Sunday, July 29, 2007

Blgthon 35.48 Interview with E.R.D,

Which of course stands for Emily Ryan Davis. I just want to say a big thank you to her, because not only did she do the interview, but she also did the book donation thingy, plus she has been writing a new book and has spent her down time pestering me in emails which keeps me awake. I have no idea how I found her blog, Rhian maybe, but I could be so far off the mark, it may have just been luck. Anyway...

First, thanks for allowing me to ask some things.

Oh, please, I should thank you for giving me a chance to yak about myself. Have I ever mentioned what a narcissist I am?

1.I know your name is a pen name, though honestly I would not have known that without looking at your bio or having correspondance. But, how exactly did you come up with it?

I don't remember where the Emily came from. I think I might've tried the sound of "Leah," but decided it didn't work with for some reason. Fascinating, right? Ryan-Davis, from a customer database at a previous job. I thought it sounded nice and neutral, not too German or Italian or French - not too anything. My pseudonym is blaaaaaaaaaand with extra aaaaaa. Aaaaa. My real (maiden) name's not exactly a spicy pile of nachos, either, but it is pretty distinct. As in, if I walk into Bed, Bath & Beyond and say "I want you to print my bridal registry" and give them my husband's name, the customer service lady gets about four million responses in her database. My maiden name, though? Pops right up. Not another one of me in sight.

2.You just recently got married. Any fun stories? Did it go off as well as you thought it would or were there any minor catastrophes along the way?

Is it awful to say the best part of my wedding was that it ended? I'm convinced every wedding is a comedy of errors, but mine? Yikes. Life got pretty rocky there for a while. I envisioned this fun, modest event with white dresses, delicious (but modest) catering, a fantastic cake, my family meeting my husband's family for the first time, presents and pictures and tearful I-Do's. Disaster struck in the form of religious zeal (or un-zeal on my part), illnesses in my family, so on, so forth. The pastor refused to marry me to my husband 9 days before the wedding. My maid of honor's husband offered to join the Universal Life Church and rush his Ordained Minister certificate so he could marry us. My coworker offered to ask her Minister of the Church of Satan friend to marry me - fee $50, but I had to be willing to let him wear his Church of Satan uniform: black suit, red tie. (I had no idea a red tie made a man devout, but hey, who'm I to criticize? It was a very generous offer!)

Ultimately we ended up at the Annapolis County Clerk's office, where the most memorable 45 seconds of the entire ordeal (ahem, celebration) occurred. I had my entire (small) wedding party with me, my photographer waiting, the marriage license all ready to go, the county clerk's chapel fee all paid, and a promise that "Your party is next." The next party got called. Not me. The NEXT party got called. Uh, still not me. The next? You guessed it, not me. I sent my husband to find out when we'd be called in; he came back with the assurance that we were (of course) next.

Allow me to state, in my defense, that I was on a tight schedule. My gracious photographer could only stay until 3 p.m. (we met in Annapolis at 1 p.m.) because she had an evening wedding booked as well. This was Friday; my wedding was supposed to take place on Saturday, but the religious disaster hit and I had to split the affair up over the course of two days. So there I was, swathed in satin and tulle, dying of thirst, shiny as a new-polished diamond because every hormone I possess decided to turn my face into an oil field, hotter than know, hot thing - and my photographer had already pushed back her "have to leave now" limit by 15 minutes. The county clerk came out, called somebody else's name, and I completely lost it. Dehydration and stress and the oil slick that was my face collided in this massive thunderclap and I stood up, raised my voice over the milling crowd of Annapolis Naval Academy sailors and their floozy brides in fishnet dresses, and said, "I was told I'm next!" (Nope. Nothing more vulgar than that, sorry to say.) The clerk glanced at me, looked at his paperwork, turned to the Sailor Couple, and I thought he was ignoring me. Completely lost my temper. I was shrieking like a trailer park harridan inside my head (my maid of honor assures me I behaved with perfect grace, but she wasn't privy to the banshee between my ears) as I threw my bouquet at my maid of honor, snatched up the voluminous train of my snowy white gown, and stalked across the clerk courtyard. The security guard rolled his chair back to stop me - must've thought better about it as he rolled over the trailing hem of my gown and encountered the (probably feral and rabid) look in my eyes, and backed off. I stormed - stormed! - into the little office place and demanded to know why a sailor floozy (yes, I said it, and I am Unapologetic - she was wearing WHITE fishnet!!) was going ahead of me after I'd been waiting two hours! Two hours! On top of my future father-in-law trying to convince my husband I didn't love him enough because I refused to get married in a ceremony that offered my obedience - OBEDIENCE! the nerve! - and finding out my mother was afraid she'd ruin my wedding pictures because she's sick and has dark circles under her eyes - andandand - did I mention my wedding plans got very rocky?

Anyway, too late to make this long story short, but in the end the ceremony itself took about 45 seconds and bam! I was a Mrs. Forty-five seconds. My wedding pictures came out slanted, alas, but my husband's fantastic and I have a photo of him pulling a condom off the tailpipe of his car, courtesy of his friends, so it's worth it in the end. And I have two wedding dates I get to celebrate every year: the marriage certificate says June 15; all the party favors say June 16. Twice the anniversary!

Followup: so the honeymoon had to be swell then, right?

As I said, plans changed vastly over the course of the two weeks prior. We'd planned on a week in Williamsburg, VA, but that turned into a daytrip to Ocean City, MD. The daytrip became an impromptu overnight trip, but we hadn't planned on staying so we had the clothes on our back and swimsuits (in my case, a swimsuit, a pair of clean underwear, the shorts I wore over my swimsuit, and a t-shirt), no hair brushes, no toothbrushes, no nothing. We got a hotel room and the Holiday Inn provides necessities like toothbrush and comb, but they don't provide things like condoms. Just go to a CVS, right?

We were in Ocean City during the tail end of Senior Week and the Fireman's convention. CVS? Not a condom to be found. One box remained on the shelf, and it had been torn open and the rubbers stolen. My wedding culminated in a sexless honeymoon.

3.Would you like some soft shell crabs?

Imagine my horrified expression, wrinkled nose and recoiling posture, toes curling and soul cringing. Imagine it! Now look what you did to me! Their LEGS hang OFF the bread! Dangling! If you're jostled, the legs JIGGLE! It's a prehistoric spider! On a sandwich! Deep-fried and slathered with old bay and mayo and a;gkha;gha;lgha;uqpowiruq!@#$!

marylanders, what is wrong with you people? dear god. alien sandwiches. ew.

4.Who inspired you to be a writer and try to get yourself published?

To be a writer, I'm not sure. I knew I wanted to be an artist of some type; I used to try for "artistic" drawings in crayon on lined notebook paper, and my 8-year-old sense of artistic taste knew that I hadn't a visual-arts bone in my body. I couldn't sing; my mom dashed my Future Stevie Wonder dreams to the ground by pointing out that I was neither blind, black, nor male. Good thing that, too - vocalist I am not. I could read, though, and I figured out I could write when a teacher accused me of plagiarism (falsely) during the course of a "write a short story" class assignment. It's my friend Tom (doktortom on MySpace) who introduced me to How to Write books, and though he's not exactly responsible for my tawdry, trashy romance paying hobby, he is responsible for my coming to view writing as a potential career path.

To be published - I have to admit the final push to get myself published was completely an envy thing. My friend Elisabeth Drake ( secured a contract for a pair of short stories, and I decided that if she could be published, so could I. (Not in a snotty way; more of a "well, what AM I waiting for?" way). So I contacted my current editor and here I am, proud author of two trashy romance e-books, a novella appearing in an anthology sometime this summer/early fall, and a third e-book due out as soon as I can possibly write the thing.

5.We all have influences in our writing, even me and my blog. I find sometimes I am channeling some sort of Bill Maher rant on occasion. When you are writing, do you try to keep yourself from being influenced by other writers so you don't copy there styles, or is it the best form of flattery?

I try not to copy styles in prose writing because I want to be recognized for my voice, not somebody else's. That said, I'm a product of every author I've ever read. The phenomenon is similar to accent adoption - I moved to Massachusetts and lived there for 7 years; now I say Baaaah-ston. I don't say anything else in Massachusetts-ese, just that, but it's something I picked up without even trying. I go back home to West Virginia to visit my mom, and three days into it I'm droppin' my g's and drawlin' my a's, and I can't pronounce "creek" with a long e to save my life.

In writing, I tend to borrow words more than style. I think I got "runnel" from the first page of a Bujold novel. I never would've thought of using it before I read the word in her book. Now it's one of my favorites. In blogging, I tend to borrow topics. You blogged about U2; next thing I know I'm blogging about music.

6.You are trapped in a snow storm with a broken TV set. It only has one channel on it, what channel do you hope it will be?

Any channel that will play on loop the Family Guy episode where Peter's hiding in the refrigerator, saying "There is no Peter, there is only Zuul," and Lois screeches, "Peteh, get outta the refrigeratuh!" Because that? Endless - endless! - source of amusement to me. I don't even need the whole episode. Just that scene. Barring that, I don't care as long as it'd entertain the people who were trapped in the snowstorm with me. I'm honestly not a TV watcher. Can never remember what channel corresponds with what network, and really, who has the time to sit and watch the TV Guide channel, even if you could make it through the 17-minute scroll without stabbing yourself in the eye over the fifth revisit to the Crocodile Whatshisface's memorial thing?

7.Since my blogathon entry has a loose theme of Philadelphia, I need to ask a couple of Philadelphia type questions. Have you ever visited our lovely city? What did you think? If not how come already?

I think I have, but I honestly don't remember whether it was Philly or Pittsburgh. It involved a salsa cruise, a junior year Spanish class field trip, and that's all I recall. No, they weren't serving full-rum daiquiries to the 17-year-olds. Sad to say.

8.On your cheesesteak, do you have cheese whiz or cheese slices?

Are you kidding me? Cheese Whiz is an option? My mother-in-law makes this godawful concoction called Beer Cheese Soup that's Cheese Whiz, half 'n half, bear, and onions. Could serve it up with a Playboy and a sixpack of Sam Adams and just skip the niceties, call it what it is - Man Soup.

On cheesesteak, though - I've only ever had cheesesteak Boston style: white american cheese, full grease soaking up into the bread, pepper, salt, and fried onions. Steak-Ums, not real steak. No peppers. What's the authentic Philly style?

9.Being a music nut like I am, how in the world did you get such a cool sounding day job?

I have good luck with jobs. I don't quite understand how some people can't get anything more entertaining than flipping 'em at McDonald's; I've written obituaries, poured coffee, waited tables, tutored writing and statistics, "sold" credit cards via phone, admin-assisted a music school for young kids - all interesting things (to me, anyway). I guess I know how to write letters? Say the things people want to hear? I'm adaptable? My coworkers think it's a riot that I have no clue how many strings come on a bass guitar; one coworker thinks it's a mortal offense that I didn't know who Keith Richards was 'til he pointed it out to me. Maybe I got it because I'm a likeable person. :) Don't tell my brother - he'll want to know what I paid you to say it.

10.Lindsay Lohan, Idiot, victim of a crazy family and her needs to be the family bread winner, or a little of both?

Eyeliner chemicals have seeped into her brain via her ocular fluid, rendering her useless as a human being, but useful as a pop icon. After all, Human Being isn't a job requirement in the Icon field.

11.Anything new on the horizon from your imaginitve brain?

A novella, as yet untitled, slated to appear in a less-than-PG-13 anthology with an alternate sexuality theme. I hesitate to give titles or descriptions for this interview because I'm not sure who's blogging, and I am all for not making a neutral crowd uncomfortable. I'll keep updates at my website, though, , and there's a newsletter link and all that good stuff, for people who want to seek it out of their own free will. I don't like to smack unsuspecting people in the face. :)

Aside from that, though - more serious things are brewing. I grew up in a town shadowed by an insane asylum, and I very much want to write about that - the poverty, the isolation, the ability of people to pretend their surroundings don't exist. I want to write about the strange and bizarre crimes committed in the vicinity, while I was in high school; about the community events like baseball games and Oktoberfest that took place on hospital grounds. I want to write about my mother, a mental health nurse, and her own struggle with mental health. Meaningful things. I will, some day, but it's a story I still have to grow into all the way. In the meantime, I'll hold onto the fantasy and escapism, the fluff of dragons and princesses and fairies and things like that. A love story's easier than a semi-autobiography, right? Easier to read, easier to write, and at this stage of my life, I am ALL about easy.

I may re-evaluate next spring, after the retail Christmas season is over, my third dragony book is written, and I've had a good long regenerative winter sleep.


Emily Ryan-Davis said...

According to both my husband and my best friend, the ERD would be much more entertaining as URD, simply because "turd" is hysterical, whereas "terd" doesn't work.

So I should change my initials to URD. And I should go to bed, 'cause that was completely nonsensical.