A Truthy-Truth Post
Tuesday, January 25, 2011

✍ ✍ ✍ ✍ ✍
So, an amazingly cool thing happened to me yesterday.     

And no, Bono did not come knocking on my door and say with that dirty boy smile on his scruffy face, "Hey Luv, I hear you've been looking for me."

Which would have been uber convenient, since my hubby is out of town on his annual guys' Vegas trip. 

Let me sigh wistfully and dwell on that for a moment. 


Anyway, no. But what did happen to me was almost as thrilling as Bono at my door.  

The all powerful, amazing and savvy Gigi, of Kludgy Mom bestowed me with a great honor. 

She dubbed me one of her Fabulous Five.

I am one of five bloggers Gigi calls fabulous. And even more humbling? She has included me in a group of stellar writers, bloggers who, if we were running a writing race, I'd be the one stumbling over the torn finish line ribbon, gasping for breath, hours after the others had effortlessly glided to their finish and were already at the pub down the street downing their celebratory beverage of choice.  

And as exciting as it is to be graced with such an honorary title and I truly am honored and humbled and delirious with excitement, it's those words, those words, man. 

Those words are difficult for me to believe. 

I think a lot of different things about myself. 

I think I can be pretty charming when I want to be. 

I also think I'm a total klutz both physically and in my social graces. I have fallen off my step at step class . . .  during the warm up. 

I have actually said in cocktail conversation, "I cannot imagine why anyone would choose to honeymoon at Disney World. Who does that? Child brides from Tennessee, that's who and simpletons whose biggest thrill in life is riding the roller coasters at Six Flags and attending hot dog eating competitions."

The response from one of the women in my cocktail circle is branded in my heart forever as she said faintly, "I honeymooned at Disney World. I'd wanted to go there my whole life and so my husband surprised me with that trip. It was one of the most special things anyone has ever done for me."

Yes, that really happened. And yes, I am an ass of astronomic proportions. 

I also think I'm a great mom, but I totally suck as Betty Crocker. I don't own a Bundt pan and most of my family pictures sit in old wine boxes and on my computer instead of displayed in beautiful scrapbooks. 

I think I can hold my own when it comes to talking politics or the state of the world. Do NOT even get me started on what I think of President Obama's recent decision to honor China with a State Dinner in a supposed effort to promote trade between our countries. As the current Nobel Peace Prize winner, Liu Xiaobo, sits in a Chinese jail for advocating peaceful political and economic reform in his oppressive Communist country, the White House rolls out the red carpet for his captors. And as touchy as the balance with this rapidly emerging superpower is, their shameful history of oppressing human rights should outweigh any economic factors. They need sanctioning not celebrating. 

Remember? I told you a long time ago I had me some opinions. And for your sake and mine, I'll just keep those opinions off the Internet from now on.  

And am I the only dweeb who still would love to know the real scoop on Valerie Plame? And I'm not talking the Hollywoodized version that is about to hit the theaters, I'm talking me and Valerie in a room with a bottle of wine. Man, I would almost give up my blow dryer for life to hear that story from one of the few people who know the real truth. 

Note—I said almost. 

And I also think, no, I know, that I have abysmal math skills and I lack the ability to read a map unless it has accompanying written directions that read something like,"Turn right after the brick house with the bike in its front yard that has been cleverly converted into a lawn decoration and planter."

My inability to read a map has caused my hubby and I to almost divorce on more than one instance or at least not speak to each other for several hours. My marriage was saved the day navigational systems were invented. 

I also think I'm a decently kind person who at the same time is notorious for forgetting birthdays and thank you notes. I mean well. I'm just too scattered. 

My Christmas cards are still sitting here in their cardboard box filling me with angst. 

I think that I'm pretty damn good at playing dress up and having an eye for fashion. My girls are in my closet more than they are their own. And I always ask them when they come from school in one of my getups, "Did you tell your friends you were wearing your MOM'S clothes?"

Their snort of disbelief and cry of "NO WAY" pisses me off more than the fact that they're wearing, my new sweet silk, ruffly top along with my cropped biker jacket. I am seriously considering putting a lock on my closet door. 

But and this is a big kind of Kardashian But, I have a confession to make. 

I think that the inside me could use a makeover, a great big Stacey and Clinton kind of makeover, where they throw the old me in the trash can and turn my crippling self doubt into a sparkling, Kanye West kind of confident cry of, "Oh yeah, I AM the man."

See, here's the thing, I've never felt worthy of such high praise from Gigi or anyone else for that matter. I'm honestly astounded when my words create a reaction, whether bad or good. 

I love to write. I always have. I don't know what I would do if I couldn't put the pen to the paper and let the words wind their way out of me. But even though writing is my very lifeblood, the thing that pulsates through me, I don't believe in my own power. I have struggled my entire life with this rancid self doubt that takes up space in my little writerly soul.

And I did not come here today to have a pity party with me as the guest of honor and I certainly did NOT come here in search of high praise for me. Please know that. What started out as a a big virtual hug and a grateful thank you, organically turned into this confession. In fact, I sat here for the longest time, ready to hit the delete key on this entire post. But then it hit me, that this is exactly what I do here. I have bared my soul and oftentimes my ass to you, Internet, so why stop now. 

And while we're at it, I'm going to go even further in my confession. Some days, I feel pretty good. Some days I think my writing is passable. But other times, I feel like my words don't fit together right and I'm not really sure why I'm even calling myself a writer. 

Lately, I've been feeling more like a poser than a writer. 

I won't lie. I've had an incredibly tough last few months. Health scares and an extended family situation that has been incredibly taxing for my little family for the last month, have thrown me into writer angst hell. (The situation has thankfully come to a close, so we're back to that happy place now in our world.)

Oh and on that note, I'd like to thank profusely the people in my world who were aware of my situation and let me vent and vent and vent to them usually when all they asked was an innocent, "How are things going?" I do appreciate all of your supportive shoulders. Just being able to get it all out, helped so very much.  

But I'm in a place right now where I've been having a bit of trouble believing— believing in me. And that couldn't come at a worse time. I have this revision for my novel staring me in the face. Two writers, two writers who I respect and adore, who have read my novel, both agree that I need to revise this one thing. And that entails some pulling apart and putting back together. Laborious, hard writing work that needs every ounce of writing muscle I can give it. 

I began pulling it apart in November and then my life got sucked into this whirling typhoon of one crisis after the next and so I put it away. And left it there, all pulled apart. 

And just about every night as I close my eyes I think, "Girl, what the hell are you doing? Go back to your story."

And then I wake up and I leave it there, abandoned, for another day.  


Because of Gigi.

On this day, I vow here at this holy place of mine, this little blog where I blab away, telling you my stories and my secrets, I'm comin' back. 

Today. And tomorrow. And the next day. And all of the days to come. I will be writing, writing hard. 

Gigi loves me and without even knowing it, with her words of high praise she gave me a solid, quit- your-damn-wallowing, kick in the ass. 

Like Steven Tyler yowls, "I'm back. I'm back in the saddle again."

I will continue my vacation tales. But after that, I'll probably only post here once a week for awhile. I'll also try and visit when I can, but sadly my bumbling ass won't be gracing your doorsteps as much as I'd like. But please know that doesn't mean I've left you permanently, just a little less of me will be around until I get this machine rolling. 

I'd like to end this post by highlighting just a few lines from each of these formidable writer girls that  make up the Fabulous Five, so you can see how incredible it feels to be put in such lofty company:

This is Lori from In Pursuit Of Martha Points on her post, "How To Sell Your Child To The Gypsies"

People have asked me, "Lori, how do I know when my kids are ready for selling?" . . . 

And if you have at any time in your child's life needed to utter the words, "I'm really sorry. I'll make sure to get your son's underwear back to him by tomorrow" to another parent, the time is yesterday. 

And Erin of "I'm Gonna Kill Him" which by the way, I have such blog envy over her blog name. This is from her post on road trips, "I'm Driving With Hannibal Lecter Next Time".

You tell husband it's time. Time to put on the children's music. No, he insists. I will not listen to the irritating voices of children singing, "I'm A Little Teapot." He said the word 'Teapot'. Mutiny ensues. Rather than slide the CD, quieting them faster than the Propofol injection you are preparing, he begins to draw comparisons to his youth, which sounds like a Susan B. Anthony autobiography. He didn't have CD players and special kids music. Nor car seats or air conditioning. Even if he did, he wouldn't have used them. Why do you submit to their demands so easily? We should be teaching them to live in a democracy where we all must cooperate. And while we're at it, why do you allow D to wear pink and to tell people he wants to be a ballerina?

And then there is Alexandra of Good Day, Regular People. *Sigh* Alexandra is one of the most special people in the universe. Truly. In a huge moment of angst, when I needed some hand holding the most when it came to my writing, Alexandra was there. In fact, Alexandra is always there. She is a woman of mighty splendor, that one. 

This one's from her "When Someone You Love Has A Blog".

When your blogger begins to speak of people with names like, "Momtothree" and "HouseofMouse" do not ask her why in the world grown women would give themselves nicknames like that, instead say, "hmmm...tell me who they are again." Much better.

And lastly, but certainly not least, there is Sherri from Old Tweener. Here's a few lines from her "Ode to My Butt":

I will agree to stop dressing you up in low rise jeans if you will promise to stop drooping. 

I promise to skip the polyester pants if you will make an effort to remain somewhat shapely (at least in Spanx).

I promise to appreciate the fact that there are muscles under all those lumps and bumps, and will do my best to find them once in a while, either on a hiking trail, a bike, or a long walk. But not running. 

I will try harder to watch what I eat if you will forgive the occasional Double-Double at In-N-Out.

Take a moment to read these wonderful writers. You'll enjoy every last word. 

Today's Definite Download:

Of COURSE, it has to be Aerosmith and their kick ass song, "Back In The Saddle."

With Steven's lightning bolt crack of "Im Baaaack" echoing in my ears, I have no choice but to open up that notebook and pound away. 

Vacation tales are just a few days away. See you soon, my friends. 


Lisa said...

1. I'm really afraid I won't remember everything I wanted to say when I was reading this post, so if I forget something (and I probably will) I'll send a message later.

2. I apologize in advance if I offend someone with this, but I'm with you on the Disney thing 100%. The magic has lost it's luster. In fact, the last time we went there was 10 years ago when The Princess was 4 years old. I was miserable the entire time. I think I WOULD rather go a year without a hair dryer than have to go there again.

3. You can vent to me anytime. I love you.

4. You are an awesome mom. We all have things we are good at and things we're not so good at. Me? I'm a good cook and I did get my Christmas cards out (with a lot of grumbling), but I am seriously patience challenged with my kids. And the hubby...and the dog...cats...blah blah blah....

5. You rock, and congratulations!!

Unknown said...

YAY! You're back.
Okay okay. SO. I think we are twins. Almost.
And don't get me started on China/U.S. relations.
Don't...okay too late. Read this in your copious amounts of spare time (Bah!).
It made me respect the internet more as a medium for free speech. It made me VALUE my BLOG. Because, I can have one. And so can you.

Okay, and also, I think you should start reading (if you haven't) Chatting at the Sky's series on art. I think she has a new one up today, but they've all been awesome. A pep talk for the writer within.
Super glad.
I can't wait to hear about mexico more. should I start a new comment? This one is lllloooooonnnnggg.

Unknown said...

I'm back. I laughed so hard at the disney world thing. Before we went, I told my husband it was for "weak minded people". He couldn't stop laughing. I was being completely serious.
And, please never tell anyone I said that. I know people who don't SEEM weak minded, but they love that place. Weird huh?
Happy writing!

Anonymous said...

Joann, Visiting from Twitter. :) This post totally resonated with me. I too have forced myself to face that fact that I've let my writing stall (the fiction, not the blogging--of course!) Anyway, I happened to post about it at 2am this morning. So though I normally wouldn't leave a link on someone else's blog, I think you can for sure relate to mine today.


Anonymous said...

I think you are adorable! I am glad GPS saved another marriage!
And I hope that the revisions are easy and painless!

Noelle said...

Here I am sending you a BIG FAT HUG...a ginormous CONGRATS because you deserve it, and the reminder that you are one of my favorite people ever!

The Furry Godmother said...

Hmmmph. I have always thought my insecurities as a catalyst for my art. It makes me feel out the work rather than attack it with bravado. I've always felt it gave me a certain sensitivity towards my subjects.

Won't supreme confidence change how you do things?

Just thinking out loud...

Unknown said...

I am so behind in making blog comments, but ever since I found your blog (I'm not sure if it was through Gigi or Liz) it has been in my daily reads in my reader. I always read your posts even though I don't always click through to comment because your writing is funny, genuine, and captivating. I love reading what you have to say and always look forward to your posts. Anyway, lots of luck with your revisions- I can't wait to read your book!

Mrs. Frogster said...

Fantastic! Congrats on the honor! and thanks for the entertaining and refreshingly honest post/confession. It's always good to know that other people aren't perfect either. :)

Anonymous said...

I suppose you should be thankful that the woman who homeymooned at Disney wasn't also a child bride from Tennessee that enjoyed Six Flags.

Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

It's exhiliarating to know you, queen of pink laundry and exotic vacations and gorgeous clothes, suffers from the same lack of confidence that I do. I'm always waiting for the other shoe to drop, for someone to say, "Oh, yes, that person can't write a sentence to save her life!" So thank you for your confession.
It makes me a little sad that you're stepping away from blogging a wee bit. I've only recently discovered how funny you are (and YES, how talented) and will now miss reading one of the most entertaining blogs on the internet. Good luck with the book. Hurry up and finish the darn thing so a) we can read it and b) you'll return here to the people who adore you.

Desperate Housemommy said...

I am SO glad that SoMo introduced us last week...because if I hadn't met you *there,* I wouldn't be *here* to read this fabulous re-dedication of yourself to the writers' trade. Glad you're baaaaaack!

Sandy said...

I am most impressed with your creative use of old wine boxes. Did nobody else pick up on that? Good luck with your novel.

sandra said...

I really had no idea how much work goes into writing a book. I am sorry this is difficult, but please know that I cannot wait to hold your book in my hands to read it. You have such a gift and I cannot explain how much I enjoy your writing, and to have an entire book of it? CANNOT wait. Hang in there, and pleaasse do not leave us hanging for the next part of vacation stories, because I am just dying to know what happened next!

Unknown said...

What a wonderful post. I wish you luck with your rewrite of your novel and I just know it's bound to be a best seller!

Baby Sister said...

Wahoo!! Congrats!! You totally deserve it. You are an amazing writer and I can't wait to read your book!!

Jerry said...

I'm relatively new to your site, and all I can say is you talk like real people...many times saying the things I want to say and hear...'cept you do it with flair. I'll be here whenever you're here!

Cheryl said...

Confidence is 99 percent of the battle with writing. You can get so caught up in doubt that you're paralyzed.

Believe in yourself. Believe that so many talented people believe in you.

Get over yourself.

And write.


JoAnna said...

Better come visit me if you need more stroking....

Lori @ In Pursuit of It All said...

I just want to say that when I saw Gigi's list - and it was from GIGI, for heaven's sake - I was flabbergasted.

I looked at the other writers on that list and had pretty much the same thoughts you did.

What??? Me?? With Joann? And Alex??? And ERIN??? Good god....and SHERRI???

I named a bunch of people in my head that I would have slipped well past me on that list.

And I was...stunned.

I hope - because I love words the way other people love jewelry or shoes - that you tackle those re-writes. I do so much.

And thank you for being amazed at being on a list with me. That is as much a compliment as the list itself.

Because gorgeous woman, I am WAY amazed at being on a list with you.

Erin I'm Gonna Kill Him said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rebecca Grace said...

Oh, the angst rears it's ugly head and besieges even the best of us -- et tu, Joann?! When strangers like me (and by that I mean, stranger than you) bookmark your blog for the pure pleasure of lapping up every word you write like a hungry puppy wolfing down kibbles... Yeah, you're a talented writer, and I'm not just saying that because I'm your sister or your husband or your daughter who wants to borrow your clothes. I look forward to each of your posts because no matter what you've chosen as the topic du jour, I know you're going to entertain the snot out of me -- literally! Hey, does anyone know a good way to clean snott off a computer keyboard?

Lori said...

Well if someone who writes as funny shit as you do can have doubts about their writing, then I don't feel as loseresque about my doubts.
You will do your re-write and it will be fabulous! Just take it one paragraph at a time.
Your Fab 5 shout out was well deserved. Well deserved.

Sandra said...

You are fabulous! Gigi has great taste!
As for Bono, well, I'll get him for you and you get me Steven Tyler...see, I hadn't even thought of how much he could do me do me, then you mentioned him, and now I have this mental image of his great lips.

Alexandra said...

Oh, sweet girl....you are the best.

You've just had a lot to sidetrack you: health, vision, your baby left for college (oooch...sore spot, still tender) in laws over...it all adds up and can come in loud and clear as, "you're not a real writer! real writers are unstoppable!"

This post reminds me of a tweet I saw that cracked me up, by the wonderful writer Kiki Walters, "Writers have more depression on average than whole of population." She tweets "ya think???"

Yeah, it's hard...but, Joann, we have no choice. Not to write?

Might as well ask me Not to breathe.

And, thank you to Gigi...I was amazed, too. To have me up there with the writing of Joann Mannix...please, I can't touch that woman. And with I'm gonna Kill HIm..she has WaitintheVan as her #1 fan! and Old Tweener? The one who melts me with her posts on her kids? I can't do that. And then, with MarthaPoints with her words that can make you laugh out loud, and also grow misty eyed and then graphic art to boost? And also? Saving those with strokes? And..oh? OH? the mother of Pursey Galore?

See, why even keep the shingle out, right?

Because we are who we are, and people love us. If they didn't, then why would we not want to make them hear our words so badly?

Why? Because we want to make them laugh, or cry, or feel less alone.

All of it, the words, the time, the blog...for the love of the reader. To bring something more to their life.

It's as clear as that.

Why do you write, Joann? To bring us pleasure, right?

And you do....

Love you, girl.

Ash said...

Plame! China! Honeymoons in Disney World!

Well, agreeing on two out of three ain't bad. I'll let you guess which one.

M-i-c. K-e-y.

But I still love you. Flat out adore you. Now throw on some chaps, yes, the assless ones, and get back up there. Yeeeehawww! I'll be hanging back here at the chuckwagon if you need a snack.

XO - A

Ms. G said...

You are an excellent writer and there is no doubt of that so don't let it sit! It's too easy to let it slip away and that would be a real shame! You are too talented for that.

P.S. I once knew someone who went to Disney on her honeymoon only she was a child bride from Yulee!

Just A Normal Mom said...

I've only been recently reading this blog and I love it. Best of luck on your rewrite, because I have suspicion it will be a winner! That said, I am still LOL about the honeymoon in Disney World.....

Bossy Betty said...

Go get 'em, Baby! Follow your bliss even though it scares you half out of your mind.. That's where the good stuff is.

Rae said...

You are worthy! You are worthy! Keep saying it out loud!
I love your blog!!! and if I could only read one blog a day- it would be yours!
Now- I'm waiting to see your book at my local Barnes and Noble!!! Get to it, girl!

Unknown said...

Joann, The movie about Valerie Plame, "Fair Game" is totally worth seeing. The first bit of it is a bit disjointed, but then it all comes together in a scandalous, horrible way toward the middle. My husband and I were really taken aback by the brutal reality of what happens in Washington to those who blow the whistle. Scary sh*t.

Best of luck with your writing revisions!

Kimberly said...

You totally rock mah socks and it was no surprise that you were chosen. I love reading your blog even though I may have to cut a ho if Bono ever met you because next to Chuck Norris Bono is a close second. Rawr!

Anonymous said...

So glad you liked the post! :) I thought you'd relate as I did to yours. We'll have to nudge each other know and then to make sure we put our butts in the chair. I did my two pages yesterday. Still haven't done todays, but I WILL. (No matter what!)

Shabbygal said...

I give you my blessing to write away! I will miss you not being around as much but you do what ya gotta do! Love reding your blog! Traci

Joey Lynn Resciniti said...

I came by via Gigi the other day. I like you. Clearly I have no clout in this "industry", but I'll be glad to benefit from this hard writing you're doing.

Pat said...

You are a GREAT writer! Now look in the mirror and say that and get off your butt and start revising!

Cupcake Murphy said...

The only times I have ever TRULY and REALLY and ABSOLUTELY hated my husband was when he was all over my pathetic and confused ass while I was trying to read a map in the passenger seat on a road trip. "EFF OFF YOU TERRORIST BUTT ASS HEAD!" I remember screaming.

Cupcake Murphy said...

Also: Congratulations a hundred times. You'll hop back on the saddle and you'll cover a lot of prairie---I just know this.

MrsJenB said...

Well, this Disney honeymooner (as I told you on Twitter once, I married a Dis addict) will move on past that little foot-in-mouth moment. I can only imagine how embarrassing that was!

Sometimes the universe drops the message we need to hear right in our laps the moment we need most to hear it. We all need a little encouragement, a little reinforcement, from time to time. I am so glad that you received yours from the lovely Gigi.

jayayceeblog said...

Joann, you are truly an inspired, wonderful writer. I love your stuff. You deserve the Fabulous Five compliment. And another big compliment is that your girls raid your closet. You should have kept the padlock from the safe in Mexico to put on your closet at home!

Anonymous said...

I want post this topic. Sorry

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