Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Here I Am Again. Also, Kelly Clarkson

So what happened was I ran headlong into another novel deadline. It was my eighth draft of The War I Finally Won (publication date October 3, 2017). Eight drafts ought to be enough for anyone, but we'll see--I've given up making predictions on this book. I will say that every time through it I change more than I expected to. I will also say that I think it's getting pretty good.

Meanwhile, I had a nice chat with Kelly Clarkson, the singing sensation (have you heard her version of "It's Quiet Uptown" from the Hamilton Mixtape yet? That'll have you in tears), in Nashville on Saturday. We were in Nashville to celebrate my sister's birthday--my sister and her husband, me and mine, and four of my sister's friends. I go to Nashville often on business and usually get in and out as fast as possible, with only a brief stop at my hometown bookstore, Parnassus. (Nashville is nearly five hours away from Bristol, but Parnassus embraces me and I embrace them.) My sister had never been there, and she had the place sussed out. We did a grown-up tour of Nashville's finest, and it was brilliant.

So Saturday we had brunch and bowling at Pinewood Social. Pinewood Social is a great big open restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and brunch on weekends. They do fancy coffee drinks and a full bar service and in the back they have six vintage bowling lanes. Each pair of lanes faces a U-shaped couch and a big table, and you can eat brunch and drink mimosas and bowl all at the same time, so we did. Lots of fun. We were there first, but pretty soon another group of eight people sat down on our right, and a second group on our left. The group on the right was actually nine people-four young adult couples, and a beautiful little toddler girl.

The girl walked in wearing a red fleece swing coat with fleece flowers down the front. My daughter at that age wore a very similar coat, albeit pink. The little girl wore boots and a dress with matching leggings, and that's pretty much what my daughter wore at the same age, and so of course I was feeling tremendously nostalgic, because I used to have a bright, bold, toddler girl, and now I have a 5'10" armed warrior who goes to school a long way away, and I miss her.

The little girl loved bowling and was enormously cheerful. Eventually I asked her mom, "How old is she?" The mom said, "Two." Then the girl said, "Hi. HI!" and laughed and told me her name, which I couldn't understand, and then said "TWO!" because the two thing was pretty new and fabulous. It was super sweet.

I got up to go to the bathroom as that group was getting ready to leave. As I was coming back I noticed my sister and her neighbor getting a photo of themselves with the little girl's mom. After the woman left I asked my sister what on earth. She said, "Kim, did you really not know who you were talking to?"

So that was Kelly Clarkson. She seemed like a normal human, even though she sings so well, and I like how she dresses her kid.