Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Doesn't Everyone Love Getting a Book for Christmas?!

Well, of course they do!

At least, it's a darn good bet that all of you do.

And 'tis the season for all us bloggers to tell you what we recommend, right?!

And you pay very close attention to what we say, right?!

We're the experts, right?!

Well, some are - but not me.

In my case - although no expert, I am fairly opinionated (yes, yes, yes - I know you know that by now).

I've read a ton of books this year, and many of them made a strong enough impression that I'm able to easily and fondly remember them months later. For someone like me who has a hard time remembering last night's supper, this is a true test. Some of my favorites this year were by writers on my "auto-buy authors list." Some were by some new kids on the block, and some were by "new to me" authors. Here's the thing. While reading my favorite blogs over the past week or two, what I saw were recommendations for mystery/crime fiction novels that I would also recommend (which tells me all those other blogger people have terrific taste! Right?!). So. Instead of repeating what all those other ultra smart blogging friends of mine are saying, I'm going to recommend only one book.

Not a mystery.

Not a thriller.

Not even in the crime fiction genre.

Not even fiction.

But it's a book I am SO proud of I cannot shut up about it.

Have you figured it out yet?

Let me tell you what some other people are saying . . .

Julie Parker, Western North Carolina Woman Magazine - - " . . . We are so excited about this book because it is, like WNC WOMAN, a superb vehicle for collecting and sharing tales of the strength, wisdom and grace of the women of these beautiful mountains." (WNC Woman also reprinted several of the pieces from the book - including mine! What an honor, and a huge thrill. Yay, me!!!)

The Laurel of Asheville gives Clothes Lines a half page ad! "Wheeeeee" says one of our editors. And rightly so!

From Rob Neufeld, The Read on WNC - - "To see all these writers well represented in a single volume is a treat and a service."

Former North Carolina Poet Laureate and contributor to Clothes Lines - Kathryn Stripling Byer at her blog "Here, Where I Am", - - - ". . . This anthology of work about clothes and how we women get tangled up in them has just been published and its cover looks like a writer's shawl, don't you think? One she'd throw around her shoulders before heading out for the cafe, the salon, the bookstore, the poetry reading! The 75 western North Carolina women in this book would probably love to fling such a shawl round themselves and head out to make the literary scene in style."

Radine Trees Nehring, Author of the "Something to Die For" mystery series wrote this at the well known, long lived, much loved, on-line mystery forum; DorothyL - - - "Just finished CLOTHES LINES, edited by Celia H. Miles and Nancy Dillingham. WOW, every woman here on DL should read this, though it is not a mystery. It's a collection of essays, little stories (true) and poetry by 75 women from western North Carolina. Kaye Barley is one of the authors, with her "Needing a Little Something Red in My Life." I loved Kaye's thoughtful opinion piece and tell-all about wearing red (and indeed, it seems wearing red, especially red shoes, cheers many women here and in the general population). I think all female readers will find many things that cause them (sure caused me) to click their tongues, smile, and say "Yesssss!" A couple other favorites of mine were "Let's Talk Bras" by Nancy Purcell, and "Sixty-Something," a poem by Janice Townley Moore. And...oh shoot, I loved it all. Poignant, funny, REAL. Enjoy!"

And with permission from the authors, I offer you these little samples of the loveliness to be found between the covers of "Clothes Lines, from 75 western North Carolina women writers." (Catawba Publishing Company, ISBN 978-1-59712-355-6)

"Too-Tight, Just-Right Jeans"
by Gwendie Camp

It has been a long time since I tried to put on a tight pair of jeans (I value comfort way too much), but, from what I remember, here's how it's done. You start by carefully inserting each of your legs a little way into the appropriate pants leg, and then you need to immediately lie down, preferably on a soft bed, because otherwise the rest of this will hurt.

Keep one hand on the waistband so the jeans don’t fall off onto the floor, because then you’d have to start over, and once you start this, there’s no going back.

OK, now you’ve got yourself lying on the bed, holding on for dear life to these too-tight, just-right jeans. Slowly start inching the waistband up your legs, covering up more and more skin. This part should be easy, otherwise you’re never gonna get these suckers on. And I’m assuming you’ve already got your underpants on, if you wear underpants, that is. Underpants can leave a tell-tale line when you’re done, but your crotch will thank you for them.

Now, you’re lying there wiggling and tossing and turning and inching those jeans up toward your waist. Everything is going good until you get to your crotch. Here you might want to pause and reconnoiter. You need to have every inch of your legs inside those jean legs, or else this is not gonna work. In fact, if you can pull the pants legs up a little bit onto your bottom, so much the better. You’re gonna to need every inch of fabric you can get.

Here comes the hard part. You’ve got both legs in the jeans. You’re lying on your back. Now you push your heels down into the mattress and raise your fanny off the bed a few inches—if you can. If you can’t, you can’t wear these jeans.

And then, as fast as you can, you snake that fabric up as far as it will go. Then you collapse for a minute until you get your strength and your breath back. I forgot to mention that you’d probably be holding your breath through this last part, and it can get pretty tiring in a hurry.

If you are in luck, the jeans are up near your waist, but they aren’t zipped or buttoned. I hope you thought ahead and got jeans that zip, because you you're never going to get them buttoned.

So now you’ve rested up a bit. For the coup de grace, you take in a big breath, blow it out as hard as you can, and suck that belly in farther than you’ve ever done before. And AT THE SAME TIME (this is the tricky part) you pull like crazy on that little zipper tab. You may have to get some help here if you’re not real strong.

Let’s say you got the zipper most of the way to the top. Now you stand up—on the floor, not the bed - and you jump up and down a few times. Again, at the SAME TIME you suck in that gut and inch the zipper up. Whew, it’s done.

But now there’s this roll of skin at the top. Looks like you’re wearing one of those kiddie swimming rings. So to get rid of that, you bend over and try to touch your toes about a million times, attempting to stretch out the fabric. If that doesn’t work, you can do a bunch of deep knee bends. You might want to hold onto the side of the bed for that. By this time if you aren’t zipped up and mostly covered by those jeans, it's not going to happen.

The last step is to ask your beloved “Do these jeans make my butt look big?”

"Finding Our Line"
by Nancy Dillingham

Every day
we shape our clay
from the inside out
giving it cachet

But sometimes
it's the clothes we wear
that give us away
that give us away

Curves, straight lines
diagonals, in-your-face style
au courant, de rigueur
faux, retro

we define ourselves as writers
shape our style

The curve of the plot
the turn of the phrase
the tone of the prose--
it's the pattern of patter
that matters

We preen, we pose
give color to character
and landscape
decorate and align

weaving a provocative story
stitching a tall tale
spinning a yarn
threading a thrme

piecing a poem
with precision and panache
punctuating with élan
finding our line

by Janice Townley Moore

As I bronze with gel
my veiny feet, slide them
into the glittery cages
of flip-flops, showing off
plum brulee polish on nails
topped with sequins -
I see my grandmother
at my age, her stockings
rolled down around her ankles
sturdy above the black oxfords
she wore through summer's swelter.
Now she stretches to pin
a basketful of clothes
on the ropey line.
Her seersucker dress
drags its hem in the red dust.
She never dreams the joy
of bending over to flaunt
a purple thong and a graceful
monarch settled forever
above the dimple
on the right buttock.

There you go. Little teasers from a terrific book. Check back, 'cause I may be adding more.

"Clothes Lines" is available from Celia Miles at for $22.00 including postage.


Anonymous said...

I can't buy people books for Christmas. I have no idea what people already own and they all own lots of books. We tend to go book voucher crazy and then go shopping together after the holiday.
Good luck with Clothes Lines.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Great teasers! And a super picture of everybody, too. Thanks for the tip, Kaye! I'll check it out.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Vicki Lane said...

'tis the season! Great teasers from a lovely book. It really would be perfect for so many people.

jenny milchman said...

I love essays where people can find the whole meaning of the world in something that on the surface appears superficial.

Last month in our writers series, the topic was food writing. Not cookbooks. Not fiction about food. But the way in which food stands in for, well, life.

This book sounds like it's done that with clothes.

Jen Forbus said...

Regardless of what you like to read, books like this always give you something to ponder, something to chuckle about, something to make you warm and fuzzy inside. Great recommendation, Kaye! :)