Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

5-Revelations Frolic

Clare Dudman, The Keeper of Snails, has tagged me with a meme asking for five things “that people don’t know about you.” I am doing it because Clare asked, and only because Clare asked! So there, Clare, have a care (or a pear, or—enough!)

1. My blood relatives all believe and frequently have reason to say that I magnetically attract crazy people who want to be my best friends. This has been going on for many years and has become a family cliché. (If you are my friend, worry not; you might not be one of the crazy ones. If you are, I love you anyway.)

2. When I was small, I ate mostly raw food—beans, black eye peas, okra, lady peas, green peas, green peanuts (being a proper Southerner, I also liked them boiled), potatoes, turnips, carrots. My skin had a beautiful orangey flush, and my nose was the little nub of a carrot. I now eat most anything. In fact, I’ve had curried antelope in the past week. How many people can say that, I wonder? I still, however, can be caught raiding the uncooked food, and my children like raw green beans and peas.

3. I also never, ever, ever drank milk as a child and may not have any bones.

4. The five people in my immediate family write fiction of various sorts (3 commit poetry!), all but little N, who is probably doomed to write in the future when he is not so little. My daughter went to Alpha this summer. The others tend to keep their scribblings a secret.

5. As a child, I could not bear tags in clothing, or any stiffness around collars, or harsh seams. I still cut the tags out of my clothes or else saw them into frayed half-moon shapes. This may be related to the potpourri of neurological weirdness in my family line, but let’s not go there, okay?

Somehow this whole meme feels familiar, though it is said to be new.

Perhaps I have done it before. And given precisely the same answers. Or weirdly similar answers. Or entirely different ones. The antelope part is definitely new, though I have now eaten antelope in so many different ways that it is beginning to seem quite ordinary, despite its pleasant tang—as of mesquite and bitter herbs.

Perhaps it is merely a passing sense of déjà vu, the sign of infinitesimal small strokes in the brain.

Or perhaps confession is just one of my recurring nightmares.

And here is the mandatory meme-plug: "PLEASE LEAVE THE FOLLOWING IN ALL ‘PEOPLE COLLECTION’ POSTS Remember that it isn’t always the sensational stuff that writers are looking for, it can just as easily be something that you take for granted like having raised twins or knowing how to grow beetroot. Mind you, if you know how to fly a helicopter or have worked as a film extra, do feel free to let the rest of us know about it ."

People Collection. Strange.

Two people I tagged have turned up with responses: "How about The Grove Palace, inhabited by one of my writing seminar students from a week at NCCAT in 2005? She hasn’t been posting, so perhaps this would inspire her… And Jarvenpa, who is a poet/bookseller beleaguered by bears and fire and wandering folk in the wilds of northern California. She’s probably digging out from a mudslide right now." All else is silence.

Oh, 6:
I file my books backward, because I’m tired of Y being down in the right-hand corner with the dust bunnies.

Credit: That picture is out of date, snagged off the SciFiction site. That's why it has the little corner missing. The hair is, all on its own, going curlier, and I requested to see the weirdest eye glasses in New Hartford and promptly bought them. Alas, the boondocks are dull--they are merely burgundy semi cat-eyes with cream and green trim. Next time I get my zany eye frippery in NYC.

7 comments:

  1. This meme is just a bit like one I was tagged with by...I think...one of my Iraqi friends, which I did pass to you many, many months ago.
    I love #6. Sometimes we shift the order of our books in the shop because we feel sorry for the ones on the bottom, or up on top, way out of reach. And when I visited libraries as a teen I would always make certain to adopt some of the lower shelf books to make them feel better.
    And...if blogger doesn't love you, what does that matter? Your readers certainly do.
    I'll try to answer your meme in my notebooks blog soon.

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  2. Thank you Marly. It was revelatory for me, at least, because I only met you recently. Although I knew about the raw food - I think that's how we first met. This is met in the blogging sense, of course.

    That point 3 must be very gratifying. I am the lone writer in my family.

    And completely agree with 5, even now. The only trouble with cutting out tags I find is you have to guess how to wash them.

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  3. I loved this post, so full of inside info! And humor and Marlyisms. My husband may be related to you. He has the same chilly thoughts about tags in clothes. I'm not weird, I don't think, though I count myself as your friend. Jeffery, if you're reading this, tais-toi.

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  4. Tais-toi? Then Mr. Beam might have a different opinion?

    It would be very lovely to be related to Mr. Laurelines. At least, he looks quite nice in your drawings!

    (I did find out that I'm related to our pediatrician, even though we're a thousand miles from where our common ancestors lived. And his have been Yankees for a long time.)

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  5. Hi Marly,

    I have attempted to answer the meme in my blog.

    Also, I have a 23 year old daughter that hates tags and has always cut them out. She and the eldest daughter also hate elastic around the neck and arms. I

    I read somewhere recently that autistic childern in particular have the tendency to be really bugged by tags. Something about their whole system being very sensitve to stimuli.Not that I am suggesting autism in you. Really, I'm not.

    I know what you mean about wanting the progeny to be self supporting. The 28 year old and her brother both write. Poetry, comic style zines, and online games to name a few. None of it for money, unless you count the local award the 28 daughter got for a poem.

    The eldest is working now with autistic children, and preschool childre, and the son is in the military currently in Quatar. So they have both found alternate means of support while supporting an inherited love of words.

    Only the youngest has no desire to write. She would rather dance.

    Nuff for now. Check out the blog.

    Thanks for tagging me.

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  6. "Really, I'm not."

    Hah.

    Dancing and writing: all very well, no? Down the kitchen we sing, scrubbing our pots and pans.

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  7. Ah, secrets from the mysterious Jarvenpa!

    I just don't like the way Blogger eats my comments. Or posts, for that matter. But it's behaving very nicely today.

    Hmm, I should try and dredge that meme up and see if I answered that one the same way. No doubt the raw food and tags were there, as they annoy people. Particularly cooks, who find the food disappearing before it hits the pan. This one is supposed to be just for writers.

    I feel very friendly toward you for moving the unfortunate out-of-sight books! Perhaps you could situate the "XYZ" books in a prominent place, with a blinking arrow.

    Yes, this would be more of a "notebooks" topic. Should've dropped you a note there.

    *******

    Clare,

    Raw food must loom large, like chickens. I don't recall (but then, there's so much I don't recall.)

    I don't know if it is. One would like some of the progeny to be self-supporting. But it's contagious, in our case. Even my husband scribbles.

    Tag-wise, there is the other trouble of cutting a wee raveling hole in one's brand new and ever-so-beauteous garment. Holes make them more desirable; one realizes that, yes, it was this very article of clothing that one really wanted, and now it is soon to be a mere ball of thread.

    ***

    As of today, I think all of Clare's respondents are up--and amusing. Click on her name (above, 2nd comment) if you want to find links to them or take a gander at her far-flung interests.

    So far I have two: Donna, my former student at a week's seminar for North Carolina 'public school teachers who write' has one at
    http://grovepalace.blogspot.com/2006/10/tagged.html,

    and poet and bookseller, the even-more-mysterious-than-I-had-thought-prior Jarvenpa, has one at

    http://jarvenpa.blogspot.com/2006/10/five-things-meme.html.

    She also has a piece about my books on that blog--she has two blogs--so that's fun, too.

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.