Paul Theroux’s DEEP SOUTH, West Alabama

Theroux is a master of the caustic zinger. Exhibit A:

  • I was the sinner sitting among the publicans, well behind the Philistines, in a back pew. I was not normally a churchgoer, but what made a Sunday in the South complete was a church service, a gun show, or a football game.

Stay tuned.

Last Year, The Wallace Collection


Because last summer, she was reading Howard Jacobson’s The Act of Love, which is set mostly on London’s Great Russell Street (an antiquarian book dealer’s! Just across from the British Museum!) and The Wallace Collection, in July 2015 self went to see The Wallace Collection for the first time.

She asked a museum staffer if she knew where Fragonnard’s famous painting was.

“I know exactly,” said the staffer, without missing a beat (very much like the taxi driver who said, when self inquired if he knew St. Bride’s: “Of course! I’m a London cabbie!”). “She’s in the parlor, swinging away.”


Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

This Conversation

Self was in Oxford.

Oxford, as in UK.

The year she got shortlisted for the Saboteur Awards.

Funny, that was also her first visit to Ireland.

In fact, she was IN Ireland when she got the e-mail from her publisher. In Florida.

“Oh,” self e-mailed. “I don’t think I can make it to Oxford, Mississippi. Because, I’m in Ireland.”

And her publisher said, “Well, if you’re in Ireland, I think that’s a lot closer to Oxford than where I am.”

And self thought, Huh, that’s funny.

Then she got an e-mail from the Saboteur Awards people, giving her directions on getting to Oxford. Which included going to London, then taking a train . . .

Wait. London. Train.


Like hell, she said!

Anyhoo, she wound up in Oxford, UK. Drinking champagne, thank you very much. A young woman comes up to self, introduces herself as a Ph.D. student from Oxford. Oxford University, not Oxford as in Oxford, Mississippi. LOL.

The young woman asks self what she does to relax.

Self doesn’t even have to think about it: “I write Fan Fiction.”

And this young woman, this doctoral candidate in Oxford University, doesn’t bat an eyelash. She comes right back at self with: “Which universe?”

And self goes: “Hunger Games. Everlark.”

And that is the honest truth.

Stay tuned.

Never, Ever

Never, ever in the history of self’s reading of fan fiction did she ever think she would find dialogue like the one below so meaninful:


Kitty, you okay?


Katniss, okay?

The second line belongs to Tarzan Peeta and Katniss had to teach him English all over again because apparently Peeta was the sole survivor of a shipwreck and ended up on an uninhabited island off some African coast when he was just seven years old and forgot how to wear clothes and even how to speak (He grunts at Katniss the first time he meets her). You can just imagine the poor kid learning how to survive on berries or monkey poop or whatever! Mind-blowing! Absolutely!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


Tarzan Peeta Part 2: Finnick Tries Flirting

Her thoughts drifted back to the mysterious man that had saved her (from drowning) earlier that day. She really hadn’t stopped thinking about him at all since he’d run into the tropical forest like a mad man, wearing her orange sundress. The vision of it made Katniss’s laughter bubble up . . .

“You liked that one, Kitty?” Finnick asked, catching Katniss by surprise.

Her laughter subsided at the pet name he’d coined for her as soon as they’d met on the plane. She stared at him a moment, willing the scowl to stay behind the delicate mask of merriment. She had to play along, knowing she couldn’t tell any of the men about her savior. At least, not yet. Not until she knew more about him. Why was he on the island. Where he came from . . .

Can you believe anyone finding Finnick tiresome?


Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Tarzan Peeta!

Anyone remember when Brendan Fraser was super, super-hot?

Anyone remember him in George in the Jungle?

Well, today, after another blissful day in Annaghmakerrig (Thank YOU, Tyrone Guthrie Centre!), self fell to searching for new Everlark fan fics. And she found one that was mighty intriguing!

Let’s see if she can adequately summarize it:

Katniss is fleeing tabloid rumors about her husband’s predilection for men and goes on some kind of exotic adventure with her uncle Haymitch and a male companion (and possibly would-be paramour, Finnick, of all people). The company have to sleep in tents out in the wilderness. Katniss has a life-changing encounter with a naked man with blonde hair and blue eyes (of course, the man’s body is perfect, just perfect) and she raises the alarm (Katniss, you are absolutely clue-leeeess!) and the man goes scampering back into the jungle, but not before he’s had the chance to don one of Katniss’s dresses.

Yes indeed, the last we see of Tarzan Peeta in the opening chapter is him running into the forest wearing an ORANGE dress. Which, on him, barely reaches to there.

Love it!

Stay tuned.

Self Cannot Tell a Lie

In between reading 17th century stuff for novel-in-progress about kick-ass 25-year-old fighting Catholic priest from Murcia, Spain who is sent to the Philippines to fight demons, she is still reading Everlark!

The one she’s reading today has a hapless Peeta sitting behind crush-of-his-life Katniss Everdeen for one entire semester, smelling of patchouli. It seems Peeta’s roommate was very much into the weed and lit up everywhere, and the smell penetrated all of poor Peeta’s clothing so that he nearly lost his wrestling scholarship because his coach assumed he was a pothead. To disguise the smell, Peeta had taken to dousing himself with patchouli, which led to Katniss wrinkling her nose every time he sat behind her. Not only that, he was initiated into a frat and as part of the initiation was made to dye his hair orange and he was so embarrassed that he kept a beaver hat on his head the entire semester. Really? A beaver hat? And Katniss claimed she never noticed him? LOL!

(To be continued)


And Further Thoughts of the Day

Last year, Banff:

“Awww, you’re being so nice. Unfortunately, it won’t do you any good.”

So right! Self, NICE doesn’t count when you’re trying to get a book contract.

Get IN there, tiger! Show your claws, for crying out loud!

For further thought:

Self’s happiness project takes a page from Gretchen Rubin: Compare what you did today to what you did this same day last year.

Right. So far, today’s big achievement is laundry! Laundry! Laundry! Ta-ra!

She flips to her Happiness Project journal and looks up what she did on April 15, 2015: This cannot be! Is this some kind of sick joke?

On April 15, 2015, self wrote: Success! Did humongous load of laundry!

Such a difference a year makes!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Candide, Chapter 27: Voyage to Constantinople

Candide muses aloud on his recent adventures in Venice to his phlegmatic traveling companion Martin:

“But,” said Candide, “that was a most implausible adventure we had in Venice. No one ever saw or heard of six dethroned Kings having supper together in an inn.”

“That is no more extraordinary,” said Martin, “than most of the things that have happened to us. It is very common for Kings to be dethroned; and as for the honor we had in having supper with them, it is a thing that does not deserve our attention. What does it matter whom you sup with, provided you make good cheer?”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Candide, Still Chapter 25: Visit to a Venetian Nobleman

Candide, who had been brought up never to judge anything for himself, was greatly astonished at what he heard, and Martin considered Pococurante’s way of thinking rather reasonable.

“Oh, here is a Cicero,” said Candide. “Now as for that great man, I suppose you never tire of reading him?”

“I never read him,” replied the Venetian. “What do I care whether he pleaded for Rabirius or for Cluentius? I have quite enough with the cases that I judge; I would have made out better with his philosophical works, but when I saw that he doubted everything, I concluded that I knew as much about it as he did, and that I did not need help from anyone in order to be ignorant.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


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