That Afternoon

I have an official offer on the bombing book! And I got surprise art in the mail!


And the yarn I need for my cousin’s afghan and to make Venus of Willendorf came in.

And yet, even after all that, I’m not sure fucking up my meds and getting stepped on by the dog was something I’d be willing to do again in order to have another afternoon like that.

Anyway, the book deal is still kind of a secret, but I think my readership here has dwindled down to people I’d tell a secret to anyway, so there you go.

Post Awesome Let-Down

I wrote my last post for the Post and it ran. And now I’m kind of bummed. I like writing for them because I like trying to find things I think are nifty enough to bother them with. I like how saying, “I’m working on this piece for the Post,” gets doors open. I like that there are still editor-editors, and copy editors, and how much better my writing is, I think, for them. And I like seeing my name there.

It was nice and I’m happy I got to do it.

Last night I dreamed I had lunch with an editor from the Scene who had written up a 25 page document about how they weren’t ever going to run my bombing story because they were under too much pressure from a group of businessmen who were bringing the Olympics to Nashville. And in the 25 page document, the editor revealed he knew where John Kasper’s bomb was.

So, what I guess I’m saying is that those two things feel related, though I’m not sure how.

Barista Parlor

Yesterday, we went to this coffee shop and I was being an asshole making fun of how they were probably going to bring us out fancy mustaches before we’d be allowed to get our coffee.

But then the coffee we had was so good that I kind of wanted to cheer for the coffee shop for sticking it to those jerks who were making fun of them, even though I was that jerk.

I have a couple of private new years resolutions, but one thing I want to do that I’ll say publicly is to just genuinely like things without feeling like I have to qualify it or strike some ironic pose or whatever. I just want to be able to be like “Yeah, this was lovely and I’m going to enjoy how lovely it was.”

In other words, I want to learn to feel about more things the same open happiness I feel when I listen to “Baby, I Love You” by the Ronettes.

The thing I love best about this song–and I love a lot about it, starting with its unabashed happiness and its joyful desire for someone you feel is good for the singer–is how it starts out with these large, loud piano chords. And you think, well, it can’t get any bigger than this and yet, somehow it does.


I’m getting to do something so exciting (to me, anyway) and I can’t wait to tell you about it. But it’s a secret.

Oh, it is a secret! Involving a cabin that’s bigger on the inside.

Walking the Dog

We did not stumble across any more kittens. Thank the gods. But I did work through one last little thing that had been nagging me about the Sue Allen project and get that stuck in a couple of paragraphs here this morning.

I’ll have a post going up on the Hooded Utilitarian this week, maybe today, that directly comes out of our talk about Man of Steel and supersessionism. I think it turned out really good.

I also continue to work on my witches for Halloween. Which I mention because it would be fun to have you participate.

I have to find a way to get down to this next Saturday, even if it means cutting into my grocery money for gas money. Old churches, a secret figured out by going to a cemetery? This is my thing. My happy thing.

In other happy news, I sold “Beyond, Behind, Below” yesterday. And the editor who bought it really, really seems to get it. Which makes me happy, because it’s not a regular story. It’s the story of a… “man” of sorts… and his relationship to an outbuilding on an old plantation. It’s a story about geography. Creepy, terrible, tragic geography. So, whew, thank goodness for someone who gets that.

If you were there, it’s the story I read a draft of at East Side Story back in October. Which involved brief singing. Ha ha ha.

More as I know it.

And I guess that is that. This living alone shit is tough, but, if it means I can write, it will be worth it. Just the first ten or twelve days scared the shit out of me because it was all panic and feeling terrible about my ability to write.

I’m happy to clean the litter box if it means I can also craft some sentences I feel good about. But the prospect of having to clean the litter box and feeling like my writing sucks? Ugh. No thanks.

In related news, I have to remember to text the Red-Headed Kid and see if he’s going to mow my lawn or if I need to remember how to start the lawn mower.


A Lovecraft reference and lots of vegetable-heavy recipes? Tell me what's not to love?

A Lovecraft reference and lots of vegetable-heavy recipes? Tell me what’s not to love?

Am I Psychic?! And, My God, If So, Why Don’t I Ever Have a Vision of Firemen Smooching Me?!

Remember when I said, “A firefighting uniform has got to be the sexiest uniform in existence, followed in close second by a baseball uniform. I don’t know why, it’s just true. Seriously, if those dudes at the end had been all ‘Hold my kitten, my adorable kitten, while I take my coat off’ I would have died.”

Remember when rheather was all “My commercial before the last dance featured a fireman and a kitten. Google trolling or coincidence?”

Well, grandfille sent me a link to the commercial which, while not as hot as Captain Morgan, does indeed feature a fireman in his sexy uniform, making trashy margaritas and holding a kitten!

Firemen, I am available on most Sunday afternoons for smooching out in the hammocks. Please call ahead and park your trucks in the driveway, so that we don’t block the new bike lanes on the road out front.

It is Against Policy to Blog About Work

So I am not blogging about how I saw the final pages for a project I’ve been working on for years, like half a decade kinds of years. And they are beautiful. So beautiful. Full of color images and beautifully laid out and just everything I hoped it would be.

The thing about this project that makes me wish it were more affordable for regular people is that it’s probably some of the most delightful porn you’ll ever see–people who look like they’ve having a good time and who like and enjoy each other. I didn’t really realize how much of our imagery, even the stuff that’s just supposed to be ‘sexy’ and not straight-up porn, relies on tropes that don’t really have to do with people looking happy. So, it’s really jarring, even though, in real life, the vast majority of my sexual experiences have been way more “hurray!” than “uhrungh” (or whatever the noise you’re supposed to make when your eyes are half shut and your mouth is hanging open like you are a zombie with a good make-up artist), to see a culture’s erotic imagery revolve around a lot of moments of “hurray!” is disconcerting.

Even if that’s what sex normally looks like to me, it’s not what “sexy” looks like to me. So, it’s cool and wonderful to see images of people who look familiar.

Or, you know, it would be, if I blogged about work. is a Thing!

And some day, I will have! If I have to become a super villain to do it, I will! (My origin story is, I know, incredibly stupid. But really, what does Lex Luther have to be so pissed about? “Oh, I’m rich. Boo hoo hoo!” I can’t get a .com I want. That’s at least a real thing.)

Doesn’t it look great? I’m doing a little tidying, trying to make sure it says just what I want it to say. But I love how it looks. My favorite thing is that, when I have a tab open for it in Firefox, there’s a darling “b” on the tab. It’s just a nice touch.

I’m Feeling a Little Cheated by the Bordeaux Library

It’s fine. Really. But I’m just not seeing this kind of behavior among my librarians. Um, I guess that link is probably not safe for work. Unless you work at a library, where apparently things are at a level of sexiness surpassed only by fire stations.

But this begs the question. Why are firefighters sexier than police officers?

If I had to rank public servants, I’d go 1. firefighters; 2. librarians; 3. EMTs; 4. teachers; 5. police officers. But firefighters and police officers are natural enemies, like cats and dogs or peanut butter and jelly. So, perhaps it behooves us to wonder, just momentarily, why firefighters are at the top of the heap.

Here’s my theory: It’s the giant pants. We learn to be positively predisposed to giant pants as children, putting on the pants of our parents, being handed down the giant pants of our older relatives. Giant pants say “there’s room for you.” And then, as we get older, we come to associate giant pants with clowns, which for anyone born in the post-Stephen-King era, means we associate giant pants with heightened emotions, usually terror, and the fun of having that terror relieved. And then you stick good looking people in those big pants? With the hint that maybe we will be able to see down those pants?

It’s just a cultural recipe for sexy.

Edited to add: I should give a shout-out to Rachel for pointing me in the direction of these sexy librarians. Thanks, Rachel.

Seven for the Seven Who Couldn’t Get to Heaven

Today Tiny Cat Pants is seven years old. Since I started this blog, a lot has changed, three marriages, two messy divorces, four kids, a hit TV show… Okay, fine, in a lot of ways, nothing’s changed that much.

I still live in Nashville. I still work at the same place (though in a different position). I still hope to be a writer.

On the other hand, I simply cannot imagine that I would have all of the wonderful things I have here if not for this blog. I wouldn’t know most of my dear friends here in Nashville. I would never have met almost all of you. I wouldn’t be a published writer at all, period, the end. No short stories, no nothing. And therefore I wouldn’t have had the awesome Southern Festival of Books experience last year. I wouldn’t have heard Nina Cardona on Nashville Public Radio call me “Nashville writer, Betsy Phillips.”

And these aren’t even all the good things. It’s just where my head is at because SFB is coming up again soon. I mean, would I even own a house? I think any other real estate agent than Kathy–who I met through blogging–would have killed me long before we found this place.

I am very, very lucky and it’s because of you guys. I hope I bring you even 1/100th of the joy you’ve brought me. But I just don’t think that’s possible.

Thank you so much for reading and commenting and lurking and making this all possible. From the bottom of my heart.

Now, excuse me. I have a little something in my eye.

Two Things that Delight me… of Iowa

1. This chick has a forthcoming book called The Princesses of Iowa. (I found a brief synopsis of it here.) I love this title. I want to change the titles of all my blog posts to end in “of Iowa.” Is there such a thing as Midwestern literature? No there is not. Why not? Because it would be unseemly. But, if there were, I’m totally already championing any books with titles that end in “of Iowa” as being quintessential examples of the form.

2. Four words: Rob. Zombie. Woolite. Commercial.


It’s Like Christmas

Campfield tried to get $1000 plus expenses out of a Hollywood dude to debate his Can’t Say Gay Bill. This seems to violate the state ethics code, the state senate ethics code, and possibly campaign finance law.

I almost feel bad for how gleeful I feel and then I remember that it’s Campfield we’re talking about and I laugh.

Also, I am getting a new washer, which the Butcher paid for.

And my other brother and I are going to this thing.

Updated to add: Oh lord, and Tony Gottleib weighs in. I swear, if only David Fowler becomes ensnared in this, it will be perfect.

Forget Getting Drunk, Buy Irish Poetry

I think y’all know that I got my start at the Wake Forest University Press, a small, wonderful press which is pretty much the only place in the United States you can get published if you’re an Irish poet who doesn’t have some kind of major international prize.

Working there was one of the best experiences of my life and shipping out poetry books feels like Gods’ work.

While I was there, we published the Wake Forest Book of Irish Women’s Poetry, 1967-2000, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. If you love poetry and poets, and want to feel all festive for St. Patrick’s Day, buy this book. Less than $20, it’s a steal.

Edited to add: Holy shit! I take back my recommendation! They’re releasing an updated, second edition in October. If you can only buy one edition, hold off. But seriously, anything they publish is going to be good. So, order something random now and get the other in October. You can thank me later.

But Life is Pretty Weirdly Awesome

So, this morning we learned that NASA is about to announce they’ve discovered a new life form here on earth. But then we learned that the truth, though not as exciting in some regards, is even stranger.

Wolfe-Simon and her colleagues designed an experiment to take a particular type of salt-loving bacteria called GFAJ-1 from Mono Lake’s mud sediments, wean it off phosphorus, and see if it could switch its diet to arsenic. In the paper published today, the researchers report that some of the bacteria could survive on arsenic and incorporate it into their cellular biochemistry. Instead of the usual phosphate-rich DNA, they observed arsenate-rich DNA. Heightened levels of arsenic also showed up in the cell’s proteins and fats. The scientists used mass spectroscopy, radioactive labeling and X-ray fluorescence to confirm that the arsenic was really being used in the biomolecules rather than merely contaminating the cells.

This just blows my mind. I mean, it blows my mind that there might be forms of arsenic-life around here that we just haven’t found. That’s weird enough. But there’s something truly weird about being able to switch an organism from phosphate to arsenic.

I know science-folks are probably already laughing, but if there’s one thing you can say about life, it’s that nothing is ever settled. You’d think that phosphorus v. arsenic would be something a life-form would just have to choose at the moment of existence and stick with it. But no. We may find that some can switch back and forth.


It’s weird in a way I had to laugh about in the way into work. I know how to get through adversity. I know the panic before hand, the complete ridiculousness, the crying, and the putting one foot in front of the other until it is far enough behind you.

But going through an incredibly cool thing is also something. It’s also a challenge. Like a race with your sibling is a challenge. Or holding three puppies at the same time is a challenge.

I wonder if I’ve just never been happy enough in my whole life for this long to notice this?

You know what I’m saying? I’m not sure if I’m making any sense, but it’s strange. Cool, but strange.

Edited to add:

This is an actual artistic representation of how I feel today:

Woo Hoo! September

The nice thing about September is that, even if it’s going to get back above 90, the earth has changed relations with the sun enough that it never feels like it can get at you with the same intensity.

And it can’t keep the cool promise of fall from the early morning breeze.

I am up on!!!!!

It’s really happening! It’s up on Yes, there will be a Kindle edition in the next little bit.  Oh, god, I am so tickled. So very tickled.

Okay, but you maybe don’t want to order from Amazon. If you order directly from the printer, you can have 15% off if you use this code: SNLKXXFH

Now, if you don’t want 15% off or if you want to order other books from Amazon, feel free. I don’t really care. I just want you to buy my book and abide by the three guidelines:

1. If you like it, please tell someone.

2. If you don’t like it, please denounce it loudly in public.

3. If you’re a church who wants to burn my book, contact me about bulk discounts on orders over 25.

Oh, holy shit.

Holy fucking shit.

Update: Holy fucking shit again! My Amazon ranking this afternoon is #22,428. Which is pretty amazing.

4:02: Sorry. I know this is obnoxious, but please. This is so damn cool. #15,911.