Print Story Elaborate Calling
By Kellnerin (Sun Aug 06, 2006 at 04:03:50 PM EST) (all tags)
Roast the couple, future author agreed.

SO, THE AUTHOR of the book that inspired an earlier diary entry of mine has a new novel out this past week. On Thursday I wandered out at lunchtime and, finding that being outside was actually bearable, took a walk to the bookstore. I spotted it on the New Fiction table, picked it up, turned it over to the back, and a few seconds later, anyone who was standing very close to me might have seen me mouth something to the effect of, "no fucking way."

I'll back up a bit. The handful of you who read my NaNoWriMo effort of last year may recall (or not -- it was a minor incident) a scene that went something like this:

"I've got something for you."

"Oh?" He sat up straighter.

I held up the book, then handed it over the side of the cube. It was a slim volume, small especially for a hardcover -- it didn't look like much. He turned it over in his hands, then opened the cover, flipping to the back flap. "Huh. No author photo."

"That's probably because," I explained, "the author had a stroke and only has use of his left eye."

He closed the book and slapped the cover with his other hand. "I'd forgotten I wanted to read this book!"

Because I lack the imagination to spew 50,000 words of pure invention in a month, a lot of the things I ended up writing about last November were based on actual events. The book in question was this book and the recipient in that scene, some fictional approximation of an ex-colleague of mine who has just published his second novel, out this past week.

So, I was standing there by the New Fiction table, scanning the back cover expecting it to read more or less as the book description on Amazon, only it doesn't. Instead, it says, "... he has succumbed to his mother's guilt-laden pleas that he see his estranged father, who suffers from 'locked-in syndrome,' a condition that leaves him fully intact mentally but unable to speak or move, save for blinking his eye."

And I'm not even in the acknowledgments.

LATER THAT DAY, A got a call from J in the hospital, to report that she'd had her baby. She had been working from home, and called on Tuesday to say that she seemed to be going into labor and thus might not be doing so much of that work, after all. A couple days passed and, strangely, calling us did not rate among her top priorities after entering the state of motherhood. We all clustered around A's cube as she told J that we'd been dying of curiosity, but "figured no news was good news."

"Well, some of us were worried," M said as an aside to group, as if to suggest that she was not included in that number.

"Some of us are like that," R said apologetically.

We got J on speakerphone eventually and got the vital stats. When she told us the baby's name, A and I exchanged glances and said, "Ah, so they did go with S_____."

A couple weeks ago, J, A, L, and I had gone out to lunch together, and the subject of baby names had come up. J and Mr. J had agreed on a first name if it was a boy, but were having a difference of opinion on the middle name. J was pushing the inherent coolness of S_____: "Don't you want our kid to have a cool name that will make all the girls want to go out with him?" We all agreed that S_____ was a fine name, not too common and not too weird, but Mr. J had remained unconvinced.

We talked for a while about middle-naming strategies -- most of us had some sort of family name as a middle name -- and the fact that J wanted names that rendered well in Italian because, despite not actually being Italian, she's spent a fair amount of time in Italy and hopes to do so in the future. S_____ fit that criteria.

"Also, it works in German," I pointed out. Mr. J is German.

"What's Mr. J's middle name?" L thought to ask.

"S_____." A beat. "Did I not mention that?"

FRIDAY, THE MAIL BROUGHT an invitation to D's friend N's wedding.

We were expecting it; we haven't seen much of N since he moved away from the neighborhood to Rhode Island, but we'd heard the news of the engagement from a mutual friend. N is ... eccentric, and famous for throwing large and sometimes elaborate parties -- almost every one of D's friends dating back to the high school era, or at least the ones he's still in touch with, was someone he met at one of N's parties, or introduced to someone else at one of N's parties, or somehow got sucked into the whole N's party phenomenon eventually.

"Are we invited?" D wondered when he heard.

"I think so." N and his fiancee were at our wedding. "Is there going to be popcorn, is what I wanna know." Popcorn, perfectly popped, salted, and served in brown paper bags, was a staple of the N party.

Sure enough, N left us a message asking for our snail mail address. I emailed it to him, adding, "Congrats on the occasion that necessitates the sending of physical invitations!" by way of bypassing the usual ooh-when's-the-big-day smalltalk.

Weeks later, N wrote back, saying, "Thanks for the info. If you didn't hear, I'm engaged, and we are sending out wedding invitations." I guess I was too vague.

That email was immediately followed by another message with the following:

Almost forgot!

Two questions:

  1. Do either of you have any dietary requirement that you think we should take into consideration when planning our menu.
  2. What was your 'first dance' song at your wedding?
- N
I wrote back with the answers, but mentioned to D that I thought the second question was a little odd. "Don't you think that's odd?"

"It's N," he replied. "If it wasn't odd I would think it wasn't him."

Anyway, the invitation came the other day. The reply card gives the choice of Filet of Beef or Basil Roast Chicken. I always find it a little weird to have to decide what I want for dinner seven weeks from now. Since what I'd actually be in the mood for that day isn't a factor, all these distractions come into play. Will people judge me based on whether I have red meat? Do I trust the caterers to do chicken for N people that's not too dry?

People, just go with the buffet already.

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Elaborate Calling | 14 comments (14 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
fucking way. by ana (2.00 / 0) #1 Sun Aug 06, 2006 at 04:39:25 PM EST
Curds and fucking way.

Which reminds me, of all things, of an episode of Blossom in which the opposite of "no way" was "way. Curds and way".

'Tis indeed kind of creepy when things you thought were obscure which you lifted from life, return, asking for their context back.

And we didn't do the music and dancing thing at our wedding, as you'll remember, what with being left-footed klutzes (klutzen?).

Can you introspect out loud? --CRwM

riot poof by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #6 Mon Aug 07, 2006 at 04:39:31 AM EST
You are far too conversant in old episodes of Blossom. But it does remind me that I recently discovered that there is another fictional Six, who appears in Syrup by Maxx Barry (two X's because he was dorky like that; he should have named the character Twenty).

Right, the recontextification is weird. And yeah, your significant music was during the ceremony, not after.

Do not misuse.

[ Parent ]
So... by ana (2.00 / 0) #8 Mon Aug 07, 2006 at 04:52:29 AM EST
if the guy writes another book will he sign it Maxxx Berry?

There was a kid who appeared briefly in Peanuts whose name was Five (Snoopy muses for a while about whether he said "Five" or "V" or possibly "5"). This was his father's way of giving in to the modernization of life.

Can you introspect out loud? --CRwM

[ Parent ]
he's already broken the streak by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #11 Mon Aug 07, 2006 at 05:33:14 AM EST
That was his first published novel; the other two so far have been just plain "Max." I suppose there is a possibility that future books will come out under the monikers "Mav Barry" and eventually "Ma Barry," but I don't know how to calculate the function for that. In the author bio that accompanied novel #2, he mentions how embarrassing the double-X stunt was in hindsight.

Do not misuse.
[ Parent ]
Or Ma/ Berry by ana (4.00 / 1) #12 Mon Aug 07, 2006 at 06:03:24 AM EST

This reminds me that I've been sorta wanting to read Jennifer Government ever since you picked it up off the rack lo these many moons ago.

Can you introspect out loud? --CRwM

[ Parent ]
Two options: by aethucyn (2.00 / 0) #2 Sun Aug 06, 2006 at 04:51:23 PM EST
Either the first dance is really important to them, but they don't want to have the same first dance as anybody they know who have been married recently or they're going to have a wedding dance montage where they play the songs that other couples had, and at each couple's song, they have to strut their stuff in an attempt to win the dance off.
You know which one I'm leaning towards.

Option two is simply *evil* by toxicfur (4.00 / 1) #3 Sun Aug 06, 2006 at 05:00:44 PM EST
I'm assuming that's the one you're leaning toward, eh?
Continue to lean until you feel gravity threatening to discipline you for being stupid. - CRwM
[ Parent ]
It could be worse by aethucyn (4.00 / 1) #4 Sun Aug 06, 2006 at 05:05:28 PM EST
They could have to pass fruit without using their hands.
And yes, I have a tendency to use the opposite of Occam's Razor when determining motives. There is more to life than being correct.

[ Parent ]
oh sheesh by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #7 Mon Aug 07, 2006 at 04:49:01 AM EST
If it's the second option we'll just have to forfeit. It's not as if slow-dance songs are really that conducive to a Saturday Night Fever kind of scenario anyway. Seriously. What a nightmare.

Do not misuse.
[ Parent ]
first dance by bobdole (2.00 / 0) #5 Sun Aug 06, 2006 at 05:28:53 PM EST
I guess it depends on whether you have a dj or live music, but I've played at numerous weddings (more than I can count at the top of my head), and apart from the occational request for a particular waltz I can't remember many weddings where we were given a specific set of songs to play.

On the other hand, I do think that a lot of people put too much effort into planning their wedding in the smallest detail possible. The higher they climb... etc
-- The revolution will not be televised.

DJ by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #9 Mon Aug 07, 2006 at 04:59:59 AM EST
... in our case. There are a few special-purpose songs that "they" ask you about: first husband-wife dance, father-daughter dance, mother-son dance, cutting-the-cake song (!), last dance of the night ... there may be others. For the most part, we didn't care. I can see having a particular wish for the first dance song, as if there's any time to play "your song" that would be it (unless, I suppose, it happens to be something like "Rock and Roll, Part 2").

The DJ also asked for a few song ideas just to get a sense of what we liked in general. We talked, we hit it off, he did good job.

Do not misuse.

[ Parent ]
taking the time for a chat by bobdole (4.00 / 1) #10 Mon Aug 07, 2006 at 05:22:09 AM EST
is important if you wanna do a good job, you never know what kind of quirks and oddjobs your next job is filled with :-).
-- The revolution will not be televised.
[ Parent ]
buffet by LilFlightTest (2.00 / 0) #13 Mon Aug 07, 2006 at 12:08:27 PM EST
that's what we're planning!
Dance On, Gir!
right on! by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #14 Mon Aug 07, 2006 at 01:49:25 PM EST
That's the way to go.

Do not misuse.
[ Parent ]
Elaborate Calling | 14 comments (14 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback