Random Monday Musings

Here is the gist of the telephone conversations I have with certain members of my family.
He: Hey. What’s goin on?
Me: Nothin’.
He: What are you up to?
Me: Writing fiction. (This is mostly a lie. He knows it and I know it. And I know he knows I know it. Usually I’m doing something vital, such as reading the newspaper, checking out Craigslist for upcoming estate sales, or taking a nap.)
Me: What are you doing?
He: I have a VERY IMPORTANT meeting. And then a VERY IMPORTANT CONFERENCE CALL about matters CRITICAL TO THE VERY SURVIVAL OF LIFE AS WE KNOW IT. In fact, I might have to hang up at any moment due to PRESSING BUSINESS DEMANDS.
Me: Oh. Okay.
He: What’s for dinner?
Me: It’s 10 a.m. I just finished my Special K with red berries. I have no friggin’ idea what we’re having for dinner.
He: Just as long as it’s not chicken. I’m tired of chicken.
Me: Right. No chicken. Got it.

Okay? Here’s the thing. I am sick of thinking about WHAT’S FOR DINNER? I have been wandering aimlessly around the aisles of various supermarkets thinking about what’s for dinner my entire adult life. Why can’t somebody else think about what’s for dinner? I don’t mind cooking. In fact, I love cooking. But it’s August, I’m hot, and I’m out of ideas.

Whew. Glad I got that off my chest. I went over to the Southern Living website and clicked around and found this recipe for cherry glazed pan-seared lamb chops. Then I went to the farmer’s market and wandered purposefully around. I bought the lamb chops, and when the butcher handed me the package, I looked at the price and nearly passed out. $28 for lamb chops. If my mother were alive she’d say her first car didn’t cost $28. She’d say I must be out of my mind to pay so much for six measly little lamb chops. Oh, she’d have a lot to say about $28 lamb chops. And as for the cherry-glazed pan-seared part, she’d die laughing at the very notion. But she’d eat ’em, all right.

And here’s part 2 of my Random Monday Musings. Reader Mail.
I get quite a lot of nice mail from readers. Usually they want to tell me they read my book and liked it, or ask me a question about an important detail I left out of the crab cake recipe in SAVANNAH BREEZE. But last week I got a positively irate email from a woman we’ll call Irate Irene. Irene was upset by my use of the word YANKEE in SAVANNAH BLUES. She was particularly incensed because a character (i.e. a fictional made-up figment of my imagination)
referred to another character (also a fictional made-up figment of my imagination) a “pushy yankee.” And later…”Yankee scum.” Since Irene is from a part of the United States sometimes referred to as “up nawth,” she took this remark very personally. In fact, Irene let me know that she is tired of me and other southerners who are “ill-mannered, ignorant and mean-spirited.”

Sadly, Irene is no longer reading my book that she was formerly reading. She has informed me that she will no longer be reading any Mary Kay Andrews books in the future, and will, in fact, spread the word to her friends “up north”–her phrase, not mine–about my use of the vernacular “regarding Americans who happen to live in the northern part of the United States of America.”

I crafted a very polite response to Irene. I told her that I hoped she wouldn’t judge me personally by what a fictional character says in a novel. I told her my own parents were from Ohio and Chicago, that I happen to love Yankees, and more importantly, since it is all about the $ with me–that I try never to offend any segment of society since I need all the readers I can get. I sent it off, and I sincerely hope Irene will get over hating me and all the other hick, redneck ignorant Southerners who obviously hate her.

But here’s the thing. It’s a NOVEL, people! I make this stuff up! Every word of it! None of the characters in my FICTION are real. In real life I don’t break into empty plantation homes, (SAVANNAH BLUES), bitch-slap the maid of honor at my wedding, (HISSY FIT) fake the death of my cheating husband in a boating accident in Mexico, (LITTLE BITTY LIES) or steal a multi-million dollar yacht belonging to a rock star. (SAVANNAH BREEZE).

I might want to do some of these things. I might take some vicarious joy in figuring out how my FICTIONAL characters do these things. However, in real life, I am just not that smart, pissed off, brave or insane. In real life, I mostly read the newspaper, take naps and try to figure out what the hell I’m going to fix for supper tonight. I’ll let you know how the lamb chops go over.

26 thoughts on “Random Monday Musings”

  1. You handled that lady better than I would have!

    Hmmm… I’ve never had lamb before, hope you enjoy it.

  2. MK- Just keep on writing those good SOUTHERN novels and don’t worry about what the you-know-whos are saying about ya.

  3. Actually–the lamb chops with the cherry glaze were fabulous. Altho–somewhere, up above, my mother is laughing her arse off at the incredible prententiousness of cherry glazed lamb chops. And on a weeknight. With couscous–which she would say sounds like the name for a french poodle.

  4. Hi Ms. Andrews,

    Where a door closes a window opens! Irate Irene may be gone, but I just found your books, so add one more to your fan list.

    Some people are just touchy, touchy, touchy …maybe they need a big glass of iced tea!

    Love your books!

  5. Hi MK — I read your first book and then promptly went out and got all the others. I love them and I don’t mind that you call us northerners Yankees either. My question is this — are you ever going to write any more of the stories about Callahan Garrity, the lady with the House Mouse cleaning service? I loved that whole series of books and all the funny characters — Baby and Sister, Callahan’s mother and Callahan herself! Please tell me you didn’t retire her. Thanks.

  6. Thanks so much for your comments–and for liking and recommending my books. As for Callahan, I never say never, but right now I’m busy with the Mary Kay books…that said, if Callahan comes up with a great plot, I’ll probably try to write it.

  7. Ms. Andrews I love your books! Please keep writing them regardless of what one angry Yankee thinks. We recently moved from Yankee country to the South and LOVE it! We have been called Yankee and it didn’t bother us at all. Kind of amused us. Your books are wonderfully southern which is what drew me to them and I can’t wait for the next one.

    As for what is for dinner tonight…I’m trying to figure that out myself.

  8. Oh…the so tired of coming up with supper part is ME, ME, ME. LOL I have gotten to the point I actually dread the evening and having to figure it out. My husband’s response is always, “I don’t care. What do you have a taste for?” Well. I have a taste for a very expensive chef for my birthday and never having to worry about supper again.

    Thank God for tomato sandwiches in August.


  9. Mary Kay, I have always wanted to meet you, so I hope I can get down to Decatur for the tent meeting, but this heat…! What I wanted to say was- Please write a screen play for Itty Bitty Lies. It is sooo much better than any episode of desperate housewives. And the other thought was Savannah’s been done, come to some other weird Ga. cities, i.e. where I live!

  10. Thanks for sharing Weezie and BeBe with the gabillion readers who desperately needed them. You have helped me keep my sense of humor when no one else seemed to care! Am eagerly anticipating vacation and reading “Blue Christmas”; which I have drooled over the last two weeks waiting to read! Thanks and keep writing. You rule!

  11. Hi, MK. I’m so terribly sorry about your sister. A friend from Atlanta called to tell me and I had no idea how to contact you, so I was so glad to get your blog address.

    Hope to see you in Fairhope for the next booksigning!! Maybe we can have dinner again.

    Your books are better than ever!! Martha Jean

  12. I have loved all of your books – I live in Kansas. Your comment about Bob Dole made my day and now I love you too! (along with your books) Even tho I am a “yankee” I am a southerner at heart. Also the part about cooking. I HATE trying to think of something every night – for 40 years. I gave it up. When the mood strikes, I cook. If it doesn’t he now fends for himself.

  13. You know, Mary Kay, I could take offense at the comment that your husband is tired of chicken since I live in the Chicken Capital of the World, up the road from you in Gainesville. However, we southern ladies just smile and say “Bless his heart!” By the way…my husband is tired of chicken too!! Just to let you know, you have a huge hen house full of Mary Kay readers here and we love you and all your crazy southern ladies. We can all identify with something in your stories or wish that we had the nerve to do what they did! Keep on writing those southern charmers and try some shrimp and grits from down Savannah way.
    Oh, by the way, my husband ran out of something to read on our vacation and I gave him Blue Christmas to read and he laughed out loud many times sitting on the beach. He thought it was one of the funniest books that he ever read. I knew that man had good taste!!!

  14. Hi Mary Kay,
    We have the same “what’s for dinner” conversation almost every night!!

    I’m also a “House Mouse” fan. I read those books first and for a long time didn’t know that you and Kathy were the same person — althought in retrospect, it was weird how ya’ll looked so much alike. 🙂

    I can’t wait for the next book!

    -ps- Did you send that nice Irene lady a plant clipping? Might I suggest a sprig of kudzu?

  15. Dearest Kathy,

    I’m a Southerner who’s been transplanted in CA for 12 years. I was recently unemployed for 8 months and to save myself from deep despair and homesickness for all things Southern, I read all of your books, including the Callahan series. Thank you a million times over for being my “friend” when I needed you most. You rock babydoll.

    Big Hugs,

    Whitney Brock
    formerly of Greenwood, SC

  16. Please, please write a followup to Savannah Breeze. The stage is already set – just go for it!!!
    I probably wouldn’t read what you write if it wasn’t fiction – that’s what we need in this life, as we all know “truth is stranger than fiction.”

  17. The thing my hubby & I argue about the MOST, what’s for supper. Hilarious. It’s worse when we go out. What do you want? I don’t know, what do you want? What did you have for lunch? What are you NOT in the mood for? Ok, name 3 places. No, you name the three and I’ll pick. And on and on and on…….

  18. MK — I loved how you handled the Yankee lady from “up nawth”. Keep writing those lovely, lovely books. I was first introduced to your books by accident — actually from one of my favorite aunts–Pam Deal Harrell. Love those books! Keep’em comin’

  19. Mary Kay,
    Don’t worry about the YAMN DANKEE, while she’s yelling at you she’s leaving some other poor southerner alone. giggle!

    Can’t wait for the new book! Tell the publisher to hurry.

  20. You make even the most mundane conversations hilarious! Years ago, I told my hubby I had been cooking for 35 years (since I was 12 years old). I told him he would have to be happy with sandwiches, or fix dinner, or go out. He learned to cook and loves having control of our dinners! He plans, shops, and cooks 4 or 5 nights a week!

  21. As a gal born & raised up north, I am proud to be a yankee, we all have to come from somewhere. But, I LOVE Savannah. My trip to Tybee Island last year coinsided with seeing, and snatching up, Savannah Breeze, front & center as I walked into my local B&N. I’m reading Blues now, and I feel transported back there. Have to tell you about an incident. After a city tour the family gathered on benches in the parking lot for awhile. It was just about closing time. We inadvertantly left a bag of purchases next to a bench. Then next day, on the off chance that it was still there, we stopped by and checked. Some gracious lady found the packages and beat on the locked doors until someone came so she could turn it in to lost & found. What a great first impression Savannah left with us. My daughter plans to apply to SCAD for her graduate studies, she loved it so much. Thanks,

  22. Hi Mary Kay… we too, have that same conversation about what’s for dinner. In honor of my recent trip to Atlanta, I made a low country boil, which was a whole new experience for us California kooks. So maybe you should make something with avocados on it “California” style. Explore the different regions of this big ‘ol country!

  23. I’m a “Yankee” but live in Cumming (I know, I’m embarrassed to write that, let alone say it!) Gawga. My son is 8, born and in the process of being raised here. The other day while tucking him in, we started to talk about the war. He mentioned that we’ve lost two. I couldn’t figure out how we’ve lost two, so I corrected him. And I said, “Why do you think we’ve lost two wars, hon?” His response, “We have.” (Deep, isn’t he?) I asked him which wars and he proudly told me Vietnam and the Civil War. Hey, he’s from the south, so yeah, to him we’ve lost two here. I did have to explained the whole “United States” thing!
    Love the south but still proud to be a Yankee.

  24. Well sugar what a compliment! Your people are so real that people can’t realize they are made up. But they sure become real to a lot of us. I am from Southern California orginally. My husband is from WV. We moved to Summerville South Carolina a smiggin over a year ago. I have said this often. I might not be from the south but got here as quick as I could. Sure wish I was the first person to say that!!
    By the way leg of lamb glazzed with mustard – garlic is to die for. Want to try your recipe.
    I was afraid I was a yankee and mentioned it to my dh he said no you are a westerner. We met in Las Vegas and he told me later I was the closest thing to a southern girl he had met in a long time. That made me feel way better.
    Thanks again MK for all the good reads.

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