“Put the Kettle On”

Is it traditional to make your last post of the Old Year a True Confession?

When Jack and I did that string of author signings in October/November, friends who had published warned me to expect similar questions at each bookstore. But we found that for the most part (excepting, “How did you find an agent?”) questions were rarely repeated in different places.

We found it was comments, not questions, that tended to circle recurring themes: readers loved “Last Cowboy”; lots of participants made “we’ll put the kettle on” references; and people often interrupted at appropriate places with “You’re Nuts!”

But the questions they asked were as diverse as the audiences and the shops themselves. So when someone asked me about my author advance, I wasn’t prepared. She only wanted to know what I’d done with the money, nothing more invasive, but it still startled me.

Truth is, the day after I signed the contract with St. Martin’s and everything was official, I went on a little spending bender. Yes, it’s embarrassing, but straight to the Signals catalog did I go, and dropped $60. You know those sweet little white cups with “Sereni-tea” etc. printed on them? I got the four I’d always wanted. Silly though it is, I’d coveted those things for years, thought they were cute, but considered it silly–even un-Quaker-esque–to pay $15 for a household item available for 10 cents at any yard sale.

Until I became an author, and a much-published friend’s exact words to me were, “You should go buy yourself something you want.”IMG_3508

Ah. Permission from an elder. That made it okay.

The Sereni-tea, Creativi-tea, Simplici-tea, Tranquili-tea mugs hang in the one corner of our bookshop that is private—our wee kitchen with the microwave, electric skillet and teakettle from which Jack produces masterful meals. And every time I walk past them, I smile. Perhaps at my folly, or perhaps because I own them. Sometimes it doesn’t do to analyze.