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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Almost There

I received the final proof for If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny from the publisher this week. Well, actually, it's the final proof before I get to proof a sample copy of the actual book with the cover and everything. Reading all these proofs has proven to me just how human errors are.

When I first wrote all of the material for the book, I thought it was perfect. When I compiled it into the initial form of the book to send to the publisher, I knew it was perfect. Five proofs later, and three red ink pens emptier, I'm still finding mistakes and wording that isn't quite right. I'm amazed at how If Mama Don't Laugh has evolved throughout the process. And I have discovered that true perfection is an elusive goal.

If left to listening to my own self-inflicted, self-critical internal voice that enjoys telling me how my efforts aren't good enough, how I could have tried harder, and how I don't know what I'm doing, I would never have a finished product. Thank heavens for editors and publishers who speak loudly in order to drown out writers' insecurities about their work.

But intuitively, I know that If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny will take my readers on a Space Shot of laughs, as they jump with me from throwing pre-adolescents out of the house, to getting on amusement park rides more suitable for 12 year-old boys than 30-something year-old women, to unclogging the vacuum cleaner hose by blowing in it. And it won't be long now, before we're both there together.

Thank you to my loyal and faithful readers, and to the ones who have recently come on board, for your continuous and genuine support. And thank you, as well, for forgiving me my imperfections.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Know When to Go

I am the reason that people print the exact hour a party will end on an invitation. My friends affectionately call me the hanger-on-er because I like to stay until the last pig in a blanket disappears. I can't help thinking that if I leave too soon, I might miss something more exciting than paying the babysitter and driving her home.

The key is not to hang on too long. Some good signs that it's time to leave the party:

1) Someone asks you to help clear the dishes from the buffet.
2) Your host is snoring in front of ESPN.
3) Your husband is standing over you jingling his keys in his pocket.
4) The wine box runs dry.
5) Your husband reports that there's no more beer.
6) A stranger asks if you can hold her hair while she throws up.
7) You haven't been seen with your husband in so long that women begin treating him like he's single.
8) People start talking about politics, religion, or how best to educate children.
9) The stereo goes silent.
10) The hostess releases the hound from the guest bedroom.
11) Another party-goer, too inebriated to drive himself home, calls dibs on the sofa you're sitting on.
12) Someone turns out the kitchen light, the living room light, the den light, the front porch light . . .