Tag Archives: tea

“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.


Filed under Big Stone Gap, folklore and ethnography, humor, publishing

I Survived the 2012 Bookquake

The sirens went off at noon. I went to the window to find the police barricading the streets. The dogs began barking. They’re always barking, but maybe this was special barking. Things had gone awry.

Something rumbled. At 12:10 I turned to my visiting special lady friend and said, “Did you feel that?” She had.  Must just be something old houses do, we thought to ourselves before going back to our books.

Now the sirens were going crazy. I looked outside, expecting to see the complete breakdown of civilization. Would I need to run to the hunting store next door to buy a shotgun? Nope: Veteran’s Day Parade. Oh.

The Veteran’s Day Parade Must Go On

A woman sifting through general fiction got a phone call. “Oh yeah? I didn’t even feel it,” she said. She got off the phone and told me that her daughter had called to check up on her because there had been an earthquake.

The street adjacent to the bookstore split into a wide gash… three days ago when they dug the trench for the new sewer line. I want to say books fell off the shelf in the quake. But that didn’t happen.

So when you see me wearing my “I survived the 2012 Big Stone Gap earthquake” t-shirt, what I really mean is that I noticed the earthquake, then stuck my nose back in a book and took a long slurp from my cup of tea.

Epicenter of the Mild Distractionquake

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Filed under Big Stone Gap, book repair, folklore and ethnography, humor, shopsitting, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA