RANKINGS FROM THE NOGOISSEUR

Here in Louisiana we have this thing called the drive-thru daiquiri shack. You can order all kinds of scrumptious frozen concoctions that they will put in a Styrofoam cup that you accept through the window of your car as you drive up! Convenient, huh?


Now I know what you’re thinking – you’ve just received an open alcoholic beverage in your car!!! Isn’t that illegal? Well, technically, no. The thing that makes it “legal” is the thin barrier of Scotch tape restricting the straw from entering the hole on the lid – the so-called daiquiri diaphragm, if you will. And between 4pm and 7pm (2pm and 5pm on Sundays!) they will give you an extra one – FREE!


Well, despite Cajun Daiquiri located only 1 minute from my house, I’m not really a regular daiquiri customer. That is, about 10 months out of the year. But come the day after all-hallows eve, I make up for lost time – EGG NOG DAIQUIRIES FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY! I can’t help myself. I become a nogaholic & a nogoisseur.


We have 4 locations with different nog recipes to choose from – all dependent upon my mood, taste, lack of hygiene or fuel availability. Price has little to do with it as I am a lazy single woman with a debit card and overdraft protection.


First is THRIFTY LIQUOR. They sell more than just daiquiris at their drive-thru window, so typically the line is wrapped around the building at five minutes after five p.m. Not a good choice if you are in a hurry to erase a case of the Mondays. Also, you can’t get an extra shot in their blend. But theirs are by far the creamiest and made with brandy. A good choice if you are trying to impress without getting snockered.


Next is CAJUN DAIQUIRI – my go-to nog. It’s a simple little obnoxiously painted shack down the street that they obviously acquired from Ted Kaczynki and added a vinyl porte cochere. Like their name says – they are strictly daiquiris and have a very small selection. Their nog is probably akin to Pabst Blue Ribbon but with $1 extra shots of rum or bourbon, who the heck cares. I can leave my house in my robe and slippers during the “House” marathon on USA and be back home with nog in hand before the Shamwow commercial is done.


DAIQUIRI EXPRESS, in the round building, has some really kick-ass nog. They have an unbelievable selection of daiquiris all year round – literally hundreds of combinations with sweet spinning refreshment lining the wall – a beautiful site to behold if you are a daiquiri devotee. And they always seem to give me an extra double shot every time I come in, which is bonus. Downside – they are in the Wal-Mart parking lot (I try to avoid Wal-Mart parking lots like they were the plague) and they don’t have a Baptist window. You gotta really want it and I must admit, they are worth the effort. Plus, on football game day, you can order a daiquiri at their bar next door.


Finally, there’s TONY’S LIQUOR, which proclaims that they have “THE” World Famous Eggnog Daiquiri. They, too, have no drive-thru and are a little out of the way. This Saturday, I decided to see just how worth the effort what is supposed to be the best nog in town was. Sadly, it was the most expensive and the worst. I wanted to cry. It was supposed to be the coop de grace to my holiday nog-a-thon. Angels were supposed to sing on high as the spicy and sweet mélange hit my finely tuned taste buds. Just one sip of it was supposed to bring peace on earth and goodwill to all men. Unfortunately their nog is the reason we’ve got crazy men trying to stuff explosives in their underwear and count-down calendars to December 21, 2012. Oh, yeah, their nog has brought on the end of days.


But come January 3rd or 4th, when the last of the nog runs out, I will be sucking them down as fast as I can drink them. Only then, when the nog finally runs out, will I gain the courage to call 1-800-NOG-ANON.



ON THE OCCASION OF MY 46TH BIRTHDAY, DO I LOOK LIKE I WILL USE THOSE DEPENDS COUPONS I FOUND IN THE MAIL TODAY?


"You can only perceive real beauty in a person as they get older." -- Anouk Aimee

I’m not sure when it happened, how it happened, or why it happened. But it snuck up on me the same way my Uncle Hyram used to do when I was little. In 1971, at the ripe old age of 85 years old, Uncle Hyram, I believe, was the first man on planet Earth to exhibit stealth capability. He would creep up on us kids at the annual Carnes family barbeque, hiding behind a live oak tree, a picnic table, or Cousin Bubba’s souped up Chevy truck to gain his advantage. Then, using his own portly wife, Aunt Vesta, as a human shield, he would shadow behind her as she was going for the cake and pie table for a third helping, and sneak up and goose me from behind, causing me to drop my ice-cream cone and pee in my Saturday-labeled panties. This is what the age of forty-six has done to me. It has goosed me unexpectedly from behind and caused me to evaluate the possibility that I might now be the target demographic for Depends advertisements.

I never thought I’d see the age of forty-six. Even worse, I (ok, and my mother, too) never thought I’d find myself single, childless, and husbandless at the age of forty-six. I grew up in the 70’s. The era of the Brady Bunch. It was just sort of expected of us to be like our moms – housewives taking care of our families. But I guess I was never one to conform. And Carol Brady was just plain boring to me. I admired Gloria Steinem growing up, instead.

So here I am – single AND childless at forty-six. Does this mean my life is over? Is there something wrong with me? Is someone going to suddenly show up at my doorstep to cart me off to some Old Maid Colony on an island in South Louisiana where they’ll put a sign on my chest labeling me “Spinster” instead of Leper? Will I stand in the street with a tin cup, begging perky, twenty-something upstarts, to give “ohms to the has-been. Ohms to the Old Maid.” Will they toss me a quarter, then consider my life kicked to the curb?

Funny, but I don’t feel like giving up the fight just yet. While I admit there is a brochure for Botox treatments sitting on my desk and Collagen injections appear more and more appealing every day, I hardly believe that my dating and social life should be over merely because I’ve now rocketed past that magical age barrier known as “Lordy, Lordy, Look Who’s in their Forties!”

As an alternative to Carol Brady, I’ve lived up to the ideal that Betty Friedan & Mary Tyler Moore envisioned for me. Instead of pushing a Hoover upright around the house, playing den mother to a pack full of webelos, and shaking chicken in a plastic bag then baking it for my husband’s feast after a long day’s work at the office; I have found myself slogging my way through a forty-hour a week career, getting paid a man’s wage, so that I can afford to pay for my two bed-room cottage, really hot sports car, and yearly subscription to More Magazine all by myself. I didn’t have to break the glass ceiling. I simply took the roof access staircase to overcome it. I’m an independent woman living on her own means. Kind of like the Destiny’s Child song - sure I paid for the ring and watch I wear, but only because on one dateless Friday night, I was feeling sorry for myself and bought the entire Joan River’s collection on QVC.

So I guess the question that I ask myself is simply, am I a has-been at forty-six? God, I hope not. I would like to believe that I have aged well, like a fine Chateauneuf de Paup; that I am full bodied, subtle, and mature. I want to believe that I go well with anything, and that I am timeless and beautiful. That I can run with any crowd, be sophisticated on one side, yet playful and childlike on the other, after all, I am caught between the ages.

While I do happen to remember The Lawrence Welk Show, Kings of Leon, Modest Mouse, and Pop Levi dominate the stereo on my Honda S2000, interlaced with the occasional Ramones or Iggy Pop classic. I loath easy listening music; although I will confess that some of the tunes on The Weather Channel are quite catchy. I am taking yoga, high intensity aerobics, and cycling on a regular basis, keeping my body young. In rebellion, I find myself meandering through the junior's section at the department store but as usual, get freaked out when the extra-large skirt won't fit over my thigh! I panic, throw the hissy-fit, upon which I am then escorted back to the department they have deemed suitable for my demographic - elastic band & pastel print hell - The Alfred Dunner Collection. (insert primordial scream & Edvard Munch face here.) I had pink hair in college for cryin' out loud. Blue hair is not an option!

I am beautiful, forty-six, and growing old gracefully & naturally. I am relevant, sensual, hip, humorous, and wise. I'm better than I've ever been. Being anything else, well, that alternative is unthinkable – to be like a used Depend Undergarment, balled up and tossed in the trash can. That ain't me!

ZEN & THE ART OF MELTING POT AEROBICS


I attend a very unique and eclectic aerobics class twice a week. No, it’s not the latest trend from Hollywood or innovative and revolutionary for that matter. No, it’s just high intensity, strength-training aerobics.


What makes it special is the composition of the class that attends. There are no elitists. There are no subordinates. It is a melting pot of our city. It’s what America is supposed to look like.

We think we have come a long way since the 60s and civil rights but in some aspects we haven’t. Churches are still segregated. Country Clubs, bars, neighborhoods, offices, and even some schools are still one sided (on both sides of the coin, I might add). As much as we say we embrace equality, our day-to-day lives still do not entirely reflect the concept.


My aerobics class seems to be a refreshing exception. Who knew it would be the common fear of cellulite that could bring us all together?! These women are all fierce, intelligent, and amazing. Every class I look around the room and admire these ladies who turn out week after week. So many amazing stories there but one common goal – to be the best people we can possibly be! We move as one. We march as one. We grapevine, punch, kick, and dance as one. We crunch our abs as one. It's all so very zen. And for that, my aerobics class rules!



TOP 50 FAILED CHILDRENS BOOK TITLES

These are just a few of the many would be childrens books that didn’t quite make the cut to your kid’s bookshelf: (** means I can't actually take credit for this one)
  1. Little Trailer House on the Prairie
  2. Are You There Zeus, It's Me, Margarelon?
  3. How the Grinch Stole my Identity
  4. Charlie and the Chocolate Sweatshop
  5. Are you there Hare Krishna, It's Me, Freedom Moon Child?
  6. The Fragmented Hard Drive of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler **
  7. How the Mensch Stole Hannukah
  8. The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Three Little Pigs
  9. Are You There Ishvara, It's Me, Markathasandari?
  10. The Bi-Polar Express
  11. The Lion, The Witch, and The Ikea Pax/Komplement System* (*This Product Requires Assembly)
  12. The Little Engine That Could But Only if It Takes Its Ritalin
  13. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Rash
  14. Is It Red? Is it Yellow? Is It Blue? An Adventure in Pills
  15. The Indian in the Ikea AKURUM/RATIONELL System* (*Please call store for availability)
  16. Where The Girls Gone Wild Things Are
  17. Are You There Bog, It's Me, Magda?
  18. Howl's Moving Trailer House
  19. Don't Let the Pigeon Run the Federal Emergency Management Agency **
  20. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Call Girl
  21. The Bitch of Blackbird Pond
  22. Are You there Allah, It's Me, Marqooma
  23. Stoned Soup
  24. Charlie and the Soylent Green Factory **
  25. How I Became a Somali Pirate
  26. Best Little Whorehouse on the Prairie
  27. The French Kissing Hand
  28. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, You'll Have an Infestation
  29. Harold and His Purple Member **
  30. Charlotte’s Webcam **
  31. Charlie and the Glorious, Productive, Collectivized Armaments Factory **
  32. Edith Wharton Hears a Who **
  33. Orrin Hatches the Egg
  34. Green Ham & Eggs
  35. Little Crack House on the Prairie
  36. Green Eggs & Spam
  37. Charlie and the Meth Factory **
  38. Curious George W. Bush
  39. The Phantom Tollbooth Attendant **
  40. Green Eggs and Other Delicious Environmentalist-themed Vegetarian Dishes **
  41. Hop On Naked Pop **
  42. Charlie and the Petro-Chemical Factory **
  43. The Very Hungry Caterpillar is Going to Eat Your Family **
  44. Where the Sidewalk Ends...Because the Infrastructure Money Went to Fund the War in Iraq
  45. Charlie and the Cheap Taiwanese Radio Parts Factory **
  46. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Sexually Transmitted Disease
  47. One Ball Two Ball Red Ball Blue Balls
  48. The Velveteen Rabbi **
  49. Harry Potter and The Order of Kung Pao Chicken
  50. Snow White & the Seven Growth Hormone Deficient Individuals **
Do you know of any more Failed Childrens Book Titles? If so, please feel free to add your list to the comments section. Because a mind is a terrible thing and it must be stopped in our lifetime!

Cheers!

SIDECARS ARE FOR BITCHES


Otis, my sort of adopted brother, has a habit of impulse purchasing. No, I don’t mean breath mints, or Ped Eggs, or Pez dispensers in the check-out line; I mean toys. He already has a habit of purchasing expensive radio controlled planes from the hobby shop and wrecking them during fits of boredom. Used to, when he drank, he’d go online and bid on items up for sale on Ebay, then forgot about them. Two weeks later, things like hover crafts, canoes, and kayaks would miraculously show up at his doorstep.

The other day, he talked one of his co-workers out of a Stella Scooter with a sidecar. Ten minutes after he bought it, he wrecked it! But that didn’t stop him. Of course he had to initiate it properly by convincing me I must go for a ride in the sidecar. Man, I’m such a sucker. You'd think the bruises and scars on his body from the wreck the day before would have deterred me. Sadly, no. Despite hearing the little voice inside my head screaming, "Don't get into the scooter! Don't get into the scooter!" with that evil voice reserved for horror movies and situations such as these, I put on the helmet and climbed in. And as you know, “Anyone who rides in that is automatically your bitch,” according to the film Garden State.


Off we went, through the neighborhood, zipping at speeds in excess of twenty-five miles per hour. I don’t know about you, but twenty-five miles per hour in a “suicide machine” translates to sub-light speed when there are small pets and squirrels zipping about the pavement and pot holes lying in wait. Not to mention that Otis has probably used up eight of his nine lives already.

And thus now, Otis, who is just a crazy heterosexual dumbass, has also discovered that his new scooter with the sidecar is so gay that it’s actually a chick magnet! Women actually talk to him now. He’s the cat’s meow. Zipping here, motoring there. And me, well, I’m apparently just Otis’ bitch.

IT'S POTTY TIME!


Just when I thought our lives couldn’t get any better, faster, or more productive than with products such as The Snuggie (so you don’t have to get out of the blanket to use the remote), 6 second Abs (because we all want to look like Jessica Alba or Matthew McConaughey without all that wasted gym time), and of course the topsy turvy tomato tree (because growing them upright is no fun at all), now comes the ultimate lazy man’s (or woman’s) got to have product – THE POTTY PUTTER.

You get a putting green rug that fits in front of your commode, a mini putter (scaled down because you are putting from a sitting position, mind you), a plastic cup (not to be confused with a specimen cup), two plastic balls (insert your own joke here), and a “Do Not Disturb” sign for the bathroom door (as if the whole family wants to join in on the golfing fun). No really – I can’t make this product up, I’m not that good of a writer and I’m certainly not that smart of an inventor! Need more putting practice but can never find the time. Well, now you have no excuse. Golf game in the crapper? Well, now it truly is! It makes me wonder what other activities we could do to optimize our time on the toilet. Here are just a few:
  • The Potty Party – It’s a dance party right in your bathroom. Comes complete with lighted dance floor, preloaded MP3 player, confetti toilet paper, and bartender. Now you can “potty” all the time! Chick to hold your hair back while you puke, sold separately.
  • Potty Casino – World Class Casino while you potty! Shoot craps while you crap!
  • The Potty Accountant – Now you can do your books and your taxes where it counts – In the toilet!
  • Potty Abs – Gotta grunt? Now you can turn those seemingly useless grunts into the tightest abs ever!
  • The Potty Grater – Grate your cheese while you cut your cheese!
So now it’s your turn – what potty products do you want for your bathroom?

P.S. Wondering if Tiger Woods has a Potty Putter….

DIGITAL TV, HULU.COM, AND THE SPACE/TIME CONTINUUM


My best friend and so-called adopted brother, Otis (Otis is not really his name, although now that I’ve called him that, he’s probably more known now for that name than his own – anyway, I digress,) is fighting the whole digital TV conversion like an XP user struggling over going Vista; an old Coke drinker boycotting New Coke; or a baseball fan struggling over the use of the designated hitter. He hates it and doesn’t want to have anything to do with it. He’s not going to get cable and he’s definitely not going to get some silly converter box either, he growls. Yet, for some odd reason, he’s shopping for a big flat screen TV for his apartment as if the Food Network is simply going to magically appear on it because he wills it so.

His new apartment has free-wifi so he’s in heaven about not having to directly pay Comcast, although technically he does realize that it’s factored into his rent. So I suggested that he try hulu.com to maximize the full extent of his wifi non-payment experience. If I miss an episode of regular TV that I forgot to DVR or I’m bored with only having 782 channels available to me with absolutely nothing on any of them, I go there to watch my TV. And I am even just technically savy enough to plug an “S” cord into my computer and run it to my TV to watch the show on a bigger screen, especially when I’m on the road and in “motel only has 40 channels and nothing on” hell.

“So do the shows play in real time?” he asked me.


“What do you mean, Otis?” I retorted.

“I want to see my show exactly when it comes on, you know, in real time,” he declared.

“But Otis, hulu.com let’s you watch your favorite shows whenever the heck you want to watch them, regardless of the hour they originally aired,” I maintained.


“But I want to see the show exactly when it airs otherwise, I could care less about seeing the damn thing!” Otis demanded. (Keep in mind that Otis is not a 92 year old crotchety man but a 40 year old, eccentric genius crotchety old man – just in case you were getting a different picture here than the one I was painting above.)

I kept going on and on, however, that it truly didn’t matter that the show was available any time he wanted to watch it – day, night, eve of the apocalypse, whenever, and that he could watch it on that big old flat screen TV and not even have to pay any extra for digital cable! He could have his cake, eat it, digest it, throw it up, sell it on ebay as left over from a Britney Spear’s night of binging – it was irrelevant because it was streaming to him via the internet 24/7 non-stop!

“You just don’t get it, do you, Trace? I set aside time at certain hours of the day to watch the show that comes on at that time. If it ain’t in real time, I don’t want to see it,” he explained, exasperated that I was not getting the qua
ntum physics equation with regard to his own particular way he went about viewing his shows or E=MC2.

E - the amount of Energy it would take him to hunt down his show on www.hulu.com.

M – the mass of all the other meaningless shows he didn’t want to sift through in order to get to the show he might or might not want to view.

C – the crap he’d have to put up with just to watch the one or two shows he actually liked, squared!


I give up. It’s apparent in my quest to help Otis out so that he can watch Paula Dean and Gordon Ramsay, his two favorite shows, that my advice is being sucked up into the black hole of analog TV oblivion. Next time he wants to come over and plant himself in front of my DirectTV with subscriptions to every freakin’ channel known to man and the rock group Menudo, I’m so cutting him off!

Cheers!






LOOSE DRESSES, IRONY & THE HIPSTER LESBIAN COUPLE


Today was my first postoperative visit to my doctor after my hysterectomy/gallbladder surgery. My stomach is swollen, I have tiny incisions where they did my gallbladder surgery laproscopically and I have a major incision along my abdomen because they realized the hysterectomy surgery was going to be more complicated than they could do laproscopically. So yeah, my whole abdomen area basically looks like a grand reproduction of a Eurorail map. Needless to say that even though I’ve lost over 10 pounds since my surgery, I’ve gained about 10 inches in the stomach area due to the swelling, etc. Go figure.

Because of the swelling and pain, I can’t wear my jeans and have opted instead for stylish leggings and cute and loose knit sundresses. Thank goodness for Old Navy! I have a quirky but cute sense of style (so I’ve been told), so keeping that part of me is important right now while I heal in order to maintain my self esteem with all that is going on in and on
my body right now. But the loose fitting clothes have one major side affect - I look like I’m about five to six months pregnant. That alone is ironic, right!?!

I have not been cleared to drive my car yet so my friend, Kelly Mills, has been helping me out in that arena, thank goodness. She was my escort to the doctor today. Both of us have the same sort of quirky style – we both love hats, dress very vintage and eclectic, and are cute as hell! She’s 23 and I’m 33… er 37… ok, I’m 45 but I look 33! Also both of us couldn’t be more heterosexual if we tried. She has a wonderful and cute boyfriend named Max. I have… ok, no boyfriend at the moment but I do have a cat, a dog, and huge crushes on George Clooney, Derek Jeter, and Gerard Butler if that helps you get who I am into perspective.



We both sat down together in the waiting room at my doctor’s and thumbed through a Redbook magazine with Faith Hill on the cover, both of us gushing at the clothes, the makeup, etc. We’re girls, that’s what we do! I didn’t think anything of it. My name was called and I, with some pretty good post-op pain but still very secure in my sexuality despite the hysterectomy, waddled to the back for my exam, oblivious to the world around me which was awash in expectant moms waiting to get a snap shot of their growing fetus to hang on their refrigerators or frame over their cubicle at work. Kelly, also oblivious, sat with her Blackberry, sending sweet little love texts to her boyfriend as she waited for me. How cute and precious we both were!


Well, apparently, our cuteness had not gone unnoticed by a pregnant patient in the waiting room who decided she was going to be progressive, open minded and genuinely congratulatory. She leaned over to Kelly and praised our same sex union and gushed over our brave decision to have a child together! Irony has now run amuck. If Jane Austen were alive right now, she’d have a field day with this. Me and Kelly as the apparent poster children for the hipster lesbian couple with a baby on the way - classic! While flattered, you can’t possibly get more ironic than that.


So tonight, Kelly reports that she’s spending some serious quality time by cooking a quiche with her boyfriend, Max, while I’m kicking back with a pain killer (from laughing sooo hard today I actually pulled a stitch) and by watching P.S. I LOVE YOU for the 114th time just to watch Gerard Butler do that stripper thing he does so well! Our men…. Heavy sigh!


Tracy :-*

P.S. I am happy to report that an anonymous expectant mother has now graciously registered us at Baby Gap, Bjorn Shoes, Lowe’s, and the Indigo Girls online store!

Instant Menopause


It’s finally dawned on me that I may not be as young as I used to be. A big indicator of that was waking up in a pool of sweat this morning from the month long deprivation of estrogen that my doctor has imposed on me to cure the endometriosis that was discovered after my hysterectomy last week. At the ripe age of 45, I am cloaked, or rather soaked, in a wash of instant menopause.

And there doesn’t seem to be enough Black Cohosh or Dong Quai in the all natural health food store to hold it at bay! I am taking the supplements, religiously, but they aren’t working as well as I’d like. And the bad thing is that I actually have the end all be all cure sitting in a drawer in my bathroom – an expensive compounded elixir of natural estrogen that I filled before I knew I was going to have to be replacing my bed sheets and mattress for one of those cooling blankets and a slab of ice! But if I take the estrogen, the endometriosis will remain. But If I deprive myself of estrogen, the night sweats, terrors, trauma, anxiety, and sheer hell will continue. The stress of this dilemma is actually causing me even more stress!

I am older and wiser than the age I wish I was – I can surely endure and persevere. I will emerge on the other side of instant menopause with a new outlook on life and new Egyptian cotton sheets. I can do this for the next three weeks, surely. In the meantime, I’m off to buy an oscilating fan, 50 bags of ice, and a personal Chinese herbalist.

Ciao!


P.S. Is it hot in here, or what?!

STRIKE UP THE BRAND


I am a Libra; a writer; an ostomate; a hat person; a cat person; a dog lover; an adventurer; a film fanatic; a theatre goer; a moderate; a Southerner; a homeowner; a sailor; and a grande café mocha, no whip. We all have our labels that define us and make up our personality. It’s who we are and what we are all about.

Lately I’ve been encouraged to think of myself in terms of a brand these days by my publicist. So now, not only am I just Tracy Lea Carnes; I’m Tracy Lea Carnes, author, playwright, humorist and speaker. I’m a product now with something to sell – me. Well, sort of.

You can’t buy me on ebay; trade me on the open market; or purchase me in bulk at Costco or Sam’s Club. But you can purchase my book on amazon.com; buy a ticket to my original stage play; or hire me to speak at your convention. I’m not just a person any more – I actually am a product. That means being the best Tracy Lea Carnes I can be!


So I got to thinking about that in today’s atmosphere of people as actual brands – Britney Spears is a product – she is her music; Donald Trump is a product – he is his own building; Paris Hilton is a product – she is her own party; and Betty Crocker – Well, she is her own cake. One little misstep and you can tarnish your product. Just look at Michael Phelps.


You may not think of yourself as a product but in actuality, you are. Whether you like it or not, we’re all brands and products. You sell your services to your employer; you run for PTA president; you are the head of your family; a baton twirler in the marching band – whatever. That means putting your best self forward above and beyond just your simple label of nurse; majorette; copy clerk; waitress; CEO; teacher; mother; daughter; father; son; athlete; poker player; master carpenter; venti low fat caramel macchiato… You are your own brand!

The Ballad of the Writer's Cafe


I went down to my favorite little cafe last night, where I go all the time, to eat, drink, hang out with my favorite artistic friends and wax poetic about all things artsy, cultural and esoteric. I feel at home there, in my element, comfortable and secure.

Occasionally I sit on the patio and write before my friends arrive. And it occurred to me that this café has become my creative hub. So I got to thinking that there is a long romantic history of the writer hanging out at cafes and sipping their favorite cocktails and trying to tap the muse.

While working on Road to Glory in Hollywood, William Faulkner drank and actually mixed his own beloved Mint Juleps at the Musso & Frank Grill and at least kept the taste of the South with him while he was out there in crazy La La Land. Earnest Hemmingway; however, drank mojitos at La Bodeguita de Medio in Havana, Cuba and famously scrawled on their walls, ""Mi mojito en La Bodeguita, mi daiquiri en El Floridita!" And I'm not exactly sure what O. Henry drank, but I do know that he wrote the classic Gift of the Magi right there in New York's famous Pete's Tavern, a place I often go to while I'm in the Big Apple, too.

Somerset Maugham once said that if you sat in the Café de la Paix in Paris long enough, everyone would pass by. At least for Shreveport and my little world, that place happens to be The Columbia Café, at the corner of King's & Creswell, where you can find me out on the patio, sipping my preferred glass of red wine, and watching the traffic scream down King's Highway as if it were the Brick Yard or catching bits and pieces of Wu Tang Clan blaring from a car stereo stopped at the light. If you sit there long enough, you might even be a primary witness to a traffic accident at the intersection. Ok, so maybe it's not nearly as romantic as Paris or Havana but for me here in Shreveport, it's where I can actually feel the heartbeat of my city and observe it's rhythm. This is my very own writer's café and it's where I go to hang out with my muse!


So I'm wondering, where is it that you all go to tap your muse or wax poetic, even if you aren't exactly a writer?

Cheers!

Tracy :-*

The Screaming Universe



Everyone's told - watch for the signs! Signs from God? Street signs? Semifore? What? Where are these signs and why should I care so much? Maybe I'm not exactly paying attention. I did, after all, forget to take my ADD meds this morning.

But suddenly, as if the universe is calling out to me, I'm actually seeing signs - signs in the oddest places, too, like movies, emails from friends, and advertisements in magazines. I know, sounds a little "Beautiful Mind," huh? So not trying to be like John F. Nash with strings and articles collaged across my office, I have at least begun paying attention to these signs.

The first was in an email from a friend encouraging me to enter a playwriting contest - I did and I won. Recently I watched a movie about a writer trying to find her voice. She wrote a short story and sent it in to Paris Review, a literary magazine. It hit me, I should write a short story and submit. So I've written a short story and I am submitting. I hardly ever buy an Oxford American magazine but I did this past weekend and there was an ad for a literary award for Southern authors. I didn't take much notice of it at first. But when I threw down the magazine, it landed opened on that page where the ad was located. And it hit me... The universe is literarly screaming at me to write! It is cheering me on, encouraging me, and giving me hope.


So pay attention to the signs out there. Maybe you're not a writer like me but perhaps every now and then we should remove the ear phones from our ipods or quit secretly texting at stop lights long enough to hear and see whatever signs might be specifically aimed at us to follow. Who knows, they might even change your life!

Cheers!
TLC :-*

Writing Recycled

I am currently working on adapting my award-winning one act play I wrote for Sculpted Entertainment's 24hr Playfest '09 (Understanding Polly) into a full length stage play… developing characters, set layout, lines of dialogue, etc., etc.  So much so lately that I find myself writing quick one liners and notes on any paper I can find at any moment of the day I happen to come up with an idea.  So this morning, as I was organizing myself for a meeting with my producers, I noticed that I have notes on napkins, 2 am sleepless ramblings on several random yellow legal pads, backs of receipts, on envelopes, post-it notes, and on any and every possible slip of paper that was handy at the time so that I can transfer them later to my computer.  I also did this when I was writing my novel, Excess Baggage, by the way.

I know, call me crazy, but isn't that what your Blackberry is for, Tracy – to keep my notes and musings organized and in one place?  Puh-leez, have you ever tried to type dialogue into a Blackberry Curve in your bed at 3 am.  I'm sorry, it can't be done.  And no, I'm just not one of those people who likes to dictate into a recorder for playback later.  I'll never play it back and therefore, it will never get transferred to my computer later. So much for modern technology, huh?

It occurred to me that I might not be the only one with a crazy writing system.  P.G. Wodehouse pinned pages of his current story up on the wall; William Faulkner, however, actually wrote scribblings and outlines on the wall of his house; and Voltaire, used his lover's naked back as a writing desk. 

Call me old fashioned, but my system works for me.  And maybe it's my way of recycling all those little bits of paper that seem to be lying around here and there... now where exactly did I put that grocery list?

This is it...

The place to find me, a place to keep up with what is going on in my life and career. My debut novel, Excess Baggage, is finished, published and available. It is a grand adventure and one in which you're invited to come along!
Ciao!
Tracy

They named the winner and it was ME

My very first stageplay. I've been wanting to write plays since the seventh grade and now my very first complete one has won a prize! How fun it that?

Tracy

Tracy Can Be Read

Buy the Book!


EXCESS BAGGAGE, is available online now at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.

Kelly Carmichael can’t seem to find her niche in life. Her father pushes her in one direction while her mother pulls her in another. Now almost thirty, she grows weary of pursuing someone else’s happiness. But just when she believes she has found the perfect career and the love of her life in Memphis, her father dies. Now she is forced to give up her dream job to take care of the mother she doesn’t understand and deal with the harsh reality of a father she thought she knew. When she is finally ready to resume her life in Memphis, she is set back once again, this time with ulcerative colitis and the horrible changes in her body she must deal with as she fights to keep her boyfriend, gets to know her mother, and adjusts to her changing life in a small southern town.

Excess Baggage on Facebook





Tracy Lea Carnes


Tracy Lea Carnes received an ileostomy on October 1, 1993, the day after her 30th birthday, after a long battle with ulcerative colitis. She stays active by cycling, hiking, scuba diving, sailing, playing golf, occasionally playing rugby, rollerblading, and has recently learned the flying trapeze. She resides in Shreveport, Louisiana with her beloved cat, Spot and her rescue dog, Sadie.

Where to hear Tracy


Tracy will be signing copies of EXCESS BAGGAGE and appearing at The Pulpwood Queens annual GIRLFRIEND WEEKEND from January 13th thru 17th in Jefferson, Texas. Also appearing at the event is the Pulpwood Queen herself, Kathy Patrick (The Pulpwood Queens Tiara Wearing Book-Sharing Guide to Life), Elizabeth Berg (Home Safe), Connie May Fowler (Before Women Had Wings) AND River Jordan (Saints in Limbo).

Authors appearing at the annual GIRLFRIEND WEEKEND are either past or future Pulpwood Queens Book Club selections. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO!