Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Scenes from the bedroom...

A huge "Thank you" to all of you who have let me know how much you enjoy the adventures of Trishville as reported here in the blog. Your kind words have, unfortunately, collided with the most uneventful week of my life to date, as I spend 120 consecutive hours sitting on my bed in flannel pajamas, finalizing the first draft of THE BOOK to get to my beloved agent.

I caught a wave with the adverb thing on Monday, but beyond that it's kinda tough to make hitting delete and cut/paste, wondering when I last took a shower sound exciting. It is exciting, to me at least - I'm happy as a pig in - well, flannel. But it's not like I'm being chased by the authorities like Swishy, or creating brilliant holiday crafts like Beck, or poetry like Darlene.

Right now the closest thing I have to excitement is my new, borderline pornographic hair product which promises that - even as I sit here typing - "non-greasy humectants are creating a sexy look scented with fruity floral dew." I guess when you get the non-greasy humectants going, there's no telling what might happen :)

Anyway, thanks for your patience!

Monday, November 27, 2006

I'm delighted (but not actually, incredibly, or amazingly)

I’m editing today.

In preparation, I began my morning by reading a few pages from the book of Acts, hoping to bolster my faith in miracles. Then (in what may be an atypical transition) I picked up a book by Stephen King.

“The road to hell is paved with adverbs,” he said, and I believe him. I opened my manuscript and typed “LY” into the FIND option, to see what I could see.

Oh. My. God. (And I mean that in the most reverent, deity-acknowledging, flat-out grateful I was blind and now I see kind of way). I eliminated an embarrassing 1,064 adverbs from my manuscript, at least 300 of which were the word “actually.” I never realized this before, but if “actually” lit up in neon orange each time I typed it, my pages would read like a tribute to pumpkin pie.

To all my writing friends wrestling with pudgy manuscripts – Use the FIND tool. Type “LY.” Delete. It will change your life.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

From rags to romance in five short days

At approximately 1:39 this morning, it dawned on me that the first draft of my book is due to my agent on December 1st. It is now November 25th, which means that I've got some work to do. I'm writing a happily-ever-after memoir (After James Frey there does seem to be a need for true stories that end well), but right now in my manuscript, the heroine (me) is alone and penniless, having just been dumped by her bankrupt (morally, financially, spiritually - the full gamut of loser) boyfriend.

But never fear! The plan is to have her rescued by the end of today, happy by sometime tomorrow. If only it worked this quickly in real life! Stay tuned :)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The next job I won't have

My dear Stacy, who has won herself my lifelong friendship (not to mention a brand new snail if I can figure out how to get one to Michigan from here) has, hysterically, nominated me for President. I'm not sure what inspired this level of confidence - unlike her, when I'm trapped in the Whole Foods parking lot I don't use the time to think of crafty solutions. Instead, I'm fully occupied by the effort required to bite my tongue so I don't scream out, "You're all idiots! Every one of you!!!" I don't recall hearing that line in my "Future Leaders Of America" meetings back in High School...

This picture is from my High School graduation, where the first George Bush addressed our class and sent us out into the world to buy property, create multi-national corporations, and devote our lives to the American Dream. Actually, I have no recollection of what he told us to do that day, which serves as further confirmation that I'm probably not cut out to be President. When Bill Clinton met John Kennedy, I suspect he paid attention. To this day, I bet Bill could tell you every word JFK said, that he wasn't shaking the President's hand but secretly hoping the talk would end early so he could get home to pull together a cute outfit for the party that night...

So Stacy, I am grateful for the nomination, but for the good of the Nation, I really must decline :)

(Kylie, however, has assumed her duties as First Dog effective immediately, seeing no reason to wait for a formal election when there is so much work to be done on behalf of her canine constituency. KYLIE 2006 and Forever!)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Chiming in on the important questions of our time

My blog buddy Amanda Brice inspired this post with her musings about the traditional "No Christmas Music Until After Thanksgiving Rule." She protested the rule today, treating her office to a rousing musical celebration of "The Nutcracker." Normally, my thought is that any office playing something other than MUSAK mid afternoon as we wind our way into the dull days of winter should be celebrated. But I have to draw the line on Christmas songs, and chime in to say that we (okay, I) need to keep them on ice until this coming Friday.

Now, I'm not usually a stickler about these kinds of things. You can place responsibility for my rigidity on this particular point of etiquette squarely on the slim shoulders of my college roommate:

Back in my dorm days (junior year, to be precise) I came back to our room one morning after a Biology class that involved analyzing the inner workings of dead mammals. (To this day, nothing says "deck the halls!" to me like the smell of formaldehyde.) As a political science major/aspiring lawyer, I thought I should be exempt from dissecting animals because I spent my time dissecting arguments, but the administration didn't buy my line of reasoning. Anyway, I entered our room, threw my books on the desk, and collapsed on my bed, only to be surrounded by a surreal, high-pitched wail, an electronic drumbeat, and a bit of tambourine thrown in to sweeten the tune. To my astonishment, my quiet, preppy roommate was dancing around our room with a hairbrush, belting out the lyrics to "I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus" via the song stylings of The Carpenters, and their hit album, An Old Fashioned Christmas.

It was October 19th.

The next week it got worse, as she broke out Barry Manilow's Because It's Christmas, to which I replied, "Um, no. It's not."

We had a moment of tough love there in the room. I told her that finals were coming up, that we had papers to write. She said, "But we need a little Christmas...right this very minute...candles in the window...carols at the spinnet!" "Don't argue in Christmas songs!" I protested, "You don't even know what a spinnet is!" She looked sad, like my three year-old niece when I tell her that my dog won't ever get to go to kindergarten. "But if you find out over Thanksgiving," I relented, "You can play Karen, John, and Barry all you want after that."

As Robert Frost once said, "Good fences make good neighbors."

For years after we graduated, my phone rang on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and I'd be greeted by the vibrant enthusiasm of Barry's "Baby It's Cold Outside." Payback, as it turns out, is part of the holiday spirit :)

So it's in her honor that my two new Christmas CD's (okay, the first I've ever owned - it's taken me awhile to cozy up to this seasonal music thing) are sitting on the corner of my kitchen counter, still wrapped in cellophane, waiting for Friday afternoon when I haul the decorations up from the basement and wrap our little condo in a sparkly festival of Christmas cheer.

Until Friday, though, there is much for which to be Thankful. Start thinking of yours, cause you know I'm gonna ask...


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Group hug

Okay ya'll...Put down your beverages, and say hello to my online buddy Stacy, who has had one doozy of a week.

First, her snail died. And now she's facing irreconcilable differences with Target. (I don't usually take sides in these things when I'm close to both parties, but Target, I've seen your Christmas display, and I have to say - Stacy has a point...). And yet, in the midst of all her pain, she's still working hard to solve the parking problem at her local Whole Foods.

This girl cracks me up, and makes me happy I live on the same planet. If you have a moment, head on over to her blog and offer your condolences about the snail.

Friday, November 17, 2006

You gotta pick your fights

Are we really worrying about a children's book about gay penguin adoption when the spectacle of TomKat is hijacking our news?

Now I have no opinion on the merits of various penguin family structures, although I think the likelihood of little Tango being eaten by a sea lion or a killer whale is too high for me to worry about who he hangs with until then. But I have to agree with fellow Blogger Steve Salerno (scroll down to the third paragraph) when he points out that treating the marriage of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes like some sort of coronation, what with their deliberate choice not to hurry to the alter when they learned little Suri was coming along and Tom's long history of romantic carnage trailing behind them (not to mention his bizarre behavior and surreal and pushy spiritual life), is really rather gross.

(Don't hold back, Trish...tell us what you think...)

America, we can do better. Turn off the TomKat broadcasts, walk away from the gay-rights-for-fictitious-penguins debate. There is stuff that matters is life and is worth our effort and focus, and this isn't it.

Now before you accuse me of going all crazy political on you, let me assure you that's not what I mean. HERE is the kind of thing we'd do better to spend our time on:

Many of you out there are, like me, attempting to write a book. Write it now, because until you do, I can't read it (and if you've been reading my blog, you know I'm in a bit of a rut and need the options!)

Many of you out there are, like me, attempting to have a happy marriage. Well, in the words of one of my favorite firey women preachers - Ladies, you got to MINISTER to your husbands. Consider devoting your weekend to indoor sporting fun. :)

And finally, many of you out there are, like me, trying to fit into jeans that don't seem to have quite as much denim as your current proportions require. Let's follow Swishygirl's lead and do the aerobic boogie until our groove thing fits into those jeans, at which point we will no longer care what TomKat or the penguins are up to.

And there you have it - my weekend manifesto :)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Nancy French brings the Happy

I asked for happy, and you all answered. Thank you ever so much :) Not only do I now have some fabulous book recommendations, but Nancy French sent me the answers to my unorthodox (okay, nosy) questions about her book, RED STATE OF MIND.

Those of you who have experienced RED STATE know that several chapters contain hysterical stories about Nancy's first year of marriage to her husband David. Much of the humor comes from the fact that they didn't know each other all that well when they fell in love and got married, something Nancy herself didn't realize until they'd tied the knot and moved from Tennessee all the way to Manhattan.

Now I'm a sucker for the early details of happily-ever-after stories, so the minute I finished the second chapter of RED STATE, I sent an email to Nancy, asking for the skinny on how David wooed her. Her answer was even funnier than I expected:

Q: How did David propose?

Just a few weeks after we met, we were in Mississippi where David’s lovely Nana lived. We’d taken a walk around the neighborhood before dinner, came to a large concrete sewage pipe, and – inexplicably – sat down there to talk. David was going on and on about his feelings for me, and I tuned back in right when he said, “So I guess what I wanted to ask you… was if you would marry me?”

I was shocked. There was no ring, no candlelight, not even a one-knee plea. He just threw it out there on the spur of the moment, and I said yes. I pray more about getting a good parking space than I did about getting married.

He did get me an awesome ring, by the way, which I insisted upon before telling my mother that I was engaged. In fact, David asked me to marry him before he’d even met my Dad. Plus, I was only twenty. You can see why I wrote “Red State of Mind” and not “Steps to Ensure Your Marriage is Perfect.”

(Note to Trish: Please delete this blog post before my kids get to be marrying age.)

There you have it folks, true love on a Mississippi sewer pipe. Confirms my suspicion that if when the guy is Mr. Right, the locale just doesn't matter :)
Thanks for making my day, Nancy!

Who else has romantic stories to share? (Bonus points for funny...)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Happy needed on aisle 4, STAT!

As you know, I've had a rough patch with my book choices lately. I thought my luck was changing yesterday, when I discovered a newish little bookstore around the corner from my house. I wandered in, and Alice Sebold's memoir, Lucky, caught my eye.

I knew it wasn't a happy book, but I didn't expect it to be unendingly grim. Naively, I thought there just might be a happy ending - an idea I should have put to rest when the bookstore clerk looked at my choice and said, "This book will destroy you."

This book will destroy me???? Um, no. It won't. If it's too gruesome, I decided, I'll simply put it down.

It wasn't, and I didn't. It was so well written that I didn't even notice the writing; I was too caught up in the story. But as the pages flipped and the chapters passed, I started wondering, When does the happy part start? When does she reclaim her life? She's married - when does she tell me about her wonderful husband?

Nope, none of that. The afterward is simply a whirlwind trip through years of heroin use, bad waitressing jobs, and fear of windows left unlocked. All understandable, given what happened. I just wasn't prepared.

So now, dear readers, I need your help. PLEASE, Please, please...tell me about your happy books - the stories that make you smile, that fill you up with warm fuzzies and bring joy into your life. Tell me what, tell me why. But most importantly, tell me soon, cause I need some happy here in the land of Trish!

I'm off to read At Home In Mitford for the seventeenth time - things always work out for Father Tim :)

Postscript: I just dropped Mitford in the tub...So sad!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

This is love?

Love - in all its various shapes and forms - is clearly in the air these days. Or at least in the news.

Meredith from Grey's Anatomy, is now engaged, which gives me hope that some inner glow will bubble up from within her on the show, giving her character enough of a backbone to make this more than (in the words of a friend of mine) "Ally McBeal in a Hospital."

I was feeling a bit sorry for Kevin Federline yesterday; it seems odd that he's taking such a beating in the press when he never pretended to be anything but a dancer/bad boy. Britney fell for it, but she knew what she was getting into. So as bad as his new CD might be, I'm surprised that he's getting pummeled so much harder than certain other celebrity men whose relationships ended because they were unfaithful. Apparently, we are far more offended by men who rap badly than men who sleep with other women. We might want to think about that...

In other news, the wax museum has decided to pull their planned depiction of a Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie wedding. Not because such a thing would be strange, gross, and utterly unappealing, but because they don't want to offend the celebrities. If this article is correct, this might have been Ben Affleck's one chance to stand side-by-side with Liberace. Sorry, Ben.

And finally, TomKat & Co. has arrived in Rome for the long-awaited ceremony. This will make it easy, I suspect, for Katie's family to pray round-the-clock rosaries for her deliverance from the undefinable strangeness that has overtaken Tom Cruise.

Okay, it seems like this wasn't much about love at all...but I have a fun love story for you tomorrow, so stay tuned...

Monday, November 13, 2006

An adventure is what you make of it

I am delighted to report that all of last week's angst about my bummer reading choices was wiped clean by the first-ever visit by my sister and her family to the lovely state of (in the words of my three year old niece) "Mister-choozits."

My sister and I take a rather unorthodox approach to travel. Neither one of us is particularly into museums, statues, or historically important sites. We're more about the who than the what when it comes to filling up our visits. Accordingly, we bypassed the opportunity to herd her delightful children into the numerous educational opportunities available here in Beantown: we didn't go to the Science Museum, the Aquarium, or the Freedom Trail. Instead, in the time-honored tradition of our family, we went for a ride.

Now, neither Yes We Do Eat Fig Newtons For Breakfast Boy (hereinafter, "The Boy") nor Glamour Girl (hereinafter, "The Girl") had been on any mode of public transportation before. Indeed, other than the big yellow bus that comes to transport The Boy to first grade on weekday mornings, they had only the assurance of a few children's books that such a thing as buses and trains existed. So our "big adventure" this weekend was a trip on a bus and train, which we leveraged mightily to extract good behavior from the children for a full twenty-four hours beforehand.

And yesterday afternoon - just as it started to rain - we headed out for the bus stop, scurrying as fast as tiny feet could take us so we wouldn't miss the 12:04. The four of us huddled under two umbrellas as the sky let loose, drenching our feet and soaking the hems of our jeans. Dear Sister and I stared at each other over The Boy and The Girl's little heads, wondering, "Where the &^%%# is the bus???" Soon it was 12:18, and three buses had passed on the other side, with The Boy shouting, "Is that our bus?" in anticipation and glee, and The Girl asking, "Well why can't it be our bus" in baffled frustration. (Glamor Girl still has faith that if you want it badly enough, everything in the world will turn around, pick you up, and go your way. I admire that in a person.) Finally, at 12:26, a miracle of lurching majesty appeared on the horizon, and our bus pulled into sight. "Hooray!" The Girl yelled. "Mumma," The Boy exclaimed, barely able to contain himself, "I'm going to get on that CITY bus!"

We climbed aboard, glowing children in hand, and were greeted by the blank stares of people who have no intention of giving up their seats even for two soaking wet women trying to broaden the horizons of the Future Leaders of America.

We took the bus to Harvard Square ("Are we really underground?" The Boy asked, incredulous. "You mean, the train will really come under all the buildings???") We picked up the Red Line, which sped along through the tunnels until emerging to cross the Salt & Pepper Bridge over the Charles River. Uncharacteristically intimidated by her surroundings, The Girl pulled me close to whisper, "Are we allowed to talk on the train?" while the boy speculated how fast we might be whizzing along. After passing over the bridge, we got off at the Charles/MGH stop, assuring the kids that now they could tell their friends that they had, in fact, taken the underground train all the way to Boston. On the way home, we stopped at Kendall Square to ride the escalator and use the potty at the Marriott (thanks to the nice lady who directed us to the extra bathroom on the third floor), then hopped back on the Red Line, and the 73 Bus (which the driver switched, right there in front of us, to the 71 Bus - but don't even get me started about that) to go home and tell Dad and Uncle Steve about our fabulous adventure.

The kids skipped home from the bus stop, utterly enthralled by their new worldliness and all of the wonderful tales The Boy would tell his class today in sharing time. And my sister and I looked at each other, exhausted and victorious, happy to have passed along our family belief that when you're with people you love, it's all about enjoying the ride.

Friday, November 10, 2006

You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have...

The good news today is that I figured out my linking problems on my new Mac and can offer exciting links to burning issues of great importance such as this and this. Keyboard shortcuts - who knew??? (My husband, fortunately. Thanks honey!)

The bad news is that I'm reading a memoir right now, and here in the middle of chapter two, I LOATHE it. Generally, I adore memoirs; even if someone is annoying or atrocious they're at least interesting enough to keep me turning the pages. I LOVED Devil In The Details, and Everything I'm Cracked Up To Be. I even liked Leaving The Saints because it is brilliantly written and fascinating, in a car-crash kind of way (although I'll go out on a limb and say that if this woman is making a million-dollar living as America's Life Coach after purposely blowing up all the connecting bridges to her own family, we Americans need to raise our hiring standards a bit).

Anyway, all that to say, if you take the time to write 250+ pages about your life, chances are I'll find a place for it on my bookshelf. This, however, is going back to the library immediately. (You all said you wanted the truth; here goes...) I'm not even sure what to's just kind of sad. And graphic. The author (who I will freely admit I'm slightly afraid of - from other posts about her book, it's clear that she is a bit like the bully on the playground who will turn all her friends against you if you say your favorite color isn't green) can't possibly be as unlikeable in real life as she is in this book. I want to like her - we've been through some of the same things. But midway through chapter two, I'm not sure I can take anymore. There are funny moments, which are much appreciated in the midst of so much anger and grim determination. But for the most part, it's a manifesto of how she's going to get what she wants out of life even if she has to wrestle it (him) to the ground and sit on it until it cries "uncle." Thank God I didn't read this in my own post-divorce "I wonder if anyone will ever love me again" days, or I might have just hidden in a dark closet for the next 20 years convinced that life wasn't worth living.

So there you have it, my first bad review. Last week I wrestled over my love/hate relationship with the Dixie Chicks, but this week's dilemma will be over with a quick trip to the return bin at my local library.

In happier news, my sister and her family are coming to visit tomorrow. This will be the first visit to the big city for Glamour Girl and Yes We Do Eat Fig Newtons For Breakfast Boy, and it should be quite an adventure. We may just drive them through Boston's Big Dig and tell them it's an amusement park ride for kids who like construction :)

Happy Weekend Everyone!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Better than sheep

I couldn't sleep last night. One of those tossy-turny nights where right after I'd doze off, I'd realize both of my arms had fallen asleep and I'd spend the next ten minutes trying to restore circulation to my extremities.

Here is a small assortment of my late-night random thoughts, in no particular order (or context, for that matter):

1. My new chiropractic pillow with the big divot in the middle makes my head feel like it's in an egg carton.

2. I wonder if Advil or Tylenol is better for lower back pain?

3. I bet going to the gym is better for lower back pain.

4. It really is a miracle that our country can undergo such a gigantic change in leadership in the middle of good times, let alone war, and we all expect it to work out smoothly. And it will. I'm not sure I appreciate the miracle of our American process enough (One hour later: I am fully satisfied that I'm caught up on my awe and wonder; I am now ready to get some sleep).

5. My niece (Glamour Girl) and Nephew (Yes We Do Eat Fig Newtons For Breakfast Boy) are coming to visit this weekend, along with their delightful parents. I should probably spend some time on Friday removing poisonous, breakable, and electricity conducting items from the lower shelves. After that, the lower third of my house will be pretty bare.

6. If Britney Spears writes a self-help book on the importance of avoiding Mr. Wrong, she can count on me for 15-20 copies. In the words of my friend's 3 year old daughter, dressed as Sleeping Beauty for Halloween, "You shouldn't let the bad guy kiss you!"

7. I'm going to see my parents today, and my Dad is going to buy his first computer. He is 75, so that is very cool. But I don't think he's part of Apple's target demographic, as their on-line machine specs are in six point font, all in grey. I see a long afternoon of reading aloud to my father, in a techological language neither one of us understands. But perhaps I underestimate him; just because I don't know how many gigibytes I have, want, or need doesn't mean he doesn't. After all, the man understands Algebra.

8. Going to see my parents means that YES! this is another day where I will shower and put on clothes other than my pajamas. It's a big day in Trishworld.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I'm not even sure what to call this

I was reading this article this morning, and the full text of the letter Ted Haggard wrote to his congregation in the wake of his recent scandal. (I know I don't usually talk about such serious things on this blog, but after reading the letter, I think it's helpful and important for any of us who are wondering "What on earth happened?" to read Haggard's comments in their entirety. Not because of what it reveals about him, but because of what it reveals about us. His experience of shame, disgrace, and deception strikes me as a profound example of what can happen any to us when we get separated from each other - and from God. Whenever I start prettying up my image in the hopes that you'll think I have it all together, chances are I'm headed into a dark place. I think the take-home lesson from this chapter of Haggard's story is, at the very least, Stay out of the dark, kids. And don't wander through life alone.)

So anyway, I'm reading the letter, and I notice - as you may have - an ad on the righthand side featuring a pair of tighty-whities hanging from a clothesline. The ad is sponsored by a builder in Colorado Springs, I realized, with this super-special tag line to entice you to build yourself a brand new house: "Buying a resale home is like...wearing someone else's underwear!"

I did not need that particular bit of imagery this morning, thank you very much. Now the reason this caught my eye is that I used to work for a new home builder. And I confess, I planted my share of doubt-filled seeds with customers considering one of those used homes: I may even have mentioned things like leftover toenails in the carpet, or asked, "Don't you wonder how many butts have been in that tub???" Not a proud time for me, clearly. But I take some solace in the fact that I never - even in months where I was danger of not making quota - compared a house to underwear. I don't have to see the numbers on that ad to guess that folks aren't flocking to that community!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Bright light, dim bulb

There's a chance I'm getting a bit fuzzy, here in writing world. Two things happened yesterday that made me realize the importance of maintaining some connection with the outside world as I'm holed up here at my laptop finishing volume one of The Story of Trish's Life.

First, I got an email from my author friend Nancy French. She and I have been communicating quite a bit recently, both about the success of her hysterical book, Red State of Mind, and about the copy of said book that was supposed to be on my doorstep several weeks ago. I'm not exaggerating when I say, I LONG for this book. I've seen the advance reader copy (the one with all the saucy language), but there's something cool about the final hardcover version that makes me happy. I even know where this book will go on my bookshelf, and space there is hard to come by.

But the book didn't come. And didn't come. Days and weeks went by, until the only feasible thing I could think of was that someone must have stolen my copy of Red State right off of my little front porch. Now, we've never had anything taken from our porch, so the likelihood of someone in our exceedingly blue neighborhood perloining my copy of Nancy's tribute to conservative America is pretty low. But I was desperate for an answer, and that was all I could come up with.

Fast forward to last night's email. It's Nancy, who says UPS called to verify my address because they couldn't find me in the place I said I'd be. "That's strange," I thought. "My address is pretty easy..."

That is, when I get it right. Turns out UPS has been trying for weeks now to deliver my copy of Red State to some non-existent address in downtown Boston. I live in Belmont. Sigh.

I wonder if I should ask to dig around a bit in the UPS truck when it finally arrives, just to see what else I've sent to the wrong place???

The second thing making me reach out into the blogsphere for a tiny dose of sanity is the embarrassing fact that when Steve arrived home from work yesterday, I was still in my pajamas. Still in bed, to be precise, in exactly the place he left me, typing away on my laptop. What's worse is that I'm still wearing those pajamas now. Thirty-six hours and counting.

Don't worry though - I'm changing soon. Someone (prompted by my husband perhaps) sent me one of those articles about how personal appearance is an important part of author marketing these days. At the very least, it inspires me to get in the shower, as I guess cleanliness is the next big thing in books.

You heard it here first :)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Where I've been, what I've been doing

So sorry for my absence over the past few days. I've been deep in the thick of manuscript revisions, faced with the daunting realization that the time is coming where my Work In Progress will be taken from me to be printed and bound, and I will not be allowed to fix any of those dangling modifiers or sentences that sound pretty but don't quite make sense.

In the midst of this red-pen editing frenzy, I've had some ups and downs.

On the down side, I've reached the awkward conclusion that it was probably a mistake, in my first phone conversation with my Editor since early last summer, to mention, a.) that I hadn't looked at my manuscript in over two weeks because of a death in my family; and b.) Elizabeth Wurtzel.

The first bit of news she took with aplomb; my Editor is a total sweetheart. But forgetting that she's also a businesswoman, I launched into a joke about how Prozac Nation author Wurtzel moved into her editor's office when she hit a rough patch in her second book, sleeping on a daybed and having Chinese take-out and cocaine delivered directly to the security desk in the front lobby. (I'm not making this up or spreading ugly rumors, Wurtzel herself tells this story in her third memoir, More, Now, Again). Anyway, my Editor doesn't know me all that well yet; I suspect it wasn't the best idea for me to plant the idea that in addition to any support and hand-holding I might need to finish my manuscript, she might also be called on to provide room, board and recreational drugs. She laughed at my joke, but I found myself scrambling to assure her that Excedrin is the only chemical crutch I lean on while writing (and even that will be lessened now that I finally found a store that stocks humidifiers on a shelf a 5'4" girl can reach.) We ended on a good note, but I worry her heart skips a beat now whenever she gets a call announcing a visitor in the lobby.

The up side of my total immersion writing days was the purchase of a new gadget. Now you've all heard me rave about my hair dryer (say it with me: TOURMALINE IONIC POWER!) and I know it's not the done thing to define our quality of life by the stuff we buy. Well, that's all well and good, except for the singular joy I'm getting from my latest acquisition: A Swingline "Light Touch" desktop hole puncher (I got it cheaper than this at Costco, but that link wouldn't work). Honestly, it's the most fun you can have while waiting for the Excedrin to kick in. I keep my memoir manuscript in two small binders for portability (Binder #1 - "The Sucky Years;" Binder #2 - "Thank God Things Got Better"). When I print new pages, I need to punch in holes to fit them in. We had a hole punch, but it handled - I'm not even exaggerating here - two sheets at a time. Suffice to say the prospect of major revisions was a bit daunting. Not anymore. I printed 74 new pages this morning, and had them punched and in the binder in three piles. That's more than the promised 20 pages at a time!!! Yippee :)

Doesn't take much to keep me happy.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Wide Open Spaces

I'm watching "Storytellers" on VH1, featuring the Dixie Chicks, and it has me in quite a quandary. I don't want to start a political firestorm here on my blog (please refrain, actually) but let's just say I don't super-duper love some of the choices the Chicks have made in recent years. I agree with some of their politics, but strongly disagree with their methodology. In the words of those well-known political advisors, Destiny's Child - my Mama raised me better than that.

So here I am, hunkered down in front of the TV with my dog and a little bowl of guacamole, ready to dislike them a little more. But then Martie (the violinist) tells the story behind "Cowboy Take Me Away" - how she wrote this song for her sister, and the guy she hoped would love her sister in the way that she deserved. Well that just got me. That's the good stuff. This is something my sister and I would do for each other, if we had any musical talent whatsoever (which we don't, so we just share a bottle of wine from time to time and say, "Thank God you didn't end up with THAT guy!")

It's so hard sometimes, when you don't really like someone (I doubt Natalie Maines and I would last long as friends) but you love what they do. I am awed by some of the Chicks' songs - "I'm Not Ready To Make Nice" could be the anthem to any number of breakups I wrestled through, and "Wide Open Spaces" is the theme of my early life (the "room to make a big mistake" part in particular). Their music is so good, covering a range of life's joy and angst and sorrow that hits me in a way only a few other artists do. But some of Natalie's comments make me long for TiVo.

I'm not sure what to do with this dichotomy? What do you do when you find a musician/actor/author whose work you love when they do things that infuriate you?

On a lighter note, maybe I just like the banjo. Honestly - it's tough to be unhappy around a banjo.

Dryer update

Turns out my new hair dryer - the Revlon 1875 with TOURMALINE IONIC POWER - rocks! I got three compliments last night at class, all from people who see my hair often enough to not bother commenting unless something is really different.

I still don't get it - the ions, the use of semi-precious stones. One helpful article told me: "Tourmaline is a stone. It helps hair dry faster." Um, okay. Sure.

But I've never been one to question the scientific breakthroughs that make us beautiful (except for that whole "put mayonnaise in your hair to make it shiny" idea that circulated in my early teen years). If you're looking for a dryer, remember this unlikely equation:

Ions + gemstones = compliments.