Here is the gist of the telephone conversations I have with certain members of my family.
He: Hey. What’s goin on?
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.