Thursday, November 22, 2012

Dreams of Thanksgiving and a Note on Plagiarism

Norman Rockwell,The Saturday Evening Post ,1942
 It's Thanksgiving!

 You know, I'm not really nervous about it. I hid in the back room last night and said I was "sorting out files," i.e., preserving my stamina for the big day. Those who wanted to sleep in the tent in Hello Kitty sleeping bags or on inflatable mattresses were indifferently waved into the back yard.  Someone I didn't recognize slept entwined with my niece under the dining room table.  

I had it all planned.  It would be Thanksgiving lunch, not dinner.  I would get up at seven to put the turkey in the oven.

Perhaps we could eat at eleven, and I could kick them all out afterward.  No, we have to wait till noon, but then I can kick them out.  They can play football in the back yard like the Kennedys at Hyannis Port in the '60s. 

You might want to know why I want to kick them out. 

It's the not speaking thing. 

My cousin Mitzi doesn't speak to any of us.  She spends most of her time smoking on the porch. She did that in high school, too.  She was so pretty she never had to speak.  Guys were just out there, flicking their lighters for her.

That was a very long time ago.  She's old enough to speak now.

She is the heir of our one wealthy relative, all right? And so she doesn't speak to us. She is very chilly.  We get it. She should get it that the relative is not changing his will to leave the rest of us money.  We all get it. Why doesn't she get it?

For God's sake, Mitzi!

Speak to us!

Mitzi, you are the love of his life!  He is not going to change his will just because we're nice to him.

(Yes, we are very nice family members, but we don't "do"  interventions.)

Friends are much kinder than family, and a group of us housewives whose careers have gone bust are having pie together.   We are:

1.  A Latin teacher without students. That would be I (or can I colloquially say "me?").  I've taught everybody in town who wants to take Latin, including Renaissance Faire types, Latin mass aficionados, and people who took it in high school.  I'm now waiting for the Pope to hire me to teach at the Holy See's new Academy for Latin Studies.

2. May, an ex-restaurateur, operated a Tudor-style Tea Room, Off with Their Heads!, that went bust last year, possibly because nobody could find it.  She now spoons jasmine tea into tiny muslin sachet bags labeled I Heart Anne Boleyn and sells them at a Boleyn website.

3.  Natalie, divorced, 50, reduced to living in a rented room in the inner city but still an enthusiastic acoustic guitar player, sells lingerie at Dillard's.  "Please buy this nightgown!" she chirps playfully to passing customers.

Her boss told her to cut it out.

She  recently finished an MBA, and now realizes the height of her career might be working holiday hours at WalMart.  She is about to work some crazy Black Friday hours there and at Dillard's.

But, my God, she's only been here an hour, and her 
rendition of "Alice's Restaurant" got a smile out of Mitzi.  

Get that woman a corporation.  It was all worth it...well, no... not at wasn't worth it at all!...They're going out to play football in a minute...

Happy Thanksgiving! 


 A veteran novelist has PLAGIARIZED an autobiographical anecdote from my blog in her new novel.  I'm not flattered. She could at least have had the decency to change the details of my childhood memory.

Too Classy to Name the Plagiarist
Isn't the internet great? 

Should I write to her editor and demand a refund?  

Yes, I am too classy to print her name

The book is getting bad reviews.   

Where is Sir Peter Stothard, the editor of TLS, when we need him?  In a conversation with reporters during his stint as chair of the Man Booker Prize judges in September, he blamed bloggers for ruining literary criticism and literature.  I vigorously disagreed with that, but then I deleted one of my two posts on the subject, because even I realized the second of the two was superfluous. And I think that the state of publishing is moribund for other reasons.   

Perhaps the state of publishing is also compromised by novelists cutting and pasting on the internet?

We're sure most writers are ethical.  This has never happened before. 

 I thought only students plagiarized blogs.

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