You can ask anyone who has ever worked with me, and they will tell you how rare it is for me to feel like I’ve done a job that is even close to good enough (*cough*Nicole*cough*). It happens once in a blue moon. So, imagine my surprise to complete two publishing projects with two very different beginnings, and actually feel really good about them.
One project was a lark to entertain my son, born out of his imaginative tangents in the car. The other was a Phoenix, rising up out of the ashes of another much-loved-but-lost project. I didn’t expect either of them. I certainly didn’t expect to want to show them to anyone.
I think a lot of my pleasure (and pride) comes from the models. Of course What If One Day is based on my boy. My Rainbow World’s model was inspired by my boss’ granddaughter. I love looking at my son, so it only follows I’ll love looking at illustrations of him. And my boss’ granddaughter is DARLING, eat-her-up-cute.
Thor and I dedicated his book to my father because he always told me the best, crazy stories, and I have kept up that tradition for my [poor, long-suffering] child. Rainbow is dedicated to Thor, to Robyn’s daughter, to my boss, and her granddaughter–and to grandparents and grandbabies everywhere. Half of the art in this book got an unexpected second chance, with a whole new set of words and different story, kind of like how grandchildren are happy chances to enjoy our families all over again.
I enjoyed every second of the artwork in these books. If readers can enjoy them a tenth as much, I’ll feel really good.
Little reminder that all royalties from December sales of TIARA TROUBLE are going to help out senior citizens through The Senior Source. Click the link to your left to buy your copy, or send it as a gift. You can even send the eBook as a gift!
And now on to my random thoughts:
I rewatched both Thor and Thor 2 last night, and I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the first one. The first Thor is a great superhero movie. It’s lighthearted and comical, with great bursts of dialog and real chemistry between the stars. The second Thor is pretty terrible, made redeemable only by Loki and Frigga. I love that scene with Frigga fighting Malekith. You go, Renee Russo!
Thor hit all the right notes, thanks to Joss Whedon and Kenneth Branagh. Thor 2? Outside of the scenes between Hiddleston and Russo, the chemistry was gone among the actors–the sparkle was gone. Remember when Chris Hemsworth strutted into frame in the big reveal of Thor in the first movie? He WAS Thor.
Hemsworth was charming and charismatic, and seemed really happy to be there. He and Natalie Portman were believably enamored of one another–which had everything to do with the dialog. She was mostly believably scientific and adorkable–again with the dialog. Anthony Hopkins didn’t seem embarrassed. Josh Dallas was gorgeous–what happened with him? And whose idea was it to replace him with Chuck? Y’all, do not put Chuck in a blond wig. All the wigs were better in Thor–in Thor 2? No. I’ve seen a better wig on The Blacklist.
Thor 2 ruined the Jane Foster character, who was fiery, driven, and wicked smaht in the first movie, and relegated to cowering and running around in the second. Bah.
Thor was a fantastic romp. Thor 2 had no heart–or only the small, black one that belongs to Loki. I’d still watch a 3rd.
I loved Dynasty. The hair. The drama. The shoulder pads. The slap fights. The hats. The turbans. Were there people on that show other than Joan Collins? There was definitely Steven Carrington, who was one of network television’s first openly gay main characters. He was cute. His Steve Coleman incarnation was cuter–I want Steve Coleman to be a SHIELD agent, btw.
I do not love Duck Dynasty. While my mother was recuperating at my house, I ended up squinting my way through a Duck Dynasty marathon. I did not understand the appeal. It did not compute. Then my mother said the magic words, “I like them because they are Christians.”
It didn’t matter that they were jaw-droppingly inane, and borderline inappropriate (this from the episode where tw0 grown men were grilling a 14 year old girl about how far she was going to let her first date get with her.) They were Christians! The magic bandaid that makes everything better. Slap a cross on your bumper and you’re good to go!
You know who else were Christians?
David Duke (“We [Whites] desire to live in our own neighborhoods, go to our own schools, work in our own cities and towns, and ultimately live as one extended family in our own nation. We shall end the racial genocide of integration.”)
George Wallace (“In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth [white people], I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever”. )
Cecil Price (“Well, boys, you’ve done a good job [murdering Civil Rights workers.] You’ve struck a blow for the white man. Mississippi can be proud of you. You’ve let those agitating outsiders know where this state stands. Go home now and forget it.”)
Good, southern boys out to protect what the good lord and the good book says is so. By whatever means necessary. Looking at color, or religion, or sexual orientation rather than seeing human beings because it is easier to lynch a man than try to understand him. Good old southern boys, two of whom were elected to public office–just in case you doubt their popularity.
I don’t give a rat’s tail what some hairy hillbilly thinks. (I care less what a reality TV star thinks–you don’t get to be on a reality TV show because you are well adjusted. No one is going to watch Bob go to work, work hard, and come home to help his wife do the dishes). What I care about is that there are human beings on the receiving end of this Heehaw’s flapping beard hole.
If you’re going to hide behind God’s skirts, then I highly suggest you use the language of Jesus when you get brave enough to poke your head out from behind the big guy’s backside.
I highly suggest you take your example from Jesus, not Paul, or Peter, or Moses, or any other imperfect man. Model your behavior after the Son of God, not the Sons of Thunder. If you aspire to be a godly man or woman, my recommendation is that you save your judgment for The Church, like Jesus did. And you offer your love, compassion, kindness, and MEEKNESS to the world. Like Jesus did.
Jesus wasn’t throwing over the tables and going postal on the temple prostitutes, or losing his temper with the tax collectors. He saved his ire for those who said they knew better, and still did just as bad, or worse.
If you want to love people, then keep your mouth shut about them and let your lifestyle be the example to follow. If you want to shun, shame, or hurt people, just keep jacking your jaws.
I’ve been talking to Robyn and Irene about The Feels today. You know The Feels.
The Feels is what happens when you are somewhere between the ages of 8 and 17, and you lay eyes on someone (usually a celebrity of some sort) whose innate charisma sparks something on the inside of you that wakes up a desire you are too young to name, and that your tiny brain is incapable of understanding. The Feels is a sudden rush of desperate, aching, unrequited love, trembling somewhere on the balance between agony and ecstasy, threatening to tip to either side at any moment.
The Feels is accompanied by the need to laugh, cry, curl up in the fetal position, wail, giggle, gag, and lie catatonic for want of the object of your affection.
You might be surprised to learn that I did not have a true case of The Feels for Duran Duran. No. My first case of The Feels happened when I was walking through a Blockbuster Video store in 1986.
I was somewhere in my fifteenth year, having managed to avoid most pitfalls of The Feels because my deep-desire tastes ran to Hamlet and Heathcliff, rather than Jake Ryan and Ferris Bueller. You don’t get a lot of Hamlet in Grand Prairie, Texas. You don’t even get a lot of Ferris Bueller.
I had tremors of The Feels for members of Duran Duran, Matt Dillon, and Judd Nelson, but never anything that shook me out of my shoes. Then, one day I was walking through Blockbuster and stopped cold. On the far right hand side of the shelf closest to the door, facing inward of the store, on the third shelf down was a video.
I don’t know. I don’t know. But everything changed. I saw this video jacket and something happened.
That boy. His tie. His shirt. His sweater. The way his sweater was so… His tie was so… His hair was so… His lips were so…
I had already hit puberty, but when I saw that video jacket, puberty hit me back.
It was like a sucker punch. I can remember feeling like all the air had gone out of me. I felt too hot. I felt sick. I felt like I wanted to throw up. And I felt…good. Oh my word–I had never felt so good. I had The Feels.
I would not allow myself to rent the video because I was so stunned by The Feels I got just looking at the picture of the boy on the cover, that I was (rightly) afraid that if I watched the video, something inside me would break. I would be wrecked. Ruined. Altered.
So, for TWO YEARS, I walked past that video. I would stop and gaze and Feel Things, and now and then I would let myself touch the video jacket, read the back of it, and look at the pictures there. I would fantasize about meeting The Boy on the Cover, who was either Rupert Everett, or Collin Firth (I had hoped The Boy on the Cover was called Collin because Rupert is an awful name, but alas) and telling him how I had abstained from–what? From looking at him doing his job in a movie?
Finally, when I was 17, I gave in and rented the video.
I was wrecked. I was ruined. I was altered. And not just because the premise of the movie centers around The Boy on the Cover being gay for The Dread Pirate Roberts. You’d think that would have dampened The Feels, but it did not. It just made The Feels more complicated, and the only thing a teenage girl loves more than the telephone is FEELING COMPLICATED*. GOD! NO ONE UNDERSTANDS ME! YOU’RE RUINING MY LIFE, MOM! GET OUT OF MY ROOM! *SOBBING*
I watched the movie over and over again. Then, I took it back to Blockbuster and asked to buy it. Begged to buy it. I had to beg because they told me no, it was their only copy. I tried to explain how I needed the movie.
I have never told anyone this before: I started crying.
I begged the Blockbuster lady to sell me the movie because THE FEELS and I NEEDED IT. FEELS. I HAD THEM. *TEARS* PLEASE UNDERSTAND MY COMPLICATED FEELS FOR THIS ACTOR WHO WILL NEVER LOVE ME.
She sympathized, but still said no.
So, I did the only thing I knew to do. I stole it.
That is, I rented it again from a different employee, because Blockbuster lady knew what was up and wouldn’t rent it to me again–she made up some rule about Teenagers with The Feels–and I walked out with it under my shirt and never took it back. I also never rented anything else from that Blockbuster because…THE FEELS robbed me of my ability to do so. (You can’t rent new movies until you have returned all the movies you have outstanding, and I was never going to return that movie. I gave up my right to watch Weekend at Bernie’s, 16 Candles, and Mannequin for the love of Rupert Everett.)
I still have that video. I keep it in a special place. You don’t believe me, do you? Believe.
I had The Feels for Rupert Everett into my late 20s. Then, I bought a computer and access to the internet. Rupert Everett kind of ruined Rupert Everett for me. Too much access is bad for The Feels.
But I’ve still got a baaad thing for tall, skinny, smart, slept-in, English boys. And an embarrassing case of The Feels for Tom Hiddleston. Shh. Don’t tell anyone. I am purposefully not rewatching Thor 2 because there was this one scene that wrecked, ruined, altered me, and I am way too old (and married) to be laughing/crying/curling up in the fetal position/wailing/giggling/gagging/lying around catatonic. I have things to do**.
*I thank God I had a boy child. I don’t know what I would do a female carbon copy of myself at 15. My poor parents.
**Like google pictures of Tom Hiddleston in Loki garb.***
***Not really. ****
****Maybe just a little bit*****
*****Okay, but just once and I promise never to do it again.
There is a Lexus ad that seems to come on every commercial break, and since we’ve been iced in and watching a lot of TV, I’ve seen it a few thousand times. A gorgeous brunette works at a sewing machine, making giant bows for cars. A decent looking man drives one of said cars.
I don’t know what men think about when they see these ads, but I caught myself having a thought that gave me pause. After wondering if people really buy each other cars for Christmas, I found myself thinking that if I were thinner and more chic, I could have a fancy car, but as long as I was overweight, I would never so much as see the inside of the dealership.
It only takes a couple of seconds to rifle through a few hundreds thoughts, so I went from “Do people really buy each other cars for Christmas,” to, “If I lost weight, I could work in The Industry again, and make better money, and buy a car like that,” to, “If I were thinner and dressed better–maybe had a few enhancements done back in the day, I might have married into a car like that*,” to, “As long as I am overweight, I will never have a Lexus.”
Funnily, I realized I have that conversation in my head about a lot of things. From jewelry and underwear, to cars–apparently–I’ve got it in my head that until I am 5’10”, and wear a size 4, I will never have that bracelet, that bra, or that Lexus. The bad news is that while I quit growing vertically in 1992, and never topped 5’3″, my width fluctuates almost seasonally. I’m fattest in the summer, in case you wondered. I don’t like to move around in the heat.
Anyway, my point is that I really thought I was immune to all of that! I really thought I had myself together when it came to body image (because I am totally cute), and it wasn’t until I heard this back-of-my-head voice, matter-of-factly (and it was! it was so blase. “You are overweight, and you will never have X, Y, Z until you look better.” Not shaming, not lecturing, just, “These are the facts, ma’am.”) telling me I wasn’t good enough, that I realized how insidious the issue is.
I did not think, “If I go back to school and study X, I can get a higher paying job doing Y, and I can buy that car.” My immediate thought was that if I quit eating for a few months, had some air bags installed in my fender, and put on more lipstick, I could end up in that car. Yes, because I could get paid more as an actor, but all based on my looks. Not based on talent. Not based on ability. Based on zero body fat and fake boobs. I’d be hungry, but I’d be in a car that supermodels drive. (Do supermodels drive?)
I also ran through the cost of the plastic surgery it would require to get me up to code, and that little voice in my head said, “You have to spend money to make money.”
I was thinking all that and the trick is that I HAVE EXCELLENT SELF ESTEEM. What about the women and girls who don’t?
Later in the day, I came across this video of a lecture by Jean Kilbourne, in which she discusses how the media reduces women to Things in advertising, and how that affects so much more than just self image.
It’s really worth the five minute watch.
Meanwhile, I am busy deconstructing two things: Why I feel like I have to look a certain way to have certain things, and why I feel like certain things equal a better life. (Because I am totally cute AND I love my Saturn. That Saturn is an awesome vehicle, and I wasn’t interested in trading it in for a Mercedes when I had the employee option to do it very inexpensively.)
Meanwhile, meanwhile, I would not trade all the luxury items in the world for how it feels to sit on my sofa with Thor in my lap, and B snoring beside me, watching the Eagles destroy the Lions in the middle of a blizzard. Maybe nothing tastes as good as skinny feels, but nothing feels as good as my life–and my life comes with some cushion.
I’m on the excitement yo-yo. The B&N book signing is this coming Saturday, followed by the Boston Book Festival next Saturday, and the UTA book signing the following Monday. I am alternately very excited, and very stressed. Excited because–well, obviously. Stressed because what if no one shows up? Then there’s the high of excitement followed by the low of the mundane. I have a book signing at B&N, but I also still have laundry to fold and put away. That doesn’t seem right. In my imagination, a book signing always meant the reality of House Elves, who would fold and put away my laundry for me. (I had totally realistic expectations of marriage, but absolutely delusional ideas of what selling a book would mean.)
Speaking of delusional, or perhaps unrealistic, Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love costumes. I love dressing up. I haven’t had occasion to do so in a few years, but here’s a look back at some of my favorites.
This was the year I went in drag as Captain Jack Sparrow. I was one of about two-hundred-sixty Jack Sparrows at my office, but the only one in drag. I was proud of my work with the mascara wand. I’m telling you, if I could grow a real beard and mustache, I would have the fanciest facial hair you’ve ever seen.
Sadly, this is the only surviving photo of my award winning year as Anna Nicole Smith. I did this one at the height of her reality TV show, which worked well with my girth. The next year, she was repping Trim Spa and ruined my impression.
No idea what I was here. I started out to be a ghost, but my dress was too transparent (and my body all too corporeal for such a transparent dress), so I put a corset on top, tied some curtains around my waist, threw on a wig and a tiara (see! tiara!) and just went around hissing at people like some kind of…whatever it was I was.
I haven’t anywhere to dress up this year, so if you see me on Halloween, I will be playing the part of Snake-Eyes’ mother. Snake-Eyes’ mother is partial to jeans and hoodie sweaters.
If you see me on the 12th, 19th, or 21st at B&N, the Boston Book Festival, or UTA, I will be dressed up as a (hopeful) best selling author.