Friday, April 28, 2006

How Opal Mehta Got Packaged, Got Snagged and Got Pulled from the Shelves

DONNA [9:25 A.M.]: This business about the book How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got A Life might be funny if it didn't just piss me off. What the hell is a book packager? Somebody who decides you look cute as an author and writes your book for you?
Virginia [9:27 A.M.]: Apparently. Remember back this winter when I sent you the article about that book and the packager----and especially the half million dollar advance? I was truly pissed then, but now I'm feeling a little redeemed. Just desserts you know.
DONNA [9:29 A.M.]: Yeah, I definitely remember the article. They-- meaning the big conglomerates that currently control publishing-- must think readers are stupid. How can you write the same sentences and not expect anybody to notice? And no, I don't believe you can write all of those passages alike, "by accident".
Virginia [9:34 A.M.]: Yeah, they think readers are stupid---or not that observant. Besides, we live in a time in our culture where pulling the wool over the eyes of the average American is a full time endeavor. And now Viswanathan and James Frey have gotten snagged and "ooops...sorry" is supposed to be enough. But look at reality TV. Look at primetime TV. Look at the movies and theater. Look at the news. What is really original, new and what is rehashed, regurgitated and thrown back at us like it's new and we're supposed to love it? And sadly too many people do.
DONNA [9:39 A.M.]: As someone who is both a reader and a writer I resent it. There is so much pressure to be homogenized--that works for milk, not for what I read. If one book, is successful, let's make them all like that. I'd bet you a whole dollar--which you know is the big money-- that the title of her book was a committee decision. Gotta make it sound "sexy". And who knows, there might even be an engaging story under all of the "borrowed" parts, but she didn't get to tell her own voice.
Virginia [9:41 A.M.]: Apparently original thought is being programmed, PACKAGED and produced and fed to us. And as long as we buy and eat it will continue.
DONNA [9:44 A.M.]: It makes me grateful to the readers who continue to support us and our books. You know that sometimes it feels like we're trying to dig a hole while we're standing in quicksand-- it keeps filling up, with us in it. But when we hear from readers who tell us our characters really meant something to them I get the energy to go back to the computer and keep writing.
Virginia [9:46 A.M.]: Which I guess is what we need to do now, since we don't have a PACKAGER who'll take our ideas and write the book for us!
DONNA [9:47 A.M.]: Yuck. I'd never want that. Guess I'm just an old fashioned girl.
Virginia [9:47 A.M.]: Old? Yes. Old fashioned maybe!
DONNA [9:47 A.M.]: No need to get technical!
Virginia [9:48 A.M.]: But you know I'm techno girl...
DONNA [9:48 A.M.]: Girl? If we're being precise. . .
Virginia [9:49 A.M.]: I knew that was coming so I came up with 'technoldlady' instead!
DONNA [9:50 A.M.]: How about Babe? That's timeless.
Virginia [9:50 A.M.]: I'll take it. Technobabe works for me. But back to Opal before I go---at least they're being forced to pull all the books, instead of printing more Million Pieces-
DONNA [9:54 A.M.]: Perhaps a small bit of justice. And I really am grateful to our loyal readers. I mean, I'm just still buzzing about the Tabahani Book Circle event in Long Beach last weekend. It was an honor for them to choose us to celebrate their 10th anniversary and to represent their theme of sisterhood and friendship. That will keep me fueled for quite some time. Good thing--we've got a book to write!
Virginia [9:55 A.M.]: Yep. Work awaits.
posted by DeBerry and Grant at 10:09 AM 4 comments

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

You Never Know What a Day Will Bring

Donna: Can you imagine leaving your house, or your job or school, getting on the Roosevelt Island tram for a five minute ride and finding yourself still dangling 300 feet above the water 11 hours later?
Virginia: No! I kept thinking last night about what I would do...I don't think I’d panic, but who knows...really? But the real question is what did they do about a bathroom?!!! I know you'd just hold it... but mostly that's not realistic
Donna: First thing I thought of. Moral of the story: pee before you leave home. I can't add it to my diet raspberry iced tea bottle. My aim is not that good.
Virginia: Yeah that's easy for guys...but the women…
Donna: Guess it's another example of never knowing what a day will bring.
Virginia: No you never do...know what a day will bring. Somebody has to do a story about that part of it though.
Donna: It's one of those perfectly New York moments.
Virginia: Exactly--like traffic being stopped by marching doormen. is there another city that has enough doormen to have a union much less a march?
Donna: LOL. New Yorkers are really good in a crunch. Apparently people joked and kept the kids calm. There were a lot of kids going to and from after school activities.
Virginia: Yep, I saw anxious parents who's kids were with nannies on the tram...another new York thing. talk about the surreal world..who needs Paris and Nicole?
Virginia: I’m sorry the Surreal Life is the real name isn't it?
Donna: Of a different show. Their's was The Simple Life, and there isn't much simple about day to day life these days. The best you can do is try to be prepared and stay loose. I thought of Bob too--a friend who never leaves home without some kind of food in his bag--a sandwich, cookies, orange juice. Always enough to share. He would have been ready for an 11 hour delay.
Virginia: Speaking of---do we need to pack lunches for the LA trip? 6 hours on the plane with "snacks for purchase" sounds pretty miserable.
Donna: And yes, we do need snacks--starting with breakfast.
Virginia: I guess ribs and potato salad is out.
Donna: All that sauce and lip smacking is a bit of a problem with seat mates. Then there are the bones.
Virginia: They still collect trash don't they? Or do you have to carry it off the plane with you too? Maybe they’ll charge extra for cleaning your area after you've been sitting if you take a towel from a hotel and it gets charged to your credit card.... if you leave a mess...say rib'll be slapped with a post flight clean up charge!
Donna: Clearly it hasn't gone into affect yet--I have seen some pig sties left on the plane. I don't even know how folks can sit in it until they get off. I mean newspapers on the floor, peanut shells, candy wrappers, pillows, blankets, tissues--a mess.
Virginia: Makes you wonder what they do at home---but the same can be said for ladies rooms but lets not go there.
Donna: Let's not.
Virginia: 'Cause then we're back to the tram and what on earth did they do for 11 hours
Donna: At least it had a happy ending. Nobody hurt, no heart attacks. I bet they'll be telling the story for quite a while.
Virginia: Yep. Another new York story for the annals
Donna: Clearly we’re hungry for happy endings though. It's the only explanation of the national prominence of Molly the cat, stuck in the grocery store walls.
Virginia: mom in Buffalo was talking about Molly.
Donna: Lord knows I'm an animal lover. It explains why 4 cats have been saved from my yard and taken up residence in my house, but really, the coverage was out of control. Guess it was something everybody could root for.
Virginia: I rooted for little Jessica in the well and the coal miners. I mean I cared about the cat, but it wasn't national newsworthy.
Donna: But the cat lived happily ever after, unlike the baby who was shot through the walls of his mother's minivan--while sleeping in his car seat. On Easter morning! That was so upsetting. It was a beautiful day--a time to rejoice and he was in what should have been a safe place. Who could know it was the wrong street at the wrong time?
Virginia: Yeah, that was/is so sad. But you never know what a day will bring I just got off the phone w/my mom. the son of a family friend went to FL to see his dad and help him with some spring clean up, fix up chores. The son had a heart attack and died while there
Donna: Guess all we can ever do is keep our eyes open, pray for the best, wear clean underwear and see what happens.
Virginia: Then they were bringing the body back to Buffalo and the dad got sick on the plane, medics met them at the airport and he's now in intensive care
Donna: What a nightmare.
Virginia: But I’ve had enough gloom and doom
Donna: I was just about to say that sometimes you run into people you haven't seen in a long time, in places you never expect them. The unexpected doesn't have to be gloom and doom.
Virginia: I have to pee...
Donna: Not in a cup I hope. Later.
posted by DeBerry and Grant at 1:59 PM 0 comments

Monday, April 10, 2006

Gooey is Good?

DONNA [4:28 P.M.]: Our friend Keryl's oldest daughter got married last Saturday. We drove from New Jersey to Atlanta-- yes drove-- to attend the wedding. Now you know these are people we really love. And I can't remember the last time a wedding made me feel so joyful. I'm still smiling. And you actually cried. You never cry at weddings.

Virginia [4:30 P.M.]: You weren't supposed to see me balling. Because you're right. I DO NOT CRY AT WEDDINGS. I don't usually even LIKE weddings. But this was absolutely a different feeling. It all felt so warm and right...and so not just about the day, but about life and family and all that stuff. It reminded me of what weddings and families are about, or at least what they're supposed to be about. It felt real, not like it was a show---or showing off.

DONNA [4:35 P.M.]: DG: Yea. It was definitely a love fest. The bride headed down the aisle so fast her veil got caught in the door and snapped her head back. And The groom could hardly wait to say "I do."

Virginia [4:36 P.M.]: That was hilarious. How he "I doed" before the minister was through asking him

DONNA [4:35 P.M.]: And I really believe they do…Love, honor, cherish, respect, like, trust, enjoy. . . all that good stuff.

Virginia [4:36 P.M.]: Yep. I believe it too. But I believed it the first time I saw them together.I'm so surprised at myself. I'm such a cynic about marriage--as you well know. But this time I think it's exactly what it's supposed to be...a lot like Keryl and Harry.

DONNA [4:40 P.M.]: DG: Well, yeah--the bride's parent's are about to celebrate they're 30th anniversary. And we're not talking about Ozzie and Harriet. They are some hip, seriously funny folks. And you know that sometimes they have to get on each other's nerves. I mean, I've been married for 18 years and there are just times when your spouse is annoying as hell, but you can still see their love bubbling around them.

Virginia [4:40 P.M.]: The whole weekend was so right---1700 miles on the road notwithstanding--- it really made me wonder if---if I would do it again. Should the circumstances arise of course!!! LOL

DONNA [4:41 P.M.]: WAIT--stop the presses. You mean I MIGHT get to be a flower girl after all!!!

Virginia [4:43 P.M.]: I didn't say anything about any daggone flower girls...I SAID it made me think, that it might actually be worth considering...under the right conditions of course. I know I said I'd never do it again, and there are no plans in that area, but.... I'm still having a warm gooey feeling from this---and I gotta tell you it's kind weird.

DONNA [4:44 P.M.]: Gooey is good .And when Harry toasted them by saying that he could see that his daughter-- step-daughter really, although there's nothing step about it-- had become the same kind of special woman that her mother is, with that kinda catch in his voice, well, I think every woman in the room was done.

Virginia [4:45 P.M.]: I was done. I kept thinking about my own my weddings.

DONNA [4:46 P.M.]: Hmmm, I'm sure he felt very different on those days. Wedding one and wedding two, I mean. Your husbands were about different as grapefruit and gravy.

Virginia [4:47 P.M.]: Indeed. sad but true. But two is enough weddings don't you think? Despite the lovely, gooey weekend, maybe i'm just not the marrying kind. i've tried it, but it doesn't seem to work for me...kinda like roller coasters. other people love them, i'm not one of 'em though

DONNA [4:51 P.M.]: But maybe you'd like the merry-go-round, or the ferris wheel. We don't all have to like the same ride to enjoy the amusement park.

Virginia [4:52 P.M.]: i do like the ferris wheel! so no we don't have to like the same ride, hence the slim possibility of your being a flower girl—woman. but i promise...IF i find that man...the man... the one man... and we end up doing the do...the i do, the we do...i can't think of anyone better to be my flowermatronofhonor. after all my sister has already had the privilege twice! so i'm sure she'll be glad to leave it to you next time...IF there's a next time.

DONNA [4:57 P.M.]: I'm honored. So is it that some of us are wired to be couples and families and others are meant to be-- what-- lone wolves? Free agents? Singletons.

Virginia [4:59 P.M.]: maybe. who knows what is meant to be? i think the problem happens when people all think they're supposed to do a certain thing a certain way at a certain time. it creates pressure that i'm convinced forces a lot of bad decisions in the relationship area. I mean we all know tons of people who are married and shouldn't be together--people who don't even LIKE each other.

DONNA [5:03 P.M.]: Well, these were certainly two people who had taken their time--they're in their late thirties and it's a first marriage for both of them. There's something to be said for letting yourself grow up before trying to hook up with somebody else.

Virginia [5:04 P.M.]: Yes, because as romantic as it sounds two people can never become one person. You have to bring your whole, grown up self into a marriage or a long term relationship. Then you can have two whole people working together, building, supporting, growing.

DONNA [5:06 P.M.]: That works for me and I really believe it will work for them too.
posted by DeBerry and Grant at 6:16 PM 7 comments
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