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A Fish Without a Bicycle

Not a woman without a man (as the old second-wave feminist quip had it) but a romance writer without a bookmark to give away…

No, wait a minute, it’s the opposite. A romance writer never leaves home without a bookmark to give away. A romance writer without a bookmark is like a fish without… fins, I guess, or scales.

Except you’ve already guessed the real punchline, haven’t you?

That I’m sitting on the airplane on my way to RWA without a one of the unbearably gorgeous bookmarks Wax Creative Designs created for The Edge of Impropriety pam_edge_frontand The Slightest Provocation. Here are some front-and-back pix of ’em — aren’t they knockouts?

And I left ’em home. Totally forgot ’em.  Emily, my web designer and general graphics and pam_edge_backpublicity genious, will plotz. and so would I, if I weren’t kind of impressed by the effrontery of it.

Michael will one-day-air them to me, but probably not in time for the Literacy Autographing. So I won’t have them there. Will you still need me, will you still feed me (that’s a baby boomer injoke, and yes, fellow boomers, I did reach that august age this year) — if you’re at RWA will you even see me without my bookmarks?

I also forgot to bring the carry-onto-the-plane lunch I packed last night. Luckily, though, I actually like airport Caesar salad and airplane almonds; the only thing I’ll miss from the really rather pathetic lunch I made is the Dagoba Eclipse 87% cacao chocolate. Glad I took a little intermission from packing to eat a bunch of it ahead of time. With good red wine.

On the other hand, were it not for the red wine I might’ve remembered to pack the bookmarks.

Can you tell that I’m sort of a nervous flier? I’ve entirely contorted the fish/bicycle joke, done every crossword puzzle in sight.

At least I had the willpower to put the almonds (they sell you this supersized tin of them!) into my purse so I won’t eat any more of them.

And I did remember to bring two wonderful books along — Katha Pollitt’s new book of poetry, The Mind-Body Problem, and The Watsons, Lady Susan, and Sanditon,  a collection of incomplete early and late works by Jane Austen (And how cool a job did the Penguin Classics people do with that cover? On the back they tell you it’s a detail from something called The Cloakroom, Clifton Assembly Rooms by Rosalinda Sharples, 1794-1838.

Being airborne, I’m not really online at the moment, or I’d be Googling Rosalinda, who it seems to me had a marvelous eye for the foibles of facial expression. She died at 44 — two years older than Jane Austen at her death. It seems to me they had a lot in common, even if Jane was a genius and Rosalinda wasn’t).

I haven’t cracked the Austen collection yet, but I’m grinning in anticipation.

Whereas I have begun Pollitt’s book of poems. But here the problem is that I’m afraid I’ll finish it too soon. Because it really is a slim volume (out just a few weeks ago — what a rare, delicious luxury, to treat myself to a hardback volume of poetry).

Though in truth (even though I am a lifelong English major) I don’t read a lot of poetry. I don’t know how to read it in bulk — I’m never sure, for example, how many poems you’re supposed to read at one sitting. There are poems I love (your basics, Yeats, Keats, and Emily Dickinson mostly), but those I sort of roll around in my head rather than read.

Pollit’s an exception: I do know how to read her. First like email. Then like, you know, “poetry.” Then like red wine and Dagoba Eclipse. Every way until I have them. Which, I suppose, is how you read poetry you actually care about. Every way until you have it (meaning more here I actually understand, I think: Poetry readers, help me out here).

And romance readers (from the DC area) if you do come by the Literacy Autographing tomorrow, please stop and say hi. No bookmarks, I’m afraid, but we’ll have fun anyway. And almonds.


  1. Congratulations! I’m so pleased about your RITA award. A happy ending for both fish and bicycle! Though said bicycle now needs a small gold statue added….

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