Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Taking Care of Bizness

Behold, a real photograph of the real book.

Smells like a real book too. Mmmmmmmmm

In case you forgot, you can still pre-order through next Thursday, March 8th, at the discounted rate of $10.50, plus shipping. After that, the book will cost $15 plus shipping.

Early bird gets the worm (for 30% cheaper).

You can either pre-order by pressing this button:

Or click on this link: Stansbury House Publications.

This book will also be available to scratch-n-sniff, leaf through or peruse at the Story at Home Conference on March 9th and 10th. Discounts for the book will be available for attendees, and several of the authors, including moi, will be there (with our crystal balls) to tell you who you are.

Actually DeNae ixnayed my crystal ball idea. She says Tell Me Who I Am is more of a rhetorical request, but whatevah.

Either way, here's a recap of what you'll be getting when you order:

Tell Me Who I Am is a collection of stories and essays depicting the faith, struggles, and universal experiences of sixteen LDS writers. Told with sensitivity and humor, these tales offer a glimpse into a religious culture that is alternately criticized, admired, and misunderstood. Self-reflective in tone, Tell Me Who I Am will inspire and delight readers with its heart-wrenching, head-nodding and often flat-out funny narratives. While dogma may define a people, this groundbreaking anthology shows how our individual stories ultimately tell us who we are.

Compiled by DeNae Handy. Beautifully designed and illustrated by Jana Parkin.

Contributing authors:
  • Becca Wilhite
  • Stephanie Sorensen
  • Luisa Perkins
  • Jana Parkin
  • Annette Lyon
  • Patrick Livingston
  • Melanie Jacobson
  • DeNae Handy
  • Debbie Frampton
  • Ken Craig
  • Christopher Clark
  • Karen Burton
  • Gideon Burton
  • Michelle Budge
  • Joshua Bingham
  • Cari Banning


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Things to Unlike about my daughter

Well my daughter went to another school dance--Winter Waltz--and I didn't even blog about it. I didn't even capture photographic evidence of it, that's how neglectful I've become.

I did, however, Like her dance photos on Facebook, which threw her into a complete tizzy.

She immediately called me from work. "WHY did you Like my FACEBOOK PHOTOS?!?" she cried!

"Uh . . . because I liked them," I said.

Apparently I had committed the most humiliating crime of the century.

"You can Like my photos on the inside, but not on the outside!" She declared, before instructing me fiercely to Unlike her photos. ASAP!

"I just want you to be liked, is that so wrong?" I cried into the receiver. But all I heard was dial tone.

And anyway, what's not to like?

Her date is tall, dark and . . .

. . . slightly deranged.

But who isn't? That's what I always say. Live and let live.

And fer reals, my daughter looks like a supermodel, even in mid air. How can I Unlike that?

(I can kinda see why my daughter threw a pie in this kid's face, can't you?)

(Fortunately that made him Unlike her enough to ask her to the dance. You have to know how to be Unliked if you want to get asked to dances? It's the way we Utards roll.)

Speaking of which, I never showed you the photographic evidence from her Preference.

This guy also Unliked like my daughter after she beat him at tennis. (See how quickly she catches on!)

Not sure if can tell, but this dress was so gorgeous it bruised her sternum.

She couldn't lift her arms higher than this. And that face . . . Let's just say she couldn't wipe that expression off her face either--not until I cut her out of this dress at midnight so she could turn back into a pumpkin.

Good thing her date wasn't funny or she may have cracked a rib.

But I digress. I actually came here to say that my daughter has a point--some things are better Liked inside, than outside. Public disclosures and displays of pride should be kept to a minimum.

Lesson learned.

I would now like to publicly Unlike everything I privately Like about my daughter--the fact that she got accepted to both BYU and BYU-H, for instance. And the fact that she's a floral designer extraordinaire, who has already worked and saved $3,000 of her own money for college. And the fact that she's a straight-A student and a medical assistant in training, who passed three AP exams with her eyes closed and her hands tied behind her back.

The only thing I don't like about my daughter is that she doesn't have a tattoo.

And that she's planning on moving out to go to college and become an independent woman.

I might pretend to Like these things about her publicly, but don't believe everything you see on Facebook.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Behold, the Book

This book, in particular:

Tell Me Who I Am. Go ahead, I double dog dare you.

Melanie J came up with the title, and doesn't it make you want to pull out your crystal ball or read my palm or something?

It's rhetorical of course.

Or is it?

That's for me to know and you to find out. By pressing the magic button.

It's DeNae Handy's baby, and 16 of us, including Luisa Perkins, Melanie Jacobson, Jana Parkin, and Becca Wilhite, helped her labor and deliver over it for six months. The result is this newborn book with words so pretty and witty and wise that Ken Craig predicts it will finally knock Two and Half Men off the air for good.

Plus fight tooth decay.

Tell Me Who I Am is a collection of nearly 50 essays about being human. And being Mormon. All at the same time (which we all know is a lot trickier than patting your head and rubbing your belly.)

I read the entire collection in one night, plus the deleted scenes and bonus features. Trust me, it will make you LOL and COL. Maybe someday the MTV Unplugged version will hit the shelves (and by that I mean the version before DeNae cut out all the barf scenes).

(Why do Mormons love to talk about chucking up? Is that what makes us such a peculiar people?)

DeNae says of her inspiration for the book:

It seems like there are a lot of definitions floating around out there of what a Mormon is or is not. And folks are curious.

Given that there are 14 million of us worldwide, who could begin to define a religion that is at once global and grass-roots? No matter how large any crowd is, it's still made up of dozens, thousands, even millions -- of ones.

So, here we are: sixteen ones, revealing a little about what it means to be us, through our stories and reflections.

I've had the opportunity to read each of these essays dozens of times. And still, some break my heart and others have me doubled over in gales of laughter, every time I read them.

I'm confident that members of all faiths will enjoy this glimpse into everyday Mormon life. I don't know if it will answer questions or raise them, but I do believe that our stories have the best chance of revealing just who we are and what we're about.

A complete list of contributors can be found here. (You might recognize my name on the list, just so you know.)

Tell Me Who I Am officially hits the shelves in March, but you can cut in line by pushing the magic button below. If you order before March 10th you will receive a 30% percent discount off the regular price. Order now and get this $15 treasure for only $10.50! Plus a book light. And a Shamwow. And one of those space saving shoe organizers that hide under your bed.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

U can do it!

You know how I told you I'm writing the Memoirs of a Dummy? Well I decided it might be easier if I skip straight to the movie version of my life.

And it would be even easier if I ask Jared and Jerusha Hess to write the screenplay because I pretty much worship the ground they walk on, (and their Napoleon Dynamite cartoon is pretty much my new favorite series) and I pretty much suck as a writer right now.

(Maybe they can title my movie Crash Test Dummy Dynamite.)

I tried to write the screenplay myself, but it started off with a driving scene, ended with a driving scene, and there were a lot of driving scenes in between.

(Driving Miss Dummy, maybe?)

When I wasn't driving off into the sunset, there were several scenes of me as a child moving my bedroom furniture around.

(Did you know women who move their furniture around are unhappily married and much more likely to have an affair than women who don't? I learned this in my first college literature class. But since I was only 10 years old when I began pushing my bed from wall to wall I was probably just unhappily unmarried.)

At first I thought my movie might appeal to a broad audience--people who enjoy driving away from Provo, for example. Or people who receive comfort from taking control of their bedroom furniture before it takes control of them. There must be a medical term for that--something that infers a rare psychological disorder. Runorexia, maybe?

I was a runner, not a fighter. I mean that figuratively, of course because when I actually ran cross country in high school it didn't take me long to figure out I'd rather run from pain than with pain.

That's where planes, trains and automobiles came in handy.

But that movie has already been made, right?

In the early years my vehicle of choice for getting outta dodge was my Papa and Gigi's brand new Subaru. Every summer they filled up the hatchback with Instant Breakfast, Shasta Cola and enough hand-me-downs from Value Village to get seven children through the Great Depression. It took exactly 12 hours from their pink house on Maine street in Long Beach, California to get to our little brick house in Provo. This I know because I sat at the front window with a stop watch.

After they finished unloading their Subaru and doing our dishes, Gigi and Papa sat in the front room to giggle and gab, while I did cartwheels and sent up secret prayers that my daddy's boa constrictor wouldn't crawl out of the heating vent behind Gigi's head like last time.

So much depended upon that darn Boa Constrictor.

Several days later my Papa would load up the car. "Who's coming home with us this year?" he would say, but it was just a formality. I was already handcuffed to the back seat waiting for them to drive me to the promised land, where the air always swayed like movie stars and smelled like lemon drops.

There was no need to take control of the bedroom furniture in the promise land. The only thing I took control of was Gigi's recliner and the ceramic cookie jar full of Oreos. Plus I had so many friends in the promised land that I didn't have time to run--Jed Clampett, H.R. Pufnstuf, Sigmund and his Sea Monsters, Underdog, Jeanie, Samantha, Fred and Wilma Flintstone, George Jetson, Max Smart--the list was endless.

But it wasn't about the destination, as much as it was about the journey. The drive. The 12 hours of perpetual motion in the away direction. Away, away, away we drove, over the desert and through the woods . . .

At then at 16 I discovered the Greyhound. It stopped in Vegas for breakfast. At 18 I discovered that airplanes took me farther faster--New York, Boston, London, Paris, Tel Aviv. Trains cost less and doubled as lodging on my way to Italy, Spain, Holland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland . . .

On and on and on she goes, where she stops nobody knows.

Then I crashed. On an island far, far, away. In the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Surrounded by sand and sea for 17 years.

I was a castaway.

But then that movie's already been done too!

So yesterday I got discouraged about my memoirs. "I can't do this," I thought. "Even Jared and Jerusha can't do this."

So I went on a road trip. To the grocery store. I bought a drinkable yogurt and a box of candy hearts. On the way home my dog, Lulu rode shotgun and extended her paw to me. We held hands for a few blocks while I threw down some candy hearts. "You want one?" I said to Lulu at the light on 100 East. She nodded and I poured three hearts into the palm of my hand.

"These three hearts are messages from the Universe," I declared.

I picked up the first one and read it out loud. "Puppy Love" it read.

"Ain't that the truth," I told Lulu as she ate it from my hand.

Then I picked up the next heart. "U can do it" it read. I paused before popping it into my mouth and picking up the last heart.

"I said, U. CAN. DO. IT!" it read.


One "U can do it" is coincidence. But two? Now that's destiny.

Happy Valentines Day, peeps! LY!


Friday, February 10, 2012

Auto-Tuned Out

So I've been writing my memoirs. That's why I've gone missing, and that's why I've been reading my old journals.

Memoirs of a Dummy--or something like that. And just so you know, it's family friendly. No sex or rock n' roll, (unless you count Lionel Richie), but there are some drugs. Hope that's okay.

(I didn't write the plotline, the plotline wrote me.)

I am not the addict in the story, if that makes you feel any better. The only thing I've ever been addicted to, besides Code Red, is love. (Although I did try to get hooked on the Jane Fonda Workout in the 80's. Oh, my GOSH, how I tried!)

So writing your memoirs . . . it's so. dang. hard! In a draining, zapping, sucking-the-life-out-of-you kinda way. And the dreams . . . oh wow, the dreams! It's like at night I turn into Nancy Drew on Crack. I'm running myself ragged finding secret passageways in creepy mansions, or building houses with the suspects, or flying over enormous colonial ships in a hot air balloon looking for clues.

Last night I was building a temple. My assignment was to drill holes and fasten blocks of granite together from a ledge 1,000 feet in the air. My co-worker, the little stinker, played off my panic by leaning over the edge and giggling, which made the temple tilt forward ever so slightly, being that it wasn't stable yet. Oh my! The sheer terror of being off balance!

"I can't do this!" I kept saying as I clung to the wall for dear life. "I want to get down and work inside."

"So did you ever work inside?" asked my hub this morning, as he pulled his pants on in the dark. Not the new pair I bought him for Christmas, but the pair I told him not to wear ever again. (Do you think his ears are dyslexic?)

"Mmmhmmmm" I mumbled into my pillow. "But my co-worker was a snotty little stinker inside the temple too."

"Hmmm . . . that's deep!" He said. "That's really deep!" Which is the same things he says every morning when I start his day off with my mysterious adventures.

So anyway, besides helping my daughter to wrangle some scholarship money for college, that's where all my energy is going these days. And each time I sit down to blog my brains out, I find that my brains are already out.

Not sure when they'll be back, but I've been watching The Bachelor while I wait.

(Is it just me or does anyone else want to poke Courtney's eyeballs out? She's even worse than Bentley.)

I've also been watching a lot of auto-tuned video clips on Youtube. It's research really, and I'm writing it off on my taxes because I'm hoping to be the first author in the history of the world to auto-tune my biography.

I will leave you with my top five, just in case you're waiting for your brains to come back too.

You're welcome.

1. I got the rose! (Take that, Courtney!)

2. My all-time favorite, and the original genius of auto-tuning.

3. Pure brilliance. Take a viral smash and turn it into a full-blown disease. (Dang! I could be so stinkin' famous if my hub would let me auto-tune his Just Dance 2 clips.)

4. Mishka Gaga, the singing dog! hee hee hee I love me some singing dogs.

5. Even Obama's Health Care Plan sounds better auto-tuned.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Story at Home

Don't forget that the Story @ Home conference is fast approaching. (March) Don't miss out! Two days of workshops, lectures, and entertainment, all about telling your stories, tracing and creating your family history, and all the wonderful technologies available to make it easy and fun. And great news! The December discount package is still available! Check out the website. I'll be there too if you want my autograph.