How Neil Gaiman marked me forever

I have not, as a rule, been a huge fan of any author since I sent a letter to Beverly Cleary in 1989 and got a reply.

 

I mean, there’s Stephen King, who I love and read and saw his house in Maine but if I ever met him in person I might cry and run away because Pennywise, but seriously I’m not what you would call a fan/devotee of any one author.

 

This brings me to Neil Gaiman.

I paid attention to Neil Gaiman because I have long been a twitter devotee of his wife (I remember when they got married – I saw the announcement tweet, even), and I figured anyone who recognized the awesome in her was my kind of cool.

I’d read The Graveyard Book, it was a book club selection when I was pregnant with Lucy and for some reason it had always stuck in my head, but I never really gave two thoughts to the brains behind the story.

Then we watched Coraline. And I fell in love with the very idea that someone could think this way. I admired it, I envied it. I ached with lack.

Then I read the book Neverwhere and didn’t understand the notion that I had gone my whole life and not known….well, this. It was kindred and it was home.

So when we found out that Neil Gaiman was coming to Nashville…well, there was no question. We had to go.

The problem was, however, that we found out about the appearance far too late in the game to have any hope of finding tickets. I mean, this was a huge deal. He signs for everyone who wants him to, and this was the last tour of that. Not to mention I’d never been to a book tour. I’d never heard an author read.

I stalked Craigslist. I trolled eBay. I begged on Twitter.

The day of the event rolled around and I had no tickets. I’d given up refreshing the venue’s ticket queue.

Until about noon that day. For some reason – I still don’t know why – I checked the ticket site. The quantities were listed as…

Very Limited

AND I JUMPED ON THAT SHIT.

Suddenly, we had tickets. We were going!

I had no idea what to expect. No idea of the number of people or the venue or anything at all.

We were going to be there, and that was enough.

Hours later, we arrived in Nashville and…guys. So many people were there to see Neil Gaiman. It was a little bit crazy. The perfect kind of crazy.

We waited in line, then we found some seats. All the things people do.

Then, once Neil appeared, he pointed out our section of the seating and said “Hey those people can’t see me, why don’t you move?”

We moved.

Onto a front row.

There were intros, then there was the man of the night. Bizarre, really. A person whose name is on a metric shit ton of books, but he was talking to us in that insane British accent like we were best friends and that took me right back to 2007 Episcopalian Emily because Hey-I-worked-for-a-Brit-and-I-speak-your-accent-andohbythewaydoyouknowTim?

The actual speaking/performance to me is a bit of a blur, because I was in such awe of all the people. These were amazing people. Friendly and weird and the kind of people that would give you a ride in the rain. A front row right in the center that I’m pretty certain was packed full of Amanda Palmer fans.

Then there was the thunder. The storm outside and the blanket of stifling auditorium heat that transformed this huge building full of strangers into a group taking refuge from the weather to listen to a story.

As the talk was winding down, Neil mentioned musicians. Being in Nashville and how if he could have dinner with anyone there who would it be.

*Spoiler* the answer was Bela Fleck, but for one instant I was convinced that Amanda Palmer was about to pop out of the curtains. Once I was proven wrong I sent the following tweet:

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To which, in a few moments, she responded:

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And after I died, I stood in line. Clutching my copy of his new book and hoping I wouldn’t get brushed off in the well-oiled machine that was the signing line.
We arrived at the table, and in a burst of bravery that is all but extinct from me in times of great pressure, I simply showed him my phone.
“Of course,” he said.
And in one move, the little lady with the bookstore shirt stepped aside, Neil turned, and…

 

You guys.
He hugged me like he missed his wife. I wanted her to be there just so he could hug her that much, because I had nothing to do with it.

 

Later we went home and went about our lives.

I received, in my email, a very special quote from the first book of Neil Gaiman’s that I ever read and loved..in his handwriting.

And then I decided to keep it forever, because I am, apparently…finally a fan of someone.

 

 

Three years

I have three kids, you know.

The youngest is this strange being who is perpetually tiny and soft, sweet, and totally liftable and cuddly.

Except- she's not.

Today my baby is three.

Three as in too many scoops of ice cream, too many sugars in your tea. Numbers in your credit score.

I never thought I'd have three kids – and then I did. And now the one I never expected is getting to be an actual person. Thoughts and feelings and personality out the wazoo.

Lucy, you have done so much for me. For your daddy. For our lives. You took everything I expected and turned it on its head in ways we never thought of.

For all the ways I fall short – I don't know what to do with curly hair, I don't really put much stock in matching socks, I let you marinate your stinky feet in rubber galoshes and I probably introduced you to Family Guy way too early – I'm sorry. I try to be what you need, because you were and are everything our family needed to be complete.

I will spend the rest of forever helping you become whoever it is you are meant to be – because you have made us all everything we are.

Happy birthday, Lucy Grace.

 

We love you so. I can't wait to watch who you will become.

 

Embracing the kook within

Historically I have never been what you would call a joiner.

It's all too much, man. Too much work.

It's why I don't have friends. It's why I find my own things and bury myself in them. Hell, it's why this blog has not died a raging fiery inferno death – because I do it whenever I please and big middle finger when I don't.

But my husband, he's a joiner. He gets all up IN all kinds of shit. And he does it because he's good at it. I support that. How could I not? It makes him happy. Happy him, happy me.

So in a grand gesture of solidarity and total outside-my-comfort-zone-ness, I am donning my brand spanking new JustUsGeeks tshirt, hauling around my weight in purple bluish memefont flyers, and going to a comic & toy convention.

Yeah, that's right. You heard it here first.

 

But you know what's crazy? I'm excited. Like, stupid excited.

So by the time you read this, Josh and The Guv and I (Catch that? Did you? Yeah, I said my name and his name but not Lucy's name. More on that later.) will be tooling off toward Kentucky. Or, well, Friday morning. So whenever you read this in relation to Friday morning. Because I think I'm going ahead and publishing this tonight.

 

See it? It's already happening. DARING.

Wish me luck!

SMART notso

So, I'm taking a class about management this semester.

It was a requirement and it fills some hours, so whatever, yo.

This week has been kind of lax on assignments in my classes, so last night I got down to some of the first work in a bit. My assignment was about goals.

Specifically, I was to write about a time that I had focused on a set, specific goal and succeeded. No problem, right? No big deal.

Except it was. It is.

I didn't have an answer. Not at all. I thought and thought and came up completely at a loss. There was no time I'd worked and lost ten pounds to fit in a dress, no time I'd trained and slaved and crossed a finish line or worked by Lincolnian candlelight to finish a task. I mean, I finished high school, but seeing as how I'm not the subject of a premature-motherhood reality show, that doesn't really stand out.

I seriously felt like a one hundred and heirbferlcdnefity pound pile of marshmallow fluff.

Is everyone this inept? Is something missing inside me, some sort of drive? Is there a pill I can take that will make me focus and make me successful?

Does it always have to be like this?

 

Reasons it doesn’t matter if no one ever reads this

This blog is a big deal to me. It always has been.

Only for the past year or so, though, have I attempted to care if it were a big deal to other people too.

It’s something about me I’m not fond of – this apparent need to be liked. I never thought I had that very much. I’ve found myself censoring more, saying less. Trying to appeal…and for what?

The pull of my blog has always been that it is mine. That when everything was reduced down to work and play and manifesting your dream, that I had something I had done for myself. Just for the pure craft. Except I wasn’t. I was writing hoping to be popular, hoping for someone to notice me.

There were all sorts of levels of bullshit surrounding that revelation. I was ashamed. I was embarrassed. I was not surprised.

Earlier this week, I found a document that brought me to sobering reality. The-Writers-Manifesto (that’s a pdf link, and if you download it you need to tell him how great he is). After reading it, I wanted to slap myself and write books at the same time.

So with much pain and heartbreak, I’ve come to the realization that it’s okay if no one reads what I write.

Why?

I’m not writing for anyone else.

I will have a record – a concrete one – of days, months, years. However meager it may seem, I am shaping my legacy on my own terms.

I can be honest. I don’t have to be afraid of offending anyone, because I’m not depending on them to read what I say. In itself, this is amazingly freeing.

Whether I move on with my ideas or simply do this and nothing else, it’s okay with me.

And by being myself, whatever happens, this piece of me exists. No one can pay for that.

 

Running on…

Off and on over the past few years, I’ve attempted to become a runner. With varying degrees of intensity. My sister has also become a runner, but she’s for real, yo. She runs miles and miles.

I haven’t gone running in a long time. I do yoga pretty much daily and I haul around a 500 pound toddler, so I like to think that I’m not totally out of shape.

This weekend, the Coca Cola 10k happened.

I was inspired. Maybe a little depressed because there were children I could have birthed streaking right past me.

So, Josh and I have decided to embark on a runnerly journey, and it starts this week.

It starts this week because on Saturday, I’m pretty sure we are going to do the Gumtree 10k in Tupelo. I fully realize that I will walk the majority of the race, but I’m good with that. It’s a start.

Enlist

So the good thing about having a blog is that sometimes I can just randomly list things that I think, or that I want you to know. This is one of those times. Therefore….

  1. I saw The Hunger Games and it was so brilliant that I kind of want to weep because I have to wait so long for the next movies.
  2. I have not yet used shampoo on my hair since the last time we talked about it. My hair feels great, though I don’t know if it looks any different. Josh says (embarrassingly in front of other humans) that I have dandruff, but I used some apple cider vinegar and I don’t see any flakes, so maybe that took care of it.
  3. I registered for next semester this weekend, and seeing the words, “Classification for registration: Senior” kind of blew me away. I may have been so taken aback that I teared up a little.
  4. Lucy talks a lot more these days. A kind of whole hell of a lot. My other two were verbose, but she is…I don’t even know. Tenacious.
  5. Ava and I write letters to each other. I am ashamed to admit that the last letter (before yesterday) was sent months ago, and it has totally been my turn all this time. I feel awful about it. But she is just the sweetest thing ever and wrote me right back, so now it’s my turn again. Dammit.
  6. Ava also went shopping with her Nana yesterday and came home with two bras. This contorts my mind on so many levels that I can’t really even begin to describe. Yeah, I can, actually. I hid them. She’s been wearing little sports-bra/camisole things for a while now, but these are for real triangles and hooks. They have CUPS, people. I am not ready for this.
  7. Max is completely and totally awkward. I love him a ridiculous amount, but (I’m probably a terrible mother for admitting this) sometimes his oblivious dorkiness makes me cringe. He tries so hard – too hard – to be entertaining and cool. I don’t know how to tell him that he’s much more awesome when he doesn’t try.
  8. Josh and his friends are hosting a podcast. It’s actually pretty entertaining.
  9. The bedroom that we live in is getting kind of out of hand. Like the Hoarders people would have a field day in here.
  10. I read Fifty Shades of Grey. If you don’t know what that is, then I can only explain it as housewife porn. I have never really read stuff that is so totally and completely kinky. I can’t say for sure, but I may or may not be planning to read the next two books (it’s a trifecta of kink).
  11. I have started playing Draw Something. It makes me happy. Probably a little too happy. My favorite part is watching the other person try to guess my drawing. My username is Emylibef, so, you know…we should play.
  12. I missed my therapy appointment last week, and I feel like I stood up a friend. I suppose that either speaks well of my therapist or badly of my tendency to overpersonalize.
  13. My hair, since I already brought it up, is getting really long. I really like it, but I have these ridiculous waves of let’s-cut-that-shit-off and so far I’m pretty proud of how I’m holding up. I’m even growing my bangs out and that now means I have to pin them up in a weird little bouffant. I try to tell myself it’s a vintage look. Like it matters, since really Lucy and the cat are the only ones who ever see it.
  14. Lucy took this picture after she stole my ipad. I have, literally, three dozen incarnations of this photo on my camera roll.

That’s all I have for today.

 

 

A Smidgen of Religion

Hello, all.

I hope you will pardon my recent hiatus. I can’t promise that it’s exactly over.

I go through shit like this – and while I don’t think it’s exactly lofty enough to qualify as writer’s block, suffice it to say that the metaphorical well has been dry as of late.

My life has reached a point of repetition that somewhat precludes any creative recount. My life is not boring, but it doesn’t hold the thrill in the retelling.

So what am I doing? I’m telling you all about how I don’t really have anything to talk about.

We went to church yesterday. Not even laid back drink some wine church, this was hard core. Our friend Marty was speaking, and so in support and solidarity, we ventured out to listen.

I’m pretty sure you all know how I feel about God and Jesus and such.

Do you? Because I’d really like to know. Send me a detailed email, thanks a lot. Problem solved.

Marty did a great job, though I’ll be honest now and say that I didn’t really hear all of it (sorry, Martimus) because I was a bit distracted.

That was my life, once. I was the handraising song singing swaying handshaker who saw a new person in a pew and buzzed over like a fly with that sticky disgusting paper. I was so sure about everything I thought and believed and felt and said.

There was also a little lady across from me who was SO. DAMN. HAPPY. to be in church that if she hadn’t been confined to a walker I think she’d straight up have gone Irish high stepping across the pulpittery. She was not so much a distraction as she was my new favorite person on earth.

But back to the point. I don’t know. I know that when Josh and I got married we were so. Sure.

We got married because we loved each other, sure. We had love and we had commitment. But we had that without the marriage license. We had lived for almost two years with the same commitment we had when we came home from the courthouse.

We couldn’t, however, join the church. We were living in sin and I couldn’t transfer my membership until it was rectified.

Now, I wouldn’t have done things differently. But I have to wonder – if I had known then that in six years the church and God and belief I was altering my life to appease would be…not so much of me, would I have been so eager to pacify it? For that matter, if everything happens for a reason, was that the reason we were so smitten with being holy? To get us hitched?

 

I don’t have any answer. I don’t know what I think or feel or even want to believe.

One day.

 

Confessions of a crazy woman

I had made the decision not to write about how terribly I handle certain things.

But I think I’ve gotten away from the point of why I started this blog in the first place…or why I used to spend hours on Xanga so many years ago.

So I’m going to tell you and hope that in doing so I don’t embarrass myself or my husband or anyone else.

It’s taken me a long time to finish this post.

Valentine’s day was, as I’ve said, fantastic. I spent time with the person I love the most in this world. We got a new car.

We also went out on Valentine’s night with every intention of getting tattoos. We didn’t get there in time, though, so we just made an appointment for later in the week.

The next day we started second guessing the design we’d chosen.

We designed and redesigned and googled and doodled and wondered.

By the time the day of the appointment came around, we’d changed our minds sixty times and still weren’t firmly set on a design.

Josh mentioned, after much bickery banter, that he just didn’t want to do it. It was partially done because he was frustrated and just wanted to shut me up, and partially because he was thinking like a sensible adult and knew we shouldn’t go into something like that with any uncertainty.

I know this now. I suppose I even knew it then, somewhere deep in the recesses of my brain. But I completely flipped right the fuck on out. Every insecurity I’ve ever had, every problem I’d dealt with, and every doubt I’ve ignored came rushing to the surface and I was in pieces.

He didn’t want to get a tattoo with me because he didn’t love me. Because it would embarrass him. Because he wasn’t sure. Because for some reason an inky scar carried more weight than a sworn vow and he didn’t want to have to explain something away in a few years.

Looking back now, I see how ridiculous I was being.

But it was real then, and not because I’d skipped medicine or gotten into the cough syrup.

One of the things we’ve talked about when I’m in therapy is that I just want my life to feel normal.

Normal for me – what is that? Being secure in my relationship, secure in myself, not caring so much about how other people perceive me?

Something.

 

I refuse to use the term ‘no poo’

So I haven’t shampooed my hair in over a week.

For several reasons. One being that I am a lazy ass. I openly admit that.

The other reasons are a bit more grown up and noble.

A while back I was doing some Twittercreeping. You do that, right? Someone responds to someone and you have no clue what they’re talking about, but it sounds like it might be good times so you go try and see the conversation? Then you end up, thirty minutes later, on some random person’s Twitter reading things they said 457 days ago, with no idea how you got there?

No? Just me? Ok.

Anyway, that happened, and I ended up following a link to a blog called Crunchy Betty. I read through some of the posts and found this one.

I was intrigued.

Now, I have always liked the idea of being all peace love recycle dirty hippie earth mother. But the fact is it’s a lot of work, and as we have established, I am a lazy ass. So while I like the idea of cooking organic and home grown and recycling and compost, let’s just say I’ve picked up some litter and called it a day. Except one time, in sixth grade I was inspired by an episode of Saved By the Bell and I circulated a petition to get recycling bins for soda cans. I did not realize that petitions are only necessary if you’ve asked and been denied, so it was kind of pointless, but I GOT THOSE BINS BY DAMN.

I did order some herb seeds recently, though. I genuinely hope I can get them in the ground. And I even looked at Diva cups on Amazon. PROGRESS.

This, though. For some reason this appealed to me. Fewer chemicals and less plastic, and if it doesn’t work my hair has never been that great anyway.

It was a no lose situation, people.

So, I stopped. I have “washed” my hair twice with baking soda, and the second time I put/spilled some tea tree oil into the powder.

At this point I’m kind of ambivalent. My hair is not nasty like I’d expected, but it’s nothing special. HOWEVER, the fact that it’s not terribly nasty after a whole week gives me hope that it will soon be Pantene commercial glamorous.

A girl can dream.

UPDATE: I just showered/baking sodaed and this time put some lavender oil in.

I. Smell. Delicious.