Jera’s Jamboree : Guest Post GVR Corcillo ~ Memories and tangents

I’m delighted to welcome GVR Corcillo to JJ today

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With her Ivy League education, white trash sensibility, and pop culture savvy, GVR Corcillo delights in writing chick lit about characters who try not to trip as they valiantly march to their own bongo beat.

She didn’t start writing right away. First, she worked in a greenhouse, a supermarket, a movie theatre, a potpourri-stuffing factory, an electrical fixtures plant, a book warehouse, a metal-perforating factory, a video store, several movie studios, a children’s museum, a radio station, and a bar. She also taught high school in Watts and South Central Los Angeles.

But none of these fit the bill for what she always wanted to be when she grew up – a writer. So, she won some writing contests, hit the New York Times Bestsellers List with her first short story, and got a screenplay produced.

Geralyn Vivian Ruane Corcillo, a native of Scranton, Pennsylvania, lives in North Hollywood with her husband Ron, a television comedy writer. They are both New York Giants fans.

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Off on a Tangent

By

GVR Corcillo

Thank you, Shaz – I am so psyched to be guest blogging on Jera’s Jamboree! Especially as my first name is Geralyn, and people have been misspelling it with J my whole life. So this is really cool.

In my Chick Lit novel She Likes It Rough, my heroine Lisa Flyte is somewhat whacky, a bit over the top. Definitely a woman who marches to her own bongo beat, often going off on a whim, or off on a tangent. It can make for a funny book with unexpected twists and turns, but there is also a constructive side to going off on a tangent…

 

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“So let’s sink another drink

‘Cause it’ll give me time to think . . .”

Morning commute, could barely keep my eyes open, but when Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself” punched through the car, suddenly, a beam of good cheer more potent than a double shot espresso blasted through me.

Huh?

But I don’t even like Billy Idol. I mean, I had plenty of celebrity crushes when I was a kid in the eighties, and a bunch of the guys were blond and British, from Anthony Andrews to Simon Le Bon, from Julian Sands to Simon MacCorkindale. But Billy Idol was never one of them. I mean, I liked him In The Wedding Singer, but his music had never really rocked my world. So why was I suddenly so chipper, getting my groove on to a song I’d never liked?

After a few minutes, I figured it out.

Spike!

Platinum blonde British rocker Billy Idol reminded me of platinum blonde British vampire Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which I’d been watching on DVD with my husband and our best friend on Saturday nights since Christmas. What fun we have, just hanging out and relaxing for an hour or two, eating Chinese food and ice cream, indulging in and critiquing Joss Whedon and all things Buffy.

Just like that, on a few beats of vintage eighties rock, my mind went off on a tangent and instantly made the connection for me.

I’m going off on tangents all the time, in conversation, in life, in home décor. I can never seem to keep myself on a linear path of any kind because, as Katherine Hepburn says to Spencer Tracy in Desk Set, “I associate many things with many things.”

The orange paisley comforter I picked out at the home furnishings store. My husband stood there looking at me warily. “Really? You want that one?” Heck, yeah! It reminded me of the bedspread I’d had as kid in the seventies, a riot of big orange flowers. Oh, to be six again, to have no reason to get up more pressing than that of watching Scooby-Doo. Those were the days…

Seem silly to buy a comforter based on a time in my life when I wore slip-on yellow rain boots with umbrellas and duckies on them? Maybe. Then again, life can come to feel pretty colorless if you just live it, getting through day by day, then just forget it all.

Remembering, connecting, and associating, whether deliberately or viscerally, add vibrancy, hue, and flavor to the everyday grind. Tapping into other times, places, feelings, worlds, even right within yourself,canexpand life, perspective, and understanding, even if only for a moment. Going off on a tangent – a nifty knack for a writer, no?

A few years ago, my husband I were watching Sunday NFL football. NY Giants at Philadelphia Eagles, third quarter. Pass goes high, Plaxico Burress stretches to catch. He’s tackled on his descent with such ferocious precision the sound of impact makes me wince. The announcer chuckles. “Dawkins waffles Burress . . .” Suddenly, my eyes fill with tears. I’m no longer watching Sunday NFL with my husband, but I’m a thirteen year-old kid looking at Officer Green, standing on my front porch, hands on hips, holding something in his hand.

“Do you own a brown and white dog?”

I nod.

“It just got waffled down on Layton Road.” Then he hands me Rhoda’s busted collar.

To this day, I cannot hear the word “waffle” used that way without remembering how Rhoda was still warm when we went down to get her off the road.

But all these tangents become the threads of life, never snipped off but left to drift and tangle.

Like all of Rhoda’s wispy trails. Because when I think of that awful day and that asshole cop, I also remember the most amazing thing about Rhoda – she loved to swim. Loved it loved it loved it. All summer long she was jumping into the pool and splashing around, just so happy happy happy. And she made me so happy. And she loved her tennis ball – she obsessed over it. The tennis ball would have taken out a restraining order if it could have. And Rhoda loved sleeping in the corner of the couch when we weren’t home. How do I know? The tell-tale circle of brown and white hair stuck into the couch cushions. All of Rhoda’s tangents twine together with everything else, taking me from the grisly to the gleeful, from the sad to the sublime.

Dog 1

All the tangents in our lives waft and weave together and make us who we are today. Sure, some people go off on tangents and whims, but they’re just following different strings, touching as many parts of life at once as they can. They make tufts that look like tumbleweed while many people make more linear ropes. Is one better than the other, or does each shape just take us different places?

What tangents flutter through your psyche, snagging and connecting the past to the present, the baffling to the beautiful, the trivial to the tragic? Are you a tumbleweed or a rope, or something in between? Have you found your shape yet? Do you want to?

Not a great way to find out about Rhoda … but great you can think about the positives.

I’m always talking ‘off tangent’ Geralyn.  Some people keep up with where I’m going but others probably just think I’m random.  Tangents can take you to some interesting places!

Thank you!

She Likes It Rough is touring with Fiction Addiction Book Tours.

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24 thoughts on “Jera’s Jamboree : Guest Post GVR Corcillo ~ Memories and tangents

  1. Shaz! What you say about going off on a tangent and some people can keep up with you, but not everyone can, reminds me of my friend Rich from college. I remember his once telling me that he liked being my friend because he could follow what I was thinking and what I was saying, and not many people could – and he liked that – that he “got” me. So I guess Rich is one of those people who could follow along on a tangent!

    Thanks for hosting my guest post today! And thank you for unveiling my refurbished cover! I’ve wanted to spruce up my cover for a while, and I decided to do it to treat myself last week when She Likes It Rough advanced to the Quarter-Finals Round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. Yay!

    I am really looking forward to chatting with your followers and fans today – I love connecting through blog comments with fellow book lovers! 🙂

  2. Hi Jera 🙂 And a big hi to Geralyn 🙂 What a cool post. Isn’t it amazing how our minds connect things in ways we’d never expect? I still have an aversion to this song dating back to my teens. “Great Southern Land” (by an Australian band so you guys may not know it). Every time I hear it I feel awkward and clumsy and creeped out, because it was playing when I had my first ever ice skating experience. I sucked. Truly sucked. And some guy tried to rescue me and help me out, but he creeped me out! I got out of that rink ASAP and never went back. Never forgot that song, or those feelings, though.

    • Oh Maggie, that sounds AWFUL – especially the part with skeevy rescuer – yuck! I suck at ice skating, too! There was a pond near our house, we had a ton of skates from my cousins, and everyone always wanted to go skating – but my ankles just never cooperated! And Maggie Le Page – I saw your Amazon Vine reviews for your excerpt of A Heat of the Moment Thing- the book that made it to the Quarter-Finals (so far!) of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest – squeeee! You go, girl!!

      • Aw, thanks Geralyn. Good to know I’m in great company in those quarter finals . . . yes, I saw you made it through too. Woot!

      • Maggie, Did you ever have the TV series The Jeffersons down in NZ? The show has a kick-butt theme song! “We’re a movin’ on up, movin’ on up…” 🙂

      • Not sure if this will appear under your “Jeffersons” comment, Geralyn… but no, that didn’t ring any bells for me. Of course, that means nothing! I’m not really into TV in a big way. I thought maybe it was going to be that M People song “Moving on up, moving on out…” 🙂 Same general feeling!

      • Maggie, were you able to click on the link and hear the song?

      • Yep! Sure did. (Cursing and swearing at my slooooow internet as I watched – having a few ‘issues’ with our provider at the moment.)

    • I’m thinking that the seemingly random connections are the way we’re wired to ensure our survival! This happened with that memory so we either avoid the experience at all costs … but repeat it if it was a good thing!

      Thanks for sharing Maggie.
      Shaz

      • Shaz, that is such a cool take on this topic! It reminds me of an article I once read about how predators develop in the wild, and the higher up on the food chain an animal is, the more associations that animal has the ability to make among things that animal has experienced. So as people who connect the tangents of our lives, we are pretty high up on the food chain! Is that what people mean when they call a woman a “cougar?” 🙂

      • LOL Shaz, I bet you’re right. And my brain has decided that survival means keeping the heck away from skating rinks and creepy guys 😀

  3. I can relate ! I’m the same way, especially with songs and lyrics. It’s kind of a revelation to know I’m not the only one out there. It’s so true that some can follow and others can’t.

    These tangents and associations show up in and inform my writing all the time. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone in that!

    ~EJ

    • Emilia! Hi and thanks for stopping by 🙂 I love blogging and connecting with other writers and book lovers because not only do I find out that I’m not the only off-kilter one out there, but I get to talk about the zany stuff I love with people who will “get” it! Like you, I’ve spent my life watching what some might call “way too much” TV, but yeah, it’s research, not only for writing, but for life as we know it! And it is VALUABLE research! My main character Lisa in She Likes It Rough relates so many things in her life to TV or movies, and all those references I pulled out of the recesses of my brain work to build a character who needs to stop relating her life to SOMETHING ELSE and just live her life, full stop! Rock on with your own wriitng!

  4. Hello, Jera & GVR!!! I love this topic. I am the absolute queen of tangents. For some bizarre reason, I find that my thoughts jump all over the place the most when I am driving, which is more than a little bit scary. Thankfully, my brain is able to devote enough attention to the road to make sure that we arrive at our destination safe and sound, but I am always amazed at how my thoughts start out with something basic like what I need to pick up at the grocery store and end up with the theme song of my high school prom. I am often baffled by how easily my mind raced to a seemingly random topic. I will then I slowly trace my way back to the original thought just to prove to myself that I am not totally insane. It is almost like playing that game, “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” Have you guys ever played? So much fun!

    By the way, LOVE the updated cover! 🙂

    • Sometimes driving is automatic so you’re performing those tasks subconsciously and your mind wanders …

      Thanks for commenting Glynis.
      Shaz

      • Glynis Astie! Wow -thanks for stopping by – I just saw your interview and feature for your book French Toast on A Girl and Her Kindle this morning! Kudos to you for a second hilarious book about the madcap adventures of zany Sydney and the Frenchman who’s swept her off her feet!
        I go off on tangents so much when I am driving that I will FREQUENTLY miss my exit! And on the LA freeways, if you miss the exit to another freeway, it could be 20 minutes before you get back on track!! All because the radio played some Sophie B. Hawkins song that ended up making me count how many kittens I’d adopted out the summer of ’08….
        As for six degrees of Kevin Bacon, my husband and I used to play it all the time when one of our cats was quite ill and we would often spend hours at the vet in the middle of the night and that game kept us sane. And guess what? I am two degrees from Kevin Bacon! I know David McWhirter and he has directed some episodes of The Closer so he knows Kiera Sedgewick and Kevin Bacon, who he says are two of the nicest, most anti-stardom, down to earth people he knows 🙂
        Thanks for stopping by Glynis and rock on with your French Twist series of madcap romantic comedy!!

    • Oh, and THANKS Glynis for your praise of my updated cover! One of the joys of being an indie author, for me, has been getting to work with amazing graphic artist Annicka Rietveld and super-talented cover designer Lex Valentine!

  5. Glynis – I’m the same way, driving is dangerous with me. My hubs hates it! GVR, this is a great topic – I’m sorry I missed it yesterday!! The other time my mind is racing is when I’m trying to settle down for sleep. I love tangents because they bring us thoughts, ideas and feelings we might not have ever thought or felt. I’m so sorry to hear about your dog, GVR. That cop really was an asshole…who says that to a kid? Good grief. I hope he’s a villain in one of your books!!! xoxo

    PS – Congrats on making it to the next round. You ROCK!!!

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