Thursday, July 03, 2008

Step right up! Get your messy nostalgia here! Messy nostalgia, folks!

One of the best things about having a book out (other than the 'having a book out' part) are the happy little surprises...the delightful, unanticipated side-effects that will never cease to amaze me, amuse me, break my heart a little, make me blush, or make me smile.

Last night, for example, I met with the Apple Blossom book club. I got there early, just as a group of young girls were wrapping up their Nancy Drew mystery club meeting. They saw me and started grinning and giggling and whispering. At first I thought I had toilet paper stuck to my shoe. Then I overheard one say to another: "It's HER!"

I actually looked over my shoulder to see who they were talking about, and then I realized it was ... me. And they weren't talking about me because I raise Monarch caterpillars during the summer months. (Well, maybe they were. It is a fairly strange hobby.)

Yesterday, my neighbor's adorable daughter (I believe she's in third or fourth grade), rode her bike down the street to shout at me, "Hi Jessie! I'm going to start writing a book tomorrow!" And then she pedaled furiously back to her house and ran inside. To start writing, presumably.

My first reaction was to be incredibly touched--what sweethearts, all of them!! My second reaction was, "Oh God, I hope they don't read my book!" Because really, it's not for kids. Really.

("Mommy, what's a Rip VanGina?")

But to be that young, innocent, and unjaded again! Last night, one of the women in the book club asked if I've always wanted to be a writer. My answer? Absolutely. As my Dad likes to say, I wrote before I could read, sneaking into his office to scribble in his journals. Being allowed to use his electric typewriter was the best treat--better than mom actually giving in to my whining and buying Frankenberry cereal, better than being allowed to stay up late to watch The Creature from the Black Lagoon in 3-D, better than my friend Dolly telling me that while some ladies' boobs pointed in different directions, I'd probably have nothing to worry about when I grew up.

To me, being granted one hour with that typewriter was the pinnacle of rewards. A near-holy experience: the delicious, toxic scent of the correction fluid, the speedy clackety-clack of the keys (to get that professional 'fast-typey' noise, I would just type gobbledygook: as;ldfkjasda ajkf;odaljksdf), the crispy onion skin paper, the unobtrusive beep when I strayed too far into the right margin ... I loved it all.

Oh goodness, look at me, I'm leaking nostalgia all over your screen! Sorry about that. (Sidenote: as I write this, my dog Daisy is playing tag with one piece of kibble she placed on the living room floor: play-bowing at it, nudging it and running away, barking at it, wagging her tail at it, and finally, eating it.)

I have no idea where I was going with all of this, but every once in awhile, I just need to leak on the page a little. (Or screen, for that matter.) Thanks for indulging me. Now I'm off to find a rag and mop this mess up...

In other news, we have winners for the book pimping contest! Tia and TX Poppet, plucked at random...thanks to everyone who helped spread the word about Driving Sideways. You are lovely and generous, and I would like to invite you all to a party I am throwing as soon as I move out of the hovel.

Tomorrow, I'll be chatting about Amy Wallen's new book, plus more books I've read, am reading, will be reading. (I fully expect one or both of my eyes to break in some fashion by Labor Day.)


  1. You're famous and an inspiration--what a fabulous day!

    And please leak nostalgia anyday--even your leaking is great writing.

  2. jess, i am floating about the city of chicago on the high that you actually looked at my blog and...gasp... commented! I love following your daily adventures and find inspiration in your courage to happily share the spotlight with Walter the Farting Dog! I have not yet read your book, but I feel like I am waiting for the right time... Perhaps July 16...

    you make my dreams seem possible!

  3. oops, that was the wrong blogger identity. Josh above is actually shan of ""


  4. Woot! How cool are you? Oh and thank you for the linky love. Love the Random!
    TX Poppet at Canned Laughter

  5. Anonymous7:21 PM


    I happened upon your blog a few weeks ago and cannot get enough. I'm a fellow cheesehead, have a sister living in Fond du Lac, and two nephews graduated from UWO. Between the book and the blog, I feel like I know you:) Thanks for the great writing, can't wait for the next entry.

  6. I just think you are so inspiring. I whipped through your book in a few days, i was so enchanted.

  7. My freakin' life is too busy right at the moment to blow through your book like I want to. But in a way, I'm glad that I'm forced to ingest it in small chunks. I don't want it to end....but I passionately want to know how it ends! Weird?
    There are so many snippets I want to tell you about that made me giggle, chortle, guffaw, cringe, tear up, chortle some more...what a ride.
    Young girls giggling because they recognized you! Can we say, "Jess has ARRIVED" ?

  8. surcie8:17 AM

    Ahh, Frankenberry. I love it when you wax nostalgic.

  9. I didn't win. Bacon is going to be upset.

  10. You are so funny. I love your blog. I'm thrilled for you for your success.