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April 23, 2007

Drunk, Divorced & Covered in Cat Hair!

All I ever wanted to do was write stuff down. And I will tell you a secret ... as much as I hate poetry, I sure wrote a bunch of it. About a year ago, Jen and I once spent a whole drunken night on the phone laughing about my sorry ass 19-year-old poetry. I was the worst poet on the planet, but Lord I was prolific. Luckily, the poetry phase passed and now it's good joke material. Ya'll need to come over to my house one night and we'll get liquored up and read poetry. Maybe we will even add some interpretive dance. AND A GOOD TIME WILL BE HAD BY ALL!

So anyway, I've had this big secret for a while but now that the hardest part is over, I can tell ya'll. I also hope this explains why I knitted approximately two things in all of last year and also why I have not answered an email since 1992.

I went and wrote me a book!!!

(Already, notice the awesome grammar.)

It had 1,230,912 comma splices. My poor editor Allison had to decipher my crazy and try to make it palatable to the masses. Sometimes at night I would wonder to myself, "Will Allison need to start drinking hard liquor when she sees the rampant usage of exclamation points in my writing?" (!!!)

The copy editor, Meg, probably developed a slight tequila dependancy during the time known as "Proofing a book with made-up words."

I think it will be fun to see how many drinks the marketing team has to get through, too, when pitching my book.

"Is it a novel?" "Yes, but it has pictures at the end. Like true crime novels!"
"Is it a knitting book?" "Um, kind of!"
"Is it a memoir?" "A little bit! We had to change some names... obviously."
"Is it self-help?" "Well, we think it's help-y!"
"Is it a cookbook?" "It has a few recipes!"
"Is it chick-lit?" "Hmmmm... she IS a female!"

It's just ... colorful, a book in its own weird category, True-Life Fictionish Self-Help Divorce Knitting, With Recipes, and it is called "Drunk Divorced and Covered In Cat Hair." It comes out in October. You can pre-order it right here. It's on sale, too!

We finally had to have an artist make us a cat because nobody could decide which of the Feline Foursome got to be on the cover. Seriously. we had actual editorial meetings about it. We are maybe ridiculous.

ALSO!!!!!

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So, you know how when you're me? And you get your whole life's dreams to come true by actually writing a book, something you wanted since you were three years old? You know what's awesome? What is AWESOME is when amazon.com puts up a description of your Big Life's Dream that does not describe your book at all! In fact you have never even heard of some of the patterns listed! And OH MY GOD.

Hey, isn't that funny!

Especially the part about the "leopard pattern knitted kleenex box." Because LIKE I COULD EVEN KNIT THAT. I have no idea. I saw it and I was like, really? That's the book I wrote? WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAPPENED TO MY REAL BOOK?

I also love how it makes me sound like I had many years of glamorous journalism excellence ... if I can find my expose on the great tomato blight of Polk County circa 1995 I will send you a copy. It was so excellent. Or my article on bathroom fixtures. Or that time I wrote a piece for the Daily News on what people wanted to name the new baby whale at Sea World.

So even though the Cat Hair Book has been on amazon.com for two weeks I have been waiting and hoping they would update the description. They have not. Ya'll, amazon.com doesn't like me. I think maybe this Mr. Amazon is a dog-person, not a cat-person. But now I have decided to think all this is just funny and make jokes about it. Because this is what happens in my life, stuff breaks, you sit on gum, you somehow inherit a leopard kleenex cozy. I am surprised they didn't classify it as a cookbook or something.

If you want to know what the book is actually about you can click here.

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My cool publisher, HCI, is the same company who does the "Chicken Soup For The Soul" books. They are some really amazing folks and they encouraged me all the way, kept at me even when I was so scared of failure I would try to hide. I wrote the first draft of this book in four months and about fell over whole from trying to do it plus work full-time, herd the felines and still look cute. I gave up on looking cute about three days into it. In fact, I went fully grey from the experience! Seriously. I have eleventy hundred grey hairs now, which is fortuitous so I don't have to get hi-lites all the time. It just mixes in with the dark blonde and woohoo, granny cat lady. Sexy.

Writing a book was WAY more work than I ever thought. Apparently there is a new-fangled thing called "spellcheck" that I am supposed to install. Also, I am supposed to understand comma usage. HAH HAH.

There you have it. I went and wrote me a book!

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Ya'll know how I have been all personal growthy lately? It all came from writing this sucker. I signed the contract on my birthday last year (OH YES I DID) (never let it be said that I cannot keep a secret) and then I had about a month while the publishing world was out on vacation to just sit with my happy news and think it through but you know, not really write a damn thing And when the actual business stuff was finalized in late July and we set up delivery dates, I felt fear like I have never before experienced.

My deepest, core fear has always been that I will not live up to expectations. Always terrified that I'm not good enough. And I was so scared that the book would fail, I would fail, or that people wouldn't like my writing, would be underwhelmed, all that stuff. I wanted to quit every single day. But, uh, I had signed a legal binding document. OH GOD.

Writing this book made me face every single one of my fears: the way I hide from success because it's a lot easier to not try than to try and fail. The way I got fat and stayed there because it was an apology for the things I was good at. And there was another fear, too. The only thing that ever made me stand out as a grubby trailer park kid was my ability to write stuff down. But what if I was actually no good at it? What if I secretly sucked?

So I had to decide whether or not I was going to be scared and think I might fail ... or enjoy it and love it and just hope it all works out somehow. (I smell personal-growthy coming on!!) Finally I think after months of writing what is basically a memoir in merlot, I realized you can never please everyone. Never. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. You can only be yourself, do your best, make jokes if you screw up. Wear waterproof mascara, and keep your panties on. Bet on yourself. So I placed my bet. And the grubby trailer park girl who still lives inside me will one day hold a book in her hands with my name on it. One life's dream: check! check check!

I am grateful in ways I would have never imagined. I am grateful to each person who read my little website and kept reading. Thank you. Thank you for every kind word, every donation, every email, every comment, every positive thought, every amen, every laugh, all your stories. This book is yours, too. Ya'll have become a part of my every day life and I love you. For every woman out there who has identified with my cautionary tale, for every time I have been a little maudlin and weepy and tipsy, I also fervently hope this gives you faith that things get better.

THINGS GET BETTER!!!

I am blessed. I am also grey haired now, which will make me more distinguished I hope and help balance out the part where I am covered in cat hair from the knees down.

So that is my big news. Ask any questions you want (although I can answer your first question right now: No, I did not get rich, yes I still definitely need my job, no I am not rolling nekkid in money, yes I was very disappointed too, yes I am still holding out hope that will happen one day, nekkid!), and anyway, I will do my best to answer your questions.

And maybe later we'll all get liquored up and do some interpretive dance! Just as soon as I find this elusive mystical "spellcheck" of which you speak. I mean really.

Posted by laurie at April 23, 2007 5:22 AM