Welcome to another edition of the 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Me Blog Tour! I was tagged for this tour by Jennie Davenport, author of the forthcoming Swoon Romance title, Hemlock Veils, and all-around trouble-maker. I met Jennie on Twitter just about a year ago through a subject unrelated to writing. We hit it off right away, but I didn’t know she was a writer until a pitch contest in July–the same one where Jennie got both her agent and her publishing contract! Jennie adapts classic fairy tales into a modern, romantic setting. Her stories are full of vivid characters, original insight, and exciting conflicts. I can say this with some assurance because I’ve had the pleasure of being a Beta reader on both her first and second novels. You should definitely check her out.
So, me again.
The First Thing you may not know about me is that there isn’t a whole lot I keep under wraps. Or, you may actually know this if you follow this blog and/or my Twitter account. I’m an introvert inasmuch as social situations drain me rather than energize me and I have a difficult time in a large group of people or an unfamiliar setting. But once I get comfortable, the filter comes all the way off. I’m extremely outspoken and opinionated, and I have no qualms about discussing forbidden subjects and dissecting sacred cows. Some people find this disturbing. I honestly don’t set out to challenge or upset anyone. I simply find examining deep issues WAY more interesting than trivialities. But I’m perfectly willing to drop it or back off if you ask nicely.
That being said, the rest of this blog may turn out to be a hodge-podge of random shit no one cares about and TMI. As far as I’m concerned, it’s all good. But some of you might want to quit while you’re ahead.
The Second Thing you don’t know about me: I have preternaturally fast-growing fingernails. I mean, those suckers grow fast. I can cut them short, and the next thing I know they’re interfering with normal activities like typing and scrubbing the toilet. (PSYCHE! My husband is the toilet-scrubber in our house.) When I break one, I don’t even care, because it’ll grow back in a couple days. In spite of this, I don’t paint them or do anything interesting with them. I use my hands a lot, so the times I’ve tried to make my nails pretty it lasts a day at most before the polish chips or something, and I end up taking it off because I don’t have time for all that. Also, I’m not very good at a lot of “normal” girly stuff. I keep out of my fingernails’ way, and do my best to make them keep out of mine. And that’s it.
The Third Thing you don’t know about me: I love shoes. My favorite job ever was working in a shoe store, one of the old-fashioned kind, where we sat people down and measured their feet and brought out boxes and boxes of possibilities. I was the shoe fitter for the dance shoe department, which meant I helped a lot of girls find toe shoes and jazz shoes and character shoes for Flamenco dancing. Yet, I hate WEARING shoes. The first thing I do when I get home from being out is take my shoes off. And most of the time when I do wear shoes, they’re Birkenstock clogs. Like this:
They’re better for my feet and easier to kick off. I also wear a size nine and a half. This is the size that no one makes for some reason. At least, no one who sells cheap shoes makes it. In cheap shoes, there’s a noticeable absence of a half size between size nine and size ten. In men’s shoes, they don’t make eleven and a halfs. No one knows why this is.
The Fourth Thing you don’t know about me: I would give anything to have children. When I was a kid, I swore I’d never reproduce because my family was so dysfunctional, but by my twenties I wanted kids of my own. Girls, preferably. But I didn’t want to be a single mother, so I was really careful and waited for the right person to come along. I didn’t get married until I was 34, and by then the biological clock was ticking pretty loud. Well, despite the fact that most of the women in my family are super fertile, I’m not. I miscarried twice, which was the worst thing I’ve ever been through. Then I got super depressed and figured that was not the best time to try to reproduce, since I couldn’t even take care of myself. And there’s been an ongoing theme of severe poverty in my life. I never wanted to raise a kid in poverty. Anyway, by the time I got over the depression and realized I still wanted kids, I was 47 and it was too late. It breaks my heart every day, and Mother’s Day is the worst day of the year for me. But maybe the most awful thing is, I still hope! I still believe in miracles. I wish I could let it go, but I just can’t.
The Fifth Thing you don’t know about me: Before the five-year depression when I literally never left the house and did nothing but sit on the couch and stare at the walls, I kept a huge vegetable and herb garden. One year, because it seemed like fun, I entered a bunch of stuff in the county fair. In case you’re a city-dweller, this is an event particular to rural communities where people get to show off their crafts, crops, jams and jellies, pies, paintings, and everything in between. It’s kind of a dying American tradition, unfortunately. In Delta County, Colorado, where I live, a lot of younger people–especially those who have moved in from less rural areas–don’t participate, even if they’re big into organic foods and local eating. Personally I think this is a damn shame. Anyway, much to my surprise, I won a ribbon in every category I entered, including several firsts. So if you want to know who makes the best grape jelly and grows the nicest culinary sage in Delta County, Colorado, that would be me. Or at least it was at one time.
On a somewhat related note, the Sixth Thing you don’t know abut me is: I love doing various arts and crafts. The only prize I ever won at summer camp (which I detested, by the way [the camp, not the prize]) was for arts and crafts. Which was considered a completely UNCOOL activity, so my triumph there did nothing for my social reputation. At one point in my life I made most of my own clothes. I made my wedding dress. My main love is for beautiful fabrics and elaborate costumes. I also made the garb Michael and I wore for all the Lord of the Rings midnight showings.
Right now, what I’m mostly doing is crochet, making juju bags to give away as swag at my book launch. (AUGUST 2! BE THERE!) Long ago, when I got my tattoo, the artist was displaying a bunch of these tiny little crocheted bags in the foyer of her studio. I saw them and thought, “Hey, I could make those!” So I bought some thread and set about figuring it out. Mine are much nicer than the ones I copied, because I learned how to add beads and stuff.
Both the crafts and the county fair ribbons can be attributed to something my family calls “The Grandma Lampe Gene.” I don’t remember my grandmother well, but apparently in her younger years she was a real spitfire, who once, when her family shut her in the closet as a punishment, retaliated by spitting in everyone’s best shoes. She was born in Sweden and spoke nothing but Swedish until she was adopted by a well-to-do American family at age five. And she was Greta Garbo’s second cousin. So yeah: I have a completely valid excuse for the numerous times I have said “I vant to be alone.”
The Seventh Thing you don’t know about me: Although I’ve wanted to be a writer since second grade, I had a couple other careers in mind. Back in high school I wanted to be a rock star like Ann Wilson of Heart. Unfortunately at that time, in the EXTREMELY hidebound culture of Grosse Pointe, Michigan, being a rock star wasn’t something girls did. At all, and particularly not if they failed to conform to societally-accepted notions of beauty and popularity. Although I do have a good friend who was a superb bassist. I don’t know how much shit Stef got for it, though. Anyway, that ambition got crushed pretty quick. I also wanted to be an actress. I started doing character roles in sixth grade to much acclaim from adults and much sneering from peers who told me that consistently being cast as the ugly/dizzy/crazy old spinster was obviously “type-casting.” My best role, and my favourite, was that of Bananas in John Guare’s House of Blue Leaves. It was also the only leading role I ever got, mostly because it’s as much a character role as it is a lead. I’m proud of my character roles now, but at the time I wanted more than anything to get the silly ingenue part, because I felt it would validate me as an attractive female person. No director ever explained to me that character roles actually require more skill or understood why I agonized over them, or why I cried at being told the leading lady “just wasn’t me.” But those roles followed me everywhere. Even in the green room, other cast members would ride me mercilessly about being unattractive and unwanted and prudish and whatever quality the role called for. Because of this, I eventually gave up doing theater, except for a couple local productions I’ve done since moving to rural Colorado. And you know what? When I get cast in the character role, it still hurts.
The Eighth Thing you don’t know about me: I love Ice Hockey. Well, since I hail from Red Wings territory, this shouldn’t be much of a shock. It’s the only team sport I have any feel for. It’s just so beautiful to watch. Actually, I think it’s the only sport that improves being viewed on TV, because the long shots show you the patterns of the player’s movements over the ice, the way they swoop and dive like flocks of birds. Just gorgeous. One thing my old high school has got right in recent years: They now have a girl’s varsity ice hockey team. Good for them!
The Ninth Thing you don’t know about me: I am extremely flexible. I mean, often more flexible than the people demonstrating poses on my yoga videos. Although there’s this one chick with whom I can’t compete. Even with the weight I’ve gained in the past few years, as out of shape as I am, I can still put my ankle behind my neck. This is a completely useless ability, but physical flexibility can be interesting in other realms that are none of your business. I’m quite grateful for my flexibility, because my dad had horrible joint problems from a very young age and was in pain for most of his life, even after getting both knees replaced. I may have problems, but at least I don’t have those problems. Thank all the gods.
And last, the Tenth Thing you don’t know about me: I’m the smartest person in the room. This is not to blow my own horn. It’s simply a fact. You may know I’m smart, but unless you’re a close friend, you probably don’t know how smart. Not that it really means anything, but on my last official IQ test I scored 175, and I was blind with a migraine at the time. Even my dad, who was pretty grudging in the praise department, once said I was the smartest of his children (he said it to someone else, who later told me. Gods forbid he’d actually say such a thing to me in person!). And I have a brother who has a PhD in Organic Chemistry, who makes a living inventing drugs for a major pharmaceutical company, and a couple of sisters who are bigwigs in other medical fields. But I’m not just smart about book learning. I’m smart about people, and relationships, and the unspoken things that go on beneath the surface of life. I’m good at seeing and analyzing patterns, but I can also pick out details. The downside of all this is I get bored SUPER EASILY. It’s extremely difficult for me to stick with an activity or conversation that doesn’t stimulate me. I’m also very impatient with people who can’t keep up, and I’m a TERRIBLE teacher for this reason.
So. That’s the 10 Things You Don’t Know About Me.
Next on the blog tour:
Ainsley Wynter is a romance writer who loves happy endings and bringing laughter and hope to her readers. Her work features a hybrid of history, fairy tales, and the paranormal. I met Ainsley through Twitter, where she is a member of the awesome writing community. She also has one of the coolest names in existence.
Patricia Eddy is a writer of erotica and paranormal romance. A woman after my own heart, she likes single malt Scotch, robust red wine, bacon, and cheese, and she curses like a sailor when the mood is upon her. I met Patricia when she reviewed my book, The Parting Glass, for the Author Alliance. (She liked it a lot, and that made me feel all special. I still go back and read her review when I’m feeling low.)
Check in next week to find out the 10 things you don’t know about Ainsley and Patricia!