Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Make Sure You Read the Fine Print

I’m going to be dropping a lot of names in this post, so put on your galoshes and watch where you step.

Kari Lynn Dell, the fair if somewhat dusty jewel of the Montana ranching world, took a break from her hogtying and elegant wordsmithery to pass on the Stylish Blogger award to me last week.  

Aw, shucks, Kari Lynn. That was right kind of you. I tip my hat to ye, ma’am. (You've got to speak cowboy around Kari Lynn or else she doesn’t know what the hell you’re saying.)

Incidentally, Kari Lynn should not be confused with my other favorite Montananian Blythe Woolston, the acclaimed YA novelist, who does not live on a ranch but instead makes her home in an abandoned missile silo. (OK, hold the phone there. I may have gotten that wrong because those missile silos are in the Dakotas, now that I think about it.)  

Long time followers or even casual observers of this blog are aware of my avowed laziness when it comes to blog awards. I’ve received a few from some kind blogger friends, but the only one I’ve ever posted was from Meghan Ward. Alas, during my minor blog renovation this past December, I misplaced the award she gave me. I think I might have thrown it away by accident when I was putting the recyclables out.

But here I am, trying to be less of a spoilsport this time, and the terms of acceptance for the Stylish Blogger award indicate that I must post seven things about myself. Which I may or may not do. How about I’ll compromise and commit to posting at least five things? OK, maybe six, although I'm going to cheat by conflating item #1 with the post I was planning to do about chucking a novel idea that I’d been thinking about for months. Oh, and then I must pass the award onto four deserving bloggers.

Off we go then: 

1) So here’s why I’ve recently thrown this manuscript idea over: I realized that certain of my tastes are not representative of say “average” or “normal” readers, and I finally saw that this ms idea I had was not going to appeal to a wide audience or even a wide-esque audience. Not that that’s a huge problem – I’m used to being on the sidelines of popularity -- but let’s just say the target audience would have been a very nichey niche indeed. Like, imagine all the people who might be simultaneously interested in particle physics, water polo, and advanced techniques for breeding pygmy llamas. That group of people – a group that would probably fit inside a phone booth if phone booths still existed -- would probably be double the size of the group of people who’d likely be interested in the subject matter I was thinking of writing about. So out it goes. For now. Perhaps I’ll try it again in a few years when the world becomes a little more evolved and receptive to hearing about the beauty of pygmy llama breeding.

2)      As the co-owner of a money pit lovely, older home, I've had to become well-skilled in the renovation arts. I do respectable finish carpentry, paint like a pro, and my dry-wall patching is so expressive and beautiful, it frequently reduces grown men to tears.   

3)     I’m unable to follow when people spell words out. If someone starts spelling a word – say, because they don’t want their young kids to understand what they’re talking about -- I cock my head to the side and look confused.

4)      I’m prone to horrible, debilitating motion sickness and therefore must drive – never ride as a passenger – in most moving vehicles. Even planes and trains can make me queasy, especially if I try to read while aboard. It sucks, I tell you.

5)      Back in the days when I pretended to be a magazine journalist, one of my assignments involved going to the Presidential Archives and listening to the famous 18-minute gap in the Watergate tapes. Why did they send me to do this? Because the Archives had just made public some previously unreleased bit of chit-chat from the Watergate era, and some editor in NY had a bee up his schnoz that there was some missing piece of information that no other journalist in the entire Washington press corps had yet laid claim to in twenty or more years of investigation. The editor wanted to know what conversation led up to the 18-minute gap, even though we tried to explain to him six ways to Sunday that the tapes were pieced-together excerpts, and there wasn’t this continuous stream of revelatory conversation that could finally expose once and for all exactly what Richard Nixon had been discussing before the tape was erased. But the NY editor wouldn’t let it go and so finally one of the Washington editors relented and said, “OK. FINE. If you don’t believe me, we’ll send someone out there to listen to the damned tape!” So off I went, journalistic low-man on the totem pole that I was, to listen to what came before, during and after the 18 MINUTES OF SILENCE. So, yeah, I had to listen to the whole gap itself and then report back on it. I’m sure there’s some existentialist point to be made about filing a report on nothingness, but I’ll not make it here. Let’s just say that this one moment pretty much sums up my whole experience as a reporter.

6)       I’m nine months pregnant.*    **

All righty then, that’ll do it. Though there are many, many deserving bloggers out there to whom I could send this award, I must select only four. I hereby bequeath the Stylish Blogger Award to:

  • Mary Whitsell at Resident Alien (and that’s “alien” as in the ex-pat sense of the word – not the Roswell, NM-the-government-is-hiding-something-at-Area-51 sense of things)
  • Dianne Salerni at In High Spirits, who is a licensed blimp pilot (OK, not really, but I had to say something to distract myself from making a derogatory comment about Pennsylvania, where Dianne resides; I have issues with Pennsylvania because it's a very large land mass that always seems to stand betwixt me and wherever I want to go and let me tell you, they do a lot of road construction in PA. A LOT. I think you can actually major in road obstruction -- er, I mean construction -- at most PA colleges and universities.)
  • And (alleged) twins Renee Collins and her “sister” Diana, who is not a figment of Renee’s imagination AT ALL, over at Midnight Meditations.

Ladies, I’m sorry I don’t have a decorative sash and bouquet of orchids for you, but just know that I think you all make the blogging world a better place.

*Yep, it’s true. I’m approximately the size and shape of the Death Star right now. Actually, picture the Death Star in a maternity top with horizontal stripes and that’ll capture it pretty well. Perhaps there will be more information on this shocking state of affairs to follow in future posts. You’ll just have to come back next week to find out.

**Only the righteous Sierra Godfrey was aware and of this fact until now because she herself is knocked up, and we’re due within weeks of each other. She hasn’t breathed a word to anyone, which I think should qualify her for a high level security clearance. So if you have any state secrets or nuclear launch codes lying around, she’s the gal to share them with. I can vouch for her trustworthiness.