Wednesday, November 08, 2006


You know, when you've spun out some 22 thousand words of crap in seven days time, you wonder if you'll ever find your way through the rest of the month.

This morning, I logged on to Nanowrimo to find out that I had some nanomails. YAY! I like mail. But this wasn't just any old mail. It was....gasp...nanoFANmail! WOW! What a feeling.

There are actually people--real live readers--out there who like me. OK, not really writing. Which is good enough for me.

Who'd have known this effort in really bad, really prolific writing, would turn me into a fan mail whore. Now I'm going to have to keep writing. For my adoring fans, of course. As God (and the nano word counter) is my witness, they shall never go excerptless again.

At least not until writers block rears its ugly head.

Which, with my track record, should hit in about....well.....three hundred words.

Oh well, fame ruled while it lasted. :)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Pinking Down of America?

Pink, pink, everywhere. And not a blemish in sight.

There was a whole new level of elite to aspire to at Harmony High. Like the A-list, only prettier.

Trust me on this. Goth was the only place left to hide. Until we found a cure. Which was going to be hard because nobody who was "in the pink" believed they were sick.

After all, they had perfect lives, perfect boyfriends, and complexions to die for…

But at what expense? That was the question nobody dared to ask. So for now, it was just us, the Goths, against them, the Beau-toxics.

It's (so not) A Barbie World was inspired by the real life Barbie clone, Cindy Jackson. The article below tells of Cindy's obsession with making herself look as much like Barbie as humanly possible. When a friend of mine developed body dysmorphic disorder during a similar quest, I couldn't help but wonder what message this type of insatiable yearning for plastic perfection was sending to girls my daughter's age.

While I'm not necessarily anti-cosmetic surgery--I once gave in to pressure from my husband to have my navel pierced and my lips done--I am anti-doing anything to your body that you're not doing for solely to please yourself.

When I gave in to my flirtation with cosmetic surgery, I didn't do it for me. I did it because I was afraid of losing him. That freaking hurt, both mentally and physically, and I've been sorry I did it every day since.
I sent my daughter a terrible message.

Months ago, I began to fantasize about what might happen to a jaded young lady who'd been burned by the A-list more than once came home to find that her uber-cool mom had experienced a bizarre accident which left her believing she was Barbie incarnate.

This book in progress is the sometimes snarkish, sometimes heartbreaking and often rollicking result of that exploration. I went into the book expecting a light and frothy beach read. But the actual writing is proving this book to be the anti-thesis of the pinking down of America. My inspiration article below:

For millions of little girls, the Barbie doll has been the pinnacle of plastic perfection for more than 40 years. “I think a lot of little 6-year-old girls or younger even now are looking at that doll and thinking, ‘I want to be her.’ And it’s something they grow out of,” says Cindy Jackson, 48, who admits that she never outgrew her obsession with becoming Barbie. “I looked at a Barbie doll when I was 6 and said, ‘This is what I want to look like.’” Cindy wasn’t born with good looks. She bought them. And along the way, she’s bought a lot of attention to her odd goal of becoming a living doll. Correspondent Richard Schlesinger reports.

“This is who I’d like to be,” says Cindy. “This is glamorous.” Cindy grew up a farm girl in Fremont, Ohio. “I wasn’t that good looking. And my sister was really, really a pretty girl,” recalls Cindy. “She was breathtaking. And everyone used to talk to her more and smile at her more and notice her first.” But Cindy says she had a lot going for her, even with her old looks: “I was recognized as being highly intelligent when I was a child. I was never shy. I was never lazy. And I was never lacking in ambition.” At 21, Cindy packed up her things and moved to London, where she went through a lot of changes – including a short career as a punk rocker. Finally, at 33, she began the grand transformation. “I just wanted to look better,” says Cindy. “Barbie was the blank canvas I filled in all those years ago. It was still my role model.”

Cindy didn’t have any of Barbie’s looks, but she did have some money, which she inherited. It was enough to begin the surgeries that made her as plastic as her role model. “I had laser surgery on my forehead,” says Cindy. “I’ve had upper eyes done, lower eyes done twice. Cheek implants, nose job – two nose jobs.” She also had four facelifts, a chin reduction, several chemical peels, and more. “My upper lift has been cut and rolled upwards to shorten the gap between my nose and mouth,” adds Cindy. “My eyebrows, eyeliner and lip liner and the full lipstick is tattooed on.” It took 31 operations and 14 years, but Cindy’s strange passion for plastic surgery got her a new look -- and a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. How much did all that surgery cost? “About $100,000,” says Cindy. “But I did get quality discounts.” And that doesn’t include maintenance. For instance, her lips will not permanently stay pouty. They’ll have to be re-inflated every few months. “How much of the problem with your old looks do you think was a perception problem in yourself,” Schlesinger asks Cindy. “Absolutely zero,” says Cindy. “It’s not that deep. It’s not that psychological.”

Since Cindy re-invented herself, she has made some snapshot friendships with Ivana Trump, Michael Jackson and Sarah Ferguson. She’s also written a book, which she sells on her own Web site. She now makes a living becoming a kind of celebrity. But just like a surgeon needs a scalpel, or a tummy needs a tuck, a Barbie needs a Ken. And Cindy got hers soon enough.

Tim Whitfield Line, 36, was a web designer who lived north of London. He saw Cindy on television, and all of a sudden had a new goal in life. “I wanted to be a male version of her,” says Line. It didn’t take long. About one year and $50 thousand later, he’s now Miles Kendall -- new name, new face. “People call me shallow. But I call society shallow. Because they treat me differently now,” says Miles. “…I mean I wanted to look better anyway. I did. Who doesn’t? People like me or Cindy Jackson go a bit further. A lot.” They’re just perfect, and delighted – and just friends. But whatever went on between Barbie and Ken is not going on here.

But as Barbie and Ken, Cindy and Miles credit their new faces for their new lives. Cindy helped Miles open his new bar, and it’s a goal he says he reached with the help of plastic surgery. “The point is I’m content inside. I don’t worry about my looks anymore,” says Miles. “I want to concentrate on more important things in my life, which I’m doing now.” And Cindy, at 48, is also content to be the poster girl for plastic surgery, a plastic image she’s dreamt about becoming since she was 6 years old.

“The surgery was a means to an end. That’s all,” says Cindy. “There are so many people who are being held back by their looks, and if that can help give them a better quality of life and make them happier – what else is more important in life?” © MMIV, CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved.

NanoWrimo Ate my Brain

You know Nanowrimo ate your brain when you start dreaming in word counts.

Swear to God. I did this last night.

There has to be a twelve step program for this syndrome, right? I mean--de-programming must be included. Surely. The Nano-folks wouldn't leave me here to write twenty pages a day for the rest of my life--just because I can?

Yes, folks, I'm up in the wee hours. Nano-ing. I can't call it writing anymore because to do so would be an insult to real writers everywhere.

But I sure can count me some words. Toss me your grocery list. I'll prove it.