The Stories I Tell ~ from The Word Cellar

Stories. Anecdotes. A free round of words for everyone!

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I love stories. I'm the one at social functions with a dozen new anecdotes. But I worry about hogging the conversation. Sometimes I tell myself that I'll be quiet and let others do the talking. But no matter how hard I try, my stories insist on bursting out! Here I can let my stories (the classics that I tell again and again, as well as new ones that unfold along the way) run free. I'm a professional writer and editor, and sole proprietor of The Word Cellar. I write for a variety of publications and clients on everything from green buildings and nuclear reactors to entrepreneurship and the arts. If you need words written, edited, or enlivened, I can help. Contact me.


I Know How to Read

~~Hiding Behind Pages ~~
(photo idea inspired by Melissa)

When people find out that I was an English major in college and am now a freelance writer, eventually they ask me the questions I dread most:

~~What's your favorite book?
~~Who's your favorite author?

And I just freeze up. Completely. My mind goes blank and I can't remember a single character, plot, author, or title. It's really embarrassing. I'm all: "Uhhhhhh.......What's a book? Eh? Reading? That sounds interesting. Perchance I will try it one day."

There's a little tip: If you're ever in an intellectual bind, and, like me, fear looking stupid, throw in words like perchance, ergo, hitherto, and, as a last resort, blimey! The first three will help you to feign (another good word) intellect. The people who aren't quite as smart as you just may be impressed. Those who are smarter than you will see through your ruse (good one!). But no matter -- they wouldn't have been impressed no matter what you did.

As for "blimey," well, it works best when talking to Americans. It can make you sound like you're well-acquainted with British culture, which automatically makes you sound smarter. (If you can use the accent, all the better! You can say anything in a British accent and it sounds posh. Try it: "I hurt my nose whilst picking it." See?) Just don't use "blimey" when talking to an actual British person. They'll know you're a fake. And whatever you do, do not try the faux English accent with a real life Brit. At the very least they'll point a bony finger at you and chuckle condescendingly. At the most, they'll call you Dick van Dyke. And that just hurts.

All this to say that I do my best to avoid conversations about books and such. But then my friend Allyson had to go and tag me with a meme about characters. I'm totally freaked out about it. Then my friend Melissa went ahead and answered the call to meme! So now I have no choice but to respond. Otherwise I look like a chicken. Which is only slightly better than looking stupid, so I'll take my chances.

So far, everyone is naming book characters. I guess those are the rules. But I'm going to use movies, too. After all, they started out as written screenplays, right? So I'm making the execu-blog decision that I can include all characters, regardless of medium. I'm supposed to pick three, but I'm wimping out at two.


1. Characters I wish were real so I could meet them:

a. Aslan from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: Critics, cynics, scholars, and snobs can knock themselves out arguing whether or not C.S. Lewis meant Aslan to represent God or Christ or not. For me, I haven't come across a better representation of a saviour. Aslan makes me feel safe and loved and protected in a way that makes me wish I could cuddle a real lion.

b. Lloyd Dobler from "Say Anything": The trench coat is a bit dated, but Lloyd is still my man. After all, "To know Lloyd Dobler is to love him." And don't we all feel like we know Lloyd Dobler? Boombox and all?

2. Characters I'd like to be:

a. Anne from Anne of Green Gables: Despite hardships, Anne lives a life full of joy and wonder -- which I keep trying to figure out how to do. And I'm not even an orphan. Plus, I'd like to have red hair (like Megan Follows).

b. Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice: I considered listing this dashing man in the section above, but that's been done. Sure, it'd be great to meet Mr. Dracy, but I think maybe I'd like to be Mr. Darcy. I'd get to be rich, handsome, and full of brooding and good intentions. Plus, I'd get the beautiful and free-spirited Elizabeth Bennet as my spouse. (Okay, maybe I'd really rather be Lizzie, but it's interesting to think about being the male character for once.)

3. Characters that frighten me:

a. Anyone in Wuthering Heights: I admit that I don't remember much of this book, except for the soul-crushing sense of desperation, isolation, and depression. I have no idea how it ends at the moment, and I don't care. I just remember wondering what the hell was wrong with poor Emily Brontë.

b. Si and Am, the Siamese cats in "The Lady and the Tramp": Maybe it's that sinister song they sing, but these are some seriously creepy cats. I was afraid of cats for a good portion of my life, and I blame Disney.

Okay, my list feels a bit paltry. From reading it, you'd think I haven't read very much hitherto. So I'm finally going to start something that I've been meaning to do for a long time: make a cheat sheet. I'm going to compile a list of the books I read and include notes about characters, plots, and what I liked/disliked. And then I'll memorize a few of them, so I'll have a handy-dandy answer when anyone asks me these dreaded questions. And that, my friends, will make me look really well-read. Blimey!


add to kirtsy | 12:52 AM


Anonymous Evad said...

you should practice answering questions you fear that will be asked.

4/30/2007 11:45 AM  
Blogger Elspeth said...

I agree with your reason for wanting to be Anne of Green Gables (the wonder) - and the part about the people from Wuthering Heights is funny. I've never actually read the book, but I know the story and it's very 'grey' and cold - I guess like the moors.

5/01/2007 2:55 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Good advice, evad.

And thanks for the comment, elspeth. Grey and cold, indeed. (I actually don't mind the greyness so much, as long as there's a cozy cottage and warm fire to retire to!)

5/01/2007 12:47 PM  

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