Dear Dust

I think this new addition to TNB is great and I’d like to see it succeed. I don’t have any burning questions (though I am experiencing some burning – can you help with that?) Anyway, recently in The Guardian some famous contemporary authors offered their ten most important rules for writing. What are your top ten rules?

Cheers, Gloria

Hi, Laurie.  It’s Mom.  What are you doing?

Hi, Mom. I’m…working on a self-interview for a website that is going to run a nice segment on my new book.

 

Is this the book about the ghost? Why did you write a book about a ghost? That’s stupid. You can’t even see them. That’s like writing a book that’s not even really there. James Patterson never wrote a book about ghosts and he’s very successful.

I know he is.

 

He’s my favorite writer.

I know he is.

 

You should write books like James Patterson does.

(Silence.)

 

You know?

Yeah.

 

His titles are so catchy, like Cat and Mouse, Jack and Jill and Pop Goes the Weasel. You should use titles like that, titles you can remember instead of Ghost….Ghost…Ghost the Friendly Ghost? Is that what you called it?

Spooky Little Girl, Mom. It’s called Spooky Little Girl.

 

I don’t know why you wrote a ghost book. That’s stupid. What could you say that Patrick Swayze didn’t already say in the movie?

This isn’t a book about I wrote a book about ghosts because my dental hygienist told me an incredible story about her friend, Lucy Fisher, who was kicked out of her house by her boyfriend and lost her job in the same week. The next week, she moved to a different city to live with her sister, and her first day there, she was hit by a bus and killed. But none of her friends knew it, although they thought they kept seeing her places or hearing her voice. It was crazy to me that a person could just disappear like that; Lucy’s friends didn’t find out she had died until long after she met with the bus. We think we’re so “plugged in” with our cell phones, email, Skype, chats, contact lists, but the truth is that given the right set of circumstances, any one of us could vanish just like that—and some people wouldn’t find out for months, or a year. I wanted to take the perspective of Lucy and run a little crazy with it. In Spooky Little Girl, Lucy’s unexpected death lands her in ghost school, where she has to learn the parameters of haunting with other “surprise demisers”; how to get things done, communicate with the living and successfully complete her assignment—with a touch of revenge–without being noticed and exorcized by a dirty fake psychic hippie that keeps lurking around and has the capacity to launch Lucy into the unknown for eternity.

 

Is Whoopi Goldberg in it? You should put her in your book. You should tell your boss that. When does the book come out?

No, Whoopi Goldberg is not in the book, but there is a somewhat wicked grandmother ghost who likes to pinch the rump of another lady in the book who is not very nice. Grandma’s a pincher. She likes to pinch bad people when they’re on the potty, mess around with their images in digital picture frames, steal socks and battle nosy mailmen. So there really wasn’t room for Whoopi Goldberg; I already have a full house of ghosts, ex-boyfriends and some crazy bitches. The book comes out April 13. On Tuesday.

 

Oh. Then you have time to put Whoopi in. You put Whoopi Goldberg on anything and it will sell. Look at what she did for The View.

The book is finished and printed; you know this, you have a copy. Besides, where would I even put that sort of character in the story? Where did you think I needed Whoopi Goldberg?

 

(Silence).

(Silence).

 

(Silence).

You didn’t read the book.

 

I’m reading….something else. I have to finish that one first.

Let me guess. Step on a Crack or When the Wind Blows?

 

No. But you should really change your book mugshot to something outdoorsy and sporty, like—

Sarah Palin? Holy shit. Are you reading Going Rogue instead of my book?

 

She’s an inspiration. She has five children, a job and kills her own meat, probably every day.

So if I kill something, you’ll read my book? Next time I come to your house, I’m stealing five Ambien out of your pill bottle for reading that book.

 

She didn’t steal those clothes. They were a gift. Anyway. You still using too much salt?

Yes. When I smell burning hair, I’ll stop, but if you keep talking about Sarah Palin, I will probably have a vein burst in my head concurrently. Huh. What’s this? A nosebleed…?

 

Did you get electrolysis yet?

I’ll pluck today. When I’m done with this interview.

 

Oh, yeah. We’re done.