1. What am I doing New Year’s Eve?
a) going to bed
b) going to a wedding
c) going to a party where I don’t know anyone
d) going to get wasted
e) b, then later a
2. What were my goals for 2015?
a) make at least $100,000 and put it all into an attractive mutual fund
b) stay in one geographical location for more than five months
c) not buy more clothes until I have holes in the clothes I have now, seriously, like holes in them because I wear them that much that they have to be replaced
d) finish Middlemarch e) avoid writing an end-of-year pop quiz that gives me the uncomfortable feeling I’m pulling some Bridget Jones’s Diary thing by accident
If Bridget Jones’s Diary had been written just a few years later than it was, would it have been Bridget Jones’s Blog and if so, would it have been as popular and if so, would that have just been Sex In The City?
4. If Pendennis could eat one thing for every meal for the rest of his life, he would eat:
a) candy corn pumpkins
b) linguine with clam sauce
c) just sheets and sheets and sheets of nori
d) cotton balls
e) a and d but not b
5. What are you doing New Year’s Eve?
a) “Oh, right. I forgot. What night is New Year’s?”
b) having some friends over for games (e.g., Catchphrase, Twister “After-Dark” Version, etc.)
c) coming to that wedding with me (it’s going to be super fun)
d) taking a pop quiz
Answers: b, d, too tired to write it out but no and yes, e, c.
I’ve been traveling so much lately — home in DC this evening after a full week in Chicago — chances are good there are new readers to PaperGirl. I encourage people I meet at events or classes to visit and read this blog, but I still see fear in their hearts when I tell them PaperGirl isn’t about one thing but “just sort of about my life.” A gluten-free baking tutorial blog is an easier sell but what can I do? Surely some people were curious enough to visit and it seems like a good opportunity to take a moment and explain the monkey. I haven’t posted a picture of or given an update on Pendennis in some time; let’s get everyone caught up.
Some adults have an ironic connection to a childhood toy or a juvenile object and it can be cute or it can be weird. Either way, these peoples’ friends are actually happy when there’s a “thing” because it makes that person really easy to shop for. “I have no idea what to get Nancy for Christmas” is not a sentence Nancy’s friends will ever have to say because Nancy likes deer.
I don’t have a “thing” for sock monkeys; I have a thing for my sock monkey. His name is Pendennis and no, I do not sleep with him or cry hot, hot tears into his soft body. He does not come on trips with me. I haven’t had him since I was three and I do not suck on his tail. My high school art teacher made him for me when I was her teacher’s aide and Pendennis has simply been with me ever since, not because I need a stuffed animal to cope with life* but because I love him. My love is akin to the love I have for a special painting or a treasured photograph, except that I can cry hot, hot tears into his soft body. I love the monkey like I love my favorite sweater or my favorite snack. He is a comfort and we all need more of that. He went to New York. He came to DC. He’s my little guy.
But fondness springs eternal for Pendennis not just because he’s familiar: Pendennis is hilarious. I laugh out loud when I see him poking out from under a chair or twisted up like a pretzel under a pillow (see above.) I’ve been Pendennis’s personal photographer for years because I have to try and capture the joy he brings to me when I discover him in his natural habitat. This way, when I’m old and Pendennis has been chewed up by a cat, I can look at the pictures on my hologram phone and feel happy again. What’s crucial for readers to know is that I never, ever pose Pendennis. When I take a picture of him, you can be sure I am shooting what I discovered, not anything I created. The monkey needs no stylist, no art director; I simply point and shoot.
That’s the scoop on the PaperGirl mascot. And I’m glad you’re here.
I got the mail today and what was inside but a small, padded manila envelope from one Margaret Maloney. Margaret lives in Brooklyn and we had a blind date set up to go to a quilt guild meeting together this summer. I was unwell when the day came, however, and had only recently arrived home from an out-of-town trip. I was too pooped to pucker and bummed out not to meet Margaret.
Not long ago, she asked me for my mailing address, which of course I gave to her. Here is what she wrote on the card that came with the item you see above:
I hope that this Pocket Pendennis can be a help to you at times when a full-size sock monkey might be impractical. I think it is lucky — I worked on it on the train to and from a successful interview for admission into medical school. I’m sorry this city hasn’t been good to you — it doesn’t know what its missing! I hope our paths will cross another time.
I’m pretty speechless, Margaret. Thank you. Congratulations on getting into medical school and way to go being extremely articulate and possessing of stunning penmanship, but mostly thank you for hand-appliqueing my sweet little monkey on a quilted square. You cannot know how much better you made my day. It was rainy, I was sad, and my tummy is extremely mad at me these days.
I do these from time to time with Quilty, but this is a straight-up Mary Fons giveaway. Look, I really appreciate all the emails, the comments, the Facebook love. I’m very close to 5,000 likes, and while I know that age and Facebook likes ain’t nuthin’ but a number, it still feels good to be 33 and way more popular than I was in high school.
I also have a lot of books. A lot of books. I’d like to give you one. Share the link to my blog on Facebook. Comment here on the blog. I don’t know how to do these things. I’d like to tell you that it’s very scientific and I do have a system that I intend to follow to pick a winner, at random. But basically, let’s just have a little blitzkrieg love fest and somewhere in the mix, someone will get a book.
I’ll write you a hand-written letter, too. A nice note on some nice Mary Fons letterhead. I’ll give you advice to a problem you might have. [NOTE: No purchase necessary and no problem necessary. If you don’t want advice on a life problem, don’t worry about it — you don’t have to have problems to win.*] So comment away, and share away, and perhaps you’ll get a book! Look, someone will win. It might as well be you. Let’s jack up those Facebook likes. Let’s get a few more readers on the ol’ P-Girl. And then at least one other person on the planet can talk to be about Lee Miller’s War. Or Encyclopedia of the Exquisite. Or Babbitt. Or Binky’s Guide to Love.
Two words: Treasure. Trove.
Good luck. Spread the word. This blog is real life!
*”you don’t have to have problems to win” = suddenly in the running to be the copy on my headstone