Thursday, June 21, 2007

Cows and Books

Have you seen the American Idol episodes where the singers meet their own music idols and act all wide-eyed and star struck? Well, even if you didn’t, let me just say, I watched them and thought, “If I ever go on American Idol (which, as long as people have ears, I won’t) and I get to meet my singing idol, I will act cool and collected. Top-selling artists are people too.”

Well, my friends, I have a confession to make. When I found out that I, a newly published author, would be posting a blog right after the author of some of LDS young adult fiction’s funniest books, I felt a little wide-eyed and star struck. But I’ll try not to let it affect my blogging abilities.

I come from a smallish town in California, right in the center of the state. The cow part, as I affectionately call it. Seriously. You know that commercial about the “happy cows” from California. I live right by those happy cows. Though I’m not quite sure who decided they were happy. They look like regular cows to me. You know, cowy.

When I was getting married—to the guy you can thank for helping me make sure the guys in my books don’t sound like girls— I had the bright idea to have a wedding reception in the backyard of my parents’ house. In preparation for the big event, I had a Cow-Scent-Factor Log that I wrote in each night. I would go outside every fifteen minutes to sniff the air for, how can I put it, eau de cow, and recorded the results on a scale from 1-10. Things seemed to follow the same pattern every night, and that’s how I decided on a two hour reception from 6-8. I’m sure my guests have no idea I went through so much trouble on behalf of their noses.

But enough about the cow stuff. Let’s talk about books. Ooh, just the word makes me happy! I have loved books my whole life. Back in elementary school, the principal had a reading program. All the kids in the school could check books out of his office and would get prizes when they read a certain number of books. I was in his office seemingly every day picking up another Nancy Drew, Babysitter’s Club, or Sweet Valley High. While I was reading, I was also writing. Lots of stories with “cute, sensitive football players.”

Then when I was diagnosed with a painful chronic disease that has meant lots of time in bed and lots of wondering why I have to continue to wait for the blessing of motherhood, I found reading and writing to be more than just fun—they were powerful. Books became more than just enjoyable—they became little packages of joy and relief.

Suddenly I knew what I wanted to do. It almost felt like what I had to do: Write. Write good, clean, funny, uplifting books for anyone who is ever suffering or tired or overwhelmed or lonely or just in need of the power of books. I try to make sure everything I write combines inspiration with humor. The thing about a laugh is that at the precise moment that it’s escaping from you, that’s all you feel, that rush, that exhilaration, that relief. It’s powerful stuff.

Well, it’s time to see what kind of dinner I can whip up with cornflakes, a mangled-looking leftover chicken, and a box of See’s chocolates. Or maybe I’ll just eat the chocolates while I speed dial my favorite pizza place. Talk to you later.


Tamra Norton said...

First, I have to say, Elodia--I love you! My friend, you have made my week by saying so many nice things to me when what I'm used to hearing is, "Mommy, I'm hungry" or "Mom, I need 10 bucks" or the dreaded, "Mommy, wipe my bum." I'm thrilled to be writing this blog with you! You rock!!!

Second--SHUT UP! You're from the middle of California...the part with cows?!!! I'M from the middle-of California...the part with cows. I kid you not, the house I was raised in (in Elk Grove, which used to be small) had a dairy across the street and another to the left, a slaughter house (with lots of stinky "cattle-in-waiting" in the field) behind our house and a crazy, rich guy who raised buffalo on the right. Stink City, man! I completely feel your repressed childhood pain!

Great blog!!!

Anne Bradshaw said...

I don't know you, Elodia, but I feel like I do after reading your blog. What a fun person--and what a great writer. You drew me in and filled my mind with pictures that made me want to go smell some cows right now. I know I'm going to enjoy the blogs on this site.

Stephanie Black said...

Elodia, I have heard AWESOME things about your book!

(And I hope you went with the See's Chocolates and pizza option for dinner--yum!)

Marcia Mickelson said...


Great blog. And, Stephanie, her book is awesome. It's hilarious and so fun to read. I still find myself thinking about Annabelle (the main character) every once in a while.

Carole Thayne said...

Elodia, Just tonight I took a walk in Paradise where I live and the air was pungent with the smell of cow manure and then I came home and read your blog about cows. It was fun.