on highway 400, THAT would be SO OBVIOUSLY a sign!!!! I bet she is there right this VERY second! Gahhh.
This entry has very little to do with exotic robot sex tea. I know you are disappointed. SORRY. I am too, to be honest. On the bright side, I bet I get a lot of slavering electronic Chai-pervs surfing in from Google. Tra La. I need to put up signs for them. I need one that says:
WELCOME, CHAI PERVS!
and then another that says:
NO ROBOT SEX TEA HERE, EXOTIC OR OTHERWISE.
Better luck to you over at http://exoticrobotsextea.com
I hope none of you ACTUALLY clicked that. And in case you did, let me say, it should be a dead link. Because I made it up. At least, I hope I made it up. If it actually GOES somewhere, I refuse to be held accountable for the content. I wouldn't even know what the content might be. It's not a link *I* would ever click. *Superior Sniff* NO, NO, CERTAINLY NOT!
This entry is all about things I cannot tell you yet. TO WIT!
1) Mir is going to announce something later. Maybe Monday. I was halfway through a long, terribly amusing---practically droll ----little epic prose poem, just a little Pulitzer-worthy something I whipped up that was both trumpeting Mir's delightful project AND riffing on Beowulf all while employing iambic pet-tantra-merecat and a big fat scoop of EXTRA onomatopoeia, when I got an IM from her that said, BY THE WAY, DO NOT ANNOUNCE MY SECRET THING BECUASE IT IS SECRET. So. I just deleted it. , I mean, Life's work, Schmife's work. I am sure I will come up with another ground breaking literary form tomorrow.
2) Yes, Virginia, there IS an exotic robot sex tea story. But I JUST CHECKED and I am not allowed to tell THAT story yet EITHER. I am being very thwarted, and passing my thwartation down to you in the form of SNIDE GRUMPING. No, this is not like the pink socks. Remember the pink socks? Because I don't. If you came in late, it was this whole thing on the blog where I started to tell a story about pink socks and then could not tell it because of some distraction or pre-emptedness, and then I forgot to tell it for so long and put it off and put it off so that eventually I forgot the actual story.
People kept bringing it up in the comments but I TRULY had forgotten what happened except what I could extrapolate from the title which was, "somethign appened this one time and someone, maybe me, had or was wearing or mentioned pink socks." It was not a terribly interesting extrapolation. SO CLEARLY This is different because even if I do forget the whole story, WHICH I WILL NOT AS I TOOK PRE EMPTIVE NOTES, but even if I forgot and the notes got MAGICALLY LOST the story I extrapolate from "Exotic Robot Sex Tea" must, yes, MUST, be at least more interesting than any story extrapolated about PINK SOCKS. RIGHT? So. More on this topic later. Pinky Swear. Pinky SOCKY swear, even.
3) At this point, you get to get GRUMPY BACK and say, FINE, JACKSON. WHAT THE HECK CAN YOU TELL US THEN...
Ah, so glad you asked! I can tell you the names and URLS of the...
Before we lived in this house and my office became "my office," it was essentially a dull but serviceable room. The rest of the house had the previous owner's very definate imprint all over it (Luckily she tended toward neutrals and the kind of taste I like to call "good") but there was an aesthetic, you know? The house looked lived in and loved. Not so much the office. My office was the roomly personification of Sara Plain and Tall. Painted white. No window treatments beyond miniblinds. Here it is with Beautiful Maisy Circa Barely Two standing in it. See how neat? How tidy? How regulation standard and workaday?
When we bought it, that changed. I moved into it. I brought with me Chaos, and Chaos instituted Piles, and Piles Grew into Slag Heaps, and Slag Heaps grew until they intermingled and entangled themselves with each other and became one huge Slough of Despond, and beneath the tattered surface of this nightmare, whole trash-book-importantpaper-mail-toy-shoe societies boiled within themselves and interbred and produced genetically mutated cousin-on-cousin-for-nineteen-generations type spawn and then cruel, inbred ecosystems emerged and and eventually (and if this doesn't signify the beginning of the end, I don't know what does...) a policitcal system was instituted and the old diet Cherry Coke cans (who, like most trash, naturally gravitate toward the filthy world of politics) taxed the living CRAP out of the innocent reams of blank paper.
I SO meant to take a picture of this Swamp of Sorrows phase, but I was prevented from staining your eyes with such graphic images by the same benevolent God who created Basic Human Decency, although admittedly He gave me a pauper's share of that commodity (left to myself, Beloveds, *I* would have shown you) but He substituted a faulty Digi-cam memory disc for my lack of discretion and taste. You should probably release some white doves and say thank you. I did find an old picture of my desk...Imagine a WHOLE ROOM like this, with a little path running from the door to the computer chair, where on a GOOD day you might see the glimmer of one desperately unhappy and oppressed carpet fiber:
BUT ALL THAT IS ABOUT TO CHANGE.
Remember when we got all above our raisin' and bought ourselfs some for really true fancypants ART?
Well, I decided to redecorate the office to look like a place where this Picture would want to live. Look at the empty vastness of the landscape...I can't have my SPACE BLIMP CAT CAPTAIN peering out of the frame at the UN EMPTY UN VAST lanscape of my abbatoir of an office and then offing itself in despair.
SO, to this end, I released my inner Edmund Walker and got fabric samples and paint chips and made decisions, and this weekend, we took shovels and put on haznmat suits and cleaned the place OUT, down to the BONES. I am currently sitting in the center of a room with a table in it. The only thing on top of the table is my computer. After we got it stripped, we painted it a lovely color of FLAT PAINT (not semi-gloss! We used actual BIG GIRL FLAT PAINT on the theory that my little children won't be in here all the time runnign their grubulent paws all over the walls oh OH IT IS SO PRETTY FLAT PAINT IS! I had FORGOTTEN!) called Crocodile Tears, and today the table gets moved out and the carpet man comes. My mother is having a seamstress (LOVE! THIS! WORD!) Make me beautiful wondow treatments out of the fabrics I chose (MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ME) and buying me a sassy mod-poddy LAMP, and today someone comes to remove the oppressed carpet and put in fresh, virginal, hopeful carpet that smells young and dewy and of such quality that it probably believes it is being installed someplace NICE.
MY JUSTIFICATION FOR DOING IT: If my office looks beautiful, the space will foster creativity, be pleasing to the eye, and improve the quality of life of the many hours a week I spend in it. HA!
MY MOTHER THE IDEALIST'S THEORY: If the office looks beautiful, I might be inspired to not let the first room you see to your right as you enter my house look like crack-addled bears have been living in there in pungent squalor for years and years and years.
SCOTT THE PRAGMATIST'S THEORY: For one brief shining moment there will be Camelot. And I will take pictures of said office and show you, Oh My Best Beloveds, even borrowing a digi-cam if our disc issues do not resolve, and then, slowly, my basic nature will reassert itself and as people come in I will pull the doors gently closed and say, YEAH. I KNOW. BUT THERE'S A GORGEOUS OFFICE UNDER THAT....OR THERE USED TO BE. HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO SEE THE FLOOR OR INDEED, MOST OF THE WALLS OR FURNITURE FOR YEARS NOW.
The Beautiful Office will be like Schrodinger's Blasted Cat, who, if he is INDEED dead is HAUNTING me as I research this novel. That is to say, the office will be alive in theory, but also simultaneously theoretically dead, because who can prove it has not encountered radiation and perished beneath the impenetrable shield of my natural squalor. I bet, in six months time, if you dig under the pitted lunar landscape of my detritus, you will find opposing teams of Theoretical Physicists and Anthropologists living side by side in uneasy, bitter rivalry, squabbling over whose study takes precedence, one-upping each other, jockeying for position, and jealously comparing the size of their....grants.
AH WELL! I say all this to say, Scott is waiting to rip this table and my computer out for the carpet guys. I will have no internets ALL DAY...I'm slightly horrified.
WARNING, this entry is rated Rated PG Sperm-teen, which means that if you aren't old enough to read the word sperm about 500 times without giggling, stop reading. Of course, this probably means I am not mature enough read it, so forgive the typos. My own edict forbids me from proofreading.
I have MT BLACKLIST to get all the CIALIS links out of my comments, but I JUST deleted a comment that was directing people to buy the SEMENAX SPERM PILL. Which...I almost left that comment up. WHAT THE HECK IS A SPERM PILL? I hope to GOD it is not a pill MADE out of sperm that claims to give you glossy hair. Because, ew. I TRULY HOPE it is a pill you have to GIVE individual sperms. I wonder what you would do to make them take it? You could maybe hide it in cheese or peanut butter? What do Sperms like? Or maybe Sperms are like cats and you just have to STUFF it in and hold their mouths closed til they swallow, their little tails wriggling and thrashing in spermly rage. The fact that every man walking around has, like, a BILLION of them means there is potentially a HUGE market for this product. Ah well, I shall never know. I DID delete it on principle. Can't encourage the comment spammers...
In comments, the non-Spam Aimee Parrott said she almost "Sproinked Herself." I have no response to this, but felt it was worth repeating in an entry titled, "If It Sounds Dirty, Blame Your Filthy Ears."
My brother, who gave up cursing for Lent one year and never went back to it, has invented his own cursewords that sound dirty but are not, and the foulest of them all is, "Pony Hole." Ew.
I maintain that "Succulent Vines" sounds REPULSIVE.
Not Dirty Sounding: When I returned from Christmas, I had three packages piled on my dining room table. They were VERY GREAT.
Package One: The ARCs (advanced reader copies) for BETWEEN, GEORGIA. It is SO freakin' sexy to hold and sniff the ARCs of a book I wrote that there should be a filthy sounding word for it.
Package two: MY SECRET FRIEND EXISTS. I got an email from her and also GODIVA DARK CHOCOLATE COCOA and SANTA while I was gone! But she has remained determinedly secret, and yet Christmas is OVER... Perhaps because I was such a pony hole this year and revealed too early, MY SF has decided to remain unrevealed.
Package Three: Lip gloss and a shirt and necklace from my best friend. HUZZAH!
Clearly Santa exists. And even more clearly, I was a VERY good girl, right up until the point that I posted this not-actually-filthy blog entry. BUT IT IS SIMPLY TOO LATE. I have my loots already, and I don't have to worry about being good enough to garner loots in 2006 until January.
Let the naughtiness commence!
And to begind it I present unto you, a Bonus Transcript of a Filthy Conversation With Mir
Mir: Monkey has a thing on his thumb, and I thought it was a wart but he says it hurts.
Me: Warts can't hurt?
Mir: So that makes it... what? A boil? The plague?
Me: Um some sort of wartlike hurty thing? That is my diagnosis speaking as a doctor.
Mir: I have some of those wart-away strips, but I don't want to use one if it's a booboo.
Me: Maybe it was a wart and he scraped it and hurt it and that is why it hurts?
Mir: But he has no recollection of having hurt his thumb.
Me: Well, that means nothing -- my child will come home spurting arterial blood with no leg and not know how he got hurt.
Mir: Haha true --- how do I determine if it's a wart?
Me: If in 2 days the soreness has abated and it looks like a wart, then it is a wart. If in 2 days the soreness has not abated, then it is NOT a wart, and he must go to the vet and be treated for plague
Mir: You so smart.
Mir: GAH I went looking for pictures of warts and clicked on a link and it was GENITAL WARTS
Mir: MY EYES!!!!
1.) There's a very interesting (and funny and well written) take on the new Pride and Prejudice movie on .Salon.com You should go give it a read. The reviewer is peeved that Jane's been made so sentimental, so gooey, so lovestruck and double plus romantical. Jane was a pragmatist, and she had a biting black wit that the movie loses almost utterly in favor in rain swept moors and snogging. The reviewer's points are well taken, however... I just loved that movie. Shamelessly.
I started reading Jane Austen when I was twelve. I still read her, and get through every one of her books about once every two years, I would say. I even read Lady Susan and the fragments.
And this movie...it was the movie of the book I read when I was twelve years old, NOT the movie of the book I read NOW. At twelve, her books were love stories to me, pure and simple. I adored them. At some point in high school, I realized the books were FUNNY. I was in college by the time I realized how keen-eyed and insightful she was. I have loved these books at every age and every stage, and think all my points of view on them as I grew up were true and valid, even if not EQUALLY true and valid. YES, Jane's pragmatic, but she believes in marrying for love. She believes in warmth and the beauty of human attachment---and that was ALL I saw her in books as a pratling.This is the movie of THAT book, the book of my pale pink pubescent heart, and accepting it as such, I quite enjoyed it.
Knightly was a lively and delightful Elizabeth and for some reason made me think of the nickname that Garp gives the babysitter in my third favorite John Irving novel: Little Squab Bones. Also, I LOVED Sutherland's mumbling, wry, understated take on Mr. B. I say, oh heck, give it a tumble.
By the way, just so you know I am enough of a lunatic fringe Jane-lover to have an opinion, allow me to insert that I will never forgive Patricia Rozema for the abasement of MANSFIELD PARK.
2) Yesterday I was talking with a friend about geography, and I realized once again how much my memory is tied to SMELLS. I can't remember places very well, or things I see, but I remember smells perfectly, and smells bring back memories for me more than any other sense. Every year, when it gets cold and the air gets that sharp, winter smell, I inexplicably become happy. Except not really inexplicably. In fact, I can explit it: The air smelled like this the first time Scott kissed me, and we agreed to probably get married and have a bunch of babies that same night.
Of course, there are bad parts to smell being such a gateway to memory for me... San Francisco, a gorgeous city I adore, is for me forever tied to the stench of those sea lions. Cute, but LORDY, they smell like the sulpherous farts of the damned in hell.
3) Yesterday my mother called me and said, "Can you run to Target and see if they have the KEEPSAKE TINS of YU-GI-OH cards? We are sold out here and if I have to go to one more store looking for them, I am going to end up strangling a clerk. That will NOT be Christmassy."
Reader, I WENT. I went to TARGET on the Wedneday before Christmas. Let me say, I called my mother after and told her we were even. No more hanging that "I carried you in my body for ten months because you were late and then suffered 30 hours of hard labor because this was before they invented the really GOOD drugs" over my head. I am PAID UP.
It turned out to be good for me, as well, because I realized that, while I had done all my TRUE Christmas Shopping in October and November, I had waited to buy stocking stuffers out of a misguided feeling that the candy might go STALE or something. I forgot that this is America, and candy here is actually 5% candy and 95% a mix of preservative chemicals, hormones, SOMA, and mind control fluid the government puts in to make us ALL think we have "RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME" so that big pharmeceutical companies can sucker us into trying to cure it by gobbling up great fistfuls of their RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME STOPPING PILLS, and thereby fund the mass emailings of SPAM advising my penis-less self to hoover up delicious Cialis SOFT TABS as if no one is going to think, "Do I really want to take something called a SOFT TAB for Erectile Dysfunction???" BUT. I. DIGRESS.
The point is, I had Maisy with me, so I thought I would not get to BUY my stuffers....but she fell asleep in the car. I slung her up in one arm, pushed a cart with the other, and marched all over Target for 30 minutes through the congested, teeming aisles. I was like a Salmon swimming upstream, if Salmons had to tote 30 pounds worth of sleeping pre-schooler. AND I GOT ONE OF THE LAST THREE YU-GI-OH TINS TO BOOT. I TOTALLY won shopping.
Bonus thing: Mir decided to be my UNsecret friend (because my secret friend had some sort of internet problem and I never heard from her again after that first time). Mir sent me a CHARMING book and a pair of teeny handcuffs with one side labelled YOU and one side labelled YOUR KEYS. Very, very needed. I am pleased to have an UNsecret friend, since I did such a BANG UP job this year of being unsecret myself, as you may recall. I sent MY secret friend a letter that went something like this: "HI IT IS ME YOUR SECRET FRIEND! Love, Joshilyn." That was...slightly less secret than I wanted to be. Signing your NAME is not like a CLUE so much as it is like THE ANSWER. Next year I will be all CLEVER and sign off with a RIDDLE instead of my name. Something like, "Love, SECRET FRIEND whose name rhymes with SHMOSHILYN except with a J in front and the H si silent!"
Yeah. That ought to do it.
TOO STUPID TO LIVE: A common complaint about poorly written romance novels in which the heroine cannot seem to brush her teeth without beginning to choke to death on a crystallized lump of old Crest which air-hardened into a threat because she did not screw the cap properly, even though in the last chapter the hero TOLD her this could happen, and she, in a misguided attempt at feistiness, rebelliously decided to NOT screw the cap and therefore he has to rush in and administer the Heimlich maneuver at which point she is saved and decides she will, in the next chapter, screw, if not the cap, at least maybe the hero. These are the heroines who are biologically incapable of LOOKING before they cross a street, so that they are constantly imperiled by trucks. They can't go on a nature walk without choosing the path with the signs that say WARNING: DEADLY PUMA, and if they can douse themselves a spray bottle full of gravid puma urine that they have mistaken for a perfume atomizer before they go, so much the better. They blunder off cliffs, fall off ships, willfully shriek 'til the avalanche starts, hurl themselves in front of bullets and arrows and stampedes, are equal parts beautiful and flammable, and if you say to one of them, "Just don't touch that big red knob, see it? The one with the sign on it that says NO NO! DO NOT TOUCH! ENDS ALL LIFE AS WE KNOW IT. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, ANY KNOB BUT THIS!" , their immediate and response is to say, "What, this knob here?" while reaching out to give it a good, experimental yoinking. And I, ladies and gentlemen? I am horrified to report that I am one of 'em. Too. Stupid. To. Live.
Every year, one of the things that makes Christmas feel like Christmas to me is being involved in a Secret Friend program. Yes. I know. It's dorky. But when I have claimed to be an Undork? Hint: Never. So.
And it makes me happy, which means, Sheryl Crow assures me, that it can't be that bad. And I am Too Stupid Too Live, so I think I get to take that literally.
So I signed up again this year and was having a high old time, signing my letters to her Sherlock and sending her Snow Globe kits and scented soaps and whatnot, it's all good fun 'til someone loses an eye, right? Anyway. I wrote her this very long letter about children's books, and in the middle of writing it, apparently something SHINY ran by and I forgot who I was writing to or what the purpose of the whole thing was or just suffered a random brain fart... no clue.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I SIGNED it. I SIGNED the letter. With my STUPID NAME.
I feel all let down and sad. Blew it. No one to blame but myself. And YES OKAY I KNOW, it's a stupid thing to be unhappy over, but it was important to me. I'm all weepish and ruint over it. Like I've grinched myself. I can't even WRITE to her now, I am SO embarrassed. I think instead I'll go run with this stick in my mouth. Because, really, what's the worst thing that could happen?
I hereby declare today to be INTERNATIONAL PAJAMA DAY. Today I shall clean up a little, make some phonecalls, do a little revising, finish at least one of the three books I am in the middle of reading, play with Maisy, dabble in Warcraft, talk on the phone, and lavish affection upon the hapless cat. In other words, nothing that requires me to get out of these pajamas. The pajama bottoms are pink with HUGE obnoxious grandma' s couch style cabbage roses all over, and I am wearing them with an old pink maternity T shirt circa 1997, and Sam was a BIG baby. He weighed in at almost 12 pounds. SO, this shirt is so floppy that I could fit the cat in here with me and probably a Llama and a small herd of those miniatuer antelope. I am not going to brush my hair, even. You can't make me.
BY THE WAY, I just learned from a woman who writes horror fiction that those BRATZ dolls (which already creep me out) have CHANGEABLE FEET. Yikes. You can yoink their feet right off and stick on entirely NEW feet. It is because they have such complicated, hookery shoes, so you can't actually CHANGE the shoes themselves. I won't have those things in my house. They are so NOSELESS and HORRIFYING. I think they have no noses because they did not get their syphilis treated, and the dern things rotted right off. Now they have brain lesions and dementia, and THAT explains the hacking off their own feet any time they want to change shoes.
My new policy is to only buy toys that do not exhibit the symptoms of untreated venereal diseases. I am all about Polly Pocket and My Little Pony.
Yesterday I went Christmas shopping ALL DAY with my friend Karen. HIGHLIGHTS:
1) At Macy's, there is a PIG. It is either A) a live pig, or B) a ride, or C) a ride with a live pig on it. It cost three dollars to see for sure. I felt it was only worth the three dollars if it was C) a ride WITH a live pig on it, so we did not go.
2) At the big mall in Atlanta, they have a real beard Santa with LONG blow dried feathery white hair. He looks very cheerful and ... coifed. He is clearly a rich people's Santa who has been to Vidal Sassoon.
3) They had some sort of advertisement thing on the floor. I wish I could explain this. It was like a big FLAT SCREEN, maybe 8 feet by 5 feet? And the screen would have images or ads on it, and you could move things with your feet by walking or dancing on the screen. It was SO ODD. Like, there was a BANK AD. The bank's logo was submerged in a fish pond full of goldfish. And as we STAMPED on the goldfish, they would RUUUUUN, and the surface would ripple as if we had kicked the top of a real fishpond. Each ad would stay on for maybe a minute, and about every third add, a GAME would come up, like a soccer field, or an air hockey table, with a ball you could move by stamping and kicking at it. We set down all our packages and and stamped all over that thing for at least ten minutes, completely oblivious to the fact that from any more than 3 feet away, where a person could not see the screen in the floor, we must have looked like complete LOONS who had shed several hundred dollars worth of merchandise and thrown theuir coats on the floor to giggle and shriek and dance around with no music and NO VISIBLE CAUSE.
4) At the French Soap Store --- and here let me pause and say, Yes, Virginia, there really is a French Soap Store. An ENTIRE huge store devoted to NOTHING but French soap. Quite shocking to a rube like me. Why, I had to burp in surprise and scratch myself! Okay, that is not true. But I SAY IT because French Soapstress came over to tell us about the wonders of French Soap, and after a few minutes of her burbling Joie de Vivre-ally about "The Lanolin covered fields of Sheepful Provence" and me boggling at the 65 dollar pricetag on a teeny box of French Soap shaped like a bee, the Soaptress asked if we lived in town or were visiting. I said I was in town visiting Karen, and Karen said, "Yeah she lives way out in South Cobb County." And the Soapstress LEAPT BACK in horror, as if Karen had held me up with tweezers and said "LOOK! I BROUGHT YOU SOME POO!"
I was clearly not qualified to buy French Soap, so we went next door to Ann Taylor where I forgot I was Christmas Shopping and accidentally spent 97 dollars on a cashmere sweater. <---not true, Scott, if you are reading this. And pay no attention ot the Ann Taylor bill when it comes later this month. They were smoking a BIG HOOKAH full of opium when we were in there, and they may have accidentally charged me for a cashmere sweater I would not ever buy myself right at Christmas. Drug addicts, every one of 'em. AND ANYWAY I did not buy the 6 month old African Gray Parrot we saw at PetSmart, who was 1300 dollars and who CLEARLY LOVED ME and WANTED me to buy both him and about 700 dollars of Parrot-Keeping equipment and toys and feed and perches. So. We didn't lose 100 dollars, we gained 2,000 and a REALLY nice sweater. And maybe a camisole.
GOING ON TEN DAYS. NO SCOTT. NOT GOOD. Soon I will begin drifting about the house in filthy pajamas and eating ice cream for breakfast and writing bad haiku about absence.
(Pull on my same jeans
Why launder, why smell good, why
even sniff-check them?)
It is all downhill from there.
In brighter news, author Nichelle Tramble Tagged me with a MEME! I NEVER get tagged with a meme. I feel all MUTUAL OF OMAHA'S WILD KINGDOM. My ear is a little sore, but I am game! <---GET IT!!! I am GAME??? Get it? HA! Where is a rimshot audiofile when you need one?
10 Reading Secrets, because I do not have 15. My life is AN OPEN BOOK. (Where is that RIMSHOT? OMG the PUNS -- see what happens when you take SCOTT away for too long. PUNS! And BAD HAIKU!)
1) I had a BIG crush on Henry in THE SECRET HISTORY. Yeah, he is kinda big and ugly and a complete geek and he, you know, KILLS people, but something about the smarty-pants classical Greek training, the Apollonian mind yearning for Dionysian release...Oh. Yeah. Kiss me, ya big murdering dork.
2) Which is the micro-cosm of the macro-secret which is, I DO get crushes on characters in books I read, which is SO dorky that if only I would start killing people I would probably be an e-harmony dot com perfect match-up for Henry.
3) When I was growing up, I wanted to be Trixie Belden. I thought Nancy Drew was a snot.
4) When I was about 10, I STOLE my parents copy of Alex Haley's ROOTS which I was expressly forbidden to read until I was older because they thought the themes in that book were much too adult for me to process, and um, YEAH. They SURE were. I read it at night, buried under my blankets, fascinated and horrified, weeping until the snot ran out of my nose that people could be so mean to other people. I had until then not known.
5) I also stole and read JAWS. Which I just thought was cool, AND from which I learned SEVERAL cursewords I had not yet heard spoken aloud.
6) My brother made me read all the Conan books AND H.P Lovecraft AND all the Gray Mouser books. I am convinced that this is why I am a geek.
7) The only reason I do not write space opera, I am convinced, is that I ALSO read Peter Pan, Charlotte's Web, both Bronte sisters, A.A. Milne, all of Jane Austen, Little Women, all of Roald Dahl, all of Tove Janssen, and A Little Princess to ABSOLUTE tatters. And secretly, I STILL enjoy the STINK out of all those books. Yes, even A Little Princess. WHEN SHE GIVES AWAY FIVE OF THE SIX HOT BUNS! OH! OH!
8) You know that I am not allowed to read on stairs, but I ALSO used to walk down the streets of Chicago reading, and I had to stop that because I kept getting almost mowed down by busses when I forgot where I was and gamboled cheerfully out into traffic.
9) I am such a fangrrrrl of certain authors that I physically FEAR meeting them because I am sure I will open my mouth to say HELLOILOVEYOUYOUARETHEBESTGREATESTONEEVER and instead I will vomit down my front. I had a CHANCE to meet one of my favorite authors of all time, and I PHYSICALLY could not make myself go. I was SO sure I would puke.
10) I once read 10 or 12 of the MOST LURID romance bodice rippers I could FIND in a SINGLE weekend because I had decided to write a LURID BODICE RIPPER with my friend Lydia, and I firmly believed and believe you can NOT write anything decent in a genre you have not read extensively. SO after my crash course, Lyd and I went out to a Martini Bar and PLOTTED the whole thing out with kidnappings and dashing rescues and many, many, torn petticoats and bosoms of the heaving variety, and THEN we named all the characters. Unfortunately, we also taste tested Green Apple-tinis and Crantinis and Godiva-tinis and I remember NOTHING of the entire outline, except the villian was going to be named HORACE MONTMORECY, THE EARL OF EMMESWORTH. And the lead character was named Veronica or January, we got in a fight about that. And then ordered Citrus-Blast-Tinis and forgave each other and decided to call her soemthign completely different. I think at one point, one of us may have even said, " I LOVE YOU, MAN." Sad. Sad. Sad.
I think I am supposed to TAG people here? See, no one ever MEMES me so I do not know how to behave? Okay well, LET US DO THIS, let's tag via COMMENTS -- first three commenters can TAG a blogger, and I will then come back and list them here, and shoot them YOU HAVE BEEN TAGGED e-mails. GO!
No one is going to let me have a baby, so now I want a parrot. A GREY Parrot who looks like THIS:
The best parrots are babies that you get and hand wean yourself and raise up, but I think you have to really know your parrot-y stuff or you do it wrong and maladjust them. WHO KNOWS ABOUT PARROTS? I think if I tried to hand wean I would make the parrot wrong-headed and crazy. Can you get a hand fed nicely pre-weaned parrot and make friends with him? Or will he never love you anymore if you do not personally raise him? How can you be sure the people selling you the parrot are good parrot loving darlings that have kissed all over the parrot from egg on up and made him not depressed but rather nice and well adjusted and people friendly? Are there the parrot version of a PUPPY MILL where you get crapulent ruined sad mentally ill parrots? HOW DO YOU KNOW if the parrot is a good parrot?
My lord, google is trying to distract me with Glamorous Macaw Parrots. And the HYACINTH ones ARE breathtaking, LOOK AT HIM! LOOK AT HIS FRIEND!
But Congo Greys seem more personality-ish and shirty and funny. "It's about beauty on the inside," she said maturely, and then ruined it by adding, "And Greys have NICE butts in a color I woukld absolutely wear if it was a lipstick." So.
RIGHT NOW my babies are too little and parrots are bitey. It will be a few years, plus the cat needs to be older; A 6.5 year old cat is still in his parrot slaughtering prime. A nine or ten year old cat, however, especially one as fat as mine, is a different animal. Assuming my poor overfed one-eyed butt-plucker lives nine or ten years, which he BETTER.
NEVER THE LESS. I AM GETTING A PARROT IN THREE YEARS.
Scott seems amenable to the whole parrot thing because EITHER he suspects that in three years I will be haring off about soemthign completely different and will have FORGOTTEN that I need a parrot to be happy, OR it is just that I am shutting up about how I want a BABY, and he knows you do not have to pay to send a parrot to COLLEGE. PLUS SIDE: A Parrot seems nearly as troublesome and loud and messy as a toddler, and NEVER GROWS UP! This is what I need -- a PERMA toddler bothering me all the time. ALSO they are LOUD! I am a NOISE person. I like a loud house, btu don;t care much for music. I keep the TV on in another room all the time just to have SOUND going, and I TALK to the TV and I talk to the cat, and these things, they don't ANSWER. Parrots WILL.
I NEED A PARROT. A NAUGHTY loud parrot named Forsythe. Or Jeeves. Not sure, but definately soemthing BUTLER-Y.
Countdown to Parrot, T minus 3 years.
If you are wondering where this came from, I went over to my new friend Karen's house for the first time last night. SHE HAS PARROTS. You should see how much these parrots LIKE her. You should see how ALIVE these parrots are behind their eyes. They THINK things, you can see them thinking, and they are curious and dear---I didn't realize a bird could be so....himself. So person-y and exact. And their feathers are practically individually prehensile and they puff and fluff themselves into shapes based on what they are feeling. When she buries her nose in Dexter's back and shrieks, WHO IS A CHICKEN? WHO IS A BIG CHICKEN? he cranes his head up and press-press-presses his face adoringly into her neck. I admit, I found it rather touching.
HEY. Did I mention I am getting a PARROT? I will wait though, until the cat is old and slow and my children are old enough to know not to torment the parrot until he takes a chunk out of them. Three or four years -- OH! I just decided! I am getting a parrot when I turn 40. AS A PRESENT TO MYSELF for not dying of turning 40. I must begin saving up to buy a parrot and parrot accoutrements NOW because my LORD a good bird is a zillion quadrillion dollars plus he will need a big HOME cage in my bedroom and a play area in my office so he can hang out with me while I work and maybe another play area in the living room and toys and all manner fo nuts and mushfeeds and bells and chew sticks.
I am all about parrots now. All parrots, all the time.
I thought I would take a moment and answer some questions I have recently received from friends and colleagues via the miracle of e-mail. Questions you might have been wondering about yourself...
From the inimitable Shawn Box: How is the International Celebrity thing going?
Answer: Oh well, you know. Sven is peeling me a grape as I try to suffer through the ennui the pappazazzi make me feel...Honestly, there are times when I have to clear my schedule and pencil in a whole day for "Empathizing with Paris Hilton."
From Karen, also writing to deadline, about my endless five pounds war: Eh, worry about it after the holidays, I say. I tend to eat less when I'm REALLY stressed, so, by that rationale, at some point during this book-writing process I should be thoroughly emaciated. Does it work like that for you?
Answer: No. I frickin' eat MORE when stressed. So. By that rationale, at some point during this book-writing process I will smash myself into the earth and wipe out all the dinosaurs.
And this final question, from three different people in the last three days. Yes. Really. The universe wants me to answer this question: How are you so productive with two kids?
Answer: Oh well, I just, you know, lock them in the old refrigerator I keep down in the basement. Then they have to be still and quiet to preserve oxygen.
If you are dangerously mentally ill and reading this, allow me to say: THAT WAS A JOKE. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. I ACTUALLY lock them into a wooden box with many air holes and a Jumbo Hamster-Water delivery system.
SPEAKING OF E-MAIL...I got a note from Sheila Curran, author of the rawwwwwther fantastic Diana Lively is Falling Down a comedy of manners I found to be JUST so charming and entertaining and the writing blew me away. It was one of those books that made me want to kidnap the author and tie them to a chair and make them read MY book, but really, The Author's Guild frowns on that sort of thing. But then in this weird coincidence, she JOINED THE GCC (my little group of fellow scribes that cross blogs and cross pollinates) and I managed to mention to her in casual passing (without throwing up on myself or slavering) that I had truly enjoyed her book. And SHE, that darling, read mine and wrote me the most lovely and gracious letter back, which is ---
BEEP!BEEP!BEEP! We interrupt this blog for a cheery little dollop of prostitution:
On December 4th, I am heading to one of my very most favorite INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORES, the Alabama Booksmith, to sign pre-ordered copies of GODS IN ALABAMA and inscribe them for Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa gifts. And BY THE WAY, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution just listed gods in Alabama as one of the best books of the year in their big best books round-up (which I STILL have not seen because I accidentally recycled the paper before reading it, HEH) So Yay, and if you are giving a book as a present, shouldn't it be one that a major newspaper has just ASSURED you is one of the best books of the year? (hint: Yes.)
gods in Alabama retails for $19.95 and can be shipped by Priority Mail for $8.00 but there is PLENTY of time to get it shipped Media Mail rate which usually runs about $2.00 per copy. Signed first editions are a fantastic gift for the readers and/or book collectors in your life, and you'll ALSO be supporting, well, me. (We have to keep Maisy in 100 dollar Dance costumes, and uh-oh, here comes a digression: CAN YOU FREAKING BELIEVE??? 100 bucks for a THREE YEAR OLD'S BALLET COSTUME, due the same month as, gee, CHRISTMAS? Are you KIDDING ME???...As I was saying,...) You'll get a great gift for someone, and you'll literally be supporting me and a fantastic independent bookstore, AND Book Sense because gods was a Number One Book Sense pick! Which means it isn't JUST win-win, it's win-win-win-WIN. Heck, it's win-win--win-WIN in a 100 dollar Tutu that dern well BETTER come with a hat or some gold bullion.
Call the Alabama Booksmith BEFORE December 4th to get your order in:
GO on, do it today, before you forget. They open in about FIFTEEN MINUTES! If you call NOW, I bet they will throw in some GINSU KNIVES or a fridge magnet. HECK, get two. They are small.
OH and when you call, be sure to tell them how you want it inscribed! ("Merry Christmas, Genny," for example, or perhaps something more personal, like, "For Peter, who was a complete testicle to his sister when they were children, but has grown up to be almost decent." Hey, whatever best says HOLIDAY CHEER to YOU, you know?)
We now return you to your regularly scheduled mindless prattle-slash-shennanigans:
---psychologically very important to me. I have this weird thing where, when I like someone's book, I so want them to like my book BACK. And Sheila Curran's book read to me like the book that would happen if Rachel Cusk's books had a baby with The Three Junes, so she was high on my "please read me back" list. I am sure this fits under some sort of pre-established and labelled co-dependent frippery mental illness umbrella, but I feel the phenomenon needs its own psycho-babble buzzword that catches the MEAT of the syndrome: how the anxiety and desire increases exponentially. In other words, the more I like a book, the more I want the writer to read mine, and the more important it is to me that they like it. It's the literary equivelent of passing that dork-note from eighth grade. You know the one:
DO YOU LIKE MY BOOK? PLEASE CHECK ONE: ___YES ___MAYBE ___WELL, IT'S NOT KING LEAR.
*sigh* Anyway. She liked it. SO THERE.
...TODAY I will finish reading my proofs for Between, Georgia and sign off on them and get them over to Brown so I can pay 45 dollars to 2 day them instead of having to sell a kidney to get Brown to overnight them with an AM delivery.
...TOMORROW I will post this GREAT interview with Gayle Brandeis that I keep forgetting to post.
...I will BECOME A BETTER PERSON. And by this, I OBVIOUSLY mean lose five pounds. OR I could become, you know, kinder and gentler and less impatient and judgemental and not indulge my mental illness as if it were a yappy little pink purse dog and stop practicing my especial pet favorite sins with such unbridled relish and...nah. I will just lose five pounds.
...I will pick a final author for my TOP FIVE list I am doing for Mark Farley's charity project in the UK....SO far, when listing the Five Authors You Meet in Southern Heaven, I have:
Haven Kimmel -- The Solace of Leaving Early. I recently read in an interview that Kimmel considers herself a southern author, and I consider her to be the best writer alive, so she tops the list.
Cassandra King --- Making Waves. King's least known first novel may very well be my favorite of hers.
Flannery O'Conner --- Everything That Rises Must Converge. She's the best writer who isn't living.
Fred Willard -- Down on Ponce. Moody, funny, black, irreverent debut novel that is bound to offend MANY readers, but LORDY! That man can write an unreliable narrator like no one else.
My fifth would be Mindy Friddle, natch, but The Garden Angel is not out in the UK. Which, allow me to say here:
BUY IT. The Garden Angel is SO awesome.
SO barring Friddle, WHO AM I MISSING? WHy can;t I pick a FIFTH, and why does that question make me want to answer, "Sure I can pick a fifth. I pick...TEQUILA!"
...TODAY get a decent working Chapter 3 out of this salad of images and ideas and sentences and radishes. Okay there are no radishes. But if you begin with AS GOD IS MY WITNESS you have to get a radish in there somewhere because that's the dirty vegetable Scarlet yacks up onto the hillside at 12 Oaks right before she raises her fist to heaven and makes the vow. So.
Oh we learn, we learn, we learn until we die. For example, I learned a new word last night. Callipygian. Say it with me...Cal,ee, PIDGE,un. Did you know that it means, "Having beautifully proportioned buttocks?" Hmm? Did you? Oh shut up, you did NOT.
Am I going to hell for getting tickled that the etymology of the word begins "from the Greek?" OR that the sentence in which dictionary.com chose to use the word is something like "the quest for the callipygian ideal?" Shut UP, I am NOT. Probably. Grail, Schmail, I am signing up for the tushie quest...Not sure how to begin. Just how would you QUEST for the loveliest buttocks? Probably in BARS. Bars that don't have enough seating.
After a long debate we decided that you can't use the word to modify buttocks because the buttocks are already implied in the main word. So don't go around saying anyone has "callipygian buttocks." You will just look foolish. People can be callipygian, as can statues, as can, apparently, ideals. In other words, Anything WITH buttocks can be callipygian, but the buttocks themselves cannot be unless the buttocks have buttocks of their own, in which case, allow me to say, "ew." I AM SO GLAD WE GOT THIS SETTLED!
In other news, I am not sure the newt-sacks are viable. We've been scooping them out and putting them down in the pond because Sam's heart was pierced with many knives when we broached the subject of releasing Fig and Spotty. He could not bear to lose Spotty, and then he worried that if we released only Fig, Spotty would PINE. I am not sure newts come standard with PINING EQUIPMENT. They have VERY small brains...how can they PINE EFFECTIVELY with the amount of software you can load onto their little teeny drives. But Sam has so much brain equipage that he can PROJECT pining upon them, so.
If Fig and Spotty lack PINING centers, at least they are FULLY equipped in their newtly pants. More egg sacks appeared. One or two a day. That may seem like a lot, but remember, these two live in a 5 gallon aquarium. What the heck ELSE is their to do? And perhaps Fig looks to Spotty like the Newtly embodiment of the callipygian ideal. SO the eggs piled up, and we scooped and released, we lathered, we rinsed, and we repeated. Then we kinda forgot about moving the egg sacks out. It fell off the radar. Who knows. Quite a few piled up in there, and now I just noticed 4 or 5 are gone. And yet I see no SPAWNS. Perhaps NEW newts are microscopic, or perhaps Daisy and Posy (the smaller, gill dependent, purely aquatic newtlets) are having omelets. I await further developments with baited breath.
I am in Pensacola at my mom-in-laws---aka Nana. We drove down last night to set up her new computer (Scott) and fix whatever Ophelia broke (Scott) and speak at the Friends of the Library fundraiser (me) and spoil my children (Nana.) My children are in charge of eating too many Fritos and watching the movie ROBOTS over and over and over and over and over. We all have our assignments and we are all pleased with them.
Not to complain or anything...but the dulcet tones of Robin Williams ARE beginning to grate. Just a little. And not be judgemental, but when the four little eyeballs of my loin-fruit begin (INEVITABLY) to bleed from staring into the white light of the Holy Television, I am going to have to throttle myself with one of Scott's neckties AND throw myself into the sea to keep from warbling, I TOLD YOU THAT WOULD HAPPEN IF YOU DID NOT STOP. I SAID! DID I NOT SAY? Which is one of about 100 things I took a solemn vow to NEVER say when I was eight, and enraged, and people kept saying dumb stupid dumb stuff to me about would happen if I didn't blah blah this and stop blah blah-ing that. "Somthing actions, something something consequences," they said, nattering on like they KNEW when they didn't know REALLY, they were just SUPPOSING, and I was NOT going to fall ANYWAY, so I might as well run with a THOUSAND sticks in my mouth, geez.
WHAT IS GOOD: THE TIMES. I got a heads up from HODDER (my UK press). Remember gods in Alabama was The Times book club pick? WELL! I JUST SAW THE INITIAL REVIEW. It was, to appropriate some slang, BRILLIANT. My favorite line:
"...a fast paced thriller written so well that you think you are really reading a slow-burning novel."
That makes me all flushed and giddy, and ever since Scott read it to me, I have been marching around Nana's singing that line repeatedly to the tune of HAIL, BRITANNIA. By about the 4,000th repetition, I began to suspect my mother in law might SLIGHTLY prefer even the dulcet tones of RW. So I stopped. But to myself I am still singing it. Inside, where it counts.
HEY! LOOK! This is me in London standing under Hodder's sign outide their building, about to go be slightly intimidated by the excrutiatingly prettiness of my UK editor:
I include this picture for digressionary reasons that will become clear later but that WE SHALL NOT DISCUSS. In order to explain WHY we shall not discuss them, I offer up this Predigressionary Digression: I have weird notions of propriety. I will discuss ANYTHING in the general, a little less in the specific, and there are a few topics I prefer not to discuss at all in the specific as it pertains to me. So, for example, while I am happy to engage in lively bantersome exchanges about tooting, and while I agree that it is hilarious when the dog toots (especially if he then looks with comical surprise at his rear, as if asking the rear what that triumphant blowing fanfare was) I see no need to discuss whether or not I personally have ever experienced any untoward intestional gasses. I am sure that if such gasses did begin to amass themselves, the angels would come and carry them silently away before we EVER NEEDED TO TALK ABOUT IT. When certain discussions move from the general to the specific as it pertains to me, I get very flustered and displeased. SO. While the inclusion of this picture would make it very easy to move the discussion FROM the general TO the specific as it pertains to me when I begin my future digression, let's just not.
Let's speak in generalities. And if generalities should fail us, we shall always have euphemism to fall back on. I am ALL ABOUT ephemism. In fact, I have left specific instructions that the words VIVA LA EUPHEMISM be engraved upon my tombstone. SO. Here endeth the predrigressionary digression.
What is BAD: As you may have noticed from last week's rather quiet Kudzu, I am having BLOG BLOCK. I can't seem to BLOG. I sit down to blog, and then I have nothing to say, and I begin working on my novel instead. Or I wander off to peer at Samantha on DAYS OF OUR LIVES and call everyone I know to make THEM stare at her so we can speculate about whether or not she has had BREAST REDUCTION SURGERY.
I have two theories as to WHY. (Two theories about why I am blog blocked, not two theories about the WHY of breast reduction. OH! LOOK!
THE DIGRESSION YOU WERE FOREWARNED WAS COMING IS NOW HERE:
I KNOW all the why's of breast reduction, INTIMATELY, as does any general and not specific person who is both top heavy and athletic. These non-specific people have MEMORIZED the why's as they go back and forth about having it or not having it. The WHY's are practically engraved on their non-specific eyelids, everything from from back pain to black eyes, and they also know all the reasons why not, like the one in a million shot of being the one in a million person who dies on the table during BOOB SURGERY, absolutely GUARANTEEING that something OTHER than VIVA LA EUPHEMISM will be on their tombstone.
HERE ENDETH THE DIGRSSION!
So, two theories about the blog block....
Theory 1: I am REALLY tired. The stomach flu followed up by an overnight drive to Pensacola has sapped me of my Vital Essence-y Juices, and as soon as I get home and sleep for 7 illness-free hours in my own bed, I will be fine.
Theory 2: Scott is performing some sort of spooky ritual upon my hapless person as I sleep and SOUL SUCKING the SAUCINESS right out of me. I imagine the sauciness is an orange vapor that comes out of my mouth, and he hoovers it up into his nostrils with great sniffing horks and then says "AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"
Theory one is PURE conjecture, and I am, after all, A SCIENTIST. So I have to give theory two more credence. See, I have EVIDENCE to support 2, which I present herewith: In recent days, while I have been saucelessly unable to find anything blogworthy, SCOTT HAS GOTTEN REALLY REALLY SAUCY. He is usually dry and witty with forays into the land of the wretched pun, but not SAUCY. He says he is not sucking the sauciness out of me, but if YOU were sucking the sauciness out of me, would you admit it? He attributes his new Hollandaisical Persona to my recent rash of shoe shopping.
Me: My shoe shopping? OH, blame the VICTIM, why don't ya. What does my admittedly out of control shoe shopping have to do with ANYTHING?
Him: You really haven't noticed?
Me: Noticed what?
Him: Every time you buy shoes, I **mow the lawn.** (By the by, for those who have not been keeping up, let me say that MOW THE LAWN is probably a euphemism. Those of you who HAVE been keeping up may now chime in with a hearty, "Um, duh.")
I was horrifed to realize he was RIGHT. Apparently, successful shoe shopping makes me REALLY want the lawn to look nice. I feel this is a connection that does not bear close examination, and am sticking with my SOUL SUCKING SAUCINESS NOSTRIL VAPOR theory.
PS. B4B Goes LIVE tomorrow afternoon.
Hi. I died of a stomach flu yesterday. I WOULD miss you all deep in my heart, but unfortuntely, I threw my heart up at about 3 PM. Along with my liver and several kidneys and all my bones. I am pretty much a deflated, heartless skin sack today.
School is indeed back in session! I declare this to be the first enterovirus of what promises to be an alternately mucus-laden and vomit-y school year. Good grief, but preschoolers are filthy and germy, and they eat chewed gum out of each other's mouths. I HAVE SEEN THEM DO IT. They cross germinate each other and come home SWARMING with multiple diseases, and then they call you MOMMY and have big eyes and smell good and you let them up into your lap like a moron where they entertain themselves by plunging their filthy fingers directly into your nose holes and giggling, "You have Nozrilts! You have Nozrilts!" Even the LAZIEST plagues can hope to get a good spread ratio if they recruit a pre-schooler.
I am going back to my bed of post-pain lolling as I have a signing at a local B and N tonight and need to get myself together (Don't worry, I have been Vomit Free for 20 hours now! Also, I plan to take a refreshing swim in some bleach and then spray eu de Lysol all over me in lieu of perfume before I go. So if you live here in town, COME. It s me and two other local authors--- I do not know WHO or WHOM though. (I am too weak to have good grammar. So shut yer pie holes.) I wonder who or whom they will be?!?!
It is the Barnes and Noble in Marietta at The Ave at West Cobb
(3625 Dallas Hwy SW). I will have LITTLE CHOCOLATES on my table. And FREE gods in Alabama refrigerator magnets! And I SWEAR I won't swap any bodily fluids with you!
Anyway, I am here, practically DEAD, but HERE, because wanted to POP UP THIS LINK for the writers out there. It is a short fic contest with an IMMEDIATE deadline, but a $3,000 prize, so if you HAVE a good story from 400 - 2500 words, go for it. Warning, a VERY l337 DeVVd coded the site. You need to be a 15 year old gameboy junkie with the reflexes of a bat to get the text to SCROLL to the short story info. GOOD LUCK!
REALLY if you have a piece ready, you should enter. 3k is a lot of MOO! That's like 50K in WRITER DOLLARS, which is sort of like DOG YEARS. Because, well, I have short stories I have worked on, on and off, for three years. So, 3k is not that much in the light of three years, but to get writer dollars, you have to figure out how much beer you could have bought with the sum over time, taking into account dollar draft nights, and then multiplying the total by the year the philistines made absinthe illegal.
ALSO, I wanted to pop up this link to Karin Gillespie's blog. She has a great interview up with Melanie Hauser. You remember, our first B4B judge? Wrote Confessions of Super Mom? This one:
Anyway, I enjoyed the interview and thought you might, too. That is all. *expires*
Think about this: A week from TODAY, we begin the October edition of Blogging for Books. If you are a Johnny-or-Janey come lately, it's a writing contest invented by The Zero Boss, and a click here will getcha to the original rules.
October's special guest blogger will be Kira of KiWords. She will narrow the entries down to seven.
October's special guest author will be Jennifer O'Connell.
The winner gets an autographed copy of Jennifer's new book, Off the Record. It's the story of Jane Marlow, a true-blue good girl: plain, predictable, and perfectly responsible. But when her brother catches an episode of Music One's "Off the Record," he discovers that former pop sensation Teddy Rock is actually their childhood neighbor Theodore Brockford, and that his one-hit wonder twelve years earlier wasn't just a catchy tune that took the charts by storm-it was a song about Jane. What would happen if the world discovered you inspired a legendary rock song? Jane Marlow is about to find out...
Kirkus says, “It's decadent fun... O'Connell makes this sweet treat go down smoothly thanks to snappy dialogue and evocative scenes of Chicago in the summer.” And Kirkus would know. BIG HINTY NOTE FOR ASPIRING SMARTY-PANTSES LOOKING FOR A LEG UP IN THE CONTEST: The essay topic is often thematically linked to the prize book.
Here ends the thinking, so now, Look at this:
I'm getting one for Christmas.
My brother is sculpting a fox right now, and he was googling around for images of foxes, and...this came up. We cannot come up for any possible uses for this that aren't too perverted to look at at head on. They are the sort of thing one reluctantly peeps at sideways and then you shudder and run. This hat...is inherently deviant. That is all.
Here ends the looking, so now, consider this: So I've written this book, right, and it is a HARD BOOK TO SUMMARIZE. gods in Alabama has a structure that allows me to say three sentences about it and you have an immediate idea of what you might be getting into and whether or not it's your sort of thing. Between, Georgia....it's not possible. By which I mean, I haven't found a way to do it yet. I had a one paragraph jacket copy kinda thing on the Between page, but it didn't, catch the essence of what the book is ACTUALLY about. So I have rewritten it without limiting myself to four sentences, and just tried to ACTUALLY SAY what the book is about. It took me four paragraphs.
After you read it, you will have a pretty good idea of what the book is about. SO! If you THEN have any thoughts about how to CATCH what the book is about in a 30 second sound bite, or even an opinion about WHAT elements would be most ear catching in a thirty second sound bite, then, please...share. Because I learned with gods that when someone asks, "SO WHAT IS IT ABOUT," I have about half a minute to get them interested enough to maybe go pick it up and read the jacket copy and see if it's the book for them.
Jennifer's book, above, has a great summary. You read that, and you can say, "Oh I want to check into that. I like snappy 'what if' books." Or you may say, "Hmm that sounds like it needs more spies and some gunplay..." I need a thirty second summary that can help the right readers for this book find it. And summarizing THIS book THAT fast looks to me to be the three minute mile----completely impossible without the aid of pharmecueticals. Whoopsie, no, I actually mean, completely impossible right up until someone does it.
Over at The Zero Boss, there used to be a great contest called Blogging for Books. The Boss, he got busy, and he isn't having it, no, nevermore. I judged it once. Heck, I entered it once, and did not win, even though I entered what is probably my all time favorite blog entry ----the one where me and Joyce Carol Oats make out with a flight attendant who looks like Michael Chabon while crammed in an airplane restroom....ANYWAY. I hate to see a good contest die, so I am going to guest host it for a couple of months, until he comes to his senses and yoinks it back.
I hope I will be able to keep it going, but it IS time consuming. And In my copious spare time, I like to blink and go to the bathroom. Most days I have to choose between the two, because I can so seldom fit them BOTH in. Several enterprising souls have suggested I COMBINE blinking and going to the bathroom into a single, mega-fun leisure activity. It would be a lot like extreme sports, but with Charmin. I confess I have doubts. I am not quite co-ordinated enough for that.
So since I myself am well acquainted with THE BUSY, I have come up with a solution. DELEGATE! In The Zero Boss version of Blogging for Books (or B4B, as we in-the-know hipsters like to call it), he personally culled all the entries down to seven, and then a Special Guest Novelist would pick the winners in the traditional first, second, and third places. Since I am about to make like a lidless WASP and be thinking of England without having to close my eyes (because England will be all around me. It's hard NOT to think of England when you are standing in the middle of it, looking at it. It's impossible not to, actually. It would be like not thinking of the elephant. You know, once someone says DO NOT THINK OF THE ELEPHANT you immediately think of him. I bet you are thinking of the elephant right now...) ANYWAY! I am going to have a special guest blogger make the initial cut to seven. I may keep this feature, actually, and host a different novelist and blogger every month because I am not ready to completely forego blinking and the bathroom, and because, hey, there are some mighty fine bloggers out there that could use a little linky love, too.
Lord, I maybe shouldn't be in charge of this. I can't even get through the RULES without digressing my way into WASP mating rituals and elephants, which usually have VERY little to do with each other. Thankfully.
ANYWAY, B4B is COMING, so brace yourself, Bridget. Here's how it will work....
On the first Monday of the month (That's five days from now, Virginia...) I'll post a TOPIC. You then have until midnight on the FOLLOWING Monday to post a blog entry (no more than 2,000 words, please) about that topic on YOUR blog. A SPECIAL GUEST BLOGGER will narrow the entries down to seven, and a SPECIAL GUEST AUTHOR will pick the winning three. First Place gets a signed first edition of the GUEST AUTHOR'S latest work and The Adoration of the Masses™, and the runners up get...um...let's say, some respect and The Mild Crush of the Masses™. Here's the FAQ, and the answer to whatever question you are currently experiencing probably resides there. Unless it is a question about The Elephant---oh look, you just thought of him AGAIN!
September's SPECIAL GUEST BLOGGER is: Mir, of Would Coulda Shoulda (The natural choice, as she was the first ever winner of the first ever B4B contest.)
PS: Zero Boss used to have a kindly person who would post essays from NON-BLOG-HAVING would-be winners who wanted to write an essay and enter. I need such a person for here. If you are him/her, say so. We will all think you are pretty.
PPS: Any smarty-pants worth his/her standardized test results can probably get a JUMP ON THE GAME by figuring out what the contest topic will be.
PPPS: A hint to what the topic will be is in the above links.
PPPPS: Um, no. NOT the Joyce Carol Oats/Mile High club link.
PPPPPS: You filthy-minded thing.
I have correspondence now.
IMMEDIATE DIGRESSION: This blog is supposed to be about "how do you and how should I sign off on letters" and you know what? I need to take a poll pretty much, because it seems to me there is not a very good way to close a letter. SO, I am going to get there. Eventually. But I typed, "I have correspondence now" and my brain started yammering about GODS HAS BEEN OUT FOR SEVERAL MONTHS AND THE NEW HAS COME OFF AND IS MY LIFE DIFFERENT? Subquestions: IF NO, WHY NOT and IF YES, HOW, and a partial answer to that question is in the spawning thought, aka: I have correspondence now.
I have not had CORRESPONDENCE, really, since I got to the 337th of the 350 thank you notes* I owed the Universe after my LARGE! TRADITIONAL! SOUTHERN! WEDDING!, and by this I mean, we did it RIGHT with the registering at Dillard's, and a shrimp tree at the reception, and the 5 foot by 4 foot bridal portrait in a HUGE gilded frame that still hangs all oil-paint-sheened and proper in my mother's formal living room, and I got a PAPER TROUSSEAU okay?
Half of you don't even know what a paper trousseau is, and in a way, I envy you this, because I was the victim of a large and formal southern wedding,** which means I have several complete sets of china in various patterns and formal-ness levels, and so the Paper Trousseau was put to immediate post-wedding use...and use and use and use and use and use, thank you note after thank you note on the heavy, creamy, embossed and monogrammed paper, until the day came when I threw my pen across the room and hurled myself weeping onto the carpet where I foamed and writhed like worm dropped onto a hot griddle.
Scott took my chair and started to write the last notes for me, but I howled, NO NO THE BRIDE HAS TO DO IT!! STOP! STOP! and banged my head on the floor, and then he leaned down and whispered six beautiful words to me. At the time I felt they must be the most beautiful words in the English language. I mean, they weren't anything special, really, but to my bleeding ears they were a love song, a poem, a freakin' a SHAKESPEARE sonnet, and they cemented my permanent gratitude and guaranteed my affections would linger for a thousand years, should we live so long: "Baby," he said to me, "I can forge your signature."
As we loaded the last of the thank you notes into the mailbox together, I clutched his arm and said, "WE CAN NEVER GET DIVORCED. EVER. Because eventually, I would get remarried, and some cruel vartlet would feel the need to present me and my new husband with some sort of PLATE, and as GOD IS MY WITNESS, I can never write a thank you note for a plate again. I will DIE. I will literally have a brain spasm and drop lifeless to the floor. Immediately. There are only so many ways one can enthusiastically and with different grammar and reasoning express one's delight over a salad, dinner, or dessert plate, and Baby, I have been down every possible avenue of plate-delight-expressing. I can be delighted by plates nevermore. SO. No divorce, and PS, I get to die first."*
Of course that's a facile answer, and I think I am going to try to answer this question MORE BETTER over the next week (unless, of course, something shiny runs by. Something wearing pink socks, maybe??? Heh.) But no, it's worth blogging about I think especially with this DREAM trip coming up and because it is becoming a(n) FAQ. SO I WILL. But today I am concerned about letter closers because one thing that IS different is I have so much more GENUINE correspondence, and by that I mean, things that need to be written on pretty paper with a black pen and sealed and stamped and sent via boats and ponies to
1) Weird Luddite Friends who refuse to acknowledge THERE IS AN INTERNET NOW. Or
2) Folks in my business who have been so beautiful and kind to me that e-mail won't do. Or
3) People who enjoyed the book and were thoughtful enough to tell me so in writing on stationary. Or
4) Warner or Conference/Event people who need a real actual signature on a paper contract. Or
5) Folks who are also being mailed an object that cannot be sent electronically, like a signed copy of gods for a charity auction.
And I never know how to sign off on these things. Here are the choices so far:
ALL BEST --- In New York, they almost all use ALL BEST, or BEST, or some variation thereof. It's like a secret New York insider sign off. I've seen it on letters from a HORDE of established authors and agents and editors (I get letters from them asking for blurbs) and publicists. I picked it up and used it for a bit, and still do every now and again because...okay this is SO dorky. But. It makes me feel cool. Cool like Fonzi, you know, like I am In Crowdy and can take meetings in the bathroom. But....It's like trying on Prada: Sexy as all get out, but in a playing-dress-up way. Not my real life. Not my real verbiage. I can't take myself seriously when I use it because I KNOW I am just frontin' like a playa, which is another thing I can't say and take myself seriously.
WARMLY --- This is new---seems to be the new trendy way for WOMEN to sign off. I am seeing this a LOT and it seems friendly and personal, which I like, but but somehow the word "Warmly" has bad connotations for me. It makes me think of "MOISTLY" and "DAMPLY" and the hot, pale, sweat-dewed palms of the kind of puffy-handed man that ALWAYS puts a hand on the small of your back as he ushers you into a room, and you KNOW later you will find a damply creased print of his covert pawings on the silk. YARG! Yes. It is a personal problem. So, nice as "warmly" is, it isn't for me.
SINCERELY --- See also Cordially, Regards, and Best Regards. The old standby business closers. Too stiff and formal.
CHEERS --- Cheerful, also friendly, but sounds like I would rather be drinking. Which is probably be true, but do I have to let everyone KNOW that? Also it may be too INFORMAL and chatty and perky and... NOT BRIGHT? Like I bet if DOGS wrote letters they would sign them "CHEERS!" right before becoming so excited about the WALK! to the MAILBOX! that they pee all over the carpet.
YOURS --- I like yours, but only if I feel a personal connection with the person. It's too INFORMAL for regular use.
So far Cheers is winning....What do you use? What am I MISSING? Do you even NOTICE closers? Obviously, I do....Oh well. Suggestions appreciated.
* If you attended my LARGE! TRADITIONAL! SOUTHERN! WEDDING! and gave me, God help you, a plate, let me just reiterate that in spite of the hyperbolic plate vitriol I spewed above, I DID appreciate your thoughtfulness, and if I did not write your thank you note FIRST, then I heartily apologize for whatever addled mush I spewed at you about it on my paper trousseau. Sample:
Dear Friend and/or Relation!
Scott and I are ecstatic with the crisp elegance of the Lennox McKinley Salad Plate you so thoughtfully bestowed upon our plate-less home! We like to sit around and take turns licking it! Sometimes, I will hide it behind my back and suddenly spring it on him, just WHIP IT OUT, you know, and he will fall to his knees, blinded by its....did I say crisp elegance already?? ANYWAY! THANK YOU! You have a beautiful white soul!
Love! (Or Yours Or perhaps Cordially!)
Joshilyn and Scott!
It was only that I wanted you to have an INDIVIDUAL, SPECIAL NOTE ALL YOUR OWN, a note in which I did not say to you something I had already said to someone else. I hate form letters, even hand written ones. And
** I know I said "victim of a large traditional southern wedding" but that was, for the record, a joke. I loved my wedding. I, in fact, ADORED my wedding and would do it again exactly the same, yes, even the pink bridesmaids dresses, even the circlet of roses headpiece, yea down unto the very last shrimp on the shrimp tree, and you know what? I STILL FREAKING LOVE THOSE MCKINLEY PLATES! AND THEY ARE CRISPLY ELEGANT. So. There.
OKAY I am 500 years behind on email and life and everything else, so if you e-mailed me in the last 2 weeks and are wondering if I died...I didn't. This is me, typing from NOT the beyond. I WILL catch up this weekend, it's only that I am just trying to get ready to leave the country and really, it's amazing the crap that needs to get done. This morning I hope to at some point clean at least one spoon and a bowl so I can have some breakfast, but if I do not, I guess it's fine because also on my list here for things to do by 2 PM this afternoon I see "lose five pounds and then go buy a cocktail dress." So.
My part of the auction to raise money for Marianne Mancusi went for like 500 bucks... THANK YOU NICE, BIDDER. That's like half a refrigerator! I am going to compose a song in your honor, tentatively titled, "Nice Bidder, You Are Awesome."
Me? I am intimidated.
Last night I said, to Scott, "This song about the nice bidder is not very good so far. Maybe it has too many notes? Maybe I should learn to play an instrument and also get a drop of musical talent? GAH, okay crit and book, but I can't think of anything I could do for this person that would be worth 500 bucks.
Scott: Well, I can. But if you did it, I would be mad.
Me: I'm sorry, was that a joke? Because I didn't get it. Could you say it again? Slower? In a really deep voice, kinda like Barry White?
Note to Mom: WAS that a joke? Because I REALLY did not get it. Pinky swear.
1) I need two simple, small things to be completely happy for the rest of my life: A Quadspillion Dollars and for the powers that be to build a Whole Foods near me. OR actually, since I am going to have a Quadspillion dollars, the Whole Foods can stay where it is. I can just hire a man to drive me to Whole Foods and stand outside (sweating up the livery and holding my obligatory purse-dog) while I spend 20 bucks on a a pound and a half of organic cherries. OR I can buy a a small in-town home, like a FUNKISH LOFT that I can stay in when I venture into Atlanta to buy the cherries. We will "winter" in Maui, "summer" in Provence, and "Grocery" at Whole Foods. *sigh*
ACTUALLY I just need a 300 dollar a week grocery budget, which I can easily arrange to have by simply not paying my mortgage anymore. We will live in a box, but LORDY we will eat like KINGS!
HEY! NEW DIET!!! Want to eat yourself sick and still lose a pound in three days? All you have to do is sell some plasma and then go to Whole Foods and get the grilled asparagus salad, Vegetarian Stuffed Portabellos, Organic Cherries, Rudi's bread, Smoked Salmon Salad, a box of Cheese Crabby-Crab Spicy Mushroom Thing, and a lot of bottles of Mandarin orange Sparkling Mineral Water and red wine (for the anti-oxidants and the....Kira told me red wine has something else good in it. Like...I want to say "Funkanoids." That can't be right, can it? Funkanoids? Or maybe Flavonots? SOMETHING--I don't know what it is called or what it purportedly DOES for your healthiness, but Kira says it is GOOD FOR YOU and it is in RED WINE and so I choose to believe her. Fervently.) Eat all this stuff for three days, eat until you are SICK, eateateateat, screaming in ecstasy after every bite, then get tremulously on the scale after the 3 day party-of-eating is over and lo and behold. You'll be down a pound. Maybe screaming is ecstasy is aerobic? Whatever. Just sell the plasma.
2) Scott and I were sitting in the office trying to decide what plays we want to see in London (We are thinking ON THE CEILING and maybe THEATER OF BLOOD, but for the record we are BLACKLY SAD that THE TEMPEST is playing at the Globe the day before we arrive and the day after we leave but NOT ONCE while we are in town, and Kevin Spacey won't be Richard the Thirding while we are there either, BAH!) Sam was with us. SUDDENLY! We heard the unmistakable crash of glass shattering on a hardwood floor. The sound came from the dining room, and it was followed by a conspicuous silence.
I ran across the hall, yelling, "MAISY JANE, DO NOT MOVE! DO NOT TAKE ONE STEP!" because I knew that she was barefoot. We skidded to a stop and there stood our daughter, frozen in place, entirely surrounded by the remains of a crystal pitcher. She looked up at us, wide-eyed with panic, and before either of us could say a word, she hollered, "IT BROKE-DED BY IT'S OWN!"
I had to IMMEDIATELY turn my back and let Scott handle it because it would have been deadly to let her see that that I was practically suffocating myself trying not to laugh.
3) In the car, Kira and Mir and I were listening to a CD called THE PATRIARCH'S ONE TRUE PLAN or something. I got it for Scott to listen to, because it's a very handy instruction manual you men can use to stamp out vile feminism before it infests your home, and also explains why it is morally wrong to use birth control. Scott should just insist that I have as many babies as God wants me to have. Also, I should stop with all the BOOK WRITING NONSENSE because that's not actually very fulfilling for me like 12 or 14 babies would be. It was being handed out for free by a Concerned Citizen, and after I had heard it once and THOROUGHLY enjoyed the BIZARRO way the speaker pauses in between entirely inappropriate words (SAMPLE. AND!...THE MAN ...MUST!... SAY TO HIS...FAMILY! I...Have A...PLAN!!...AN UNDERSTANDING!..OF!...TRUTH!...Like THE PATRIRACHS!....OF!...THE OLD TEST!...AMENT!! etc etc) I REALLY wanted Scott to hear it too. I had this plan where I was going to be very sincere and ask him to listen to it and act like I thought it was all very smart and nifty, and see how long it took him to clue in that his chain was being yanked.
Alas, it never got out of the box. I oversold it---made the mistake of calling it "Life Altering " Scott immediately got the skeptical eyebrows and said, "Yeah. That's what they told the cat before his operation, baby. I'll pass."
SO ANYWAY, Mir and Kira and I were listening to it in the car and Mir was all, "They need to put this to MUSIC!" And you know, it DOES have kind of a catchy backbeat what with all the odd long pauses. And we listened a little more...
Preacher: AND! ... The Patriarch!... WENT DOWN!...
Kira: Suddenly I feel more amenable towards this whole "Patriarch" movement.
Preacher: ...INTO EGYPT!
Kira: Oh. Never mind.
We are all three going to hell...
To answer the foreign rights questiosn that have popped up in comments:
YES gods in Alabama is being translated into Thai! I And Spanish and French and Swedish--I just got a note from the Swedish Transslator, asking what a GULCH PARTY is. Hehe.
YES|, All these editions WILL have their own covers, and I can not WAIT to see them. I'll post them here as they begin to exist. The mills of publishing grind slowly...
The UK edition uses the same cover as the American one. Hodder (my publishing house) tried a few things, but ended up getting permission from Warner to use Anne Twomey's cover, which on the one hand was disappointing because I thought it would be rather fun to have another cover, BUT on the other hand...I can't blame them. Anne Twomey is a freakin' genius. The colors, and the way she captures the feel/themes of the book without being too literal...When I first saw it I pretty much wept and began to build a temple for her in my backyard. She did the cover for Between Georgia, too, I am ECSTATIC to tell you, and I should be able to show that to you VERY soon. It's...awesome. She deserves Godiva chocolates and a ticker tape parade and a pony.
*ten minutes later* WOW, just as I typed the word pony, the doorbell rang. It was a package---my AUTHOR COPIES of the UK edition! HUZZAH! I will have to think of a contest to win a signed one of these soon...
*30 minutes later* OH WOW but this blog entry is diffused, As i was typing about the package, an e-mail came for me. It is going into my PEOPLE TO INVESTIGATE SHOULD I TURN UP DEAD file. Some guy wants me to use my PRODIGIOUS influence in L.A. to help him get a pilot made for his TV show idea that he based on this dream he had, but he can't tell me about the dream OR the TV show because, although he is sure I am a good person, I would probably steal it. I wouldn't be able to help myself. The idea is JUST that good. If I help him, later he might let me write the pilot for him. SO! Could I make some phone calls on his behalf? THANKS!
So I did...
I called my friend Jill and told her of my new TV project, and how I have to this week in my copious spare time get a pilot made for a show idea that I don't know what it is because I would steal it. Jill is going to call her very good friend Bruce Willis, just as soon as she meets and befriends him, and we decided to cast NAKED TAYE DIGGS in every part, because, hey, I would watch that show. So would you. Admit it. (Can you tell I just re-watched Chicago?)
The best part of the conversation:
Me -- Oh well, you know, they LOVE me in L.A., if "they" refers to "the restroom attendent at the 4 Seasons that I accidentally tipped 20 bucks because I was hooty." So. I prolly COULD get the pilot made for him. IF I FELT LIKE IT.
Jill -- OH! OH! OH! YOU ROCK STAR!! YOU CAN CURE POVERTY AND HUNGER AND CAUSE SWIRLED PEAS!!!
That put me on the floor. ..... CAUSE SWIRLED PEAS!!! Funny every time. But it led to this conversation:
Me -- *laugh choke laugh weep choke* OMG Except...*hitching gulps* Okay. OMG. Ok. Except... what is swirled peas?
Jill -- You know, swirled peas.
Me -- No. I don't know.
Jill -- Yes, you do. You know. Swirled peas?
Me--- Um, no.
Jill is from Colorado. They do weird stuff to produce there, apparently. What are you going to do?
It was actually very very very fun, the whitewater rafting. They had this one spot where they took a picture, and I meant to go buy it for the blog, but I forgot to even go look at it. I was tired! But it's okay because my brother (who may I remind you MAKES HIS LIVING, I mean, actually FEEDS HIS FAMILY by working as an artist and sculptor) decided to recreate the moment with an original work that he drew on his IPAQ with a Stylus and a program called Pocket Artist. Here it is:
*cough* It's not his best work.
Even his 11-year -old daughter, Erin, usually his biggest fan, was NOT impressed.
Erin: You can draw better than this, Dad.
Bobby: I'm quite proud of it.
Erin: ... *I* Can draw better than this, Dad.
I am the one with the blue oar. The extremely tanned blonde in the back is my sister-in-law, Julie. She went on the rafting trip, and she HOPED to get a tan, but it was overcast and we all left the boat as luminously pale (read: Pasty. Read: SO pasty it would not be surprising if our eyes grew over into flesh-humps like those cave fish who have never been touched by light) as we had been when we entered it. In real life, Julie is a gorgeous blonde who always hopes to tan but just doesn't have the melanin for it---although I personally would kill for her metabolism and her bone structure, these things are ashes in her mouth when summer comes and she wishes to be bronzier. She asked Bobby to fake a tan for her in the re-enactment. And she wanted George-Clooney-Level-White, sparkly teeth. Bobby made her look like she WANTED to look, which is, I suspect, the secret to a successful career in portraiture. And also possibly the key to a successful marriage. *grin*
In his defense, Boby created the rafting re-enactment in about 4 minutes in the total dark; We were watching Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede Show (which a reg here recommended in the comments!) And since my mother and children made it clear that there was no way we were escaping TN without SEEING A SHOW, and with the threat of MUNGO BOB hanging like a bucket of mucus over my head, I booked DOLLY's show. I like her voice. (DIGRESSION: I was going to say that Mungo Bob was hanging LIKE THE SWORD OF DAMACLES but I couldn't remember how to spell Damacles and I am too tired to google it so my solution was to change the DAMACLES to MUCUS and SWORD to BUCKET, and I stand by this decision.)
Or rather, as the children were watching. My son, Sam, says the Dixie Stampede is not only the best show he has ever seen, but the most fun he has ever had in his entire eight years on the earth, and the best place currently in existence, and he wants to live there. Maisy Concurs. Erin says it's second best only to Disneyworld, and even Daniel (who is fourteen and too cool for a lot of the stuff the littler kids yearn to experience) had a good time and was entertained. My brother, on the other hand, says that when truly evil people, serial killers and suchlike, die unforgiven, they are sent to spend eternity at the Dixie Stampede.
I quite enjoyed it, myself. They had BUFFALO! And well trained smarty-pants horses and pig racing and ostrich racing, etc. But I have to admit...I found it to be disturbing. For example it opened with seven Buffalo coming out and running around and rolling and looking bizarre and cheerful (VERY ODD ANIMALS! They look like big-headed pig-cow hybrids) and a man's booming, jovial voice told us of all the millions that once roamed the great plains. Then some white people in black braided wigs came out and the booming voice told us of the tribes who lived in harmony with the land and hunted the millions of of buffalo. Then they left, and more white people (this time in cowboy hats) came out in covered wagons, and the booming voice told us about the European settlers who---and here my brother leaned over and said, "Wiped out the tribes." And I whispered back, "And the Buffalo!"
And then later we watched a Southern Belle in a hoop skirt sing on the steps of what looked like Tara about the old-world sleepy charm of the anti-bellum South, and Bobby and I just boggled a little and played a version of an old car game where you listen to the first line of a country song and then substitute your own ending for it. Like she would sing, "Oh, there's no lovelier place in the world..." and Bobby would sing under his breath to me, "I've human chattel to brush out my curls..."
It was like Disney's Pocahontas: There's no way to suspend disbelief and purely enjoy the admittedly delightful spectacle and music and well trained trick animals and pyrotechnics if you have had ninth grade American history...
Maisy was most impressed with the trick riders, especially the one wo was sitting on "the white pony that I am going to ride and keep that is my white pony." In fact this morning she told my mother that God had visited her in the night. God told her she was great and that she could have the white pony. Now she is just sitting back waiting for us (or possibly The Lord) to deliver said animal as a tribute to her greatness. I suspect she is being somewhat spoiled this week (OH! UNDERSTATEMENT!) as she has LIVED on dessert and been told how pretty and smart and perfect she is an average of 19 times per half-hour, and as the week has progressed, so has her tendency toward imperious orders, and then she leans back and crosses her feet smugly and watches as the entire family scrambles to fulfill her teeniest desires. SERIOUS post vacation SPOILING DETOX must happen. I don't know that she is FIXABLE at this point. We may well have ruint her.
On the way OUT of the Dixie Stampede, she saw a pink stick pony...
Maisy: I WANT THAT PINK STICK PONY!
Me: I want you to say a sentence that doesn't begin with the two words "I want..."
Maisy: *thinks for a second* Can I please have that stick pony?
At least she said please...my fluffy despot has exquisite manners.
AH YOU PHILISTINES, dissing Pigeon Forge in the comments! Pigeon Forge is FANTASTIC, just as long as you don't go down into the actual town, which is constantly mired in traffic as people zoom frantically from the Ripley's Museum of Toe-Wax to Mungo Bob's Weed-in-the-Teeth Musical Comedy Hoedown. I can honestly say my desire to see Mungo Bob hoe his musical way down some comedy is equal to my desire to have my feet chewed off by irradiated, fanged Bowl Weevils, but hey, to each his own.
My children, for example, have been pouring over a huge stack of what I call The-Brochures-of-the-Damned, and they are RABID to see Mungo Bob. It looks GREAT to them, and hey, you have to tip your hat. After all, Mungo Bob is a very rare and exotic creature---a Working Actor. Go, Bob, Go. And forgive us, Bob, if we mock you a little and worse, if we do not pay out to see you, but I suspect that 10 minutes in I would begin to BEG for the Bowl Weevils to come and chew me free, so I could hop frantically away on my bloody stumps. If there MUST be a show (my children assure me that there MUST, and my mother is backing them) I think we will pick something a tad bit less prat-fall and fart-joke laden. Black Bear Jamboree anyone?
But that is for another night....today? What has Mungo Bob to do with us? We are in a cabin clinging to the side of an undetermined Smokey Mountain. We have a hot tub. We have a pool. We have a big supply of a VERY decent Shiraz-Grenache, we have views that I am assured are breathtaking, we have X-Box, and between us over 50 books, and we all NetFlixxed movies and brought them, and last night we watched A Very Long Engagement on the big screen TV (two thumbs WAYWAYWAY up --- The movie captures the spirit of the book, and the book is pretty much perfect. So.) and we have steaks for grilling, and we have a grill. It's all good, baby. So Hurricane Dennis destroyed one vacation, we shrug in a Gallic fashion (after all we DID just watch a superlative French film) and go to Tennessee. Stupid Hurricane. We are undefeated. We are JACKSONS. We can have fun ANYPLACE. Well, as long as we have an internet connection. SO THERE.
My turn to make dinner happened last night, but I fell asleep on my face for two hours after my wine-laden hot tub lunch, so for dinner I chose to make "order some Pizza." I found a local Pizza Parlor and LORDY but it was VERY good --- they do a brewer's special with chicken and garlic and roasted tomatoes and spinach. It was fantastic and not something we can get at home. DIGRESSION: What’s up with all the OLIVE GARDENS and CHILI'S in a TOURIST town? Why would you drive halfway across the country to eat at an Olive Garden??? I can eat at Olive Garden at HOME and it will be just like every other Olive Garden that ever was, world without end, amen. Eating there on vacation makes NO sense, and yet in comes Olive Garden to a tourist town, peddling ersatz soup-n-breadsticks and faux-Italian Un Po De' MUSICA (as Lucia would say) and some local eatery goes belly up. PLEASE when you go on vacation, TAKE A CHANCE! GO NATIVE! EAT SOMETHING WEIRD!
OH! SOMETHING IRKED ME! BUT there are MILD HARRY POTTER SPOILERS in the following so, if you (like me) hate even the mildest of spoilers, stop here. Nothing SPECIFIC, but there is some info of a general nature that you may not know, and may I say, I envy you your ignorance.
I went to pick the pizzas up because I had NO idea where to tell them to deliver them. (um...Just find a really tall mountain and hurl them toward the little cabin that looks like it is about to slide down kill us all! Aim at the tiddley chick in the hot tub! OKAY!) I took Harry Potter with me (I have left my son behind and am shamelessly reading it MYSELF) and I sat on the pizza-waiting bench and this woman sat by me and said, “Oh, it’s so sad, this new one.”
Me: Oh, um, Hi. Yeah, I just started it. Please don’t tell me anything about it. I’ve really avoided reading about it or hearing about it---If I know too much it spoils the book for me.
Her: So, like, you don’t know which main character dies?
Me: Heh. Um no. I REALLY do not like to know things ahead of time. Like, say, that a main character dies. That’s something I wouldn’t want to know. So, please, do not tell me anything else about the book. It really does spoil it for me.
Her: Oh Okay. Sorry.
Her: But you should know that the end is SUCH a cliff hanger! I could hardly believe it---See,I was thinking—
Then I pulled off my shoe and beat her to death with it.
Well,no. But I WANTED to. What actually happened was, I interrupted her and said, “HAVE YOU SEEN MUNGO BOB’S MUSICAL COMEDY HOEHOWN? Because you ABSOLUTELY should. It’s the best show ever!”
I hope she goes. And I hope the Bowl Weevils get her.
OKAY. I am in the mountains on vacation and I bet it's gorgeous, but as you may recall, I am dead inside. The SPLENDOR OF NATURE leaves me quite, quite cold. It all looks like EMPTY HABITATS to me. I LIKE habitats with little alive cheerful animals bouncing about in them, but the deer and the bears have yet to appear (except PARTS of the deer have been used to make FASCINATING antler lamps that are ALL OVER this cabin!!!!!) So for now, all there is to see is trees and I have pretty good-looking trees in my backyard. The majestic whatever of this pine here is much like the majestic whatever of the pine by my bedroom window.
BUT MAN AM I RELAXED AND HAPPY. I am having a hard time doing anything but lounging out on the deck in the warm sun, reading and having various family members come by and exhort me to unbury my nose and drink in some natural-beauty-of-the-earth. Later I plan to climb into the hot-tub (conviently located on the same deck) and soak and read and ignore what I am sure will be a spectacular sundown. Tomorrow I plan to be drowned in a terrible white water rafting accident because I will forget to tuck my feet up when I popped out of the boat. I am sure the rapids that drown me will be quite, quite lovely, and I am equaly sure I will have failed to notice their beauty even before the fact that they are ending my life makes me feel a little jaded toward them.
I don't want to leave the cabin very often because Pigeon Forge is down there. OH Lordy. It is CHOCK FULL of sunburned people who share my disinterest in the-natural-beauty-of-the-earth and wish to instead experience The-Natural-Beauty-of-the-AS-SEEN-ON-TELEVISION-STORE (where you can AS GOD IS MY WITNESS see and touch a FLOWBEE and sniff the placistene mystery-can that holds SPRAY ON HAIR and anything else you ever saw on TV and didn't order, or did order because you were drinking at it was 2 am and it seemed like a good idea at the time). But all the CARS pointing themselves at stores and shark museums and amusement parks and what-nots makes it a traffic nightmare and I like it here, on the deck, hot tub beside me, children gamboling friskily on the grass within eyeshot, Pinot Grigio chilling in the fridge for the very SECOND I can declare it to be lunchtime. Which---is now actually. NOON HAS COME!
More tomorrow, if I surive rafting.
OKAY-- I have houseguests and I have to go paint a garden on the wall of my friend's little girl's room, and so, here, have some some delicious linky love:
Want to know what BOOK you are? TAKE THE QUIZ.
I am THE POISONWOOD BIBLE. Which, yay. I am Barabara Kingsolver's BEST novel, and that is SAYING something.
Also, I had an interesting interview with Gothic Review. They asked....some kinda out there things and then we did the INSIDE THE ACTOR'S STUDIO questions. (Digression: They didn't ask the one about "If heaven exists, what do you want to hear when you reach the pearly gates?" But my answer is, "Well...it was a good try.")
EXCERPT FROM THE INTERVIEW:
THEM: If you could reincarnate into any animal, what would you like to reincarnate into and why?
ME: A Mayfly. They die fast and I wouldn't want to be an animal for very long. Animals can't read or even speak...oh sure, they communicate, but animals are not big on STORY. And with a Mayfly, I could experience flying and I wouldn't be an animal long enough to get truly bored. Also it would be challenging to experience a whole life in 24 hours. I bet every Mayfly has a great, tragic love story. When you are a Mayfly, you meet your Juliette about noon and you burn with passion and delight all afternoon and then BOOM you are both dead before you ever have to fill out a joint tax return.
The whole thing is HERE.
Snatch up your little children and thrust them at your husband and holler, "PLEASE GET THESE THINGS OUT OF MY HOUSE. THEY TALK A LOT! I NEED TO WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORK."
It's more compelling if you can foam a little bit. Also gibbering adds that little touch of violent hysteria that makes him run for the suitcases.
ONCE the van full people with MOUTHS THAT TALK (Scott is not included in this number. Scott was indeed in the van, but no one has ever accused his mouth of talking. In fact, sometimes getting his mouth to talk requires both wheedling and an act of Congress, and have I ever mentioned that I LOVE THAT MAN????) has backed out of the driveway and you are left with only your own mouth (blessedly silent at the moment) and the one on the cat (which is currently being used in an extensive grooming project and is therefore ALSO blessedly silent and as a bonus it contains a feline-ly shaped soft palate that guarantees it will never physically be able to form the words, "But there is only one Bounce Banana yogurt drink left and LAST TIME she got it and why can't she have the vanilla one, she likes the vanilla a lot, LOOK MAISY! LOOK! WANT THE VANILLA? YUM! YOU LIKE IT!" or even "WAAAAAAAAIL I WANT THE BOUNCE BANA YO-GUT!") you can WORK. Workworkwork. Thrust your massive to do list AWAY and think about what you WANT to work on, and it is writing. So.
Spend two days on lines edits and on re-revising the third and fourth and fifth chapters of your new book, and be very very busy and important and unstoppable. Pretend you are not home and don't even answer the phone unless caller ID says it is your husband calling with the mandatory "LO, I have kept your children alive for another 6 hours, you are welcome!" update. Throw some salad and a piece of a chicken in your maw at one point, and call it MEAL, because you aren't sure what time of day it is. Sleep at some point. Get up. Workworkwork.
Wordkworkworkworkworkworkwork. Become lonely and put a tv on in another room, so you can HEAR yacketty talk noises but not make out the words, and work, and work, until at one point, your brain will implode in your head, leaving you a grinning puppet of your former self, and you will say to yourself, SELF! You will say. YOU NEED TO LEAVE THE HOUSE. Because you now realize you have not left the house in DAYS. You haven't even stepped out onto the PORCH to blink up at the sun. In fact, you now suspect your eyes are growing over into those creepy KNOBS you always see sticking out of the faces of blind cave fish.
Go to Johnny's pizza with friends. Order the four cheese, but since one of the friends has a Y chromosome, you'll need to ask them to toss a bunch of meat on one side of the pizza. Before the pizza comes, ask for a beer and drink most of it. This is important, because your stomach is very very empty, and you need to get a nice BEER pad down before you put all that alcohol absorbing crust in there. Once you have laid down the beer pad, you may eat exactly ONE slice of pizza, which is enough to make you comfortably full, but not so much that it will interfere with the beer pad. Especially if you eat the slice WITH another beer.
If you have followed all these steps, you will be exactly perfectly ready to see Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which is quiote possibly the STUPIDEST movie ever made....ever. It has plot holes SO BIG that WHOLE TRIBES of dinosaurs could march through the holes while STANDING ON EACH OTHER'S SHOULDERS, no, while making GIANT CHEERLEADER-STYLE DINOSAUR PYRAMIDS and the littlest dinosaur on top wouldn't even need to DUCK.
But if you have followed my instructions, that won't matter.
Because it is funny. Because the humor is SMART even if the plot is not. Because it is spicy-saucy-hot without being PORNY. Because it has the ONLY love scene in the universe to EVER equal the extreme perfect hotness of Buffy-and-Spike-Tear-Up-The-Condemned-House. In fact it is a LOT like that, but with more explosives. Because it is beautifully filmed. And because the stars are so physically attractive that it is almost RESTFUL to put your eyes on them --- there isn't anything wrong with either of them, ever. No matter how you fold them, they go into pleasing shapes. (Angelina Jolie, by the way, is SO beautiful that I think she suspends the laws of physics and forces light to bend differently around her so that on top of the perfect body and the glossy hair and the cheekbones and the mouth and the huge eyes, she also seems to be incandescent. She's so beautiful that I can't even hate her, not even a LITTLE bit, because she's too far out of the average woman's league to be even remotely threatening.) The film is just plain mindless fun.
Two thumbs up, with two beers first.
Do you know about Myer-Briggs personality types? It's a series of four letters that indicate how you make decisions and function in the world--which is a fancy way of saying it is a personality test. I generally ENJOY personality tests because they permit---no, no they downright encourage--- a long, satisfying bout of selfindulgent navel gazing. But I do not take them seriously because, COME ON! Most of the tests are so obvious that the results can be SO easily manipulated. Especially the kind of quiz you find in Marie Claire and Cosmo (example: WHAT KIND OF INNER HOOKER ARE YOU HIDING?) because even a crack-addled orangutan could pick the "right" answers to get the test to confirm that they have the exact kind of inner hooker they ALWAYS secretly hoped they had.
But this Myers-Briggs thing is different. I think it's useful to know your type. For one thing, it has a practical application in that you can use the types in effective team building if you are some sort of corporate paper-jockey who understands buzzwords like "team building." Many corporations base hiring decisions on these types. I admit I fostered a certain skepticism until my husband took it as part fo the hiring process for a job, and it PEGGED HIM. Completely. And you know how I am always saying I married a tall version of my dad? I found out my father and my husband test as the exact same type. SO I think this test is useful...to a certain extent.
I say to a certain extent because the test has offended me. No matter how many times I take that stinking thing (and I first took it I would say 15 or 16 years ago---my dad was in human resources and he gave it to me), if I answer even REMOTELY honestly, it INSISTS I am a ENTJ. I think I am an ENFJ (aka a teacher) or maybe an ESFP (a performer) but no. The test insists I am an ENTJ. Also known as...THE FIELD MARSHALL.
Oh sure, they say THE FIELD MARSHALL has good points---we are energetic and charismatic and goal oriented and logical, but on the other hand, we are bossy and overbearing and it is unwise to stand between us and something we want. Because we will kill you. We will kill you and eat up your flocks and burn your lands and harry those of your line down to into hell, yea unto the seventh generation. FAMOUS ENTJ's through history include Lucy from peanuts, Margeret Thatcher, EVERY despot dictator jerkwad who historically tried for world domination via genocide and who, in their personal ads, claimed to be into long walks on the beach, disco, and oppressing the masses, Bill Gates, The harpies of Greek Mythology, Attila the Hun, Douglas MacArthur, Napolean Bonaparte, most people who work as executioners, many serial killers, and the DEVIL.
Okay, I made some of those up. But all the actual people I listed are ENTJs. Except Attila the Hun. No one knows what Attila the Hun's type was, because he had the guy who asked him to take the test cooked and then he ate him. So. But I suspect MOST of the Huns were ENTJs, and I DO NOT SEE MYSELF THIS WAY. Perhaps I am being hypersensitive and unrealistic about who I am, but I repeat...I do NOT see it. In fact I actively resent it! And speaking as a person who should OBVIOUSLY be crowned Rightful Empress of the Known Universe I HEREBY order it BANNED as inaccurate and cruel, and both Myers AND Briggs (and whoever that KIERSEY guy is) must be immediately be staked out alive in a patch of carnivorous turtles. So has it been written, so shall it be. Because I said.
But you can go take an online version of the Kiersey Temperment Sorter before my new law goes into effect.
Pam McNew has some poems in an upcoming anthology, and the editors-that-be asked her (as these people often do) for a short AUTHOR BIO. She wrote the usual, "Pam lives here, does this, wrote that, and now I shall close with a detail, Small and Personal." The end. I AM FOR THAT. I never like author bios that try to be all wacky-funky..."James Blade wears only purple in protest of injustice and lives entirely on seeds and punk music," or worse, mystical..."Joanna Everpoo spends her days dancing off moonbeams, word collecting, and heeding the siren call of her muse..." Yeah. Sure she does, and can someone please pass her a big glass candy jar full of lithium?
I always suspect people with bios like that are 19, and this is their first poem/story/piece published, and that they are going to want to DIE when they look at it again in ten years. Also, I am ANTI muse. I don't like writers to say that their MUSE is lost or that she is loud or demanding or that they cannot find her. I realize this will get me killed. I realize people LIKE to talk about their muse, and everyone does it, and they do not wish to be asked not to. It is a meaningless convention so in use that it's practically conversational shorthand---heck, EVERYONE gives muse updates, many people I GENUINELY ADORE and respect claim to have one, but I cannot resign myself to it. In fact, if I was a multi-bulti-twillionaire, I would pass out big fat checks to anyone who promised sincerely to STOP IT. I find talk about people's muses to be embarrassing, as if they are casually nattering on about their troubles with a hairy butt mole. If you HAVE one, okay, but why bring it up? Like that.
ANYWAY, Pam McNew wanted to write herself a DREAM BIO, you know, uncensored and, more importantly, UNTRUE. A writer friend, James Stevens Arce, picked it up and told me about it, and now I feel it is officially a MEME. So here is mine, and I breathlessly await yours:
Some people call author Joshilyn Jackson The Space Cowboy. This is probably because she has been to space, and also paradise, and also to the desert (on a horse with no name), and she has even been to me. In a former life, she was the Egyptian Sun God Ra, and that's why she holds her hands like that. She currently captures her prey by half pouncing and half lassoing them, and she can capture several prey items at one time. She feeds on one specimen while retaining the others in her quivering, lashing appendages. She thinks you look tasty.
Okay I stole some of that from a description of the common house centipede. But it is MY dream bio and I can have quivering, lashing appendages IF I WANT. Also I love how it says it HALF POUNCES and HALF LASSOS. How do you half pounce? How do you half lasso? Any creature that can do BOTH AT ONCE is something I want to be, even it does look like the fanged and gelid hairball of my cat's worst nightmares. ALSO IT IS VENOMOUS! LOOK at this thing:
But the description, what with all the half-lassoing, reminds me of that Oscar Wilde short, The Picture of Dorian Gray; Wilde can't keep up with what his characters are doing physically. He'll have a man who is standing in the garden with a cane in one hand and a hat in the other begin casually lighting cigarettes and fumbling with his pocket watch, apparently with his spare tentacles. I betcha Oscar Wilde's prose characters could half-pounce-half-lasso in their sleep.
I better go...the PRO-MUSE-RS have probably already launched their grecian draped assassins to send me to sleep with the fishes.
Or worse, with the common house centipedes. *shudder*
I’m working, I’m working, I’m working.
Things are taking off and clicking here and I am fulfilled as a human.
I am happy! My brain is all bee-hivey and busy and my mental illness number is therefore down because I don’t have as much time to FRET about the little crap, like DOES THE SPLENDA I EAT A DAILY POUND OF SECRETLY CAUSE LEPROSY and HOW DID MY CAT GET SO DERN FAT IN ONE MONTH and DO TADPOLES CARRY DISEASE AND DOES THE POND WATER WE SCOOPED FOR THEM CONTAIN DISEASE OR EVEN JUST A HIGH CONCENTRATION OF FROG PEE?
Here is what I am doing this week:
1) Writing a great big heaping chunk of novel. Tra la!
2) Tracking down a certain back issue of Oxford American because I simply MUST own a copy of Michael Parker’s, “Hidden Meanings: Treatment of Time, Supreme Irony, and Life Experiences in the Song 'Aint Gonna Bump No More No Big Fat Woman'" which is a very GOOD short story pretending to be a very DREADFUL term paper. It is remarkably entertaining even if you have never taught college freshman English, and is PURELY SUBLIME if you have.
30 Micromanaging the cat's food consumption and trying to get Maisy to stop SNEAKING HIM KIBBLE. The situation is dire and i fear for his HEART! When he lies down, his tummy flattens against the floor and he becomes COMPLETELY ROUND, by which I mean his sides spread outward like a puddle when he settles, until he is LITERALLY as wide across as he is LONG. AND HE WAS LOOKING SO GOOD! AND WE HAD WORKED SO HARD!
3) Going back on the road for the LAST of the travels. Sans Mercy? BUT OF COURSE! Talk to you from the air!
I have a little cold. No big deal---nothing to write home (or a blog) about, except.... My tastebuds are dead.
This would be fine, I mean, its starve a cold anyway, isn't it? Or do you feed it? I never can remember, but I am choosing to starve mine because everything tastes like wallpaper paste and---DIGRESSION: THAT'S GOOD because I found out I am going to be doing a TV interview (more on this later) at some point and the camera adds ten pounds and they are sure to have THREE OR FOUR of the dern things pointed at me which means I need to lose 40 pounds in the next 2 weeks so I need to starve the CRAP out of my cold (and here "cold" is a euphemism meaning "butt"), but even then, I doubt I will make it into a size 2 (which is what EVERY FREAKING PERSON ON TV WEARS and which is APPROXIMATELY THE SIZE OF MY CALF) by the fourteenth unless I call in a flensor and give up all my skin and most of my internal organs SO and I am thinking the easiest way to drop that much weight fast might be to hack off my HEAD because it has at LEAST 40 pounds of mucus in right now. *DEEP BREATH*
I said all that to say, I HAVE NO TASTEBUDS, and I am meeting with some booksellers tonight, and we are going to eat at one of the NICEST RESTAURANTS ON THE PLANET. It's southern cuisine with a heavy French influence. THIS PLACE HAS THE BEST GRITS EVEREVEREVER, and thanks to my cold, I fear they will be as ashes in my mouth. If you are thinking, "Yick! Grits are always as ashes in my mouth!" then 1) no matter WHAT you scored on that Dixie-Yankee quiz, you AIN'T southern, and 2) even if you are so far north you have never left CANADA, these grits would convert you. I do solemnly swear it. Stone ground to a buttery softness, rich with thyme and wild mushrooms and parmesan cheese and reaching out to the common man with chunks of tender HAM....ooooooh. One bite would have alla y'all Canadians saying, "That dog won't hunt," and putting MONSTROUS wheels on your trucks. Hoo-whee!
On the side of righteousness, I CLEANED OUT MY OFFICE. It's carpetted! WHO KNEW! And I found Jimmy Hoffa, too, way back under my desk, right beside the entrance to the city of Atlantis. This is a BEFORE picture of the corner of my desk, and this was probably the NEATEST thing in the office:
This is the desk I cleaned off to glean prizes for people who found the literary references in a former entry. HEY, one cool thing. My copy of Dallas Hudgens EXCELLENT debut novel Drive Like Hell was on the desk somewhere under that pile, AND my friend WENDI alerted me that Dallas was IN TOWN on tour, so I took the book to a signing and got it autographed for one of the winners. Dallas turned out to be a cool guy with a sense of humor---and he kinda looks like a MOVIE STAR. He is TV level pretty, and COME ON, barring Michael Chabon that almost never happens. We writers tend to live under rocks and be very pale and shriek THE LIGHT! THE LIGHT! I AM BLIIIIIIIIIND! when dragged beneath a 40 watt bulb...Okay that might be a slight exaggeration. Most writers don't frighten children, but it's not a profession like, say, SPOKESMODEL, where everyone of us is preternaturally beautiful AND YET THEY ARE APPARENTLY PUTTING US ON TV ANYWAY, and can someone please grab the other end of this cross-cut saw and lets have a go at GETTING THIS SNOT-FILLED FORTY-POUND HEAD OFF... Not that I am feeling insecure about going on local morning shows or anythign like that. I'm just saying DALLAS is made for TV. But don't get too all up ons over it---his WIFE was cute too and he really likes her. Anyway, I told him about the contest and he wrote in the book "This is really the copy from Joshilyn's messy desk." I bought another copy for myself that night, that book is a keeper and is currently living on my READ AGAIN shelf.
ALSO here are the kids at EASTER for those who wanted to see what THREE and EIGHT look like. Good Lord, who signed the permission slip to allow my BABIES to become giant CHILDREN???
1) Regarding the new yellow virtual book signing button: If you poke it, it takes you to a page with a form you can fill out to order a signed (and inscribed, if you so desire) copy of gods in Alabama. BUT! DO NOT WORRY! The form doesn't come to me. I am not selling my author copies (my mother would KILL ME as she has plans for 7 of the 10 I got the other day). All the information you put in the slots goes to an actual bookstore, one that sells books and has been in the business of selling books ad infinitum and one run by professional business runners who have NEVER ONCE collected people's credit card numbers and then snuck off to buy villas in Mexico. IN OTHER WORDS, you are not sending your personal credit card information to me, a girl with a KNOWN shoe problem.
(Facetiousness aside---THANK YOU, you folks who actually ORDERED BOOKS the very first day the button went up. Jake --the owner of the Alabama Booksmith--- DOES CC me on the names/inscriptions (not the CC#'s) so we can each have a master list and make sure all the copies get correctly inscribed on the event day. I was EXTREMELY THRILLED that actual orders started happening yesterday. After the first one came, I had a hard time not pressing my GET EMAIL button every six minutes to see if there were more, and then as they began to trickle in, I started hyperventilating and it upset the cat ... I feel like the YELLOW BUTTON orders are going to replace RELENTLESS AMAZON RANK CHECKING as my new preferred method of driving up my mental illness number.)
2) I AM SORRY IF I AM NOT COMING TO YOUR TOWN. If Warner would buy me an airline ticket and book me a hotel room and feed me on fruit plates, I would come. Please stop yelling at me and saying I do not love you, or that I do not love UTAH. You are hurting both my feelings and UTAH's. YOU ARE KILLING MY HEART WITH YOUR KNIVES. I already asked Scott if I could sell his car and raise the money to tour myself some more, and he said NO, so that's that. Plus it's a 98 Honda Civic with a hundred thousand miles on it. I doubt the resulting funds would GET me all the way to Utah. PLUS? If you really loved ME? You would sell YOUR Honda Civic and COME SEE ME IN VERMONT!
(Facetiousness aside---It is kinda making me sniffly that y'all are nice enough and interested enough to CARE that I'm not coming to your state/city. Thanks.)
3) YES, VIRGINIA, there IS a rest of sock story. I WILL tell it. It's just NOT THAT GOOD A STORY, okay. And it's getting to the point where even if the story featured a GUEST APPEARENCE by Paris Hilton's ugliest pants, it would STILL be a disappointment after all the SOCK HYPE that's being built up in the comments. I even got a LONG e-mail yesterday from Deb, SPECULATING on the rest of the sock story, and her mental version involved pink spangle lip-gloss and mad-cap dogs and MEETING JOYCE CAROL OATES. The really REAL sock story can't live up to it, okay? BECAUSE IT IS A STORY ABOUT SOCKS. I mean, COME ON. Socks.
(Facetiousness aside---The part about the sock story not being that great is a big fat lie. In fact, it is SO great, it is going to CHANGE YOUR LIFE. No, really. It's going to be like a TONY ROBBINS seminar except with more inspiration. AND COOKIES. You will be SO TRANSFORMED by it that you will eschew your personal possessions and head to the airport wearing nothing but pink socks---you will have to arrange them rather strategically in order to avoid arrest---where you will spend the rest of your days in a state of NEAR ECSTACY, selling mini gerbera daisies and chanting!... Oh, wait, THIS is the facetious part. Never mind.)
I woke up yesterday with cold feet. I rolled blearily out of bed, rummaged around in my sock drawer, and came up with The Toddler Socks in my hand. The Toddler Socks are PINK. Not, like, soft petal pink or a lovely dusky rose, I'm talkin' REAL for true-true pinketty-pink. They began their exciting career in the world of "Being Socks" over a decade ago, at which point they were FUZZY, like cheerful caterpillars, but as the years passed, they shriveled and lost their figures and their fuzz is matted and pilled in places. The Toddler Socks look like hair-balls that the cat yacked up right after he got dosed with Pepto-Bismol. BUT MAN THEY ARE STILL THE WARMEST SOFTEST MOST COMFY SOCKS EVER EVER.
I am not a morning person. I poured a bunch of coffee and cereal down my gullet, pulled on black shorts and a gray T-shirt, stuffed my feet into backless tennies from Target, and drove over to the trail for a good, long skate. Still wearing...The Toddler Socks. I didn't notice until I had occasion to look at my feet, which one must do in order to strap skates on. I said a bad word. Now, maybe had I been wearing some COLORS it wouldn't have looked so odd, but I almost never do. My friend Julie says my favorite color is, "Drab." I AM TRYING TO CHANGE THAT! Over the last I have been buying prettier things in COLORS for book tour events and such, but left to my own devices, I'll roll myself neck to knees in charcoal and call it a day. Against the clear canvas of my outfit and my black and gray skates, the toddler socks were a little...noticeable.
Driving home to change would have eaten into my skate-time, so I sucked it up, and took off down the bike trail hoping that no one would be AROUND this early. ALAS, it was loaded; you've never SEEN a prettier morning---March in TOTAL LAMB MODE. Sunny and warm with a nice crisp wind...EVERYONE was on the bike path, EVERYONE and everyone's hateful mother and everyone's hateful mother's JUDGMENTAL DOG, all the dogs trotting along on SOCK LEVEL thinking ill of my shins, in one case BARKING HYSTERICALLY to see shins encased in Flamingo pink fronded tubes. I tried to concentrate on all the scenic nature that I am sure would have lifted the heart of anyone who a) wasn't dead inside and b) wasn't experiencing extreme sock mortification.
OKAY, I know rationally that not everyone I passed was RIVETED by my socks and laughing their butts off at me. BUT I was so CONSCIOUS of my glaring feet that IT FELT LIKE THEY ALL WERE. You know? You know. And it doesn't help that I am SUCH A DORK anyway. I always feel a little bit...mock-worthy because my skates are REALLY skates, not BLADES like the cool kids wear. Why? you ask? Because...well here I really want to say that because blades are so EXPENSIVE and I got these skates for 6 bucks at the goodwill...but truthfully it's because I have all the innate grace of a drunken stork, a drunken, flailing, lunatic, off-kilter stork who has a cowboy shooting at his feet and screaming, "DANCE, BIRD!" So I would absolutely KILL myself if I had rollerblades. I would dead within hours of purchase. But on REGULAR skates you cannot work up the kind of speed you need for a truly spectacular bloody explosion into death.
GAH I AM OUT OF TIME! I cannot believe I am going to have do a TO BE CONTINUED on a story...ABOUT SOCKS. It's hard to do a cliffhanger ending that will call people back when the topic is SOCKS. You really need to send Flash Gordon hurtling off a cliff in a welded-shut car that has been wired with explosives to justify continuing until next day...oh well. Let's pretend I got welded to my skates and wired with explosives and pushed off a cliff, okay? Come back tomorrow.
PS I know I said that Faster than Kudzu would be ONE on MARCH 6th, and OH LOOK, it is MARCH SIXTH, but I decided not to count THIS ENTRY as the start of Kudzu. SO. Coupla DAYS til we turn ONE! TRA LA!
I FEEL BETTER. One of the nice things about being a moody person is that even the bad ones are a flash of light, a puff of smoke, and then before you can say Boom Chicka Ta! I have moved to other moods. THANK YOU for all the kind happy birthday wishes. I took to my bed with Chocolate and the Oscars and except for Johnny Depp not winning AGAIN, I had a lovely time. Two of my hometeam guys I was double-super-rooting for came through: GO CHARLIE KAUFMAN! GO MORGAN FREEMAN!
In other news, I heard from my friend Geoffrey that he is moving to Alabama. Dothan, to be exact. Dothan! He grew up in San Diego, and he is moving from Chicago, and to say that he is about to experience a little culture shock is like saying that giving birth might cause one to feel some discomfort and possibly pressure. I am compiling for him a DICTIONARY, because the poor boy does NOT speak Alabama.
This is what I have so far---please leave any Southernisms he absolutely needs to know to survive in the comments. PREESH!
It's blue tail cold. = It is very very cold indeed!
Bitty is a Briarpatch Whore. = Bitty is so loose you don't even have to rent a room. She'll happily jump behind the bushes with you, even if the bushes are thorny!
I'm going to cut your legs until the blood runs into your shoes. = Young man, you are getting a spanking!
I could shit and fall back in it. = I am certainly very surprised.
Bill can kiss my ass and then bark at the hole. = I am not interested in Bill’s opinion.
I'm going to vomit in my own shoes. = That disgusts me.
John would steal the nickels off a dead man’s eyes. = John is not trustworthy.
The big dog gonna get that baby. = The baby is not behaving well.
I’m dreckly moving to it = I will do that next.
I should just kill you and tell God you died. = No one has seen you for a long, long time.
I jumped his hump. = I gave him a stern lecture.
Larry would climb a telephone pole to tell a lie when he could stay on the ground and tell the truth = Larry is dishonest.
I’m going to shoot you til you fall down dead right there = I am going to shoot you many times.
Of course, if he hears that last one, he probably won’t be needing the other translations…
I have not blogged because I have been lying in bed, marinating in my own foul juices. I wish the juices were red wine infused with rosemary, but ALAS, they seem to be pernicious, bacterial, acute bronchitis. Sick sick sick. I do not often get sick (I think because I am devoted to homeopathic crunch-herb lunacy) BUT! When my immune system decides to crap out, it does so in hyperbole. I 'spose I have been a bad influence on it.
I am now on MANY FINE DRUGS, including SERIOUS antibiotics, the good cough medicine (read: has my friend codeine in it), a breathing treatment and a follow-up inhaler. I finally broke down and went to my doc -- Scott has been wanting me to go for a week, but I resisted until this weekend, when, beginning Saturday night (and this is SO UPSETTING it makes me tear up to even tell you about it now, after it is OVER) ....I WAS NOT ABLE TO TALK FOR ALMOST TWO DAYS.
That's like, my personal idea of unendurable hell. I sat there whispering and rasping desperately at Scott while he tried to stifle me with a pillow to "give that poor voice a rest." UGH! NO TALKING! UGH! UGH! I tell you what, I am ALL FOR homeopathic crunch-herb lunacy, but when I CANNOT TALK, herbs can bite me. Time to live better (and more importantly, LOUDER) through pharmaceuticals.
While I lay dying, two things of familial note happened:
1) Neither of my children engaged in apparently life-threatening convulsions nor did they bleed out nor were they eaten by escaped zoo-predators. (Yes, this is of note. With my I-think-my-baby-is-dying paradigm shift FRESH in my head, any day in which my children are breathing in and out and bright-eyed and pink-cheeked and bursting with rosy health is a BANNER DAY.)
2) My son tested into the gifted program at school. Here at Chez Jackson we are pleased, but not AT ALL surprised.
AND LASTLY -- thanks for voting!!!
The picture thing was a LANDSLIDE. I mailed "Very Serious Artiste with Issues, but at least I WEAR A COLOR" (aka #1)off to my publicist. I am holding the EVIL SPLEEN EATER (aka #3) as a back-up, and I had all copies of #2 dropped down a wormhole, ridding our galaxy of its horrors lest I frighten the little children.
The KUDZU menu thing was -- wow, practically a wash. I gave up trying to figure out which is EMPIRICALLY best and told Scott to fix it however HE likes it. We shall see what he does next week when he gets around to homogenizing it, and that will be the way it is.
MEANWHILE! Those who read or get or see Publisher's Weekly -- there is a two page ad for gods in it this week! LOOKIT! LOOKIT! *pant pant*
THANK YOU resolution meme senders! Sadly, you have all sent me the same meme---there is only ONE resolution meme going around right now and it isn't terribly interesting. We shall do our best to soldier through it!
Perhaps I shall sprinkle it with LIES and we can play SPOT THE LIE. In comments, guess HOW MANY LIES are in this meme, and I will send a DORKY PRIZE to the winner. To win a better prize (or in fact, the same dorky prize if you are a runner up) you can still REGISTER for the drawing.
I reserve the right to answer the really boring, heartfelty, touchy feeling, WHO LIT UP YOUR LIFE questions that might require some sort of THOUGHT or SINCERITY by simply saying, NEXT! Because this is a MEME! Not THERAPY! The word NEXT does not count as a lie. I also reserve the right to cut TRULY boring questions altogether, so if the numbers skip, thank Judicious Pruning. I will reveal the LIE NUMBER next time I blog, so that means you have 24 to 48 hours.
OKAY! Let’s play... SPOT THE RESOLUTION MEME LIES!
1. What did you do in 2004 that you'd never done before?
I built a website! And in this sentence, it is understood, the word "I" actually is a symbol that means "Lydia Netzer, Jill James, Shawn Box and the inimitable Mr. Husband."
2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Sure I did.
Sure I will.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
To a baby? No. But my cousin over in Mississippi expelled a MONKEY.
5. What countries did you visit?
New York City and Alabama. Trust me. These are two entirely different countries.
6. What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004?
A PONY! A MILLION DOLLARS! WORLD PEACE! Next.
7. What dates from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
None. I never know what day it is. Days when terrible or amazing things happen are generally remembered as "That day, a while back, when that terrible/amazing thing happened." I never even remember the YEAR.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Maisy went tinkle in the potty . This was such a big moment I resorted to MUSIC and wrote THE POTTY SONG to commemorate the event.
9. What was your biggest failure?
I have always wanted to become Practically Perfect in Every Way, and this year I hoped to stop WANTING that because it makes me cranky. I failed.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Just mild mental illness, mostly for my own entertainment.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
A! LAPTOP! COMPUTER! Which, by the way? We did buy. YES WE DID. My agent told me to because he wants me to be able to work on planes. With my arm thus professionally twisted and my accountant's assurance that yes, it IS tax deductible, we bit the bullet and shelled out. My Amex is groaning like a cow in labor. BUT! It had to be done. BECAUSE! I am going to spend most of January on planes. BECAUSE! (THIS IS COOL!) Warner Books has decided to send me on something called a pre-tour. It means basically that I am going to fly all over America and eat lunch. I AM SO FOR IT. I LOVE lunch. I am ALL ABOUT lunch. Also I will get to meet book buyers and reps and bookstore owners and talk to them about gods in Alabama. Over LUNCH. SO you can count on a LOT of entries going into the Travel Sans Mercy category, and also, I dearly hope, the EAT THIS category, as I explore the myriad joys of bicoastal lunching.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
WARNER BOOKS. I think you should go right out and get WARNER BOOKS some FLOWERS. Gerber Daisies are nice.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The lawyers of Michael Jackson.
14. Where did most of your money go?
I. Wish. I. Knew.
Alternate Answer: Into a small bowl filled with sparkling blue water, and then we pressed a MAGICAL lever and the water swirled enchantingly and then the money was gone. By the way? A METAPHOR is NOT a lie.
Alternate Anwer 2: To the well-named vipers at COBRA for health insurance.
15. What do you get really, really, really excited about?
A PONY! A MILLION DOLLARS! WORLD PEACE! Next.
16. What song will always remind you of 2004?
I don't like songs, and I never know what year any specific song was released anyway.
18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Approve of things.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
23. What was your favorite TV program?
I am heartily ashamed to tell you. It is a show I like to call, "the closest thing to porn on basic cable," AKA Nip/Tuck
24. Do you hate any people now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Yes, but they are mostly politicians so they do not count as "people."
25. What was the best book you read?
I can maybe do a top ten in early January - no way to narrow it to one.
26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I don't discover things musically. I am dead inside.
31.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
At this point, I would have to say, "A SHORTER Resolution Meme..."
32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004?
If the shoes and the lipstick are good, the rest doesn't matter, even the handbag, which should be large enough to hold a mini-umbrella because you probably just spent 20 minutes ironing your hair.
33. What kept you sane?
Nothing, although many things were tried.
34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
In the BRITISH sense? Taye Diggs, who is preternaturally beautiful.
35. What political issue stirred you the most?
The issue of people talking about politics to me at all. I did everything I could to stop them. Sometimes, when people began talking politics to me? I would LITERALLY put my fingers into my ears and tunelessly holler, "LA LA LA LA" until their mouths stopped moving or they went away. And, look, I VOTE, okay? I am religious about it. I read up and make informed-ish decisions, so I reserve the right to NEVER NEVER have to listen to people talk about it. The voting booth should be as private as a toilet, and I do not want to know what you did in either of those small, square stalls.
37. Who was the best new person you met?
That's hard because, what IS meet? I met my agent via phone in 1999 or 2000? But this year I met him in person. I love that man. Over LUNCH btw, and what am I all about? LUNCH. The lunch included a CRAB BISQUE that brought tears of JOY to my eyes, as well as this thin, crisp STEAMED cake-like structure that crumbled when touched with a fork, releasing an aromatic and buttery chocolate sauce... oh lord that CAKE was so good it should qualify as a person. I would HAPPILY grant that cake the right to vote and own property. Also I met my editor in person, and she is charming and fun but, more importantly, she is a GREAT editor who actually EDITS-a dying breed I am told. And she gets what I am trying to do and her edits HELP me do it. Invaluable. (Lunch with her, natch, ALSO hugely memorable, Ceviche and Citrus Salad...) but I met her via phone in 2003. So.
38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004.
I absolutely refuse. The words "VALUABLE LIFE LESSON" are forever to me synonymous with "Very Special Episode." Whenever I hear these words, I start staggering around the room saying to my husband, "Scott! Scott! I...I...I...CAN'T READ," and then I pretend to burst into noisy sobs.
39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
From U2's VERTIGO: "UNO! DOS! TRES! CATORCE!"
Which translates to: ONE! TWO! THREE! FOURTEEN! Which could be interpreted metaphorically as, HOLY NON SEQUITOR, BATMAN! Which sums up my year rather nicely. I did not spend 2004 running happily hand in hand with Segues.
And PS, I have to say, I don't like songs, you know, because I am dead inside, etc etc. BUT! U2? They are rocking. These guys have to be pushing fifty and yet...they are rocking,. They aren't even STILL rocking, as they have not rocked in YEARS. Instead they just began -- here in the dawn of their staid middle age -- to Re-Rock. Bono is SMOKIN' and The Edge is, um, a good guitar musician. With a name that ought to have rightfully begun embarrassing him at 22 at the LATEST. But, you have to give it to him... He can PLAY.
Happy lie guessing! Happy New Year! And may 2005 bring with it the WISE DECISION by ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE to NEVER remove any extra fat cells they might have hanging around and pump them into their LIPS.
See above, and ps THANKS MICROSOFT WORD SPELL CHECK! You spell it just like that, when you mean BLOOD. When you mean MONEY, it is probably spelled in a different way, depending on your most beautiful secret avarices. I USUALLY spell it like this:
But this month I am spelling it:
Bah. Also Humbug. I am very bored with budgeting this month and want to go spend a BUNCH OF MONEY on a laptop. I just want to go out and PICK the laptop I want and put it on my pocket and leave. Instant gratification. BUT I WON’T. I will be prim and virtuous and work and save and be thrifty in my white apron and wimple. I will save up and comparison shop because I am fiscally responsible and debt-o-phobic BLAH BLAH BLAH.
I will ALSO buy a lotto ticket and hope the numbers fairy lands SPLAT on me with both feet.
I think most everyone has a PLACE in their head that is FINANCIALLY THE GOAL. It isn’t a number, really, it’s just an IDEA of a life-place. I have been SURVEYING people for their place, and women are all over with all these weird things, but men almost UNIVERSALLY say the same thing. They say they are “there” when they can afford a big screen plasma TV with TIVO. The few men I have asked that already HAVE that? Want some sort of car.
You want to know my place? I want to have ONSTAR. I don’t even care what the car is. I just want it to FIT all my children in and have ONSTAR. I want ONSTAR so bad I get weepy watching the commercials, even. Have you SEEN those commercials? The ones with the black screen and you just hear the VOICES of people in BAD CAR situations---run off the road or lost or hurt or locked out --- and this INCREDIBLY SOOTHING human on the other end of whatever ONSTAR is just MAGICALLY fixes it. I kind of suspect the ONSTAR people of being, you know, in thrall to Satan. They are too good to be true, and they seem to have such astounding earthly powers.
Unhappy Man: I’m locked out and its 400 degrees and the BABY IS IN THE CAR he is PUFFING UP and TURNING LOBSTER-RED.
Soothing OnStar-ian: Don’t worry. I am dragging a young goat with no blemish to the altar even as we speak…hold on sir…*Panicked bleating in the background*
No-Longer-Unhappy Man: It popped open! The lock just popped OPEN! How did you do that? And, um HOW did you EVEN HEAR ME since the ONSTAR thing is IN THE CAR with the BABY---How on earth did I even CONTACT YOU?
Soothing On-Star-ian: Don’t question the Dark Lord, sir. And have a nice day.
I almost don’t care if it IS run by the powers of evil. I SO NEED ONSTAR. I bet I would put them out of business, though, or at the very least I would drive everyone’s rates up. They would have to hire a special TEAM – “The 24 Hour Joshilyn Jackson Mobile Alert Chaos Prevention Team.” They would be an Elite Group of specialists gathered to help me get to Kroger. I would need Hannibal AND Face AND Murdock to get to the parking lot. Mr. T would get me safely home.
I have no sense of direction and I always lock my keys in (usually with the engine running) and if I am in the car I am probably lost. I am the kind of girl who can't get to the bathroom in my own house without a MAP, and, um, I CANNOT READ MAPS. Which means when I really need to go I have to hobble around in circles flinging open doors and hoping I will see a toilet and not the stinking coat closet again.
Okay, that's a VERY slight exaggeration. VERY SLIGHT. BAH. I have to go do seven impossible things before breakfast now, and ALL seven are “balance my checkbook.”
Oh well, perhaps Santa will bring me ONSTAR.
And a LAPTOP!
And a PONY!!!!
This whole contest has me thinking about NAMES.
If I had another baby, and it was a boy, I would name him Lion of.
Lion of Jackson. It is a GREAT name. It almost makes me want to have another baby so I can name him that.
If I got another cat, it would be a HONKIN' BIG mighty yellow tomcat and I would name him Feminists. I think more pets ought to be named for philosophies or social/political movements. I hope to one day have matching blue point Siamese kittens called Freudians and Communists. And if I get a puppy I am calling her Marxism. It's fun to say things like "Marxism has chewed my shoes up. Again!" Or I could say, "FREUDIANS! DID YOU PEE IN MY SOCK DRAWER!" And then my husband could say, "No, I think it was Communists."
My friend Matt lost a bet before he was even MARRIED, and now he is obligated to name his first born child “LASERBEAK.” Wow. Laserbeak Willer. Boy or girl, machts nicht. His wife is not exactly thrilled, but it is a QUESTION OF HONOR. I mean, a bet is a bet. And what’s thirty thousand dollars worth of therapy for your kid when held up against your honor?
As for the CHARACTER NAME…I STILL Like Evelyn best of all possible names. Evelyn Crabtree has a soft, almost helpless femininity, and yet a touch of Pathetic Grandeur to it. As if great things were expected of her, but Alas! It. Didn’t. Pan. Out. However, I have been given BY YOU NICE PEOPLE a new name I like almost almost almost as much. One that is not a major bath-products chain. Thanks to everyone who HELPED! I got just over 200 GOOD names--although SOME of you only sent one and OTHERS CHEATED and sent 10 or 12!
Most popular choices? Amber and Crystal were each sent in five times.
Grant of Georgia suggested Menona WHICH IS PERFECT. Can’t use it though. BAH. See, this character’s MOTHER is named ONA and her daughter is named NONNY. So. It sounds like a nursery rhyme.
Ona, Menona and Nonny
Set sail in a silver shoe
Ona, Menona and Nonny,
White trashier than me or you…
I also LOVED Leona, which I got from two sources, a woman named Janelle of Some-State-Or-Nother and my friend Jan. But --- same problem. Ona, Leona and Nonny. It’s still too Winkenny, Blinkenny, Noddy.
I also flirted for quite some time with both TAMMY (sent by Kristen and Amy), and TANYA (Sent by Kimberly). Jolynn (Mir sent it) was good, but just a SHI away from my OWN name. I also liked SISSY or CEECEE (sent by Caty).
Finally, early Tuesday, DAN of VIRGINIA sent in the right name…Melony.
Melony has that good “ON” sound I liked so much in LEONA and MENONA, but the emphasis is on the first syllable and it’s a short O, so it works. Also it’s very soft and helpless and pathetic and grand and 70’s all at once. I love it. LOVE IT.
BIG KISSES, DAN.
I hope that that’s short for DANIELLA because I am mailing you some CHICK LIT! And you get bragging rights long into perpetuity or until my editor hates Melony and changes it cruelly to Heloise. Whee.
I have to make a couple of disclaimers before I can even speak on the topic of the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.
DISCLAIMER 1: I readily acknowledge my complete and total failure as a housewife. I am untidy and dreadful and as long as the mold colonies that have established subdivisions and exclusive country clubs in my toilets aren't LOFTING SIGNS at each other that say "HELP! BUBONIC PLAGUE JUST MOVED IN AND THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD, DO NOT LET HIM USE THE TENNIS COURTS," then I think cleaning the bathroom can probably wait another day.
DISCLAIMER 2: I am married to a real man who eats quiche and does windows. He does at LEAST his share. And I whenever I can REMOTELY afford it, even if we have to EAT BEANS, I employ a maid service. SO what do I know about most cleaning products? NOT MUCH.
DISCLAIMER 3: I hate the animated character of Mr. Clean. The whole idea of him...the HATEFUL subtext...and especially The SONG. Oh, the song drives me up a tree. Let's sing it though. Let's sing it TOGETHER, since TALKING ABOUT IT has put it INEXORABLY in my head for the next NINE HUNDRED YEARS. But hey I KNOW! Let's rewrite the lyrics so it is honest.
Sing to the tune of the Mr. Clean song:
My husband is such a jerk
he will not help me with my housework
but my special cleaning product
has a big, gay friend to help me!
Because a girl needs a clean floor or she will be UNFULFILLED AS A WOMAN. And STRAIGHT men, obviously, can not mop. It would wither their sperms. And if your cleaning product came with a straight man, your withery-spermed husband would be threatened. But HEY, the GAY guy doesn't have anything better to do. He might as well pop in a utilitarian housework earring and come by YOUR place so y'all can do the FLOORS. Because as a DUMB GIRL you are incapable of doing the floors without a BIG MANLY (but unthreateningly gay) MOP PUSHER, and as a dumb girl, if the floors aren't clean you might as well OFF YOURSELF NOW BEFORE YOU BREED MORE UNWOMANLY MUTANTS.
It's CONTRADICTORY. It's OFFENSIVE. And the jingly little tune drives me UP! A! TREE!
But, taking all the above as givens. I still have to say...
THE MR. CLEAN MAGIC ERASER IS THE VERY BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO THE WORLD OF CLEANING PRODUCTS AND IT WILL TAKE ENTIRE CRAYON MURALS RIGHT OFF THE WALL LIKE MAGIC, LIKE MAGIC I TELL YOU, GENTLY AND WITHOUT HARMING YOUR PAINT ERADICATING THE MASSIVE MULTI-COLORED VOMITORIOUS MESS OF WOBBLY SCRIBBLE SCRABBLE THAT THE BABY SWEARS IS A DOG. *pant pant*
Come home, Mr. Clean. All is forgiven.
I have been silent because we have here in my house been sharing around a fast but furious stomach flu. Yick.
Yes, we are going to talk about the big crapulence. BUT NOT TODAY. I am still peeking at it sideways, trying to decide how I feel about it. The GOOD part is I am not panicking or distraught or even much worried. I discovered I have all this weird strong FAITH in God and my husband, probably even in that order. Who knew?
And now I am going to tell you two things you did NOT know. If you knew BOTH of these things? Without me telling you? I will send you a prize!!!
I BET YOU DID NOT KNOW…
Joyce Carol Oates is not ONLY the name of a well-respected and famously prolific writer. The very name is ALSO a drug-addled, snot-filled, priapic, poker-playing sex-toy magnet. Ask me how I know. Go on. Ask.
OKAY. THIS IS HOW. I have MT Blacklist, and it KILLS. SPAM. DEAD. I spam-hunt most every day, and I rarely have huge drifts of spam blanketing my comments anymore….except in this one entry. EVERY MORNING I will have at least one but as many as SIX new spam comments in this entry about Joyce Carol Oates.
Texas Hold-Em sites, nakey-booby sites, ads for prescription drugs that can do everything from clearing your nasal passages to keeping your wife happy, and GRAPHIC ads for bedroom hardware so DOUBLE-PLUS YICKY that the state of Georgia says it is ILLEGAL to possess them. Or even LOOK AT them, actually. These are bizarro thingies so OBSCURE and CREEPY that it’s probably illegal to KNOW THEY EXIST. I know I wish *I* did not know they exist. These are the sorts of things that promote trips to the emergency room, cruelty to animals, and less than kind jokes about Richard Gere.
I have READ and RE-READ the Joyce Carol Oates entry and I cannot for the life of me see why the spambots track it like Papparazzi after Paris Hilton. If you have ANY THOUGHTS on the matter, shoot me an e-mail or hit the comments section. Is there, for example, some word I do not know is dirty in there that is acting as spam spider bait? Is there some turn of phrase that indicates I (or Ms. Oates) have allergies or trouble maintaining an erection? PLEASE. LET ME KNOW. IT IS DRIVING ME UP TREES AND OFF CLIFFS.
I BET YOU DID NOT KNOW…
Saturday, October ninth is YELLOW FEVER DAY! That’s right! IT IS! Here in Georgia we will be celebrating this perky and fascinating disease. I like to think of Yellow Fever (or Y.F. as we in the inner circle call it) as “the little epidemic that could!” If you are in or near Georgia, and you want to watch a bunch of actors draw purple circles under their eyes and pretend to languish while other actors stick rubber leaches on them, feel free to join me at YELLOW FEVER FEST! Come on, you KNOW you want to. It’s the sort of thing you almost NEVER see unless you regularly gobble hallucinogens. If you can not make it, you at least have to look at the pictures of Yellow Fever Fests Past.
PS Don’t EVEN try to claim the prize for pre-knowing both these things. I will never believe you knew BOTH. Come on!
Sorry. But comfort yourself with this: It was a crappy prize anyway.
ADDENDUM!!!! I JUST went to upload this entry and saw ALL NEW SPAM on the Joyce Carol Oates entry. This time for Cheap Cigarettes. Sex drugs gambling and now smoking…IS THERE NO VICE LEFT ON EARTH THAT IS NOT ACTIVELY PURSUEING JOYCE CAROL OATES??
1) THANKS COMMENTERS! I am very pleased to have GUILTED 17 PEOPLE into saying nice things to me!
Tomorrow I am planning to post about how bad I feel that I do not send all the bloggers I really like a pony! No, seriously, thanks really for all the comments and delurking. It was a nice side-effect to admitting I am a TACO BELL SUPREME WITH LETTUCE AND GRADE A SOUR CREAM DORK-RITO.
2) THANKS scientists who are working so hard to CLONE. It’s because of you that the ad for TANK THE PONY has a quantity field and an ADD TO CART button. Because of YOUR top secret boundary pushing cloning labs (go 70 miles below the earth’s crust and then take a left off the main hallway of the area 54 alien vivisection rooms) I can apparently add ten or even fifty Tank the Ponies to my cart!
3) THANKS porn industry! I sleep easier knowing that IF you are a 19 year old Asian girl, and IF last night you had a naked slumber party bubble bath with your hot young teen Asian girlfriends, and IF you took a lot of pics or even better, video'd it, and I MISSED THE WHOLE THING, you will be UNABLE TO GO ON until you send me an email notification and a link. Also thanks to my friend google, because I know you will send everyone who does a search for HOT NAKED TEEN ASIAN BUBBLE BATH straight to this blog now. And THAT will make for some interesting comments!
4) THANKS spam spiders! Thanks for making WISE OBSERVATIONS (crafted from clichés and quotes from literature that falls within the public domain) all over my blog! One clever spam spider (who was placing an ad for a site that allows you to play Texas Holdum) had a BRILLIANT INSIGHT!
Said the spider: We must not believe the many, who say that only free people ought to be educated, but we should rather believe the philosophers who say that only the educated are free.”
Which is pithy and deep and all, but very hard to apply to a post about converting to the South Beach Diet as if it were a cult. Perhaps the spider meant to say, “The fat free people need to be educated, as only the educated are free from processed sugars.”
5) THANKS favorite Christian dollar store, for stocking PACKS AND PACKS and PACKS AND PACKS of SUPER CHEAP Yu-Gi-Oh! cards. Because we do not have NEARLY enough Yu-Gu-Oh! cards here, oh my NO!
DIGRESSION: The ones the dollar store had were actually these WEIRD CARDS from THAILAND chock full of rare and MONSTROUSLY POWERFUL blue eyes dragons of various shiningnesses and double attack mode whatnot-ery and the text says things like "Here is the dragon of so many power, to make play of him is a destruction over the enemy who have assaulting you with trap.” So, okay, sincere thanks Christian dollar store, because Scott and I really like to lie around when small people who take Yu-Gi-Oh! VERY seriously are not present, and read these descriptions out loud to each other and giggle until our sodas come out our noses.
I read a lot of blogs. Three I check daily, and a large host of others I drive by a few times a month. I REALLY like my blog-fix with my cofffee, but I almost NEVER comment. WHY? I asked myself, and the enaswer was ugly.
I usually don't comment because I think the person is cool and someone I would want to LIKE ME BACK, and just THINKING about approaching them throws me into a state of geek-girl inarticulateness so acute that I will actually say INARTICULATENESS as if it were a WORD. When I DO comment generally humiliate myself with the intellectual equivalent of, “HI! YOU ARE PRETTY AND NICE! ALSO YOUR BLOG IS PRETTY! AND NICE! I LIKE YOU!!! DO YOU LIKE ME? CHECK ONE ___YES ___NO. XXOOXOX FROM UR NEW FREND!”
And yet….I ADORE it when I get comments on my blog, even the ones that just say, HI ENJOYED THIS, so therefore, golden rule and all, I OUGHT to be hitting that comment button like a natural born posting fool. And the reason I am not is VANITY. I can't just say something NICE to someone I think is cool unless I can be sure I will sound JUST AS COOL AS I THINK THEY ARE. So. That's really cheesy and petty and yick of me. Once I had the hateful realization, I could no longer withhold my stupid comments just because they make me look stupid. SO. I made a solemn vow to, you know, post comments and be a better human being.
Oh that old vow, you say. Didn’t you make that whole “be a better human being” vow a few entries ago in regards to not standing with the refrigerator open and your head poked in as you slurp GALLONS of icy left over kung pao chicken right out of the white to-go box? Yeah, I remember. You did. How’s that working out for you?
And I say, Heh. Shut up. And then I slam the fridge shut.
But I AM ALREADY KEEPING THIS VOW SO THERE. I went by one of my regular daily read-ems and DERN IT, I commented.
Problem the first, I typo’d in a moderately obscene manner. I said Butterfly WONGS when I meant WINGS and granted Wong is not a word any more than inarticulateness is, but….IT SOUNDS REALLY DIRTY. Especially when you put “butterfly” in front of it. It sounds like a poinky and dreadful insect-ual organ a deformed male butterfly might use to try and make more deformed butterflies.
Problem the second, my stinking typo-riddled comment posted every time I hit preview. So I would hit preview, and in MY browser, nothing happened. Hit preview again…nothing on my end. On like that. And meanwhile, on NOT MY BROWSER the comment was posting and reposting, proliferating itself like it was RABBITSES ON SPANISH FLY. By the time I gave up, Kira’s comments section was wall to wall wongs. When I went back to her blog I saw she had 50 million comments, so I opened them to read them and, gee, look, they were ALL ME. I had to e-mail her and ask her to please go edit comments because I was too dorky to correctly HIT AN ENTER BUTTON.
A lot of the blogs I read are infertility blogs because infertility seems to be genetically linked to both the ability to write well AND having a REALLY good sense of humor. But I have a VERY hard time commenting there. Most of the commenters are dealing with the same issues – they have a whole community growing and I am not a part of it so I feel like I should not intrude, you know? I am trying to wean myself off at least a few of my HOST of infertility blogs by reading weight loss blogs. But WOW. Infertile people are much funnier than dieters. Dieters are SO SO SO SO EARNEST.
Dieters are like, “So then I ate the banana which is high on the glycemic index and OMG the carbs but then the potassium is good, so I ate it, and then I got a mirror and watched my butt as I digested but there was no growth to the naked human eye so I started taking a picture of my butt every hour and then when I had the photos developed and made into a flip book I could see that, YES, the banana made my butt .oo2 cm wider.”
Which, okay, I could comment on THAT, but…I doubt I would say anything that would let me put a check in the box beside “become a better human being” on my to-do list.
Hint: BARK! BARK! BARK!
WHO finished Chapter 14 in a BLAZE of GLORY.
Hint: ME ME ME ME ME!
I am one chapter away from a COMPLETED DRAFT! YARGLE BARGLE LA LA WOO! I better keep drafting while the drafting is going so well BUT
First I have to tell you. I am being relentlessly stalked and tormented by the black-hearted number two...
Remember right before the move I needed TWO root canals, then TWO trees launched falling-over-and-dying attacks on my roof and car and then TWO monitors BLEWED UP BUT GOOD and had to be replaced, thus neatly disposing of two years' worth of disposable income in two months? Well, the madness continues.
I was UNABLE TO CLOSE thanks to the pernicious demonology of lawyers, so I now own TWO houses and unless we can TRY AGAIN and close in....TWO DAYS on the SECOND of September I will be paying TWO mortgages. And really, considering how VILE and UNLUCKY the number 2 is being for me what are the chances that things will come up roses (and closes) on the SECOND day of September?
OH and then yesterday my van, which was full of my TWO CHILDREN popped a tire. AHA you say. THAT WAS ONLY ONE TIRE! SO! THERE GOES YOUR DUMB PERSECUTION VIA NUMEROLOGY THEORY!
Except wait. I thought, okay yes it was ONE tire but we have TWO cars so I waited for the other car to drop, so to speak, and nothing happened so I thought OKAY well maybe this is the end of the curse, except at the tire place they said, WOW this other tire is about to pop TOO. <---TOO! And so I had to buy how many new tires?
This episode of VooDoo Infested Street of Sesame Seed Scented Evil has been brought to you by the number TWO and the letter DAMMIT. Thanks for watching.
VERY GOOD: We closed on the NEW HOUSE yesterday. I OWN it. IT IS MINE. It is silent and lovely and peaceful.
Bad: We do not CLOSE on our current house until the 31st. heh. So we own TWO houses. PLEASE LORD do not let any more trees fall or bad disasters happen at EITHER, at least until we are down to one...
Loud: I think my children are expecting to move into the silent lovely peaceful new house WITH me. SO IS THE CAT.
VERY VERY BAD: I am getting e-mail from people whose Bradford pears are infested by demons--- THESE ARE BAD TREES.
Here are the top three reasons to NEVER put a Bradford pear in your yard
1) They only live 15 to 25 years. Usually at about 20, they will suddenly start throwing whole thirds of themselves onto your cars and pets and unsuspecting lawn statuary.
2) Some people think the scent of their blossoms bear a marked resemblance to cat urine so old it was probably sprayed by un-neutered toms wandering through the cat-temples of Ancient Egypt.
3) They KILL ALL GRASS that is under the spread of their thick foliage, so that after your arborist has removed them and ground the stumps, your lawn looks like it has been ravaged by thousands upon thousands of mightily priapic but confused orangutans. Which is to say, barren, pitted with holes, covered in chips and dust and post-confused-monkey-love root detritus.
Bradford pears are genetically engineered. HMMM. VERY INTERESTING.
You know that famous poem?
Blah blah da da blah da blee,
Only God can make a tree?
Well, apparently it’s not true. I need to have a séance so I can inform Joyce Kilmer that he needs to edit. It should now read:
Blah blah da da blah da bluck,
Only God can make a tree that doesn’t suck.
Okay, so. I leave town tomorrow for NYC. I will be back Friday, then Saturday I leave for nine days -- I will be at the beach and visiting family. I will barely be blogging AT ALL AT ALL in the back half of July.
I SWEAR I will pop in on Friday and burble about what happened on THE TRIP, and sorry I am a big stinky head who skips half a month blogging to gallivant about the universe like Britney Spears if Britney Spears was middle class and in her thirties and wore a lot more clothes.
To make up for it, before I go, I will go ahead tell you the secret to finding complete and total happiness for the rest of your life. I was saving it for BLOG SWEEPS WEEK, but I will go ahead and bust it out now...
You've read the studies. You know what the big boys at research universities have been saying for years. The secret to a successful marriage is ACTIVE LISTENING. Active listening is that thing where, during conflicts, you make sure your spouse knows that you are HEARING whatever stupid thing they are busting your chops about. It goes something like this.
ENRAGED WIFE: You are a big jerk. You hurt my feelings when you say mean things. You leave your socks on the floor, your bitter socks all stinky, and you expect that a sock fairy will come and lift them away to laundry land. WELL THE SOCK FAIRY HAS BEEN ME THIS WHOLE TIME. AND THE SOCK FAIRY IS STARTING TO HATE YOU.
ACTIVE LISTENING HUSBANDLY RESPONSE: I understand that when I leave my terrible socks on the floor it distresses you, especially when I compound the problem by saying mean things. It makes you think of me as a jerk and then you hate me and have hurt feelings. I probably leave the socks around because my mother always picked them up for me, and it is just a bad, bad habit.
So, in theory, the wife is charmed because her husband has parroted her words back to her, so she feels as if he REALLY understood her and cared. Now, if acting listening actually worked, the wife would then say something like this:
ACTIVE LISTENING WIFELY RESPONSE IN AN IDEAL WORLD: I see that your mother has not trained you to be a good sock putter awayer, and I understand that you have a bad habit. I realize that bad habits are hard to break, so why don't we work together to solve this problem. I will try to give gentle reminders to you, and you can leave yourself helpful post-it notes in places where your socks tend to congregate. Oh YAY! The problem is solved. Let us retire to the bedroom and have a lot of really great sex.
But this is not an ideal world. And that is not what Mrs. Anyone says. What she really says is this:
Wife: Why are you repeating everything I say back to me as if I were a stupid two-year-old? Why don't you pick up the damn socks? Forget it. Let's get a big, hateful divorce.
Luckily, the University of Washington has come along to save us all. They just released a new a study. They say active listening is a crock, something that a lot of people who have had big, hateful divorces already know. The say the secret to a good lasting relationship, a rock solid marriage providing years of happiness, the secret that gets you to the gold anniversary and the grandkids and big cake, is this: Let the girl get her way. Easy peasy. All you have to do is.....let the girl get her way.
They are not kidding. They have apparently spent years and years studying couples, and about half of the active listening ones blew it. But the marriages in which the girl gets her way are still trotting along happily. FASCINATING.
Needless to say, I love the University of Washington just about now, only a little less than I like getting my own way. And I think they have - beyond gratifying my deepest wishes - an actual point. Because I am a girl, and therefore I know things about girls, and one of the things I know is that we all, secretly, in our deepest hidden heart of hearts, want to be The Princess. Not the boss. The Princess. We don't really want to order our husbands around and stomp all over and be the despot king. And that's not what UW is saying either. UW doesn't say, "Be a whipped little boot licking dork." Trust me, no one likes a whipped little boot licking dork. I think they are saying, let us girls be The Princess.
My friend Mark has the whole thing down pat. Before he goes out with the guys, he asks for a kitchen pass. A kitchen pass is when your wife tells you it's ok to go and you tell her when you will be back and then (here is an important part) you are actually back on or around that time. And Mrs. Mark actually writes a cute little pass on a piece of paper, and she usually includes an enticing sexual promise for those who come home before their pass expires.
Now Mark is a big boy, and a successful businessy something at a downtown office, and he doesn't need permission to go have a beer after work. He knows this. His wife knows this. But he asks for the pass anyway, and she gives it to him anyway. Because it makes her feel like The Princess. All the guys at his office have laughed at Mark for YEARS about his kitchen passes, and slowly, one by one, they have laughed their way to big hateful divorce court. Meanwhile, Mark and Mrs. Mark and planning a big party to celebrate their 15th anniversary.
See you Friday.
I have sun poisoning in spite of frequent application of 45 sunblock.... So lily is my whiteness that I am going to have to get a BIG FLOPPY HAT and a 1920's throat to ankles bathing costume to survive my upcoming family week at the beach.
I have been entertaining myself in my red, peeling, blotchy, poisoned suffering by surfing around look at writing contests.
THE BEST ONE: The Wergle Flomp Poetry Contest
It won't make sense to you unless you know about the SCUMBAGGERY perpetrated by poetry.com. You can catch up on that little scam over at Wocky Jivvy.
Once you are up on the latest way to bilk unsuspecting and hopeful fledgling poets, you should go pen some scrutiating bad verse and win $817.70 from the WERGLE FLOMP.
If you, like me, have a federal injunction that prohibits you from even attempting to perpetrate poetry, you can always go win the BULWER-LYTTON. This is a contest that rewards the worst possible opening sentence for a novel...Ah the joys of bad prose!
Without the BULWER-LYTTON, I would never have shot a goodly portion of my liver out of my left nostril because I was laughing so hard. Blame the following sentence:
"His priest-blessed sword was forged in the boiling feces of the Damned."
Another internal organ-rupturing favorite is this Grand Prize Winning entry by STEVE GARMON, a guy from my hometown. He went to my high school but was 4 years ahead of me, so I did not know him well enough to consider it a real brush with infamy. But!!! I once made out with his little brother in the dim hallway behind the school auditorium. SO! Does that count? Anyway -- here is the entry:
The lovely woman-child Kaa was mercilessly chained to the cruel post of the warrior-chief Beast, with his barbarous tribe now stacking wood at her nubile feet, when the strong, clear voice of the poetic and heroic Handsomas roared, "Flick your Bic, crisp that chick, and you'll feel my steel through your last meal."
Writer James Stevens-Arce came up with the idea that editors should start sending rejection haiku instead of the usual form letter. He penned some corkers -- here are my favorites:
We've seen this story
a million times before, but
some of those were good.
Much as the swallows
come back to Capistrano,
enclosed is your book.
coffin of your SASE. A
note. This can't be good.
James challenged us to come up with our own rejection haiku. Hmm. I have been officially asked by the state of Georgia to not, really NOT, for the sake of the children, OH PLEASE DO NOT write poetry in any form. But how can I resist James? I can't. With apologies to my home state:
We put your story
and a dog turd on a scale.
The turd had more weight.
Before you delve into Slang Squad Deux, the Squad Unleashed, you should probably go back and read the front half. Or it wont make sense.
SO ANYWAY, in order to say DAG YO or TRUE DAT with any sort of CONVICTION, you really need to be four things: Young, Black, Urban, and Hip. How many of these things am I? Well, lets see. Thirty-something. Not terribly young. I am so melanin challenged that the flesh of my winter legs has been known to BLIND people. Not black. My neighbor owns a goat. Not urban. By the time I knew who Snoop Dogg was, he had already fazizzled and was doing AOL commercials. Nuff said on the HIP issue.
I have a friends who are young and friends who are black, friends who are urban and ONE friend who CLAIMS she is still hip, thanks, but I dont have a single friend who could legitimately check off more than two on that four thing list. And there isnt any friend I have IN TOWN that can check off more than ONE. SO there is no reason for any of us to trot around DAG YOing and TRUE DATing, and yet we do, because of teen girl squad. And trust me, if a thirty-something white mommy in rural Georgia says True Dat or Dag Yo to me, it can only mean that she is testing me for secret membership in the cult of Strong Bad.
So anyway, that realtor team I told you about came over to pitch us some woo to get our listing, and the Good Ol Boy guy focused on Scott and the hipster black chick zeroed in on me. And so Scott and the GOB were deep into running numbers and marketing plans and probability tables, and the chick and I are talking about CURB APPEAL and how to make the house look SASSY SPICY HOT. And she had a good sense of humor and she and I kinda hit it off and we went from curb appeal to chatter, and somewhere in there, she forgot I was an older white unhip rural mommy for a second. So when I said something that was obviously true, she said, "True Dat." And then I forgot she was black, young, urban and hip for a second and I said "OH OH OH! TRUE DAT! YOU WATCH TEEN GIRL SQUAD???"
And then there was this moment, this really nice moment, where we realized what had happened, and we got tickled with each other and we stood there in my teeny guest bathroom, giggling like loons while Scott and the Good Ol Boy peered in at us from the doorway going WHAT? WHAT? And there was no way to explain it.
In other news, Loretta Swit is on Hollywood squares and she has had a pound of her butt-fat pumped into her upper lip. EXCEPT for that ill-conceived misuse of half her bottom, she looks extremely great.
We are talking to realtors about various marketing plans to get our baby house sold so we can head for the dream house. One team that came over to pitch us was comprised of a sellers agent (a big-boned hardy white man with a great big booming southern accent---he might as well have been named Joe-Bob as he marched through our baby house in his crap-kickers *cough* my 13 year old nephew reads this blog *cough*) and a buyers agent (a very sylphlike and sophisticated black woman, no southern accent to speak of, wearing 300 dollar shoes.)
Now before this story makes any sense, you have to be in the know about Homestar Runner. My nephew Daniel turned me onto that site, and I have to say, a week without a a new Strong Bad email is a sad sad week indeed.
Strong Bad e-mail is one of those things like Monty Python. If you get it, you get it. If you do not, you probably cannot be taught. It isnt an acquired taste, Im saying. It either lines up perfectly with the giggle center in your brain OR you are one of those people who dont pop a blood vessel laughing when your friend Julies dog lets out an enormous fart that shakes her house to the foundations and then looks at his own butt in surprised reproach, as if to say, What were you thinking, butt?
The PINNACLE of Strong Badness is a series of animated movies that this animated character is supposed to have made himself called TEEN GIRL SQUAD. I think there are five of them now? But the one with the possum is best. At any rate, these three presumably white, presumably suburban, probably 13 year old girls bounce around macking on boys and getting killed by arrows and MSG all the while frontin like playas as they awkwardly fling around black urban hipster slang, e.g. frontin like playas. Its hilarious. IT JUST IS. Especially since Strong Bad himself does all the voices of all the girls on the squad. So its SOME GUY pretending to be Strong Bad pretending to be four seperate 13 year old white suburban girls who are ALL pretending to have street cred. COME ON. THATS HILARIOUS.
ANYWAY, without STRONG BAD and TGS, what are the chances that DAG YO would have made it into my 30-something small town southern mommy vocabulary-of-slang? VERY SLIM. And yet, there it is in the middle of my lexicon, sandwiched in between ill as hornets and off the chain. But it IS slang. That means I have never called up my editor and said, Dag yo, why is the art department ill as hornets? They are off the chain with this cover idea. Thats not the language I speak with her. With her, I speak Comfortable Business American. I subdue my Georgia twang and talk faster than I normally would, for example.
BAH I have nattered on too long about SB e-mail and SLANG and am out of time I will tell you what happened with the realtors tomorrow. Dag Yo. Peace out.
My house is deeply cute -- so deeply cute it is practically cute on the cellular level. And if you are not a family of four one of whom works from home and MUST HAVE AN OFFICE, you would LIKE it. I have taken TENDER DELICIOUS care of it for 6 years now. I have kept it painted and put in a new TRANE and LOVED IT DEARLY and I have installed a garbage disposal (Here "I" means "Scott") and I have kept it clean and in perfect repair (Here "I" up until recently means "a very good maid service") and LOVED IT but NOW I REALLY need someone else to come and take over loving it so I can HAVE AN OFFICE I am DYING of not enough room. DYING.
And tonight I found my house. It is MY house. It has EVERYTHING on my list of wants. It has NOTHING on my list of don't wants. It is in MY NUMBER 1 school picks districts in my NUMBER ONE neighborhood pick. It has over 90% of the things on my "This would be nice, but is not needed" list. I LOVE IT. I DOUBLE SCRUTIATING LOVE IT and if my house does not sell I can not have it and I if I can not have it my HEART will CRACKLE and SNAP and POP like crappy cereal and I will die. SO.
IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT?
Someone is interested in my very extremely cute adorable little baby house that is SO baby little I may KILL EVERYONE IN IT just to get some SILENCE.
EVERYONE! EVERYONE! Grab goats and head for the charcoal gray altars of the gods of real estate.
We will know tomorrow evening if they want to 1) see it again, 2) make an offer, or 3) go buy a different house which if they do will INEVITABLY turn out to be a BAD PLACE where they will probably be eaten by CARNIVEROUS FLESH WEEVILS.
I certainly hope the real estate agent is presenting their three choices to them in these terms.
Matt: These people just left an order for me that MADE my month, But they have no credit, so it will never be shipped --AKA BIG WASTE OF TIME.
Me: May they suffer the pangs of constipation daily for 3 weeks.
Matt: And Time = Money
Money = Fun
Fun = Happy
Happy = No Stress
No Stress = Live Longer
So basically they killed me. Or Will
Me: They will be very sorry long about week 2 of the constipation curse. VERY VERY SORRY INDEED
Matt: Can you give me a sentence with a blatant dangling participle?
Me: *jams on glasses, straightens spine, speaks through nose* Running down 5th avenue, a billboard for a broadway show was seen. A dangling participle only occurs right at the start of the sentence, and when you go on down INTO the sentence, the SUBJECT is not there. In the example, you can clearly surmise-- if you are not on hallucinogens -- that the BILLBOARD is not running down Fifth.
Why do you ask?
Matt : Curiosity :) And you know what they say about curiosity....
Me : It made your clients kill you by taking your peace?
Matt : It does have to do with killing.....Are you ready for it? Are you sitting?
Let me give you a moment to secure yourself....ready?
Me : I am ready.
Matt: Curiosity Killed the Matt! HA HA HA! RIMSHOT!
Me: HOW? You only met my husband TWICE for SHORT PERIODS but you see! NOW YOU SEE! IT IS DEADLY CATCHING. Scott is a pun carrier -- I have it now too and I NEVER used to pun!
Matt : He didn't bust any out when I met him!!! I was waiting with baited breath but it was to no avail!
Me : No, he is more insidious than that -- he just leached pun-germs around silently like the typhoid mary of low-brow humor.
Matt : He didnt seem that menacing
Me: Menacing is a good word.
Matt : You know I invented it?
Me: Well, I invented the teacup poodle! Still not sure WHY I did that. I am kind of sorry, actually.
Matt : I invented Menacing back in the trenches in The Big One. Me and Kaiser Wilhelm were hanging out one day and he said "Boy, those yanks look tough."
I responded "Would you say they seem Menacing?" Then he ate a baby.
At which point I laughed until my appendix burst. Then he ate a baby. HA!
LISTEN TO ME, ALL YE DARK GODS OF REAL ESTATE! SEND UNTO ME A BUYER FOR MINE LOVELY HOME! It is a cute home actually, and now that we have it all SPIFFY so it will show well, I am sort of in love with it and a little sad to leave it. BUT. I have to have an office. I am currently trying to draft a novel in in my converted dining room, open to the world on two sides, with the family room TV blaring....I used to have an office. THen Maisy got born and took it.
The BAD thing about my cute house being ON THE MARKET is that it has to be IMMACULATE all the time in case someone wants to come peruse it. Luckily, I am a WONDERFUL housekeeper who likes NOTHING more than to frisk around in pearls and heels, cheerfully dusting, while my children sit quietly in a row on the sofa, reading PILGRIMS PROGRESS aloud to each other.
And if you believe that, I will not only sell you my home, but some lovely prime swa--- real estate in Florida.
Valuable lessons I learned while drowning in QT's bloodpit of a movie:
1) Uma Thurman is 'scrutiating beautiful. There is nothing that can be done about it. You can make her look like one eye is puffed shut and knock her teeth out and incrustulate her with blood and all manner of foul excretions and splashy pus and awfulness, and STILL she is radiently lovely. It's very wrong of her.
2) If you want something to be more violent than anyone could ever imagine anything being, and yet you do not want an NC-17 rating, all you have to do is suddenly go to animation or black and white, so that the spurting blood showers are cartoons or at least not red. And then you get an R.
3) It IS possible to make a film that is both NOT an actual snuff film and more violent than ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO. And who would have thought THAT?
4) Using bad language is not shocking anymore, and movies that try to shock by using the very worst of all the bad language that there ever was overnovernover in ways that are supposed to be unexpected just irritates the audience. I found myself wondering if QT's target audience was 15 year old country French girls who have had a convent education.
5) If you can find a way to cast Lucy Liu in anything as anyone, DO IT. Really.
6) I want to see the sequel.