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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Oh, Happy Day!

It's a red letter day (where the hell does that expression come from, anyway) in my little circle--the lovely and talented Ms. Maria Geraci, one of my fabulous critique partners, has sold her first novel! The Church of Bunco was bought by the discerning editors at Berkley, who are to be commended for their recognition of Maria's fabulousness. It's a wonderful book, about a group of women friends in Florida, who get together to play bunco (it's a game with betting and dice and margaritas, in case you, like me, have never heard of it before) and talk about their romantic travails. The main character meets and falls for one of the single hottest guys I've ever encountered in a romance novel--and believe me, I've met some scorchers. A read not to be missed, and you can be sure I'll be keeping you updated as to pub dates and special appearances by Maria as things progress.

Until then, all I can say is, with both my critique partners happily married into fantastic publishing houses, it better be my turn next! Hmmm, guess I should get to work, then, huh?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

First Book

My mother is about to move to Austin, to be with my father, who already lives there. He got a job teaching high school journalism and yearbook a year and a half ago, and she stayed behind in Virginia to finish out her last few semesters as a college professor before she could retire. I thought it was a pretty kooky scheme, myself, but it seems to be working out okay. The main thing is that they both love Austin (they met and fell in love there; I was born there) and have always wanted to live there again. And at the end of this school year, they will be. In a smaller house than the Virginia brick two-story--and since my dad's been living in the little ranch-style place for a while, it's pretty fully furnished.

Needless to say, my mother is having a yard sale. Most of my Christmas presents from her were things like china that had been hand-painted by my grandmother; I'm also going to end up with my grandmother's four-poster bed. Mama is paring down as much as she can--so when her 60th birthday rolled around earlier this week, I had to deliberate quite a bit about what to give her. Anything physical would just be another thing to pack. Eventually, I decided on a charitable donation in her honor, and the organization I picked is called First Book.

Such a cool group! They have a very simple mission: to give underprivileged kids and their families the opportunity to read and own their first new books. It got me thinking about the first books I remember reading and loving: Pat the Bunny, with all the tactile images. Anything by Maurice Sendak, although I loved Max and the Night Kitchen the best. And of course, the classic, Goodnight Moon. Although my memories of that one are forever overlaid by that hilarious Simpson's episode where Christopher Walken shows up at the Springfield Library to read it to the kids. You haven't lived until you've heard "Goodnight, Moon, goodnight, spoon" in that unmistakable Walken voice. Crazy.

So what was the first book you remember reading?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tempest in a Teapot

Sorry I've been MIA for a week--I've had a lot on my mind. My little group, the one I joined to get involved in my new community when I moved to this itsy bitsy corner of Ohio, is currently in a bit of a flap. And it's all my fault.

Last Thursday I threw down. At my very first meeting as an elected member of the board of this group, no less. The president came to us and told us that a new community group had been formed, and was looking for a place to meet while they applied for grants and gathered money to rent their own clubhouse. They'd tried several fraternal organizations before ours, and been turned down.

The group looking for a home is called RAY. Stands for Rainbow Alliance Youth, a support group for gay and lesbian teens.

As soon as the president says this, heads start to shake. Perfectly legitimate obstacles (liability, the conditions of our lease agreement) are brought up. The board is fairly unanimous. Definitely not. There's too much risk, what if something happens? Someone falls down the stairs on the way to a meeting, and we're liable! And of course, it has nothing to do with the fact that it's a gay/lesbian group. We'd feel just the same if it were any group looking to use our clubhouse.


I don't think I've ever gotten so worked up in public before in my life. When one of my fellow board members, someone I've considered a good friend, said, "I just don't get why we should do this. What's in it for us?", I almost launched myself across the bar at him. What's in it for us? How about the satisfaction of providing a safe place for young people to go and discuss difficult issues about sexuality and tolerance with their peers? How about giving back to the community, the WHOLE community, just like our mission statement says? How about being Christian, in the very best sense of the word--specifically, "Love thy neighbor as thyself."

I argued and fumed, and finally allowed the conversation pass on to the next topic when the president agreed to check on our lease and find out what the actual problems might be. My next brainwave was to offer up the hall of my little Episcopal church to RAY. I haven't talked to the minister (rector, whatever, I grew up Methodist, so the terminology still trips me up) yet, but she's very liberal and open-minded. Not to mention the official stance of the Episcopal church, which is pretty much as inclusive and accepting as can be. So I have hope that RAY will find a home in our conservative little town, one way or another, if I have anything to say about it.

But after all this, can I say the same? Do I even want to?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Kristen Painter tagged me, mostly, I think, because she can't keep her hands off me.

The rules:
Link to the person who tagged you.
Leave a comment on their blog, so their readers can visit you.
Post the rules on your blog.
Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog.
Tag 7 random people at the end of your blog.
Include links to their blogs and let each of them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

7 Random Facts About Louisa Edwards

1) Louisa is not my first name.
2) I just tried hot and sour soup for the first time, and I now believe it to have magical properties greater even than the healing powers contained in matzoh ball soup. My cold is almost gone!
3) I'm currently obsessed with 70's punk music, mainly the Sex Pistols (oh, Sid!) and the Buzzcocks.
4) I have at least eight pairs of adorable pajamas, but I sleep nekkid.
5) If I had to choose one substance to drink for the rest of my life, it would be champagne. Seriously, I'd choose it over water. I'd brush my teeth with it, happily.
6) The farthest I've ever swum without stopping is a mile and a half. Afterwards, I could barely haul my ass out of the pool.
7) My karaoke song of choice is "Son of a Preacher Man" by the ultimate feminist's guilty pleasure, Dusty Springfield.

Done! That was like pulling teeth. Ha, now I'm tagging Meg, Kate, Gena, Jenna, Nephele, Shelley, and Maureen.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Underappreciated Actor of the Week

Will Arnett

The hilariously intense, raspy-voiced Arnett is probably best known for (or at least, I first noticed him in) his role as George "Gob" Bluth, III. That's "Gob" pronounced "Job", as in biblically-speaking. When asked about the experience of working on Arrested Development, he said of the pilot that it was "the best I ever read--and I hope that insults every other pilot I worked on."

His style is over the top comedy with a straight face, and there's something about him that totally cracks me up. And for some reason, I find him completely sexy, even when he's at his most ridiculous.

He's hysterical as Amy Poehler's figure skating partner/brother in Blades of Glory; he's appeared as a gay executive with a letch for Page Kenneth on 30 Rock. IMDB lists multiple upcoming performances to look forward to, most notably the voice of super-car K.I.T.T on a new TV remake of Knight Rider. Here's hoping The Hoff will at least be making a cameo!

Some fun Will Arnett trivia, courtesy of IMDB:

Good pal of screenwriter/playwright Dave McLaughlin. One of Will's first screen roles was in McLaughlin's Southie (1998).

Speaks fluent French.

Attended French-speaking schools in Toronto.

Does voice-over work for GMC trucks and Lamasil tablets.

See, we're perfect for each other! I speak French! I...haven't been to Toronto, but it's on my list! And I don't have nail fungus, but if I did, I'm sure Lamisil would clear it right up! Too bad he's married to Amy Poehler in real life. And Penelope Ann Miller before her, but we won't get into that. He traded up, that's all we need to say.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sick and Tired

It's all Reggie's fault. My brother-in-law was coming down with something rhinovirus-y over the weekend, and now I've got it. I'm all sniffly and my throat hurts, and I've turned into Id Girl. Want, take, have. That's my motto when I'm sick.

What I'm wanting right now is to take a bath and then a nap, so this is going to be a short blog.

I've got to pick fabric for the seat cushions of my new dining room chairs. Please rank the following possibilities.




Tuesday, January 8, 2008


When did it become bad to be good at more than one thing? There's been some debate recently over whether it's kosher for a literary agent to also be an author in her own right. Now, opponents like to claim they believe it's a purely professional problem they have with this--that there's a conflict of interest in an agent who sells other people's work also having work of her own to sell. And maybe, on some level, they do believe that, but it's based on a misunderstanding of how literary agenting, not to mention publishing in general, works. The main argument is that if an agent is trying to sell her own book, she'll push it ahead of her clients' work. And then somehow editors won't want to buy the clients' work, they'll only want hers.

This is silly for several reasons. First of all, editors are looking for many more than one book at a time. It's not a race; there are books published every month, and editors always have slots to fill. Secondly, it's not about what an editor sees first; it's about what he or she likes. A good book is a good book, and just being written by an agent isn't enough to get a book published. One successful agent/author I know had more than 25 rejections before her work struck a chord with an editor. Sound familiar?

Now, does an agent who writes have an advantage over the neophyte unpublished author? Yes, of course. But it's the advantage of experience, knowing how the business works, and how to work the system--the same advantage her clients got by signing with her. You don't have to take it on faith, either. Check it out--how are her clients doing? Is her list growing? Are her clients making it onto bestseller lists and getting great deals? If so, it's safe to assume she's not reserving any precious nuggets of wisdom for her own, exclusive use. Everything that's making her a success as an agent/author is contributing to her clients' successes.

Personally, I think the real problem most people have with this scenario comes down to fear. There's a natural intimidation effect when you encounter someone who's successful on multiple fronts. It can make us mere mortals feel inadequate, or threatened. This is when we need to lift our chins and say, "Ok, fine. So maybe you're more successful than I am, right now. But with you as a model and an inspiration, with you out there pushing the envelope of what I can accomplish and what avenues are open to me, I will make it just as big one day." Instead of tearing down those who are striving to expand our little world, why not take notes and learn something from them? I know, I know, it's a lot easier to spout an uninformed opinion--but what's that ultimately going to get you, beyond the momentary thrill of propping yourself up by putting someone else down?

It's fun, sure, but is it the best use of your time?

Monday, January 7, 2008

Creature of Habit

I tend to find something that works for me, then stick with it. I realize this doesn't make me unique in all the world, nor is it super mind-bending, but it's something I've noticed about myself. The other thing I've noticed is that when circumstance forces me to break my own mold, it's usually a really good thing. Like recently, I switched brands of jeans.

Yes, all this navel-gazing over a pair of pants. But jeans are important! At least to me. I live in my jeans, and getting the right fit/style/length/wash is unreasonably difficult. They're the hardest thing to shop for. It took me less time to find my wedding gown than it took me to find a reliable brand of jeans. Which I then stuck with for about seven years, give or take. That was Lucky Brand Jeans, which I still enjoy (although I feel like I might be getting a little old for them--super low-rider, flared jeans aren't all that comfy to me anymore.)

On my recent trip to Palm Springs, however, I had a crisis. I don't pack well, as a rule, and this trip was no exception. I packed a swim coverup, two cashmere sweaters (for the desert in California!), two tank tops, and one t-shirt. I wore a pair of (Lucky, of course) jeans on the plane. This is the pair I've been wearing practically every day, with pauses for washing, since summer. Unbeknownst to me, I'd been wearing holes in them, near the personal region. When I discovered the ventilation, I nearly panicked. In an unknown city, one more known for golf carts on the freeway and prime rib dinner early bird specials than fashion! And I had no idea where the Lucky Brand store might be. El Paseo, the Palm Springs equivalent of Rodeo Drive/Fifth Ave/Michigan Ave, seemed like a good place to start.

Didn't find Lucky, but did find Saks, so I dragged Nick in, and then sent him off to the men's section so I could hunt up some denim in peace. I don't know how y'all feel about it, but I positively can't shop for jeans in the presence of my husband. It's too inhibiting. Once he was gone, I pigeon-holed a sales girl who, happily, knew her stuff, and got a few pairs to try on. Now, I'm not really into the whole embroidered ass pockets thing, or glitter, or weird washes or any of that, and my Saks girl, astute as she was, no doubt intuited as much from my outfit of cardigan, jeans (the holey ones, I know--they were all I had!) and incredibly preppy plaid ballet flats. So all she gave me were classic styles, with maybe just a hint of fun here and there. And the brand she recommended (the one I'm probably going to stick with for the next decade or so) was Joe's Jeans. Evidently they're popular; I wouldn't know, having been blithely buying one single brand for the last seven years, thus avoiding the need to follow these trends. All I can tell you is, they're comfortable and they look hot. I even bought one pair with subtle quilting on the back pockets, just for fun.

So what's your jeans brand of choice?

Saturday, January 5, 2008

I'm back!

It's been a wild couple of weeks. We hunted up a house and moved into it three days before Christmas.

Yes, welcome to another episode of "I Am a Crazy Person".

The last time we moved, two years ago, it was from a rental to a house about a mile away, and I thought, "I don't need no stinking movers. I can do this all myself. No sweat." Wrong. A world of miscalculation. LOTS of sweat. Even though it was the dead of winter, December (again! Will I never learn?), and it snowed on me. I loaded up that diesel-fueled Uhaul all by myself, everything I could carry (and some stuff I really probably shouldn't have) and it was just about the worst day of my life. And then I made Nick swear that we'd never do it that way again.

So this time, even though I had fleeting thoughts of "Oh, maybe it wouldn't be so bad...", Nick cleverly recalled my anguish during the last move, and forced me to hire movers. They came in and packed us up and moved us in a matter of hours, and now it's just about the unpacking. Which is kind of satisfying, actually. I've got to buy some new furniture and figure out curtains and get my washer and dryer switched around so they're on the right side of each other, but for the most part, we're done. And we even managed to have Christmas! We put up the tree on Christmas Eve, and I roasted a goose on Christmas Day. My parents and sister were there to celebrate with us, and it was like putting my nesting instincts on hyperdrive. Usually it takes me a little while to settle into a new place, but this house feels like home already. Even without any curtains.

We're in Palm Springs right now, visiting the honey's family, and I'm required at dinner (Arnold Palmer's restaurant, supposedly home of the best French dip sandwich in the world), so I'll sign off. But you'll all be thrilled to know that one of my New Year's resolutions is to blog more regularly.

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