Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A week of dull adventures

Wow, so much has been happening! First, I have finally begun tackling my revisions. Bit of advice for anyone out there in the same boat: do not read a novel by an author you admire before you attempt revising your own work. Because by comparison, your own work will now look like the kind of rash you might get on both of your legs after a month in the Amazon Basin. If you still have any legs left after falling off the sightseeing boat into piranha- and flesh-eating virus-infested waters.

Actually, no, I take that back. I'm trying to be POSITIVE. So maybe if I read Haven Kimmel before I pull up in front of the computer, it will INSPIRE me rather than give me hives on my brain. Special hives that suck the will to create from my frontal lobe.

Imagine, if you will, a decent segue here. Okay. That should suffice, no?

The other day I was driving to our local nursery yet again because unbeknownst to me, I had planted in my shade garden a horrifically poisonous, dripping-with-fungal-diseases plant that could not only wipe out the rest of my garden but also, um, ME, if I ate so much as a single leaf in my salad. This happy little plant is called monkshood, and some Canadian actor DIED last year after mistaking it for parsley in his dinner. How embarrassing, right? Anyway, I needed to get some replacement plants. While waiting for traffic at a red light I heard a lilting, jubilant song coming from ... well, I didn't have a clue as to its origination. It seemed to be coming from all around me.

And immediately I wanted to break something in close proximity to my fists because I knew, I just KNEW it was the ice cream truck, trundling somewhere behind me, taunting me. I've written of the ice cream truck before, and let me tell you. It is slowly destroying my will to live. If they don't change the song and/or route soon, there may be another police standoff in my neighborhood. Bomb pop, anyone?

As I drove on, the song followed me. Good Christ on a Flaming Scooter, the ice cream truck was everywhere I went!!! I looked in my rearview mirror. No ice cream truck. I began to worry I was losing my mind. Perhaps the ice cream song had actually embedded itself into my brain and I'd never get it out. No horror could be greater. If ever there was an excuse for stabbing forks in one's ears in order to self-inflict some immediate brain damage, this was it.

The happy jingle eventually drifted off and I arrived at the nursery, parked my car, and ... there it was again! Coming from ... my purse.

Remember how I told you I just got a new cell phone? Well, that buoyant tune was nothing more than the sound of ... my "unknown call" ring tone. It was a wrong number.

I wish blogger had sound effects, because that would have been a great spot for a vaudevillian / Benny Hill / Laugh-In punchline tune. BA-DA-BAH-buh-duh-buh! "And that ain't AAAAAALLLLL!"

Last week I also saw the Gufs in concert. Nothing exciting or funny happened there, except for my best friend and I acting like twelve year-olds when faced with the actual opportunity to chat with the cute bassist. "I'll buy a CD if you talk to him." "No, YOU talk to him! It's your idea!" "No, I'm only going up there if YOU talk to him. You're the outgoing one!"

We totally chickened out and scrammed.

This Saturday I'll be speaking to the Oshkosh Writers' Group at the Oshkosh Public Library at 11, if you're in town. And then next Tuesday I leave for the Riding with Larry Resnick road trip. For a whole, blessed week. See, the idea is to follow the path my characters do on THEIR road trip out west. I'll post another update before I leave. I may get to meet this lovely and talented writer during one of our stops. Which would be a very cool thing indeed.

33 comments:

  1. I love the idea of your trip. How cool?! And as for revisions. Just did mine for the textbook I revised.

    Thank god for trusty copy editors. I imagine my task was way easier than yours. I'll send you good writing vibes, my friend.

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  2. Well at least you DO have a garden!

    The dial-up on my computer sounds like the Mexican Hat Dance. The one on my laptop sounds like the theme song from Mash (just the helicopter part).

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  3. I sometimes make up list of ways in which it would just be too embarassing to die. What? Don't you?

    Anyway, dying after mistaking some sort of poisonous fungus for parsley and sprinkling it all over my spaghetti carbonara has just rocketed to near the very top of my list. Right after dying on the toilet, and before collapsing during a particularly strenuous jazzercise routine.

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  4. AHAHAHAAHAHAHAH!!!! The CELL phone. What a predictable culprit :) I guess you better change your ring before it happens when you're near a drawer full of forks.

    I've started to NOT answer my cell or home phone. It only took me 10 years to get over the excitement of getting a phone call on the cell...good grief am I an attention whore!

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  5. Okay this is more sad than embarrassing but, well, you're the writer, give me another word for it...my friend's friend actually DIED from TSS. Yes, she was killed by a tampon. That *has* to be on your list.

    The toilet. I have no words. I would be mortified. Literally. badoom ching! ugh.

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  6. I am excited to hear more about this roadtrip. I do hope you'll share lots of stories.

    As for the scary plant - I would be fine with it because since I know so very little about plants, I work under the assumption that they are all poisonous and out to kill me. Actually, in Florida they probably are.

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  7. I googled... what a pretty poison! But the Canadian actor must have been high because it doesn't look anything like parsley.

    My cell phone chirps like a cricket. I don't hate it.

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  8. Wow, change the ringtone!! Have a great time on your trip! We should get together when you get back.

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  9. Jess--

    I'm looking forward to meeting you on Saturday. Thanks for visiting us.

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  10. ha! that sounds like something that would happen to me, with the ringer deal. only i'd be scrambling for money at the time to run out and get a toffee crunch bar.

    ;)

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  11. When I was at my book club meeting on Sunday night, the ice cream truck came through my friend's townhouse complex - my first ICT sighting in years. What I don't understand is how you're ever supposed to catch the truck if you want an ice cream? It's always moving because no one can get outside fast enough!

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  12. "Good Christ on a Flaming Scooter" - Crap, I wish I had one ounce of your way with words.

    Have fun in Oshkosh!

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  13. "Good Christ on a flaming scooter." lol. you crack me up. I'll have to try and remember that one.

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  14. Jess, what is it with you and mistaking the source of sounds? First it was your nostril cheeping, and now it's your purse playing "The Entertainer"?

    Back east, Tacy could hear the ice cream truck when it was still several (tens of) blocks away. She and Kyle would chase the sound up and down the streets until they finally located the truck itself. Since moving here, she has not yet fully regained her ability to hear the ice cream truck, and if I talk loud enough, I can usually distract her.

    Where did you get the freaky fungus plant anyway? At a different nursery?

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  15. Lord, I'm the same way with books. Half the time I'm inspired to do better, half the time I want to slice my hands off and never write again. Then sometimes I read a poplit book and get so damn mad thinking THIS got published? Then I can't write either. So basically what I'm saying is I have a lot of excuses not to write. Excellent.

    When I saw "christ" and "ice cream truck" in the same sentence, I was worried that the evangelical ice cream man from Santa Monica had tracked you down! Phew.

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  16. Oops blogger published before I was done: just wanted to say break a leg Saturday and have a great road trip! You still coming to NYC one of these days?

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  17. Now that's weird because reading a book by an author I admire inspires me. I dunno. I will say that when I'm in a "everything I write reads like sh#t" mood, I won't attempt to edit my own stuff because the delete button is too tempting.

    Tanya

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  18. Ha! Glad you aren't hearing things.

    Our ice cream truck (the one in my neighborhood...not "ours" like I own one) plays a 6 second song and then says (in a distinctly Asian female voice) "Hello?" and then starts playing songs again. The first time I heard it I kept saying "Um hello?" because I thought my neighbor was talking to me over her fence.

    Nice.

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  19. I think it is awesome that you are doing the roadtrip that your characters did!!!

    And good call on the plant!!

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  20. Aww, Jess, you're your own worst critic! I can't wait until your book comes out, having had such a great preview of your writing from your blog. :)

    Glad you got rid of Scary Plant before any harm was done.

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  21. "Good Christ on a Flaming Scooter"

    LOL. I love that.

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  22. Good Christ on a Flaming Scooter. I think it was the "scooter" part that made me laugh the most. I love Haven Kimmel. LOVE HER!! I've read all of her books...except the one about the pool player.

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  23. Thanks for the first paragraph advice.

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  24. Good luck with the revisions, dear....I know it will be absolutely wonderful!

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  25. YOUR CELL PHONE RING??? HAHAHAHA!!!! excellent. VERY funny.

    AND you guys chickened out??? I don't blame you, I probably would've too.
    I had the chance to meet David Sedaris and turned into a 12 year old girl myself.

    And...I know what you mean about the revisions. ugh. I look back on my work (that I'm revising) and think, "DAMN IT!!! IT'S CRAP! HOW CAN THEY THINK THIS IS GOOD???"

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  26. You might hook up with Anna Caryn? That would be sooo cool!

    Funny that I haven't blogged in almost a week, or had a chance to read yours, and just minutes ago I blogged, and mentioned something about legs being amputated, then come to your blog and see you made mention of legs no longer existing too!

    Have a GREAT trip on your Larry Resnick ride--who's going with you? Bring an extra kidney with ya, just in case! xoxo

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  27. "Good Christ on a flaming scooter."

    Now that is a Jess Riley classic.

    And hey, we leave WI next week for a 10-day road trip of our own ('cept we'll be headed south and east-- with a car full of two young kids and a whole lot of gear... and I'm actually excited about this. Nuts, eh?
    Hope you have a fabulous (and yes, ice-cream-truck-free) trip!

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  28. You should change to "My Humps" like me. Then you'll never get confused. You'll just get down. And boogie.

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  29. my husband's ringtone is a drum solo and scares the tar out of me every time...lol

    that's scary about that monkshood! that's why I don't plant anything - I'll kill it. Or me! Yeah, that's it. It's not that I don't garden because I'm totally LAZY...oh, no never. ;)

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  30. I'm sure your work does not resemble a rash on BOTH legs in any way. I'm sure it does not resemble a rash at all!

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  31. When I started doing stand-up and when I was writing my book, I would read or watch comics who SUCK yet have a career. It's a much better feeling to see people who are talentless because then you can feel like "hey, whatever I do it will at least be as good (or bad) as that and they're bringing home a paycheck!" Seriously, it works. Stay away from great writing for awhile.

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  32. Your segue comment came so out of left field that it had my dying. And thanks for the blog plug. I'm still blushing, and not only because it took me a few days to have chance to read this post and comment on it.

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  33. When are you coming to Vancouver? Huh? Huh? Whatsa matter you afraid of Canada? Were you attacked by a rabid beaver as a child?

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