Thursday, July 28, 2005

“You must chill! You MUST—CHILL!”

The Movie: Say Anything…, 1989 (Cameron Crowe, director and screenwriter)
Who says it: John Cusack as graduating senior Lloyd Dobler
The context: Lloyd serves as the keymaster at a graduation night party, making sure no one drives home drunk; he uses this line to calm a classmate who’s freaking out about his keys.
How to use it: To restore order. Yes, "You Talking to Me" ends on Sunday, but let's not get too excited about that...

At the computer this morning with my cup of coffee, I'm thinking about how strange it will feel next week, when I'm not blogging. The blog has been the one constant in a year of upheaval. Without it, I expect to feel unanchored, and maybe even a little lonely. It's so much fun to stand on my own personal soapbox for twenty minutes a day; but if twenty minutes a day were really all I spent on it, I wouldn't be taking a month off.

I'm not sure how much time the blog consumes, which is one reason for the break. I may spend only twenty minutes writing each day's entry, but I have no idea how much time I spend trolling for likely quotations, discussing them with friends, checking for comments, or planning future entries. It's not unproductive time, because all of my projects seem to feed each other, but it's time I could be using for something else. Tod Goldberg's blog roll -- if you scroll over my name -- scolds me for blogging when I should be writing.

So this morning I'm making a list of Things I Will Be Doing With My Non-Blogging Time.

1. Finishing at least two major projects for clients, one badly overdue.
2. Deciding whether to continue my novel-in-progress, or set it aside to start something new.
3. Reading for Bouchercon (the World Mystery Convention, Sept. 1-4), so I can vote on the Anthony Awards and tell people, "Oh, I loved your book!" without lying. If I loved their books, that is. Otherwise, I'll just smile radiantly and say, "It's lovely to meet you!"
4. Buying a new bicycle before it gets too cold to ride it.
5. Spending serious time on China Lake with Anna, if she lets me on her property.
6. Brushing up my field hockey skills.
7. Calling Mom every day, to give her the information she would otherwise get from the blog.
8. Setting up my office -- after eight months, it might be time to finish unpacking.
9. Entertaining house guests; I'm hoping to see a few visitors this month.
10. Organizing the You Talking To Me? blog entries into book form -- just the quotations, not my pointless ramblings -- and begging some nice publisher to buy it from me. If you know anyone who might be interested, send them my way.

Happy birthday today to my cousin Sheila McLaughlin Cameron, cultural avatar and founder of the Free Katie movement. Sheila has a new cause: public support for the one and only Eliot Spitzer, the man who proved once and for all that J. Lo cannot sing. Check it out at


Tom Ehrenfeld said...

Gosh, I for one will be real sorry to see this blog go....though I know you have some great stuff coming along.

Here's what I've treasured always. The quotes are great, lots of fun--but even though you pick great ones and provide good background, they're still an intellectual commodity, something that others could do. I've loved this blog because it's a treat to see how you relate the quotes to your own life as it unfolds--how they complement and are woven into the Clair Show. This is something that no one else could do, at least not in the way you've done it. So kudos.

I'd love to see this as a book. A few thoughts: there's a forthcoming book by the woman who cooked her way through Julia Child's French Cooking book over the course of a year, and which started as a blog. That's a reference point. I'm sure that when she converted the blog material into a book she recrafted, and gave it narrative structure. You could also think about using these in a fictional setting (!).

But also--the best bet might be a trade paperback, a fun, impulse buy, taking these quotes and amplifying on them a bit--perhaps as a day-timer wiitih a quote a day, or maybe in different types of lists, maybe rounded out with games, or quizzes. You could also add to this base by doing more reporting: asking about 20 screenwriters/actors/writers/moviefans to cite their favorite lines, and why.

Whatever path you choose, I am making a very public statement of support for the book right here! I pledge to buy it, to tell two friends-who will tell two friends--who will tell two friends--who will tell two friends--who will tell two friends (you get the picture.) And I hope others will do the same. I know it can be boffo.

AnswerGirl said...

Thanks, man! Good suggestions for the book, too. I loved that Julie/Julia blog, and am looking forward to the book.

Jen said...

I am so glad you finally used this quote. As you know, I often use this line, especially with my four year old, but with a little less intensity!

AnswerGirl said...

Jen, I'm sorry I didn't give you credit for inspiring the line!