My friend Charles read Tinsel a couple weeks ago, while on a trip to his place out in Alaska. (Charles gets around. I get nowhere these days — I’m so busy that I just had to cancel the briefest four-day visit to Albuquerque in a couple of weeks, which is a bummer. On that note, sorry for the blog dearth the last few days. I am trying to catch up this afternoon.)

So Charles and I got together for lunch. He said he loved the book. I was relieved to hear it because he grew up in the toniest parts of Dallas in the ’50s and ’60s and his family had land out in the vast forever prairie that became Frisco (and The Colony). When I was writing the first draft, in the summer of 2007, Charles was a good sounding board. He’s one of those people whose jaws drop when they see Frisco now and its endless supply of subdivisions and shopping centers. He’s very excited about the book and had lots of things to say about how to promote it. I am grateful. (The part in Chapter 2 where I go to the “first Monday” markets in Canton, Texas, jazzed him up — turns out Charles wrote a screenplay — he’s a man of many talents! — that is partially set around the Canton flea market scene. I’m reading it now and enjoying it.)

At lunch the other day, somehow Charles and I got to talking about the impression one gets in Dallas and its suburbs that everyone is so nice. It’s true, they are. Charles remembered taking a boyfriend home to Texas years ago and the boyfriend being so stunned how nice everyone was. But it can also be the most superficial kindness — that whole combination of well, bless your heart matched with icy cool disdain.

“Luvyasguar!” Charles calls it.


Yes, Charles says. He often found that when you really needed someone’s help or really needed them to listen, the response was “Love ya, sugar! Bye!” That quickness to hang up the phone or tune out the other person. “Luvyasugar! Can’t talk. Luvyasugar. Bye.” It’s rejection with sugar on top. It keeps things from getting intimate, messy, expensive, and anything else that would upset the status quo. Luvyasugar is the ultimate edit.

My new favorite phrase.

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