Ahh, the life of a celebity writer...(OK, not quite a celebrity, not quite the life I imagined)

Congratulate me: last night I got a call from KION, our local CBS affiliate, to say that one of their reporters liked my story idea about how 9/11 affected me, their topic for the month, and wanted to film a feature…today.

She liked that I planted climbing red roses on two supports in the days following 9/11 as a memorial to the victims of the twin towers, and she liked that I had planted rudbekia, plants whose meaning according to Victorian tradition stands for justice, at their base the day we found out Osama bin Laden would spend eternity in an unmarked watery grave.

She especially liked the idea that the first book I wrote, The Death Contingency had a 9/11 related motive for murder and, though it is only a cozy mystery, hardly the stuff of book club pondering, it could be considered from the perspective of some serious questions like: Is murder ever justified, what is the difference between evil deeds and Evil like what happened on 9/11, and is redemption truly possible.

By the time she called back to confirm the interview time, it turned out both KION and FOX wanted to interview me. They wanted to know if it would be feasible for them to come by my house. Here, after three years of trying to get on TV to talk about my books, was my big chance.

I decided I better take a look at the garden from the perspective of a camera. Not only were no roses in bloom, but the plants, recently deadheaded and stripped of many of their leaves to control black spot, looked sparse, and that is a generous term. The rudbekia, in full sunflower-like splendor just last week, have gone to seed. I flirted with the idea of pinning fake roses to the plants but decided that would be cheesy (not to mention obvious) and settled on giving the roses a leaf implant with canes taken from their neighbors.(I’ll have to do that no more than 15 minutes before the cameras arrive or they’ll be limp.)

I’m trying to figure out where to have them tape me holding up a book. Since I write real estate mysteries, I think our house should look like a Realtor would approve of how it looks. My husband and I are normally tidy people but this year…well let’s just say our house suffers from a mousetrap game of disruptive repair projects which have created piles of out of place dirt, empty holes where the dirt should be, stripped sheetrock and curled back carpet, drain pipes that are lying in disarray everywhere, and scrapped eaves and uprights behind the downspouts which have not yet been repainted. Ladders and tools seem visible out every window and that’s not counting the ladders and tools we have to worry about tripping over as we walk down the hall.

My husband, the hardworking architect of all this repair work, has moved jeans and tee-shirts to a back room otherwise untouched by the process so he can make quick changes. His clothing is displayed on the banquet seating in broad piles of “clean, don’t touch,” “can wear again before needing laundering, don’t touch,” and “so filthy, touch at your own peril.”

I can’t forget to mention the cat. She’s 19, deaf, and shedding fur in clumps. Three years ago the day before Christmas the vet pronounced her dying. We decided to bring her home over the holiday, feed her a good last meal, and take her in to meet her fate the day after Christmas. Did I say it’s been three years and almost nine months since that fateful day? She now eats nothing but people tuna and laps milk, whole or half-and-half enriched, and is still very much with us. Having finished destroying the sofa in our bedroom, she has taken to sleeping on top of us and shredding our matelasse bedspread to better gain our attention when she is ready for fresh milk that we, in the still dark of night, are unwilling to get up and give her. Though the sofa needs recovering and the bedspread is now a mere hole-covered rag, we know it’s useless to replace either until she dies (which better be very soon!) Bottom line is even our bedroom has a well beyond shabby-chic look to it at the moment.

Then there’s my hair. You remember your school pictures and what happened to your hair the day those pictures were taken? Un-huh. As an added plus, my grey roots are beginning to grow out a bit, not so much as to really look grey, but enough to keep my dark hair from making it all the way to my scalp. On camera I’ll look like I have a bald-spot where my hair parts.  Can I have my 15 minutes of fame with a tarp thrown over me? Please? There’s a big blue tarp just outside the front door ready to catch paint drips from the eaves that I can use.

There’s the knock on the front door. Oh good, I see that the huge scary spider who only comes out at night and disappears by the time I drag the vacuum out to get him is out today and he has two visiting friends with him.

I bet all of you wish you were living the glamorous life of a soon-to-be-local-celebrity writer, don’t you?

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