Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Am I in Your Book? How Pathetically Unfashionable.

For those of you who don't know, I come from a really small town in Illinois. The highlight of the town is the local WalMart store. Most of the people I grew up with still live in the same ole town, or just a few miles away. If you made it as far as Chicago--BIG NEWS. Head for DC, San Francisco, New York, or LA--CALL CNN. So you may not be surprised to hear that for the most part, my old classmates are still in the same town.

My dad called me the other day. "I ran into an old friend of yours working at the WalMart pharmacy. She's so proud of you," he said. "About your book and all. " In short order came the brutal question, "She told me to ask you... is she in your book?"

Oh, GAWD. Do you know how many times I've been asked that? I guess it's because the book takes place in a small Illinois town. Everyone assumes it's my hometown, and therefore, disguised versions of people I know are in my book. ('Cause ya know, I don't have an IMAGINATION or anything.) My mom even said, "I guess I'm supposed to be the ex-hippie, cocaine-addicted mother."

People, people, PEOPLE. it's fiction. That means it's NOT TRUE. My kids learned this a few years ago from an Arthur CD-ROM. You all are supposed to be adults....

But I there must be some human instinct to seek ourselves in everything. Oddly, I think through writing the book I came to have a genuine fondness for my old hometown... though I can't see myself moving back there or anything. (It's 6 below zero there right now, and on Sunday it was so lovely HERE we went scootering!) I definitely don't miss those midwestern winters. I have bad memories of walking across campus in blistering January wind with my head partly shaved (compliments of my friend Andrew, a great guy and a wonderful writer, who happened to be my hairdresser at the time. Yes, I told him to do it. No, I didn't lose brain cells; not from the cold, anyway.)

But you know, I'm a small town girl at heart. I guess I always will be.

HEY, MASSIVE ASIDE HERE, but another small-town gal makes good... I just heard from blogging author Joshilyn Jackson out of the blue. Her new book, Gods in Alabama, is going to make a big splash in April. From the book description, it looks like Fannie Flagg crossed with Lolly Winston. Congrats, Joshilyn!

And in other news, I've been informed by my daughter that I'm not merely uncool, but PATHETICALLY uncool. (By the way, the word is not "cool." It's "fashionable." Where the hell have YOU been?) Those black clothes I favor? WAY passé. It's all about pinks and plaids and "preppy punk." (Preppy punk? I can't even make those words go together in my head.)

Is Morrissey cool anymore? Indeed, WELL MAY YOU ASK. The answer doesn't even require words, only rolled eyes. I may as well have mentioned Mick Jagger. And the Pixies? "Who's that fat bald guy? Ohmigod, he's SO PATHETIC!"

I feel so, so, so... OLD. And so, so, so... PATHETIC.

Fortunately, she's agreed to squeeze me in for some "fashionable lessons." My first assignment is to memorize the music of Jesse McCartney, Lindsay Lohan, and the incomparable HILARY DUFF. I also have to start wearing WAY more pink and a TON more lip gloss. I have about 4 months before my book tour starts, so by then, you may be saved from the pathetic fashion disaster that is me. I may even be sporting some Stuff by Duff!

Pardon me. I think my generation gap is showing.