As you can see from the headlines, I’m at the South Carolina Book Festival in Columbia. I love this city. It’s full of interesting buildings and funky shops and swanky bistros. I learned that word swanky from author Karen White, who told us all a story about a family member whose favorite word was swanky. It’s a good word. We don’t use it enough. Like dollop. That’s a good word too that isn’t used enough. Notice the dollop of whipped cream on this desert plate.
People think writers do what they do for the money but the fact of the matter is that most of us could make more money waitressing at IHOP. We don’t write for the money. We write for the room service. We reason that it’s perfectly okay to splurge on a dollop of whipped cream because, well, we got that draft turned in on time. I didn’t actually eat this. I only ordered it so I could take a photo of it and post it to the blog.
You see Robert Dugoni claimed that the reason he doesn’t blog that much is because he needs something interesting to say. I maintain that you can blog pretty much about anything and people will read it because, well, I guess you all are just nosy or something. Or you wish you could be in a room at a swanky hotel taking photos of dollops on a chocolate pie that you lied and said you didn’t eat, too.
Now see if Dugoni were blogging he’d be telling you about this woman he met on the plane from Seattle who is one of the world’s leading belly dancers. How you can tell that from sitting next to a woman on a plane is beyond me. Airlines don’t have dress codes really but far as I know you can’t be going around showing your midriff or your belly rings. But I bet it won’t be long before we’re all watching Bob and that belly dancer on Dancing with the Stars.
The next time I’m on a long plane trip I hope I’m sitting next to Shellie Rushing Tomlinson. I have been reading this gal’s All Things Southern blog since before the hills on grandma’s chest. Shellie has a new book out — Suck Your Stomach In and Put Some Color On. If that isn’t the finest title ever for a book, I don’t know what is. Doesn’t that just sound like something your mama said to you?
I bet that belly dancer’s mama said that to her all the time. Can’t you just hear her? “Suck in the stomach girl. Put some color on.”
Well, soon as I got to town I sent a note out announcing my arrival, which is what any woman of merit ought to do. Shellie was the only person who responded so, like a good hound dog, I tracked her down and made her sit down and visit with me. I learned all sorts of things about Shellie, like how she stopped in the aisle on her wedding day when she realized she was about to marry a farmer. Guess it hadn’t occurred to her before that moment. And I know her best friend has red hair and everybody in her family has thin lips.
I have thin lips, too, so I’m pretty sure Shellie is a third cousin, twice-removed, or something.
I love this festival. Love it. The only time I felt the least bit out of place was when I was visiting with Todd Johnson and Buzzy Porter and Mary Harris and all of them realized they’d been born at Rex Hospital in Raleigh, NC. Not on the same day. Not even in the same year. It’s almost like maybe that was the only hospital that handled newborns in North Carolina.
“What are the chances that we’d all be born at the same hospital?” Mary asked.
“Actually, pretty good,” I replied. “This is the South.”
I didn’t want to point out that we were probably all in-bred somehow, but I think they figured that out by that sixth-digit thing.
Well, I’d love to stay and chat some more but Shellie gets up with the chickens and she’s promised to call & make sure I get up for some scrambled eggs too. She doesn’t know about Lucky Earl. Besides a good bed is a terrible thing to waste.
Good night, y’all.