Wednesday, March 23, 2005

“I’ll never tell…”

The Movie: Don’t Say a Word, 2001 (Anthony Peckham and Patrick Smith Kelly, screenwriters, from the novel by Andrew Klavan; Gary Fleder, dir.)
Who says it: Brittany Murphy as Elisabeth Burrows, a mental patient
The context: Dr. Nathan Conrad (Michael Douglas) tries to get Elisabeth to explain the significance of the numbers she traces on the wall of her hospital room.
How to use it: To taunt someone with secrets you’re keeping.

You can only use this line effectively if you've seen the movie, because you have to kind of sing it, the way she does -- "I'll ne-ver tell-ell..." The promotional campaign for this movie included a creepy little rag doll that says this line when you press its stomach. My friend Gary keeps his on his kitchen counter, and it freaks me out every time I see it. I never was much for dolls, anyway.

Last week, after I snarked about friends not reading the blog, I got a note from one who does read it, saying, "But you don't tell the important stuff on the blog."

This is fair. The blog is not fiction, and I've never posted anything that wasn't true -- but it's only a small slice of my life, and there's quite a lot you'll never see here. You'll never see anything here about anyone I might be dating (at the moment, that's hypothetical, but spring is here and you never can tell). You'll never see anything specific about an ongoing project, although I'll announce it when things get published. I'll never repeat a confidence here, and my family isn't fodder for the blog unless they're willing.

I don't have any hard and fast rules about it. It's just that this is a weird little piece of performance art, and my family and friends didn't ask to be characters in it. I've been posting daily for about eight months now, and so far I've only overstepped twice, that I know of -- posted things that a friend or relative wished I hadn't.

It would be terrible if my conversations all began with people saying, "This better not show up in the blog." That hasn't happened yet, and I hope it never does.

The Answer Girl is me and is not me. If you only read this blog and you've never actually met me, you'd probably be disappointed; the Answer Girl is way funnier, better-looking, and faster on her feet than I am. Which is why I created her.

She's a face I keep in a jar by the door, an image that has new resonance after a Laura Lippman short story I just read -- yikes. But that's Friday's post.


Anna said...

My husband drove me nuts saying [singing] this line over and over again when we were dating. Thanks SO MUCH for putting it back into my head, Elle. You are all the things that Answer Girl is and more!

Anonymous said...

I KNEW Anna would say that about you and Answer Girl! But it happens to be true, so I'm letting her.

AnswerGirl said...

Thanks guys! Checks are in the mail...