Because 10 is just too even a number for my rebellious soul.
1.) I occasionally take 3-hour baths. Yes, really. I have started and finished books in there, and I am not ashamed, except of my heating bill.
2.) I lose every social grace I can (tentatively) lay claim to when I get behind the wheel of a car. I think it is perfectly fine to tailgate people driving too slow for my taste, and just as acceptable to bait fellow drivers tailgating me. I unconsciously speed up when somebody passes me. I almost never let people merge in front of me, unless I’m feeling like being a good Samaritan or praying for good karma. I gently encourage people driving in front of me to pull over with flashing headlights, honking horn, and occasional hand gestures. And yet, though my grill may be locked to your bumper the whole way in and my brights may be glaring into your rear-view mirrors, I’m nonetheless likely to hold the door for you when we’re walking into the building together, even if you’re in the process of telling me what a dangerous bitch I am on the road. Don’t ask me to explain this. It’s a pathology, I swear.
3.) I think meat is totally gross. And I have since I was about 7 years old. When we had our family visits to McDonald’s (hey, backwoods town in Maine; it really was the big hangout) I used to eat only cheeseburgers because I believed the cheese negated the beef. This logic only worked for me until I was about 8, and then I moved on to about a pint of A-1 sauce, which certainly had the effect of negating the taste, if not the existence of meat. And when I was 9 I gave up the red stuff altogether, and I think I was 13 or 14 when poultry went. I’d love to claim some great moral objection, but while I think the methods of raising and slaughtering are more than reason to give meat up, I stopped because it was dead flesh, and well, ew.
4.) I once dressed in poplar leaves stitched together with twigs and tree sap. I wasn’t alone, either.
5.) My first real story was an action romance about two of my classmates in second grade. Poor Brian and Charity were drowned, mugged, shot from a cannon, chased by lions across the Sahara, and Charity herself died at least once before they shared their first sloppy, painfully-depicted kiss. Their real-life counterparts were horrified when I was picked to read the installments out loud in front of the class. The teacher, who probably wasn’t the best choice for the classroom, was extremely amused. And I, of course, was hooked.
6.) I own Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie. And I do on occasion watch it. So should you. Because it’s awesome.
7.) I loved writing essays in college. Even dreadfully hungover, scratchy-eyed and exhausted, I still loved writing essays. I know this makes me a freak, and I don’t care. I miss the classes almost as much as I miss a) the friends I made, b) the naive belief in the innate goodness of all things that I seem to have misplaced in the years since, and c) that cushy, secure feeling you never appreciate while you still have it, of not having to worry about money except when you’re out of cigarettes and booze.
8.) I am a conflicted cynic: I don’t believe in happy endings, but I still want one.
9.) I count sounds. I don’t mean to; it just happens. I turn on the blinker, sit there in traffic waiting for someone who appears to be moving slowly enough that I can cut across their path, and by the time I get into the parking lot the little ticky noise has happened 128 times, 64 if you’re counting the high and low tics as one unit. I also tend to hone in on the ambient noise in crowded places; if we’re sitting in a busy restaurant, I’m just as likely to know what the couple two tables away is talking about as I am what we’re talking about. I can’t listen to music with words while I’m writing or the lyrics end up in my dialogue, which is, needless to say, seldom helpful.
10.) I cringe when I write big angsty melodrama, and yet somehow both the emotional and the plot arcs of all my books head inevitably toward climactic scenes of great angst and melodrama.
11.) When I am stressed for too hard and too long, or in constant physical pain or ill health, I tend to write backward. And I don’t mean switching letters: I mean whole sentences, spelled mostly correctly, and completely backward except for the capitalization and punctuation. Thank the gods of dignity for spellcheck, or half my coworkers would think I was psychotic.