Friday, May 29, 2009

A Girl Named Zippy I wish I knew...

Once in a while I read a book and all I can think about is the author. How did she remember it all so well? How'd she get to be so funny? How'd she think up that phrase or that way of telling her story? How could her life be so hilarious and unbelievably true to small town crazy life? How do some families get to be so funny, so warped with such wicked senses of humor, dripping in irony and insight?

My home town, Laurel, was 10 times the size of Mooreland, but it felt awfully small yet oddly infinite to me. My extended family was sprinkled among a handful of towns with 300, 1200 and 3000 people, the largest with a grocery store and a tastee freeze at the one intersection, all with farms and fields and the highway going somewhere else. Mostly farmers, country folk and factory workers, with every imaginable stereotypical label you could think up. Holy cow, they're pretty much the same everywhere, just different kinds of funny. It's the proximity that makes it all so acute, knowing everything a person does because you can't miss it, being around every kind of crazy, and everything else inbetween. I marvel at the common ground we share watching some of the planet's meaner or dumber or more interesting specimens operate, and living for the fun feeling you get when you're laughing or just happy. So many moments rang true, particularly the church avoiding, camping and packing expert flawed gem of a father, and the freedom of riding your bike all over town.

Anyway, A Girl named Zippy is making me laugh and remember absolutely glorious, ridiculous, pathetic and funny things from my childhood, I thank Haven Kimmel for bringing it all back to me and would love nothing more but to sit in the same room and listen to her stories and snarky sense of humor. Another friend I'll never know. Oh well. At least there's the book, and I'm glad it's my first, so there's plenty more. The blog I'm pacing myself, its strange being late to the party, everybody else is already on the same page, I'm needing a dictionary and a road map as always. But I know funny peoply when I find em so I'm sticking around for the laughs and the great writing.
This excerpt from her blog:

Thank You, Thank You Very Much!

There are a number of questions I’d like to pose to you, my virtual posse, and I’ll get to them in time. But an interesting one came up today: what is the very best (or favorite) compliment you’ve ever received?

Here’s why I ask. On one of my booktours I was flying Southwest and was fortunate enough to get the aisle seat in the third row from the front. The window seat next to me was empty. The last person to board came dashing in and up the aisle and said to me – and I don’t know how to describe the way he said it, because it’s not going to sound funny, but it was VERY funny and I knew it immediately – “Look, it’s your fault you have to get up to let me in.” I said, “OH NAY. It is your fault for being an untimely slacker.” He had trouble getting his carry-on bag under the seat and I said, “You’re one of those.” “One of what?” he asked. “One of those people who don’t want to check a bag because they’re so enormously important they can’t waste time waiting for the bags to be unloaded, and so entitled they believe they can take up as much space as they want.” He looked at me gleefully and said, “You really KNOW me.” Needless to say, we made with the yackety-yack all the way from Houston to Durham, and much of the conversation was side-achingly funny. It turned out he was a breast cancer specialist, on his way to deliver a paper at a conference at Duke Medical School. He had developed a very specialized technique of tumor removal, and he showed me the slides he would use the next day. We took to each other just smashingly well – which is odd, because, you know, he was a doctor, not a bohemian or an outsider or . . . one of us is what I mean. But after an hour I had reached the point where, when he mentioned how much he loved spending a day on his boat I said, “Oh here we go. A boat. Boat Guy. So you get out on the water and you’re drinking a beer and feeling manly, and the wind is in your hair, and the 25-year-old nurse you’re trying to seduce looks SO fetching in her bikini, and THIS is freedom. You are free. And the next day you go back to working 80-hour weeks because you want a bigger boat.” He said, “Hey, that nurse was twenty-seven.”

When we landed in Durham he turned to me and said, “You know, you are so smart and so attentive and quick – just lightning fast – you would make a great bird dog.”

I am complimented constantly by my readers and by booksellers, etc., also my mother, and I appreciate every one, truly. But THAT will always be the best.

Okay, your turn.

Don't you just love her?

Haven's Blog
It figures that 4 days prior to my discovering her, she posted her last post to the blog. FIN

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