Thursday, February 28, 2008

The 'Mooing' and 'Baa-ing' Are Extra

There comes a time in every young woman’s life when she reaches a very special milestone. It’s something she might look forward to her entire life, if she’s a certain kind of girl. Other girls may dread it. It can be messy, it can be awkward, it can be nothing like you imagined, but it’s always special.

I’m talking, of course, about the first time a young woman totally geeks out in front of a Celebrity / Writing Hero. Or in my case, in front of two of them.

Tuesday evening I attended (with the always-awesome dynamic duo of Swishy and Manic Mom) a book signing and reading for none other than the witty, gracious, and lovely Eileen Cook herself. It was thrilling to meet her, because I have gotten to know her via email over the past year, and I just adore her … (I also met her best friend Jamie—who is spunky and cute and awesome in person, and the multi-talented and elegant Ruth Kaufman, who sat next to me at dinner, and later I re-met the adorable and funny Kristabella, who ALSO enjoys wine and is therefore excellent in my book…but I digress).

After introductions, I tried to keep my Crazies on a short leash, and I mostly behaved … until Jen Lancaster showed up—yeah, that’s right, you heard me, THE Jen Lancaster, Chicago blogger and author extraordinaire who provided me with the awesome cover blurb for Driving Sideways…and then I (probably) just got downright creepy, all giddy and “Oh, can I sit next to you?” and “I am so starstruck that you’re here!” and “Who here watches Rock of Love II?”

I’m just glad I didn’t start petting her hair. But I think I rubbed Eileen’s back a little while posing for this picture.

(Sorry Eileen, I sincerely hope I didn’t creep you out! It must be said that back-rubbing is a very common gesture in my family, which is meant to convey sincere affection. But not in a weird way.)

Fast-forward to the wine bar after the reading. I am partially deaf in my left ear by this point, what with walking through the arctic Windy City without my sensible earmuffs on. Lovely (and thick! Quite thick!) wine menus are provided to us, and immediately I am confused by the Flights of Wine.

“Flights of wine?” I brayed, “What’s a flight of wine? Come on, I’m FROM A FARM.”

Yes. That’s right. You heard me. I’M FROM A FARM. I continued with, “This is all too confusing for me. Because I’M FROM A FARM.”

Okay. I’m not REALLY from a farm, but…well, let’s just move on. Best not to dwell. Later, I asked if anyone had heard of the gentleman who, while biking down a rural Wisconsin road, encountered a dead deer carcass, dragged it into the woods, and made sweet, sweet love to it. I’d just read about this in the local newspaper and, apparently, I was itching to introduce the anecdote into my next sophisticated conversation.

SO! For everyone keeping track, I’m from a FARM, and I tell stories about NECRO-BESTIALITY in classy wine bars.

Next, I used a sentence that may or may not have included the phrase “meat whistle” in it in reference to the last time I ate meat. As in, “Does the meat whistle count?” I’m not sure, but I may have even referenced a “skin flute.” (You can ask my brother what was actually said: he was cringing next to me with his face in his hands.)

But--BUT!! It must be said that I was NOT the person who ate the truffle that fell on the floor.

Alright, in all seriousness, Jen was generous and funny and lovely and offered some very helpful advice about writing, despite the atrocious things coming from my mouth at irregular intervals. And Eileen was just sweet and loveable and witty as can be. For more and BETTER pictures of the evening, please visit Manic or photography skills are limited, as you might imagine, because ... I'M FROM A FARM.


  1. Anonymous8:37 PM

    Nice timing. I was just about to close my feed reader when this post appeared. Thanks for the witty update. I'm sure everything went very well and that they all loved you. Even if you declare loudly that you're from a farm and tell disgusting stories over wine. That's just part of your charm. ;-)

  2. To clarify:

    1. Yes, you did mention a skin flute.

    2. Eileen mentioned the deer might have been MOIST.

    3. A wine flight is a sampling of 4-6 mini-wines... they also have beer flights (but that also might be Southwest Airlines) and cosmo-flights!)

    4. I'm a little bummed I did not get a backrub.

    5. Or my hair petted.

    6. The freaking truffle was damn good.

    7. And once again, I see you mentioned things "coming" from your mouth...

    That is all.

  3. Came over from Swishy . . . I'm now reading another version (read Manic's too)of your awesome night. How awesome! I'm jealous . . . You are all hilarious!

  4. Anonymous11:44 PM

    Hi Jess, I'm sending you this since you didn't leave me an e-mail address to reach you. It's Aldrich from the Oshkosh Northwestern. We're interested in doing a story about you for Artist of the Week when you have your book party. Please send me an e-mail with all your contact information to If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at (920) 426-6663.

    Aldrich aka Jet

  5. so what is a flight of wine? haha.

    that meeting sounds like so much fun! i'm so jealous. i'm planning on going to see jen lancaster when she comes to ohio (even though thats 4 hours away from me)

  6. oh, Jess. You crack me up. I wouldn't know what a flight of wine is either, but I'm from a farm (so to speak) too.

  7. I just laughed out loud! Love the image of you telling the deer story in a classy wine bar. Glad I know what a flight of wine is now. Evidently I don't get out much, oh yeah, I have 7 horses, a goat, bunnies, a dog.... I AM FROM A FARM!

  8. Anonymous12:34 PM

    That is so not the weirdest thing to say to Jen Lancaster. It's why I always try to have her around me with alcohol, hoping she will forget when I say things like "I don't understand why you're friends with me." Self-esteem. I has it.

    It was great to re-meet you! It was such a fun time! We HAVE to do it again soon! Complete with more FARM stories!

  9. If we ever meet in person I'll give my wife a heads up that you're into heavy petting upon first introduction. I won't mind, but she's a little funny that way.

  10. You can rub me anytime, but not if you are going to talk about the deer or the skin flute while you do it.

    I LOVED meeting you and loved you even more that you convinced JEN L to show up.

  11. That's so funny. I love the creepy story in the wine bar.

    I've had flights of wine. Translated into Wisconsin-ese, it means kick-ass amounts of wine without having to feel guilty. Theoretically, you're not supposed to finish every glass, but hell, it's just sitting there and it would be so wasteful.

    I was just wondering who will be stalking you on YOUR first book signing. I need to know where you'll be appearing so that I can plan accordingly.

    And then NEXT year, when you're NOT on tour, perhaps you'd consider meeting me and my friends in person at the Harbor Bar in Waupaca to discuss Driving Sideways? (I'd invite you this year, but you'll be so gloriously busy with your debut tour, right?)

    Anyway, once again, thanks for providing a much-needed giggle.

  12. Anonymous10:53 PM

    Ugh, we were talking about Deer Guy a month or two ago at work. Look up his criminal record, it's a scream. Horse barn. County fair. That's all I'm saying.

    What about the Goth kids who dug up the dead girl to bang her? You just gotta love Wisconsin...

    In other news, Are you getting so excited for the book?!?!?!?!?!?!!! :D