How do I love thee, Jen Lancaster?
Let me count thy ways...
First off, let me say that it is nearly 11 p.m. in The House of Wife, and I am leaving tomorrow a.m. for the Erma Bombeck writing conference in Dayton, Ohio. It is a seven hour drive. Am I packed? Negative, ghost rider. Are my papers in order? Nope. Do I have my stuff together to hand to the person who says, "So YOU are Julie! I've been dying to represent/publish/pay you!" Negativo. But I've been teasing you with this Jen Friggin' Lancaster post, and I've been called a lot of things, but never a tease.
Oh, wait. Yes I have. Lots of times. But that's a Whoreticulture Friday-type subject.
A friend of mine told me about Jen last year. (Thank you, Tricia!) I went to Jen's website, Jennsylvania, and then immediately ran out and bought all of her books. They are hysterical and funny and real, and I love that she puts it all out there, bitchy ex-sorority girl and all. I mean really - swiping a Coach briefcase from a homeless guy? Invention of the word "asshat"? Hatred of exercise? Love of pie and mojitos? What's not to like?
Then I started noticing all of the similarities between Jen's life and mine, and I realized that bitch had actually STOLEN the life I wanted, except that Jen is Me, and Fletch is CH, and Maisy is George the Superpet and the Thundercats are Oldest Daughter, The Son, and Youngest Daughter. This is when I decided the most logical thing to do was to stalk her.
I'm not new to stalking - ask any number of guys I dated (or didn't) in high school and college. I had some, um, how do you say...UNRESOLVED ISSUES...so I would usually pick the guy who was least interested or the worst boyfriend prospect and then beat him into submission. Very "cavewoman hits him on head with club and drags him to her cave." My friend and roommate Dippy (this IS what we actually called her) introduced me to Current Husband, and then immediately pulled me aside and said, "He is totally not marriage material." Hook, line, and sinker. But the joke was on me, because CH ended up being exactly the kind of guy I should marry. Funny how those things work out sometimes.
Anyhoo, I started my Jen Stalking in the usual way - I e-mailed her and asked for a meeting. Because isn't it totally logical that a New York Times Best-Selling author would take the time to meet a complete stranger for drinks and pie? Here is the actual e-mail I sent:
Hello Jen!Okay, I can hear you saying, "Bitch, please." Really. I already sound psychotic, would YOU meet me? Without security and a taser gun? I don't think so. But Jen, clearly not sensing the imminent danger, actually friggin' E-MAILED ME!!! And then I had an orgasm and saw Jesus and unicorns and ponies...for a rejection. But a rejection from JEN LANCASTER! Here was her response:
My fellow ex-sorority sister who loves kelly green and pink and Wham directed me to your books. After the third one, I broke my library habit and actually bought Pretty in Plaid because I felt like an ass reading your work for free. It was totally worth it, even if it was the equivalent of five Starbucks skinny vanilla lattes. Totally worth it.
So I am writing my crazy crack whore (my equivalent of asshat) request knowing this will never work, but what the hell. I SO SO SO want to go to Witty Women Writers, as I live in the Quad Cities and have been DYING to get to one of your events, but I have tickets to David Sedaris in the QC that night and a fabulous outfit already picked out.
SO - (deep breath) - I swear I am not a stalker, but I will be in Chicago on Nov. 12 and wondered if you ever let complete strangers take you out for lunch or pie or fruity alcoholic drinks for an hour (or 30 min! Or 10! Or you just yell things out of your window as I drive by!) of brain picking on getting a blog to print. I know, I am so original, no one else in the world wants a piece of you.
And I'm aware your time is worth more than pie.
I feel like I just asked you to prom, knowing you will say no. And I already have my dress. And I'm totally sober. Ugh. Here's my blog, if you aren't entirely creeped out: www.adayinthewife.blogspot.com
Thanks. (Sound of cork coming out of merlot.) Anticipating auto-response.
Be careful what you wish for, Jen. Of course, the tone of this response was very polite, which is not really Jen, so I waited for a few days, checking her blog to see if she would post my e-mail and rip me to shreds - "Can you believe this psycho?" - but she didn't.Thanks so much for reading and getting in touch . I really appreciate it!I'm sure you understand that you are not the first person to make such a request, and I just cannot meet everyone one on one and continue to have time to shower and feed the menagerie. But I hope to see you at a tour event for My Fair Lazy when it is released next year!Best wishes,Jen
Then, in November, she posted this absolutely hysterical riff on New Moon, where she re-creates the ENTIRE MOVIE using the action figure dolls in her kitchen. Bella jumping off the cliff is the doll jumping in Jen's sink into a bowl, and Edward's apparition is his doll in an upside-down tea pitcher. If you haven't seen it, here it is - Jen's New New Moon. Since I am such a Twilight junkie, I felt compelled to comment upon Jen's genius, and it was time for another stalker e-mail:
Okay, I was having a sucky day, and New New Moon completely turned it around. Really. Can't wait for My Fair Lazy.Holy shit, that's some embarrassing stuff. And by the way Jen, did you notice my blog address? Shouldn't you go there and then forward me on to your agent/publicist/editor? How many times must I suck up to you before you bequeath your publishing life to me?
And then I was inspired to write two New Moon blogs, because of you, but I did give you props in the blog, and posted your New New Moon link on my FB page because it should be shared.
Thanks for being hilarious. And REAL!!! I raise a fruity drink in your honor.
Well kids, the answer to that would be ONE MORE TIME. Because the third time is the charm. Jen announced on her blog that she had a secret she was going to share later that week. Most of her fans would read that and say, "I can't wait. I wonder what my favorite author is up to!?" Her stalker says, "I literally CAN'T WAIT. I am going to speed-dial her, go through her garbage cans again, follow her to Starbucks, and e-mail AGAIN. Because I like to punish myself."
I know! I know! You are getting a MOVIE! And if you are, I want to play one of the people you yell at to get your latte at Starbucks, specifically to yell at me "MOVE MOVE MOVE!!! A latte doesn't fetch ITSELF!!"
And if you aren't, you should. Shame on Hollywood!
My book club is traveling from the Quad Cities to one of your Chicago readings in May, can't wait.
More sucking up. And again with the blog address. Is my book club going? I don't know. It just sounded better than "I'll be there wearing your Lacoste shirt and pearls I filched from your dresser while you were out!" I do know the friend who introduced me to Jen is likely going with me, and clearly needs to bring a tranquilizer gun and the number of my attorney.
But then, it happened. Jen REPLIED to my e-mail, again:
Holy shit! We're friends now! She loves me! I understand her! She's looking forward to seeing me! She likes me, she really likes me! And then she responded to my New New Moon e-mail:Julie,No movie yet. I don't think Hollywood would quite know what to do with me!Looking forward to seeing you in May!Jen
Oh. So she responds to everything eventually. Demoted to stalker status, again. But can you imagine the volume of e-mail this woman gets? So I was pretty psyched to hear from her. Of course, I printed her e-mails and put them on my Author Stalker wall, right next to my framed autograph from David Sedaris that says he "looks forward to reading my book someday". Yes, I forced him to write that, but still. I think I've come up with the perfect line for Jen to write in my copy of "My Fair Lazy" when I attend the book signing in Chicago:Julie,So glad you liked it!Thanks for writing,Jen
Cease and desist or I will call the authorities.The end. Or is it?
p.s. Quit sending your damn blog to me, I'm not your meal ticket"