It’s a Zeugma (or na-na-na-na-naaaaa)

Originally posted on Ellen Morris Prewitt's Blog:

It’s a zeugma!!

This is a real word and it describes something I do with my writing. Here’s the definition: The use of a word to refer to two or more words, especially in different senses. Examples: “He caught a fish and a cold” or “She lost her ring and her temper.” (courtesy of Anu Garg of A.Word.A.Day, whom I love BTW)

The reason I’m crowing to find this is because the editor who helped me with Train Trip: Lucinda Mae’s Quest for Love, Honor, and the Chickens HATED it when I did this. She did not like, for example: His boss gave him the short end of every stick, probably on account of his being gay, a disservice he took in elegant stride—he used to be a ballet dancer.

I’m sorry to report she talked relentlessly about how hard this was until I took most of them out of…

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Three Novels in the Air

Originally posted on Ellen Morris Prewitt's Blog:

As most of you know, three agents are currently reading the revised manuscript of Train Trip: Lucinda Mae’s Quest for Love, Honor, and the Chickens.

😆 😆 😆

While they are mulling over those pages, I’ve occupied myself by revising Model for Deception, my Vangie Street mystery. My paid editor reviewed the manuscript and sent a manuscript evaluation with mercifully easy suggestions for revision. My writing group helped me with a query, and the last two weeks I’ve sent out a handful of queries to agents who represent mysteries. One of those agents has now asked to read this manuscript.


As I send out more queries, I’m also revising Jazzy, the Hurricane Katrina novel.

This effectively puts three novel balls in the air at once.

📕 📕 📕

I love all three of these novels, each for a different reason. In Train Trip I love the combination…

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Cleansing the Soul

Whatever bad luck I’ve been having, I’ve taken care of it.

We went to the Island of Salvation Botanica and Magical Pharmacy in the Healing Center and bought cures.

First, I figure the spirits have been mad at me because I’ve got all kinds of Day of the Dead creatures



But what was I lacking? A Spirit Dog!

Spirit Dog, photo bombed by Edward the Hamster, RIP

Spirit Dog, photo bombed by Edward the Hamster, RIP

Evangeline was most excited when I showed her the dog.



Well, I was excited.

Then I found this:



I figure if anything can erase bad luck, it’s a chicken.

I added my finds to some of my existing friends.

The Full Mojo

Plus, I washed my car.



I’ve got my full mojo working now.

REMEMBER: You Cain’t Do Nothing with Love

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The Mysterious Shirt

I’m sitting here in a cast-off/picked-up shirt, and it reminded me of this story about another cast-off/picked-up shirt. This essay might have run in Strut! Magazine, I can’t remember. In any event, I’m sharing it again:

The Mysterious Shirt
My sister gave me this shirt. At the time, she was living in my basement. I told everyone the basement was finished because I didn’t want them thinking the room was dark and dank, my sister’s living quarters dirt-floored and unheated. If I’d had a different life, the basement might have sported a pool table and wet bar, but my sister was living there so it had a twin bed and homemade shelves holding her sweaters and other clothes.
So, anyway, she gives me this shirt. I was a lawyer at the time with a big, important legal practice, and I walked around town wearing this shirt. The town was a small place, even if it was the state capital. Everyone knew everyone; everyone knew everyone’s business. Most importantly, people paid attention to what other folks were wearing. Like I said, small town.
The shirt my sister gave me was very distinctive. Its silk swirled turquoise and orange; the fit was kind of flappy in an oversized way. It buttoned down the front. I wore it with a black skirt. I considered it very stylish, a definite choice; you didn’t wear such a shirt by accident.
Then my sister tells me that, actually, her boyfriend gave her the shirt. The boyfriend’s ex-wife had moved out of the house and left a pile of clothes. The boyfriend, cleaning up, had run across the shirt behind the bathroom door and given it to my sister.
Really, it wasn’t a house the ex-wife left. My sister’s boyfriend lived in a warehouse above a restaurant, and the ex-wife moved out of the warehouse. And it wasn’t really a restaurant, it was a honky-tonk. When people would walk into the place, they’d sniff and say, “This place smells funny.” The boyfriend would say, “What do you think – it’s a honky-tonk!” He lived in an apartment in the warehouse above the honky-tonk. The ex-wife moved out of the honky-tonk and left the shirt in a pile of clothes on the floor behind the bathroom door.
Hunh, I thought.
Someone else’s shirt. Kind of, in a way. Abandoned but then picked up and passed around until it came to me: a pick-me-up, hand-me-around kind of shirt.
Which I wore. Frequently. Publicly. Ostentatiously.
Who knows, I could’ve walked past the boyfriend’s ex-wife on one of my downtown strolls. The woman would’ve done a double-take, thinking, how’d that chick get my shirt? I would’ve strutted on by, oblivious.
Or she could have accosted me. As I understood it, the wife’s break-up with the boyfriend wasn’t pretty. So the ex-wife could’ve jerked me by the arm, pulled me to the side. She would’ve demanded to know where I got the shirt. Unawares, I would’ve told her it was a gift from my sister, and she’d have thought, Aha!
She might have said, “Give it to me” then yanked. Tried to take the shirt right off my back. I might’ve wound up with my picture in the newspaper wearing the shirt, half-on, half-flapped off, a startled look on my face.
It wouldn’t have mattered. Even after I became aware of the dangers presented by the shirt, I continued to wear it. I liked the idea of me, the important lawyer, strutting around town in a stolen shirt. Or at least an unauthorized shirt. It made me feel a little edgy. Like I wasn’t really a boring, follow-the-rules, nothing-interesting-ever-happens-to-you lawyer.
“Yes,” I would’ve said if anyone stopped me on the sidewalk. “I get my shirts off unknown bathroom floors.”
That’s the kind of woman I am.
One who wears mysterious shirts.

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The Dog Must Pee

Originally posted on Ellen Morris Prewitt's Blog:

So I went outside today for the first time in four days. I know it’s been four days because my husband said, “Do you realize I’ve been taking this dog out every time for four days?” The only reason I went outside today is because my husband’s comment led me to conclude that if I didn’t get my butt off the futon and take the dog out, she might be left with no choice but to pee on the apartment floor.

I’ve been sick. Under any circumstance, sickness is a nasty, unpleasant business. Yeah, my illness is “just” a sinus infection, but at various times I’ve thought I would choke, drown, or hack myself to death, not to mention suffocating beneath the pile of discarded kleenex. Plus, I’ve got the pink eye. Pink eye! A childhood affliction that I waited until my fifth decade to contract. Talk about your slow…

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When Do Fish Sleep?

My three-year-old grandson handed me a book to read. He found the book in the drawer of the beach house this past week (later, he would ask me, “What’s a beach house?). The title of the book was “When Do Fish Sleep?” Narrating our activity, as is my want, I said, “I hope this book isn’t rhetorical—I don’t want them asking these questions and not giving us answers.”

I always wonder: what does this child learn from me that I don’t know he’s learning? This week, I’m pretty sure he learned the concept of “surprise.” Another book we read (we are big book readers) had a band of pirates discovering a treasure trove. Their wide eyes and open mouths showed they were surprised, I told him. “I am surprised,” he repeated wide-eyed, trying it on for size.

He also, inexplicably, learned how to act like an egg in a nest. “Let’s make a nest!” he cried for days. We would build a pillow nest around him with a pillow roof. Hidden inside, he’d wait while I speculated when the egg might hatch. Then, at an unpredictable time, he would erupt from the nest, the egg cracking open, the baby bird born.

Was this game triggered by our reading “Horton Hatches an Egg”? Or because the pirate ship had a crow’s nest? Or because, seated on the steps beneath the house, I pointed to the ocean and told him about the mama sea turtle with the gigantic flippers who swam ashore then used her strong flippers to dig a hole in the sand and bury her eggs where they waited until it was time to be born when they erupted from the nest and scurried beneath the moon back into the ocean and swam away?

Given the number of times we played this game, each time with him bursting from the nest with a huge grin on his face, did he learn that there is no limit to delight?

Or did he learn that his Gogi might be a former hotshot lawyer and a current “award-winning writer,” but when it comes to the sheer number of times she is willing to repeat the same act, read the same book, respond to the same joke, she is sort of a simpleton?

Why, you might be asking yourself, am I willing to repeat these acts ad nauseam? (Okay, sometime I suggest new games like, “Why don’t we do the jigsaw puzzle?” only to realize I suck at jigsaw puzzles, and we move on to stickers—stickers I can do.) My daughter-in-law calls it patience, but patience implies a putting-up-with that I don’t feel. For some reason, I have a child’s extreme tolerance for repetition. I take delight in, and share, the moment of delight. But over and over and over again—what is kinda wrong with me?

I wish life wouldn’t ask these questions and not give us answers.

Oh—and I don’t know when fish sleep. The book was a bummer—lots of words, few pictures, wise-ass answers. I was not a fan.

Remember: You Cain’t Do Nothing with Love

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The King’s Lament

Don't Be Cruel

Don’t Be Cruel

It's Now or Never

It’s Now or Never


I Gotta Know

Are You Lonesome Tonight?

Are You Lonesome Tonight?

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