Necessary Inventions, Unnecessary Details, and Tea

I'm kind of stuck in my novel right now, so I thought I'd change the channel on my mental TV and tell you guys a story.

There once was a girl who was unemployed, single, and childless who decided to write a book. She failed. She remained unemployed, single, and childless for the rest of her life. The end.

Just kidding! It's actually going well. Or it's going okay... I'm not exactly sure. This is one of the first times I've just let the characters lead me, instead of having a plot and trying to make it all happen. I think this is a better way, but it totally makes me sound a little crazy when I say things like, "I didn't know you were in the ARMY!" or "How the heck did you end up in a crime scene? I thought I was writing a romance, not a crime thriller!" But at least it keeps things interesting.

In that vein, I have an invention, a service of sorts, that I would like one of you to develop. Preferably in the next week or so. It would be like the Butterball Hotline (which they apparently call the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line, but I'm not getting paid by them or anything, so I'm going to be lazy and leave it as it is), but instead of free advice on cooking turkeys, it would be free advice/brainstorming help with other writers who have no agenda, but simply want to help you discover what's already in your own mind. It would go something like this:

CHRIS: Writer's Block Hotline, my name is Chris. How may I help you?

CALLER: I'm writing a book. It's kind of a romance, but it's set during World War I and is really more of a mystery/whodunnit. 

CHRIS: Okay, I'm sending you over to Brenda over in Historical Fiction. She's our resident expert on World War I. She'll set you up on a conference call with Debbie, one of our romance novelists, and Peter, who has sold over a million copies of his latest mystery "Who Didn't Shoot J.R.?" They'll help you talk out your plot points and see if we can't some new synapses firing. Please hold.

That? Would be AWESOME. So somebody get on that, would you? I'll be over here, trying to figure out if I'm dealing with a serial killer, a disgruntled lover, or a time machine.


This is really apropos of nothing (when has that EVER stopped me?), except that I mentioned the Butterball Hotline and so now I ask you to go watch this clip, which ranks pretty high on the list of my all-time favorite West Wing moments. No, seriously. Go watch it. Now. I'll wait.


Did you watch it? I thought you might not. Seriously, go watch it and I'll wait right here.


Also in novel-related news (if one can squeeze "odd factoid about Elise" into a the category "news"), I have recently found a tea that I love quite a bit. Now, I grew up drinking tea all the time. My Nana was a tea enthusiast and we had tea parties (actual tea parties, not political rallies, which I guess makes me a tea hipster or something, since I was tea partying before it was cool... or something...).

Anyway, while I was on relocation this year, I discovered a new tea. Bigelow: Green Tea with Lemon (And I'm not sure why they feel the need to specify it as gluten-free. I was unaware that was a common tea ingredient, but, then again, I've never lived with a food allergy, so no complaints or anything). Now here's the "odd factoid about Elise" part: I don't like green tea and I NEVER take my tea with lemon. But for some VERY strange reason, this tea is DELICIOUS to me. It might be gluten-free, but I fear it's not crack-free... This stuff is addictive.

And before you ask, yes. I did think that maybe my tastes had changed and I have tried both green tea and also other teas with lemon. Still gross. But? This tea still tastes good. I'm pretty sure it will become the one of my Writing Staples. Not like the metal things that will fasten together papers that I've written on--tea leaves make extraordinarily poor binding agents. I mean that this tea will probably become something that I need to have to help me write. Like some people need a giant bowl of M&Ms and others need particular music. But I think you probably got that, huh? Moving on.


I know I'm not usually one to talk about current TV shows (much) or give away spoilers or anything. but can I just say, "Private Practice, where are you GOING with this? ANY OF THIS? Because I don't think it's any place good and I'm not sure I want to go with you..."? Because all of those things need to be said and I have a blog, so I'm saying them. And I apologize to any of you who are enjoying the current season or are waiting for it to come out on DVD. Please don't let my rant spoil your good time. I may not know what I'm talking about. All I know is that I needed to say these things and I happen to have a platform. So, yeah. Done with that...


I hinted at it in yesterday's post and I'm only going to hint about it again. My former job is not as former as I would like it to be. There are certain circumstances, which have to remain secret (both for the original Rules reasons, but also because what is happening is kind of confidential), that have my blood pressure rising and are reminding me of all the reasons I quit in the first place. It also been a pretty good reminder that I really don't want to be in that particular section of my field for a good long while, so this may have answered my quandaries about a possible job offer I vaguely alluded to in a DIFFERENT post. 

That whole paragraph has served as nothing but a waste of your time, probably, because of how vague I have to be and I maybe shouldn't even post this because you don't know what I'm saying and it doesn't really help me to say it so vaguely, but I'm going to leave it because I typed it and I'm supposed to be ignoring my delete button this month for NaNoWriMo and I would hate to get into a bad habit so early in the game. So chalk this up to another "Unnecessary Detail" and forget I said anything, okay.

Someday, I hope I'm able to tell you all of these secrets I'm keeping. Except that by the time that happens (if ever), it probably won't be interesting to any of us anymore, so it would be kind of anticlimactic anyway. So, sorry for that. And for the above paragraph. Again.


I'm going to Brother and Sister-In-Law's house for dinner tonight with the whole family. We have to leave in an hour and I'm not wearing any pants. Okay, I'm wearing yoga pants. But I always say, "If you're not allowed to wear them out of the house, they don't really count as pants." This dinner thing means I have a perfectly valid excuse for not reaching my word count goal for today. Except that I was already behind. So EVEN THOUGH it is COMPLETELY LEGITIMATE, I'm having a little bit of The Guilt. So I should end this post and see how much further I can get before pants are no longer optional. 

Have a good night and a good weekend. I'll see you all tomorrow!


[I was not paid by Butterball Turkeys, NBC, Aaron Sorkin , Bigelow Teas, ABC, Shonda Rhimes, or Vague Job Industries for any of the preceding statements. I have not, at any time, received compensation for statements I have made on this blog, unless you count Sister slipping me a twenty to keep me from telling embarrassing stories about her (which actually never happened... the stories or the twenty). All of the opinions expressed on this blog are the sole opinions of the writer and probably not even that. No one would pay me to type this drivel. But if the would, I'd totally take it. As long as the didn't ask me to do any REAL work....]


Today's Word Count: 1560
Monthly Total: 4887


  1. Ok, now I have to go rewatch all of West Wing... right now. Because I have to.
    "there is literally no one I don't hate right now"--which is why I love Toby
    and I could write a dissertation about my love for Donna & Josh... but I won't...

  2. Sarah Pearson11/5/11, 11:34 PM

    I hope you managed to find a clean pair of pants and enjoyed your dinner :-)

  3. HA! Yes! I love West Wing. I actually avoid quoting it here as much as I want to, because I'm afraid no one will get it. But now that I know you'll get it, I think I'm going to go for it. ;)

  4. Clean? Negligible. But they were indeed pants, which buttoned and did not include (much) elastic. And the dinner was both delicious and entertaining. We taught my parents how to play Mario Kart on the Wii.... We were laughing so hard by the end, I thought I might wet myself.

  5. This was a completely random and all over the place post and you crack me up!