The Complex Duplicity That Is A Southern Woman

"Maybe she was praying for us cause we was gossipin. Maybe she was praying because the elastic is shot in her pantyhose." - Truvy, Steel Magnolias

I gave quite a lot of thought to the beautiful complexity of southern women while writing Southern Solstice. A flowery cocktail comes to mind. The sweet kind; masking alcohol with intoxicating fragrance and the allure of swirling pink liquid making you lose count ("I don't even feeeeeeel anything!"). You don't know it yet, but you are drunk on sugar and presumption. (wink)

There is a duality that southern woman are able to maintain on a daily basis, flowing seamlessly from comforter to unwavering disciplinarian, short-order cook to effortless hostess, gardener by day, bell of the ball by night, secret vault and biting linguist. (Come to mid-town in Nashville sometime and see some of the prettiest little Chi Omegas in their floral rompers shotgunning bud lights at the Tin Roof).

In my barre3 class last week, there was a beautiful older woman wearing massive pearl earrings and bright red lipstick that matched her LuluLemon perfectly. It was the 6am class, y'all. Was it unnecessary? Yes. Do I want to be her? 100%. Bar: set higher (I'm currently just focused on not having that child who is always barefoot and sticky - #toddlerprobz).

My Momma - The Pageant Girl
When our family moved from North Carolina to Wyoming when I was almost ten, I saw this same duplicity recognized by other women as they observed my own mother, often commenting on "how she did it all" and asking "what don't you do?" I had never heard much talk of "being southern" until that point, but that title is what they believed authorized her with the ability to throw a dinner party and look completely untroubled. 

One of my best friends is an Italian spitfire (surely her people hail from southern Italy...). Last week she came over for dinner and said, "You are every women. You are what Whitney was singing about."

Jaw. Dropped. Ultimate compliment. And so so so so so very far from true. 

I haven't even gotten my azaleas in the ground yet.

Music Is My Hot, Hot Sex

Wanna' check out my Spotify playlists?
Music is an integral part of my writing process. From dreaming up the summary to typing the very last word (and all of the copious amounts of editing in between), I keep the same songs playing over and over again--lulling me into a trance-like state. (oh. and it drowns out my son's Daniel Tiger obsession--which, by the way, I fear is teaching him that as long as you're wearing a grandpa sweater, no one will notice you are just living life without pants).

My author playlist for Southern Solstice is heavy on melody and light on lyric (Ben Howard, Andrew Shapiro, Bon Iver) so it doesn't interfere with my own train of thought or give me tourettes while I'm helicopter... writing. 

The same playlist I used while writing is (IMHO) a great one to read the book to as well, BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE! Similarly to how a middle school girl might make a mix tape for her crush so that she can feel connected to him every. waking. hour. (Cue K-Ci & JoJo's "All My Life" and Savage Garden's "Truly Madly Deeply" because this was 1998 and those songs were MY EVERYTHING), I made character playlists for Larken, Jackson and Miles. 

So in review: give a listen to the Southern Solstice Author's Playlist while reading and then check out the character playlists. And then if you want to make a mixtape playlist for me, I'd be flattered (but please include more than Jamiroquai and Third Eye Blind because then I'll realize we aren't soul-mates after all and I'll ask for my mix tape back and go alone to the Homecoming dance where I'll meet whats-his-name and get a complex about my height).