Tag Archives: writers

10 Funny Happenings in My Socially Distancing Household


A global pandemic is not my usual brand of humor. . . although I do actually use those words on p. 8 of my new book . . . who knew??? A funny list to distract you:

  1. My iPhone no longer recognizes me. I’m not joking. My stay-at-home attire is so bad that the facial recognition software used to identify terrorists can’t even FIND me in the make-up-free, pony-tail-sporting, glasses-wearing vision of beauty that I have become.
  2. I am currently wearing a t-shirt with Muppets on it. I am a grown woman. A serious person. First of all, Muppets make me happy, and secondly, my current requirement for clothing is that it can stand up to bleach and disinfectant.
  3. My neighbor’s dog is hiding under the bed when she gets his leash. All our dogs are being walked like we are training for the Olympics.
  4. We are talking about what we are planning for lunch and dinner while we are still chewing our breakfast bars. That one might just be us.
  5. Amazon may cut me off. I find online shopping soothing, so I may be referred to a 12-step program in the next week or so. I assume we will be sitting 6 feet apart.
  6. I am passing out snacks in my house like I’m a flight attendant trying to keep unruly passengers in their seats on a flight that has been holding on the tarmac way too long.
  7. I can personally attest that 24 hours news coverage is real. They aren’t playing re-runs of Petticoat Junction at 3 AM. I now know the anchors’ work schedules on 3 networks. We’re kind of friends.
  8. I’m glad one of my kids is home even though she now views me as the warden of Cell Block C. I wish I could put a nanny cam or a GoPro on my two other kids, even though I know they have to go in to work, so I could check in to see if they are okay about 17 times a day. That seems reasonable to me right now.
  9. I’m actually wiping down the mail. I’m not proud of it, but I’m doing it.
  10. My latest book, If I Were The Boss of You, was just released. It was doing well. Now, all my events are cancelled. I can’t get to my readers. A few weeks ago, that would have been devastating to me. So much of my heart went into this book. Now? I don’t even think about it. Bigger fish to fry. If that’s all I lose to this virus, I’ll be one lucky woman. My priorities are in the best shape of my life.

I’m thinking about all of you out there. Be safe. Be kind. And remember to laugh a little every day. It’s good for you and the world.


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10 Funny Things That Happened To Me On Book Tours

if i were the boss


  1. While waiting for my turn to be interviewed on an early morning news segment, I was asked to hold a snow leopard cub in my lap while the zookeeper, also a guest on the show, dashed to the bathroom during a commercial break. This was the only story from my book tour that my young children found interesting.
  2. Green rooms are exciting. And, no, they aren’t all green. All sorts of people are crammed in there together waiting for interview slots on television. I’ve met famous musicians, politicians, and comedians. In a green room in Mississippi years ago, I got into such an animated conversation with a civil rights activist about the importance of neighborhood schools, the producer put us on air together to continue talking—an ordinary suburban mom writer and a civil rights icon. I think we made some good TV!
  3. Once in Charleston, an attractive, young, clearly hungover news reporter turned to me as we were both snaking our mics underneath our clothes and clipping them to our lapels and said: “Look, I didn’t have time to read your book. I’m just going to say your name and the title of your book, and then you can talk for 7-10 minutes. Ok?” “I can do that!” I responded gleefully. I could not have been happier.
  4. I was once introduced as the keynote speaker for a big gala event, made my way to the podium during the applause, opened my black plastic binder, and discovered—not my speech—but Bach. Yep. Bach. I had a binder, sure, but it was my black plastic CHOIR notebook—not my SPEECH notebook. To this day, I have no idea what I talked about for those 45 minutes.
  5. Sound systems are often infested with gremlins. They always check out fine before the event. It’s in the middle of the event when trouble starts. I once made the mistake of stepping out from behind my podium mic and in front of the repeating speakers. You can guess what happened. Horrible reverb. Over and over. I could see steam coming out of the event coordinator’s ears and hotel staff scrambling in the back of the room. I turned off my hand-held mic, moved from table to table to entertain as many folks as possible, and while running my mouth, shaped the long cord holding my mic into a pretend noose . . . sometimes, you have to find the funny.
  6. At a book event in a big city hotel, I was in mid-speech once when a domestic argument broke out in the catering kitchen behind me. It was so loud I had to stop speaking. Naturally, both the audience and I wanted to hear what was going to happen next in the kitchen drama which included accusations of cheating, vows of revenge, and death threats—way more interesting than my prepared remarks.
  7. In a live television interview, my book was introduced to the audience this way: “Melinda Rainey Thompson has written a wonderful new cookbook that I think you will all love!” Never written a cookbook in my life. That was a tough pivot.
  8. At every event, I always leave time for Q&A. It’s my favorite part because I never know what I will be asked. Some questions come up over and over, of course: “How did you get your book published?” “What do you like to read?” “Where do you get your ideas?” I answer those on autopilot. Funniest questions I’ve been asked on the road: “Where did you get your dress?” Answer: “Saks. Clearance rack.” “Can I take you to dinner after?” Answer: “Depends. Do you have any restraining orders against you?”
  9. Every author event has a person in the audience who has written a book he or she wants to pitch to me for publication. The problem is: I’m a WRITER—not a PUBLISHER.
  10. In every signing line at a book event, there is someone who wants to dictate how I will personalize their “Just write ‘to the best mother in the world,’” one reader instructed me. “To the smartest person I have ever met” was another request. My favorite request to date: “To the biggest Southern lady I have ever met.” Talk about a dangerous double entendre! All true. Remember: I write nonfiction. I end up explaining how first person works over and over. “If I write that, “I explain, “it’s me saying it . . . not you!” My favorite signing tag is from author Jill Conner Browne. To EVERY man, she writes, “To the only man I have ever loved.” Still cracks me up.


I can’t wait to share funny moments from the tour of my new book, If I Were The Boss of You. Come see me on the road!   https://www.melindaraineythompson.com/


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10 Ways Southern Women Communicate Without Uttering a Word

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  1. We raise our eyebrows to the heavens. Translation: Seriously? Have you lost your mind? What were you thinking? Have I taught you nothing?
  2. We close our eyes in weary defeat like we’re headed to the Appomattox courthouse. Translation: You have messed things up so badly that we can’t bear to look you in the face anymore. (Sometimes this is accompanied by fingers in our ears and a la-la-la-la-I-don’t-hear-you refrain like we’re monks seeking Nirvana on a mountaintop.)
  3. We cross our legs and swing the top foot in a rapid-fire motion like we’ve been mainlining caffeine since dawn. Translation: We can barely remain seated because a situation close at hand would be much improved if we got up and handled it, which we are sorely tempted to do, even though we know no good will come of it.
  4. We raise a pointer finger imperiously to the sky, a la Miss Clavel speaking to Madeline. Translation: Depends. Several possibilities here. Could mean: “Something is not right” in nun-speak. Can also mean: “I’m about to impart life-altering words of wisdom. Someone should really write this down”. Or it could be an all-the-way-across-the-room, modify-your-behavior-this-instant warning to children we have reared better than that. Rest assured, our children know what the finger means.
  5. We make “pfffing” noises with our lips. Translation: We are actually scoffing at your point of view. This is a more grown-up, sophisticated version of the classic raspberry.
  6. We roll our eyes. Translation: Your suggestion is too ridiculous for words. It is beneath us to discuss this again. We’re already on record—more than once—about this, and you are STILL wrong.
  7. We lean our heads back, close our eyes, and cross our arms. Translation: We Shall Not Be Moved. Think Mount Rushmore. We’ve DECIDED. Learn to live with it if you can’t love it. Whatever it is. Doesn’t matter.
  8. Hand on the hip. Translation: A verbal smack down is nigh. Somebody has it coming, probably had it coming for a while, and is about to get it. Prepare for incoming. Duck and cover, join forces, or get the heck out of the way.
  9. We tilt our head coquettishly to the side. Translation: We might be listening to your point of view. Truly. Or we might be mentally contemplating the many important things your mama apparently failed to teach you.
  10. We open our arms wide to you, extend both hands decidedly in your personal space, or reach up to kiss you on the cheek. Translation: Southern women are very touchy-feely. If you are not, you need to suck it up. You might be rewarded with pound cake. You should hug us back like you mean it. Bonus: If you pick us up off the floor in a bear hug and swing us around like we’re six-year-old girls again, you get homemade whipped cream with that.

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One-Time-Only Speaking Offer!


One-time-only offer!!! I need a videotaped recording of one of my speeches. For some reason, I can’t find one online from past events,etc., and media clips won’t do. Here’s the deal: I will WAIVE my speaker’s fee for an event (you’d still have to pay expenses like airfare, hotel, whatever) ENTIRELY in exchange for a recording, so this could be a win-win for any of you out there putting together a gala, banquet, luncheon, fundraiser, whatever. I love what I do! Put me to work for you for FREE!  Just this once, of course. . . .

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Mama Says:

imagesIn honor of Mother’s Day, here’s a list from my first book, SWAG: Southern Women Aging Gracefully. Enjoy!

  1. Date your friends. (You won’t have to divorce a stranger down the road.)
  2. Don’t burn your bridges. (It makes them awfully hot when you have to cross them later.)
  3. One day you won’t even remember his/her name. (You’ll just remember he/she was a jerk.)
  4. What goes around, comes around. (Sadly, this may take a while.)
  5. Wear sunscreen. (You will one day discover that you are not immortal.)
  6. A woman should dress her age. (Only two-year-olds are as young and cute as they think they are.)
  7. Be nice to old people. (With luck, you’ll get there soon enough.)
  8. Treat others as you would like to be treated. (Or you’ll likely get just what you deserve.)
  9. Think before you speak. (Saves lots of groveling later.)
  10. Chocolate never hurt anyone. (Recent big-money studies back this up.)
  11. Thank-you notes are important. (Every note you don’t write will be remembered.)
  12. Life isn’t fair. (And it’s a crying shame.)

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Silk Stockings and Hot-Pink Gloves


One morning this week I dressed hurriedly, pressed for time, as always. I took one shortcut after another with my morning routine. My goal was simple: I wanted to look professional and at least marginally attractive. This gets harder and more time-consuming every year. I can no longer shower, slap on some lipstick and dark sunglasses, and go with a clean, fresh-faced look. If I forgo the make-up, I spend the entire day fielding questions about my health. People with skin as pale as mine look like we’re going to keel over at any moment without a touch of blush. If I omit concealer, I look like I’m coming down with malaria. I’m not exaggerating.

I miss the days of hour-long bubble baths, experimenting with make-up and hairstyles, and the anticipation of date night. Remember that feeling? By the time I finally walked out the door for the evening, I’d leave behind a pile of discarded outfits I’d tried on before selecting the right one for my mood. That was two sizes ago. Those clothes look like tiny hobbit clothes to me now.

After my kids were born, I considered myself good-to-go if I had on a shirt without spit-up on it—or worse—and I put on the first items I touched when I opened my drawers. On the rare nights when we could afford a babysitter, I dressed quickly. No way would I waste a second of babysitter time primping!

This week I stood in my closet at 6:15 AM dressing for a noon out-of-town speaking event. I had just enough time to finish my morning chores and toss something in the slow cooker for dinner before firing up my GPS. There was no time for waffling about cute outfits.

Breakfast was ready, and I’d packed my kids’ lunches and threatened them with the loss of something precious to them if they didn’t get up immediately and get ready for school. I’d barked out the daily reminders about homework, permission slips, and after-school activities before showering and heading to my closet to ferret out some mythical outfit that would somehow make me look tall, slim, and worth my speaking fee.

Dropping the towel to the floor, I wiggled into no-line panties and began the arduous task of smoothing stockings over my legs with fingers in desperate need of a manicure. I rarely bother with a manicure anymore. What’s the point? It never lasts. My hands are constantly working—dishes, laundry, flowers, and cleaning solutions. It’s a waste of money.

You can guess what happened. I barely got my stockings past one painted toe before snagging them with my rough fingers. Hopping on one foot, peering down over my dollar store reading glasses, and cursing like a sailor, I flung the ruined tights to the floor and opened another package to begin the whole wiggly, sweaty process all over again.

I got the second pair up over my hips—no small feat—before poking a hole in my panty hose that traveled all the way up my calf at the speed of light, blossomed behind one knee, and finally petered out at my control-top waistband. Like a volcano that has been simmering for weeks, I immediately erupted with more colorful language. I have a big vocabulary, and I’m oddly creative when I swear, so I was colorful in several languages.

Then I sat on my closet floor to fume and contemplate my options. It was too early to drink. I’m not an alcoholic. Yet. I was out of new stockings, but I had older stockings shoved in the back of the drawer. The colors were a little dated, but I was no longer aiming for perfection.

I remembered an almost-forgotten piece of Southern lady lore: you’re supposed to wear gloves to smooth on stockings. No snags! I felt like patting myself on the back for remembering that tidbit, and I immediately began rummaging around in my lingerie drawer for gloves.

Of course, I couldn’t find any white gloves. I don’t even remember the last time I’ve seen my white gloves. I did find some hot-pink winter gloves. They were a bit fuzzy, certainly not as smooth as white, cotton, bell-ringing gloves, but they were better than nothing. They weren’t mittens. They had fingers. They would do. I slipped them on and lifted a foot to begin another panty-hose application process.

That’s when my husband opened the door to my closet to discuss some calendar question and got an eyeful of me in my early-morning glory: panties—nothing else—half-mast stockings, and hot-pink winter gloves.

He took his time looking. I could tell he had no clue what to say. He couldn’t figure out what little party was going on in my closet. He looked puzzled–like a toddler who stumbles upon his parents having sex and tries to process a totally alien visual. It wasn’t a Fifty Shades of Gray moment. Trust me.

“Do you need something?” I asked testily.

“Not really,” he said, still looking.

“Do you need help with . . . anything?” he asked delicately, obviously attempting to tiptoe around any hormonal mine fields.

“Nope,” I responded, “I need to finish getting dressed now.”

“Sure. No problem. Absolutely. Carry on,” he said, closing the door with a perfectly straight face and zero color commentary.

He’s a smart man. I really should give him more credit than I do. We’ve been married a long time. My husband knows when to keep his mouth shut. I think that’s an invaluable marital skill.


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Selma-Dallas Library’s Lunch With the Author Series

Come have lunch with me in Selma, Alabama, this Thursday, September 20th! I am going to speak and sign books at the library, and we can catch up on all the gossip! Hope to see you there!


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Would you like to read a new weekly SWAG column in your local paper? Call, write, or email your local paper and tell them you want it! I’m writing a new weekly humor column, and I’d love to add your favorite newspaper to my syndication list!

Newspapers everywhere are on a tight budget, but small weeklies and dailies are still going strong. Competition for space is fierce. I need your help to make this happen!

f you are a fan of my books, email me, and tell me the name of your favorite newspaper, the one all the natives read where you live. I’ll contact the paper and pitch the column.

Then, YOU have to contact the paper to let them know that readers like you want to read a SWAG humor column!

I promise to make you laugh out loud every week!

Thanks and happy reading!

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$1.99 e-Books! September only!

My publisher is offering the e-Book version of my first book, SWAG, for $1.99! Wow! Get out your gadgets and start downloading!Image 

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The Pity-Party Box

Nearly thirty years ago, I was riding on a streetcar, heading downtown on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was Easter Sunday, and I was searching for a church service vaguely reminiscent of the one I knew would be taking place in my hometown church.

While I was riding, swaying right to left in that peculiar rhythm found only on streetcars, I was idly thumbing through my mail, occasionally closing my eyes to enjoy the wonderful sounds of the streetcar as it stopped and started. This sound is completely unique, and it is hard to describe if you’ve never heard it, but it will instantly spring to your mind if you have, even if it was twenty years ago.

I have always loved to ride the streetcar with all the windows wide open and the humid breeze blowing through.  I love to ride simply as an avid voyeur of other streetcar riders—some headed to work or school, others riding just for the thrill. I have never been bored in my encounters with streetcar riders.

Like everyone else, when I am in New Orleans, I am partial to certain streetcar drivers. I like the ones who carry on monologues—occasionally directing a comment to one of the regular riders, always challenging traffic that risks being crunched crossing the streetcar’s path, harassing latecomers to hurry up or wait ten minutes for the next streetcar. I particularly like the tour-guide information, offered gratis to all, full of fascinating historical fact, interesting bits of legend and local gossip, and some remarkably credible lies.

As usual, I was not to be left alone with my thoughts on this trip. I was happily ensconced, with a whole wooden seat to myself, my elbow propped on the window and my chin in hand, anticipating the joys of Easter brunch, when my reverie was interrupted by an Easter bonnet in the boldest of color hues and its owner, who managed to squeeze her generously proportioned self into the seat next to mine. It was tight fit. Long ribbon streamers from her hat kept flying into my face.

I crammed myself into the corner as tightly as possible and began reading my mail. In it was a card from a boy I’d been dating—the particulars of which I no longer even remember. After scanning it quickly, I snapped it closed before my seatmate had a chance to finish reading it over my shoulder, crumbled it into a ball, and shoved it down into my bag.

“Oh, you shouldn’t do that!” my seatmate admonished. “You can’t just throw it away! You should save it for your pity-part box.”

All the while she offering me her unsolicited advice, the streamers on her hat were flying wildly about her head in punctuation of every word. The hat was evocative of something I couldn’t quite place. I finally decided that the ribbon had come off a Mardi Gras float. Without a doubt, that hat was parade quality.

Intrigued by a woman self-confident enough to wear that hat, I said, “Okay, I’ll bite. What is a pity-party box?”

Clearly, this was the opening my fellow traveler had been waiting for in all the years she had been riding streetcars and making Easter bonnets.

“Every time you get a letter, something special from someone you love, you put it in a special box. One day you’ll be old like me, and when you’re feeling low, you’ll take out your pity-party box, and you’ll feel happy,” she promised.

Naturally, I didn’t keep the card. I didn’t even start my own pity-party box until after my children were born, when I couldn’t bear to throw away their treasures in crayon, paint, and marker. But that was just he beginning.

I have notes in that box from my grandmother who is long dead. When I see her strong, scrawling handwriting on her monogrammed stationery, I can actually hear her voice in my head.

I have notes from the saddest and happiest moments in my life. There is something in there from almost every person I have ever loved, people who are a constant in my life and those who have died or drifted away.

Perhaps it is a deep-seated love of the written word, but nothing brings to me a sense of presence more than a person’s handwritten words, and nothing reduces me to tears faster than a handmade valentine. My pity-party box is a huge shoebox decorated by my child to hold his valentines when he was in preschool.

Over the years, I have sometimes thought of the Easter bonnet lady on the streetcar and hoped she was as comforted by the odd bits in her box as I have been by mine. I’m glad I eventually took her advice. So far, I haven’t felt the urge to wear an ostentatious Easter bonnet, but if I feel so moved over the next few years, I want you to know that I’m not above it. I don’t rule out much of anything these days.

*Thinking about all my NOLA friends today with Hurricane Isaac coming ashore, so I thought I’d post this excerpt from my first book, SWAG: Southern Women Aging Gracefully. Be safe and enjoy!

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