A funny thing happened at a writer’s club meeting last fall.
My friend and colleague, Lisa Williams Kline, suggested we team up to give a presentation on our recent collections of essays. Both books contain a lot of humor, she said.
She was referring to my book, Going Plaid in a Solid Gray World, and hers, The Ruby Mirror.
In November, we gave our readings and presentation about writing to a substantial crowd at Waterbean Coffee in Huntersville, and on Jan. 15, we’ll be doing the same thing at the Hickory Waterbean on Startown Road. Our “conversation’ starts at 3 p.m. Sunday. It’s free and open to the public.
Both collections have funny aspects—hers circumstantial irony, mine a dry look at everyday comings and goings. My third book, Going Plaid in a Solid Gray World, is comprised of my columns that have appeared in local newspapers since 2015. It was published by Redhawk Press, the publishing venture of Catawba Valley Community College.
Lisa, a prolific writer with nearly 15 books to her credit, lives in Davidson and owns a chihuahua named Joni who has played Bruiser Woods in Legally Blonde: The Musical. Which says something.
Lisa has written primarily for teens and young adults. She ventured into books for an adult audience with Ruby as well as two forthcoming titles due out this year: Between the Sky and the Sea, and Ladies’ Day.
Like I said, Lisa is prolific.
Our paths truly converged in 2018 when I co-edited a collection of coming-of-age essays —Idol Talk: Women Writers on the Teenage Infatuations that Changed Their Lives. Lisa was among the 44 published writers asked to submit a piece about what it was like to be a teen-aged fan girl. The subject fit right into her wheelhouse. She knew immediately who she’d write about; David McCallum, the Illya Kuryakin character on “The Man from U.N.C.L.E “
I wouldn’t have thought of him, but when she mentioned McCallum, I was right back there in sixth grade, though at the time I was more infatuated by Peter Noone, “Herman” of the pop band Herman’s Hermits.
The Ruby Mirror is itself a play on words. As toddler, one of her daughters misunderstood the term “rearview mirror” and thus, vehicle mirrors were forever called “ruby” mirrors.
Misunderstood song lyrics amuse a lot of us.
Consider Michael Jackson‘s “Man in the Mirror” with the misheard line, “And no moustache could have been any clearer.” It’s actually “And no message could have been any clearer.”
Or Jefferson Starship’s “We built this city on sausage rolls” which was meant to be “We built this city on rock ‘n roll.”
Or Herman’s Hermits’ single, “She’s a Must to Avoid,” misheard as “She’s a Muscular Boy.”
The unexpected mistakes make amusing twists. Lisa writes of a wardrobe malfunction at a formal event. It became the seed of family laughter for years. I’ll let her explain.
Stop by Waterbean, grab a cup of coffee and listen in. Copies of our books will be available for sale and signing.
Tammy Wilson is a writer who lives near Newton. Contact her at [email protected]