NaBloPoMo: And So It Begins

Before beginning this marathon of blogging, I am glad to report that I feel good.

I knew that I would.

I had a half-way decent night’s rest. I loaded up on carbs this morning. Just got done some stretching.

To further prepare, I read some of my favorite authors last night: Marion Zimmer Bradley, Bill Bryson, Tom Robbins, and Nancy Eshelman. My writing should have a particular sort of….

Wait. Hold the bus.

You haven’t heard of Nancy Eshelman?

Well, I find that extremely difficult to believe. Why, everywhere Eshelman goes she is followed and feted by her avid fans. Wasn’t it just this past summer while vacationing in Chincoteague, Virginia, 300 miles from home, that we spotted Nancy Eshelman at a jungle-theme miniature golf course were she was speaking with another member or her adoring public who had recognized the famous writer and was monopolizing her on the back nine near the giant fiber optic coconut tree? We patiently waited our turn to approach Ms. Eshelman while the adoring public-guy went on and on and on about her latest work, occasionally interjecting his own helpful thoughts on future topics and themes she might like to tackle. Ms. Eshelman was gracious and patient, and when the adoring dude finally stepped away, it was with some small hesitation that I made my way toward her, my eldest daughter firmly in tow, took a deep breath and asked with all humility:

“Could you do something with your granddaughter? Her younger sister is currently beating her at miniature golf, and if I have to put up with another five minutes of grumpy whining, I’m seriously going to weep.”

And Ms. Eshelman worked her Granny Magic.

Ms. Eshelman being my mother-in-law.

My mother-in-law being an editor, reporter, and award-winning columnist for one the largest newspapers in Pennsylvania.

My mother-in-law, who has recently published a first (see how I said “first” in order to indicate that there will be others, no matter what she‘ll tell you…) first volume of her collected columns, perfect for the approaching gift-giving season.

My mother-in-law, who will be signing books at Barnes and Noble in Camp Hill, PA this Saturday, November 3 starting at 2:00 PM. Call 717-737-0221 for directions.

I’m not going to go into a long, rambling post about what a fabulous writer she is; how she has, in essence, been successfully doing the "blogging" thing long before Al Gore even invented The Internets; how she has the rare and charismatic gift of being able to infuriate her readership one week by sticking-up for an issue almost universally given the thumb’s down - such as smokers’ rights - and the next week win her readers back, every one of them, with a column championing fair and just salaries for teachers, or celebrating local women who beat bleak odds and then help others to do the same; how she’s been putting her personal life out there for decades, inviting the public to witness and share in her joys and sorrows, as well as all the sublime ups, and downs, and sideways of everyday life; how she has been giving Everywoman a voice - and an unflinchingly honest voice at that - whether recounting her own foibles and follies with head-shaking humor, or whether grabbing the bullhorn and fist-pounding with righteous fed-up-with-it-all-attude; how she has supported herself and her family with her writing (something more than just a neat trick, as anyone who has attempted to earn money with their own jottings will appreciate) and continues to make each article and each column another piece of writing worthy of clipping-out and posting on your refrigerator or mailing to your mom or your best friend (another neat trick that will be appreciated by anyone who has tried to blog something, anything, once a week and that is more than another You Tube clip or chain meme.)

I’m not going to on and on about all that.

I have bigger and more important fish to fry. Like trying to express myself without using trite cliches. Like getting started on this NaBloMoPo project and blogging something more interesting than a You Tube clip. And I’ll get to that right now.

But, I had to tell you a bit about my preparation and inspiration for this trek across the month in prose (and maybe, lord forbid, some poetry).

I mean, I know that we all of us think our mother-in-law is sorta the bees knees. But c’mon…on top of being a fun (and available) baby-sitter and making the best macaroni salad in the world, she’s a published writer?

How cool is that!


And now, with no further ado…


Question From My Sister

Okay, my sister sent me a whole selection of seriously disarming questions to choose from. Here’s a sampler:

If you could pick one genetic trait to get rid of, what would it be?

Also along that line, if you could pick one to have that you didn't get, what would it be?

You just found out that you have a terminal illness. Since you will be dead in a month or two, and you don't want to leave your family all alone, you have to pick a woman to take over for you in being a spouse for your hubby and mother to your children. Who would it be and, of course, why?

You have a whole day to live a...let's say less than model life. The very next day everything will be back to normal with no legal ramifications and no permanent black marks on your soul. What bad things would you do?

I sent her questions like “What is your favorite color car?” and “How high can you jump?” and the like.

For this go around, since I’ve already taken-up a lot of blog space with my NaBloPoMo intro, I’m going to choose one of the less soul-searching and panic-attack inducing questions.

You are in the Greater Harrisburg Area Talent Show. What is your act? And stage name?

Well, the stage name is easy:

Angelina Jolie-Laid

It’s a great name because I don’t have to do too much promotion since Brad and Angie and doing it for me. But, I also don’t want to confuse people into thinking I’m the real Angelina so that they begin dropping-off cases of diapers at my door. We’re done having babies. Seriously. While Angelina, it seems, it just hitting her stride.

Another name I might choose is John Lennon.

As the joke goes, he’s not using it anymore.


My act?

I’m thinking horses, I’m thinking rings of fire, I’m thinking covering myself in yams.

Actually, I’d probably try to sing a bluesy ballad and then screw-up badly and turn it into an improv comedy act as if that’s what I’d meant to do in the first place.

But inside, I’d be the sad clown.

That was fun!

Let’s do one more.

If you could pick any superpower that you don't already have, what would it be and why?

Oooh. That’s a tough one.

My knee-jerk response is to say that, of course, I’d love to be able to fly.

That way, I wouldn’t have to wait in traffic on my way to the airport.

But I think the super-power I’d really love to have (beside, of course, being able to change my hair color at will, like Tonks from the Harry Potter books) would be the power to heal people at will, and - more importantly - to be accepted by everyone’s HMO plan without need for a referral.

But I know that’s crazy talking and something that only happens in Sci-Fi novels and Michael Moore's comic strip.


Okay! So! Day One down and twenty-nine more to go!

I’ll try to pace myself. I know I came out with a bang and a big long post that tried to do a lot at once. Don’t worry. I have people standing by the keyboard at every fifth post, handing me mugs of coffee and reminding me to keep it short so I won’t run out of words by day ten. They also have permission to slap me if I try to use my kids or laundry as an excuse to not post.

I can do this! I can do this!

Go NaBloPoMo!

Tomorrow: Geek Of The Week.

Be there, or be the geek.


anne said...

Yay! I get to be the first to leave a comment!

I think. If someone doesn't hit the Enter button first. cool is it that Nancy has a book??!! Way cool!

Good answer on the super-power question. I would have probably been much more selfish and picked complete resistance to cold or something like that.

I'm going to go turn the heat on now.

Anonymous said...

Bill Bryson. Love him! Love this post!

Julie Pippert said...


I know Nancy Eshelman...well, I've spoken to her on the phone and she *used my humble little name in a column once* and wow she is FAB and CONGRATS to her on the book (must rush out to store now)!

Angelina Jolie-Laid, that's the ticket!

Using My Words

Anonymous said...

I am thinking of taking up stalking Bill Bryson - have you got his new one on Shakespeare?

Is you M.I.L anyhting like as scary as her book photo makes her look? said...

"Is you M.I.L anyhting like as scary as her book photo makes her look?"

Only if you hide her Diet Coke.

My M.I.L. is very opinionated in print, and people sometimes ask me whether Thanksgiving - the traditional American holiday where families gather together around 30,000 calorie plates of food and then commence to squabble/fistfight over religion and politics and the cousin who just announced that he is gay - is especially a time of angst and flung mashed potatoes atour home.

That answer would be no.

Just as my husband doesn't do lawyer stuff for fun on his days off and I cease to be funny, my MIL doesn't look over the top rim of her glasses at anyone and sticks to making amazing macaroni salad and doing her duty as the person who watches for the millionth time when my kids say, "Watch me! Watch me!"

- said...

Whose cousin just announced that he's gay? Because, and I'm just sayin', I don't have any cousins.

If it's one of yours, I'd be far more shocked by the "announced" than the "gay."

Not that there's anything wrong with that. said...

Actually, it's me, Honey.

I'm gay.

You can stop daincing around in your bicycle pants trying to turn me on.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the lovely commercial... and remember you can order the book on amazon or

As the first blogger to mention the book (yes, son, I noticed that it was not you) your name will be at the top of my Christmas list. said...

"As the first blogger to mention the book (yes, son, I noticed that it was not you) your name will be at the top of my Christmas list."



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