Iodine Discussion: Open Season On The Author

Actually, author season is over for another year.  Instead of hunting us, now is the time to put out the salt-lick and spray yourselves for ticks.

Some of you have noticed a shift in tone or content in my new novel, Iodine, and as promised, here is the chance for you to ask/answer questions, offer theories, or talk about your phobias.  (I don’t know what you’ll do, for heaven’s sake.)  Please be kind to one another:  it’s just a novel, life is brief, we’re all in the same itty bitty boat.   [Ed. Note:  Haven would not actually get in a boat, big or small.  She and George Stuteville are both greatly attached to dry land.]

Published in: on October 9, 2008 at 9:13 pm  Comments (1,019)  


  1. Paul Stukey (Stookey?) said swimming was just a way of staying alive in the water — that he’d do whatever was necessary — pop CO2 cartridges, whatever…

    I think he understated it.

  2. One of the things I keep coming back to is the image of Ianthe holding the images of the ultrasounds. (Forgive any errors here, my copy of the book is on loan at this time.) I keep going back and forth on if it’s possible that it was her miscarriage. The reason I think that is because when she is hospitalized, she thinks she has been married for only four months and not four years.

  3. Another way of staying alive without drowning is to keep your face in the air. That’s been my plan for years now and ta da!

  4. Ah, Sock. Good one. I’ll let other people address that first — I know there are plenty of opinions on that scene.

  5. My question would be: What is the question that your Perfect Reader would ask and how would you answer that question? But. I imagine that that is cheating.

    A few thoughts:
    1. One of the things I loved most about the book was how long it took me to realize what was going on. I suppose that the more astute did not have that problem/privilege. So to the Blog Babies… when did you realize that some instability was at work in our heroine?

    2. Not to be too personal, Haven, but your recent experiences make me wonder if you had ever experienced a seizure before you wrote Iodine, as Trace experiences near the end of the book. (Thinking: since your pregnancy was similar to Rebekah’s and this possible connection… you may have to think of your health more when you are writing)

    3. You have said that this is possibly your best work. Was this book more difficult to write, both in terms of emotional turmoil and craft?

  6. AlmostClouds, yes, I’ve had seizures in the past, but not for a very long time, and not of the sort that Ianthe experiences. Seizures have a long history in religion and politics, and among mystics. I’ve always been interested in the relationship between brain activity at the basic level and one’s reliability as a narrator, or a viewer, a reporter. That I began having seizures again so close to the book’s publication is just . . . you know, luck.

    It was both the hardest book I’ve ever written and the most enjoyable. The research was a massive undertaking, and certainly when I began I had a Grand Theme in mind, one that consisted of half-a-dozen different threads, and each of them had to be woven with absolute consistency. It was also mournful, because I knew the end at the beginning, and there were sections I approached with real dread. But one cannot be an author and a coward. (I have no idea if that’s true.)

  7. Pushing her way to the front of the line, one reader whipped out a list of questions for the author:

    1. The chapter titles are clues. Clues to what? I’ve worked on it, I’ve attempted following your hints, but it’s not clear to me. Yet.

    2. What was the “reveal” you mentioned several weeks ago about Candy Buck’s trailer?

    3. What happened to Candy’s children? When Trace asked Candy “What about Danny Rae and Duane?” Candy “sat very still” and said, “They’re fine now. I took care of them, I made sure. They’re fine now.” Is this tied in with the rusty smears Trace later finds on the walls of the trailer?

    4. Candy tells Trace she could “save Billy,” that she “did it twice before [once for Erin and once for Jessie] and survived.” What was Marty threatening and how did Trace succumbing thwart his threat?

    5. Is there a way to tell what happens in “real time” and what Trace “imagines”? For example, when Trace writes in her dream journal, is that “imagined”? When her ears begin ringing and her hands are numb, is she “imagining”? The “tall repulsive man with the food-filled beard [and] his wiry-haired companion” at the party — a figment of her imagination?

    6. Is there significance to Candy’s maiden name of “Warner”?

    7. Is Cleonus the coyote’s name a tribute to your taxidermy friend of nearly the same name?

    8. Please connect the dots for me re: the meeting with Cleonus and the rock in Trace’s neck; Jacob finding Trace with the ultrasound screens in her hand; and Trace telling him “This happened to me; you’ve got to take me to Candy’s; I know how to make it stop.” (I realize you may at this point have your head in your hands because I’ve completely missed the point in such a major way, but knowing you need help is 50% of the battle, right?)

  8. Pardon me, Haven can you tell me when Iodine will be available in Australia? I can’t participate in this yet but I look forward to reading this thread once i’ve got my hands on and read Iodine.

  9. Jodi, I like #4. I personally got confused about Billy’s place in the timeline and the references early on to his being “found.” I’ve reread it to see if I could work it out, but so far no such luck. Hopefully Haven can (will) help us out.

  10. and thank you, haven, for doing this and for your answers. we are lucky people.

  11. Amanda, RIGHT?!! When Dusty, in her meth-induced stupor, suggests that Billy’s dead — is he? Was that Billy talking to Trace on the pay phone in the freezing cold? What about the warning letter Trace wrote to Billy about Marty and Loretta knowing where he was, that she forgot to mail? And the ending … Lord, what REALLY happened? Had Billy been dead for five years?

    Which brings us to Weeds. He. Breaked. My. Heart. Poor Weeds. How much of his suffering was real? Was that him existing in the farmhouse with Trace? Or is Weeds one of the symbolic black dogs?

    Back to you, Amanda.

  12. Jodi:

    1. In terms of the chapter titles, begin with the literal meanings and then just follow any threads that make sense. For instance, a ‘nekyia’ is a descent to the Underworld, but not the sort of the Hero’s Journey. It has translations in both Greek and Latin, and is used to describe Christ’s Harrowing of Hell. Imagine what it means in the context of the puzzle in front of you.

    2. & 3. The answer to both of these lies in whether you believe Candy exists or ever existed. There is one major clue in their first conversation about that, but if you didn’t see it I’ll tell you what it is.

    4. Marty wanted Trace — not Loretta — but Trace ‘slipped out of his grasp,’ remember? So who would he threaten in order to make her come home?

    5. When Ianthe is in the hospital and her diagnosis is revealed, the neurologist tells Jacob that transglobal/amnesia epilepsy has its own auras, or forewarnings, and that he should learn what his wife’s are. The doctor goes on to say that they typically involve a bell ringing, numbness in the hands or face. We can assume that anything the protagonist experiences when that clue is given is hallucinatory and disassociative.

    6. Yes.

    7. It’s the other way around.

    8. Imagine how difficult — almost impossible — it would be to live independently with such an overwhelming organic illness. Trace/Ianthe uses everything at her disposal to organize the world around her: Freud, Jung, Hillman, literary theory, myth, fairy tales, abduction stories. Let’s say she has a memory from childhood, and it involves a dog, a wolf, a coyote. What are all those animal visitations? Let’s say she has a small knot in her neck, one that even she herself tries to say is nothing, a calcium deposit, because a particular method of organizing — the abduction story — is terrifying to her. In a moment of unbearable extremity, she is no longer able to hide from what she believes to be true most deeply: that she, not just Candy, not just Persephone, was abducted (she fell through a hole in the earth and two hounds fell in after her). She was marked; she was impregnated; she had a child stolen from her. When Cleonus reappears he orders events for her again, as he did when she small. I’m trying to help without saying too much.

  13. Tex, you’re in AUSTRALIA? Give me your address — you can e-mail it to the webmaster by the link — and I’ll send you a copy.

  14. Did Trace need to be rescued so badly that she allowed Jacob to usurp her life? Her nearly-completed degree, her dog, who she was and how she spent her days — all gone, without ever asking him “Why?”. Did she feel that invisible already? Does her name — Trace — give the answer?

  15. Billy is the key to everything.

    1. She calls him from a payphone she can never find again.
    2. She writes him a letter but there’s no address on the envelope, and she never mails it.
    3. She believes she keeps his address and phone number with her at all times, but it isn’t really there.

    You can take it from that point.

  16. Jodi, you first have to decide if the protagonist is a person named Ianthe who hallucinates that she has a past as someone named Trace Pennington, or if she’s a woman named Trace Pennington who invents a false identity in order to hide from her past. Either way, what did Jacob really take from her, compared to what he gave her? Did he really take away her dog?

  17. OOOooooooohhhhh … Living amid the corn and death here in Indiana makes one take things too LITERALLY. Maybe Candy’s not REAL?? Oooooohh … you mean, my Favorite Paragraph, the one including the Civil War battlefield?? Is THAT the one with the Major Clue? My brain just unlocked, Haven. Until just now I didn’t “Imagine how difficult — almost impossible — it would be to live independently with such an overwhelming organic illness.”

  18. I’m going to take a quick break. Talk amongst yourselves — I’ll be back shortly.

    My friend Tim wants to open a Mexican restaurant called Taco Munch Yourselves.

  19. There you go, Jodi Of The Seven Thousand Hymns.

  20. Haven, This is exciting Beyond Any Singing of It, and I have to re-read and re-think now! THANK YOU for this opportunity!! Sorry for all the exclamation points, but it’s really how I’m feeling. I start teaching middle school tomorrow morning at 7:55 am, and I have to try to Stop Thinking and start sleeping. I’m so looking forward to continuing this discussion tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow … Thanks again, and get some rest yourself.

  21. gah!!! if candy isn’t real it completely negates my point about Billy’s being “found” since it is Candy who says it…

  22. ohohohohoh…. “Trace watched Candy carefully, because this woman – a woman who had come to such straits as this – was the sole repository of Tracy Sue Pennington’s past.”

  23. i hope the quote above speaks to the question of who IS the main character.

    re: Jacob… I definitely felt like he was The Great Manipulator but you seem to suggest that I give him a second look. Drat.

  24. i hope the quote above speaks to the question of who IS the main character.

    re: Jacob… I definitely felt like he was The Great Manipulator but you seem to suggest that I give him a second look. Drat.

  25. Oh my LORD. I love love love this book…it’s incredible to read and I haven’t a clue what is going on and I don’t care…but I’ve only read it twice and I am on it for a third time now and I have a feeling 20 times is not enough…

  26. hear!hear! kate! i second that emotion. 🙂

  27. I believed the Appomattox scene was real, but then I’ve only read Iodine once (and tore through the last half, unwilling to put it down to look anything up, though I have since, talk about threads, talk about a tapestry!). But if Billy’s dead by then, what does Marty have to threaten?

    “A conundrum. If he truly believes it and he’s completely sane, it happened. And if he completely believes it and it didn’t happen, he’s crazy. And if it happened, we are all in a bind here, where the aliens are concerned.”

    The doctor’s comment about bells ringing being a common trigger had me sitting bolt upright and wishing it weren’t 5am and I could go through the book again for occurrences. She did have that symptom when speaking to Candy.

  28. Also — so striking that Trace calls herself Trace whose alias is Ianthe, until she moves in with Jacob, where the transition to becoming Ianthe seems complete.

  29. Oh how I feel of very little brain in the face of this book.

  30. You really are all quite brilliant.

  31. Amanda: you nailed it. If Billy is dead, Candy isn’t real.

  32. That makes me very nervous, because the scenes with Candy were so incredibly convincing. Except for the whole alien abduction part.

  33. What about Loretta? She seems very unlikely to me. Every time she touches Trace, she gets a blister.

  34. Yes, they were very real.

  35. Also, Loretta communicates with Candy, apparently.

  36. What about that Todd guy in the leather…the one who is bleeding? Another “visitor?”

  37. it makes so much sense looking back, and i cannot wait to reread the book with this information. the clue about the ringing in the ears makes a huge difference.

    also, am very interested in page 26 where the animals in her hallucinations are progressively more deadly or dead themselves.. the snake around her neck, the fawn while she makes arrows, a buzzard circling, a calf split open, the hung raccoon, three dogs in the cemetery “looking for my remains” all leading up to the sentence: “Those were all a rehearsal for what came later.”


  38. I forced myself to save Iodine for my trip-to-the- mountains vacation and oh my lord, it was all I could do to pull myself out of it and interact with my family! I was reminded of being a freshman in college and reading Faulkner’s Sound and Fury and learning to suspend my need to understand everything that was going on and just immerse myself in the story. I’m going to start reading Iodine for the 2nd time tonight and then I will revisit this wonderful blog. I have been so disconcerted for the past 2 days because I had no one to process this incredible book with. Thank you, Haven, for this gift.

  39. Amanda, exactly (about the progression of the animals).

    Kate, ask yourself how reliable Trace’s version of Loretta would be, and what is actually known about her.

  40. Beth, thank YOU. Really — this novel is work, and I’m grateful to all of you for taking the time and doing me the honor of reading it.

  41. I am re-reading the scenes with Candy…what*does*it*all*mean?? Why does Candy think she was abducted? What is the significance if she is not real? Is Trace viewing her own abuse manifested in the guise of Candy?

  42. We know that Trace is not reliable at all, obviously, so we can’t really trust the information given…but everything she says about Loretta makes her seem like either a scam artist or another manifestation of insanity. Did Loretta actually abuse her? The events of the book are swirling in my brain…I really haven’t read it enough to really parse it, but I am going back and noticing small things…

  43. Candy is very painful to talk about — for me, I mean. The first time my editor really pushed me to tell her outright, not in literary terms, no ‘it’s in your imagination, Wylie,’ business, the truth about Candy, I couldn’t speak. I feel the same way about Weeds.

    What is TRUE is that Candy is Trace’s only friend in the world, and the repository of her history, and that they know everything about one another. And at the very moment Trace becomes most interested in and afraid of various abduction myths, Candy herself announces she has been abducted.

    Loretta had a child with violet-colored eyes who had transglobal epilepsy. What do you think she did?

  44. …and the passage where she’s on the dirt floor and Marty on top of her, “once for Erin, once for Jessie” — I confess this made me wonder if they weren’t Trace’s children… (maybe I hallucinated this, as I can’t find it now)

  45. Ok, I get Candy now. It’s completely clear to me.

    And yeah, I get Loretta too…

  46. The references to Trace’s herself being a changeling made me think that that was the case with Loretta, too, an abduction.

  47. Hmmmmmmm

  48. Read a page, go back online, click “refresh.” That’s all I’m doing!!

  49. That’s funny, Miss Cake, because I answer a comment, go to another open browser page, read some Go Fug Yourself, come back and hit refresh!

    Carrie, those are Dusty’s children. Beloved nieces.

  50. Ok here’s what keeps coming up for me…and maybe it’s because I’m a therapist and have worked in mental health field for so, sooo long, but…could we be talking about dissociative identity disorder? what used to be called multiple personality? There is something about Candy being the “repository of Trace’s history” that makes me think of the splitting off of personalities.

  51. Oh wow, I had never looked at Go Fug Yourself before. Nice to see something like that all nicely organized.

  52. Beth, that is exactly what I was thinking and whythehelldidn’tIthinkofitbeofore??

  53. Beth, that’s certainly one way of describing the situation. Although I believe that what used to be called multiple personality disorder didn’t manifest as An Other Person In The Room with the basically stable identity of the disordered. Our protagonist has a stable personality, if you can accept that. But she is given nothing but an intellect with which to make sense of the world, and so when she’s most in need (or most vulnerable) someone or something arrives and helps her: Candy, Cleonus, Billy, The Man With The Food In His Beard & Toad’s Wild Ride, a dog.

  54. i’ve got one last thought before bed (though, in all honestly, i doubt my employers would notice whether or not i am coherent at work), and my thought isn’t terribly literary. more… bleary.

    in THE paragraph on candy you write that she “lacked verisimilitude” and that feels so terribly ironic to me one more than one level. the level that occurs to me tonight is that candy could have been my grandmother… everything about your descriptions of candy and her home rang so crazily true to life. the… stickiness… of candy’s home, the tv, the coffee and cigarettes, the dogs, the filth, the naked, unfocused children… if you had only added a room full of “collector’s edition” dolls and flat diet mountain dew it would be my grandmother’s house exactly.

    i could tell you tales!

  55. also arriving to help her: Uncle Eugene. i think.

  56. Ah, but Amanda, she lacked verisimilitude in ONE of Trace’s worlds. She was the final reality in the other. I know how real that trailer was; I’ve been in it, too.

  57. Remember what Uncle Eugene did, besides teach her the truth about bobcats? She scraped her knee on a nail and he put iodine on it.

  58. yes! yes to both those points!

    i’m all tingly with the pure beauty of the fact of this post, this book, this discussion. i can’t wait for tomorrow.

  59. Whew, Amanda. God bless you — you’ve made the next year look worth it.

  60. Iodine, my copy, I am sad to say, is somewhere in India even as I write. I gave it to my favorite cousin last Friday who said he wanted something to read on the plane.

    So, damn, I have an unreliable memory and my copy of Iodine is in Bombay.

    But I told him that in my reading history, I had never seen a book do what Iodine does. I have seen authors control time; I have read from unreliable narrators; I have wrenched plot from dense narrative and description…but I have never, ever, read a book where time, space, and place have been diced up neatly and then placed into blender set on high speed and then have the resultant smoothie thrown against the wall. (Vonnegut did get close, however. Faulkner and Joyce, too)

    He said, “Wow, do I really want to attempt this?”

    I said, “Maybe not, this book is a pull. Maybe you should just get something Hindu or Buddha-related. Those deities are essentially archetypes. Of course, Iodine is loaded those.”

    So my cousin, who just graduated from Stanford, says, “Archetypes? Are you talking Jung or Hillman?”

    I said this book makes Jung look like a action figure.

    After he left I thought: “Shouldn’t have said that.”

    Because I remember finishing it, putting it down, being very puzzled by it, re-reading the ending, going back to certain paragraphs.

    Now I may be dancing the electric hubris slide here, but I think I figured it out.

    I asked Haven and she kinda, sorta, maybe affirmed my theory in her cryptic way.

    But, for me, I couldn’t see through it until I gave up trying to give it a close read. The answer came when I quit looking into the ditches but kept my gaze on the general terrain.

    Should I say more?

    I will say this. I thought Rita’s clothes were very, very important.

  61. Oh. My. GOD.

    I have to stop reading this thread and go re-read Iodine from start to finish. Can I just tell you that it was an amazing and thoroughly captivating read for me, but on a level that is so much more simple that the intricate nuances that are being discussed here. (I came to a similar realization once while watching Monty Python with a theology major who pointed out–through hysterical, gasping laughter–that the way they were conjugating the verbs in that Latin graffiti was what was REALLY funny about the scene.) Sigh.

    Miss Haven, you are going to looooooove Lauren Slater’s memoir, Lying. The first chapter is two words: “I exaggerate.” And if that feels too whiff-y of the James Frey disaster, please allow me to lure you in with this: “I have epilepsy. Or I feel I have epilepsy. Or I wish I had epilepsy, so I could find a way of explaining the dirty, spastic glittering place I had in my mother’s heart.”

  62. George, I am laughing like a schoolgirl. You are so bloody smart.

  63. Oh dear…George…please elaborate. The clothes?? Is Rita a lesbian in San Francisco, and if she is, why does that doctor know?


  64. Shanna, wow. WOW. You may have heard me mention my mentalist? So we were talking about the dangers of compulsive thinking (for writers — he specializes in writers) and I said to him, “I don’t actually have compulsive thoughts.” But I’m always afraid of lying, so I thought a moment and then said, “Except I’m ceaselessly terrified I’m going to have a seizure.” He said, “Do you have seizures?” And because I’m afraid of lying I said, “I don’t know,” and less than a week later I was in an ambulance. But my mother is guilty of nothing.

  65. Ugh, I wish I had read this book another good three or four times…for some strange reason I scored really well in Reading Comprehension. Maybe because it’s not hard to read one paragraph six times and then answer questions about it. But once? Nope.

  66. No, monkey, I have NOT heard you mention YOUR MENTALIST WHO SPECIALIZES IN WRITERS. (Uh, and I’m going to need all those details. Like…now.)

  67. why? why? why? does this have to start when I am knee deep in preparing for a lecture tomorrow??


    I have a page one “dot-to-dot” –

    I think the name “Trace” represents the element of “Iodine” (which is colored violet, as are her eyes in color), and when a human has a deficiency (of iodine) they are “stunted/retarded”; so if Trace has an excess amount of Iodine in her system, would it explain her genuis and her instability/auras/other symptoms of seizures/hallucinations, etc.???

    I cannot believe I can’t dive into this right now . . . Will try to catch up tomorrow when I get back in town.

    Why do George and I have to work!!!????
    (I could have used his help today on the powerpoint thingy-me-jiggy).

  68. You’ll have to go back to the former entry, Boy With Birds, and read about our recent discussion concerning ‘weapons,’ and his reckless, reckless behavior.

  69. I’m unclear about why you people have jobs. Augusten is writing a book on a deadline (I still hear from him all day though), Robert is snowed under, Timmy is working on a huge project, Scott is working on a huge project, only I am avoiding my real job. And I’m not really (CHRISTOPHER), because THIS IS MY JOB after a fashion.

  70. Of course this is your job. And I am almost always here WHILE I am working, because my job almost exclusively involves me sitting on my ass staring at my laptop and clicking, clicking, clicking and occasionally typing. Yay!

  71. clothes are VERY important, goes towards the persona(s) . . . I think.

    What I know – I don’t care who was real, I just loved the circling and I am so glad Ianthe/Trace found places and people to offer her sanctuary when she needed it. What an ultimate coping mechanism.

    That trailer. I am SHUDDERING, about to pee my pants . . . puke.

    But I will try to sleep anyway – hah, me and my thesaurus and Iodine are hitting the sack . . .

  72. I need to figure out a way to get paid to read this blog.

  73. oh. oh my god. george i think i got it. oh dear.

  74. Yes – I am way out of the loop today, due to my self-control, you know . . . and the fact that they freaking electrician working on my studio had my electricity out for 3 1/2 hours this morning . . . way behind . . . should have found somebody’s wireless to syphon off of . . .

  75. Oh dear is right.

  76. AAAAAH I feel like I am so close…just fumbling in the dark and I keep bumping up against things…

    GEORGE? Be our light in the darkness!! Tell us your theory, and then Haven the Maven can confirm.

  77. I consider this work time – research don’t you know . . . but then I can’t drag the laptop to appearances, which really gets my invisible panties in a wad!

  78. …could I have the name of your mentalist please? I am in sore need of some explanation.

  79. too early for ultimate theories . . . more agony is necessary

  80. Ok, George email me off list. I’m impatient.

  81. here is what I said on my review – “Iodine is book to be devoured, and yes, endured.”

    I meant that in a totally complimentary way, and there was much more to follow, but that is what it felt like to me – birthing.

  82. some Iodine stains just don’t leave

    …what really got me about Iodine was place. I have been in Candy’s mobile home. I interviewed her about a terrible buzz in Kokomo, Ind. — a high-pitched whine that only she and a few others could hear. I swear to God, the place Haven described, I was there.

    …and I have driven by abandoned farmhouses at night near Oolitic, Ind., just off U.S. 50, where you see a furtive glow of light — scary and inexplicable in a window on the second floor.

    …and I know the smell of someone who heats by kerosene.

    …and I have heard the smugness and seen the pretension of certain academics in B-list colleges who sought to dazzle middle-class Hoosier kids with their references to Yale

    …and the pitiful abandoned dog who snarls at passing bicyclists and is more pained by “You Go Home!!!!” than a kick in the ribs

    I had a feeling that Haven took a big dipper and sunk deep in the punch bowl that is rural Indiana where a sumptuous dream or a terrible nightmare is but a matter of interpretation.

  83. Every time I have a baby I throw up a whole bunch.

  84. perfect parallel!

  85. Work-people are all the time gettin up in my business. Like we just had the house painted? And the painters played a boombox constantly. Very nice men, dear as can be, good painters. But sweet creeping savior, fifty times a day the older painter would say to the younger, “Now who’s this?” And I’d be doing my complete silence thing and I’d think, “Foreigner, 1977.” Three point five minutes later the older would ask it again and I”d think, “AAAUUGGHHH. FOGHAT.” And older would say, “Now where’s the man who wrote this song from?” At one point I stepped out on to the porch and said, “Van Morrison is IRISH, Younger Painter Man. Bryan Adams is CANADIAN. Bryan Adams is not RYAN ADAMS, who gets his spaz on if you make the mistake, and the GREAT band that sounds like Foghat but isn’t is BAD COMPANY,” and then I went back to reading the early Quakers.

  86. Haven never ACTUALLY confirmed it and I’m glad of that. So I would be talkin’ outta school. A little mystery is always a good thing. I have no problem with ambiguity.

  87. Ok, that must be what my stomach is doing. I thought it was the Pronto Pup, Gyro, Ski Slushy and Cherry Cobbler Ala Mode I had for dinner (it’s our Fall Festival week.)

    It’s not indigestion…it’s IODINE!

  88. haven, i just tried to email you with my thought. i didn’t want to post it here, but i’m not sure the email address i used is valid. hopefully it is b/c ohhhhh myyyyy goodness.

  89. George, if she didn’t confirm it then that is EVEN better. We are supposed to be dishing our theories. Please, be my antacid!

  90. I threw up with all three children and all seven books.

  91. …well, I will go get a copy of it. It sounds like
    a thriller! Who is this Man With The Food In His Beard? Has he no shame? Does he dip that beard n hot water and make soooup?

    Tell John happy birthday! He should come to Crete one day! Tell him I bought twenty-four ho-made kolaches the other day! No, not all for me, silly republican! I put them out for my co-workers, who fell to with relish. Chewin’, cooin’ ‘n’ sigh’n.

    THere were: poppyseed, apricot, cherry and cream cheese. Which would you choose? I wrote up a list of
    the characteristics of the kolachoosers of each category…

    You know, there is a lot of blog here! Sad, but
    I guess any new comments on old posts just sit there in the past…unread! Is there a time-limit on comments?

    What have you been reading of late? You probably say so in back posts.

    Ask Ma Pedipalp if she ever read “Catseye” by Andre Norton.


  92. My husband says I throw up more than any person he has ever met. Maybe it’s a writer thing?

  93. yes, let’s do theories and then Haven can say Hot or Cold . . .

    I’m in – just opened a bottle of Primitivo from Capri! Toast!

    I’ll just use more concealer under my eyes tomorrow . . .

  94. Between the books and the babies, which was the hardest labor?

  95. ….I wrote a brilliant comment about ten minutes ago, and now I don’t see it. darn. my luck

  96. ok I read the thread about the mentalist (fake evil Santa attack, perfectly logical to me). But I still want to know, y’know, about the mentalist. What do you guys DO?

  97. Aaaaugh! I will pray for the deliverance of your comment from blog purgatory, or somethin’.

  98. …naw, we go back and re-read old posts. I do, at least. I have to…to stay up with this crowd! I’m old, you know.

  99. My husband just told me he’s proud of me for being involved in intellectual discussions. If he only knew…

  100. George, Kate, Sher, I am afraid I might be onto what George is thinking??? But I hesitate to post the whole theory… I guess my hint for my IDEA would be to take a previous comment about Trace/Ianthe holding the ultrasound pictures with George’s comment about Rita’s clothes, and, um, also page 191.

  101. This book that we are speaking of, brought me to this blog, and apparently this is the moment I have been waiting for. I feel like I need to be very quiet and just listen, but you need to speak slowly people. This is the book that changed my life and I feel like I am just now figuring out how. My head is spinning and I am so excited I can’t sit still. Please keep asking the hard ones Jodi, and interject when you can George, and the rest of you, so that I can learn something here. And Haven, thank you so much for opening yourself up to this.

  102. last baby was 8 months of bedrest and hospitalizations (5 long ones) . . . thought I would die (but it was boring and I crocheted or puked) . . .

    reading Iodine was hours and hours of labor and it is still not fully “birthed” for me.

  103. Matt, I’m weak over here. I’d forgotten that Delonda and I were Pedipalpeses.

    I’ve read about 400 collections of poetry (by 400 I mean a bunch), I just finished Darkness Visible, by William Styron. I’m also re-reading The Savage God by A. Alvarez. I loved Joan Silber’s Ideas of Heaven. I’m halfway through Peter Straub’s Shadowland and I’ve just started Dawn Powell’s A Time To Be Born. Also just started a galley of the new Stephen King. But really bushels of poems.

  104. Dear Ms. Cake. It was that brilliant. Just impressionistic. It went something like this:

    What really got me about Iodine was place. I have been in Candy’s mobile home. I interviewed her about a terrible buzz in Kokomo, Ind. — a high-pitched whine that only she and a few others could hear. I swear to God, the place Haven described, I was there.

    And I have driven by abandoned farmhouses at night near Oolitic, Ind., just off U.S. 50, where you see a furtive glow of light — scary and inexplicable in a window on the second floor.

    And I know the smell of someone who heats by kerosene.

    And I have heard the smugness and seen the pretension of certain academics in B-list colleges who sought to dazzle middle-class Hoosier kids with their references to Yale

    Or the pitiful abandoned dog who snarls at passing bicyclists and is more pained by “You Go Home!!!!” than a kick in the ribs

    I had a feeling that Haven took a big dipper and sunk deep in the punch bowl that is rural Indiana where a sumptuous dream or a terrible nightmare is but a matter of interpretation.

  105. also, please someone else hurry up and say this theory out loud because my mind is REEEELING

  106. I say one of the biggest tell-tale clues is on page 13:

    “he believes he is telling the truth but he is lying because he doesn’t know the difference, in which case he is not sane in any way . . .

    a conundrum . . .

    their minds protect them by throwing up a SCREEN MEMORY”

    to me this page foreshadows the entire book.

  107. What about page 200??

    I hope I’m not in false labor.

  108. I tried reposting my brilliant comment, but the blog won’t take it…guess my secret’s safe with me.

  109. how much do you want for the galley of the new stephen king . . . maybe I will switch to being a writer . . .I like their perks better!

  110. Candy was the sergeant.

  111. george, can i email you? or you me? or haven can just post here whether we are having the same thought?

    i am at

  112. Yes, right on Sher. That’s the ticket. That part I understand. But now I am working on the Rita mystery.

  113. yes . . . lost autobiographical details . . . that is good!!!! and the only thing I had flagged on that page!

  114. not that I know what the heck I’m talking about mind you . . . just my theory

  115. one of the most beautiful lines I’ve ever read:

    pg. 29

    “a girl who rode away from a funeral on a black night mare”

  116. Books are harder than babies, except for the stitches.

    Remember how, in the Boy With Birds post, I mentioned how as I wrote the end of Part One of Solace my legs were jumping up and down frantically? That’s what my whole body did writing the first draft of this book. Aaaaand the second. Really, it was one of the worst times of my life but I didn’t realize it — I was just desperately trying to catch lightning in the palm of my hand.

  117. Yes, that, but also what the doctor says about Rita…how the heck would he know?

  118. wow . . . Haven that is amazing, you were a real conduit – thanks for being open enough and strong enough to let it come through . . . we are so lucky and blessed that your editor was responsive to you letting it all hang loose – that must have been invigorating and terrifying at the same time . . .

  119. Thank you, Sher. I love that part, too.

    Amanda, I’m quite certain you and George are thinking the same thing. I don’t know what he’s thinking but I think I can guess. I mean, he is George.

  120. And you did, Haven. You definitely did.

    kate: is it possible that the dr. is joking? with my current theory of things, that is my assumption.

  121. another tell-tale sign:

    pg. 120

    “a mnemic trace, as Freud . .. an alteration of my very neurons”

  122. Now, that is something I never thought of.

  123. You women and all your births amaze me. The two most profound experiences in my life were (well, three, really) were being there not just at conception, but when my boys were born. I was once present at a third conception though I had nothing to do with it. I was writing a story about in vitro fertilization and frozen embryo transfer when I actually saw the actual moment through a microscope…it was then and there that I decided DNA was the strongest force on the planet.

  124. thinking like george!!!!!! HOORAY!!!!

  125. the only definition I can find for mnemic is a death metal band from Denmark.

  126. almostclouds…i think we are thinking the same thing. pretty darned amazing, isn’t it?

  127. Shanna, the mentalist sits in a chair and I sit on the couch by the window. He is always dressed impeccably — I mean, bravo, Doctor. I tell him every week how blasted stylish he is. Even his glasses are handsome. And he asks me questions and I answer them, and I ask him questions and sometimes he answers them. This has gone on for quite some time now and I foresee it continuing for years. Recently he admitted that he has given it all, he tries with great fortitude, and doesn’t understand how my mind works. I told him, meh, that’s fine, I don’t either. That’s pretty much it.

  128. George, that is the most incredible part of journalism. I LOVE being in places and getting to see things that I’m unqualified to be involved in. To be allowed to view something of such grave importance and scientific weight would be intense, I am sure.

  129. Yes, I know that death metal band. But death metal bands from Denmark pale in comparison to the ones from Sweden. HAVE MERCY.

  130. george – you would have enjoyed the new show tonight after CSI, it was about cloning. all that DNA . . . wow . . . called 11th hour, very bio-ethical in debates, LOVE that stuff.

    I wouldn’t let my husband anywhere but up by my head during the three births, I didn’t want to be there, didn’t want him there, wish I could have crawled into a pile of hay in a barn the way cats do . . . and all he ever said was, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry – poor thing. we were also not into the cutting the cord thing . . . like, gross. and I still don’t think he has seen a live birth, just the baby being put up on the tummy part . . .

  131. amazing indeed. utterly. am on pins and needles even still. i think we took different paths to get here though… for me i needed to look at specific sentences for it to click. but it is staggering.

    (PEOPLE: it is nearly 2am and i am supposed to be sitting in a cube in about 6 hours. this is the power of Great Art.)

  132. George, what you saw under the microscope is exactly what it feels like. I mean that.

  133. So, what does that word mean, otherwise??


  135. The only thing I can think of is that Trace = Rita, but that is dumb.

  136. Haven, you might like poems by a friend of mine, Ted Kooser. He lives over by Crete.

    Haven, what for you are weak? You people all talk about sick and vomit so much.

    Eeek- The S.G. – I picked that up once and put it down. Intense, good writing, but the subject matter …och.

    You know, at my job, I find out all the houses where suicides have been carried out, in past.

    It’s hard not to remember the addresses. Hell, I don’t forget much of anything.

    And sooner or later, I’ll see the present occupant of such houses or buildings. I never tell them though.
    I usually just smile and say “Hey.” and go on by.

    For me, there is not one inch of this town that is not PREGNANT with GHOSTS! Well, stories anyway.

    I suppose I could write up a list of such places (suicide grounds)in short order. Teenagers would buy it. Realtors would hate it.

    You would be suprised at all what goes on, in any given house. Not all of it is bad. Some of it is funny, actually. And then you run across them again, years later.

    Hee hee, I must sound like an intergalactic Marlon Perkins.

    I will have to tell you about a new blog I am starting soon. I am gathering material for it. It is to be called “TIMEBUCKET!”

    The caps and excitement mark at the end are crucial.
    People like a blog title that’s ACTION PACKED dammit!


    By the way, I think it should be a national custom for people to all agree, that in some set place in a house there would be a jar, and you could leave letters in there for the people who come after you.

  137. nothing was solid in Trace’s life – even her grandmother sat “on a bench someone had crocheted out of cobwebs”

  138. kate…. why so dumb? (page 191, middle)

  139. *Sigh* I know, I know…but I obviously can’t see the forest for the trees or the honey for the bees…

  140. Poor Amanda. No cubes, dearest. Unless it’s a really EXCELLENT cube. My barn is a rectangle.

    Sher, childbirth is a freakish nightmare of just utterly vile hellish proportions. I’m still looking for someone to sue.

    Two important things:

    1. What is the topic of the book Jacob is writing?
    2. The poem Gianni steals from Ianthe’s desk is very important.

    p.s. When I went through the legal read with S&S, the attorney, who was stepping on my live wire, asked me who wrote that poem and if I’d sought permission to use it. Hand to god.

  141. journalism gave me the ticket to a lot of places I would have never visited

    back to Iodine…what really got me was place. I have been in Candy’s mobile home. I interviewed her about a terrible buzz in Kokomo, Ind. — a high-pitched whine that only she and a few others could hear. I swear to God, the place Haven described, I was there.

    …and I have driven by abandoned farmhouses at night near Oolitic, Ind., just off U.S. 50, where you see a furtive glow of light — scary and inexplicable in a window on the second floor.

    …and I know the smell of someone who heats by kerosene.

    …and I have heard the smugness and seen the pretension of certain academics in B-list colleges who sought to dazzle middle-class Hoosier kids with their references to Yale

    …and the pitiful abandoned dog who snarls at passing bicyclists and is more pained by “You Go Home!!!!” than a kick in the ribs

    I had a feeling that Haven took a big dipper and sunk it deep in the psychological punch bowl where a sumptuous dream or a terrible nightmare is but a matter of interpretation.

  142. yeeees…ahhhh…I’m confused…

  143. Here’s a very quick definition, Kate:

  144. Caryl Hayes, are you still here? I hope I’m not riding roughshod over you. I’m trying to be as quiet as you are, in my own noisy way.

  145. Okay, it’s official. As if your writing didn’t completely enslave me. I. adore. you.

    People, are you paying attention to this?? There’s a nattily dressed mentalist in the picture. Also a shelf of weasels in the barn, separated by temperament. How can you not fall ass over teakettle for all of that?

    Tomorrow I’m leaving for 3 weeks at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, to explore the topic of how memory informs writing. To prepare, I’m reading (for the first time, because I am seriously lowbrow) Proust and W.G. Sebald. I really want to cast them both aside to (re)devour Iodine. By the time I’m ready to parse this thread in earnest, you all will be on to other topics, you fickle bastards. Sigh. Timing is everything.

  146. oh wow, esp. “poem 2″ – The woman is pacing, her heart blisters. She is the most beautiful of three.” – and then on to the parts about the stone

  147. I would like to point out that Amanda asked Kate, “Why so dumb?” and I laughed out loud.

  148. Shanna, I have spent the last 5 years of my life falling ass over teakettle over Ms. Haven. I’m valiantly attempting to stand upright now.

  149. Shanna, LUCKY LUCKY YOU. Proust and W.G. Sebald: are to sigh for. You’ll forget all about me. Except of course you’ll remember, because that is your project.

  150. johnny mnemonic . . .

    just had to say that, because I loved that movie and actually helped me grasp (tentatively) a few theories.

  151. For some reason, my brilliant post was rejected here, but accepted over at Boy With Birds…

    really, Haven, it feels that way?

    and thanks for the redirect.

    Sam and I were talking the other day and I asked him his earliest memory…from there we got to talking about how our memories are organized. It’s weird, but mine are pegged to date. His are attached to experience. Go figure that out.

  152. kate, i think standing upright is sometimes seriously overrated. the view’s great from down here.

  153. I think I explained that wrong, Georgio.

    Am I crazy, or did Rita or Ianthe or somebody have a calcified baby?

  154. Och! This computer is beeping at me! Is angry!

    Maybe cause I have not read the book!

    Or: Maybe it wants me to go do the dishes and go to bed! Six comes early!

    Good-night all,


  155. She is the most beautiful of three
    beautiful sisters, and you have said no
    to her after the angels said yes.
    What is that small planet, the secret
    concealed in her dress?
    It is something she swallowed that once
    grew but ceased growing. She will carry it
    through the orchard, to the seaport, and all
    the way home; it is her stone
    child. It is your child, turned to stone,
    white as winter birch, and on this rock
    the angels are building their church.

  156. I think I explained that wrong, Georgio.

    Am I crazy, or did Rita or Ianthe or somebody have a calcified baby?

  157. Or an abortion? A miscarriage? Alien abduction?

  158. Goodnight, Matt! See you tomorrow, koolacachee man!

    George, I’m going to scoot over to the other post and look for your brilliant comment.

  159. okay, I have promised never to do this again. But I am LMAO. God Haven, How quickly you get it.

  160. Shanna: I would love to do something like that. Is it a writing workshop? If you want a great commentary on Proust and memory, there was a little book published recently called Proust was a Neuroscientist. It discusses how various artists arrived a scientific truths through their work. Fascinating stuff. It rearranged a few of my neurons.

  161. good night folks. i hope everyone will be around in the morning to keep me awake in the Cube o’ Death (of the mind, that is).

  162. your name reminds of Clouds by Joni Mitchell…is there a connection?

  163. seed/baby/stone

  164. rock in neck = baby? huh??

  165. INTERESTING. I popped over to Boy With Birds, came back, and there was George’s brilliant comment HERE, twice. And George, my man, you are so so correct. I’ve said it at readings: no matter what I’m writing, I’m writing about Place. And that Place is always Indiana.

    And Matt’s post showed up, too, about his new blog, where the capital letters and the exclamation marks are crucial! This is true of him!

  166. Dorian, what did you promise never to do again? Did it involve tragic ass-removing laughter?

  167. Ok, I think I am going to have to move to the short bus.

  168. Indiana, I understand. Sense of place, absolutely. I know all of those people, and each place mentioned, one way or another.

  169. Sorry if it posted a couple of times…it isn’t showing up from where I sit….

    Does anyone want to talk about Colt?

  170. I want to talk about Colt.

    But I also want to figure out what you all seem to have down, and I’m operating at 50%!

  171. I’m bailing . . . wine made me sleepy, must catch a ZZZ or two if I can . . .

    sorry . . .

    seeing three or four comment boxes means I am down for the count…….

    can’t wait to hear the revelations . . .

  172. Do talk about Colt.

    Night, Sher.

  173. I drank the equivalent of 1.5 Ski Slushees at the Fall Festival…I am not going anywhere.

  174. Haven, I am so busy being quiet that poor Jack WHO SHOULD NOT BE UP knows better than to wake me. I did however go rub his back and now I am playing catch up. George, I put a reading of your birthdate on our yahoo site, please please email me your take on It sounds like bribery but its not.

  175. george, yes, it’s a writing thing. sort of a hybrid between workshop and artist colony, which I’ve done separately but never together. This particular thing is 3 weeks with Honor Moore (poet and memoirist), in conversation about how memory informs writing of all types–fiction, poetry, memoir. it’s a juried selection, mostly subsidized by private donation and the NEA. check it out at: It’s for visual artists, too,sometimes.

  176. These comments are helping, but at the same time I’m frustrated… didn’t realize we’d be discussing this tonight or else my friend Kim wouldn’t have my copy of Iodine. Argh!

    (yup, still awake. sweet baby riley wants to play. someone send the sandman her way please.)

  177. my sister mails me a six pack of Doubles and Ski each Christmas!

    Haven, I truly didn’t understand Colt. Billy, I got. I think that she thought sleeping with Colt, she could obtain the protection she really wanted/needed. Am I anywhere close?

  178. That sounds about right to me George.

  179. JimShue, John mentioned that Jonah across the street is the same age as Gus (five months older, I think) and he is as articulate as I am, while Gus used to call everything ‘da!’ It gave me a fright. I thought I would have to look at him someday and say, “Baby Augusten, why so dumb?” But he has picked up some STEAM, child. Tonight he said, “Gus one piece, one tiny sushi. Gus have one tiny sushi. One stick. Gus have one stick, Mama have one stick.” (Chopsticks.) Then he speared a rainbow roll, peeled the seaweed off and threw it on the floor. He said, “Frow away, a piece. Tiny piece.” But now that he’s started he talks in his SLEEP. Over the monitor I’ve heard him say, “No wash, Daddy. No bubbles.”

  180. Hmmm. Someone else say something about Colt before I do.

  181. Caryl, do you do astrological readings?!? I adore astrology. Well, obviously — there’s Hazel in The Used World.

  182. Sounds like he was just taking after his momma!

    I have these worries myself. Alice is 17 months old and she mostly just says “MaaaaaaaaaM” in a gutteral voice. Occasionally another word will slip out, but mostly that is it. It’s hard not to compare her to Linus. By the time Linus was 18 months old he could say whole sentences like “Look at me Mommy! I’m swimming in a boat!” or “I’m a studmuffin!” At 22 months he responded to a scolding by saying “Don’t be rude momma, don’t be selfish! I was not screaming I was talking!”

  183. Colt…hmmm…Colt. So close and yet so far. How could he not see what was happening?

  184. Ok, the end? Yes, no? Is that why she was on the run?

  185. Gus really could only say ‘da!’ REALLY. John — poor, deluded man — would say, “Did you hear that?!? He said GREEN!”

    One of my favorite children EVER, my oldest and dearest friend Beth’s daughter, Sarah, had an Exorcist laugh as a toddler. And she was indeed rather evil. I worshipped her. When she did learn to talk I asked her question after question. Once we were on our way to see Free Willy and I asked how her day went, and this was her answer. She was four. “WELL first my mom puts me in this sweater I HATE and then I comes home from Betsy’s and go outside to my swingset and someone is SITTING ON IT, and I say, ‘GET OFF MY SWING, YOU BITCHES,’ and he did. Then I goes upstairs and there is a WITCH in my room, and I said to her . . . ” At which point Beth changed the subject. Oh, I’d have let that one run on all night, I tell you.

  186. Who is Colt to her?

  187. How old is Gus because Charlie is 30 monthes and I am worried now. As for the astrological readings, I am busy giving out information from The Secret Language of Birthdays, parceling it out if you will like I hold all of the secrets. Kind of fun to have all of the info for once.

  188. hahahahaha

  189. At the beginning of “Little, Big” (sorry, but character names are escaping me) was it Aunt Cloud who made the comment about women being the practitioners of religion? Men, not so much. My theory is that Colt knew what Loretta was doing with Trace at night, but didn’t want to get involved with it either because he didn’t understand or figured that Loretta knew better than him. I have a picture of this family in my head of not being educated and (Loretta especially) being prone to mysticism and the occult. And by occult, I mean the weird little churches that seem to pop up like purple loosestrife in the middle of nowhere all over this state. So Trace’s seizures might be seen as possession by demons. Either way, I can’t imagine a man like Colt, who seems to be singularly focused in his life, understanding either a medical condition or spiritual one.

    or i’m just rambling on at almost 3am.

  190. Gus is 28 months. Also he grows but his butt doesn’t. So all of his pants fall down.

  191. Very nice, Jim. I think that is accurate.

  192. Very very good reading, Sock Monkey.

  193. Basically, the blog is applauding you, Jim Shue.

  194. Ok, but are you guys going to indulge your slow-witted friend or not? I’m having some trouble here. I cannot fully dissect this sucker and I’m a little stuck.

  195. I do not want to go to bed. But I will.

  196. Yeesh! Must be something to just letting the insomnia take over. Not true insomnia, I seemed to have reverted back to being an infant with my days and nights backwards. Maybe I was born on the wrong side of the planet.

    Riley is 17 months old and just two weeks ago started saying more than mummm mummm mummm, which was a bit disarming considering she has two dads. We finally figured out she was saying not mom but mmmm mmmm when she was hungry or wanted milk.

    First real word? Doggie. Ironic because Hudson doesn’t want anything to do with her most of the time unless she’s dropping food to him from the table!

  197. Alice says that too!

  198. Kate, you were at the reading where I explained that the first line of the novel should not be read for shock value, but as a genuine psychiatric confession. At least twice in the book (once with Dr. Scherring and once with Jacob) she claims to be daydreaming, and is asked if she knows the Freudian interpretation of the habit. She says yes, ‘an inability to surrender the family romance.’ Colt is the locus of the family romance, and by romance Freud meant what occurs in the home. That can be gothic, it can be Tolstoy, it can be romance. But the inability to outgrow it creates an illness. The illness also manifests itself in a constant search for ‘home.’ Is this helping?

  199. In Something Wicked This Way Comes, Bradbury writes, “Three a.m. The soul’s midnight.”

  200. Yes…

    I think I get that part. What I don’t understand is certain specific events, which perhaps I am not meant to. Rita, especially. The ending…I am assuming it is not a literal event, but a sacrifice she is making to surrender the past once and for all?

  201. Imagine there’s no heaven
    It’s easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the people
    Living for today…

    Imagine there’s no countries
    It isn’t hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too
    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace…

    You may say I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope someday you’ll join us
    And the world will be as one

    Imagine no possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    A brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people
    Sharing all the world…

    You may say I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope someday you’ll join us
    And the world will live as one

  202. And I guess I am trying to tie up all the loose ends. This book has so many interconnecting themes…

  203. Charlie was my first baby to say I love you too mom when I say I love you 100 times a day, he did very early. Now its go way, sometimes shut up, all of which I blame on his siblings. He does say sorry mom. And its never mommy, or daddy, or Tommy. He calls his oldest brother Tom, and nobody does that.
    Just killing time here guys tell somebody spills the beans and helps a player out. What do Kate and have to do here?

  204. Okay, let me ask you this. Were you in love with Colt, as a reader?

  205. You told me when I was reading it that you were worried that I would put myself in the story – that didn’t happen. But I KNOW those people. Rural Indiana is full of them. I couldn’t get on the bus in Muncie without one of them talking to me – introverted me of all people. I thought I might be on the wrong track by using my experiences to base what/how these characters tick.

    I think (and this is just from my own experience) that Trace uses – her mind uses – the abduction stories as ways of coping with trauma in her past/present. I was told once that when there are events that your mind can’t handle, your mind will disconnect and show you the memory from a different perspective – an out of body experience. You become a third person observer to make it less traumatic.

  206. A little bit, yeah. He was mysterious, beautiful, sexy.

  207. And he was practical. How many fathers would teach their daughter to be a crack shot? (yeah, i would) I think he was giving Trace the only tool he knew to protect herself.

  208. Ok, I guess this is my question. As the author, did you have a specific timeline for the events? Do you, yourself, know precisely what is real, exactly what is true and what is false? Is that something we should bother to unravel?

  209. But he seemed to be so stunned when she showed him what she’d achieved through practice “what have I done? what have I done?”

    Did I as a reader love Colt? Ass over teakettle.

  210. Right. Colt is (this isn’t all he is, but it matters) a beautiful, desirable, dangerous man. She’s in love with him, as many little girls (ahem) are in love with their fathers, or with Johnny Cash (pardon me). But the object, as one ages, becomes absurd in that light — that’s the definition of sexual health in our culture. What happens if a child is in love with her father, is being traumatized so severely she is, as Jim points out, leaving her body to avoid the trauma, and she never outgrows the initial romance? The fear remains, the passion remains, and she reaches sexual maturity?

  211. So in Jacob, an older man, she finds herself someone to take Colt’s place.

    Hell, I did that too! My first boyfriend was 26. I was 16.

  212. JimShue: I am applauding you…and yes, we’ll go for that pint.

    Caryl: I answered you off-blog. I cannot believe your kindness for the reading. And I thank you. Last summer I was in Savannah and went to a psychic for a palm reading. Maybe I will talk about it someday.

    Haven: Did I love Colt as a reader? I wanted to, but I instantly recognized him as one of those deeply bruised guys who are tough but ineffectual.

    Kids…these old bones are getting kinda tired. I am going to hang in here a while longer, but I am going to have to check out.

  213. BTW, I love your story about your daddy and Johnny Cash.

    I saw Johnny and June play in Atlanta at June’s record release party for “Press On.” GOOSEBUMPS.

  214. Yes, I know what’s real and what isn’t and what occurred when and where and with whom. And I adored Colt, in part BECAUSE he was stunned at the dying swan dance his ten-year-old performed with a Winchester; he knew what was suggested in the act. It was one of his bright, clear moments, when he wasn’t the man avoiding the truth about what was happening to his daughter, or missing it.

  215. Ok, good, then that means that I am not just grasping at sand. That is my main issue. I am trying to piece together the meaning of the story by uncovering the facts, the actual events. The rest can come later.

  216. Goodnight, King George.

    We should all retire, Blog Pups. I mean, Tex is in Australia where it’s YESTERDAY. Or else it’s tomorrow. Either way, the water is going the wrong way down the drain.

  217. Kate: you saw Johnny and June!!! Talk about a love. Next time I’m in Evansville, I am going to come over to your place and wash your windows or mop your floors or something.

  218. George, you have NO idea how bad I need that kind of help!!

  219. Oh Infant Jesus, if I DIDN’T know every single layer of what was real and what wasn’t? Do you know what you’d be holding in your hand? A big mess of crazy between two covers, is what. An unreliable narrator is one thing, but you should ALWAYS be able to trust your author, always.

  220. You know why you are such a great author, Haven Kimmel? Because you are a great person. This world cannot contain you, m’dear. You have my friendship.

  221. Well, that is what I thought…but people keep saying not to worry about it…! But that is EVERYTHING!

    There is a mystery to unravel, here!

  222. I feel the same way about you, M. Stuteville. A giant among men.

  223. Group hug!

  224. Kate: you’d be surprised at what my mother taught me. You’ve heard of the book, Iron John by Robert Bly. Well, I could do a sequel called, Ironing John, just to sing the praises of what I can do with starch.

  225. Yes, Cupcake, there is a mystery to unravel and you hold all the clues — you have them all. I’m just acting as Virgil here, guiding Dante through the Inferno.

  226. My mom taught me that sitting on the couch and reading is AWESOME.

    Haven and I have darn near the same mother, in some ways.

  227. I don’t know if I even thought about the irony(?) between your past and mine until this moment, but my heart aches if I hear anything by Johnny Cash. We watched “Walk the Line” on our anniversary a couple of years ago and I just sobbed during some songs. Dad was a huge Cash fan.

  228. George, my head just fell back against the couch cushions, I laughed that sort of way. I’m sure I looked like one of those puppet-things connected with elastic string, and when you push a button the whole dog collapses. I was the puppet.

  229. Ok, will I be able to figure this out without a real working knowledge of archetype and Freud and Jung?

  230. J.S., you have no idea how large your dad’s death looms in my mind and heart. I feel as if I saw it all, including the moment you were told. (Yes, I remember your reaction.)

  231. And George, thank you. I truly value your opinion

  232. I kind of want to adopt George, to be my cool uncle.

  233. The novel itself is a working knowledge of Freud, Jung, Hillman, and archetypal interpretations of both psychology and literature. If I did it right.

  234. Great…no college required!

  235. I’ve heard that Brad and Angelina have dibs on George.

  236. Ok, now I’m one of those collapsing puppies!

  237. No college! I did it so you don’t have to!

  238. Ah, but there truly is a reason for everything. I could only see the short term reasons at the time, but the guilt isn’t there anymore.

  239. See what I mean about the puppet thing? My big-ass head is too heavy for my skinny neck anyway. I don’t know how I manage to carry the thing around all the time without snapping like a dadgummed twig.

  240. Jim: there shouldn’t be any guilt. There never should have been.

  241. Um, she said puppies, not puppets 😀

  242. I looked that way as a child…practically like a lollipop. Then I grew a huge ass to balance it all out.

  243. OK So where were you when I was twelve, smarty pants?

  244. I was talking about a Puppy Puppet.

  245. My friend Timmy once said he had no idea hydrocephalic children could live into adulthood.

  246. Or become authors!

  247. When you were twelve I was on my bicycle, hellbent for leather, Josephine! Where do you think I was? I had the wind in my hair and rusty nail holes in my bare feet!

  248. Speaking of hydrocephalics, one of the greatest novels in our sweet old world: SHARPSHOOTER BLUES, by Lewis Nordan. Matt in Nebraska, this is what you should be reading.

  249. LOL! OK. I’m toast. Robbie’s not going to be happy with me in the morning when he has to get Riley up and ready by himself.

  250. There are people who read this blog who haven’t even gotten up yet. Isn’t that WEIRD?

    All right, it’s nearly four. Say goodnight, Gracie.

  251. goodnight gracie

  252. Good night Gracie.

  253. Shoot Jim, don’t you know Dr. Pepper is the BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS?

  254. *sigh* Goodnight, y’all.

  255. Oh, just tell Robbie that John gets Gus and Obadiah up and ready by himself EVERY morning. I’m either writing or sleeping — either way, I don’t do that morning business.

  256. Meh, just give me a pot of dark espresso roast

  257. You two were soldiers! George, too! All right, off to bed with all of us.

  258. Yeah, but at some point I have to get up and go to my um “real” job.

  259. And now my leg won’t stop bouncing!

  260. Jim! Go to Bed! Haven’s orders!

  261. yes’m

  262. There’s a quote from Richard Bach’s ILLUSIONS that says, “The image is a dream. The beauty is real. Can you see the difference?”

    Here’s the beauty of this, Haven: You are writing about MY LIFE in this book. And everyone else’s, of course. When I step back and draw some broader, more sweeping parallels, it’s getting clearer.

    So. Colt. Nearly invisible: in the photo of his childhood with his head turned, in the lives of his family. Named after a model of gun. His beauty is real, his image a dream Trace is having. Beloved by the very person he most betrays. Rambling through his life like almost every man of that type, of that decade, in the great state of Indiana. (My own father put 10,000 miles a year on his Ford Ranger without ever going more than 75 miles from our house.) Creating his children, then leaving them to struggle toward the light like hybrid aliens while he flies off to another planet.

    Yes …?

  263. Just reading these comments is making me smarter. Intelligence is leaking through the cosmos courtesy of you folks.

    Jodi–if life were cream, your dad would have churned butter. 10,000 miles without going more than 75 miles from your house. What a fabulous observation!

  264. MWAH-HA-HA-hahahaha!!! Jerri!! My dad was a butter-churner of the first order. I’m gonna tell my best friends what you said, ’cause it’s SO FUNNY. Thanks!

  265. I finally had to go to bed last night…dreamed of going to russia where I surprisingly could understand people even though I don’t speak Russian… anyhoo… here are my thoughts this morning. Really they are more like random neuron firings…

    Jung believed that dreams had a compensatory function. They can bring us messages from the unconscious (personal or collective) about things we are missing or things we NEED in our waking life. If Candy, Billy, Cleonus, et al, showed up when Trace needed them, they could be thought of as archetypal figures, right? Trace/Ianthe has parasomnia – she walks in her sleep, sleeps with her eyes open, daydreams,has nightmares and dissociative episodes.

    And the link Haven provided to the definition of mnemic describes it as a memory TRACE.

    Ianthe tells Dr. Cohen she is the youngest of three sisters and the poem says “she is the most beautiful of three beautiful sisters.” It feels as though there is something important there but I can’t quite grasp it.

    I’ve just got to read it again, slowly, instead of frantically searching through it for clues. (no easy answers here, huh?)

  266. Well, it is a good thing I am not working today because I just spent over an hour reading this thread. Now I am exhausted and may need to go back to bed.

    There is so much useful information here. Thank you everyone.

    I think Jodi was the only person to mention how much she was affected by Weeds. I was too. I could hardly sleep and would wake up in a cold sweat worried about him. And then at the end. Oh, my. My beloved dog-puppy (he is 1 1/2 so he is the size of a full grown dog with the brain and maturity still of a puppy), Foster, looks just like I imagined Weeds to look. So, I kept substituting Foster in my sadness for Weeds. But, Weeds made me happy too because I know what holding on to a dog for warmth means. Maybe more emotional warmth than physical warmth even.

    It is 10:00 and I have not even taken a shower yet and maybe for all you insomniacs that is ok but as for me, I usually take a shower when I get up at 5:00 so now I am just feeling yucky. So, off to the shower and more reading, thinking and typing later.

  267. Re: Haven’s 12:07 am comment: “Ask yourself how reliable Trace’s version of Loretta would be, and what is acutally known about her” —

    Both Loretta and Trace are orphans, “alone in all the world.” We learn this first about Loretta as Trace thinks back to how she ensnared Colt, and later Trace describes herself this way to Jacob. So … did Trace borrow this from the “real” Loretta? Is Trace imagining this as Loretta’s story? Could Trace really have managed to stay overnight in the public records office and re-invent herself as Ianthe Covington? (Why would Colt and Trace stand at the graveside of a child named Ianthe Covington?) This is about IDENTITY … Who is Loretta really? What did Loretta actually “do” to Trace when Trace was a child? Did Loretta really think of Trace as a changeling, or is this Trace’s screen memory? And now might be a good time to consider Haven’s 12:23 am comment, “Loretta had a child with violet-colored eyes who had transglobal epilepsy. What do you think she did?”

  268. Oh man do I feel like I missed a great party last night … very helpful to read all fabulous insights on Iodine … now I know what I’ll be doing again this weekend.

  269. Jodi–I’ve fretted about this all morning. Now I’m just going to comment so I can let it go.

    I can’t tell if your response to my silly butter comment is amusement or sarcasm. If I offended you in any way, I apologize. That was not my intent. I was impressed by the observation and could see that truck driving in circles.

  270. Aw, man, Jerri, I SO took your meaning as a FUNNY, truly FUNNY, laugh-out-loud comment. I am SO SORRY if you interpreted it any other way, because I have been enjoying your comment and laughing to myself abou tit all morning. =0( If you only knew me personally, you’d know it’s almost impossible to offend me! And your comment is spot-on about how my dad was!! I’ll buy you a drink, Jerri, and we can laugh together!!! =0)


  271. Thanks for answering, Jodi. I feel so much better. NOW we’ll laugh together! (and maybe even drink. I’ve got some wine in the fridge.)


  272. i am trying to work through the titles this morning… guessing Caduceus and Pluto (Tertius) are pointing to the same story/stories in greek mythology… and according to Wikipedia Pluto had to spend half of the year in the underworld, and that half become winter… which is pointing me toward the periods of reality vs. hallucination in the protagonist’s life.

    that is all i have from the first three chapter titles. i will keep going.

  273. Oneirocritica is the ancient greek text about dream interpretation which contains this thought:

    “There is an affinity between all wild animals and our enemies. A wolf signifies a violent enemy…”

  274. wow. this is telling:

    “The “eternal girl,” or puella, is a woman who psychologically has remained a young girl, even though chronologically she may be sixty or seventy years of age. She remains a dependent daughter, tending to accept the identity others project upon her. In doing so, she gives over to others her own strength as well as the responsibility for shaping her identity. Quite often she marries a rigidly authoritarian man and becomes the image of woman he wants. Often she looks and acts innocent, helpless, and passive. Or she may rebel, but in her rebellion remains the helpless victim caught in feelings of self-pity, depression, and inertia. In either case, she is not directing her own life.”

    “Superstars frequently come into analysis, exhausted from work and in search of relationship. Quite often they feel men are afraid of them because they have achieved so much and are so competent. Also they often compensate for weak fathers who were unable to achieve themselves. I suspect these women are often made into sons by fathers wishing to live vicariously their own unactualized potentialities.”

    i found both of those quotes on this page:

  275. Noun 1. revenant – a person who returns after a lengthy absence

    individual, mortal, person, somebody, someone, soul – a human being; “there was too much for one person to do”

    2. revenant – someone who has returned from the dead

    ghost – the visible disembodied soul of a dead person

  276. nekyia – a descent into hell. jung believed one had to experience a descent into one’s personal hell in order to become self-actualized (??)

  277. kerberos/cerberus – the hound of hell who watches to make sure spirits can enter and flesh cannot.

    and i am curious to find out (if i can) why the guard follows the descent into hell, instead of preceding it.

  278. No idea if this helps or not, but do you know e. e. cummings poem “Puella Mea”? Here are the first few lines.

    Harun Omar and Master Hafiz
    keep your dead beautiful ladies.
    Mine is a little lovelier
    than any of your ladies were.

    In her perfectest array
    my lady, moving in the day,
    is a little stranger thing
    than crisp Sheba with her king
    in the morning wandering.

  279. again from wikipedia:

    Carl Jung used the term eros to denote the basic fundamental of feminine psychology: “Women’s psychology is founded on the principal of eros, the great binder and loosener, whereas from ancient times the ruling principal ascribed to men is logos. The concept of eros could be expressed in modern times as psychic relatedness, and that of logos as objective interest.” (CW vol. X, p. 123, pp. 255) This points to his theory of the anima/animus syzygy of the male and female psyches. According to Jung, men possess the anima in their unconscious, and this is a caricature of the feminine eros. It is a part of personal individuation for men to confront their anima, by accepting eros (a trait pushed out of phalocratic society). Also intrinsic to this is the ability to see beyond the projected ego and assimilate this into our conscious being. This is eros, as it is the ‘desire for wholeness,’ which is necessary for us to become in-tune with our selves. By understanding ‘passionate love’ and the ‘desire for wholeness’ as ‘psychic relatedness,’ Jung also demonstrates that the desire for love is a desire for interconnection and interaction with other sentient beings.

  280. Hekate:

    Hekate guards the limenoskopos (the doorstep), for she is a goddess of liminality and transition. Of being on and crossing boundaries. This includes not only the boundary between life and death, but any boundaries, such as those between nature and civilization, waking and sleep, sanity and madness, the conscious and the subconscious minds. Indeed, any transition can be said to be her domain. As such she is also goddess of the crossroads, where the paths of one’s life fork and a person must choose which future to embark upon. In ancient times these were believed to be special places where the veil between the worlds was thin and spirits gathered.

    Hekate is also the goddess of psychological transformation. Her Underworld is the dark recesses of the human subconscious as well at that of the Cosmos. Many have accused her of sending demons to haunt the thoughts of individuals. What they fail to understand is that the demons are not hers, but their own. By the light of her twin torches Hekate only reveals what is already there. These are things which the person needs to see in order to heal and renew. However, if they are not prepared for the experience of confronting their Shadow then it can truly feel like they are being tormented. Hekate is not motivated by cruelty, nor is she seeking to harm. But her love can be tough love. She will prompt a person to face the things that they must, whether they like it or not.

    As Goddess of the Underworld, Hekate is not only the guide to the spirits of the dead, but also the keeper of each individual’s own personal Underworld, the benighted territory of their unconscious mind. She lives within each of our inner worlds, and is there to guide us as we transition from inner to outer realms of consciousness. When accepted, her blessings enrich our lives with vision, healing, inspiration, and magic. She brings light to the darkness and empowers us with creativity, confidence, and strength. However, when we deny her it manifests in our Shadow-Self. She holds the key to both the treasures and terrors of the unconscious mind.

    The Shadow Self is something often talked about in modern Witchcraft, but it is a concept that rose in the field of psychology a century ago thanks to the work of Dr. Carl Jung. It can be likened to a prison created within our unconscious mind where we banish those parts of ourselves that we repress, deny, or simply fail to develop. These are often our feelings of fear, insecurity, hate, jealousy, desire, greed, etc… Anything that we try to pretend we do not possess is relegated to this deep pit inside our minds.

    from this website:

  281. back to Oneirocritica, this is also relevant:

    A fox indicates that the enemy will not attack openly but will plot underhandedly.

  282. Jodi, good lord, did you ever just describe my dad. My mom sat in one place for 25 years and my dad ran and ran and ran.

  283. And let us all give a big Hail Fellow to Amanda for doing my work for me while I (finally) slept. BRAVISSIMO!

  284. Who said it, Jerri? About Weeds? I can’t begin to tell you what that one cost me.

  285. Wish I could take credit for the Weeds comment, but those were Linda’s heartfelt words, Haven.

  286. I just opened my copy of Iodine again this morning, and it looks like I went mad last night, the pages bent like I was frantically searching for something. And this, the copy I was waiting for Haven to sign when I met her. Amanda, you are doing great work here and while I have nothing to add- I am still being very quiet-I might be catching on.

  287. Amanda, look at what Hillman says about Hekate. There is very little about her that is benevolent but she has enormous power.

    The guard (kerberos) follows the soul making the descent rather than preceding it because the guard serves as a marker for the spirit. Persephone was followed by pigs, remember, meaning that at some point she was associated with them at the archetypal level, and at the opening of the Eleusian Mysteries a piglet was sacrificed.

  288. I am not being that quiet, am I? I thought I would lighten up the seriousness of the mood here with some of my low brow humor. In an email message I sent George this morning I said ” This book is like a puzzle. Thanks for giving me a piece.”
    And I laughed and laughed and told my husband who just looked at me and shook his head.

  289. Caryl: Priceless! I’m still groggy from lack of sleep (awoke at 8 am) and I feel hung over. But that is funny!

  290. Thats it- after 13 years sober I feel hung over. And giddy. I have not heard back from George so I hope he was laughing too.

  291. Were Ianthe and Rita the same person?

    Amanda- yes, thank you for looking up all those chapter titles. My daughter, the Latin queen, had been helping me with those when i finished the book several weeks ago but I did need more information. Very helpful.

  292. Hi folks…had a grand party last night. Invited the wolf and the fox, the pelicans and the stranger in the car who sits outside in the dark, smoking a cigarette, and we sat around visiting with each other until morning gave way. And now I sit in a Starbucks, waiting for a miracle to be performed on my Jeep, and it’s raining on the beach, but it’s ok, it’s all ok. A-ok. And I’m off work today.

  293. …so, where were we? so many posts, so little time…

  294. I apologetically confess I haven’t read Iodine yet, and after reading the comments on this post so far, I am scared and excited to read it…I have vivid multi color dreams and archtypes are in them all the time so this sounds like a book for me! My husband just left me to go on a solo canoe trip with only 2 loving but pretty goofy cocker spaniels for company, so who will I go to for interpretive solace but you all? Let me just say I will go out and buy it on my way home from work today….oohh, I have shivers of anticipation.

  295. …shivers of anticipation…THAT’S exactly how I feel before biting into a Big Mac! Total anticipation. I savor it until the big bite, then I relive it as I chew, and afterward, not a bit of guilt, crumbs either.

  296. Damn hammalamma, I love a Big Mac. But I almost never have one. There you have it: a portrait of restraint and self-governance. So me.

  297. Yes, not a bit of guilt about reading all weekend either instead of doing all the chaos reduction chores that need doing around the house!

  298. Am I the only one who thinks the final events of the novel – with Colt and Billy and Weeds – were true? I did… and then looking back I thought the later years of Trace living alone with this “vision” of Weeds represented her living daily with the heartache/trauma/ugliness of her past. The black dog representative of the blackness of her youth. Which is why I found Jacob’s rule of “No dogs” all the more poignant – like he was asking her to let go of the past and move on. Her diatribe on people who just make a blanket statement of “Not being dog people” is so baffling to her because she cannot imagine living without her damaging past living along right beside her, defining her. When she goes back to the farmhouse towards the end she finds Weeds there, limping along, skin and bones – nearly gone. I took her shooting him was a hopeful note – Trace letting go of her painful past and moving into a healthier future.

    Or is this all just way off base and far too simplistic? Reading all this brilliant comments makes me feel unbearably stoopid (and rightly so). I need to do a re-read with all your comments and hints in mind. Will begin this evening.

  299. hillman: the realm of hades has become childhood (from iodine)

  300. LTC, beautiful, beautiful reading.

    Amanda — bingo.

  301. LTC, i think i agree with everything you wrote!

  302. I would like to point out that the book is written in such a way that the events at the end could absolutely be true. They may very well be the surest facts we are given.

  303. (also, the pig you mentioned clarifies for me the pig Trace/Ianthe leads out of the house)-

  304. I picked up my Hillman, and here is what I read about daydreams. He quotes Mary Watkins observations of imagination in dreams, in fantasy, in madness etc. While imagining is going on, you are somewhat out of yourself,in another zone. Sometimes the state is no moer than a daydream, a staring, an absence; sometimes the unfolding of an entire furture project;sometimes a hallucinatory terror at night; sometimes an ecstatic vision such as saints enjoyed. there are various intensities-but the more thoroughly engaged you are, the more real the imaginative fantasy, its scenes, its voices, its beings, it feelings and insights. Its reality possesses you and the words “Fantasy,” “imagination,” “Vision,” do not really apply. It feels all to real and important.

  305. It’s all true…what’s in question is the reality (insofar as we know reality)

    Haven: there’s a McDonald across the street and it’s calling like a siren…wait, it is a siren! And an ambulance and a fire rescue truck…they must be coming after my Jeep.

  306. heehee! i am getting around my stupid boring JOB by listening to Iodine while I am at work. so glad HAVEN read this one.

  307. Well this just bites it! We’re back on track and now I have to leave for work! Yay me! See everyone back here in 7 hours.

  308. oh-oh…you guys are walking in alleyways I didn’t venture in my reading. Do I have to go to Bombay to retrieve my copy? Where’s a bookstore when you need one?

  309. we know that in every scene in which the protagonist believes billy to be alive, she is hallucinating. so reading the ending as reality seems to be the most appropriate.

  310. George please substitute “true” in my post for “reality”. That’s what I was getting at! 🙂

  311. also, we have the progression of death/animals leading to the sentence that this was all preparation for what would come (page 26)… which i definitely thought was pointing to the ending.

    and haven said that billy is the key to everything. 🙂

  312. the problem is that there is no difference between true and real — not from our vantage point.

    I am not going to pretend that I have this figured out. You guys are causing me to question it all.


  313. Haven- on your website, in appearances, it doesn’t have anything after September. Are you done traveling? I’ve given up on you coming to the west coast so I will come to you-anything on the horizon I can plan for?

  314. have to reread the book. i couldn’t put it down either and now i need to go back and take notes. i can’t stop thinking about it and want everyone to read it so i can have people to talk to about it.
    cannot express enough how much your work inspires and refreshes.
    oh, and, when are you coming back to seattle? we miss you and need you.

  315. Alas, I’m not done traveling, just done traveling for that book. I’m leaving for the Midwest in a few days, where I’ll accept an award. Then I go to Aurora to pick up a piece of taxidermy, then Kat and I might wander down to Evansville (but they’re in opposite directions) then on to Brandon’s in Columbus, Ohio. My poor daughter, she knows not what awaits her.

    I think it was just too soon to come back to the West Coast after The Used World tour. Also I’m not their author anymore, so I have no ideas about anything.

    I haven’t heard a word of the audio book, but I was so glad I got to read this one.

  316. SarahZ — Seattle is one of my absolute favorite places to read. Love the city, love the bookstore, love the audience.

  317. d-d-d-d-did you say, Evansville?


    darn it…now I need to re-read some of Iodine and my copy is a zillion miles away.

  318. I work near Aurora. 🙂

  319. this may be obvious, or wrong, but i am going to write it anyway… billy was her protector. he lay in front of her door for a year i think it was, and protected her from the mother. and when she loses him, well, her childhood very much becomes hell, as literally as is possible in this world. was billy her Cerberus?

  320. Any chance you’ll make it to Kansas City, Haven? We have a good independent bookstore–Rainy Day Books on the Kansas side of town.

  321. Amanda, the protagonist comes very close to saying exactly what you’re saying.

  322. I haven’t read in Kansas in a long time but I love the city — I’ve only been on the Kansas side. Lord above I had an interesting cab driver last time I was there. He was a big, hulking, toothless, mountain of a man, and he produced these crazy Marxist pamphlets about the homeless. He himself was a veteran of homelessness. I liked him.

  323. LTC, what is near Aurora? Am I right that it’s about an hour north of Muncie?

  324. Not a thing is near Aurora. Not a single thing. It’s about 2 hours south of Muncie, actually.

  325. Can we talk about moving to Missouri after 28 years in Minneapolis? It’s been an adventure, including big, hulking toothless mountains of men.

    It is strange, though, to live among conservatives after years in the Land of Liberals.

    Come to KC. We’ll roll out the welcome mat.

  326. Yeah, I’m way good with direction.

  327. I should have said I work”ed” near Aurora, as I have since moved the next state over. Although now I currently work near Aurora… Illinois. (Which is near Naperville, which I know for a fact you have been…)

  328. Um, yes, hi, Haven! Ack, what a strange concept The Internets are, that I can theoretically correspond with you? Ahhh, makes me all eeeep, eeeep.
    I’m one of your many, many rabid…I mean to say, avid…fans. So, I have to tell you a) you’re awesomeness incarnate, b) your birthday post for your daughter was magnificent, and c) I cannot yet comment on Iodine, having not read it. Why not, you ask? Well, my relatives know that the fastest way to my heart is to give me a book of yours for Christmas, and I hate to co-opt their fun. I was waiting so anxiously for The Used World, and last Christmas my sister-in-law gave me an autographed copy MADE OUT TO ME! I dropped not-too-subtle hints that she might wish to do the same for Iodine, and my husband assures me that she got the message. Now I have to wait, but I promise, I’ve allocated half of Dec. 25 and the entirety of the 26th, and 27th, if need be.
    So, if you remember a blond woman in her early thirties who looks something like Reese Witherspoon at one of your Triangle area signings, asking you to sign a book to Kelley-with-an-E-Y because oh, gosh, she loves your work…then yep, that was my surrogate.
    And thanks in advance. I know that reading Iodine will be magical, shift in tone or no.

  329. heehee… just noticed the book has 11 chapters… Jung’s complete cycle plus the beginning of a new cycle.

  330. The sixth-graders in my class have goals for raising their grades this quarter. Kenan is one of these students, who looks just like young Forrest Gump. When Kenan gets excited or embarrassed he blushes a bright pink and hides behind his hands and giggles. He wrote the following, and I think it’s inspirational. (I’m leaving in Kenan’s spelling and grammar.)

    I will raise my Grade

    I will raise my grade in language arts. I will change it from a B- to an A+. I know I can do it.

    I will pay more attention in class. I will keep my eyes on Mrs. Riebersal for the whole two periods. My eyes will not leave her’s.

    I will always study before a test or quiz. I will study hard so I can get an A+ on any test or quiz. I will make sure I do.

    I will always do my best in class. I will try as much as possible. I will. I will. I will.


    Kenan hasn’t heard of James Joyce, but his closing certainly has that ring to it.

  331. Kelley-with-an-E-Y, I believe your surrogate was at Quail Ridge. I signed there for more than two hours, it was stunning. I mean I read and answered questions for an hour and THEN signed for two more, and people were incredibly patient about standing in line. So thank your surrogate for me. And welcome — join in any time. This is an amazing bunch — I adore them.

  332. (just for reference, i was the amanda who accidentally made you cry at that particular quail ridge reading)

  333. Oh, I can almost see you! In my brainpan, I mean. What did I cry about? I’m so bustass.

  334. i asked where you find your compassion and you answered about the children of darfur… and that the great tragedy was not that they were dying, but that they knew it.

  335. Amanda, my interest in your Iodine theories led me to click your blog link. Your comments on John McCain made me snort so loudly that I fear I may be fired. Thank you.

  336. haha! HOOORRRAYY! THANKS for that LTC!!!

  337. Amanda, I remember now.

  338. When Scott gets here this evening I’m adding a blog to my blogroll; may I add yours, Cloudy Cloud?

  339. No thank YOU. I didn’t much care for this job anyway. 🙂

  340. I would be… intensely honored.

  341. Amanda, CROWN! The Ogdoad, as Jung calls it.

  342. It’s so strange to me to think I have an entire new novel none of you have read. Four of five times I’ve almost referenced it, and then realized only about five people in the world would know what I was talking about.

  343. Jodi, what a sweet child, gah.

  344. three sisters/three women: the woman who gives birth to him, the woman he marries, and the woman who destroys him (p. 86)… Juna, Loretta, Trace.

    am still trying to find the more specific/exact point in which the protagonist identifies Billy.

  345. Three beautiful sisters. Their names represented time: what was, what is, what shall be.

  346. Yeah, Kenan’s a keeper. Here’s another genius writing of his: his favorite possession. (Keep in mind he is exactly a young Forrest Gump, running with the braces breaking away from his legs). Spelling is Kenan’s:

    My trashcan is important to me. I got the trashcan for my twelth birthday party. I like to throw away my sister’s drawings. I like to pretend it’s a hoop and shoot crumbled paper into it. That is my favorite item I have.


    So when you and Hillman remind us that “the realm of Hades has become childhood,” and I see all these funny, creative, laughing children every day at school and know that many of them are living in a realm of Hades, I wonder how another adult can do that to these sweet shining beings, but I see it. Not to Kenan, but to some.

  347. my poetry professor in undergraduate school reminds me of Jacob. and i was in love with him. he was late every year to the first class of the semester because he was always coming back from Spain, where he had family. he had the boniest knees i have ever seen on a person… the stuck out like knife blades underneath his khakis. we spent hours and hours in his office, talking about poetry in our respectively cynical ways and i always arranged to have independent study classes with him so that i could spend more hours there. he was the person who told me that if i WANTED to be an english major, instead of social work, then i SHOULD be an english major. and so the course of my life was changed forever.

  348. Here are some further puzzles. Have any of you figured these out?

    Haven said, “Three beautiful sisters. Their names represented time: what was, what is, what shall be.” WHAT ARE THEIR NAMES? Is it as easy as Juna, Loretta, and Trace? Are there further implications I’m missing?

    Next: Galway Kinnell told Trace she would be “the biggest surprise of some man’s life.” Matthias told her “You are the biggest surprise of my life.” Significance?

    Next: Myka (mica) Holloway. Mica is a glittering mineral, easily separated into layers, resistent to heat and electricity. Myka is a “stone woman” …
    Further thoughts?

    Next: Jacob Matthias’ book is about MASKS. Hmmm …

    Next: what is the significance of Gianni Loria, Jacob’s friend from the English department? Together they find Ianthe’s poem, which (Haven pointed out at 1:57 am) is Important.

  349. the scene after Trace leaves that first class with Jacob, where she locks herself in the bathroom and she makes a sound “like a hare, pierced and claw-tucked against the breast of a hawk” haunts me. and i think that this reaction might be mostly a reaction to her unconscious exposure to the truth and the loss of her protective hallucinations… similar to the panic she feels when she cannot find Weeds.

  350. Jodi, I think the finding of the poem might be one of the major clues to the KEY to the book. Specifically, the text of the poem. Last night Haven specifically copied poem “2.”

  351. Jodi, they are the Horae, the Fates, the Graces, or the Seasons. In addition to any objective correlative in the book.

    Excellent about Myka. Yes, a book about Masks.

    Oh, now here I must confess: the significance of Galway is his poem The Bear, which if you haven’t read it, you must must, and also I have a deep and crazed love for Galway, and so there is what the bear represents and the bear-skin rug, and the much older man and a puella aeterna.

  352. Hi every one I wished I could have participated I have been violently sick with the flu not sure why
    (I swear I was just trying to help that sheep over the fence)

    I am just too sick to formulate a question or be part of a discussion right now. I hope I can have a rain check.
    Love to all of you
    Michael T

  353. In terms of what Hillman says about Hades being the realm of childhood: he is referring more to a therapeutic culture, in which everyone wants to believe that Hell is for Children, and therefore all the darkness of the Unconscious gets cast backward, into our pasts, where we can be ceaselessly victimized.

    Beth can help me here, but as a person who has had both seizures and parasomnia, I can tell you that one theory in psychiatry is that parasomnia can have an organic component and can be a mask for trauma. At the time it was the worst for me, I was asked repeatedly about buried childhood trauma, of which I have none. I have written two books about my childhood; many of you have read them; they are as honest as I can be. But no one wanted to believe that I wasn’t repressing something or at least sublimating, because Hades is now the realm of Childhood, even in medicine. Do you see what I mean? I should have been asked about the present.

  354. Haven, I have to ask if you’ll be actually APPEARING when you’re in Indiana, to preface this saddest story ever:

    I wrote the date down on the wrong day in my planner, and showed up to Big Hat Books the day after your reading (this after I received a phone call from my best friend saying, “Happy Haven Kimmel day!”). There was a group of people hanging around in the shop when I showed up, giving much deserved praise and giddy with their recollections of the night before. Their faces all simultaneously sagged downward in palpable, collective pity when we realized my mistake.

    Also, to everyone in general: your collective brilliance is humbling, and I frequently (like some others, I gather) hesitate to comment for fear I’m missing something. My college education suddenly feels sorely lacking!

  355. Michael T — you gave me a scare. Take care of yourself, drink lots of fluids. Now is probably not the time for a Big Mac, no matter what George says.

  356. Also, I meant to say that I’m unbelievably grateful that this forum has suddenly popped up for me, and the insights you all provide will inspire my second (less hurried!) reading of Iodine.

  357. Lindsay, that is tragic! I’m not doing a public appearance, alas. This is the Indiana Woman of Achievement award, and I don’t know exactly what that means or what I’ve achieved. I mean, seriously. It took me all day to shower. I really had to plan. And then I thought I’d tell Kat that honestly the whole process would be easier for me if I did it in shifts, like my hair one day, legs another. That doesn’t help you much.

  358. Thanks, Haven, for the answers. All these pieces, interwoven … names, multiple philosophies, reality, hallucination. My dear, you are truly a wonder. Don’t think we’re all so busy putting this puzzle together that we’re not amazed by its creator.

    By the way, I’m listening to you read IODINE, and it’s opening lots of “locks” that I didn’t find keys to when reading it. At some point I heard you talk about the heat and discomfort of the studio that you endured while recording the book. Could you share that again here?

  359. It always helps to know that someone you admire won’t necessarily judge you for constantly smelling like stale coffee and the faint odor of pretension that tends to hang around coffeehouses. Because really, when you have to be at work at 5am, napping is a far more productive use of free time than showering.

  360. Jodi, it’s difficult to describe how difficult recording an audio book is, even though for all three I’ve done I have had the most rocking engineer in the world, Dick Hodgin. LOVE YOU, DICK HODGIN, EVEN THOUGH YOU DONE ME WRONG WITH THE LOOPED RECORDING OF ME SAYING, ‘Lord, I am unbuttoning my pants, I can hardly breathe.’

    The microphone is so sensitive it picks up sounds virtually inaudible to the person sitting at the mike. You could never, ever imagine how many sounds your body is making at any given moment — your throat, your stomach. But it also picks up air movement, so the air-conditioning has to be shut down any time recording is going on, and while that’s miserable in the booth I think it’s even worse at the board, which is huge and gets incredibly hot.

    I had to learn to breathe differently, the way singers do, because you inhale away from the microphone and breathe out sentences without inhaling, if possible. I’ve gotten much better at the process, but IODINE was still a week of eight-hour days.

  361. Lindsay, I find myself hard-pressed to judge anyone for anything, as long as they’re kind to animals and children and old folks.

  362. Also Lindsay, in terms of education: I have nothing but praise for the institutions I’ve attended (Ball State, the Earlham School of Religion, North Carolina State), but I think it’s very safe to say that I, like many novelists, am a thorough-going autodidact. Anything is available that way — whatever I want to learn, I learn.

  363. speaking of kind to animals. i have a dilemma and i don’t know enough to know what is acceptable.

    i live in an apartment that is roughly 650 square feet. i will confess to having two cats and sometimes i worry that this is not enough space for them. but. my upstairs neighbor has a 65-70 pound bulldog/pitbull mix. the dog lives in a 650 square foot apartment and NEVER gets walked. she will take him out to use the facilities, but never, ever, ever is he taken for walks or runs. there are days when i have seen him locked out on the balcony, which is maybe 6 feet by 4 feet?

    is this legal?!?!?! what would you do???

  364. I have to admit that I am PETRIFIED of children, and though I am not unkind, being in the presence of a child reduces me to a tongue tied state not unlike that which I experienced around cute boys as an awkward adolescent. Though recently I’ve been holding semi-regular congress with an infant and it’s going well so far: I like her Friar Tuck hair and have not dropped her, and she smiles at me sometimes, so I think it’s a step in the right direction.

  365. Amanda, while your neighbor’s behavior isn’t stellar, she’ll pay the price for not exercising that breed of dog. And honestly, pit bulls go insane not from inertia but from lack of human contact. They are the most human-dependent breed I’ve ever fostered. Mixed-breed dogs can be very resilient about being left alone, the way some people can survive years in solitary confinement, but pit bulls can be destroyed by loneliness.

  366. Lindsay, children can be scaaaary little creatures. We must just endure. If the hair helps, hold on to that. Not literally, that’s mean.

  367. thanks for the comment, Haven. that significantly sets my mind at ease. i’ve been worried about him.

  368. Please don’t think I meant that as a disparaging comment about my alma mater (the IU part of IUPUI), because I had an amazing time while there (and all the various other institutions from which I did not graduate). I think I am still grappling with some unrealistic expectations about what I am going to become. One of the things I try relentlessly to overcome is a lack of patience for the kind of theoretical knowledge a girl needs to grapple with newer (academic) literature – not because I don’t like it or find it useful, but because I always want to know everything RIGHT NOW.

    This discussion here is incredible though, it’s some of what I’ve missed since leaving the classroom, which is still my favorite place in the world.

  369. Haven, I’ve been lurking here for a few weeks. Iodine is the sixth work of yours I’ve read and it may be your best, although my heart’s favorite will always be The Solace of Leaving Early. Each book has left me breathless in one way or another and longing for just one more chapter. I would probably pay to read your grocery lists.

    I just re-read Iodine today and am still a) missing the significance of Rita (along with her clothes, her fetus, her departure), b) trying to figure out why Ianthe said she was one of three daughters (truth or part of her fabricated back-story?), and just knowing that I’m missing something crucial. The discussion on this thread has illuminated a few things and made others more mysterious. Help! I’m not up to the mental gymnastics of most of your posters. I have an MBA in Business Administration which is the natural, literary and moral equilavent of being a Philistine. Have mercy. I’m trying to reform.

  370. It’s imperative you all know that H has photographed wandering the neighborhood in her flannel pajamas. And that hat.

  371. A., you’ll know when to worry about that dog. He’s probably fine. But I’m not what William Kohler calls a ‘humaniac.’ I think dogs are dogs, they live in dogness. My recipe for happiness for them is: food, no heartworms, company. That’s pretty much it. Vaccinations.

    Lindsay, enjoy being in a classroom while you can. It’s heavenly.

  372. correction
    … H has been photographed…

  373. OH LORD, my lovely Dianne, who knows many of my fashion secrets, has joined the fray!

  374. Amy, we need MBAs in Business Administration as much as we need farmers or dentists or any other profession that keeps the world running. Particularly for people like me, who go out in public in pajamas and That Hat. (Dianne MADE the hat, by the way.)

    Trace never means she is one of three literal sisters: think of the things categorized in threes. Does that help?

    And ATTENTION BLOG ANGELS: I won’t be able to answer questions this intensely once I get back to finishing the Quaker book. So if you want to do another book next, let’s decide on it.

  375. Dianne, I am so sorry about Boo. I wanted to bring you flowers yesterday, but because it was John’s birthday (and there were the boys here making a ruckus) I was occupied all day. But my heart is with you for sure and always.

  376. Haven, before we leave IODINE, could you tell us if there’s anything you tucked into the story that we’ve all overlooked? A hint would be okay, but an outright “This is what it means and why” would be even better. We’ve all earned our three credit hours in archetypal psychology, wouldn’t you say?

  377. I’m still just working on a timeline of actual events.

  378. Are we still doing the Owen Meany discussion? I’m on my second reading now, for prep.

  379. We don’t have to move on — if you want to do another of my books before the Quaker Deluge, I just need to know it so I can re-read it.

    This is what it means and why: we should all just LIVE and BE HAPPY.

  380. Kate, I got the impression — well, because someone said it outright — that people would rather do my books while I can answer questions. But we can certainly do Mr. Meany.

  381. Well, hey, who is going to turn an offer like that down?

    I just got all three of your other novels out of the library, so I’m prepared whatever is chosen! I read fast.

  382. Also, we need to see this flannel pajama/ THAT HAT picture.

  383. Thanks, Sweet H.

    Re hat: it is true I made it in the third grade.

  384. “If the hair helps, hold on to that. Not literally, that’s mean.”

    Is that a Barenaked Ladies reference? “But not a real green dress, that’s cruel.”

  385. I have no relationship to the Barenaked Ladies, but I find the coincidence quite amusing.

  386. LTC- my parents live in Naperville. Someone else is up there. which other blog baby is it?

    Lindsay- I started college in 1978 and finished in 2005. And, that was just my undergraduate degree. And it was not in English either. ha. I am learning more here than I did in college, well, or maybe ever before. You are smart just to be here! Ok, I guess that makes me smart too. I can say that out loud because I am alone tonight with the dogs and cat. The kids are with their dad and my husband is in Philly visiting his parents. I am pretty sure the dogs think I am smart most of the time. The cat probably doesn’t but then, what cat thinks any human is smart?

    Ok, an actual Iodine question. Did Trace ever really shower at the truck stop?

  387. I think it’s safe to say that Trace showered at a truck stop, yes. I myself once showered at a truck stop after one of my babies threw up on me on a road trip, so I know it to be a not-terribly-unusual occurrence.

    There really has been so much vomiting on this discussion. Interesting.

  388. No vomiting here. But, never say never because the dogs are eating pig skin chews and the night is still young.

  389. I am new to this blogging thing – is this what you normally do? Discuss books, that is? If so, how truly wonderful and I assume anyone can join in as I have??? I read Owen Meany many years ago and LOVED it and would love to revisit it but for my part am in no hurry to move on from Iodine. In fact my husband is making fun of me because I just went over and brought my laptop to the sofa where we were sitting watching Stargate Atlantis (I confess I’m a sci-fi nut)because I couldn’t stand not seeing what was going on here!

    I can’t stop thinking about Candy – what happened to her and her family. that image of her deserted trailer with the rust-colored stains everywhere.

    And, Haven, back to the parasomnia for a moment – it’s amazing how trauma, whenever it occurs,repressed or not- can affect us emotionally and physically. I’ve seen some amazing things in my 20 years of practice. Enough to frighten the hell out of me and blow me away with reverence for this body and brain of ours. It’s another reason I am so in awe of you and this book – it’s an amazing look into the mind of someone wounded by (and surviving) childhood abuse.

  390. I am wondering if the stuff about Rita, particularly the fetus, represents the fact that Trace/Ianthe feels robbed by the fact that Jacob does not want to have children. She has had everything she loves most in the world taken from her, and now she has that taken away too.

  391. Beth, I don’t know what we do here, I’m new to this blogging thing, too. I’m following the lead of my commenters. But for the moment, yes, we are discussing books. Also poems. Periodically taxidermy.

  392. I’m back from work… what did I miss?

  393. I think I have most all of it squared away now, except that she has lost 4 years.

  394. I don’t have any good questions to ask that have not already been asked so I am going to retire to the bedroom with the pups to read Iodine again with new eyes. Hopefully not sleepy eyes because I want to add something intelligent to this brilliant discussion in the morning. And since I am totally alone (that is without other people) in this house about once in a purple moon I need to indulge myself in the wonderful sound of silence. Goodnight sweet people.

  395. JimShue, the only thing you missed is me trying to figure out how to run my own website. As soon as I locate a shred of intelligence I’ll add your blog and Amanda’s to my blogroll. Seriously, I’ve been reading a blurb request for the past few hours (it came with the absolute most lovely letter) (and it’s an interesting book) and then I stare at my WordPress dashboard and my eyes glaze over.

  396. Kate, maybe I should point out what guided me through the revision process. As with a child, the narrator can never know more than she can know. Do you see what I mean? In a book that’s told in the first person and a very close-third, you can’t absolutely know more than the protagonist herself knows. You can have theories and opinions, but if she is in the dark about something, you’ll probably be in the dark about it.

  397. Beth, a social worker once told me, “If you can imagine it, it’s happening somewhere in your neighborhood.” This was a woman with thirty years of experience. I was shocked speechless. But I believe her.

  398. Oooh. Technical matters. Better leave themt to the professionals. I can just see it now:
    “World Wide Web Crashes – Gifted Novelist to Blame”
    “Honestly, I thought I could do it. I’ve been silly enough to think I could do anything in the past and that worked, I just figured this would be a piece of cake (not KateCake).” 🙂

  399. I’m SO going to start saying that. “Easy as a piece of Kate Cake.”

    Hang on — I’m giving the phrase a rethink.

  400. DAMMIT, I just added my own blog to my blogroll and now can’t remove it.

  401. Um, yeah. Where’s Scott?

  402. I DID IT. Thank you all for your confidence, I couldn’t have done it without you.

  403. Sock, if I can drive a tractor I can surely manage a website, right?

  404. LOL! What can’t you do (besides build decks)? I have to call it a night. Bad day at work. I can see that they are mostly going to be that way now. New path and all. And I’m dead tired.

    Love you,

  405. Haven, I read somewhere in your blog that you and your friend Augusten have a new favorite phrase – “jesus take the wheel.” I loved it so that I have begun saying it frequently myself.

  406. Carrie Underwood!?!? You’re quoting Carrie Underwood? Lord! What has the world come to when my two of my three favorite authors are quoting American Idol winners?

  407. oh but it’s so much more than quoting Carrie Underwood…it’s taking that bit of distorted theology (in my humble opinion) and flipping it on it’s ear 🙂

  408. BUT SHE DOESN’T EVEN WATCH TELEVISION!!!!! Ooooh! The irony!

  409. uh oh, my sister the grammar nazi would be mortified that I put an apostrophe in its.

  410. You lost me at Carrie Underwood. Kate, are you any closer here, and if so what would it take to get an email explaining it to this poor tired mother of 5 who is starting to look wild eyed at her family?

  411. Beth is correct and so are you, Sock Monkey. I’ve never heard the song. OOOO but I did see the video for “Before He Cheats,” because Kat showed it to me, and that was excellent.

    Jesus take the wheel, indeed.

  412. OK I’ll give you “Before He Cheats”. Robbie is enthralled with her. Guess that’s better than Kelly Pickler.

    And when did I become Sock Monkey? I like it!

  413. Sock Monkeys are profound works of art.

  414. Kate, maybe this would help. A friend of mine doesn’t remember her entire fourth grade year. I’m not sure if I should go into details of the trauma she endured, but, her father and brother should have endured Mother Delonda’s “Home Remedy”. If Mother Delonda is reading this, that story still gives me chills all these years later.

  415. Coincidentally, Riley just got a copy of the book “Monkey and Me” She’s still not interested in being read to though.

  416. Linda- I actually live on the South Side.

    Which reminds me – Jim Shue, I have been meaning to say how much I like your name. Makes me smile every time I see it. 🙂 Not that there’s anything wrong with sock monkeys either. I assume you are from roundabout the same parts?

  417. Elzy Ezekiel Rogers, I’ve got somethin’ to say to you and I’d take it kindly if you’d lie still and listen.

  418. Ok, yes, I think I know exactly what is going on now. Boy, I was really, really over-thinking it!!

    I want to hear about Mother Delonda’s home remedy!!

    I can’t believe I’m about to become a catch phrase.

    Also, I would gladly give you Tuesday for a Big Mac today.

  419. OOH…I remember that!

  420. Chills, I’m telling ya, chills!

  421. Ok, still working it out. Think I am closer.

  422. My son just read the wild eyed comment to my husband and now they all look worried. Kate, help me out here.

  423. Ok, I will take of you Caryl!

  424. Kate is my favorite, I would bring her a Big Mac today if it wouldn’t take me till Tuesday to get there. Do they have In and Out where you all live?

  425. Oh no, no In and Out!! So sad. I have heard magnificent things.

  426. Ok, I know it’s annoying, but it’s true. The crux of the book is what is not there…why does Trace/Ianthe hallucinate the way that she does? What do these things represent?

  427. In-And-Out as a concept? Frightening to me. Very literal.

  428. The burger is in my belly. The burger is IN my belly.

  429. Cupcake: I’m fascinated by real-life unreliable narrators, not just literary ones. I meet them periodically and I find myself wanting to write down the things they say to cover up what they most fear seeing. I knew someone for years who openly lied about scenes I’d been part of, or witnessed, and it made me feel very wobbly — who has the loons enough to lie in front of a witness? But in time I realized that the person wasn’t lying, but rewriting, and very quickly, too. An event occurred: seconds later it was fictionalized in a way that supported an extremely brittle, fragile ego structure.

  430. HA!

  431. I lived with a girl like that for three years. I’ve always wanted to write a book about her.

    Have you seen the documentary Gates of Heaven? It’s about a pet cemetery. It’s completely up your alley.

    Here’s a quote from Roger Ebert’s Great Movie essay about it. It made me think of this conversation:

    “The centerpiece of the film is an extended monologue spoken by a woman named Florence Rasmussen, who sits in the doorway of her home, overlooking the first pet cemetery. William Faulkner or Mark Twain would have wept with joy to have created such words as fall from her mouth, as she tells the camera the story of her life: She paints the details in quick, vivid sketches, and then contradicts every single thing she says.”

  432. haven, do we have a time estimate of how long before the digging into Quaker Girl resumes? i am certainly voting for discussing your books for as long as we are able. i would vote for Solace as the next.

    also… am INCREDIBLY honored to be linked! really and truly, very very.

  433. You know my fear of the talkies, but this I will see. For some reason documentaries don’t scare me.

  434. I will resume Quaker Girl pretty shortly after returning from the Midwest, or when Christopher comes after me with an electric prod, whichever happens first. Solace is a good choice — I’ll need to reread it, which is fine with me because I’m in love with Amos.

  435. This is a nice, quiet documentary. I imagine after seeing it you’ll write a book about a pet cemetery.

    I can’t wait for Quaker Girl…!!

  436. For days after reading The Solace of Leaving Early I went around telling everyone I knew “you have GOT to read this book.” It was my first Haven Kimmel book to read and I set out to read everything else you had written after. I so am in love with Amos, too.

  437. Two more things and I must go to bed….

    On a lark I looked up iodine and slodged through all the stuff about thyroid to find tincture of iodine and one thing I read said it was the best antiseptic, antibiotic and antiviral of all time. I’m I off on a tangent that has no bearing to the book????

    and secondly, Haven, do you know of the Quaker pastor and writer Phillip Gulley? If Grace is True is such a wonderful, affirming book. I am very intrigued by Quakerism – is that a word? Look forward to Quaker Girl

  438. What is the significance of the name Warner? All I can think of is Time-Warner.


  440. Beth, yes, I know Phillip Gulley — he’s lovely beyond description. Most American Quakers know of one another because there are so few of us. There’s actually a Wikipedia page of Famous American Quakers and everyone fits on one page.

  441. Yes, Kate, like the English word. You are so adorable.

  442. Whoops, I forgot to address the nature of iodine itself. No, you’re not on the wrong path.

  443. Please do Solace next. Langston is right up there as one of my favorite characters ever. Right after Anna Lee. I would have loved to name Charlie Langston but it was too late,and he is a boy and it wouldn’t have been the same,anyway when I read how Langston got her name and how Anna Lee felt when first seeing her I cried. But Walt, he is the real hero and Amos and those girls..I will stop but I am going to smile for days if we do this book next.

  444. Solace it is then. I’ll start reading it tomorrow.

  445. Iodine…her eyes…cleansing what she sees…

  446. Compassion with the sting of iodine, Leonard Cohen wrote.

  447. Haven,

    I just spoke with my contacts over at Viacom, and the horror/bio pic is a go! Shooting has begun! It’s working title is “Dawgmama” – which is allright – but those craven ninnies are getting some things – important details I simply cannot accept – wrong, wronger, wrongest! – perhaps you should have a talk with them. Your last visit over there intimidated them to no end.

    Unfortunately this Mr and Mrs Joleena are busy, so it is going to be Phyllis Diller and Harry Dean Stanton
    playing You and John after all. I guess we will just have to soldier on.

    What is giving me the dry gripes is the scene where you are yelling at John because the nosy health department investigator buried in the back yard is dug up by your “Hell Hounds.” You know – John buries him, passes out on the grass, the dogs dig the body up and are dragging the corpse round the yard, gnawing on it, while that kid is ringing the dinner bell, and about line 189, where lil frenchie is licking John’s face and he says “mmmmm, kissums.” and you say “Dammit, gimmee that shovel!” well, they want to insert BANJO MUSIC!

    Also, I distinctly noted the “corpse” was clearly
    looking around at what was going on while he was clearly in the background of the shot! They told me “Oh, don’t worry we can edit it out, no problem.” and such bullroar… I suspect these people have klabber for brains.

    This will not stand! Also – you might want to have a look at Phyllis’ bathrobe. As it is in nearly every scene and is not right. Also, her slippers were obviously different from one shot to the next. That little bastard DiCapistrano tried handing me the “Oh, it’s a print, who is going to notice?” Again, I suggest you have words with them.

    The poster is good – though I suggested that in it your eyes should appear to be glowing. The “Hell Hounds” as well. Damn it all to hell, it is a HORROR
    picture! I believe that foreign woman, I believe her name is Linguina, is the one to talk to to get things done there.

    Things are fine here. Almost. My pet shoelace Rollo has tangled himself in one of the epaulets on my dickies. A sorry state of affairs.

    I have had Dexter install a rather large proto-hamster bottle at my desk here. Thus I can take my grain alcohol and broth at my leisure while keyboarding. Madge is well, and sends her regards.




  449. Iodine can cause skin lesions…contact with Loretta caused “blisters.”

    Loretta was “cleansing” her, but the results of said cleansing left behind a worse mess, instead of dirt a huge, open wound.

  450. My favorite “prop” in a Haven Kimmel novel is the tree in “Solace” – the tree that St. Mary appears to those kids in.

    Just for fun, Haven, what kind of tree is it?



  451. I had a proto-hamster but she was recalled. Now I’ve got this empty Habitrail and even the baby won’t play in it.

  452. M — dogwood.

  453. Kate, yep.

  454. Oops. Continuity. My bad.

    I didn’t get elected village oaf by accident.


  455. M, sadly, I did end up in the office by accident, even though I was certain your shenanigans were going to cost us the election.

  456. Are you offically crazy when you laugh, alone in front of your computer, at something you have no idea the meaning of ie; the above posted comments between M and H that are the stuff of true comic genius.

  457. How could you know…how could you know… that that phrase of all phrases… was shoving to the fore in me mind ALL DAY TODAY. There were no fitting contexts to use it. Still it gibbered and squeaked for attention. I suppose I could have said it to a crazy man who was rubbing down a mail drop that I walked past at lunch… and I didn’t want to be a complete dork in front of your friends and just pop in and say it…Oh, you are a button pusher.
    You know, if the writing ever sours, you might want to think about taking up a psychic counseling service on info-TV. Call it “Haven Knows…”

    Those three dots at the end are crucial and MUST BE OBSERVED each and every time! No period, no just space where a period might be, but the THREE DOTS!

    It makes it mysteriouser! People like that!

  458. By the by, Wordsmith, what is that called – those three dots at the end of a phrase, that imply…

  459. . . . ellipses . . .

  460. If you’d spoken the phrase to the man pushing the mop down the hallway, he would held up his hand in a firm but civilized way, and said, “Let us close the curtain on these events.”

  461. …he would HAVE held up his hand in a firm but civilized way, and said, “Let us close the curtain on these events.”

    Hee hee, it is LIFE-AFFIRMING to see a Space-Chief like yourself make mistake!

    Hey, I have an Xmas Fun-pac from a few years ago –
    I wasn’t sure if you still lived on _________ or not.
    That reminds me, I put a lazor pointer in there for Mr. Ob. Would you prefer I take that out? I suppose it could be bad for eyes, like staring at an ellipse.



  462. Caryl, Matt and I have been at this for years. We don’t know what we’re saying, either. Once when I was on a grueling book tour he called and left a message on my cell phone describing the tiger attack on that orange homosexual man in Las Vegas and I was certain he was making the whole thing up. I was sitting in a hotel restaurant in Seattle, weeping with laughter. Later, I was chagrined.

  463. Oh my gosh…That Poor Sigfried! His tragedy becoming a punchline!

  464. It’s so terrible and I’m just HEAVING with laughter, thinking of Matt’s drawl describing the attack. I’m going to hell. Oh my ribs.

  465. Great Caesar’s Ghost! That was Zeigried and/or Roy!
    It was on the tee vee! He was wearing an orange pant suit I swear! Did I really do that? Maybe I was drinking…

    I forgot all about that and I never forget anything!
    Test me if you must! Oh lord that is for embarrassment.

    Hee hee, what do you call a guy gets thrown into a pit full of TIGERS?

    answer: Claude.

    Hee eh.

    Oh man, calling people up and leaving a message that Zeig-Roy got clawed by a tiger… how did it come to that… Caryl, I’m sorry you had to hear this…

    BUt: what did that tiger dream about that night?

    And: who had to clean up the glitter pen?

    I keep reading that when a lion or tiger bites somebody, for some physiological reason it doesn’t hurt at all when it happens. The body simply does not acknowlege the pain – simply blocks it. Doesn’t happen. It is later the bites and scratches hurt.

    It was in a newspaper interview with Henry Morton Stanley, when he got back from Africa.

    Guh-heeza, Haven, now I’m laughing… I remember when you were on Good Morning Sunshine or whatever that show was – who was that famous favorite lady who interviewd you? I think she was mad at you or something. You emailed the night before, and I snuck
    out of work for a minute and watched it in a coffee place next door… was that Diane Sawyer? She shaved her head one time cause I wouldn’t go out with her…
    NO – it was Connie Chung! You know, speaking of annoying answering machine messages from wingnuts, she wanted me to give her a genius baby! I guess Mr. Maury was no good…

    Oh, my.

  466. Matt, you would make an excellent edition to my dish-washing squad. I have people I call to relieve the drudgery in my life.

  467. now fidfiljjjkfffffffffffffffff


    Oh, that is funny.

    I’m sorry, but one time you were talking about Ma Mary crying while watchingdjgkllll that bastard GRelks
    marrykl k kjl on The Secret Storm, or whatever it was;lkdd Okay, I’m better I can’t type (LOL) when I am laughing. Gawwd, and I laugh loud too – the dogs are all concerneeeeeeeeeeeed. Meg White? She was getting married on that television program, and you were watching ittttj

    losing muschle control… laugh

    Okay. At any rate, you finished up this logn-ass statement, flawless as chrome, hell, by the end of it I couldn’t stand the sonofabithc, andyou finish with:
    “Greg. To this day, I dislkie him intensely.”

    And for like three days I was just laughy and weepy, didn’t matter where I was, thank god I wasn’t at a funeral or a job interview or something.

  468. Matt, it was Katie Couric. KEEP UP. And you have told me the same lie about ‘feeling no pain’ about being attacked by hyenas. And then we go on to have the CHALK-POOPER argument.

  469. Okay. It was Meg Ryan, in one of her first roles, she was getting married on some soap opera, and Ma Mary was weeping. Happy tears, so many happy tears.

    I’m better now.

  470. Mmmaat, !!!!! OMG!!! It was Meg Ryan’s character Betsy and she was marrying Steve Andropolous FINALLLY. AHAHAHAHAHA, you kill me.

  471. !!!!!! Oh, I’m crying. All of the Jarvises showed up to watch the wedding with her, my dad, my uncles, everyone. And Mom Mary cried and cried, because Betsy had finally escaped from the clutches of the evil Craig. Craig. I dislike him intensely to this day.

  472. Matt, Matt, Matt.

  473. I have you to blame for a sizable dent in the dashboard of that fiesta…I would start laughing and pound on it like a CHIMP! People in cars beside me were SCARED!

    By the way, I found the other day a brochure from the Northwest Academy of Taxidermy. One of my brothers learned that special art by mail from them. It has a section on NOVELTY TAXIDERMY, with the frog quartet and the rabbits out on a promenade.

    The supply section is creepyiern a jar of toenails.
    Who the hell buys a BRAIN SPOON? Normal people don’t. I don’t.

    Anyhow I will photo-copy it sometime and send you one if you want. That gopher piece, the diorama in one of your previous posts damn near crippled my brains for about ten minutes at work the other day. I had to go out on the loading dock and laugh. Fortunately nobody came along and said “What’s so funny.” How the hell do you explain it?


  474. You should see the barn now. That’s all I’ll say. UNTIL ONE OF THEM APPEARS IN A BLOG POST.

  475. Oh my lord, I have no idea what is going on, and it doesn’t matter…

  476. After all the hard work on the Iodine discussion, this is like heaven, I don’t even have to think I am just laughing. The lack of segue, the tangential course of conversation, its brilliant.

  477. Caryl, Matt sent me one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten — it’s out in my barnstudy. A BAG OF BUFFALO FUR. Seriously. It’s in a sandwich bag and sometimes I take it out and make someone I love touch it and there is often screaming like a nine-year-old girl.

  478. My friend Julie used to have a hair collection. I made her this little Victorian decoupage box and she put our friend Jon Berry’s blue hair in it.

  479. Friends like that, they are the best. I have a friend who is phobic to the point of crazy about bandaids, any bandaid whether on her, her kids, she won’t touch one. One day I was washing the dishes and noticed my bandaid had come off, so I got an envelope and put it in, just the bandaid, and mailed it to my girlfriend. She did not speak to me for monthes.

  480. Kate, that is so sweet.

    Matt also sent me the red-assed baboon ink pen on the table in my study. You can see the pen on the last picture in the rat post. It’s in a cup of pens in front of the ermine.

  481. Oh, my.

    It is slumber-party night and I ahve to go tell them to get to bed. Also I have to get up about 7 and run the dogs. Then go to work.

    Steve adndfropoulsdfk I can just see you sitting therssldkfffffffff, sitting there with the whole family watching that. Priceless.

    Oh that is rich. Thank You. Goodnight all!

  482. Caryl, I just SPIT ON MY COMPUTER SCREEN.

    When Jewel’s poetry collection came out I was working in a bookstore, and every night I would copy one down, type it out on a 3×5 index card, and mail it anonymously to John. He was, naturally, horrified.

  483. Matt will be here all week, people!

    Mudpie, do you still have the same e-mail address?

  484. Caryl, I salute your wickedness. I said this before, but my friend Brian has a crippling fear of crickets. I had considered feeding him chocolate covered crickets and not telling him, but my love for him outweighs my evil streak. It’s why I’ll never be cool.

    I was actually wondering what that pen was!

    Oooh…Baboons..HEEBIE JEEBIES!!

    Matt, I’ve been a great audience.

  485. Oh…oh…Jewel…poetry…*convulsing*

  486. Imagine opening an envelope and finding a card with one of those . . . verses on it. He was bewildered. Isolated they just look like jabberwocky. In context they look like jabberwocky. I’m sure he thought he had another stalker — GAH, I’m laughing AGAIN.

  487. Another stalker??

  488. It all makes sense now, this feeling I’ve known you forever. Kate, you will be evil one day, it takes time, but one day the personal joy of imaginning ones friends/spouses reaction will supercede any decency you have left. Early to late 30’s is when this usually happens.

  489. I just had to ask Jack how to spell imaginning.

  490. I’m thirty right now! Ok, I will be on the lookout.

  491. And, Jack didn’t spell it right either!

  492. And I got it wrong again. Imagining?

  493. That’s the one.

  494. Oh my, I need to clear Jacks name, he spelled it right I just couldn’t get type it right.

  495. Sweaty rock stars always have stalkers. His was also an alcoholic, if I remember correctly. I think there were a few, over the years. He used to do a Prince cover with just an acoustic guitar that nearly caused a riot in New Mexico. J, if you read this, don’t even try to deny it. I know for a fact patrons were breaking bottles on the tables.

  496. The smartest people I know CANNOT SPELL. I had this sweet friend, Megan. When we were in the 6th grade she passed me a note. It contained an unfamiliar word. “Onnopoppet.” I stared, and stared. I finally asked her later.

    Inappropriate. I kid you not.

  497. My husband just lost 3200 fans on Rock Band, playing My Generation by The Who.

    He’s been swearing alot.

  498. ONNOPOPPET. That’s going to be my spy name.

    Strangely, I have managed to read 90 pages of the blurb request while playing in this sandbox.

  499. Multi-tasking!

  500. Let’s bump this up to 500 comments.

  501. You just did. Now I’ll get the boss’s attention FOR SURE.

  502. When Jack is not helping me spell he is constantly asking me “what, what?” when I laugh. Onnopoppet is the best word ever, Jack is laughing and is making that his club penguin name.

  503. Imagine how much money you’d make if WordPress allowed Google Ad-Sense.

  504. Penguins are evil. My brother Jeremy has this theory.

  505. It is not the case that penguins tip over and fall on their backs while looking at planes. That’s an urban myth.

  506. I had not heard that, but now I wish it were true.

    You know what movie sucked? Happy Feet. It didn’t help that on free movie day they showed the reels out of order.

  507. Haven, this is Jack Hayes, and I just made a penguin on this one game called club penguin and here is its user name and password.

    password:haven kimmel

    And I made it all just for your children cause I heard you have children!

    Hope your children have fun on the penguin!


  508. Jack…why are you UP???

  509. My mom said I could.:D

  510. Jack, you angel, thank you! I’ll show Obadiah in the morning. You know how they call people who stay up late ‘night owls’? I have a real owl that lives above my barn. I hear him every evening and see him most days. It’s great.

  511. Cool, dude! I had to hide in the bathroom to read or do whatever when I was a kid. Or the old flashlight under the covers. But mostly the bathroom.

  512. Haven can you please email me a picture of the owl to this email address?

    email adress:

    And if I send you my kaline book will you sign it please?

  513. I’ll send you the picture right now. And yes, I’d be happy to sign your book.

    Okay, you should have the e-mail.

  514. Thank you Haven Kimmel.

  515. Also, I want a barn. And a barn owl. And cookies.

  516. You are so welcome.

  517. Where is the address of the place you want me to send the book?Do you get up in the mornings like my mother does’nt.

  518. He is going to bed now- and I swear its only 12:30 here.

  519. D’OH! Time zones.

    The time is now 2:42 in Southern Indiana.

  520. I’ll e-mail you the address, Jack. And no, I don’t get up in the mornings like your mother doesn’t.

  521. Haven and Kate, you guys were great and made a nine year olds evening. He is so not watching Baby Mama with me Haven, he is in bed with Charlie, still laughing about Kate wanting cookies. Goodnight, and thanks again for making him feel like one of us.


    Are you liking Baby Mama? I saw it the other night, and, meh…

  523. Jack and I had some e-mail exchanges and he’s the coolest nine-year-old on the planet.

  524. meh good or meh bad, cause I haven’t gone more than 2 minutes into it yet.

  525. We’ll talk about it tomorrow, I’ll get your opinion Caryl.

  526. Haven, the owl is his screen saver and back ground and he is beaming-or was, he really is in bed now. This was something amazing to him. You have no idea what you have done here, because he knows how much you mean to me, and so he has read your books to be a part of that and now he has emails from you, but you are a super star in our house so he is in awe. I want to bottle up what he is feeling right now and eat it.

  527. okay/ i just woke up in california and saw there wERE OVER 500 posts on the iodine thread and i was thrilled. finally, i thought, i am getting to the bottom of this book.

    instead, i’ve just read the whole thread, and i am IN A BOTTLE GRAVE. that’s when youre stepping along and there;’s a hole in the ground, shaped like a bottle, and you can not get out, ever.



    btw, augusten emailed me that carrie underwoiod video fromhis australian tour and said that he was OBSESSED with it. and that “i’m so ashamed…’ and i laughed for like,an hour. watched it over and over again. i suggest veryon ehave a looky-see. i mean, WHYNOT? it’s not like there;s a syllabus at work.

    i happen to know, also, that i am the only person on this thhread who is still awake. because apparently yall stayed up 24 hours straight, while i, for once, led the hours of a nun.

  528. Suzanne–I, for one, missed you last night while you were leading the hours of a nun.

    There may be others. In fact, I’m sure there are others.

  529. Haven, Matt reminds me of Puck. Was Matt in any little way even the slightest inspiration for that character? Because I swear as I was reading his first few posts all I could picture in my mind was Puck.

    Maybe someday when we discuss Something Rising I can find out. 🙂

    Oh, and I am not making this up… a coyote just trotted across our front yard, across the street, and up behind the house on the hill across from us. My older dog was having a hissy fit, which she always does when anything (and I do mean anything) moves outside. But this time she was getting really agitated and all the fur on her back was standing straight up. I looked out the window and thought, I have never seen that dog before. He is quite handsome. But then I realized it was not a dog. And we do not live out in the country, mind you, we live in a neighborhood within the city limits of Nashville. But, there are a lot of small woods and some fields in the neighborhood and enough squirrels and chipmunks to keep a coyote fed. It kind of made me shiver because he was not running or walking, but rather trotting. Very strange.

  530. We woke up today in Bozeman to a winter wonderland. Everything is covered in white, and it is coming down hard.

    It feels like Christmas.

    Haven- one odd note… The next flight after we met you, I started an excellent new book by Fred Vargas (a female Fred, actually). It is called This Night’s Foul Work. It’s a quirky murder mystery, translated from French.

    Here is the odd note: throughout the book, the detective would spend time with his baby son, and told metaphorical stories about the case… with ibex as the protagonist and antagonist.

    Two doses of ibex in one day!

    Hope all is well.

  531. Oh, good people of the Babies Blog. I’m so ashamed. I read ALL 534 posts on Iodine and I am now FAR behind on my thesis of it, so slippery now is my grasp. MAYBE.

    What’s odd is, I understand Iodine perfectly, as a multifaceted novel. I love it. It’s amazing. Is that the finish line?

    Because otherwise, it’s “check, please!” at the cafe of my intellect.

    I mean yes, Iodine’s protagonist is crazy and her life is crammed w/ projections, oddities and downright illusions. But I just take that as the way things ARE, if any of us really were truthful about our life and thoughts and experiences. I mean, “going to college’ is the most far out trip anyone can ever take, it’s an unnatural, unsupervised trip to CrazyVille, with some benefits and some cons. So I get the college thing completely, I mean, of COURSE.

    In short: I see it as a psychological thriller of your insides (composited with the insides of others, including aliens) and your life (composited with the lives of unknown others), with exceptionally tricksy and scholarly goodies sprinkled throughout; and exquisite puzzle box of a novel that still makes sense as an unpuzzled novel of literary genius.

    I.e.: Two people can have a marriage, and the can have TOTALLY DIFFERENT experiences, memories and realties within that marriage. In fact, one of them can disappear and become fictional. One can split up into 2 or 3 personalities, all of them true and some of them – perhaps – alien. And that’s in real life. So I think Iodine is just reflecting the disparities between what we classify as sane and what we classify as abnormal or “made up.”

    How am I doing? I’ll be dammed if I don’t feel like I want a GRADE, now. I do. That’s how much I respect you, and that’s how fucked up I am.

    suzanne finnamore

  532. TO JERRI: that’s very sweet of you. but it eems to me that the joint was JUMPIN and that i’d have been a feather in a hurricane. feather-brained, i suspect.

    also – was that you who commented on my new MAN COLLECTING blog post? if so, thank you. it made me see that post as unworthy of me. because, really, the whole post was ABOUT greed, wasnt it? greed and a flippancy that is unbecoming.

  533. Suzanne, not that my opinion matters that much, but I’d say you earned and A+ for that. I sometimes think (and I mean no disrespect to our Haven or her blog babies), in reference to college courses I’ve taken, that people try to make too much out something. Not that this isn’t a complicated and multi-faceted piece of brilliance. It is. And it took a couple of readings, plus hearing Haven speak about it, and reading these postings to make sure that I understand it. I think I do more on a gut level than an intellectual level. And yeah, sometimes I feel like the slow kid, sitting in the back of the class hoping the teacher doesn’t call on me because everything they’ve been saying might as well be in German!

  534. two nights back, for the first time in 12 years in this canyon house of mine? i heard the distinctive howl of coyotes. two, by the sound of it, possibly three. it was 3 am, of course. that’s the witching hour, if you follow that sort of thing, or are born to it.

    they are gifted , the coyotes. their howls an ungodly halleluyah. they made me feel i was attending a sacred symphony.

  535. The only “reality” of any situation is the story each participant tells in its aftermath. We are constantly re-inventing our past, because the only “proof” of it is in our memory of it. No two people recall a single event in the same way, and each one is perfectly correct in their recollection.

    “The simplest questions are the most profound. Where were you born? Where is your home? Where are you Doing? What are you going? Think about these once in a while, and watch your answers change.”

    “If you will practice being fictional for a while, you will understand that fictional characters are sometimes more real than people with bodies and heartbeats.”

    ~ Richard Bach, ILLUSIONS

  536. Suzanne,

    My starter marriage would probably have worked if we’d had TOTALLY DIFFERENT “realties,” as you pointed out in your 12:10 pm posting:

    “Two people can have a marriage, and the can have TOTALLY DIFFERENT experiences, memories and realties …”

  537. Have anyone of you read Paul Anderson’s epic-sized tome of 1376 pages, HUNGER’S BRIDES: A NOVEL OF THE BAROQUE? If you have, what did you think?

  538. Joe From the Plane, don’t you just fine that ODD? I’m absolutely amazed. Also you have quite interesting literary taste. You’ve named what, four books I’ve never heard of?

    We still have our air conditioning running in North Carolina. Snow is simply not on the table. So to speak.

  539. Caryl, Jack is a wonder. Plus? We get each other.

  540. Its 11:20 and I just woke up.

  541. It’s 85 degrees in Evansville. We are in the midst of Fall Festival, the second largest street fest in North America, second only to Mardi Gras, and it’s too darn hot for anyone to eat anything deep fried. I want sweaters and nippy air, not sweater running down my cleavage.

    As for Iodine, for me I had to understand the sequence of events, separate hard fact from “truth” in order to understand it for me, personally. Once I got that down, HOLY COW. It’s amazing.

  542. Sweater running down my cleavage, not sweat. There, I just made you think of my Cleavage TWICE. There I go again, three times.


  544. Kate, we were up late, go easy on yourself.

  545. Jesus Take the Wheel always finds me driving and shouting at the radio “It’s a METAPHOR! Grab the damned wheel!”

  546. Suzanne, I think you said everything I wasn’t able to articulate earlier. I’m reading Iodine for the second time and thanks to this thread of discussion, I’ve got a far greater understanding of the nuance and complicated choreography of everything in it, but the bottom line is that each and every one of us loved this book, right?

    And I loved it at least in part because despite the fact that it’s sometimes bleak and horrifying and all of this crazy shit is happening to Ianthe, and my heart was shattered for her (and for Weeds, and for Colt who I was in love with immediately), it was FAMILIAR.

    My memory certainly isn’t as vivid as the images that Haven can paint, but I think it’s been said more than once that so many of us have been in these places and met these people. It isn’t so far fetched for that girl in your English class to be the one who fell over the edge.

  547. I’m tiptoing quietly in here, because I feel a little bit like the “new” kid being paraded in front of the class in the middle of the school year. Also, after having lurked here for the past 10 days or so and seeing how cool and smart everyone else I’m not sure if I’ll be up to snuff or not. Haven, I just finished the book last night…. Wow, I’m bowled over and still trying to wrap my head around everything. My mind is still reeling. I look forward to reading everyones comments and thoughts. In the meantime hello everybody, I’m glad to be here.

  548. Suzanne–about coyotes: I agree about their ungodly halleluyah.

    Sitting in a hot tub on the side of a mountain in New Mexico surrounded by the howls coyotes singing the full moon was one of the most holy moments of my life. And, not coincidentally, one of the scariest for this midwestern city dweller.

  549. Lindsay: “It isn’t so far fetched for that girl in your English class to be the one who fell over the edge.”

    YES! That’s it exactly.

    And, in our own ways, haven’t we all fallen over the edge from time to time?

  550. Scott, welcome, and truly — I’m the one who should be worried about being up to snuff. What a curious phrase, ‘up to snuff.’ God knows where that came from. (I’m tired of looking things up. Imagine that.)

    And Suzanne, thank you for your very sane comments about the bottom line.

    As far as it being far-fetched that it would be the girl in your English class who fell over the edge? I was that girl in your English class.

    Cupcake, sweaters in your cleavage. You slay me.

  551. Okay, so I’ll put up a post in a couple days, maybe three, for the SOLACE discussion? It has to be soon because I’m traveling. By then I should have figured out how to post something on my own. Oh wait, I need to read the book. I DID finish the blurb request book. It only took me until seven this morning.

  552. Heaven knows there is ROOM enough in there. And I’d rather have a sweater than a jumping spider. Yes, I’ve had one of those. Barely recovered.

  553. Kate,why are you so crazy?


  554. Jack: !!!!!

    Kate, do please address this. It might help me understand why I am so crazy.

  555. ???

  556. Oh heavens…how much time do you HAVE??

    I blame God. God love him!

  557. I just realized Jack was the one that posted that. Jack, I am so crazy because I realized sometime in my teens that my only defense was a sense of humor. When I stopped taking myself seriously I started having a better time.

  558. Okay,the first thing I told Jack when he woke up was no emailing Haven, she is sleeping. No going on the blog either unless I am on. I just logged back on and looky here, Jack is all up in Kates business. I will make him clean the house now for sure.

  559. Now I have to wonder, does he know what a cleavage is? Won’t happen again ladies unless he is A. invited B.given permission C.typing for me because my hand is broken.

  560. I like crazy cake.

  561. Hi Scott. And, hi Jack (if you are here) My kids are both in high school and both are smart like you. So, I am glad you even have the slightest interest in hanging out with wacky adults like us. You go, guy!

    So, is no one going to actually tell me the significance of my seeing an actual live coyote in my front yard this morning? I mean, I live in freakin (sorry Jack) Nashville, Tennessee, not Wyoming or something. Isn’t it a sigh (other than humans pushing animals out of their natural habitats)?

    Is anyone else wondering if George got his jeep fixed or if he is still stuck at the beach? I wish I was stuck at the beach. George, I miss you.

  562. I meant sign, not sigh, although I think I did sigh when I realized the dog was actually a coyote.

  563. Jerri and Haven, you said it. I know I have to some extent or another been that girl in someone’s English class (actually, it was probably someone’s religious ethics class, and praise be to the best professor I’ve ever had to grace to encounter for understanding that and becoming my mentor anyway).

    It’s both exhilarating and terrifying to plunge into and roam around the unfathomable depths of a human brain, moreso a genius brain.

    I love knowing that the innocuous looking dude in line behind you at the grocery store has a million stories waiting to be told.

  564. Okay, all, I have been lurking for quite some time now (which is so unlike me, as you have seen), but I did not feel I could speak of which I did not know. Iodine needs to be read again with, arrayed in front of me, Amanda’s gatherings and George’s and Jodi’s posts and all Haven’s clues, and all the rest of you brilliant blog babies’ readings on this most layered and nuanced of stories. And perhaps Jung and Hillman at the ready, too. There is so much prying up of edges I’ve had hammered down pretty good there for some time, klieg lights in the cellar, something breaking apart — I understand why Jodi (was it Jodi?) said this is the book that changed her life. I’m so grateful for all of your posts, all of your beings. So grateful to you having written this.

  565. Oh my, didn’t we leave George at a Starbucks somewhere yesterday? Linda, no need to censor yourself on Jacks account. Poor boy is being raised by wolves over here. Jack is also not coming on here without permission,and then he will announce himself very loud. There is a significance to your seeing a wolf in Nashville, but we probably need Haven to point it out.

  566. Linda, it might actually be a sign that coyotes are returning to a natural habitat they’d previously lost. Or I’ve just read too much Barbara Kingsolver. I don’t know Tennessee at all, but I assume that at one point or another there were coyotes in the Nashville area.

  567. And I cut and forgot to paste, “holding Suzanne’s quite practical suggestions in mind.” It extends to families too, that Rashomon effect — I can’t talk to my sister about the past, about our parents. We have polar opposite memories of our experience of our family.

  568. coyote, wolf, its all a bit odd in my book.

  569. I believe Jack adds a certain insouciance to this blog, he is devil-may-care in his reflections of having been raised by wolves. Though I am so sorry about your hand, Caryl.

  570. Carrie, my brothers and I are the same way. I am constantly astonished at the three utterly divergent paths laid by the same two people with the same child rearing techniques. Especially as concerns my oldest brother, who is so radically different from myself that sometimes I can’t see for the brilliant light of him.

  571. I’m with Lindsay — every year, the coyotes regenerate in the greenbelt out back and I’ll hear the kits yipping in spring (nothing like it, nothing) and every other year, there is a war against them. Because it’s more important that cats are able to roam free in the suburbs (where there are many highways where cars like to move at a fast clip) than to let the coyotes hold the last 2 mile strip of greenbelt available to them. I see them 10 feet from my window, every other year. Everyone should be so fortunate to have wildness reminding them of where they came from.

  572. I was using the broken hand as an example of when it would be okay for Jack to be here, but I appreciate your concern, and Jack will love to know someone used the word insouciance to describe his being here. Nobody meets and talks to Jack without knowing something real and brilliant is going on in his head. .
    I am a lucky mom

  573. “Everyone should be so fortunate to have wildness reminding them of where they came from.”

    Cheers to that.

  574. He is a lucky boy to have you for a mother. And I am so glad your broken hand was not literal.

  575. Caryl, you are definitely a lucky mom.

    Jack is an insanely lucky kid to have a mom who knows that.

  576. Lindsay, right? The same people, the same techniques, different, very different, results.

  577. Thank you. I feel better now. Coyotes are native to Tennessee (not sure if native is the right word, but you know what I mean) but just not in this neighborhood. OR– maybe they have always been in the woods behind my house keeping very silent, just waiting for the right time to emerge. ooooh shivers.

    Carrie- I feel exactly the same way. I am no where near as smart as most of these folks, but I am hoping some of this will seep into the small cracks in my brain and help those cells I still have that are no longer being killed by alcohol. I actually shared in an AA meeting this morning. This meeting is a big one and I have only shared in it once before and I have been going to it for about 5 months now. I think I have gained some courage from all of you.

  578. Linda (every time I try to type your name, I type my own. How lame is that?) I commend you on your sobriety, and I think it’s so awesome that this community that seems to have popped up out of nowhere has given you that kind of courage.

    Something I’ve noticed here as long as I’ve been coming (which is far longer than the two weeks or so since I delurked) is that regardless of their brilliance, the people here are unbelievably welcoming and gracious. I am constantly astonished by Haven’s kindness (though I saw that in her memoirs before I even knew this site existed) and the kindness of everyone else here. I don’t think any of us needs to worry about being here.

  579. Good on you, Linda — it’s not easy to get up in front of all those people. And Iodine — LTC’s post of 2:19p yesterday came closest to my reading of the book, but with all the rest of the information in this post, I know my second reading will be so much richer.

    I’m off to have a Bach Flower Essences reading! Oh, I do adore having herbalist friends…

  580. Sher- if you come around tonight- my daughter is volunteering at the Southern Festival of Books tomorrow afternoon (Sunday) so I think I will go with her. Have you already been or will you be there tomorrow?

  581. Linda: I have no idea of the significance of the coyote, but a fox sauntered up to the front door of my business a week or so ago. Right in the middle of a busy commercial area, 100 yards from the busiest highway around here.

    So, if you figure it out, let us know ASAP.

  582. Hmmm, very mysterious, Jerri.

  583. In terms of the coyotes: all animals are archetypes, when glimpsed that way. For my money they remain archetypal right up until they sink their teeth into your flesh. I’d guess there are tricks abounding this autumn, yes? Flashes of silver, fleet-footed men and children, random objects gone missing, a riddle rolling around in the brain.

    On the practical side, never forget that while coyotes are generally shy and aren’t interested in engaging in conversation with us, they are stealthy beyond belief and master predators. There’s a reason farmers and cattlemen and people on horseback hate and fear them.

  584. Here’s a woman for you: last year, here in North Carolina, a woman was getting in to her car at night, and a fox slunk out from underneath it and bit her on the ankle. She reached down, grabbed it by the tail, and swung it like a bat against the side of her car, then took its carcass with her to the hospital. They sent it to animal control and it was determined to have rabies.

    Now I happen to adore foxes, but in this particular case I’d have to give the win to the Ass Whoopin Southern Woman.

  585. My mother has a morbid fear of rapists lurking under cars at night, but never, ever has she suggested watching out for slinking foxes.

    Yep. The win definitely goes to the AWSW.

  586. IODINE’s Trace is living in Jonah, Indiana, a fictional town in the fictional state of Indiana. (Just checking to see if anyone is still awake …) The biblical Jonah, like Trace, lived in the belly of the beast. That is, in fact, his claim to fame. What happened to Jonah after he was cast up on the shore? What happened to Trace after her epiphany on the final page of IODINE? Miss Haven, that’s one that’s not yet clear to me.

    I’d love to hear your explication for Jonah, Indiana, and how you came to name your town for a disobedient Hebrew prophet. (By the way, the Hebrew word “jonah” translates as “dove.”)

  587. Absent evidence to the contrary, we cannot say for certain that the fox did NOT have rape on its mind.

  588. I knew you would put it into perspective Haven. One Easter we brought all of the kids out front for an easter egg hunt, and my brother who is the funniest/craziest person ever, said “look kids, there is a snake wrapped around that rabbit.” Seriously, there was a rabbit being strangled by a snake and the kids screamed, grandmas screamed, and you have to wonder what that meant on EASTER!

  589. Ms. Jodi, did you not just answer all your own questions? No one listened to Jonah — his prophecies were ignored, in the way Cassandra’s were ignored — until he survived being swallowed by the Leviathan. And what better place to put a state university, then in a town named after a prophet no one would listen to?

  590. Caryl, I just snorted unbecomingly. “Look at the snake wrapped around the rabbit” is going to be one of my new favorite phrases.

  591. Ms. Haven, yes, I guess I answered my own question, but you answered MORE poetically and MORE eloquently. Thank you.

  592. Snorting is the least of it. I fear my neighbors are dialing for assistance at this very moment.

    They certainly fear for my safety or their own, based on the noises drifting from my windows.

  593. Jonah appears in every novel — it’s the Big Town. So while SOLACE takes place in Haddington, Indiana, the children are taken to the doctor in Jonah. All of THE USED WORLD takes place there.

  594. Yes, Jodi: that’s me. Poetic and elegant. An hour ago I walked in to the kitchen to get some milk and my pants just completely fell down.

  595. Ahhh. I bought The Used World about 2 weeks ago anxious to read it as it but then I got sidetracked with Owen and then again with Iodine. Now it seems I need to re-read Solace before I can read Used. Ugh. Sometimes I wish I had three heads. Ok, I don’t wish that very often, but if I did this would definitely be one of those times.

  596. Haven, once my pants just completely fell down on a sidewalk in the middle of Bloomington.

  597. Haven. Honey. Are these the infamous Airport Pants? Are you still … trying to … wear them? Where do you get these crazy pants? You’re not trying to “sag,” are you, like the cool boys from the ‘hood? Haven??

  598. Jodi, you are hysterically funny. That comment was wonderful.

  599. I’m gonna run with this ball and take up JACOB MATTHIAS, Ianthe’s husband.

    St. Matthias was chosen to replace Judas the traitor in the apostolate.

    Jacob is from the Hebrew, meaning “heel” or “heel grabber,” in reference to his birth, in which he held the heel of his twin brother Esau. And he gained fame for stealing Esau’s birthright.

    Connection to our Dr. Matthias? Or maybe your taxidermied weasel is named Dr. Matthias …?

  600. Amanda,

    I’m nuts. And by the way, I love your avatar.


  601. Haven, I actually have a male cousin named (wait for it) Danny Rae. Son of my Aunt Jerri Lee, deceased local country-and-western singer at local dives. Naming those two brothers Danny Rae and Duane is inalienable evidence (inALIENable!) that you grew up in a Hoosier backwater. The chilling significance of this type of being may be lost on east and west coastal readers, which is both blessing and curse, I suppose.

  602. I am stupified by my husband and father-in-law’s study of their genealogy. In light of where I come from, I’m running hard and fast in the opposite direction, inventing my past in my headlong flight.

  603. “For Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”

    Thank GOD someone recognizes how much time I put into names. I too feel that Danny Rae and Duane are just the berries.

  604. Why thank you!

  605. No, these are different pants. Something is amiss.

  606. Haven, Can we talk? About the bottle o’piss that Marty carried around? Where oh where did you unearth that one? By the PUNCH BOWL at the wedding?? Sweet Lord, that’s … I have no words.

    More Names. Juna. (Mother of Colt Pennington.) In mythology, wife of — was it Zeus? Ruler of the Universe.

    Is Low-REH-tuh another juicy Hoosier-ism?, which I enjoyed as much as WANDA who who have working at the truck stop! Oh, lord. Wanda. Their mothers doomed them both in pinning those names on them. And Loretta’s hair the colour of cantalope mixed with blood. Her maiden name was Vaughan … significance? And did Trace just steal Loretta’s thunder with “I am an orphan in all the world”?

    I believe each of them deserve discussion in WS510: Wounded Women in Literature.

  607. The only child molester I ever met peed in a plastic Pepsi bottle. I thought it was an absolutely idyosyncratic element, but somebody at one of my readings knew a man who saved his pee in bottles, and I was like, whoa.

  608. Whoa.

  609. Haven,

    Apropos of your love for taxidermy, you might like the sheepskin products from this store in Au Gres, Michigan. I have several of their tibetan lamb neckwarmers, which might be inspirational on a cold winter’s night. The photo of the neckwarmer on the website doesn’t do it justice.

    Then again, maybe you should find Lands’ End and order some smaller pants.

  610. Hey. Wait a minute. Phillip Wilson. Not like Wilson Phillips, the singing girls?? Dusty Ann’s husband. By the way — Dusty? Only other Dusty I know is Springfield.

    Gianni (Johnny) Loria. Like folk-Lore? Or … what? Am I missing something?

  611. Wow, I LOVE that sheepskin business.

    Loria is the most common surname in the village from which Gianni claims his family hails.

    Phil and Dusty. It’s VERY rural Indiana.

  612. Linda, right?!?

  613. Oh, and Juna is a variant of Janus, by which I mean it’s a Haven Kimmel vowel-switcheroo. Janus, the two-faced god.

  614. More names. If I’ve got this one right, you’re Very Funny and Subtle, Ms. K.

    Richard Scherring = Dick Shearing = emasculated!

    Todd at the goth party at Myka’s apartment:
    tod = death in German

    Anastasia LaFramboise = Anastasia Raspberry

    Re: the Au Gres Sheep Factory. It’s lovely stuff. They have a booth at the Johnny Appleseed Festival in Fort Wayne every September. If you want to see a clear photo of the tibetan lambskin, let me know and I’ll send you a picture of the ones I have. And how about a steering wheel cover??!

  615. Jodi, A+ as usual.

    You know it never gets cold where I live? Rarely, I mean.

  616. Jodi get an A For The Day for sure.

  617. *gets

  618. I am ecstatic about rereading Solace, by the way.

    I have long believed, literally, that my one great purpose in life… the thing that makes me happiest in all the world… is discovering something that is brilliant and beautiful and true. Then, once I have discovered it, introducing that brilliance, beauty, and truth to as many people as I possibly can and helping them to revel in it.

    I did that with Solace. Am still doing it.

  619. Dick Shearing!!! AHHHHHHH!

  620. Amanda, thank you, love.

  621. where’s george?

  622. Hello coyotes. Hello, Song Dongs. Long may you rave.


    Lincoln, Ne.

  623. No song dogs out tonight. Quiet. I suppose most of you are on EST.


  624. I’m here. Central Time.

  625. Well Hello! How goes it? My name is Matt. I have noticd your comments on here, sory I haven’t said hello earlier – as you know, sometimes it is like a mosh pit on here!

  626. Tell me about it…I keep getting kicked in the head!

  627. Yep! I suppose a lot of them are soaking in mental epson salts tonight… Today earlier I backed up and was looking at a lot I had missed… I really need to read Iodine!
    How’s your evening going?

  628. This is so funny…this blog is our little chat room!

    I am good, but tired. Trying to finish up a project. I was in a parade tonight so I walked quite a bit, and then I had a late dinner. My son fell asleep right into the beans and rice. My husband is asleep on the couch, and I am just trying to finish up and hit the hay.

  629. I hear you, I had a little un-needed excitement today. I was at work an got a call that the clothes washer drain valve had wiggled loose. About ankle deep water in the basement.

    I never thought I’d utter the words “Thank God for the Shop Vac.”

    Parade? For Columbus Day?

    Beans and rice sounds GOOD right now.

  630. Oooo, Haven, I sure did forget about you livin’ in paradise where it doesn’t get cold in the winter. But! even so, you’d like the feel of that soft, curly sheepskin on a cool winter morning, in a pair of slippers or covering the seat of your writing chair in the barn.

  631. Nope, for Fall Festival. I was promoting the website I work for.

    My friend Liz’s mother is from New Zealand, and they are all about the sheepskin there! All the babies take their naps on them.

  632. Damn! Nap on a sheepskin sounds allright!

    You know, I could just kick myself in the ass for all the times, when I was little, that somebody told me to take a nap, and I’d run off or caterwal about it.

    Where is all that nappage now when I need it??

    Were there any people wearing big paper mache heads in the parade?

    Hello Jodi, I’m Matt.

  633. I couldn’t see, I was waaaay in the back! I had a rad costume though…I was wearing a June Cleaver outfit.

    I know what you mean about naps. Going to take an 8 hour one right now!!

  634. Well Caker, I was about to sign off too, but I just noticed that tht movie POLYESTER is on the tee vee. Never thought that’d happen. I guess I will stay awake long enough to hear that epic




  635. …crickets…

    Well, goodnight Coyotes. Goodnight Song Dogs. Long may you rave!


  636. Matt, some of us live on the west coast, so it leaves me to ask, song dongs or song dogs?

  637. Hi Caryl –

    What the hell is a song dogn? Oops. Song Dogs + old term for coyotes. Clunky keyboard here. I hear they run up the storm drains in Los Angeles and knock over garbage cans and eat all the time. So: there might be coyotes under the sidewalk you’re walking on.

    How’re you?

  638. I’ll be able to get that snake-around-a-rabbit image out of my mind no time soon, Caryl.

    Hello, Matt, I’m Carrie. I’m so very fond of non sequitur and so am so very fond of you. Further, I’m impressed you had a shop vac to wonder about.

  639. Snake around a rabbit? Must have missed something.

    One time I knew a lady, she caught a snake that had
    had poked it’s head out of her henhouse. It couldn’t get out, because it was full of eggs!

    I am too lazy to look up non sequitur. What is that.

    One of the worst things about vaccuming up wter in a basement is you can’t listen to music while you do it. Which is a shame, as I got a CD of Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis today, and it is great!

    It is nice to meet you Carrie. How is your wekend going?


  640. Poor snake full of eggs.

    I was wrong. You speak continuity. It’s something else that says, “keep up folks, it will be worth it, I promise.”

    Very nice to meet you too, Matt. My weekend is going great guns. Yours? Other than the shop vac incident?

  641. And do you really live in Crete? Are all the rooftops really white? (I am credulous, to be sure. There is probably a Crete, Colorado.)

  642. “an inference that does not follow from the premises.”


    Anyhow, she got the snake out of it’s predicament by chopping it’s head off with a hoe! And then squeezed the eggs out, and put them back in the nests.

    Also, she told me some good ways to repell rabbits.


  643. Oh, you’re still here! I drank too damn much coffee at work today and what with the “flood” I am all frittery.

    No, Crete is just west of here. I live in Lincoln. I grew up in Johnson County, SE of here.

    I did not know there was a Crete, CO.

  644. JODI
    i read ILLUSIONS by Bach once every 2-3 years.i remember the firt time i read it, i was completely flabberasted and in love. it’s a magic, deep, simple, magnificent story. i just LOVE.IT.

  645. I was in California once. I had been working in Alaska, and made some money, and went down to Santa Cruz to take it easy for a week.

    There were some nice hippies there – they laughed like hell at about everything what came out of my mouth – hard not to like them – and they took me to a grove of trees close to town, wherein the monarch butterflies go to roost.

    I wouldn’t know what to compare them to, except for the fish in the sea. MILLIONS of them.

    Watch this, one says, and she shakes a branch and the air was alive with them. F F F F F F F F F F F F
    all those little paper wings, they shown like stained glass in the sun, and you more felt the sound on your skin than heard it.

    I have never seen such a thing since and don’t expect too anytime soon.

  646. I made it up. There is no Crete, CO. Or there may be. Who am I to say there isn’t?

    You just knew that snake was going to come to no damn good.

    That “Two Men With the Blues”? Nice! It would have made the nasty flood so much more bearable.

  647. Sweet Jesus. Like performance art, without the logistics nightmare. Thank you for that image — you put me right there.

  648. Illusions. I don’t think I have heard of it. What is it about?

    I don’t read as many novels as I should, I’m afraid. I just get interrupted so damn much! I think it was that painter, Georgia O’keefe, said something like:
    Looking at things, really looking at them, takes time. Like having a friend takes time.”

    Reading a novel is like that. Non-fiction, its no trouble, at least for me, to stop, pickup, stop, pickup.

  649. Would you like to hear a kind of funny story? It won’t take long.

  650. Oh, yes please.

  651. Suzanne — I remember Illusions being so powerful, but it’s been so long — what keeps you rereading it every 2-3 years?

  652. Also, signed up Facebook, Jon’s art INVISIBLE! The page is private! Please advise.

  653. Well, one time I was driving through Brownville, it is on the Missori river, and I stopped in to a little tavern there. It was hot, summer afternoon, about one.

    The place wasn’t very big, dark and cool inside.

    The bartender, I was talking to him, and he said one time there was a little store down in Mexico, and Jesus’s face appeared on it’s outside wall!

    Everybody was terribly excited. People came from miles away to touch it.

    Then, one day, somebody figured out that the whitewash was fading, and that it was a Willie Nelson poster – he had at some time played near there. It had just been slathered over with whitewash.

    ANyhow, I thought that was kind of funny. Then he told me Willie Nelson had played there once. Sure enough, there was an autographed picture from then.

    He said, “You’re sitting where WIllie sat. That same stool.”

    I was very happy to learn this.

    Then he said. No wait, it was that one over there.

    I said How do you know they didn’t get mixed up? They aren’t attached to the floor? Are his butt-prints in it still or something? He laughed and said he didn’t know. Anyhow, it was the stool that was on that spot.
    Or maybe that one.

    Just then, a toad came hopping in! Gettin out of the heat of te day.

    He said they do that all the time, Go on, and he raises his voice like he was kind of mad GET! OUT! OF! HERE!

    I said (mock angry) That’s a hell of a way to talk to customers! And I’ll be finishing this beer, thank you!

    He kind of laughed, and he had a little broom and kind of shooed it out.

    There, hope that was fairly painless.


  654. uanne Fennimore Cooper?? Did you write a book about divorce?

  655. — I’ll bet you were sitting where Willie sat, in relation to him.

    When the toad came in, I expected it to say something. That story was shaping up all mystical like.

    I do love any story where Jesus’ or Mary’s face appearing is a plot point. It’s an added bonus here that it was simply whitewashed Willie.

  656. I did not know where to put this, but now Matt has opened the door, Suzanne, I read Split last night. Hereafter, I will be giving a copy to every one I know, even peripherally, who’s going through any kind of breakup. You have done an enormous service to mankind and especially to single mother-kind in writing it. A manual for breakups: just what the therapist ordered. Funny and insightful and heartbreaking (esp. around A.) and to-the-bone honest. I think I could die happy having written something like this.

  657. I guess I am a born door-opener. Suzanne, a friend of mine heartilly rec’d your book to me! I guess I didn’t make the connection till now…I remember reading one of your posts which was about coyotes!

    If you’re still there, I’m pleased to meet you. Wow, that is wild.

    I can tell you something about coyotes. The indians around here used to call them “Song Dogs”. Some of the people on this blog seem to prefer “Song Dongs” for some reason…Anyway, did you have any major construction or fires around where you live? That is probably why you have so many all of a sudden.
    They need a real wide range, if they are eating what they normally eat. I hear the storm drains of Los Angeles, they run thru them every night, go in to the city and knock over garbage cans, eat and get out.

    The Inddians said they would be the last animal on earth.

    I can tell you something about divorce too. Sometime else tho.

    It is like there are two counties at war. And the kids are
    nomadic tribes on the border area.

    Ha haa, our dog Felix, he is part Dingo. Here he comes, speak of the devi. He is smart. He knows when you are talking about him.

    We took him to the vet’s, and the vet said, yep, he has dingo blood – just look at the roof of his mouth! And I looked and said “Yes, I can see, obvious, “D”, “I”

    I guess you had to be there.

  658. Felix, it appears we are the last animals on earth.

    Should we sing the national anthem or something?

  659. Oooooooooo say, can you see?
    (Second shift was late … sorry)

  660. SUZANNE,

    Richard Bach’s ILLUSIONS: THE ADVENTURES OF A RELUCTANT MESSIAH has so much wisdom in it that Bach must have been receiving “automatic writing” prompts from the other side. (For certainly he was later possessed by demons, and now writes a series of books about humanized ferrets. The world is wide.) Do you also have a copy of MESSIAH’S HANDBOOK, a small volume of the maxims in ILLUSIONS, because it is powerful and fun and enchanting and right now you should look it up on Amazon then run to your nearest bookseller and buy it. Now.

  661. “This isn’t going to be easy. Not as easy as it used to be …”



    In Indiana Kimmel’s latest escapade, EYE O’DINE (a Joycian flight of imagination; a wild ride of Irish pirates, fools, and maidens fair), secrets, like leprechauns, linger everywhere — if only one has eyes to see …

    Read how Trace meets Death (herein called “Todd”) at a late-night goth party in the mythical land of Indiana. Todd is “a young man leaning against the wall next to Trace … dressed all in black leather and studs … tall but not gaunt, AS WAS GENERALLY PRESCRIBED. (Ed. note: Prescribed for goths? For the Grim Reaper? Ah, the chill of fine writing.) The longer she looked at him the more Trace saw; and between his size and his piercings and his intense stare, she imagined he frightened old women and little children everywhere he went. “I know you,” he said to Trace.
    “You do?”
    “I’ve seen you.” He held out his hand; the back was tattoed in a black Celtic pattern and his palm was bleeding. “Todd.” (Ed. note: Stephen Sondheim ripped off Indiana Kimmel when he borrowed this utterance for Johnny Depp to mutter: “The name’s Todd. Sweeney Todd.”)
    Trace shook his hand. “You’re bleeding.”
    “I know.”

    Later, fleeing the goth gathering, Todd again appears to Trace:
    “Just as she reached her truck Todd slammed the trunk of a vintage Ford Fairlane, parked next to her.
    “I know you,” he said, smiling at her.
    Trace smiled back, opened the door of her father’s truck. “No you don’t.”

    Countless other delights await those who take up the adventure of EYE O’DINE. Ponder the significance of the name Candy Buck, nee WARNER, the elusive best friend who, like Cassandra of old, sounds the tocsin that Trace might take heed. Consider the name of Jacob Matthias, a man of biblical proportions — or not? Myka Holloway, whose moniker portends flaking stone and brain. All abiding in the Brigadoon of Jonah, Indiana: a town named after a prophet no one would listen to.

    Read on, o brave follower of the crystal skull. Pray for guidance, search for knowledge, hope that Indiana Kimmel is wearing a helmet at all times to protect … THE… CRYSTAL … SKUUUUUUUUULLLLLLLLL …

  662. A slowly-dawning realization overtakes the reader: who was that pagan, one-eyed god who
    surely the author
    did she mean to, did she really

    ODIN pagan god of many traits, Norse

    say yes to, say it

    Aye, Odin
    I – odin
    I, Odin …


    yes i am suzanne finnamore, author but nowhere near as good as haven. but i AM more evil than haven, so it evens out?

    oh thank you. carrie, that is the best compliment ive received on Split yet. when my husband left me and my baby son, i was just FLUMMOXED and APPALLED that there was nothing to reafd about it except dry self help and romance novels.soi wrote my own, in the hopes that some other left-behind spouses would find comfot and laughter there. SO YES. I CAN DIE HAPPY. EXCEPT NOW I HAVE A BELOVED SON, SO I CANT DIE. GAK!

    and i have only one photo album on facebook…and my photo album should not be invisible!!! WTF????? i’mgoing to raise hell there now… AS IF. try again ….


    yes i am suzanne finnamore, author but nowhere near as good as haven. but i AM more evil than haven, so it evens out?

    oh thank you. carrie, that is the best compliment ive received on Split yet. when my husband left me and my baby son, i was just FLUMMOXED and APPALLED that there was nothing to reafd about it except dry self help and romance novels.soi wrote my own, in the hopes that some other left-behind spouses would find comfot and laughter there. SO YES. I CAN DIE HAPPY. EXCEPT NOW I HAVE A BELOVED SON, SO I CANT DIE. GAK!

    and i have only one photo album on facebook…and my photo album should not be invisible!!! WTF????? i’mgoing to raise hell there now… AS IF. try again ….


  666. JODI

    of COURSE i have the Messiahs handbook. do you take me for a fool?


  667. Hello folks. I don’t know a lot about literature, but thank the Lord at least I know something about Facebook. I work at a university with college students, after all, and that is where is all started. Facebook is for social networking, so once you create a profile for yourself (even if you have nothing on it) you must ask to become a “friend” of others so you can see their profiles. Most people, me included, only open up our total profiles to friends and friends of friends. I think this might be a default actually, so I imagine Suzanne’s stuff can only be seen by her friends and her photos can be seen by friends of friends. So, when Suzanne’s pretty profile picture pops, click on “add as friend” and she will get a friend request and say “yes” and then you will be friends. Join our Haven’s Blog Babies group too and then friend request everyone there because we are all here. Ooh that sounded kind of mysterious. I am there too. I am Linda Carter and I live in Nashville TN.

  668. Suzanne,

    You labeled the photo of you in devil’s horns “The Devil is a Woman.” Could it be that you know the movie with Marlene Dietrich of the same name? The one that WOULD NOT be released until Marlene died in 1992? Of COURSE you have the Messiah’s Handbook. Of course you love Dietrich. Am I right? Am I RIGHT??

  669. The things I missed when I was actually sleeping! Matt, you are a treasure.

    JODI!!!! I don’t even know what to say. You are fantastic.

    Loving Split Suzanne. Need to get back to it.

  670. JODI. YOU ARE RIGHT. and i have a kitchen magnet of “The Devil Is A Woman” movie poster. superfantastic.

  671. GOD BLESS LINDA FOR SHOWING US THE WAYS OF THE FACEBOOK. i was going to explain tghe whole “be a friend on my facebook” folderol, but i knew i’d fuck it up. “Thanks, WONDER WOMAN!”

  672. MISS CAKE

    IF you could walk away from Split in the first place, in order to “do something else”, then i haven’t done my job as a writer.

    Carrie, did you walk away? i think you read it in one night?

    i’m batting 1 for 2. i’ll take it.

  673. Suzanne,

    Do you love Shanghai Express with Dietrich? I actually attended the Sotheby auction of her jewels in October of 1992, and (being young and svelte at the time) was allowed to try on her ruby bracelet, which sold for millions.

    Marlene …! Wow. You rock, SFC. We’ll talk more later about the great Dietrich. I’m headed out to the driving range with my husband to hit a bucket o’ balls.

  674. I did, Suzanne. You have here “What to Expect When You’re Expecting to Be Served,” handbook for all who must keep it together in order to not be hit by the five or six screaming freight trains simultaneously bearing down (I do not miss the crossroads implications here) and keep their children whole, too. Here is what annoys me about generic advice: “move on! Accept it!” without so much as a breath of a hint of how one is to do so. Split should have one of those little gold stickers on the cover: “includes Suzanne’s patented how-to-cultivate-acceptance method, self-, other-, and situational,” except the cover’s way too classy for dat.

  675. And Jodi, you are awesome. AWESOME. The way you’ve pointed the discussion toward a richer understanding of this book Iodine (I, ODIN?) is a gift. Haven with a whip and an Akubra (is that what it is? it ain’t no fedora! George would know) with special helmet qualities. Very easy to conjure in one’s mind’s eye. Your Indiana Kimmel blurb had me very sorry I was drinking at the time.

    I’m rereading Illusions again, immediately. I read it when it came out — still on my bookshelf; I think it probably will have worlds more meaning than it did to me then.

    Do you write publicly, elsewhere?

  676. I had a Flower Essences reading last night. This is where the practitioner “dowses” with a citrine crystal (I don’t know if citrine is regulation) for the essences most beneficial to the subject, which would be me. And here are the four the crystal said yes to, out of the hundreds she dowsed:

    Pink Yarrow: “You are love and love surrounds you. Embrace the souls that come into your path: there is meaning there.” Throat Chakra (beach plum, aspen, St. Johnswort, Black Cohosh): “Finding one’s voice. Speaking one’s Truth.” Gaywings: “Joyful purpose. Moving through doubts and fears to pursue one’s dreams.” Sassafras: “Appreciating one’s uniqueness and inner gifts and offering them from a place of self-love.”

    I don’t know what this will do for me. Affirming all this three times a day can’t help but move things. But I was so struck by the Pink Yarrow description. I’ve found so much shifting since I’ve opened myself up to all of youses wisdom and insight and humor. And this particular discussion, with Haven keeping it on point and Jodi and Amanda (Amanda! one of your posts, I will meet you one day and kneel and kiss your ring, if you have one) and everyone else bringing in so much clarity, has made the book a flashing beacon for where all my fouled energy lies. Rivers and oceans of gratitude to all of you who post here.


  677. …if it were not clear enough from the above, the most especial gratitude to Ms. Haven Kimmel for first writing Iodine and then having the generosity to discuss it with us. I am so in your debt, Haven, you can’t know how much.

  678. Carrie,

    Thanks to you, none of my hats fit me anymore. =0) Swollen head from all the praise, you know.

    As for my writing, I had the privilege of writing the review for Haven’s “The Used World” for BookPage, a monthly published book review.

    Otherwise, I’d just say, “You are what you read,” and I read voraciously.

    Don’t you think it’s easy to write when you’re inspired and excited about what you’re reading? IODINE is so much fun to dive into! Great reading makes for great writing.

    Thanks again for the lovely compliments.


  679. Suzanne: FINALLY! I can see guerrilla art! (Thank you, Linda for the Facebook how-to — Suzanne had opened it up before I read your post.) Jon is extraordinary. Further comment there.

  680. Jodi, yes, yes! All true!!

    And I’ll just have to make you a new hat.

    Do you have a link for that review?

  681. Carrie,

    Here’s the link. Let me know if I got it right.


  682. And oh lord, you gotta love Deitrich in Destry Rides Again. Love the “Golden Era,” paradoxically all in black and white.

  683. Oh NOOOO, all ready to start Something Rising, now your review of Used World has trumped it! Wonderful quote from the book. Perfect.

  684. p.s. to the flower essences reading, to put it in context, I should say my most immediate, pressing goal (unstated to the practitioner) is to leave a mixed and mastered recording of integrity behind, of ten to twelve songs, of where I am now vocally, guitar-wise, and lyrically. Given that, the session seemed to be spot on.

  685. It’s official. This blog is my newest addiction. I’ve been traveling for the past 2 days and I found myself in various airports, etc., desperately looking for a wireless connection so I could see how the discussion (and its many tributaries) was progressing. It goes without saying that Haven is a rock star, but I am completely smitten with so many of you: Sher, Jodi, Kate Cake, George, et al. I’m going to be in the wilds of Florida for the next 3 weeks (think bikers and McCain/Palin, not the infinitely preferable Cubans/drag queens), so I don’t think I’ll be able to check in often. Although I did buy a roll of aluminum foil at CVS tonight and plan to try wrapping my head with it to see if I can pick up a wireless signal from the Atlantic Center.

    I look forward to catching up with all of you when I’m back in the real world.


  686. Also (and please be patient with me for hijacking this thread, but it’s a subject of tantamount importance), Suzanne Finnamore: I tried to post on your blog, but the evil internets thwarted me at every turn. I have an important message for you:

    You have an amazingly beautiful face and you rock bangs, short and long (but especially short), but I agree with other posters that the time for you to be bang-less is now. More importantly, step away from the cuticle scissors. This is a job bes left to the professionals. Trust mommy. I am 3 years clean from self-snipping and I’m here to tell you that you can do it, one day at a time.

    I hope this message reaches you in time…


  687. Shanna- everyone here seems to be pretty good at sending out mind meld rays so keep a dream journal next to your tent or sleeping bag and take good notes.

    This is an addiction I am still allowed to have and it is low calorie too unless I eat a big bowl of chocolate ice cream while here. And, I think I do that most nights so scratch that. hehe

  688. But if we’re voting, I think the bangs make Suzanne look eternally chic! Like Coco Chanel! I love the bangs! Are the bangs threatening to go away?

  689. Oh. Duh. Over to Finnablog.

  690. When I saw Suzanne’s bangs – I was like, yep, there she is – I know her!

  691. I have been MIA since the Grand Sit-IN of two nights ago . . . Friday was phenomenal – spoke to 300 elementary kids about What it means to be an artist? My conclusion was: YOU are all artists, here is how you can remain one . . .

    Then, I go to the trainer’s and she KICKS my ass, I have muscles that are painin’ me from underneath my DD’s (hope Jack isn’t on right now, ’cause I am feeling naughty) . . . then I am prepping for a workshop I attended on Saturday (you will have to check my blog for the recount of that event – but the jist of this is that – the main idea was: If you write, you are a WRITER!

    This workshop was over the sky – we began with Rilke, questioned what making a mark was, made marks to Mozart AND Zappa . . . ate heavenly food from Provence Cafe . . . then wrote expressive responses to marks in the exhibit . . .

    So then I come home (skying, of course) and my daughter (14 year-old Lauren and her 15 year-old friend Shelby) are dressed like aliens, complete with green faces, glittered eyes, and homemade antennae, making videos for youTUBE, they are lipsyncing and dancing . . . while I am drinking another bottle of my PRIMATIVA wine and playing wii FIT with my husband, 6 year-old, and another art friend, Alicia Beach . . . I’m like – I’m not doing great on the balancing games “I’m just a little bit drunk, I say to my worried little one” . . .

    it’s almost a full moon in TN . . . I have put out mothballs to prevent the copperheads from hibernating in the basement and YES, Linda, coyotes live here too – in fact, first. I think wildlife is, in general, forcing us to confront what we have done (purge them from our conscious and their property) . . . no I didn’t make it back into Nash today for the Southern Writers Conference . . . the last 2 days whipped my ass, I read the paper, then took my son and his date to the movies and the chatterboxes to the mall . . . my son had to get new jeans because he has already outgrown the ones I bought him in August . . . and I haven’t gotten him to the licence dept. to get his official license yet . . . then I humoured my husband by going out to dinner with him (pretending the whole time that I wasn’t chomping at the bit to log onto this blog!!) . . .

    now it is my hour . . . closest to midnight….my bliss

  692. I don’t think anybody else is here, but I’ll just add a few comments:

    Re Iodine.
    I love the deep discussions, but I almost don’t want to know THE answer. Do you know what I mean? That way I can figure out what it means to me and not have to share that? It sounds really selfish, but it is how we each view a piece of art in a museum – we bring our own personal archetypes and biographies with us to the viewing, draw our conclusions, and formulate a meaning that is specific to us.

    To me the most fun is asking the questions, not receiving the answers.

    But the discussions have really made me want to revisit Candy/Jacob/Trace and them all . . . and I don’t mean to downplay any of the revelations, I’m just saying that over the last two days, while I was disconnected from this womb, I enjoyed the idea that my reading of Iodine was unique and I wanted to delay any denoument.

    I think the facts do matter, but I think it can be revered for the mystery of it as well. I don’t think I will even understand the twists and turns and shadows of my own life, slowly some pieces fall into perspective, but there are still many undeveloped quadrants – just waiting to be excavated, cleaned, and displayed for sharing.

  693. Suzanne-
    You are so right about the lack of humor in regards to divorce in writing.

    Few people want to admit how foolish they were and what they did in the name of “love” – for instance, we literally throw who we are away with our bouquet.

    We lose ourselves and then wonder why the person eating across from us seems a stranger.

    My starter husband. Just that . [period]. On the day of our “matrimony” I was just pissed off, beyond anything, like 1/2 hour after the words were spoken, I was saying “what the fuck did I just do, this is THE stupidest thing I have EVER done!” Too bad there isn’t a waiting period with the wedding license, such as they have for gun purchases.

    On the day of my divorce 2 1/2 years later, I was elated!!! I was beaming from ear to ear and literally bounced out of the judge’s chambers. I knew it was so RIGHT for me.

    Later on, I flip through channels on the TV only to find Mr. Ass talking about me as a “relationship” (he had chickenshitted his way back into the Catholic Church who never acknowledged our vows) and was hocking a song he had written about that time in his past. MF! Using my life, he re-wrote events and makes money off of it to boot. He has no soul.

    I don’t regret him. I know that each moment merged into what I am today. He is only responsible for his own stupidity, and I am 200 percent responsible for my own. What I accomplished with that marriage?
    1. I escaped the midwest (which I believe was the point at the time anyway)
    2. I discarded my past and found my own spirituality
    3. I have the most amazing mind-opening memories of reading Seth Speaks, hypnosis sessions, listening to Kate Bush, meeting some amazing musicians, diving into my ART without restraint
    4. It put me in the right geographical and biographical spot to MEET my chosen partner
    5. I am so strong now. Each time he lopped off a branch of me, I healed and covered those scars with even thicker growth.

    I think scars are so beautiful. In trees, on human bodies, I have a favorite scar – it is a story that is worthy of Haven Kimmel!

    So – I don’t know where I started, or how I will end, but I am loving the midpoint.

    I agree with Haven that IODINE’s message is: Live and BE HAPPY.

    This is the tenenent of my life: be the love child of Buddha and Holly Hobbie.

  694. Matt –

    you are unbearably hysterical. True hysteria.

    I know one other being – I can’t say human – just being, like yourself.

    He has a podcast , and I think it is even funnier that he is also named Matt. It is a drinking podcast, as well as philosophical, comical, innane, and refers to our hometown IL as Lowpoint, IL – you get the jist. It should have a warning that if you listen, be aware that you might laugh outloud, piss your pants, or puke. All manner of things, as bizarre as taxidermy, are discussed. disgust.

  695. Cold has
    Colt has

    Amazing Freudian slip, Haven.

  696. Hey Sher! You are truly one of a kind! Glad to see someone else is still up.

  697. I’m up and trying to catch up after my absence.

  698. I have been over at the other postings, catching up with straggling comments, there are always such amazing additions and I have learned to go back to retrieve them

  699. I have to post a poem . . .

    even if it is the “wrong” thread, but it is how I feel tonight:

    by Rainer Marie Rilke

    Whoever you are: step out doors tonight
    Out of the room that lets you feel secure.
    Infinity is open to your sight.
    Whoever you are.
    With eyes that have forgotten how to see
    From viewing things already too well-known.
    Lift up into the dark a huge, black tree
    And put it in the heavens: tall, alone.
    And you have made the world and all you see.
    It ripens like the words still in your mouth.
    And when at last you comprehend its truth,
    Then close your eyes and gently set it free.

    I’ve read Rilke for years, but Ellen Rust read this to us in the workshop Wednesday, and it just speared my heart and lanced my soul.

  700. more Rilke quotes:

    from Letters to a Young Poet

    Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue [IODINE????anyone????]. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will find them gradually, without noticing it, and live along some distant day into the answer.

    WOW – HELLO – WOW, that just is so PART OF IT ALL, I’m just getting such frequent moments of purity and crisp rays of ______ , I want to say sparks of god here, but that sounds slightly corny. but that is the constant state I have been in lately, just high and almost giddy, drowning or drunk with lightness. being light? something like that, and NO, I have not opened another bottle of Primotivo, this is just the result of thinking and reading and being.

    but even JimShue has left me now . . . whilst I was on Jule’s great blog . . . yawn, I will join the Faun now . . .

  701. Just got the kids down and logged on to find this wonderful poem from Sher- your weekend sounds exactly like I assume your life is, amazing. Your musings on divorce and moving on, on looking back and realizing we are always where we were supposed to be, perfect ending to this quiet Sunday.

  702. Not gone Sher, just napping, briefly it seems. And the Rilke poem, Entrance, was a perfect fit for what I’ve been going through – internally – recently. Actually for months now.

  703. SHANNA


    and it is never, ever too late to talk about my bangs. and everyone should be able to post on my blog; i’ll diouble check. it was prawly some bad chickpeas in the system…

    after dedicating an entire blog post to the bangs and putting the amazing hair changing link at the top of said blog post, i’ve decided to let my bangs grow. somewhere, a unicorn screams….


  704. Suzanne: I just posted over at your place, weighing in on the “Great Bang Debate”. Seems I’m late to the party once again.

  705. Well, fine then – I am meandering alone in the wilderness of night, pop back in and there you were, but aren’t any more . . . night, night to Caryl, Suzanne, JimShue (a/k/a Sock Monkey).

    Sock monkeys ARE art! Here is a link to a friend see her series on Sock Monkeys . . . we are going to be in a bioethical show together . . . she is rocking and rolling . . .

    I’m going to go nap until it is ‘get the kid ready for school’ time . . .

  706. Nap well, Sher. I should try again. Maybe I should get a sock monkey to help me sleep… but then again, I’d have to fine space with the dog, Robbie & me all in the bed together.

  707. suzanne, if you are up, add me because I am very good at this type of dilemma, having just cut bangs on my own head again after trying to grow them forever. I have a cowlick, so this is never a good thing. I love swimming in the shallow end, so let me be of assistance.

  708. Jim/Sock Monkey / / / what’s up for months? unless it is too much for blogging, am intrigued and you can find my email through my blog . . .


  709. GEORGE-

    you escaped Owen Meany!!!

    Belated Birthday of Joy and Happiness to You and an air hug to you and your bride – may your love burst from bud to full bloom. (although it sounds like it already has).

  710. We ARE the same! (except for the baked beans, meh). Just stepping outside of my comfort zone/rediscovering the inner artist. Putting myself out there – fearlessly… i hope. Liking what I do for a living, but hating that the people I work for now have turned it into a soul sucking J-O-B. (And all I can say about that here in a public forum is: it is a sales job, that before I transferred, was more creative and had less emphasis on sales goals.)

  711. Maybe I shoudn’t have sent my sister that chiken little cartoon. I was simply trying to tell her to lighten up. Weve all done very well.

  712. I am up so way later than all of you, except for Kate, who is up with me. I’ve just caught up on your comments and I love how you all think. You have built a little birdhouse in my soul.

  713. Dorian, it’s possible you shouldn’t have sent the chicken little cartoon to your sister. We all have regrets, though.

  714. JimShue – isn’t it strange how as we age our souls strive for more fulfillment. Also, we are so fortunate to find ourselves in a timeline wherein we are allowed the luxury of time and comfort to consider what makes us happy. For most humans and all animals, the main drive was always nourishment of the body, and that was usually a fulltime job.

    I think it is Sam Keen who talks about the fact that humans now have the space to consider the nourishment of their souls – which also accounts for the many 2nd, 3rd and 4th careers we enjoy.

    I can remember watching my grandpa from morning til dusk, and sometimes in the middle of the night, in the fields and in the barn, always working on the food situation . . .

    even my mother for that matter (with 8 kids to feed it was a fulltime job) . . .

    anyway, sometimes we have to get what we ask for to know that it isn’t what we want.

  715. it took me years to figure out I needed to commit to what I always was. My careers kept beating around the bush, so to speak. I was finally, like, I might as well, dive right in – thorns and all. And there have been many challenges along the way, but that makes the little successes and those moments where I get it even better

  716. carrie,

    THANK YOU for the wonderful compliment yesterday. you are much too kind! am curious though what post was all that remarkable?


  717. jim shue –

    TARGET sells these great little “sock monkey” kits – you can adapt them – might be a fun project for you, Robbie and SO (significant other, whom I can’t recall the name right now, sorry) . . . I am feeling the need to create a Haven’s Blog Babies Family Tree complete with pictures so we can all visualize each other . . . it would spread across the world . . .

  718. good morning and happy monday my blog baby buddies. hugs and kisses to all of you xoxoxo

  719. Good morning everyone. I am back.

    Back from the beach, where kites fly high and mingle in the airscape with pelicans and gulls and tease the dolphins to leap up bigger than ever before and get a good look.

    Back from naps without consequence…and delicious afternoons spent with Wifi, coffee, a glazed chocolate doughnut and the brilliant babies of Haven’s blog,

    Back from visits to the pasts which I hold up like specimens and examine like some sort of scientist my own life and look at birthdays back ten, 20, 30, 40 years ago and the minutes before and after my marriage.

    Back from bicycle winds into the wind and taking solace in what buffets me in one direction, buoys me in the other.

    Back from broken cars and intermittent Internet….

    When I last left you, I was walking toward the car dealership where they were about to pronouce the verdict on my car. It went something like this:

    Me: So, what’s the verdict.
    Mechanic: George, we need to get a little bit more information about your jeep. What year is it?
    Me: Depends on what part you are talking about. The transmission is a 2004; the battery is a 2008; alternator is a 2002, I think; that water pump is a 2005; the left door is a 1994…
    Mechanic: Ha, Ha…
    Me: It’s a 93.
    Mechanic: Well, I know you were hoping for a clogged fuel filter, but it’s the fuel pump. It’s out. They weren’t very well constructed that year.
    Me (choking): Fuel pump? Darn…so, what’s the damage?
    Mechanic: Well, if we can get one and if we have a service technician available, should cost about $400.
    Me: $400, that’s not too bad.
    Mechanic: Then the labor will be another $400 at least and we haven’t added in the charge for the tow truck and tax…
    Me: Can you dial 911, please. I am having heart palpitations.

    So, this raises an existential question. Is it better to live life with no or very limited expectations thereby raising the possibility of higher outcomes and greater satisfactions.


    Is is better to live life with high expectations, thereby risking disappointment with the possibility of diminished outcomes.


    There are five hundred and eleventy blog posts here. Can I read them all? No.

    But is Iodine played out?

    Maybe, like a couple of people suggest, is the ambiguity…the not-knowing, the range of possibilities.

    For me, it is and remains the brilliance of a novel featuring characters who are not there. That concept is a literary gazing ball.


    So, here are a couple of thoughts — quickly spawned by a quick reading and also by watching Cool Hand Luke last night after an overly-long drive.

    In 1967, Cool Hand Luke was thought of as a great counter-cultural iconic movie. Now, 40 years later, I seek Luke as the character who did not fear death. Not fearing death gave him immense power and, at least, a semblance of control over things he could nto control.

    I wonder how my life would be different if I did not fear death — cringe and whimper and crawl into a corner before its very presence.


    More later you blog babies

  720. AHHHHH- look what just appeared on Vanderbilt’s news page:
    Mayor Karl Dean, Vanderbilt students, author John Irving – what’s the connection? Find out Oct. 12

    Mayor Karl Dean will discuss one of his favorite authors, John Irving, at an event for Vanderbilt University students Sunday, Oct. 12, 3 to 4 p.m. as part of a “citywide read” initiative. The informal discussion will be held in the living room of the dean’s residence in The Commons, Vanderbilt’s new living-learning community for first-year students. Frank Wcislo, dean of The Commons, and Mark Schoenfield, Vanderbilt associate professor of English, will join Dean for the discussion. Dean kicked off the “citywide read” Sept. 3, encouraging Nashville’s residents to read one of Irving’s works prior to the author’s visit to Nashville Nov. 8 to accept the 2008 Nashville Public Library Literary Award.
    WHAT: Mayor Karl Dean will discuss one of his favorite authors, John Irving, at an event for Vanderbilt University students as part of a “citywide read” program through which Nashville’s residents are encouraged to read one of Irving’s works prior to the author’s visit here Nov. 8 to accept the 2008 Nashville Public Library Literary Award.
    WHERE: Dean’s residence at The Commons, which is located on the southeastern part of Vanderbilt’s campus near Peabody College.
    WHEN: Sunday, Oct. 12, 3 to 4 p.m.

    I helped out with Karl’s mayoral campaign and he is a great guy. He grew up in Massachusetts but came to Nashville for Law School 30 years ago. During the campaign his opponents kept painting him as an “outsider” ha! But, he won! And he is doing a great job. I should have known he would have good taste in literature too.

  721. lovely to see George and Linda – how are ya’all??

  722. I’ve been out-of-pocket for several days and am just now catching up on the IODINE discussion. I loved everyone’s thoughts and interpretations and have only this to say:

    (1) I loved Colt. And I agree that the scene at the end was very real.

    (2) Candy was so similar to many people I knew in the small town where I grew up. I won’t mention any of them by name, but while Candy may not have been real, there are there are a lot of real people like her. Scary.

    (3) I almost lost control of my bodily fluids at the mention of Betsy’s wedding to Steve on ATWT. I can’t believe someone else has memories of that. Also, scary, yet comforting at the same time.

    (4) Hooray for the Solace discussion. It’s my favorite–I’ve read it twice and am going to start reading it again tonight.

  723. oh… candy to trace: “you’re the only one who can see me.”

    there are so many more clues now that i know where to look!

  724. and hi Lelsey and Amanda . . .

  725. ugh, I mean Lesley

  726. yes and on pg 67 Candy refers to “our” bedroom

  727. Oh, great! Now I have to go in another direction… can’t. wait. to. get. my. book. back.

    thanks everyone (snarl) 😉

  728. Amanda, I keep meaning to ask you, are you the Amanda I friend requested on Facebook?

  729. pg. 57 – Dusty has a seizure

  730. pg 44 – mask mentioned in party scene (Blue Velvet movie in the background and it kept being “rewound” at the mask scene)??? didn’t happen??? hallucination?

  731. pg8 – Candy Warner

    I think meant Candy Warn Her

  732. on pg 69 – Trace . . . “protect the babies from what” . . .

    Candy “from whatever happened to you, tracey. I want to protect them from whatever happened to you”

  733. caryl,

    i am now! i just got your request and confirmed.

  734. I found the Billy as Cerberus bit! I THINK!

    Colt in the hospital said “Billy, your brother”…”something as simple as I have employed Billy to stand in my place against your mother and against the uncles in Kentucky you don’t know you have and against any animal that might turn on you. I have asked him to spare you the winters and the invisible.

    Trace responds: “I would have said the underworld isn’t really under anything. It is in the needle of an adored man and it’s in the morgue where other men and women are lying chilled…”

  735. Thanks Amanda. Kate Cake and I are also friends with an Amanda same last name same town who is not you.

  736. all these insights are enhancing my appreciation for Iodine…you guys are amazing and so damned smart

  737. Amanda — if I told you which, it would require backstory as to why, and there is far too much of that to recount here. So for now I will just say: all of your posts taken together. I’ll save the why and the backstory for when the Kimmel Kult has its annual convention. (Where is it this year again?)

  738. Welcome back, George — you were missed!

  739. Having that whole afternoon alone with the blog was such a huge treat…it was as if I sat in the Starbucks and you guys were at the table, too, all of us talking about the book, having side conversations, and asides. What an afternoon!

    Even better was seeing 700 plus posts when I was able to come on this morning!

    Something wonderful has arisen around Haven’s books and Haven herself. I am so glad I wandered in.

  740. George, I am going to email you with some more questions, but I wanted to say happy anniversary too. I didn’t realize you had a birthday and anniv. on the same day. Our anniversary was the 10th, and every year we both have this look of fear on our faces, because we think it might be the 11th. This year I actually went and got our marriage certificate out. Since we both mess up every year there are never any hurt feelings.

  741. We spent the whole year thinking this was the 15th. Then I did the math and it turned out to be the 14th. It still felt like the 50th.

  742. Ughh. We finally got some cold weather here in Southern Calif. but the winds came too,and with it the fires. It is grey/orange outside, I already have ashes on my window sills, no playing outside. The thing is, it is almost never nature that does this every year, but man.

  743. Man or bear?

  744. hee hee – I’m re-reading Iodine . . .

    oo la la

    it is so juicy

  745. Those fires. I do not miss those fires (3 years in L.A. very early on). I was back to visit a friend in Glendale last year and saw the thin column of smoke that was the start of that awful one that went right up to the edge of the observatory. Driving home that night on the edge of the Park, the entire hillside in flames — I’ll never forget it. And that one was a homeless man falling asleep with a cigarette, right?

    Wear your mask.

  746. Caryl, you are safe, aren’t you? Gray and orange — sounds really close…

  747. I just now got that, George. More coffee, more coffee…

  748. …i just cannot banish from my perverse mind the notion of Smoky as a pyromaniac

  749. We are probably 20 miles from the nearest fire, but there are a few and the wind bad enough that it could be here for the smoke. My husband just walked in and said you can no longer see the sun.
    George is so clever. I am so not.

  750. Only you would say such a thing about yourself. The rest of us think you are brilliant.

  751. your perverse mind is one of your most sterling qualities, George.

  752. Weird how we see ourselves — I always scan for your comments, Caryl.

  753. Oh that did sound a bit pathetic didn’t it, but George always chimes in to make me smile.

  754. Me, too…yours, Carrie, Cake, Linda, Almost Clouds, JimShue, Sher, oh…Haven

  755. Has anyone read The Story of Edgar Sawtelle yet? I started it last night, looking for feedback.

  756. Carrie, are you the one who is currently in Bat Boy?

  757. No, that is Kimberly aka Mayor Maggie. I think they closed last night. (I only wish I were in Bat Boy!)

  758. I started The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread (thank you, Mr. Stuteville) a couple days ago, then started seeing Owen Meany come up, so I’m back to that…does anyone know if that is still a go for the 18th? I think I remember Leslie recommending Sawtelle.

  759. carrie,

    the final verdict was that we would delay Owen for as long as Haven is available to answer questions about her books… so we are reading Solace next and will just take up Owen whenever Haven is unable to be so prolific in her blog time.

  760. I got about 1/4 way through Sawtelle and then ditched it for Owen Meany/Iodine/re-reading all Kimmel’s . . . I think I was enjoying it, but I wasn’t gripped by it, if that makes sense? I am hoping that my expectations haven’t gone sky high after reading the high end Kimmel works.

  761. Wow, what recall you have Carrie. I saw a poster for Bat Boy at a local theatre here and could not for the life of me remember who was in it. Very small world, right, to hear Bat Boy twice in one day?

  762. Thanks Amanda — just read Solace last week, so I’m set. (Though after this thread, I feel I should reread it.)

  763. Smaller still — I wonder if that was Kimberly’s production: I got the sense from her posts that she was in SoCal.

  764. Caryl, yes (great memory Carrie) I read Sawtelle a few months ago. I enjoyed it, even though parts of it were hard to read. I don’t want to give anything away, so let me know once you finish and we can see if the same parts of the book impacted you.

    Sorry to hear about the fires–I can’t imagine having to deal with something like that. I hope you and your family are safe.

  765. UPS just came and brought me Split!

  766. Thanks Lesley. Right now I have 20 books next to my bed that this group and or Haven recommended, so it is hard to know what to pick up next. Edgar Sawtelle was something I bought awhile back, but hadn’t heard mentioned here until you. I will keep going, even though now Split beckons from the top of the pile. Suzanne did mention I should be able to finish it in one take, so maybe I will do that first. Who can concentrate on the fires when there is so much to read.

  767. Caryl, definitely read Split first. Sawtelle takes a while. (Or at least it did for me.)

  768. I’ve had Iodine for several days now. However, I’ve simply decided after reading a few comments that I have no business lurking on this thread until I’m actually done the book. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to catching up, when I can do that w/out affecting my enjoyment of surprises. Trusting that all you smart people will ask (and get answers to) all the questions I myself would have asked. 🙂

    But in a Kerouac-roll’s worth of (currently) 760+ comments, a given commenter’s non-participation doesn’t exactly draw attention. It’d be like glancing at a page in the phone book and observing, “Hey, JES isn’t there…!”

  769. Caryl, just be aware that if your electricty goes out and you are still able to read — albeit a flickering light — take a look outside and be prepared to FLEE!!!

  770. Another clue I may have found re: Ianthe’s identity:

    “What would become of a person who had found the love of her life not once, but twice, and lost him both times.”

  771. George is that an invitation to bring the kids and husband to your place? I might evacuate just to come see you all. If I were able to download pics with my new camera I would post a picture of this sky. Good news is that while it takes over our lives for most of October, most of us are spared any real inconvenience or heartache.

  772. You come on out. We have room. Just give me some notice so I can chase the dogs out. I can give your family a great tour of DC, too. Show you some things that are a sidestep off the beaten track.

  773. xxxxGeorge

  774. ooo….amanda, I marked that wording, too . . . I wonder if you are thinking what I am thinking . . .

    to go with that, what about :pg 95-96

    ….when Ianthe is sitting in his porch . . . and she asked if he was afraid . . .

    he says”no a little. i probably took a moment to prepare a face to meet the faces I would meet.”


  775. caryl – i’m popping my head out of this book to say I would love to have you and the babies here in TN as well . . .

  776. now I am reading Iodine and watching Little People Big World . . . the day just keeping getting better and BETTER!

  777. sher, it sounds like we very well may be thinking alike. i am still hunting/wishing for a few more clues but am just thrilled at all that i have learned from everyone here.

  778. I am just so excited . . . I’m about half way on my second read, taking addition notes and the pieces are just slipping into place . . .

  779. where is everybody???

  780. Caryl, we must live in the same area. I have ashes on my window sills too. I’m in Wood Ranch.

    All: Still ruminating on the loss of Rita’s baby and Ianthe’s identification with that loss. Is it possible she’s relating to the loss of her innocence, her childhood, her identity as Trace?

  781. Amy, I live in Lynn Ranch. This is crazy,as I always feel a million miles from home when I am on here.

  782. Caryl, me too. This blog hosts all the fabulous quirky kids I wish I’d gone to school with. Also makes me wish I’d taken another career path, but I’m still happy to be a Haven groupie.

    I love Lynn Ranch.

  783. Where is JES ??? 🙂

    George- speaking of DC…did I tell you that my kids very cool aunt (my ex-husband’s sister) works at the Folger Shakespeare Library? Well, she does and has for many years. I bet she would make a great addition to this group as she is one of the smartest people I know. I may just have to invite her on over.

  784. I am ashamed to admit this, but I lived for a while just a couple of blockls from Folger and never visited…have a friend, though, who was there in the late `1970s.

  785. So. After a five-show weekend, I am back and just read through ALL 784 of these comments in one sitting and got the hiccups twice. I thought I’d be ready to contribute once my brain was Bat Boy-less, but I’m now thoroughly exhausted and overwhelmed. You all have SUCH fascinating insights, some of which I thought myself and some of which I’d never even considered. I’m definitely going to have to re-read. At this point, I feel like I’m so late to this, and so much has already been said… I may just soak up the scary intelligence and tuck it away for future reference rather than try to jump into the fray.

    But let me just say that I nearly peed myself when I read we would be doing this same thing with Solace. Good LORD above, I could never articulate what that book means to me, but I’ll be darned if I don’t show up for that conversation.

    And it made me so happy that some of you remembered about my show! I’m actually in Columbus, Georgia, not SoCal, but the Bat Boy link alone makes me feel connected. Oh, and the show went mind-bogglingly well, by the way. Sold-out every night, and such responsive audiences that they seemed more like myth than actual people. I’m a bit at a loss as to what I can possibly do with myself for four hours every night… Maybe I’ll finally catch up with you fabulous people.

  786. You read 784 blog comments. In one sitting.

    I think they make you do that if you get caught for car theft in some middle eastern countries.

    Solace: 1000 comments. Inevitable.

    Haven: You built it, and they came.

  787. I think I may be brave enough to buy the book one day because there is a strong pull. I was hoping to find some cliff notes here and instead I find a mystery wrapped inside an enigma. Oh and I had promised not to make irrelevant posts that mean nothing to anyone except myself. I wish I could LMAO, that seems like a fun way to do it. Just trying to get the last word in here. Night all.

  788. And my sister responded with her own little Grimm Fairy tale, The Duration of Life. So I tried to apologize with “Desiderata”. Maybe I will just speak in Parables from now on. Seems to cause less trouble.

  789. I hope the little bird dog is sleeping peacefully.

  790. I’m just blown away by everything I’ve read here. I need to reread everything, but my wife has the book now, and is jealously guarding it!

  791. I’m with JES, i can’t contribute until i am done with IODINE and i just started. had a set-back yesterday when my husband accidentally hit one of our dogs when pulling out of the driveway. More precisely, Ginger (choc lab) ran into the car. she is very bouncy and FULL of life. overnight at the vet. about a kajillion staples, but she is ok and nothing is broken. so yesterday was a little scary and i didn’t get much reading done. i hope to soon, and then i hope i have something to say!

  792. I am always afraid of our dogs getting hit when we pull into our driveway. We don’t let them run loose except when we are with them, but when someone pulls into the driveway they get so excited (company, yeah, people, yeah, more people to lick and to pet me, pant pant pant…) they run full speed ahead straight at the car. Glad to hear that Ginger is ok!

  793. dogs getting hit . . .

    when I was young we had to get a new dog per year because they kept getting hit on RT 1 where we lived (we were ON the highway) – I can remember hearing the grain trucks FLYING by (like the trucks in Pet Cemetery?) and seeing their lights zip around the perimeter of my bedroom (and people think the “country” is quiet)!
    Poor dead Muffin (a sheepdog that I loved, my arms would disappear in her fur when I hugged her), Curly Joe, and Red. We once had a german shephard and my step-dad kept him attached to a chain because he was expensive. But somebody poisoned him and Romo was dead . . . maybe it is the death that I am afraid of and not the dogs, or do I have a screen memory replacing some traumatic event and THAT is why I am now terrified of dogs?

    Iodine has me re-considering much in my life.

    So back to cars/dogs: Michael W. Smith lives here and in May his son backed out of his driveway in a Landcruiser and hit, not the dog, but their 5 year-old adopted daughter and killed her.

    Can you imagine? It is just beyond sad. They were having an outdoor party to celebrate the son’s high school graduation and she just ran behind the suv and he didn’t see here.

  794. RE our IODINE discussion

    I don’t even think we are 1/2 done here – no one has actually stated what their theory is . . .

    I have changed mine 3 times just in this last read. I have come to one conclusion:

    Haven (being the brilliant trail leader she is) spelled it for us in the book! The problem is deciphering the events that are REAL time/REAL people and what is halluncinatory (thus you discount all of that information although it might support a theory). The dream journals though can be either or, because they can represent real people (according to Hillman) and not aspects of Tracey herself. It is very complicated.

    My previously flagged and highlighted book is not even closing properly because I have now added orange flags and marks (representing the hallucinatory/seizure scenes) to the already flagged/highlighted yellow (real) and pink (dream) . . . it is a site to behond and I think I will use it as an exhibition piece. It is interesting from all viewpoints.

    For so for everybody, just keep them coming . . . post your quotes/excerpts where you think you discovered something, because that is not telling, it is just pointing to something you found . . .

    If put all of our noggins together, maybe we can figure this conundrum out . . .

  795. thanks linda. 26 staples. major road rash. a bunch of pills and ointment. and a lot of $. all of which will heal and i have my sweet G. how terrifying it was to hear her scream. .

    sher, you have had so many of your dogs die. i can’t take it. i’ve lost 2 in my life that have changed me forever (joey (pooba girl) and kippy) (kipper girl). my heart aches for you. i have a hard time admitting this, but i miss those dogs more than i miss some people.

    i cannot imagine my child being run over. he is my precious and i can’t begin to comprehend the horror. life without him would be empty

  796. Kate Cake –

    I will be driving through Evansville on Thursday – want to meet somewhere along 41??? They have like 10 McDonald’s for you and my wee Claire, I can eat a salad . . . ???

    John M and I will be meeting in Champaign, too – if only we could figure our where Haven was???

    Anybody else living along the Pennyrile, 41 up to TerreHaute, between Georgetown IL and Champaign???? Unfortunately I can’t zip to Indy to see our beloved Jim Shue 😦 but maybe during the holidays!

    When are we going to New Orleans . . . if it is in the next 12 months, I need to start marking it off on my calendar . . .

  797. steph

    that might be why I just can’t handle anything more cozy than a cat . . . and the hermit crabs . . .

    it is just too much to lose

  798. I would trade many people in my life for a pack of dogs – in a heartbeat

  799. people are so much scarier than dogs

  800. ok here is a Ha Ha story:

    my neighbor and friend (sister of my ex-boyfriend, Jeff) Karyn Angle (now Karyn Porter) because she married my ex-boyfriend, Neil . . .

    they had a mutt of a dog, it was the 80’s and he was called “Mutley, after the band Motley Crue”…

    anyway he was mangy and flew-ridden and stinky and his dick was always hanging out . . .

    so we sang this song:

    Mutley, the red-dicked doggie,
    Had a very shiny dick,
    All of the other doggies . . .
    Used to laugh and call him names,
    They never let poor Mutley
    Join in any doggie games . . .

    . . .

    you get the jist, it really only ever took the first two lines to have us all rolling on the floor, laughing like hyenas . . . and howling like coyotes.

    mutley would just look at us and lick his dick.

  801. I EXPECT a response to that JEWEL of a memory!

  802. heading to the grocery and Goodwill, to give you time to recover

  803. Sher, it was not Michael W. Smith, it was Steven Curtis Chapman. His sons (and his daughter who is older and about to get married) go (went) to school with my boss’s daughters. It was very sad. It was just a very tragic accident. It was especially sad because Steven had written a song about the two youngest daughters called Cinderella. That family is very devoted to supporting international adoptions. The accident actually happened just hours before they were going to have the high school graduation party for their older son at their farm. Can you imagine.

  804. dog penis is hilarious. i don’t know why, but when the lipstick comes out i am about 10 years old. trevor (our golden) was humping my parent’s dog aggie and my mom called to tell me that my dog had a “raging boner”. i couldn’t believe she called me with this news. yet, i loved it. i said raging boner all day. so childish, so fun.

  805. Oh my! Now I will have that image stuck in my head all afternoon. ahhhh. LOL

  806. Linda – your right – crap – I hate making huge mistakes like that . . . I’m not into the christian music thing, but my sister is married to a youth pastor and they always visit them when they are in town . . sorry folks. i guess the funeral (from what my sister said) was beautiful and they played that song . . .
    it still just freaks me out everytime I back out of my driveway, even if the kids are in the car with me . . .

  807. Wow! Ok… I have finished Iodine and I forced myself to resist reading this thread until I finished the book. So, now not only am I overwhelmed by the book, but I’m totally overwhelmed by this blog and this groups’ collective wisdom and intellect! Many of you echoed things that I thought as I read, and have already discussed. And I admit, I am probably much too literal for this discussion, but I can’t help but think that somehow Loretta is Trace. Could it be they are the same person? Perhaps Loretta is some incarnation of Trace’s childhood? Just an idea right now – I definitely need to reread the book much more carefully the second time. I inhaled it this week!

    As I read Iodine – mostly in New Castle, Indiana, by the way – I couldn’t help but have Zippy and She Got Up Off the Couch dancing in the back of my brain at the same time. I know this is not at all what Haven intended, but I couldn’t help but sort of impose what I know of Haven’s life into these characters. Scott, my husband, says this is unfair, but I think because Haven’s first book was a memoir, I sort of read all of her books like memoirs. It is clear to me how place informs these characters – I went to high school with Candy and her husband, and much of my hoosier college experience was like the college scenes in the book – but I also saw reflections of the Jarvis family, too. Please understand, Haven – I mean no disrespect with this observation, and I don’t have any specific examples, but I wondered if you might address this. I don’t mean to be unflattering, either – please don’t take this observation the wrong way! I adore your work – you make me think, and I am thrilled to have an opportunity to interact with you and all your fans in this manner! You rock!!

  808. Oh, and one other thing – I was literally disoriented after reading this book. Every time I closed it to do something else, I was a bit more clumsy than normal, and a bit more nearsighted than I usually am. This book really affected me!! And I mean that in a good way!

  809. Sher, forgive me, but for just one small second there I thought to myself “What? they sang ‘Mutley the red dicked doggie’ at a FUNERAL?!” And then of course good sense took over and I was properly chagrined. But still, I laughed. (sorry) Steph..what a great story.

  810. Brenda D – what a brilliant idea – I am putting “Mutley, The Red Dicked Doggie” on my life celebration play list . . . hee hee hee, that will be so great!

    Stephanie in Indiana – I think it is natural to project ideas and places (the places are the same) from one book onto another – and Haven weaves so many items from one book into another – I think it is o.k. I keep thinking that I AM Ianthe, so talk about transference.

    I’m also Rita, Candy (if I had stayed there), and Loretta, and Colt and Jacob . . .

  811. ok – I did that “Facebook” thing and Linda caught that I typed my name wrong – she is on top of it – I need her to be my general copy editor!!!

  812. Haven, I think you have now officially broken the world’s record for number of blog comments. Someone should notify Guinness about this. (Someone other than me, that is.)

  813. Hello All. WHOA, you should ALL get to wear the Smarty Suit with the Smarty Pants for Halloween.

    In terms of Mutley, I will only say that before Iorek was neutered (he was nearly 2, because his breed is so huge they don’t mature until 3), he was very very attracted to me. And then we shall close the curtain on those events.

    Amanda and Sher — great great readings. You two are primo, as many of you are.

    Stephanie in Indiana — I think the reason you see the Jarvises in IODINE is because my family is itself archetypally Hoosier. They’re Hoosiers in a specific way: a family that came up from Kentucky and settled in for factory jobs, just as the grandparents or parents of everyone I knew did. You yourself live in New Castle? Do we know each other? I know you’re not the exquisite Stephany I went to high school with, because she spells her name differently. (You are surely exquisite in a different way.)

    And to whoever was made clumsy by reading it: one of my best friends called yesterday to say she had finished it the night before, gone to bed shaken, and when she woke up in the morning her mouth was filled with blood. She’d bitten her tongue that hard while having a dream.

    SOLACE post is going up very very soon — I’ve already sent it to Scott.


  814. Haven, thanks for the explanation! That makes perfect sense. You are right, the characters are familiar to me for that very reason – my grandparents, too, came up from Kentucky. That familiarity is comforting, in a way – probably why I identified so much with the memoirs, as well as the characters in Iodine. No, I’m not the Stephany you went to high school with, and I don’t live in New Castle – just work there on Saturdays, and reading at Bills Diner is the best way to spend my 2 hour break in between classes. I am originally from Centerville – the antique capitol of the midwest – whoo hoo! – and now live in Richmond. We met at Earlham last year. 🙂

    Being made clumsy by a book, I am sure, is high praise! What an effect you have on your readers!

  815. I just started the bood for the second time tonight. I’m thinking of making notes in the margins. Haven I promise you that Stephanie in Indiana is indeed expuisite in ways to numerous to count!

  816. I have a husband and wife team. My work here is done.

  817. That’s it. I’m recruiting Hank…er…Hugh.

  818. Scott – when this situation happened with the last Harry Potter book, we bought 2 copies – plus nobody looks to share with me because I ALWAYS mark, make notes, and add flags in MULTI-COLORS, they are EMBARRASSED to be seen with such a book in their hands!

    RE CLUMSY – we know it isn’t Haven or Iodine’s fault, but this morning, taking a load of clothes to the laundry (in my cute 2 or 3 inch clogs) I dripped on the cat and only the laundry kept me from being injured. Scared the Snapster to death . . .

  819. Sher did you get my email??

  820. Kate Cake – Hank or Hugh??? I’m lost, is that a husband(s)???

    Are we meeting in Evansville???

    I need some more wine – that makes me sound like a have a issue, but since I will be dry all weekend while in IL/IN, tonight and tomorrow counts as my weekend . . .? I think

  821. Kate Cake,
    apparently not . . . I was so busy doing the Facebook thing, I haven’t checked the other account . . . just a sec . . .

  822. His real name is Hugh but some people *cough*Haven*cough prefer to call him something a little less Ivy League and a little more Future Farmers of America.

  823. Ok – I got it now, like my high school boyfriend whose name was Wayne Parks ____ and he insisted on being called ‘butch’…god help us, he also had a brother bubba – they were from Terre Haute, of course!

  824. Kate Cake – yippee!!!

    I have it figured out – I will open the yahoo Blog Babies email, and log on to the Blog from there, then I can stay caught up!

  825. I went to school with brothers who went by Bucky and Beaver.

  826. oh my gosh – confession time – as I was growing up I was known as:

    drum roll please:


    and to this day that is what my aunts and uncles call me!

  827. When Lauren was born, my MOM visited and she was saying to Dylan (2 at the time) “oh, look at Sissy, she wants her pacy, she wants a kiss, give Sissy a kiss”

    And Don, said:

    that was that . . . no more Sissy’s for us!

  828. I’m still “Sis” to my brother, and we call Alice Sissy all the time!

  829. will check in later . . .


    “…i just cannot banish from my perverse mind the notion of Smoky the Bear as a pyromaniac”






  831. …only you

  832. my god george. you’re a poet.

  833. Sher, you are so funny! Your comment reminded me – when my sister was very young, she couldn’t say Stephanie, so she called me Sissy for the longest. Thank goodness that name didn’t stick forever!

  834. I din’t know you were ever called Sissy. Interesting that I learn something new about you from a blog. Sher, What I wouldn’t give to have Steph to take on Harry Potter, but I just can not get her to make the leap. Tell her she doesn’t know what she’s missing for me. Also, I wanted to tell you I’m from Terre Haute and knew quite a few Bubbas in my time. Time to get some work done, than off to the Solace discussion!

  835. ***spoiler theory***

    We’ve been talking in vague terms regarding our respective theories about the book, and I suppose it is time to come out and state them:

    My theory is that Rita Maria Matthias, Ianthe Covington, and Tracey Sue Pennington are all the same person. I have posted several times where I have found clues to point me to this conclusion, and there are others that I have not posted. Rereading the novel with this theory in the back of my hand did confirm most things, but there are still some holes I have not been able to fill in.

    One of those holes is the meaning behind these names. Almost all of the characters have meaningful/symbolic names and I have not yet uncovered the clue to these.

  836. This is my first comment, although I’ve been reading obsessively for days. I’m shy.

    Amanda, some of the other comments have suggested the same theory (Trace=Ianthe=Rita); it was because of those suggestions that I re-read Iodine last night. I’m partly convinced, but, as you said, some things just don’t fit (or I’m looking at them in a way that makes them un-fittable). The chronology just doesn’t work for me. If Jacob and Ianthe were married for four years, where was she for those four years? In college? But then everyone — Myka, Anastasia, Dr Cohen, etc — would know that she was Jacob’s wife, right? Surely they couldn’t have hid a marriage for four years. Did they meet her freshman year, get married, and then she disappeared for four years, reappearing in his Theory class? But she apparently has four years of course credits (and five or six minors), so that doesn’t make sense either (to me). But if she was married to Jacob and attending college for those four years, why did Jacob start dating Dr Cohen? And if there was no Rita, what was the point of Jacob’s long rant about having to stay in Jonah for twenty years because of Rita? Was that just a lie, an excuse on his part?

    Also, why were there no seizure/hallucination percursors (bells, numbness) before Ianthe saw the Man with Food in his Beard/Toad’s Wild Ride?

    Am I being too literal? Not literal enough? I feel like I am totally revealing myself as being unequal to the task of understanding this novel, but, there you go.

  837. krista, the chronology was troublesome for me, absolutely. i definitely don’t have it figured out. i DO think there were some symbols… something about her hands… when she saw the Man with Food in his Beard, but I don’t have the book in front of me at the moment. Will try to check that later.

  838. )))****SPOILER ALERT___))**&&&

    Remember, the man and woman at the party weren’t seen by anyone else and they were the only ones that talked about “Rita” at the cocktail party. on page 163 the scene following the party, Ianthe’s “eyes ached” and on 164 “every atom in the room shifted” – I think those are the after shocks of a fugue state. therefore, the end of the cocktail party, including when she “glimpses” Dr. Cohen . . .

    I think that from page 160 when Jacob says “that sound you hear . . . isn’t bells”…makes everything thereafter through 164 is unreliable fugue experiences. Where her unconscious, in a way, reveals the real memories through metaphorical/halluninatory characters.


  839. Krista,
    I am having the same difficulties as you, and you hit the nail on the head for me when you said “am I being too literal” – I have wondered the same thing about myself. And I often thought while I was reading it, that I was too literal – way too black and white! – to understand this book. I’m sure that much of the symbolism and metaphor was lost on me, but I hope to catch more of that on my second read. In my hopes of finding an answer, I read the last 50 pages really fast, so I am sure I need to pay more attention there.

    I don’t have the book in front of me, but a notion that has been rolling around in my head all day is the idea that Rita was the baby in the sonogram. Again, the details elude me, but as I rememebr the scene where Trace is in the locked closet (where Jacob freaks out when he finds her), in the room taking inventory, thinking to herself what items she’d keep and what she’d leave behind if she were to leave, and especially the detail about how it appeared that the clothes hanging in the closet hadn’t been touched – I think now that the room was left in that manner and the closet was so pristine because they had been prepared for a baby that never came. It makes sense to me that this room and this closet would be locked and preserved in sadness, and kept as sort of a memorial.

    Again, I admit, the details are way sketchy in my mind, and I am super duper literal, so I may be drawing connections that are flawed if not there at all, but… what do you all think???

  840. Sher, I know you will never read this but me too on the cat thing. I have been considering a dog lately but I am just too verklimt. Or however you spell that word. And my childhood nickname was Dodo the kid from outer space. I so enjoy my own sense of humor. It really is shameful. Not.

  841. Dorian,

    Why would I never read this? – I must be enough of a Kimmel geek that I do go back to the old threads and see if anyone has posted something new . . . you are funny!!! and at 3 a.m. (or whenever) sometimes all we have is ourselves for entertainment . . .

  842. Dorian and Sher,
    I do the same thing – I check this thread just as often as the Solace thread. Glad I’m not the only one!

  843. I’m nuts about his book, and I haven’t even finished it. Using the audio version is recommended. HK’s voice is hypnotic, and she’s as good a performer as she is a writer. She can out-Oates even JC Oates at limning how horribly damaged people invent their own bizarre ways of coping. Iodine is a terrific book—head and shoulders above the typical schlock that passes for writing these days.

  844. i have only just gotten into the book as my friend had a heart transplant last week (no shit, 31 yrs old)…he is doing great so far, but it is day by day.

    so i finally sat down with IODINE last night and here are a few questions I have, having not read the book completely. What is the deal with Candy? She does not seem real AT ALL to me. Is that Trace?

    Also, the coonhound–the missing one. there was one tied up (why must he be tied if he is contained by a fence??) and one missing. Missing? Dead. when Trace asked Candy, she asked if she even wanted to know what happened. Candy said no. Colt killed the pup? i really need to do some reading.

    now that my friggin red sox blew it, i should have some time on my hands. My precious Ginger (26 staples last week–choc lab) is doing great. we go in today for a follow up.

    life just comes at ya, huh?

  845. steph, if you see this, the thread talks a fair amount about the realism of Candy… the short answer is: we don’t think so. 🙂 Haven offered hints throughout the discussion. you could run a search on this page to get more specific answers, I think.

  846. Steph: I know of a child who had a heart transplant three days after she was born and she is now almost 21.

  847. George: that is incredible news. my friend will is doing well, just got out of ICU. 57 days in the hospital so far….hopes to be out by the end of the week!

  848. Steph, my heart goes out to you, hang in there girl. Mr. Hooterville, you must be scandahoovian, yah? Those are my peeps and I love those dark northerners so dearly, but I could be completely off my rocker about making that assumption U know what that says about me. AlmostClouds, you are a telepathic imp, no? MichiganTom, what a good idea. I just went to a book swap and came away with about 30 new books to read so I don’t have much time to read and I only commute 3 miles. But I could buy an ipod and listen while I try to sleep (!) It would be better than trying to breathe and count, although I want to absorb every word when I get the Iodine treatment. I have a thyroid test coming up very soon. YIPPEE. You don’t know what you need until you get it. Sher, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Except I scare my husband when I am on the computer all night. He doesn’t quite understand the practitioners of men on pause. Bless his soul, he just thinks I am going insane (again.) Kind of startling behavior from his normally mellow laid back mate of 22 years. I wonder if they sell those gerbil wheels for humanoids. But that would probably startle him even more. I wish I could inject him with a good margarita, he is a hypervigilante these days. I love everyone here, btw. But I cannot read 10,000 posts at 3am. My back goes out from sitting at the computer so long. I think I already took the same trip down the rabbit hole that Iodine’s Protagonist has taken. Only they thought I had been poisoned or drugged. Or was dying of some type of meningitis, which was plausible but all the test came up negative. OOH spinal taps are such fun. I guess it scares normal people when you come back down to earth channeling your dead grandmother. But at least the woman in the hospital room next to me had Tourette’s so when they asked me if I was hearing voices I asked them “Are you honestly trying to tell me you can’t hear that?” Or so my mother says. I have no recollection whatsoever. I was misdiagnosed by a physco as having a prolonged physchotic episode because the big shot buddhist physco had written a chapter for the DSM and thought he knew everything about a spiritual/physchotic episode. Anyway, I got my faith back, It was a gift. I wish I had learned that Mary Oliver poem earlier, Jorge. Luckily I have some, shall we say, slightly unusual friends who helped me to see it was a common experience and we all tread that line. Here I am prattling on about myself and it is not even 3am. I just took the day off to try and get some sleep for once, and I am off tomorrow… Thank you all for sharing all the lovely things you do share here. You are blossoms in full bloom! (I think I changed that at least 30 percent. Love, Dorian

  849. On October 14, 2008 at 1:23 am Matt Said:

    You read 784 blog comments. In one sitting.

    I think they make you do that if you get caught for car theft in some middle eastern countries.

    Solace: 1000 comments. Inevitable.

    Haven: You built it, and they came. Thanks for that Matt. You are hilarious. Maybe we should all switch avatars every day.

  850. i read this book a few weeks ago, and felt i needed to take a few weeks off than read it again. i didn’t realize there was a discussion of it going on here, with the author actually answering questions! be still my heart! 🙂

    i’m gonna go read it again (after i finish my 4th reading of Solace) and come back here to show how utterly confused i still am. 😛

  851. May very well be posting into the ether, this late in the game, but I had a good reason for not reading IODINE until now (see my earlier post from, hmm, Oct 10th at 3:30 pm)…

    So, I finally read it, ack. Loved it and am simultaneously so confused. Obsessed, too, which lead me back to this post so that I could prep for my re-read in the next day or two.

    I wish I had IODINE in electronic form so that I could use a search function, but hmm, that would be cheating.

    A few thoughts…and Haven, if you are still reading this thread and you are willing to help with any of these, I would much appreciate it!

    And please, no one read too much into “truth” vs. “reality.” I’m just using “real” to mean what you might think it means if you weren’t thinking too hard.

    1) Haven referenced Body Rags (The Bear?), by Galway Kinnell…and I am so hyped that she did because I now love pg 136, “‘You are a liar,’ Jacob said, and he hacked a ravine in her thigh, he ate and drank, he tore down the length of her, and they both slept briefly” even more than I did before. From section 4 of Body Rags:

    “I hack
    a ravine in his thigh, and eat and drink,
    and tear him down his whole length
    and open him and climb in
    and close him up after me, against the wind,
    and sleep.”

    And, just for fun, they sleep together in the chapter titled “revenants,” which as Amanda clarified, is a person who returns after a lengthy absence, or a person who has returned from the dead. See below, (7).

    2) Three sisters/three women: Ianthe, Trace, and Rita? Others have thought otherwise. But…

    3) …that fits with her being collectively The Graces (as I think Haven alluded?, unless I misunderestimated her point), BUT if she is, then that makes her the daughter of Zeus (COLT, duh) and his third wife Eurynome (Eury, “wide,” as Loretta is!…and, a creation myth?, for someone who has re-created her own identity?)

    pg 50: “The child is ME.”

    …the whole Zeus thing… odd…given that Colt’s mother is Juna, which reminds not just me of Juno, or Zeus’s FIRST wife. Maybe some mother-son incestuous potential there as well? (although probably not, since Haven herself said something about Juna being Janus, the two-faced god)

    But just for kicks, in that case, who would be Zeus’s (Colt’s) SECOND wife? Gosh. Does Rita play that role?

    4) Rita in general. Oh, I look forward to reading again with her in mind. I need help with her, and with the scene with the officer. But what I’m thinking of here, is, why does Rita have one of the only names we can’t find a hidden meaning for? Is Rita a nickname for… something? … that I’m missing? The Google does not seem to know. But, that would be a good clue.

    5) btw, Ianthe can’t literally be Rita, right?, b/c Jacob was married to Rita for twenty years, and Ianthe is twenty-one. We read that, coming from Jacob, on pg 132.

    Any relevance to the similarity in years there? Because their twenty-year marriage was a few years ago. And yet…they’re clearly somehow related (not necessarily by blood).

    And Rita’s baby was a boy, so whew. We’re off the hook on that one. Would be quite the mess if IANTHE was the baby in the sonogram, and if (6) below was actually reality.

    6) Which makes me think…in Rita, is Ianthe looking for a replacement mother figure? If so, is Jacob the father-figure she finally manages to seduce?
    (too obvious?, my apologies)

    7) Re: Jacob and the timeline of their relationship…if she has lost four years, I think that just means that everything we’re reading is spread out along a four year period, which makes sense…it would have been a lot to fit into four months.

    and if I’m wrong and the four years came earlier as some have mentioned, then I’m intrigued yet still confused by page 87-88. Lots of potential there…

    Myka: “You’re being coy”…”Have you met him before?”…”Are we…are we talking about the same man?”

    8) No one has mentioned? yet? that Candy is pregnant with the alien baby. That seems, though, to tie back to Trace/Ianthe’s ultrasound picture bit and the whole Rita’s-baby-thing.

    btw, the concept of an alien baby is handy for anyone who has seen an early ultrasound picture. We all started out looking like alien babies. 😉

    9) Alternatively, Rita as baby in the sonogram makes sense of the last poem, doesn’t it?

    10) Why am I so confused that I’ve managed to decide that everyone is everyone else’s baby/mother/father? Or, as my two-year-old would say, “the sister baby dog.”

    11) Random: why is it that Dr. Cohen makes an appearance in the house but no one sees her except for Ianthe? Is she ALSO a hallucination? She’s too real for that. (in that we’ve all had that prof) So if SHE is real, but her appearance at the party is not, then what does that mean?

    12) Also Random: the coyote…in the mythology of the american southwest (my home arena) the coyote is the trickster. If we were to assume that Haven borrows from not just the Greek/Roman, then what does this mean? Is the coyote messing with Ianthe/Trace’s mind? Which would just be cruel. She’s got enough going on in there as is!

    13) Re: Candy as Trace’s imaginary friend (and Trace as Ianthe’s alter ego…was it possible that this moment with the stone was the moment when “Trace” came into being?)…pg 56, after meeting the coyote for the first time, “I couldn’t wait to meet my best friend.”…”I recognized Candy the second I saw her, and she knew me in return.”

    14) In other news, I decided to rent “The Hunger” because it’s referenced in IODINE and I’ve never seen it, but it’s a “long wait” item. There are a lot of us! (IODINE readers, I mean)

    Off to read it again. Btw, loved the comments re: iodine as purple (her eyes) and as the strongest antiseptic available. Also loved the eleven chapters revelation by one of the blog babies. Also, Billy.
    Gotta focus.
    Good thing we’re at my in-laws and someone else is making sure the toddler is fed.

  852. Um, that smiley face with the sunglasses? Yeah. That’s supposed to be point 8. Apparently an 8 with a ) after it is emoticon code.

  853. Hi, anyone who shows up here. Welcome, Carolyn, if you are new to the blog.

    So, I had to ask you, Carolyn, about your idea that Ianthe is real and Trace is an alter-ego. I had it the opposite, that Trace is real and Ianthe is the alter-ego she chose for herself to enter the collegiate world. Or maybe we are saying the exact same thing.

    It seems that Ianthe (CHEAT – WIKIPEDIA: Ianthe (English translation: “purple or violet flower”) was a name attributed to three figures in Greek mythology) would be a name that she would choose for herself and Tracey would have been her given name. It seems that Ianthe might be a name Trace would know based on her knowledge of Greek mythology, and that she really did steal some documents to get by under that name after seeing it in the cemetery.

    My take is that Trace Pennington was her given name and that the event at the end of the book (shootings of Weed, Colt, and her brother = Appomattox) added to her previous trauma from the weirdo-religious sexual abuse and her genetic condition for epilepsy and caused her to enter into fugue states designed by her sub-conscious to gradually bring her back to psychological health.

    The first time I read it, I really thought that Candy was real up until the end when she gets to the house and it’s gone. Then I started to think that Candy was a mind-screen, or an imaginary friend whom Trace created and ran to when she was trying to sort things out. She “found” Candy after the first sexual abuse in the basement of the church in the woods.

    Haven gave that clue above that she left hints (Trace’s ears ringing and hands being numb) to indicate she was in a fugue state. I see them now that I am re-reading, so I am more aware of when she is in fugue.

    I’ll stop there and see what you guys think.

  854. Maureen,
    I totally agree with Trace Pennington being the person she was born as and Ianthe being her alter ego developed as time progressed. I have to admit I was so, so angry that she let Jacob take her away from Weeds ( and future children). I really resented the character of Jacob. Okay, Candy isn’t real right? And Weeds and Billy were both shot… so Weeds never lived at the farmhouse and Trace didn’t call Billy. Sorry, I am just talking this out for myself!
    As I was reading this I recalled Haven’s story where she was convinced that a wolf (?) came to her crib as an infant but it was the beloved Kai her German Shepherd.
    After reading the above comments, I have to admit I felt nothing for the character of Colt. However, I didn’t grow up with the feeling of being in love with my father. I didn’t see him in that light. My father was a weak man who didn’t take care of his family. I completely understand that other woman had this feeling for their father and I envy it so.

  855. Amy – I didn’t like Jacob either sometimes. He seemed very controlling. On the other hand, if we are speculating that Weeds actually got shot at Appomattox and was a ghost image by the time she met Jacob, then he was probably doing her a favor. The dog did not exist anymore. If Jacob is at all like a real person who was also a college professor, he is flawed, though he obviously also understood and loved Trace/Ianthe. As a literary character, I like that Jacob is not totally perfect and as such is more believable than if he had been handsome and cultured and intelligent and completely good.

    I did have feelings for Colt. I loved my own dad over my own mom by far. My mom was also kind of girly and flirtatious and I am not. I am my dad’s baby through-and-through, so I do get the whole Electra Complex. Never physically, but I felt I loved and understood my dad more than my mom. So I got that in the book.

    I am hoping our new friend Carolyn joins in here and pastes her e-mail to Sher. She had some really interesting ideas.

    More later.

  856. Strangley enough, I felt almost relieved to know that Weeds was shot and not left alone in the house to die, wondering why Trace never came back. At least ( if it is true) his death was fast and he was with his beloved.
    Okay, sexual abuse. Was this what was going on when Trace was with Loretta? Was Billy sleeping in her room to protect her from Loretta? If Candy was a creation of Trace’s mind, then what was her purpose? I too, have been in Candy’s trailer. I actually had a very good friend growing up who lived in that exact place. Same table cloth, etc.

  857. My understanding was that Trace had epilepsy since early childhood and no one understood it. Loretta’s twisted back-woods church thought she was possessed and tried all kinds of strange rituals to “cleanse” her. However, what’s his name – Pork Belly Equipment Rental guy – got his eye on Trace and finagled his way into Loretta’s good graces to get his hands on Trace. He offered to truly “cure” Trace by taking her to the basement in the woods where he did something undescribed that involved Trace “sitting on his lap.” I assume that was rape and the only way Loretta was implicated was by allowing it, probably as a bargaining chip to get Pork Belly to continue giving her money. (I’m sorry I can’t remember his name and don’t have my book.)

    Billy did not know exactly what was happening, assumed it was COLT hurting Trace and therefore slept there to protect her. This is also, I think, why Billy (if he was in fact real) killed Colt when he saw what was going on in the woods at Appomattox. He assumed it was Colt who had taken Trace into the woods and hurt her previously, not Pork Belly.

    I put together that when Trace escaped from the Pork Belly rape, she tore off through the woods and came out to meet to grandfather’s house of Candy, who I thought was real my first time through but I now think was an imaginary friend – or a memory screen that allowed Trace to process what she called the “picnic with the coyote” – do I have that right? but must have been the rape.

  858. God, Maureen you are brilliant. I feel like a 5th grader ” Uhhh, Candy is not real.” I need to reread it obviously. I picked up on the frequent nighttime trips with Loretta but I didn’t even think about it being about exorcisms for her “demons”. This book is really making me feel stupid! I missed such obvious things! It was so beautifully written and I feel I didn’t give it the attention it deserved!

  859. How abut I try that again?

    Here is how I have sorted it out.
    I put together that when Trace escaped from the Pork Belly rape, she tore off through the woods and came out at “Candy’s grandfather’s house” if that was real, and met Candy, if she was is real. I am now thinking all of that was a screen memory – a place of safety for Trace to go and escape what had happened in the basement.

    She went to “visit” Candy in her mind in the trailer (tingling hands and ringing in ears) for years until she was old enough and ready enough to realize that Candy was all a screen memory. Candy (really Trace/Ianthe) gently leads herself to realize this through all that alien abduction stuff. Trace/Ianthe is telling HERSELF that she has been throwing up memory screens. Chapter Two is called Caduceus which is the sign of Hermes, the guide of the dead, leading her to finally face the awful truths she has been repressing.

    Amy, what do you make of Candy and the trailer and the missing dog, etc? I can understand why Trace would want to be with an imaginary girl Candy and her grandparents, but not with older Candy and the abusive husband? Maybe to show herself that what had once been a health-bestowing friendship (in fugue space) was now not healthy? And what about the missing dog? To try and allow herself to remember that Colt had shot Weeds?

  860. Oh I am so excited, I think you all are right along with some of my notes . . .

    I have to figure out which computer I have them on and I will pee and be right back!

  861. Amy – Do NOT feel bad. I didn’t get ANY of this the first time through. I am on reading number three and still sorting through.

  862. I’ll be back. I have to go run some errands.

  863. yoozers – the blog won’t let me upload my notes, nor my emails back and forth with Carolyn, our new iodine blogger . . .

    working on this

  864. I think Candy is the ultimate example of what a girl from rural Indiana can ( but does not want to) become. Trace/Ianthe seems to have created her to show exactly what she doesn’t want her life to be ( abusive husband, fat, dirty). Maybe the fact that the dogs were chained and mistreated ( and eventually missing) shows again the ignorance and mistreatment of animals that people like Candy go along with because they just don’t know any different. Which to Trace is the worst thing that can happen to her. She goes to college, falls in love with a professor, does everything possible to not be like Candy.

  865. Here is first page of notes/research:


    violet-dark gray, lustrous

    Iodine deficiency is the leading cause of preventable mental retardation, a result which occurs primarily when babies or small children are rendered hypothyroidic by a lack of the element. The addition of iodine to table salt has largely eliminated this problem in the wealthier nations, but as of March 2006, iodine deficiency remained a serious public health problem in the developing world. [10] Iodine deficiency is also a problem in certain areas of Europe. In Germany it has been estimated to cause a billion dollars in healthcare costs per year.[5]


    There are 37 isotopes of iodine, but only one, 127I, is stable.

    Excess iodine has symptoms similar to those of iodine deficiency. Commonly encountered symptoms are abnormal growth of the thyroid gland and disorders in functioning and growth of the organism as a whole. Elemental iodine, I2, is a deadly poison if taken in larger amounts; if 2–3 grams of it are consumed, it is fatal to humans. Iodides are similar in toxicity to bromides.
    [edit] Precautions
    Direct contact with skin can cause lesions, so it should be handled with care. Iodine vapor is very irritating to the eye and to mucous membranes. Concentration of iodine in the air should not exceed 1 mg/m³ (eight-hour time-weighted average). When mixed with ammonia, it can form nitrogen triiodide which is extremely sensitive and can explode unexpectedly.
    The major disadvantage of iodide treatment lies in the fact that excessive stores of TH accumulate, slowing the onset of action of thioamides (TH synthesis blockers). Additionally, the functionality of iodides fade after the initial treatment period. An “escape from block” is also a concern, as extra stored TH may spike following discontinuation of treatment.

  866. Sher – Cool. Iodine can be either healing or poisonous. Likewise, Trace’s mental illness is a form of healing, though had she not been pulled back from the brink by Jacob, she might have gone insane.

    Amy – I like that theory about Candy. Ianthe/Trace absolutely made herself the exact opposite of Candy, and Candy is always calling her “college girl” etc. I know how DISLOYAL it feels to really lower-class kids around here to want to go to college and move upwards – like they are saying their parents weren’t good enough.

    At first I thought iodine was a reference to when she cut herself on the nail at her uncle’s (I think) that Loretta said doesn’t exist, and he puts iodine on it. I kept thinking of iodine as stinging but intended to heal AND it stains.

    Then I remembered Haven saying that Leonard Cohen’s song was really important. I had never even heard of him. Here are the lyrics:

    I needed you, I knew I was in danger
    of losing what I used to think was mine
    You let me love you till I was a failure,
    You let me love you till I was a failure —
    Your beauty on my bruise like iodine
    I asked you if a man could be forgiven
    And though I failed at love, was this a crime?
    You said, Don’t worry, don’t worry, darling
    You said, Don’t worry, don’t you worry, darling
    There are many ways a man can serve his time

    You covered up that place I could not master
    It wasn’t dark enough to shut my eyes
    So I was with you, O sweet compassion
    Yes I was with you, O sweet compassion
    Compassion with the sting of iodine

    Your saintly kisses reeked of iodine
    Your fragrance with a fume of iodine
    And pity in the room like iodine

    Your sister fingers burned like iodine
    And all my wanton lust was iodine
    My masquerade of trust was iodine
    And everywhere the flare of iodine

    Um… anyone on all that?

    Sher – I e-mailed Carolyn and she is going to paste her e-mail thoughts to you here.

    Are you here yet, Carolyn?

  867. ok – girls, bad timing but it is time for the post-school chauffering . . . and I am finalizing docs for my meeting tomorrow . . . I am trying to separate topics and will post my thoughts/notes in sections . . . wish I could just burrough down in the midst of the tornado . . .

  868. Me too. I had to go pick up children and get stuff.
    You can also see Leonard Cohen’s video of Iodine on youtube. I am about to drop so I might have to pick up this fine conversation tomorrow.

  869. Chapter One – “Two Dogs”

    Freudian slip, pg. 4
    Cold/Colt . . . cold = colt, drug (also colt is a rife/weapon)

    “tingling hands,” pg 4 . . . “trying to remember the last 4 years . . . earned minors in 4 different subjects” (pg 5) = memory loss

    ….”didn’t shake in the way she hated, the kind of shivering that hurt” = seizure (pg 5)

    . . . “their loss became her inventory gain” (6) – I BELIEVE THIS COULD BE METAPHOR FOR HER MEMORY LOSS/GAIN as to the supplies/what she needs/requires

    “oldest and only childhood friend, Candy Warner, formerly Candy Buck” . . . note: Candy = Warn HER, previous animal(us)(a) in archetypal psychology

    “hometown, it wasn’t safe for her to be there” because she had murdered Colt, Billy and shot Weeds??? “looking for roads that didn’t exist” because they weren’t real, where she was going wasn’t real

    “knowing you since we were 6years old” Candy says to Trace = 6 years old at the abuse/escape from the woods. same age.

    ‘since danny rae was born that funny color’ = endangered infant/drugs . . . candy’s tshirt says “slippery when wet” = she can’t be pinned down, she is unreal

    ‘if he is telling the truth but he is lying because he doesn’t know the difference, in which case he is not sane in any way’ = candy warning Trace about what is real and isn’t real or believable?

    ‘if he truly believes it and he’s completely sane, it happened. and if he completely believes it and it didn’t happen, he’s crazy. and if it happened, we are all in a bind here, where the aliens are concerned” – candy is informing Trace of the options of Trace’s mental state. (pg 13)

    ‘ their minds protect them by throwing up a screen memory” – exactly what Trace is doing by creating Candy/the trailer/the alien theory. (pg 13)

    top of pg 14
    “high pitched tone pierced Trace’s inner ear” = nothing before or AFTER is real

    ‘you’d just had a picnic with a coyote, at the end the coyote had put a little rock in your neck’ – coyote gave rock” trace “it’s a knot” . . . a little knot”

    “man walking a wolf on a leash” . . .”he began to face what was happening to him . . . recall a moment . . . (pg 14)

    (pg 15)
    Candy “your mother . . .Loretta called (note: not true as Trace is in a fugue) . . .

    candy under the ‘terrible color’/bruises . . ‘she was a lovely prize, squandered” as was, Trace, her seminal personality

    . . . “catching bass last summer” NOTE TIME DISCREPANCY. also “winchester 22 is important – colt gave it to her, her weapon.

    pg 16 . . .

    “silent years” = lost time again. “this youngest child (tracey sue/trace) vanished (after the ‘incident’, the other two already gone (billy killed, Dusty left with the ‘men’).

    ‘billy, gone 5 years’ = clue to the time line

    billy took care of her ‘after’ (an unspeakable thing as Trace cuts off her narrative)

    ‘there was that sound again’ (pg 16) – fugue state

    (pg 18) . . .’before dusty’s missing year or after” = clue to timeline

    pg 19 . . . ‘Candy was the sole repository of Tracey sue Pennington’s past. . . a living history project . . . a civil war reenactor” = candy is part of Appotomax/the incidient, therefore she was there and therefore is Trace.

    pg 20 . . . ‘it wouldn’t be the worst thing . . . close your eyes and pretend you was somplace else . . . you did it twice and survived’ = gave herself to Marty for sex to save her nieces from his pedophilia? . . . “once for erin and once for jessie’

    pg. 21

    ‘her friend, her only’ = candy

    ‘candy’s blue eyes wide and thrilled as they had been long ago . . .do you remember the bobcat you found asleep in your bed” – this directly reminds me of Haven’s wolf/Kai . . . the memory is real but are the facts?

  870. Sher – I am exactly with you!!

    Freudian slip, pg. 4
    Cold/Colt . . . cold = colt, drug (also colt is a rife/weapon)
    Smart idea to look at all those Freudian slips – where Trace says something. Stops. Or says something and then changes it.
    I never
    I never had sex with my father
    What do you make of that? Marty becomes her step-father, right? And she did have sex with him? Once in the back-woods basement to “cure” her and twice more to prevent him raping Dusty’s girls.

    . . . “their loss became her inventory gain” (6) – I BELIEVE THIS COULD BE METAPHOR FOR HER MEMORY LOSS/GAIN as to the supplies/what she needs/requires
    OH YES!!! I like that.

    “oldest and only childhood friend, Candy Warner, formerly Candy Buck” . . . note: Candy = Warn HER, previous animal(us)(a) in archetypal psychology

    Nice nice. Candy (who is Trace) is trying to warn her. She doesn’t want to happen to her children what happened to Trace. She is gently getting Trace ready to remember what happened.

    “hometown, it wasn’t safe for her to be there” because she had murdered Colt, Billy and shot Weeds??? “looking for roads that didn’t exist” because they weren’t real, where she was going wasn’t real
    OK. Here’s my interpretation. At Appomattox: Colt was asking Trace to shoot him so we would not suffer the cancer – he had taught her to use the gun, he promised sex if she would shoot him, then he reneged (probably never intended the sex – I don’t see Colt ever wanting that), told Trace shoot me or I shoot Weeds. All three characters had guns. Colt shot Weeds, Billy shot Colt (because he thought it must had been Colt abusing Trace) and then Trace shot Billy because he shot Colt. “I shot my brother dead” like in the Civil War = Appomattox. She cannot face up to that scene: her beloved father shot, her dog shot, and she herself killed Billy.

    I’m ahead a little, but when Ianthe/Trace sees Jacob (whose description sounds suspiciously like that picture of Haven’s agent), she found someone who could finally take Colt’s place in her heart. She never resolved her Electra Complex because it was too messed up, but when she sees Jacob, she is ready to no longer be Puella Aeterna (Eternal Girl). Her need to be in love and become an adult forces her to face what she has been unable to face: the sexual abuse first and the shooting scene second.

    Oh, I also caught last night that Myka tells Ianthe that Jacob’s wife left him – I take this as fact. I was wondering later if the other wife was another projection, but I don’t think so. I think she was real, had a miscarriage, left to become a lesbian, and Jacob was also trying to heal. A detail I like, because it shows what he gets out of the marriage – he was obviously ill-suited to wife one.

    All the animal images? I think they are protectors and guides. Trace created them to protect her psyche. I am not completely clear on what happened in the woods. Is that the same event as the red chair in the basement? And Trace escaped and ran through the woods and got all cut? Or maybe had a seizure after she escaped and got all cut up? It seems she created a screen memory to remember that as a magical event: picnic with a coyote who gave her the stone (probably did end up with a stone in her neck either during rape or during seizure in the woods) and she simultaneously was given the stone and the girl (Candy – sweet, what SHOULD have been give to a little girl, not weirdo sex). She has covered that rape with the helper coyote(trixster) picnic and her new best friend Candy where she can escape and have a normal childhood.

    Sorry. Enough for now.

    Oops before I forget. Black/purple/grape. Bruise and beauty. It is the nature of Ianthe(purple)’s beauty but also the color of bruises. Candy had been beautiful, but now Trace can see the bruises on her, just as she is seeing the bruises on herself.
    Iodine (truth, mental health), also purple, will heal her but also stain her.

  871. UH-OH. I just re-read the comment from Haven that I posted below. NOW I am wondering if Trace was raped, got pregnant, and had a forced abortion performed. I am not far enough in my third re-read to refresh my memory on the different “back woods” events but it seems that she might have been raped in the woods, and that the “red chair” and red-striped pole (barber/surgeon) might have been Trace in stirrups of sorts having her fetus aborted (the stone).

    Oh GOD. That is just so so much worse.

    “In a moment of unbearable extremity, she is no longer able to hide from what she believes to be true most deeply: that she, not just Candy, not just Persephone, was abducted (she fell through a hole in the earth and two hounds fell in after her). She was marked; she was impregnated; she had a child stolen from her. When Cleonus reappears he orders events for her again, as he did when she small. I’m trying to help without saying too much.”

  872. Wow, must process all of this and come back later to post.
    You are all such smarty pants.

  873. Sorry. I was ona roll this morning. I cut back on my Effexor and I am a little more spaz than I had been.

    I had an AWFUL thought suddenly that Colt and Trace really DID have sex but I can’t believe that’s true.

    Sher? Did you ever think that?

  874. Hi again! Sarah S saw our renewed discussion and e-mailed these insightful observations. She is busy busy and allowed me to credit her brilliance and copy them here:

    on p. 113, Candy says (of the “alien’ babies),
    “I’m pregnant with his baby. No one will ever have to know because their babies don’t take so long to grow, just three months or so, and then they’ll remove it and it will go into a nursery and I’ll get to see it every night.”

    To me, this is directly: abortion, with a wee bit of unreality concerning the outcome(!).

    Later, Rita Matthias’s ultrasounds clearly show an abortion, spontaneous (miscarriage) or otherwise — there’s a living fetus at 18 weeks, and then : no baby. (And, page 198, “Rita told them, ‘They unzipped me, and took him out. I knew he was too
    small to live and I tried to say so but I couldn’t speak or move.'”)

    My thought is that Rita opted to have her pregnancy terminated because she wasn’t interested in being a wife and mother, as indicated in what she pursues when she leaves Jacob.

    When Trace finds Rita’s ultrasounds, dated by week and clearly showing a baby, and then no baby, it jolts her into a reality she had obscured. She wants to get back to Candy, to tell her (re: the aliens
    taking her baby), “No, they don’t love you– it isn’t love.”

    And… I’m wondering, how much of the “torture” was forced abortion (to cover a pregnancy by Marty)? [I think this has now been posited on the blog.]

    (Earlier, I wondered if Ianthe/Trace later became pregnant by Jacob, and associated that with something evil in side her, impregnated by Them/The black, clawed animal, but I now think it more likely that whatever thoughts she has along those lines
    are perhaps what she was told, or ‘screened’, to explain why They needed to get the ‘evil’ out of her?)

    Finally, pertinent to latest comments on the blog: Haven said in the interview Amanda linked to on the blog that Iodine is _not_ about incest– that that never happened (re: Trace and Colt).

    MAUREEN HERE: I told Sarah I thought I remembered a dog causing what I thought was Rita’s miscarriage. And Sarah clarified for me:

    Now, I’ve pulled my book out, and I don’t see that a dog attacked Rita. On p.198-199, Cleonus tells Trace/Ianthe that Rita said, “They unzipped me, and took him out,” etc. It sounds like, if one can
    believe Cleonus(!?), the police suspected _Rita_, and shot the dog Marcus (who “hadn’t woken up”) to see if the dog had eaten the remains of Rita’s fetus. “Of course he had not harmed the baby.”

    To me, Jacob’s “no dog” edict was due to all that horror– he lost his beloved dog, and only after having to watch that dog accused of something horrifying…?

    Or not! What a book.

    (And, there’s also the “no dog” policy that others have alluded to, ie, the level of not allowing the past to intrude on the present.)


  875. Hello to Maureen and Sher and Kate and Suzanne– Are
    you going to be able to continue a discussion tonight
    about Iodine? I took Maureen’s advice in her email to
    me and I got the audiotape from the library and I am
    listening to Havel narrate the book.

    I now believe that Billy and Dusty, as well as Candy
    are creations of beings made up in Trace’s mind. They
    might be called alter-egos, maybe. I don’t have enough education in psychology to know this for sure. Notice
    that when you are reading in the novel about these people that Trace has little ticks or seizures, or hears

    Anybody want to go along with me on that so far?

  876. Ladies, I’ve read your e-mails from earlier today, in
    the morning ( I’m teaching 8th grade ELA ) at this time.
    And I agree with y’all on some things and not others,
    or, we agree on some things but not others.

    1. Billy/Dusty/Candy are exist only in Trace’s psyche
    2. This novel screams with Duality- Plath’s thesis on
    Dostoyevski’s use of it in his novels. Therefore, the
    children of Dusty and Candy are not real persons, either. Notice how each other these women has two babies
    3. The reference to Appomattox is a metaphor. Appomattox
    is where Lee surrendered to Grant and thus ended the
    Civil War. Civil War–get it? Trace is undergoing a
    Civil War internally, so to speak. Somebody mentioned
    the thing with Trace’s screen memories. Yes, these
    screen memories are no longer serving their purpose because of the extreme anxiety Trace is experiencing.
    4. The name Billy means protector. Trace needed Billy,
    a strong male to protect her as a child because Colt
    did not. Dusty is the dutiful daughter Trace could never
    be, the daughter who sewed and loved her mother, then
    escaped to the Sun World (opposite the Underworld)but
    then returned, married Phil (Fill) and had two daughters,the duality thing again.

    5.I agree that Trace was sexually abused as a child. Her
    memories of when she first met Candy bear that out.
    The “knot” may be the first physical appearance of a
    tumor that occurred simultaneously with her fits of
    epilepsy. I agree that Marty also molested her.

    I’d like to see more of Maureen’s timeline. Here’s
    what I’m not clear about.

    1. How long Trace and Jacob are married before Trace
    discovers she’s had a miscarriage? It’s not Rita’s miscarriage-it’s her own. Rita is Trace, or the woman
    Trace saw herself as while she was married to Jacob.
    I say this because Rita was a runner and a person who
    rememebered people’s birthdays and was always nice and
    that is exactly what Billy was- a runner who had a
    really good moral compass.

    2. Was Rita (really Trace) the wife that left for
    20 years and then comes back?

    3. Is Gianni Loria real or one of Trace’s screen memories. I think yes and I’ll tell you why later.

  877. Hi Carolyn! Welcome, welcome.
    I am off to dinner (quick blog check, this) and I will be back, if not tonight then tomorrow.
    I must give credit to Sher’s e-mail to you than got smooshed into mine for the timeline and recommending book on tape. Is it Haven reading? Oh, what a treat!

    Your ideas are very interesting and I need to look at them again. I am on my third reading, and more falls into place for me each time through.
    Later. Glad you’ve joined us. 🙂

  878. Carolyn,

    Read pages 208-212 in Iodine. This is where things come apart for Trace. If Candy Warner is in Trace’s mind only, how can she visit Candy’s trailer, or Skeet’s parents’ house, or Candy’s parents’ house?

    The church bulletin with Billy’s name and address on it: was it ever there? Did she call him? And the letter was never addressed or stamped or mailed.

    As Trace drives, she’s “in the right neighborhood,” but never sees anything she recognizes. If Candy is only in Trace’s mind, how could she find Candy’s granddad’s house? ” … now I have an answer: there is no house.” Finally Trace stands and admires “the light of stars that are no longer there. Isn’t that … weird enough?”

    It seems to me there was a Billy. There is a Dusty and her meth-addicted husband and their two daughters.

    Keep an eye out for what I call the Havenian Denial. Just because Haven denied it doesn’t mean that it’s not so. Just because Haven confirmed it doesn’t mean that it’s so. She’s a crafty one and loves to keep readers thinking and guessing.

  879. Hi, Jodi, once again. I caught your email on my
    email message center but glad to see you’re here on
    the blog, too. I emailed you back to where you normally
    get email, so I won’t go over what I wrote there except
    to say I agree about Haven. I do believe what she says
    in the radio interviews. You can find them on her website- click on the tab that says Interviews. If you
    need more help finding which ones I mean I will send
    you the link or at least tell you which ones to click
    on by either the radio stations name or its location
    and the hosts’ names. I believe she was telling the
    truth there.

    Good catch with the line about the light of the stars
    that are no longer there….I missed that completely…
    thanks for being a more careful reader than I am….
    and I’m supposed to be “qualified” enough to sub
    for 8th grade English teachers. Shame on me. So, no,
    Billy and Dusty are not real people, only real in Trace’s own head, and why can’t made up people have
    made up babies? The more complete their realities seem
    the more comforting they are to Trace and the more comforting they can be to Trace, until, alas, Trace’s
    ability to keep this fantasy going starts to crumble.
    That’s why Billy had to die at Appomattox (civil war
    ending as metaphor for internal Civil War) and why
    Dusty goes downhill with crank. And also why Candy
    dissolves into her own delusions about being abducted
    and we are never sure what happened to Candy’s two boys.
    Anything else you came up with?

  880. Jodi –
    The Havenian Denial? I love it and I know exactly what you mean.
    I am off to bed and to continue my reread. I do believe Haven when she said way up above that perhaps Appomattox is the most real moment in the book, especially since once Trace has remembered it, she is released from Hekate’s grasp.

  881. Maureen, hope you read this before you go to bed.
    Think about this: Although Haven said the ending
    is the truest thing, which ending? The shooting scene
    or when Jacob and Ianthe are in bed and she says
    Hekate is no longer angry with her. See, Haven was
    clever and she did clearly state which part of the
    ending she meant. Appomattox is where Lee surrendered
    to Grant and so ended the Civil War. Trace is undergoing
    her own Civil War. Appomattox is just the metatphor
    for that dream. Trace didn’t shoot her father. If she
    did, there’d have been an inquest and a trial and there
    was none of that in the book. Maybe she shot them in her head, and thus her Civil War ends. Lee surrenders to
    Grant. End of war.

  882. I’m listening to the audio tape and Trace is in Dr.Matthia’s class for the first time, and she thinks
    about what Myka told her, that Dr. M had been missing
    for 4 years at the university. Is this a clue that
    all that time that Trace thinks Dr. M was missing,
    she was actually living with him, she just doesn’t

  883. I’ll hitting the sack. My typing is getting poor,and
    I’m not communicating my thoughts clearly. I’ll try
    to pick this up at 10:30 am tomorrow.

  884. Carolyn,

    Billy was more than a figment of Trace’s imagination. So is Dusty and her family. Real people, real events that Trace had to find a way to deal with. Trace didn’t shoot her father. Billy did. It’s clearly spelled out in the “true” ending.

    Candy only exists in Trace’s thoughts, so it follows that there are no babies, no aliens, no parents, no granddad, no Cleonus.

  885. Wow. I had really hoped to participate in this discussion but it has been much more beneficial to just observe. I am going to get the audio version at the library and listen to it as well. Thank you all so much for these insights.

  886. Jodi – I’m with you on that. I just reread the chapter where Ianthe moves in with Jacob and he gives her the tour. This is clearly a non-fugue period of time. He says that Rita left him. This all reads as very real to me.

    Carolyn – I do think that BOTH of those endings are real. The shooting scene is a flashback – a TRUE one finally, that Ianthe can finally remember because she feels psychologically safe in her new life with Jacob. She has finally laid down the family romance, seen/and accepted the abuse, and can move on.

    Although the novel starts with both Ianthe and the reader being confused and not knowing what is real and what is not, I trust that Haven is leading us all – Ianthe and readers – to clarity at the end. I do not think she would lead us all that way to leave us baffled. She said way up there that you can mistrust your narrator (especially if she is both epileptic and suffering PTSD), but you have to trust your author to not leave you as reader unsure of the ground beneath you.

    I do agree that Appomattox is archetypal and stands for the end of the Civil War that the various parts of Trace/Ianthe have been waging. And that it is a final battle. BUT I also think it was an actual occurrence and the event that Trace/Ianthe had to eventually process to move on to mental health.

    I am still confused about the four years that have elapsed after Ianthe moved in with Jacob. I am at that point in my re-read and don’t want to speculate without re-reading that chunk again.

    Amy, jump your lovely self into this conversation please. I am almost forgetting (being in my forties) how confused I was the first time through. I want to hear your first-read thoughts because it helps me sort out my third-read thoughts.

    Later, people.

  887. Maureen ~

    Re: “the four years that have elapsed after Ianthe moved in with Jacob” — what if Ianthe’s illness prevents her from observing “real time”?

  888. Jodi – Absolutely. Absolutely.
    But I felt that Haven was doing a parallel track with Ianthe in real time: first day of classes, dropping out of classes, etc. that seemed to be parallel to her increasing understanding of her past through the fugue states. But then that track seemed to drop away a bit or speed up at lot? I am at that point in my reread so maybe I will remember better as I finish. There was the “real-time” coming-out party and the visit of the Italian friend and the ultrasounds, so that could conceivably could have taken four years which got confused in Ianthe to feel like four months.

    Sorry, I shouldn’t process as I go. I should reread and then process. My bad.

  889. Jodi, good morning. I think we both agree that Trace
    shot Billy but only within her imagination (since Billy
    doesn’t really exist.) She shoots him because she doesn’t need him to protect her anymore. Maureen said Trace/Ianthe is now willing to give up the “family romance” and face her fate. I agree with that. Also,
    keep in mind that Haven commented that even though
    Trace is brilliant, and has a marvelous psychological and literary education, it doesn’t help her understand herself. Jodi, you’re a careful,beautiful reader. If you find something in the text to point out, please do so again like you did last time about the starlight in
    the sky.

    Maureen, good morning. I agree with you about Haven not
    misleading us. I believe we can trust the author. Jodi’s
    coined phrase the “Havenian Denial” is gorgeous. I love it. I use something similar with my students. When I am
    reading a novel with them, I will ask them questions and
    when they ask me a leading question and I don’t feel like spoon-feeding them the answer, I give them the
    old “Non-denial Denial.” You know,The Nixon Thing.
    Also, Maureen, can you say more about Gianni Loria
    and the four years Ianthe spends as Jacobs wife? I can’t wait for you to re-read that and have some lunch
    and then get back to us!!
    I have tons of questions and tons of theory about that
    time. And also, about the timeframe when Trace has her
    first class with Dr. Matthias. My gut feeling is that what Trace recalls as her first time in class with Dr. Matthias is not her first time meeting with him. It’s
    only her first re-call. I think she was gone out of his
    life for awhile and then shows back up. That’s why he
    is not all that freaked out when she breaks into his house and waits in the porch for him to come home.
    Remember when Myka reminds Ianthe that Dr. M had been missing from Trace’s sight for four years? Myka is also a creation of Trace’s- an alter-ego, if you will, as is Anastasia. Myka and Ianthe have a conversation about Dr. M. Once I am clear about the timeframe there, everything else fits into place.

    One more thing. The part about shooting Billy and Colt
    and Weeds in the woods appears in two place in the novel-once on pg. 26 (not sure what page) and once again
    toward the end of the book. There has to be a reason the author uses that same memory twice- once in the beginning of the book and once at the end.

  890. I think my problem stems from trying to take the book too literally. I believed every character actually existed and I tried to take everything as the timeline in which it was described. I read it as Candy is Trace’s best friend, she is married to a deadbeat, she really believes in aliens, and I think she ends up killing her children. Not until I was finished and blogging did I realize ” oh shit, these people weren’t real!!”
    This is incredible, I feel like I didn’t even read the same book as all of you!!

  891. Jodi, I had the same interpretation the first time I
    read the book. Then I got the feeling something wasn’t
    right.Towards the end where Billy and Colt are shot
    would have caused an inquiry once the sherrif got there-
    and Trace never mentions that. So I read it again and
    then I realized how deep I would have to go. And yes, I
    think you do have to be concerned with a time frame,
    and you have to take some things literally– that’s where we all had problems. What can we take as literal
    truth? Who is real? Here’s a hint if you’re going to read it again. Anytime there is a mention of a twitch,
    or a ringing in the ears, or Trace’s hands are numb, or
    she feels too cold that’s your clue that Trace is in a
    fugue state and her memories may be false. Of course there is no such thing as a talking coyote named Cleonus. Yet in Rita’s closet he has a conversation with
    her. She’s in a fugue state there, too. Also try to understand that this woman has a physical, organic illness which doesn’t help any. She has seizures. She’s
    also been traumatized in her early childhood, so much so
    that it impedes her ability to separate fact from fantasy as she makes her way into adulthood. Her fantasies are her shields from the brutality she suffered as a child. Most of us blog babies believe it
    started with her mother, Loretta, having her exorcised
    as a child, then compounding it with sexual abuse from
    her step-father, Marty. As a result of this trauma,
    Trace is unable to give up the “family romance” and
    continues to make new romances up for herself in her head to provide answers to questions she has about what
    happened to her. Keep blogging with us– you’ll see things maybe others of us miss- then you can tell us
    what you see and give us your take on it.

  892. Amy – I had the exact same experience when I read it the first time, especially with Candy. I didn’t accept that Candy was a projection until I read all of the above posts (before we re-instigorated it, Piglet). Speaking of which, I observed all of the above posts in real time and never commented! Yes, me, the queen of blab-blab. Once that thumb comes out of the dike, watch it!

    I ABSOLUTELY had Candy as a real person. I was so sad to give her up, as I am sure Trace was. Like in A Beautiful Mind where Russell Crowe has to realize that his fabulous roommate was not real.

    It IS a different book when you read it again. And it’s different again the third time through.

    Love ya, girlie! I am now officially on vacation for a week! So I have lots of time for blog chatter.

  893. Maureen, I like reading your blogs. You write so very
    well that I understand precisely at first glance what
    you mean to say. You are my inspiration to write more
    effectively. Enjoy your vacation time and if you feel like it, I’ll be here all evening to blog if you’re up for it. My fiance is going to shoot pool with the boys tonight and his teenage daughters will be at the movies. I’ve got the place and the laptop to myself. Life is good!

    How about Sher, Jodi and Amy? Where are you gals tonight? I was hoping to blog with Sher since she was
    the one I initially contacted to invite myself into this discussion. So Sher, if you’re not on-line yet,
    fire that website up! (Please.)

  894. Maureen, It is incredible I ever got thru life without you directing me and explaining things! I am forever in debt to you!
    Carolyn ( et all) I will be blogging all night. Due to all the horrible windstorms in OH, I have been busy as a bee and I cannot wait to go home, put on my pjams, drink some wine, and blog,blog,blog.

    Speaking of A Beautiful Mind~
    I saw that on a horrible blind date ( the only time I went out with that loser) and I remember thinking “What if I am here alone? Is anyone really sitting next to me?”

  895. Amy, it’s nice to hear from you. I remember going on a
    date with someone I didn’t want to be with, and in the
    seat about three seats down was this really interesting
    looking guy sitting all by himself, and there was nothing I could do about it. I just couldn’t bring myself to Be Like That. You know what I mean. So jammy
    up, girl, get a good buzz on, and fire up that laptop!
    I’m ready to go!!

  896. Cripes, Amy, I just re-read your last blog–I totally
    misunderstood you about being in the theatre. I re-read
    it and now I get it. You were thinking, “What if this
    loser isn’t really sitting next to me, what if I am
    really here all by myself?” My bad. I took it to mean
    you were feeling as if you were alone because the company you had was making you feel as if you were alone, or even wishing you were alone. Forgive me,
    Amy, I am two Lime Rickeys ahead of your glass of wine.
    Oh, we’ll be good fun for each other…our typing is going to get really interesting….
    You get the feeling it might be that kinda night?

  897. I hear ya Carolyn!! I am stopping for refreshments on the way home from the office. I leave in 32 minutes!!
    What a day…however I always must remind myself that I am incredibly blessed to have a job to go to in today’s economy.

  898. I hear you. My fiance came home one night last week
    and told me four people got laid off. He did not. He
    got a raise and a bonus instead. So I’m glad to hear
    that you are still employed, and Gratitude is an Attitude you want to hold onto.

  899. Hi Carolyn! Hi Amy!
    I am going to attempt reading both Owen Meany and Iodine tonight, one in each hand, one eye on each, and see how it goes. It could get odd.

  900. Hi, Maureen. I’m listening to the audiobook. Hey, Mo?
    Could Trace have been a complete orphan. Could Colt have been Trace’s fantasy? I don’t have the book, so I cannot give you the page number, but Trace says the “feminine eyes” of Colt. I’ve never heard anyone ever describe a man as having feminine eyes. Also, think about this, Mo. Is that deserted farm house Trace lives in really Dr. Matthias’ house? The farm house has
    one piece of furniture. A scarred kitchen table. Dr. Matthias has a kitchen table that is scarred with the
    carvings of childhood. Is table one in the same? Also,
    in the novel, the narrator says Trace had a fireplace
    that was boarded up. Jacob has a fireplace- reconverted
    from a coal-burning fireplace. It might appear boarded up if you’ve never seen one before. Whaddya think?

  901. Hey ladies. Finally, I get to sit down. When I arrived home from work I found that one of my beloved doggies had peed on the sofa. I called the fiance super upset and he said ” Amy, that is a 3000.00 dollar couch.” Really? Because I had forgotten that when I was crying and cleaning up piss.
    To quote the great Augusten ” My dog is completely house broken except when he isn’t.”
    Uggh, thank god he peed mostly on his blanket and our couch is leather so I think it’s going to be okay.
    Too upset to eat dinner so I am snacking on peanuts and drinking my vino.
    OKay, Iodine. I think that is a great observation about the farmhouse. I thought it was interesting as time progresses and Trace went back that it seemed as if she had never been there to begin with. I paraphrase but each time it was described as overrun, she couldn’t find the path, couldn’t see the driveway…Is this saying that she was gone for longer than she realized ( the missing 4 years) as this type of thing doesn’t happen quickly, or did she ever really live here and was it ever accessible?

  902. Hi,Amy. I’ve paused the audiobook and I’ve read your
    blog. I sure do hope Mo weighs in here soon. I think
    the farmhouse is the safehouse Ianthe retreats to some time during her marriage, perhaps whenever she feels
    on shaky ground. Your paraphases are okay, I know what
    you’re talking about. She goes back one day but cannot
    find the house, and she can’t find Weeds and the dogfood hasn’t been found. I’m forming this thought
    that maybe we ought to read the book backwards. The last page of the novel indicates she’s getting healthier and she says she had gone out that night to shoot the ghost of her dog, Weeds. Just prior to that,
    she plays out the battle sceen in her head where her brother and father and dog die. Further back is the part with Rita and her finding the ultrasound film, and
    further back is her meeting Jacob, then her days at the university,then her life with Loretta. Read it that way
    and it makes more sense– it almost had a linear flow to it, doesn’t it? Sorry about your dog and your couch.I have 2 cats and I freak out sometimes when my cats reach out their claws to the nubby-clothed couch and make scratchy-scratchy on it. Jeez, I am not looking forward to that moment when my fiance catches them doing that. It’ll be will Hades’ Head Hat fur those two cats. Fur sure.

  903. Ugh, pardon my typing. I need to turn on a light
    so I can actually see the keyboard and I am going to start reading my own words before I hit the “submit” button. I have so many errors, I can’t stand it. And I’m a teacher, to boot. Go figure. Wait, I think I’m writing just like my students. They’ve infected me with some kind of Bad Writing Virus. The BWV. That’s what I’m going to call it going forward,the BWV, whenever I screw something up.

  904. I had another thought.Gianni is also a projection of
    Ianthe’s. When Gianni is due to arrive, Jacob warns her
    about playing her “banal” music. Remember the music
    Trace tells Anastasia and Myka is her favorite music,
    thinking about which CDs are lying on her bedroom floor in or out of their plastic cases, while she is having this conversation with them in the bar-be-que restaurant? (Anastasia and Myka are just her
    creations as well. ) She only “recalls” this false memory to give herself some background for the music she
    brings with her to Jacob’s house.

    While Trace is living with Jacob, she has this
    fantasy life about living in the farmhouse alone with her dog, Weeds. In actual fact, she is living with Jacob in the old Queen Anne-style house. When Gianni comes to visit, she searches the university archives to find records or photos of him but she can find no trace of him, he seems never to have taught at that university. Yet she claims Jacob has told her that those two were colleagues and they had a bond.

    Gianni criticizes Jacob for painting over the colors Rita had chosen for the house, and Jacob begins to shake and clutches Gianni into his arms and “both men
    were crying.” Think about it, that is pretty unusual behavior. Why would Jacob begin to shake and cry over
    Gianni’s criticism of paint colors and why would Gianni care?And also,Gianni is the one who finds her poems and offers a critique on them and shows them to Jacob.
    Gianni is just her way of getting the poems into Jacobs’
    hands. He is her middle man, her go-between.
    I think Ianthe was gone for a long time, some time in the marriage and returned to Jacob when they are both a little older. I think the part in the novel when she lets herself into his house is a big clue. He is not
    alarmed to find her there, and he should be. He should be alarmed if a student just wandered, or broke into, his home, univited. Anyone would have given her the
    third degree, but he is very gentle with her. We don’t have a clear timeline because Trace doesn’t have a clear timeline. People who live in these fugue states often lose time,lots of time, and cannot account for months or even years. When Gianni talks about the colors of the walls, that’s really Ianthe criticizing the wall colors and I think Jacob became very upset upon hearing this because at that point he realized that Ianthe doesn’t remember that it was she who painted these walls,back when she existed as Rita. Put yourself in Jacob’s place. This wife of his, whom he loves very dearly,is “very odd” (as he has already told her so) to say the least, and he is frightened and shaken to his core that she will never be well. Trace
    talks about being in the kitchen with Colt and using any excuse to rub by his body on the pretense of getting something from the cubboard, or going along
    the upstairs hallway and not moving to one side when
    Colt came passing through. That’s not Colt, that’s Jacob. And oh, yeah, Ianthe is also Rita, Rita being just another one of Ianthe’s alter-egos. Rita is tall, she was a runner, remember,just like her brother, Billy. And I think we all agree there was no Billy, he is another alter-ego, if you will.

    I think there are two real people. Trace and Jacob. I also think that Trace may have been an orphan and experienced her trauma in an orphanage. There is a part in the novel where Trace talks about an orphan child in a Catholic orphange. Trace recalls being in the basement of a church where there are at least two women, someone she identifies as “Sister” and the other one Loretta, as well as some men who I take to be priests. Earlier in the blog we talked about a possible exorcism.Well, only Catholics have exorcisms. It would take a priest to do the exorcism and a couple of nuns to hold this tall girl down.
    Around the time she turns six, she meets the coyote
    who is really a sexual predator,a pedophile, maybe a priest, who knows, and gets a rock in the neck-
    this is probably a tumor of some kind. It is at this time that she begins her
    very rich fantasy life, creating her friend Candy,and
    then comes the creation of her mother and father. Rembember, Trace meets Candy, then the grandfather offers to drive her home, but Trace says she has no
    idea where she lives. This is a child’s way of saying
    she doesn’t want to go back home. This child never
    left the home, or the orphanage. The picnic was all in
    her mind. She invents the existence of a mother and father, falls is in love with the memory of a made-up father and hates her mother who has no past, no history and came out of nowhere. Trace conjured her up, justs as she conjured up Colt in her head while looking at a photo of three boys with tans and crewcuts on a summer day. Trace makes up a whole history to create a world she can understand and relate to, as little children are wont to do. Later, when she goes off to college, she tries to use her education, her knowledge of mythology,psychology/psychiatry/literature and what-have-you to try to order her world and deal with what she does not understand is taking her down, namely — that she is organically damaged,
    and also traumatized from her childhood experiences. She cannot escape her love for this made-up father even by the time she enters college. Until she meets Jacob,moves in with him, and then alot of time goes by. And during that time, as Amy said, many things have happened to her that she cannot remember, or make sense of, because of her illnesses, both organic and psychic. Remember, there is Freud’s admonition that just because it’s happening in the psychic world, doesn’t mean it’s not happening in the physical world. And the stories she tells herself are her way of trying to make sense of the world and her experiences. Finally, when she
    discovers her own ultrasound films of her miscarried
    child, her screen memories and stories start to fail her. Jacob takes her to the hospital where she finally
    gets a diagnosis and medication. At last she begins that
    long road to recovery and clarity, and as she does so,
    she begins to find what she needs to de-construct this
    fantasy life, and so Billy, Colt and Weeds die in the Appomattox of her mind, her own Civil War, so to speak,
    and when Billy dies, everything else dies, so to speak. Colt,Weeds, Billy. Candy is already gone, and so is Trace. Trace is gone too. There is only Ianthe left and she is safe with Jacob,at home, in her study, writing it all down in her journal. On the last page of the book when she gets back into bed with wet hair and
    tells Jacob she was up and out of bed busy shooting the
    ghost of her dog, Weeds, the story is finished, her fantasy life is now finished, And now she can rest, Hekate is no longer angry with her.

    Okay, that’s my take on it. It’s almost 11 pm and I am
    beat, I’m going to my own bed. Hope to wake up tomorrow
    and read all sorts of blogs from Amy and Jodi and Maureen telling me I am not a liar, I am correct.

  905. Again wow. Carolyn you are really impressive.

  906. Holy catnip, Batman! I have GOT to change my sleeping schedule. Early to bed early to rise is all fine and good, but you miss all the fun.

    I have one more chapter to reread and then I need to really read everything above and then I’ll chime back in.

    It is a calf-moving kind of morning (we call it graduation day) and the sun is temporarily out. So I am going to be back later after shuffling the little bovine to their new homes.
    Wow. Lots of thoughts last night as I read. I will return.

  907. Hey, Amy. Hi, Maureen. Amy, you changed your photograph!Either one is very nice. I suppose I am going to have
    to get a recent photo of me and put it up there. Maureen,speaking of bovines, I am feeling rather bovine
    this morning. Maybe a little Guernseyesque. I’m sorry
    Amy that I wasn’t awake past the time you posted your
    last comment, but it was past 11 pm and I have my period and three Lime Rickeys laid me out.

    I’m still listening to the audiobook…I forget who suggested it, but it does help to pick out, or pick up on, anything that doesn’t make itself clear to you when you read it yourself. This is true for me because so many other things are brought into anything I read- I’m
    very active– I conjure up complete images of the characters, I dress them, I change their outfits, I imagine their personal affectations, I bring them indoors and scrutinize the paintings (or lack thereof)
    on their walls. I am impressed with them if they own complete silver services for eight or more, and I have
    been known make a face when paper napkins are used in place of linen. Jacob has my heart. He uses linen napkins.


  909. Maureen, I’ve re-read your post to Amy at six in the
    morning of Feb.12th, and I have a question. Do you and
    I agree that the Appomattox scene only happened in
    Trace’s psyche? If we go forward within that framework,
    then I think we will solve our mystery. I agree with you that once Billy and Colt are shot dead, that Ianthe can go forward and come to terms with her childhood sexual abuse. Remember when Jacob and Ianthe come home from the hospital, and she is taking her medication? She makes this curious comment after noticing that Jacob is watching her take her pills: “there are men. Jacob is a man.” I think this statement means that she is willing to reconcile what happened to her as a child (she was harmed by men sexually in her childhood) with her adult life where ,in this time and space, she has a good man who truly loves her and will bring her no harm.

  910. Jacob’s name means “Supplantar”. He was born holding
    his brother’s (Esau) heel. God loved Jacob, but hated Esau because Jacob made the correct sacrifice to God,
    but sneaky Esau did not. This is the traditional interpretation, that God did not find the sacrifice pleasing because Esau was stingy, and perhaps did not
    sacrifice as much as he should have. But what if God
    favored Jacob’s sacrifice over Esau because God just likes meat better than grain? In the novel, Iodine, in Trace’s poem, she talks about the sacred sacrifice
    transitioning from “sacred” to just plain old meat.

    Somebody think about that and tell me if that is why
    Haven gave Dr. Matthias that particular first name.
    Matthias is also the apostle who took Judas’ place after
    he hung himself.

    Judas betrayed God and Matthias took his place, and
    Jacob is the supplantar. Who did Dr. Matthias supplant?
    Colt? I thinks so. Who was Judas? Colt was Judas. He could not save Trace from her childhood abuse.

    Trace as Ianthe is ready to make that journey from “puella aeterna”, and damaged, lonely, country child, to a woman who can accept love and compassion,
    compassion with the sting of Iodine.

    Can Amy and Maureen and Jodi come out to play?

  911. Jacob’s name means “Supplantar”. He was born holding
    his brother’s (Esau) heel. God loved Jacob, but hated Esau because Jacob made the correct sacrifice to God,
    but sneaky Esau did not. This is the traditional interpretation, that God did not find the sacrifice pleasing because Esau was stingy, and perhaps did not
    sacrifice as much as he should have. But what if God
    favored Jacob’s sacrifice over Esau because God just likes meat better than grain? In the novel, Iodine, in Trace’s poem, she talks about the sacred sacrifice
    transitioning from “sacred” to just plain old meat.

    Somebody think about that and tell me if that is why
    Haven gave Dr. Matthias that particular first name.
    Matthias is also the apostle who took Judas’ place after
    he hung himself.

    Judas betrayed God and Matthias took his place, and
    Jacob is the supplantar. Who did Dr. Matthias supplant?
    Colt? I thinks so. Who was Judas? Colt was Judas. He could not save Trace from her childhood abuse.

    Trace as Ianthe is ready to make that journey from “puella aeterna”, and damaged, lonely, country child, to a woman who can accept love and compassion,
    compassion with the sting of Iodine.

    Can Amy and Maureen and Jodi come out to play?

  912. Hi. I am quickly on for a second. I finished rereading and am absolutely convinced that the Appomattox scene was really real, physically real.
    I also ended my reread absolutely sure that Rita was really real, physically real.
    I will explain how I got to that when I get back from fetching my son.
    Sorry to comment and run! It’s one of those days!

  913. The song that Ianthe plays in the car on CD when she
    takes Gianni to the airport is “Bela Lugosi’s Dead.” That song, according to Wikipedia, is by Bauhaus and did not come out on CD until 1998.

    Think about that- when Trace moves in with Jacob, the only date to which Haven refers is 1987-the year that the university faculty will begin poisoning each other, so Jacob quips to Ianthe. So, we have a period of 11
    years to account for. What occurred during those 11 years? Her miscarriage? I think so, plus a whole lot more.

    Maureen, let’s talk about the Appomattox scene when you
    get some time. You know I don’t agree with you that it’s absolutely real and literal. There can’t be
    two dead men lying in the woods, a female witness (Trace herself) and no inquest, no police investigation, no trial. But, I’ll let you log in first.

  914. Haven told us she very carefully selected the names of the characters in Iodine. You’re correct about Jacob Matthias, Carolyn.

    I’m with Maureen about the final shooting in the woods. It was real, all the players were real, and since Trace had no recollection, it would be impossible to prove who shot who. Could you rely on a witness found naked beside the carnage, digging a hole in the mud?

    Rita also exists. The facts revealed to Jacob about Rita by the doctor are real.

  915. Check out page 59, where Trace and Dusty are conversing about Billy. Dusty is stoned on meth, but she knows that Billy is dead, and that he protected Trace. Dusty is real, and she knows that Billy is dead.

  916. Granted, Trace isn’t sane, but on page 91, would you say she trades Colt (“my Beast”) for Jacob (“La Belle”)? ” … trying to image if she could ever allow this man … to approach what belonged … to Colt?”

    The deal is sealed when Jacob recites Jewett’s story from memory. Trace leaves class, obtains Jacob’s address from the English department secretary, and goes to Jacob’s home to wait for him.

  917. Jodi, let’s talk about Rita, first. All we know about her is that she seems pretty normal and sane. Then, for some unknown reason, she ups and leaves Jacob taking not a thing with her. Not her photos, or treasured records ( which are, by the way,the same records Trace and Colt used to dance to in the kitchen while Loretta sang along. Coincidence?) Normally, people take their stuff with them when they leave a marriage. You take what is yours and your identity and you start anew. Why would she leave a closet full of clothes and her mother’s dishes? How would the attending physician, in the hospital to which Jacob brings Ianthe when he finds her sobbing the closet with the ultrasounds,know that Rita was a lesbian and high-tailed it to the southwest? How does this doctor know that? Why would he tell Dr. Matthias that? So matter-of-factly? Notice also that at one point the physician refers to Jacob once as Dr. Matthias, and once as Mr. Matthias. That is not a mistake on the hospital physicians’ part. Doesn’t that seem odd to you? Do you really believe anyone, a wife of 20 years, or anyone for that matter,leaves without leaving a trace of herself to mark
    her passage through this world? No one knows her…no one ever speaks of Rita and Jacob together. Don’t you find that odd? At the police station, Sgt. Ballard hands Ianthe the missing persons file on Rita and included in that file is a statement made by Jacob that Rita suffered a trauma from which she never recovered. However, it is also noted in the file that Rita was known from time to time to go missing. This is not a
    characteristic of a normal, sane, average person. It is
    however, a sign of a schizophrenic, someone who may
    appear to go “underground” or “underworld” for a while.
    This is Trace. And the place she goes to is the farmhouse, in her mind. That’s one thing she does. The
    other thing she does is to “become” other personalties.

    As to the Appomattox scene, Jodi, think about it from a forensic point of view. If two men and a dog are lying dead in the woods, and you have a single witness, then you question that witness until you have a plausible explanation for what happened.If the shot that killed Colt came from Trace’s gun, she would have been charged with a crime- either voluntary manslaughter or negligent homicide or something. You don’t get to shoot someone because they claim they have cancer and you both
    want that person to be spared an agonizing death. We don’t allow mercy-killing in this country. If you go with the idea that Billy shot Colt, and then Trace shot Billy, she isn’t allowed to that, either. If she was
    interviewed by police( as she certainly would have been, the law requires it)then her mental health would have been brought up for questioning and a public advocator, legal counsel, that is, would have been provided for her, and in her best interest, this person would want her observed for mental illness. Certainly being found naked in the rain, in the mud, with your brother and father dead, and three shotguns found at the scene would have been considered suspicous, to say the least. Trace’s account of that killing would have been called into question on any number of accounts. And then there’s the whole thing about her being a minor and having to have a state-appointed social worker to advocate for her and counsel specializing in juvenile offenders.

    I hope I’m not coming across the wrong way- I just think
    Haven is too good a story-teller to leave this part unexamined. She would have thought of this first. She’s too brilliant to have failed in this duty.

  918. On October 9, 2008 at 9:51 pm Jodi Said:
    5. Is there a way to tell what happens in “real time” and what Trace “imagines”? For example, when Trace writes in her dream journal, is that “imagined”? When her ears begin ringing and her hands are numb, is she “imagining”? The “tall repulsive man with the food-filled beard [and] his wiry-haired companion” at the party — a figment of her imagination?

    On October 9, 2008 at 10:22 pm Haven Said:
    5. When Ianthe is in the hospital and her diagnosis is revealed, the neurologist tells Jacob that transglobal/amnesia epilepsy has its own auras, or forewarnings, and that he should learn what his wife’s are. The doctor goes on to say that they typically involve a bell ringing, numbness in the hands or face. We can assume that anything the protagonist experiences when that clue is given is hallucinatory and disassociative.

    * * * * *

    Carolyn, check to see if the symptoms appear in all the places you deem imagined by Trace.

  919. On October 9, 2008 at 10:29 pm Haven Said:
    Jodi, you first have to decide if the protagonist is a person named Ianthe who hallucinates that she has a past as someone named Trace Pennington, or if she’s a woman named Trace Pennington who invents a false identity in order to hide from her past. Either way, what did Jacob really take from her, compared to what he gave her? Did he really take away her dog?

    * * * * *


    Look at page 135, where Trace invents her identity as Ianthe Covington.

  920. “As to the Appomattox scene, Jodi, think about it from a forensic point of view. If two men and a dog are lying dead in the woods, and you have a single witness, then you question that witness until you have a plausible explanation for what happened.If the shot that killed Colt came from Trace’s gun, she would have been charged with a crime- either voluntary manslaughter or negligent homicide or something.”

    If two men are lying dead in the woods, and the shot that killed each of them, respectively, came from the other’s gun (because don’t forget, Billy was shot with _Colt’s_ gun), and the local sheriff arrived upon the scene, “smelled disaster”, and wanted to bring closure as quickly as possible (regardless of whether or not he assessed the scene aright and/or wanted to spare Trace more trauma)… what might his summary have been?

    It would also be a mistake to assume out of hand that “the authorities” would become involved to the degree described above, and/or apply appropriate measures, as seems to be assumed. Real life isn’t always like that.

    ~ Sarah

  921. Jodie, I will have to get a copy of the book to
    refer back to all the physical references that denote
    a fugue state. Right now, I’m listening to the audiobook. But I will take your suggestion and see if
    I discover these systoms while Trace is “recalling”
    these memories.

    Sarah, I asked two different friends, both in law enforcement, a male and a female, to tell me how they
    would have approached that carnage in the woods from
    a professional point of view. Neither of them said compassion would have superceded their professional duties regarding the law. Two men are dead. There is
    a witness. There is forensic evidence.A death certificate must be completed by a coroner stating the
    cause of death and the manner of death. The officer himself is required to file a report. This report follows the victims to the coroners’ office. The coroner receives it when the bodies are brought to the county morgue to determine the cause and manner of death. The cause of death is what killed the victim– in this case, trauma done to the body by a shotgun blast. The manner of death is what determines if the death is wrongful or not. My law enforcement friends indicated to me that no matter how much compassion
    a law enforcement officer would have had for Trace, the law requires more. They also reminded me that the District Attorney has the final say regarding
    prosecution. I think Haven is too honest and too brilliant not to know this. Do you really think that Haven would leave us with a woman who got away with murder and then just expect us to have such compassion for her that we don’t demand justice for Billy? I heard Haven say in an interview that she was brought up in an era and atmosphere of duty and common sense but today, we are slaves to whimsy, the whimsical nature of self-esteem and fleeting emotions,and she wasn’t being flattering about that.
    So, Sarah, I cannot agree with you. This Appomattox scene is nothing but a metaphor for Trace’s internal Civil War. Why else would Haven have brought Appomattox into the story in the first place? Nothing she does is
    accidental or window-dressing. Nothing. We have to
    trust her, and I do.

    Tell me more about your thoughts on Rita and Gianni. I’m still on the fence with those two.

  922. Sarah, were there two guns or three? Trace has a Winchester rifle, which is different than a shotgun
    and shoots a different kind of ammunition. You said
    Billy had Colt’s shotgun? Okay. But Trace had her
    rifle, correct? So, Trace shot Billy with a rifle,
    therefore, from a forensic point of view, Colt was
    not the shooter and there was only one other person
    at the scene. And then, what? Sarah, I accept real life isn’t always like that, and truth is often stranger than fiction. Even if I accept your premise that the
    sherrif looked the other way,along with an entire county, professional and laymen alike,I ask you–do you believe Haven gave us a murderer and no justice for Billy?

  923. Carolyn,

    I’m with Sarah on this. It’s just a story — not a crime scene.

  924. Okay. Well, what do you make of Gianni and Rita? It’s interesting to hear Haven pronoun his name Johnny, just like that. I thought she might try to put more of an
    Italian inflection on it, but she does not.

  925. Haven got Gianni’s last name, Loria, from an Italian region or village.

  926. Hi guys. My last thoughts on Appomattox: When the sheriff arrives, Trace is naked, looking every bit the victim of this situation, the two men are dead, each with a wound caused by a weapon everyone would have known belonged to the other one’s gun. Trace is absolutely traumatized and obviously represses this memory until ten years later – the very end of the book. She is no longer a witness. she obviously doesn’t even remember what happened until she is four years married to Jacob.

    In terms of justice for Billy’s death, Have makes it clear that Trace has suffered the punishment for that crime every day for ten years, through mental illness and self-punishment. She even offers herself to the horrendous Marty (in her mind) to “protect” Billy, believing he is till alive,trying to make up for shooting him, which she subconsciously but not consciously knows she did.

    Rita. My take. She must have had a miscarriage. Cleonus is not a 100% interpreter, but I think there was some truth to his words about the dog, and Jacob’s dog is referred to again later in a non-fugue moment.

    The oldest fetus ultra-sound was 18 weeks. That’s four months. The death of the little boy fetus would have been a spontaneous abortion, as we call them on the farm. That would have been VERY traumatic with that old a fetus. I can’t see a woman getting an abortion and then wanting an ultrasound afterwards.

    If Rita somehow blamed Jacob for the loss of the baby (and if the phantom couple told that truth that Jacob was not a good match for her), and also decided at some point that she was a lesbian, I could see her just leaving that entire life behind and starting over in Santa Fe. Since she was in the nursing school, people in the hospital would have been her friends and known where she had gone and NOT have told Jacob. Nursing schools and English departments are worlds apart.

    I am going to leave the healed Ianthe lying peacefully in her husband’s arms and go Meany-fy.

  927. Hi Jodi! You commented while I was composing.
    Whatcha readin’ these days?

  928. On October 10, 2008 at 12:44 am Haven Said:
    Beth, that’s certainly one way of describing the situation. Although I believe that what used to be called multiple personality disorder didn’t manifest as An Other Person In The Room with the basically stable identity of the disordered. Our protagonist has a stable personality, if you can accept that. But she is given nothing but an intellect with which to make sense of the world, and so when she’s most in need (or most vulnerable) someone or something arrives and helps her: Candy, Cleonus, Billy, The Man With The Food In His Beard & Toad’s Wild Ride, a dog.

    I think Sarah, and Jodi, that Haven had already weighed in who’s real and who isn’t. Candy and Billy aren’t real. If Billy isn’t real then he didn’t shoot Colt and
    Trace didn’t shoot Billy. Well, only in her mind.
    Whoops and shame on us for not remembering this earlier.
    Looks like my argument was already made for me.

    How about Rita and Gianni. I’m anxious for y’all to shed some light on those two.

  929. Carolyn,

    Billy is real in my book. =0) End of discussion.

  930. Carolyn – My thought is that in that list Haven was referring to the fugue Billy who suddenly “reappears” in Canada years after he is actually dead and Trace speaks to him on the phone. There is the actual Billy, shot by Trace, and there is the fugue Billy whom she contacts in fugue because she is finally ready to face the truth. He will lead her back to that scene.

    On October 9, 2008 at 11:45 pm Haven Said:
    Amanda: you nailed it. If Billy is dead, Candy isn’t real.
    We know Candy isn’t real, so therefore Billy is dead, i.e. was alive previously, and is only alive in Trace’s fugue world to try and lead her to the truth.

    Colt in the hospital said “Billy, your brother”…”something as simple as I have employed Billy to stand in my place against your mother and against the uncles in Kentucky you don’t know you have and against any animal that might turn on you. I have asked him to spare you the winters and the invisible.”

    Colt (real) refers to Billy (real) and leaves him in his place to protect Trace. Unfortunately, Trace kills Billy and must call on his protection by keeping him alive in her psyche. Thus he was real, becomes unreal, until Trace can face the truth at the end.

    **Carolyn, keep in mind that without Haven here to tell us what she really had in mind, we’re all just circling and discussing because we love Haven and love her books and love each other.**

  931. Maureen,

    I am reading lots of Michel Faber and loving him. I read “The Crimson Petal and The White” a couple of years ago, and both Sher and I really liked it. Last week I found a slim follow-up called “The Apple,” and loved that. I read Faber’s novella, “The 199 Steps” -another fun read. His “Under the Skin” is in my pile of “next-reads.”

    Today I’m reading “Chocolat” for the first time, and it’s as delightful as “The Girl With No Shadow.” I’d watched the movie “Chocolat” but not read the book, and boy! did I miss out on a lot. Have you read it already, or is it in your “to-read” pile?

    I picked up a book I’ve previously read, called “The Observations” by Jane Harris, because it was hard-cover, wrapped in mylar, in pristine condition and only $12.00! Take a look at the Amazon review to see if you’d like it. Scotland, 1863: Victorian hypocrisy, including secrets, sordid pasts, and strange disappearances.

    I see you’re reading “Owen Meany.” There’s one I couldn’t get through.

    What’s in your stack of books?

  932. Jodi – I want to finish Owen and then I have one of Suzanne’s books next. Then I want to tackle Edgar Saw-whatever Hamlet book.

  933. Thank you, Maureen. Nicely said. You are a very gracious lady. I think it would be something special to know you in private life. I noticed you said you might try reading Edgar Sawtelle. I read it…er…true confession time…I skimmed over a large part of the book … there was just more than I could bear regarding dog breeding. I understand what Edgar’s
    father was trying to accomplish with genetics. But sooo
    much written correspondence going back and forth. Oh, well, if you read it, maybe you’ll tell me why that was
    critical information. The novel reminded me of The Other
    by Thomas Tryon and I hope I haven’t spoiled anything for you.

    Where is our Amy!!!???

    I think I’m gonna give up on this Iodine thing. I sort of agree with your take on it, and I’m almost content to let it rest, short of being able to get it straight from the horse’s mouth, meaning Haven’s, (I don’t think she is going to say “Of course,Carolyn,I’ll send you my own Cliff notes on the book I wrote. Now don’t you go telling anybody what really happened, you’ll spoil it for them.”)

    I haven’t heard from Sher since I contacted her to join
    in on this blog. I wonder if she wants to keep blogging
    about it. Amy blogged earlier once today, I think, but
    there hasn’t been anything since. It is Valentine’s Day
    so many she is “otherwise engaged.” No pun intended even
    though she really is engaged.

    Owen Meany sounds like the next book for me. I am trying
    to finish Gregory Maguires’ newest in the Oz series-
    A Lion Among Men. The ‘cowardly’ lion continues the saga. I missed Wicked when it came to Philly and even
    when it came to Baltimore. My step-daughters saw it courtesy of their mom. If you haven’t read Wicked you’re
    missing a witty, wicked good read. Even if you were not
    a Wizard of Oz afficiado, you will still enjoy it, I think. It’s beyond clever, it’s… well, wicked.

  934. Carolyn, glad you took my words as intended. To echo a frequent Havenism, “Play nice, chirren.” So we gots to play nice ’cause Mommy is working. Shh …
    It’s great to have you join us. You are obviously well read and like the same books as we all.

    Iodine is a tough read. I haven’t worked this hard since I attempted to get through The Sound and the Fury. I am still sorting through large parts of it. Maybe on reading number four …

    Sher has been very busy, but I’m sure she’ll chime in. Her copy of Iodine is intense – stickies and underlines and wow! I know she did a very thorough read and outline, so maybe we’ll pick this discussion up again when she is able to join in.

    Owen Meany isn’t hard – in fact it’s really funny – but it’s LONG. Gregory Maguire is doing a reading nearby next month. I bought a copy of Wicked, but I haven;t started it yet. Might have to bump Edgar Sawtelle and read that one first.

    Still trying to get to the bath …

  935. Carolyn and Maureen,

    Haven loves to listen to how we read her books, then point generally down a path and let us find our own interpretations. I can’t imagine her saying any one of us is correct or incorrect!

    “Iodine” can make a person’s head spin, that’s for sure. When the discussion began last October, I found myself reading and re-reading. Finally I had to lay it down and say, “Enough already.”

    Who knows what’s “real” and what isn’t in “Iodine”? I think we could all have lunch and enjoy a discussion of any book. It’ll be my treat!

  936. Maureen,

    I’ll be interested to know what you think of “Wicked.” Haven, Suzanne, and everyone here rave about it. I had a different take, actually. I will say I like some of the tunes and clever lyrics from the Broadway musical production, although I haven’t actually seen it. I read The Grimmerie and was impressed with photos of the makeup and costumes.

  937. Maquire had a wicked good sense of humor,as my friends
    in Boston say. Why didn’t someone before him think about
    telling the story from the Wicked Witch of the West’s
    point of view? I wonder if Maquire ever thought of becoming a lawyer or a politician? Here he has Dorothy,the deranged psychopath coming out of nowhere, univited, and dropping her house-splat– on top of a gal who was minding her own business, namely, the Wicked Witch of the East. Poor Elphaba, her sister cut down in her prime by an illegal alien and you just know the family will never be able to grieve enough!

  938. Carolyn – I wanted to get back to a comment you made earlier.

    “Somebody think about that and tell me if that is why
    Haven gave Dr. Matthias that particular first name.
    Matthias is also the apostle who took Judas’ place after he hung himself. Judas betrayed God and Matthias took his place, and Jacob is the supplantar. Who did Dr. Matthias supplant?
    Colt? I thinks so. Who was Judas? Colt was Judas. He could not save Trace from her childhood abuse.”

    I thought the same about Jacob, at least the first name. I didn’t think very hard about the last name. Trace needed to have her love for Colt (the family romance, but not healthy at ae 14) evolve into love for a man, Jacob. In Jacob she finally finds a man she can adore as much as her father. Remember that line where she imagines Jacob? Is this your father? No. Then he covers his face. Is this your father? Yes. She is allowing Jacob to take his place.

    And, that’s a cool idea about Matthias as the Judas replacer. Colt certainly felt he had betrayed Trace and since he could not commit suicide with his gun himself, he got Trace to do it for him. He also felt that Trace would be justified in killing him. I noticed she said, “I want …” He might very well have thought she meant “I want to kill you myself.”

    What do you think?

  939. Maureen, I think yes, Jacob is the supplantar. In the bible, Jacob was born holding his brother’s heal, meaning he supplanted his brother’s birthright.
    Yes, I think he took Colt’s place in Trace’s affections.
    I’m not sure I follow your next question. I get the
    part about Colt and Trace striking a deal to shoot Colt.
    The way I read it, the unfinished sentence ” I want …”
    I thought that statement was made by Colt, not Trace.
    Can you tell me again who you think made that statement?

  940. Maureen, here’s another question I have for you, because
    I am really, really trying to buy into the idea that
    Billy was real person in his own right. Here goes:

    If Colt and Trace made the deal to shoot Colt, and
    Billy actually went and shot him, (for whatever reason,
    although I think if you saw your younger sister, naked,
    in the woods and your father holding a shotgun on her,
    you might just first first and ask questions later)
    then why would Trace turn around and shoot Billy?
    Billy did for her what she couldn’t bring herself to
    do, so why shoot him? Wouldn’t she be grateful?

    That’s one of the reasons I have a hard time buying
    this scene was an actual event and not just something
    that happened in her head.

    Haven said Billy is the key to everything. Do we have
    to take it for granted that she is saying Billy is real?
    If she kills Billy, even if she’s in a fugue state, then
    she’s rid of both men, and she can go on and make a life
    with Jacob.

  941. I think Haven meant that Billy was the key to figuring out CANDY. People were sorting through Candy when Haven said that. I thought CANDY was real the first time I read it, and once I realized that Billy was actually DEAD (as said by meth-Dusty), we all realized that Candy was NOT real.

    So … shooting scene:
    Trace thought (wanted) Colt to have sex with her in exchange for her shooting him so that he would not have to suffer. So she took off her clothes and then realized that Colt was not going to do that. When she refused to shoot him, he said he would shoot Weeds if she didn’t. Meanwhile Billy sneaks up, sees Trace naked and Colt with a gun, assumes that Colt has been abusing Trace and shoots Colt. In the rain and dark, Trace can see nothing except that someone is shooting her most beloved – her father, and shoots out of pure instinct.

    The other reason I think Billy is real is that there are sections where Trace is writing in what I think of as “chronicling voice.” She tells the family history: Juna has Colt, Colt marries Loretta, Billy is born, Dusty is born, Tracey is born. There is a certain voice Trace uses when she is writing about this and it is distinct from the fugue voice where images become bizarre – bats and wolverines and other guides. In all the “chronicle” sections, Billy is real, including Appomattox.

    He is fugue when Trace calls him – and then the phone booth is not there later and the letter is never sent, etc. That’s how I came up with real Billy (whom she shoots) and fugue Billy who appears as a guide when Trace is getting ready to face what really happened.

    If that scene in the woods seems unreal, it doesn’t to me. I live in extremely rural New York. Weird incest and family shotgun “accidents” are not unknown in my neighborhood. Awful but true.

  942. Thank you, Maureen. I can go with that now. You’re right, once you take in the fact that Trace is a crack
    shot( she says so herself) and that Swan scene where she
    shows her father at 10 yrs old what she can do with a shotgun. Perhaps it would be natural, if one were a natural “shooter” to turn and fire on the one who just
    fired on the one you love. As if by instinct. Okay.

    Now, how about Rita. Here’s what bothers me about thinking she is also a person who existed in her own right. No one except the Santa Claus figure and “Toad’s
    Wild Ride” ever mentions Rita. And okay, I can accept
    some spouse’s would just “up and leave” , forfeiting
    all their possessions. So why did Jacob leave all her
    things hanging in the closet. That doesn’t make sense.
    Especially after he moves Ianthe in. He isn’t such a jerk that he would not realize that it would be kind of
    insulting to her to leave all of Rita’s things right where she left them.

    How about this? There was a Rita, but the clothes and
    other personal effects, including the ultrasound, are
    Ianthe’s and she is not aware they are hers. As proof,
    I offer the fact that in the hospital with Jacob she
    is unaware that that she has been married 4 1/2 yrs,not
    just 4 mos. Here’s another reason I don’t think all
    the things in the closet were Rita’s. I can’t see either
    Jacob nor Ianthe leaving them in the closet after Ianthe moves in. The timeline by which we can measure
    how long Ianthe was living with Jacob before he took her
    to the hospital is unknowable. Except I’ll tell you one
    thing– it had to be after 1998. I say that because the
    CD Trace put into the CD player in the car when she took Gianni to the airport was the Bauhaus, and the song
    was Bela Lugosi’s Dead. That song, according to Wikipedia, as not released on CD until 1998. The only
    other date we have is 1987- the date that Jacob quips to
    Ianthe is the date that the faculty might start poisoning each other. So we have 11 years to account for.

    I think we’re getting closer, Maureen. I can’t wait until my niece’s Book Club reads this book. I think my niece and I will spend the next year with the phone in
    our respective ears, listening to each other trying to
    riddle this one out. She just read The Senator’s wife
    Sue Miller, and she did not like the ending because,
    and I’m paraphrasing, she didn’t like the way breastfeeding was sexualized. She is a breastfeeding mom, and I sympathesize with her but told her that there
    really was no other way the author could get the Senator
    and Mary into a situation where it was highly sexually
    charged and not give Mary a way to save face. That’s
    my take on it,anyway. You wanna weigh in on that one, too?

  943. I haven’t read The Senator’s Wife. My students always freak out over the breastfeeding scene at the end of The Grapes of Wrath. 🙂

    Hmmmm … Rita.

    I was remembering when Myka and Ianthe are talking about their upcoming class with Jacob (page 88) and Myka says “when we were freshmen his wife left him”. He spends every fall in Oxford, one whole year (after Rita left) away on a Fulbright. Always off on retreats. Maybe he really lost it after she left and he can’t deal with his house (paint colors) or her clothes. It seems he keeps the whole thing locked away since he just can’t deal with it. Physical and symbolic.

    Also, I’m positing the fetus was Rita’s, her stuff is his only link to his son that never was born.

    Oh, I just remembered also that Jacob DOES admit to a child and gets upset when Ianthe asks, which led me to believe that something horribly traumatic happened with Rita’s pregnancy and he just hasn’t brought himself to get rid of her stuff.

    Ianthe, I am guessing, if she can’t really remember the four years that have elapsed, would not have ever been mentally pulled together enough to clean out the closet. They DID get as far as painting some of the rooms.

    What do you think? I think if Ianthe had lost the baby, Jacob would have been sympathetic not angry when Ianthe found the ultrasounds.

  944. i’m trying to catch up so I can join in, give a minute to get the gist of it

  945. Was Jacob angry when Trace found the ultrasounds? I
    don’t recall that. My recollection is that he takes
    her to the hospital because he knows he must.

    I can buy that Jacob would have kept her stuff because
    it is his only link to his unborn child. What I can’t
    make myself believe is that Ianthe or any other woman would have allowed the ex-wife’s stuff to stay for so long. Remember, Ianthe is extremely jealous,she says
    so herself, a couple of times.

    Here’s what I was thinking, although I’m going out on a limb here, I know, but here goes, okay? What if there
    was no first wife? Rita never existed. There’s only been Ianthe and she was the one who suffered the miscarriage. Cleonus comes back to help her “order”
    (as Haven called it in an earlier blog) the miscarriage
    and states Rita supposed that space aliens took her
    baby. The dog, Marcus, was shot and necropsied on suspicion that he might have eaten the sponaneously-aborted fetus. Also, Rita was a marathon runner — Billy
    was also a runner. I think Ianthe patterned her image of
    Jacob’s perfect wife after her perfect brother. They share many of the same characteristics.

    Maureen, there’s one more thing that confuses me. Trace
    describes herself this way a couple of times and Ianthe
    describes herself this way at the police station: Each
    state they “are taller than women.” Get what I mean?
    If you are a woman, and you’re tall, you don’t phrase it
    that you are taller than women, you phrase it that you
    are taller than most women, or other women. The way she
    says it, it sounds the way a man would describe himself
    in relation to the height of most women, and most men
    are taller than most women.

    Shoot…. I hope I get something right sometime.

    Maureen, what grade do you teach? I am a substitute teacher and I work almost every day. My guess is that
    most kids would be grossed out at the scene at the end of Grapes of Wrath. Know what Breaked.My.Heart? When I got the chance to teach 10th grade English and they were reading To Kill a Mockingbird and they were …disinterested.
    After class, the Spec Ed teacher in the classroom had to hand me a Kleenex, there were tears rolling down my face. I felt like I had been stripped of everything I held sacred,my absolute trust and knowing of the spark of humanity that exists in all of us. I might as well had given my hand to Uncle Eugene’s bobcat to lick just after my tuna-on-toast lunch.

  946. Sher, jump in anyway!!! I sure am looking forward to
    your timeline. What did you think about the CD being
    released in 1998? I hope I get something right!!!
    I’m batting like, zero here.

    As I said to Maureen, I can’t wait till my niece’s
    Book Club reads this book. I may join it just for
    that one book alone!

  947. ugh, I need a nanny….I am off the childrens

  948. My niece has two little ones, 2 1/2 and a 6 mo. old
    and she just got done telling me all about Ethan’s cold
    and how the sleeve of his jersey is coated with something that looks like what you normally find on
    a danish.

    Glad you’re back.

  949. Sher and Maureen: Wouldn’t we make a cool segment on
    the Today show with Meredith Veira?
    She could have Haven and all Haven’s blog babies talk
    about how much time we’ve devoted discussing this novel
    and how it has impacted our lives, and why we do it, and discuss the novel on TV and yahta-yahta-yah…

    If this blogging goes on much longer, I’m gonna write or email somebody at NBC about my idea.

    I’d be willing to drive to NYC. How ’bout y’all?

  950. sorry – this is a good example of why I cannot blog during the day or my babies are sick as dogs. . .

    of course this discussion had to start whilst I was in the family galaxy/black hole.

    I am going to put a few of my conclusions here, then give my reasonings (pulled from the book) later (i.e., after dinner/bedding down the kids, etc).

    Real (to me): Tracey/Trace. Loretta. Colt. Dusty. Billy. Marty. Jacob.

    Altered Trace(s)/Personalities/Non-Real: Candy. Myka. Rita. Dr. Cohen. Johnny Lioria (sp, and I am 50 / 50 on this, but leaning to non-real), the weird knitter/Man with the Food in his beard).

    Ghosts: Billy. Weeds. Marty comes back as Cleonus. I.e., were real but appear in the non-physical after their death or separation.

    I completely agree with the scenario of the shooting that was put forth by Maureen? – that it was Colt agreeing to give Trace the ‘love’ she wanted, she got naked to dance, he pointed a gun at her dog and told her he would kill weeds if she didn’t shoot him, Billy (thinking that it must of have been Colt hurting Tracey all along) shoots Colt in a protective instinct, we know Trace was obsessed with Colt, as he is shot/he shoots weeds, and instinctively Trace shoots Colt’s shooter (who she realizes AFTERwards is Billy). She can’t handle that her dad and Billy are dead and she tries to bury Weeds in the mud . . . she can’t even handle that Weeds is dead.

    I wouldn’t put too much weight on the date of your CD Carolyn – we know that Haven is the queen of music among other things and she probably has some obscure cassette tape from the 80’s – I’m not saying your wrong (because I don’t know), but I don’t think I would try to fill in an 11 year gap based on that year/release.

    Also there are 3 sisters that are very evident in the book, one being leaden – a lot of my notes have to do with that and I use hints throughout to come up the above realities (but I am willing to be wrong . . . like everybody, the first time I read it I was . . . in shock) . . . then stuttering, then I thought nothing was real and it didn’t matter, and then I thought, I want to solve this!!!!

    I will add more, with references later.

  951. unrelated to Iodine:

    LOVING Girl with no shadow – thanx Jodi! Ordered Faber’s other books, but haven’t gotten them from Amazon yet . . .

    Reading a book I found – – – MisFortune by ____ Stace – it is amazing, somewhat ‘eugenidies’/middlesex. lovely writing and witty

    I read Sawtelle. Hummmmmmmmmmm, hummmmmmmmmmmmm, I am juggling what I think about this . . . I thought I lot of the book was unnecessary . . . was entaptured (momentarily) . . . not happy about the denouement . . . I was like, oh, really, whatever! and threw it. I just thought it was anti-climatic, like hello, all this tiresome foreplay and this is that is happening…..????? but I liked some of it a LOT . . .

    Back to Iodine – I think a word is important
    ‘back woods’ I think it speaks of more than physical location.

  952. Sher and Carolyn – I am watching All the President’s Men with my oldest boys – husband and Lyle. Then I’m likely to crash. Catch you tomorrow.
    Sher- I e-mailed you regarding the T-shirt thing.

  953. I have to pack it in for the evening….I am coming
    down with something- the thermometer reads 99.8 right
    now. I really have to go lie down. Sher, thanks for
    joining in… I feel guilty–I nag you to come back and blog and then I duck out early. Sorry.

    Sher- lemme say one last thing before beddie-bye:
    I’m on board with y’all about Billy and Dusty. They
    are real. If we get a timeline down, I think we’ll
    know more about Rita.

    Rita means pearl. As in casting Pearls Before Swine.
    Swine..pigs are Hekate’s familiars. With regard to
    the three sisters and one being lead….One is Gold,
    one is silver, and one is lead. I will check out the
    Periodic Table of elements tomorrow and tell you where
    all three natural elements fall on the chart. I think
    and I’m probably guessing, but lead is the most stable,
    and falls in the middle of the chart. What does that mean as far as Ianthe is concerned? I think it means
    there is a chance that this poor woman might actually
    stop suffering and become more stable in her core being.

    Haven is nothing if not brilliant, and I think every word, every noun, verb, pronoun, adjective, ect was carefully selected in that novel. I’m pretty sure she
    wouldn’t slip in the name of a CD only issued in 1998
    if she didn’t mean it for that purpose- to provide a
    hashmark on the timeline of the story. But that’s my
    take. I’m also going to look up the names of the bands
    Trace mentions to Anastasia (not real) and see when they
    first came into existence. It helps me with my theory
    that our timeline isn’t linear — events, recollections,
    true or imagined, don’t occur in linear time.

    Once again, sorry to cut and run. Can’t wait to see
    this blog tomorrow. One more thing: I agree with you
    on Edgar Sawtelle- so much stuff I think was unnecessary-I asked Maureen The English Teacher to weigh in on that. Ever read any Jodi Picoult? Okay, now
    I’m going…really,I am. Shutting down. In 3,2,1.

  954. Living signs become symbols

    Jung – freedom is one of the more difficult things
    Suitcase – why do you need it? I don’t want this, I don’t recognize this. But I must accept it. HANDS HURT.

    3rd daughter is leaden – dumb show, puppet

    Trace is leaden

    I’m a changeling (have violet eyes)

    Jacob – 3 caskets of Freud – 3 daugthers – Homer’s Moria – 3 sister goddesses; Goddess of the Seas – Clouds/Rain; Names signify TIME –
    What was
    What is
    What shall be

    “Profess”er – 47 years old, never children, wife 20 years left

    Trace 21, horror-movie history
    “I am an orphan” says Trace
    “You are a liar” says Jacob

    Liars/orphans are cousins and their names still signify time

    1965 – Ianthe Dianna Covington’s d/o/b, pseudonym with same year of birth, Tracey was 14 when when Colt Coughed (making it the same year of the shooting)

    Weeds – is totem, link to the other side

    Holy thrice – owes the 1st born

    3 sisters – Micah, Dr Cohen, Lead/Ianthe

    She kept Loretta’s secret, she was never free of it

    Running the other way. (speaking of Tracey) but Rita was also referred to as a ‘runner’

    Trace’s dream journal: had a baby but misplaced it [misplaced = lost]
    As a child she feared what was under the ice – mentioned near the finding of the grave for Ianthe, also note Dianna is the Hunter goddess.

    Transition objects = dog
    She was home on Sundays with Colt [she couldn’t go to church with Loretta, because of her condition???]

    Colt slept like a ROCK

    Dusty went for a Candy Bar (9 years) friend/the friend never asked for evidence . . .

    Every 6-7 months, new nightgown each year

    Women and men – The early hoo-ha/ middle to late hoo ha . . . . black rabbit = demon paw
    Beat = big gun [MARTY?}

    Bluebeard’s wife (Fatima) – cannot open the locked closet door; 6 wives on hooks – key in blood – hasband returns, saved by brothers

    3 empty wine bottles covered in dust

    Letter to billy. He never met the girls (dusty’s children). Open up conduit (to the dead). I pray to be forgiven. Mythic. Hunter/hero/doe/faun.

    Trace made notecards to talk to Candy
    Skeet can’t see Candy ‘ it was a building of lies”

    Blue robe – tall alien (like bluebeard? man with food in beard?). Candy pregnant with alien baby.
    Candy’s parents can’t see her – only trace – therefore, Candy isn’t real, [and no one ever saw Dr. Cohen either, so Cohen isn’t real.?]
    ‘took care of babies’ –
    Veiled one is your father
    Interior – is in her NOT outside
    Psychical/psychical – belonging to psyche
    Hillman – dream of pregnant, pregnant with something

    Age 9 – Loretta called in reinforcements – years are similar

    Red table/eyes covered/taking Loretta’s hand/lead to car/ brother ____ and sister _______ had barber chair

    Hysteria is product of protection – jung [trace can’t remember what makes her hysterical]

    Patient’s sexual activity

    Lump = unswallowed tears

    Candy ‘Warn-her”

    Tracey was a changeling

    Colt – left-legged swagger
    Nemic trace
    Big Gun = Marty – over after/Sundays at library – 20 books

    Carried bible
    1. Dusty
    2. Marty – sit in lap/die
    3. Cat appears, eyes were green, patient, lead her home

    3 dogs at graveyard where her (Ianthe’s name was)
    Ianthe Dianna Covington (Lover/under ice)
    Claret – Jacob – writing a book about masks
    NOT REAL: Grandma Cecile – bench crocheted of cobwebs
    NOT REAL: Door – Room for Mica Holloway – Mica couldn’t find abandoned house – can’t find weeds
    She tells about Candy . . . correct, I am a liar
    Sounds you hear (before part)
    NOT REAL: Cohen – not at party
    NOT REAL: Man with food in beard/green sweater lady – [THEREFORE THE FACTS THEY GIVE ABOUT RITA ARE UNRELIABLE AS TO RITA} rita was a runner
    Jacob – we had a magical Child
    Colt? To Jacob (with braid) knowledge like snake biting ankle (like her tattoo)

    Poem – author was and was not herself
    1. Name, linoess watching . . . will waste them cut their throats
    2.Woman pacing, beautiful of 3 small planets, swallowed, ceased growing, stone child, your child turned to stone
    3.Angels fucking, young girls mute, dreams – your name, angel spke you – you wished goodnight
    4.loved . . . . vanished (rita), forgotten blood, sacrifice = meat, grief dissolved, buried with the baby BECAUSE TRACE BLOCKED IT – THE BABY AND THE GRIEF
    5. Who took over her poems?

    Gianni – knows her!

    Bees in body lion, Gilgamesh – long hair
    Who took over poem
    Cake = weater of birth
    Gianni – “I know who you are” “erase Rita” out of way completely” . . . Jacob – picture in the frame from Used World?

    Both crying (Jacob and Gianni)

    Ianthe – found the love her life twice – hillbilly jonah = colt, you say can’t communicate on his leavel, meaning her own

    ‘her/rita’s house

    Punch line = punch

    Rita run, run, run wouldn’t travel
    Johnny loved her, visited 2 x year, has been looking for her
    Rita hated him
    Ianthe laughted, Jacob laughted “That Rita”
    Re poem “meat” = muscular
    Jacob saw Ianthe “what do you think youknow? . . . she says “Not anything

    Full moon – sees ghost of dog, kill him to appease Hecate/Loretta
    Vanity from antique store (the used world)
    That sound you hear before Party . . . means fugue

    Faust Part II
    Candy is wrong think they love her (the aliens)
    Up from a vitamin factory
    She had times signifying time
    Dusty called sheriff

    She created Candy – raised by wolves/friend/insulation, weird hair, rock in neck/ coyote/g’pa
    Count 60 sec.

    1st shot – Colt uses 12 gauge to shoot Weeds
    Billy uses cannon? To shoot Colt
    Trace uses mossberger to shoot billy.

  955. I . cannot. keep.up. Your thoughts just make my head spin. I applaud all of you. I

  956. Good God Almighty, Sher! Wow! Now I know why your copy of Iodine on your site looks the way it does! Man. I am too sleepy to digest all that – but I will! I’ll put my 5 AM brain on it.
    Hubby and I are watching All the President’s Men and getting riled up.
    Catch you tomorrow!

  957. Sher – antique vanity! I thought of that too and looked back at when the professor and his young wife were there in The Used World. wife was “cool toward the help” or maybe wife was in a fugue state 🙂

    Ooh Duh, me.
    Loretta as the “objective correlative” Hekate. Seductive but cruel, selfish, entrapping, using, exploiting.

    But then Hekate in the guise of all other urges toward decay and abuse and dark for its own sake: girl at the party, the Goth thing, the cult of death. Mikah? “Hekate is too powerful to marry or even haul around a eunuch as her consort” (page 207). This sets Hekate up as the opposite of Cybele, the Earth Mother and creator of wild things.

    I had Mikah as really real. But I think she represents the fake “Goth/waif/death child” persona that some Englishy- types adopt.
    Ianthe actually HAS been forced to experience the cult of Hekate – not by choice. She finds Mikah ridiculous because who would WANT to embrace the cult of Hekate? The Goth thing is only entertaining if you have not been forced to live a life that truly IS Gothic. Trace is trying so hard to escape it.

    I think the quote above is also a mockery of Mikah who DOES haul around a eunuch as her consort (Anastasia). Mikah is like Hekate Lite, or thinks she is, or Cybele Lite. Plays around with emulating the Greek goddesses the same way she played around with skateboarding – a role she tries on. Trace has been forced to live an archetypal Greek tragedy. she is not interested in playing it.

    Tell me your thoughts on Mikah as a fugue Trace.
    You are obviously much more ontic about this than I am. I have been married to an Aspergian for too long!

  958. Mica is a type of sedimentary rock that easily flakes apart.

  959. Ha! Haven! Mikah is “flaky” ! Glittery but flaky.

  960. oh, yeah . . . also the clothes and the Queen Anne house . . . to me that was very indicative of Micah’s style . . . I think Micah is unreal and Anastasia, too – Micah threats to reveal where Ianthe hides out and the disgusting bathroom, that comes up later in the book and Ianthe/Trace knows it her, all exterior but that truth is interior . . . will check the book for pages as I am paraphrasing . . . and the place that Ianthe goes to (the terrorist/church/with army supplies) – not real either, I don’t think.

    Very telling – to me is the snake tattoo . . . biting its own ankle, just what Ianthe/Trace is doing . . .

  961. Note: the notes from last night were from my audio book experience (2 times) so they might overlap

    Here are my notes on Chapter 2: Caduceus.

    Uncle Eugene (in a dream journal entry) tells her that the bobcat was just being a bobcat (when it scratched his hand) . . . “SHE” was just being a bobcat . . . I believe that is referring to Loretta. Note: she mentions that she has problems with her hands.

    Before I “. . . I think this is referring to after the shooting, but before she took on the persona of Ianthe. pg 23

    In this same paragraph she reports a bobcat on her childhood bed (which she hated everyday, and in retrospect), but gives the noun of “he”.

    Uncle Eugene was a childhood delusion. Loretta kept telling her this. Tracey’s delusions are one reason that Loretta took her to be cured by the ‘backwoods’ church. Note: Iodine is used in the delusion with Uncle Eugene, he tried to treat Tracey and heal her cut with Iodine. Aunt Nell had been dead for 5 years. . . .

    here is another 3:
    3 kitten bobcats (pg 24) . . . Loretta threats to beat Tracey Sue and throw her in a ditch if she ‘lies’ again (about the uncle and bobcats) . . . therefore, we know that she had very early delusions.

    pg. 25 . . . television time is differen than ours . . . I think this is Haven clueing us in on age discrepancies (as in Loretta’s soap operas)

    gooseberries are like planets (the girl in the poem is referred to as a planet)

    heat of Loretta = hate. Tracey has sensations of burning in her legs (another side effect of her condition?)

    all those animal encounters on pg 26 – more examples of her childhood delusions . . . is the pig Marty?

    . . . 3 graveyard dogs . . . looking for her remains in a ditch (where Loretta had threatened to throw her)

    all those (animal encounters) were rehearsal for what came later . . . the lesson was the shooting . . . she reviews what leads up to the woods, the dancing in the rain . . .

    then skips to the funeral where she is viewing Colt in the casket . . . but then she feels deaf and a black horse called rain (with one blue/one brown eye) takes her away

    then Loretta is beating/hitting her in her bedroom
    pg 27

    pg 28 the demarcation of Loretta cuts through Tracey’s lifeline….before. after.

    gooseberry day. . . .Tracey almost kills Loretta and refers to Monsters. She packs a bag and takes “what she is honor bound to keep” = her guilt?, she then, at sixteen leaves and goes to Candy and the Bucks . . . Weeds comes in (but remember, he was killed when she was 14, so he can’t be real, her alternate is taking over via delusion now.

    I believe this is when she is living in the abandoned house. She finishes high school with honors the next year and gets scholarships . . . so she is probably around 18 when she enters college.

    There seems to be a time discrepancy and she switches to Marty and her ‘buying’ the safety of Erin and Jessie . . . she leaves college at some point to have sex with him (twice) to save the girls? A wolf with black eyes watches during the occurences

    while in college she thinks of herself as ” the girl who rode away from a funeral and a black night mARE” . . amazing prose there. She separates herself from the other students, she is different and they sense it . . . when she finishes this her hands are aching (pg 29)
    pg 30 . . . she took what she had written and tossed it aside (hours had passed) and whole day writing (what? she is confused) . . . she was listening to THE DEAD CAN DANCE

    an inventory gain . . . do not cross the river. INVENTORY GAIN is important . . . (pg 31)

    …she sang the songs of zion but be content in Babylon . . . she had violet eyes.

    …she goes to the door of the building with a gut feeling, feeling giddy . . . her chest ached and she had a hard time swallowing …her rabbiting pulse . . . note: she mentions sounds which might be actual memories in this fugue state . . . the Town Car coming down her hidden lane . . . (is that Marty??)

    pg 33

    Ianthe (as she is known at college?) sees Anastasia/Myka at barbeque . . . she FORGETS where some of her clothes came from . . . anastasia refers to seeing LAYERS and LAYERS ….

    Anastasia asks “what is this style called on your planet?”

    [I’m on page 36 now but Claire is awake . . .]

  962. Oh Sher, my, my! wow, gotta digest that. I just finished August in my accounting, moving on to September.
    Oh, hugs to little Claire!

  963. I want to say that Haven says somewhere that all the information is provided in the book. I don’t think we need to bring in extra information than what she provided . . . although I think a general understanding of dream interpretation, archetypes, mythological is good, but I think it might be more simple and written RIGHT in the book if we can locate the right pieces and put them with their ‘neighbors’ . . . I think this puzzle has 2 sides, so that can be extra confusing . . .

    just a thought . . . sometimes it feels like a wild goose chase, but then I pick up the book and read one page and make another connection . . .

  964. picking up pg 36, Chapter 2:

    Trace is the meaning of Gothic . . . I have to say here that Trace is still referred to as Trace, she knows that she is living a new identity as Ianthe, she chose that . . . but she is NOT aware that she has delusions, they are real to here, and have been since she was a child (Uncle Eugene, etc.) and Trace thinks she is still living with Weeds which we know is one of the DANCING DEAD . . .

    pg 37. Trace could tell Anastasia the meaning of GOTHIC – this is rather foreboding.

    pg. 38 . . . for four years Trace recorded her name at the showers/sunshine truck stop as ANGELA LINTON (is this the missing 4 years???)

    the shower has a blue door and hooks ( much like the closet scene from BlueBeard story and from the closet delusion at Jacob’s house) . . . in the shower she thinks of Myka Holloway (Mica Hollow) . . .same major same time . . . myka changes her look and social group like changing clothes . . ,.in a single day (it seemed) she had made the change to her current incarnation [time lapse for Trace] . . . the details of Myka’s history is very clear (but so are the details of Eugene/Candy . . . perhaps Trace needs this stable ‘suburban’ history) . . . also, Trace mentions being cold and coiled earlier in the shower then we segue to her tattoo: a snike, rising up from its coils, its jaw yawning to swallow the base of her spine. also Trace’s hair is like ‘black ice’ – – ice and under ice are very important symbol. …pg 40

    41 . . . ‘Trace’s feet were leaden’ as she approached Myka’s apartment [to me this is an appendage sensation so it marks a fugue state] . . . Todd knows her and his palm is bleeding and he has a tattoo . . .myka appeared on cue

    42/43 . . .myka’s eyes are green….mentions Dante (he is in Something Rising Light and Swift) . . . pitbulls come up and Trace remembers the pitbulls colt had . . . “they love to kill each other, it’s their reason for living at all”

    44 truck stop prostitutes are mentioned, probably the one Trace showers at . . . a young boy dressed like a girl, sold to the truckers . . . anastasia is small and is a boy, undergoing hormones to change . . . the boy’s prostitute mother sells him (this evokes Loretta’s giving of Trace to marty???)

    MASK in Blue Velvet . . . was pulled away and put back on . . .
    45 Jeff/Melanie love ultimatums . . . melanie’s hands ended up covered in blood

    myka has underlying chaos in her dirty, neglected bathroom . . . no toilet paper, she was all external. as she leaves Trace tells Todd that he doesn’t no her. (this doesn’t go with my theory, but is Todd someone who knew Tracey Sue in the old town, but Trace is now going as “Ianthe” at college?)

    After the party she stops …she is so cold . . . she calls candy (whom we know is not real) . . . does this physical sensation of cold, stiff hands correlate to the party . . . was it all a delusion? pg. 47

  965. Sher,you’re excellent and I owe you AWE!! I’ll have to read your blog 3 times over to digest it all. While I still have the guts to post my rag-taggle thoughts, here goes:

    Todd- the goth guy at the party– in an earlier blog(in
    October) someone said todd is German for death. It fits-
    Trace comments on how tall and thin he is AS WAS PREVIOUSLY PROSCRIBED(I’m quoting the book from memory,don’t know the page #) meaning, well, he looks just like the Grim Reaper, doesn’t he??? He scares old ladies and children alike.

    Myka- she is a flake, and one of the three sisters. I know I promised to look up the Periodid Table-I think Haven’s use of gold,then silver, then lead could mean something with a reference to chemistry? Why not? After all, Haven uses Mendelsohnian biology, doesn’t she?Dusty talks about the Mendel”s peas and the Punnett Squares that we all studied in Middle School.) So why not chemistry? Or alchemical?? Haven probably aced chemistry (along with everything else) in high school.

    More on Myka- she goes from tomboy to girly-girl, almost
    overnight. Didn’t Trace go from Trace to Ianthe in the
    same way? Myka is an alter, I think. Trace is
    trying on other “looks” the way young girls do as they
    grow out of their teen years into young womanhood. For
    Ianthe, it’s a safe way to do it. In the bar-be-que restaurant, Anastacia negatively and snidely comments on Trace’s “Goth” look, her black hair so black it looks blue (or Grape, as Myka called it–and by the way, Elvis’ hair was so black it was said to be blue. You are not old enough to remember this Sher, but I am!! And remember, you said so yourself, Haven is the queen of music. She’d remember.)Ianthe comments Dr. Schering probably listened to Sinatra, not
    Elvis.) And the jet grape lipstick Trace was wearing?That is so goth. So maybe Ianthe is tired of her look, she knows on some level (as all women know) it won’t appeal to Jacob. Look how she checks him out in class?She even fake-drops her pencil so she can look at his shoes. Now that’s amore!!! Moon-in-your-eye-like-a-big
    pizz-pie amore.

    Rita is a runner, and the exact opposite of Jacob in so many ways– Jacob’s profession nourishes/engages the mind and the psyche. Rita’s profession only nourishes the body, the corporeal. You could call that shallow, in a way, to only nourish the body at the expense of the soul, the inner life. So she’s a polar opposite. She liked the town of Jonah and we know what Jacob thought of it. Jacob lives vertically, Ianthe comments.
    Rita lives “on the run.” I am almost sure she is
    not real. Myka says she is, but Myka isn’t real therefore Rita cannot be real. It’s just like Candy not knowing Billy is dead. Candy doesn’t know Billy is dead because she isn’t real. I’m with you 100% that Billy is real. It makes sense with the “Gothic” atmosphere of Trace’s life, just like you say. I think that’s why she uses Myka- to “mess around” with fashion & hairstyles. Myka doesn’t really know anything-she’stranslucent, and flaky and not real. You can “blow her off”, literally!!!

    One more thing…Angela Linton…the Linton’s are part
    of the novel Wuthering Heights,remember? Heathcliffe
    marries into it. According to Wikipedia, Linton means
    “flax town.” but I think if you play around with Linton you get to lintel,which is part of a doorway, the liminalithy thing Trace was talking about. Hekate is goddess of doorways and lintels. The name Angela speaks for itself.

    I’ll go re-read your blog ,Sher. I can’t print off my laptop, but the next time I get in front of a computer
    at the library I’m gonna make a hard copy of Sher’s notes and LAMINATE THEM IN PLASTIC.

    Weigh in here, Mo. Please??

    SHER SHER SHER- I read Misfortune, by Wesley
    Stace, too, AND I have the companion CD of the author reading from the novel. I have never taken the plastic wrap off the CD, I’ve never heard it, but I would make it a present to you, if you’d like…I could send it to your gallery, I think your gallery address is on your website. Just in case you really got into it. I thought it was a rolicking, laugh-out-loud good read.

    Oh, and as for the soap opera, As the World Turns…
    my mother watched that from 1959 to …well, it is still on the air!! When Nancy was staying at home
    and living in her kitchen, that was probably early 60s. I know that because in 1965 we moved to a much bigger house and my mom finally had enough room in the new kitchen to put a B&W TV on the counter and watch her soaps while she ironed in the afternoon before she would start supper,I had to sit at the table and
    listen to her comment about poor Nancy and that doctor
    she was mooning over….Eileen Fulton was the actress who played Nancy for over 30 yrs. She is as much a part
    of my childhood landscape as Zippy’s nasty neighbor across the street. Haven does not make mistakes, she does not do anything casually. The soap opera is part of the timeline, a clue for us. We’ll solve it.
    I look forward to what you have to share,Sher. I went to the library and checked out the book again. My fiance says I need therapy. He’s all confused because I refused to join one of my bestest friend’s blog because I did not know all of her friends and here I am blogging with total strangers. I think when he actually sees me putting up a paper timeline on the basement walls and marking dates/times/names on it with a Sharpie, he’s gonna have me committed. At least observed for a few days, at any rate.

  966. (Anglo-Saxon lead; L. plumbum) Long known, mentioned in Exodus. The alchemists believed lead to be the oldest metal and associated with the planet Saturn. Native lead occurs in nature, but it is rare.

    Lead concentrates are first roasted and then smelted to produce a lead bullion from which impurities such as antimony, arsenic, tin, and silver must be removed. Silver is removed by the Parkes process, which consists of adding zinc to the molten lead bullion. Zinc reacts rapidly and completely with gold and silver, forming very insoluble compounds that float to the top of the bullion. These are skimmed off and their zinc content recovered by vacuum retorting. The remaining lead-gold-silver residue is treated by cupellation, a process in which the residue is heated to a high temperature (about 800º C, or 1,450º F) under strongly oxidizing conditions.

    I think I see a connection here….remember when Trace’s leg blisters when Loretta’s thigh touches
    Traces? Try reading that paragraph above about cupellation. The process for getting rid of impuries
    such as gold and silver residues out lead are well,
    torturous? If Trace is lead, how do you get the other
    Impurities/Sisters of Gold and Silver out? Cupellation-
    tempuratures of 800-1400 degrees fahrenheit. That’ll put a blister on ya.
    you have to get

  967. Maureen, I get it, what you said about Myka- she’s
    a total flake, you can literally “blow her off.” That’s why I don’t believe she’s real. I think Trace makes use
    of Myka to have someone to condescend to. Trace did make
    some rather unkind remarks about Myka. I also agree with
    you about Trace thinking Myka is beneath her-why would
    anyone want actually want to live the Goth life, or
    be Hekate’s buddy for that matter?? You said that Myka hauls around a eunuch for a consort…that’s exactly what Anastasia is, of a sort. Bravo. I think we’re
    getting this thing pinned down, ne c’est-pas?

    Where’s Amy in Ohio- you’re a careful reader, Amy,
    come on, tell us what you see!!!

  968. I’ve lost two postings . . . testing this one

  969. Carolyn – I will email you my address . . . we could start a round robin with the book and audio . . . I am really enjoying MisFortune . . . it is fun and deep at the same time! I like listening to the author reading it, too . . .

    I think we are piecing some things together . . . I am serious about making a bubble-map thingy about this book . . . I wonder if Haven had one when she was writing it – or if all that stuff is in her head (I bet it is all in her head!) . . . it is a groundbreaking book to me . . . I love that you need to re-read and re-read it . . . fabulous.

  970. OK. I’m reconsidering my stance on Myka. Gotta look at that section again.
    “As the World Turns” was SO my mom’s soap! And of course mine as well. I get it mixed up with Watergate in my mind! Ah, child of the 70s that I was.
    More later. I’ve got two months to go on my accounting!

  971. Sher and Maureen, let’s do a graphic organizer, the
    thing Sher is calling a bubble-map.

    In Greek Mythology, Cronus was one of the Titans, and the father of Zeus. Cronus ate his children to prevent himself from being dethroned as the King of the Gods. That is, until his wife, Rhea, tricked him into swallowing a stone when Zeus was born.

    Stone=Rock=Rock in Trace’s neck

    Ianthe= One of 3 sister=Gold/Silver/Lead=The Woman You
    Marry/The Woman Who Gives Birth to You/The Woman Who Destroys You/=What was/What is/What Shall Be.

    3 Sisters=Juna/Loretta/Trace=Gold/Silver/Lead

    Lead=refined through cupellation removing
    all traces of gold and silver from the assay.

    Cupellation=blisters on Trace’s skin whenever Loretta
    touched her.

    Who is Gianni? What purpose does he serve? Messenger? Middle man? He brings her poems to Jacob’s attention.
    He loved Rita. Accused Jacob of removing all traces
    of Rita to move in the bird “into the nest.”

    Ianthe moved in with Jacob before 1987.
    Jacob filed Missing Person Report on Rita 1984.
    Trace was 14 when Colt&Billy are killed.
    Colt drove a ’73 flatbed. How long did he own this
    vehicle before he was killed? If we assume he bought
    it new, the year it came out.. can we do some math here and come up with some dates?

    And Sher, I’m going to hold onto the Bauhaus CD of
    1998. Haven mentioned Bauhaus in Something Rising. I’m almost 100% sure Haven knew this song was not released
    as a CD until 1998. So Ianthe drove Gianni to the airport sometime after 1998. Lots of years to cover here. Trace&Ianthe both lost a lot of time. What did she do with it? Stay home and write? Travel with Jacob?
    Redecorate? Take classes? Did she leave Jacob at some
    point only to return later? Is this why Jacob is not
    shocked to see her sitting in his porch on pg 95? Trace’s question Jacob about was he afraid of who
    he’d meet? Jacob says:”No. A little. I probably took a moment to prepare a face to the faces I would meet.”

    Also, there’s that tingling thing in the toes..”All the blood iin Trace’s blody fled…somewhere, leaving her toes tingling. Her hands would shake if she weren’t sitting on them.”(pg.96)

    She’s in a fugue state. This is not a real memory. It doesn’t ring true, for me at least, when I read it. This is the mask thing, again, I know. That’s why I don’t believe this scene is real.

    I think the story is NOT told in linear time. Trace/Ianthe don’t proceed in linear time. Trace/Ianthe
    jump around in time recalling certain events, either real or fugue-state memories.

    This is where she asks Jacob who he’s dating. I think
    this is a fugue state, where

  972. Sher, bingo.Another spot on the time= said on pg.30 Trace is writing, listening to music…Dead Can Dance-
    per Wikipedia, an Australian band formed 1981. And it
    would be the kind of music Trace/Ianthe would listen
    to. Go to their webpage, play one of their songs…
    it’s mystical and a touch Goth and , well, go listen
    for yourself.

  973. TIMELINE….BLUE VELVET, the movie, watched at the party given by Anastasia&Myka. CAME OUT IN 1986.

    That means they couldn’t watch it on VHS in Myka’s apartment until at least 1987.

    Whether or not that party was a fugue-state or not,
    Trace cannot have a reference to a movie which
    did not exist before 1986.


  974. Carolyn – you are dead on on the timeline I think and I agree we may be look ing a broader timeline than is assumed. . . because one of this is

    what will become

    also Kate Bush’s THE WHOLE STORY cd with UNDER ICE came out sometime in American in 85/86 . . .m y senior year in h.s. which is when I discovered Under Ice. . . .

    I blieve Jacob knew Ianthe because he had already had relationships with her . . .

  975. Chapter 3 – Pluto

    Dream Journal
    pg. 48 verneer had aged like dark candy . . .

    Weeds is in attendance there therefore this is unreal/dream
    hilmann . . . “the realm of hades has become childhood”

    . .. .”the whole of the past, even what belongs to someelse, in snot what happe but hwat happed to me, dreams art not autonomous, they are messages to me about me.” . . . “the child is ME”

    Hades (Marty???) fathered no one nothing, Zeus the brother of Hades was an eagle. a wolverine – my brother, Billy. billy had red hair. Styx has kids – zealous, nike/victory/ cra/cratos/craton/strength and bia/force. styx is ICY mother her children are thechildren of hatred, . . . hate is part of the logos of the soul. not in direct opposition to lvoe and hate are opposing. two sides of single coin.

    billyy kept. . . running…no complaints…can’t say no to anything . . . genius . . . never begrudeged….guided by moral code . . . trace felt being split in two…beautry and terror ….references to holocaust . . . candy’s hounds, now one, not two….

    Are marty/colt the hounds referred to at candy’s? pg 52

    hades/unseen/also called pluto

    pluto is marty ne has money and can barter

    reastliblish the first principles of my life . . . the wolverine (BILLY) lands next to Marty/Ole Hoss/Entrepeuner/friend of foreclosure+ . . . the wolverine will eat your intestines while3 you are awake

    church bulletin from marty’s pocket with Billy’s adress, etc. . . . marty is bleeding . . . blood drips from animals paws (todd or billy?) 54

    that waws all NOT REAL . . . all fugue, above

    49 Hekate has 3 heads.

  976. Lest we get too far afield re: timeline–

    p. 184
    Ianthe plays a _cassette_ in the car with Gianni, not a CD. She sings along with the song, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” possibly from “1979-1983” (Bauhaus compilation), released in 1985 on vinyl and on cassette and CD(?) in 1986.


    ~ S.

  977. Sarah – great info on the cassette . . . that timeline seems better to me . . . keeping it hugged into the 80’s

  978. pg 53
    hades/the unseen one/pluto/ what is the currency of the underworld, traded, hoarded? does pluto hoard or steal? – – money is power (marty), he gets what he wants, gets everything in the end

    re-establish the 1st principles of my life . . . wolverine leaps from bed (wolverine is Billy who was her protector>??) . . .Marty = Ole Hoss/Entreprenuer/Friend of Foreclosure/not a natural man/lending officer . . .writes Billy’s address on old church bulletin . . . blood on Marty’s torso . . . not dying, just bleeding . . . is animal TODD/grim reaper . . . he is ‘not hers (ianthe/trace’s)

    . . . fingers are shaking, body shaking . . . thinking of the last time she saw her brother, it her fault and doing (the shooting, his death) . . . call is being connected (to the other side) . . . foreign ring, 3 times, haven’t heard the man’s voice in 5 years (she killed when she was 14 so that means she is 19 years old if she is in consecutive time) . . . he is silent THIS WAS ANOTHER FUGUE STATE

    ….know where I am but no idea where I’ve been . . . bells ring in ears, hands ache . . . a knot just below her hairline . . . it is a stone/been there for fifteen years (if the first episode occurred at age 6, then she is 21) . . . at the picnic mulberries/crackers/Coyote . . . gave her the stone . . . sent to candy and candy’s grandfather . . . I recognized Candy and she knew me . . . I didn’t know where I lived . . . THIS WAS ALL FUGUE STATE AS IT RELATES TO CANDY WHO ISN’T REAL

    PG 57 refers to Loretta as ‘swept-dirt yards of the past. trace thinks dusty is having a seizure (probably just drug urges/withdrawal). dusty was middle/loretta’s child/dusty sewed matching dresses for dusty/loretta/matching aprons/sang at church together/loretta’s shadow. Ran away at 16 with bikers . . . back in 1 year, but 3 or 4 years ago, Phil laid off and family went DOWN . . .dusty was the only one that escaped for a while. trace reached out but doesn’t touch Dusty.

    trace asked her about Billy. Dusty ask if he is dead now? (meaning in trace’s mind is billy dead or alive?)

    dusty says she had a dream that Tracey disappeared in the middle of the night when Tracey was 6 years old . . . saw Billy carrying her back to the house . . . billy then slept between bed and window for a year to protect tracey (Trace had forgotten that year, Dusty was telling the truth) she would never re-forget, she was stuck with everything in the memory and everything behind it and below.

    dusty’s nightmare was banana sized bugs pouring from a large pitcher . . . then she woke up and Tracey was gone. tracey says ‘it was a full moon’ she saw billy walking but is Billy dead (that makes no sense)

    discuss the pea chart . . . how Tracey has violet eyes . . . billy, dusty, and loretta had blue eyes.

    tracey was the exile. dusty was the relic.

    trace says ‘she remembers everything. Dusty twitched (like a death twitch, ready to fall into a dug grave)?
    pg 62

    I believe that this encounter with Dusty is REAL and that the girls are staying with Marty and Loretta and that Dusty/Phil are running a meth house

  979. Excellent catch on the Bauhaus cassette, that makes a world of difference on the timeline–Ianthe drove Gianni to airport not earlier than 1983(-she can’t have the cassette earlier than it was released.)
    Sher- good going on the Kate Bush CD. I agree with you that Jacob knew Ianthe before that scene where she breaks in, sits on the porch. The story is told out
    of linear time sequence.

    So, shall we go ahead and start a timeline and plug all our dates/names/places??

    * Pg.25-FACT: Trace&Loretta watching As the World Turns which debuted in 1956 (per Wikipedia.)Nancy (the woman
    Loretta mentions she hopes gets out of the kitchen) had 2 little boys when the show premiered, Don&Bob, and by 1960,Bob was a doctor and got married.

    *Pg.25-Loretta says “And you just watch: one of her sons was born the exact same time as Billy,and by the time Billy was three, that other boy was a doctor.”
    Meaning Don was born the same time as Billy, and by the time Billy is three, the other son, Bob, is already a doctor and it’s 1960. That date is a FACT per Wikipedia)

    * Pg.77 FACT: Billy is 10 yrs old when Trace is born

    *If Billy is 3yrs old sometime between 1956 and 1960, he must have been born between 1953 and 1957.

    ****DID I GET THE MATH RIGHT? SOMEBODY TELL ME IF THAT MAKES SENSE!!!****************************************
    Because if it does make sense,Trace was born between 1963 and 1967 because she was born 10 yrs after Billy.That’s if I got the math right.

    EVEN MORE CONFUSING-I MUST BE TRIPPING: If she’s watching the TV in 1960 with her Mom, she could not have been born between 1963 or ’67. She has to have been born earlier than 1960 to be helping her mom fold towels and watch TV, especially if the show debuted 1956
    and Bob Hughes becomes a doctor in 1960.

    The dates don’t work for me, yet Wikipedia is accurate.
    Did I get this all back-assward or what?

  980. Sher, the thing with the pea chart? Look up Punnett
    Squares or Gregor Mendel in Wiki. It has to do with predicting the percentage of offspring born with certain characteristics.
    What this means in the story is that Loretta has
    recessive alleles (blue eyes) and Colt has Black or
    dark brown and could carry the recessive allele. Which
    means 50% of Colt’s offspring will have blue eyes,
    50% brown. Trace has violet but Wikipedia says that
    violet is just a pigmentation variation of blue in the
    iris. I think the whole point of that discussion between
    Trace and Dusty about Mendel’s pea (Mendel is the father
    of human genetics) is Dusty telling Trace she couldn’t
    figure out how Trace got violet eyes because according to the way kids in school learn how to do a punnett
    square for eye color, Trace should have had blue eyes.
    Where do violet eyes come from? They are a pigment
    variation-rare, but it happens. Black is also rare-most
    people if they are said to have black eyes actually have very, very dark brown eyes. Elizabeth Taylor, the
    actress, has intensely violet eyes. I think Dusty was
    just confused because a child doing a punnett square
    in 8th grade or high school, she would come out with either blue-eyes for her siblings or brown-eyes. Again, it’s a simple way to explain genetics, and isn’t 100% accurate where eye-color is concerned.

  981. According to this interview:

    Trace was 21 in 1987, the year she took the Women’s Studies class.

    1987 was chosen because it was the year of Whitley Streiber’s Communion; Goth and meth reaching Indiana; certain trends of feminist thought in academia, etc.

  982. Welcome, Krista to this Iodine discussion. Glad you
    brought us a date for the timeline we’re trying to construct. I’ve read another review of the book
    that stated the story is non-linear–and that leads
    Sher and I to think that the first time Trace “breaks into” Jacob’s house is not their first time together.
    My theory is that Trace is returning to the marriage after being away from Jacob for some time and she’s been in a fugue state and doesn’t realize this is not her first time ‘in private’with him. What is your take on Rita? While I think that Jacob may have had another wife before Ianthe, the photographs, the ultrasound and the clothes Ianthe finds in Jacob’s house are not the first wife’s- they are actually her own and she doesn’t even know it.

  983. I’m very late on this discussion! Wish I had been here for the original, but it was great to read/skim most of the post. Hopefully I’m not repeating anything anyone else said.

    The fact of the epilepsy is guiding my interpretation more and more …

    Haven asked earlier in the discussion what a mother who had a daughter with epilepsy would do with the daughter. My thought was: seek treatment.

    There are references in the books to needles. I found a medical paper from 1964 on treating epilepsy through “intra-spinal injection.” There is also a section in Iodine where the narrator (I think — or is it in a journal?) talks about all the liens on the house, how all the money is gone. Treatment would have been expensive. Succinylcholine, mentioned on p. 68 was also a treatment for epilepsy (another paper from 1964). How does Trace/Rita/Ianthe (Trace talking to Candy in this part) know about succinylcholine? Also, Ianthe breaks down the word Panic repeatedly. Pan. Ic. And the after-state of an epileptic seizure is called the “post-ICtal state.” Dr. Cohen was a doctor …

    Part of the Electra complex would be resentment of the mother. She might resent her mother even more for putting her through the treatment, and might blame her for Colt’s illness, which would explain why the mother is demonized throughout the book. I’m not convinced she was the evil character she is made out to be.

    I’m even thinking Marty is a doctor Trace came to resent. Pg. 18 sounds an awful lot like someone in a hospital bed coming to. (“… they could hear Marty’s loud voice calling out all kinds of things” + mom asking if she understands what he meant + all the jumbled up messages afterwards. Only prob with this is that newspaper article late in the book where he is called “businessman.” And I kind of take that as real, but maybe not.) She would hate the doctor for “causing” her pain.

    My whole theory, I guess, is based on only a few things from her past being real. 1) Epilepsy/Fugue states 2) Colt’s sickness 3) The inescapable impact of the Electra complex 3) Her mother (who she is maybe mad at for remarrying?) 4) Dusty Ann5) Billy.

    I also wonder if that grandmother she talks to Jacob about isn’t her real grandmother. One that her replacement story of her mother has caused her to erase?

    Hope that is coherent …

  984. I wanted to clarify that I mean Dr. Cohen was previously a *medical* doctor.

    Other details that I think support a more medical reading of what is recalled as abuse: The thing she remembers lying on sounds like it could have been a hospital bed. The allusions to Plath, who went through electro-shock treatment.

    Either the sexual abuse leads to the epileptic/fugue/dissociative episodes (but then the theory that her mom was treating her with needles/succinylcholine in those “basement” sessions does not make sense) or the epileptic/fugue/dissociative episodes + the fact of a young woman growing up and having to make sense of confusing/terrifying feelings towards her father lead the core person (whoever she is) to throw layers and layers of fiction over her childhood memories. I’m thinking the latter, but need to reread …

  985. Hum, those are some good possibilities…

    I still want to go through it step by step because I keep finding new things.

    One thing that raises my eyebrows or ‘peaks my interest’ is the statement about the basement of the vitamin shop . . . I feel this should mean something, but I haven’t found a correlating puzzle piece to go with it . . . if only we had an index for the book!!!! I am considering highlighting the entire book in 3 sections: dream journal, Trace’s 1st person, and the narrator. I think that would help me weed through the different voices and isolate true/fugue/screen memory.

  986. testing . .. just lost a huge note file

  987. pg 62 Trace calls the social worker, when the social worker asks a personal question “there isn’t a thing I haven’t heard . . .

    Trace immediately has a PANIC attack starting a fugue state wherein she gets back on the phone and talks to Candy.

    I believe she really did call the social worker and then had a fugue state after reporting her sister and brother in law

  988. pg 66
    an important observation by “Candy” : . . . “you’ll make it up if you have to, you’ll draw the assumptions that fit what you’re after.”

    Candy tells Trace she (also inferring that Trace) has been abducted . . .

    Candy discussing being helpless, paralyzed, like the vet drug – SUCCINYLCHOLINE – I agree that this is important. . . . candy has ‘seizure’ . . . she wants to protect the ‘boys’ from whatever happened to Tracey.

    So here is my question, if this is a fugue state, can some of the information still be trying to resurface into Trace’s real self, that these states of being are trying to get through to her – as I believe Candy is trying to do? So some items would be true . . . .?

  989. a few things to ponder, now I am taking my cough medicine (codeine) and sleeping off another few hours of feeling like death warmed over . . .

    will check in later today!

  990. Rose- excellent observations. I had dismissed succinylcholine as just the author showing her
    knowledge of the drug in either taxidermy or animal
    husbandry. You present to us that the drug
    was used to treat seizures! Excellent!! Thank you!! I am beginning to think like you now that perhaps Loretta isn’t the demon-bitch-witch that Trace makes her out to be.

    Sher- disregard my email to you about succinylcholine-
    after reading Rose’s comments, I agree with Rose. And sit down, girl. I HAVE GOT THE ANSWER!!! (I think. Then
    again, what do I know.)

    Sher, et al :
    I think that the core personality is Trace. She suffered
    an Electra complex- Haven discussed this in a pod-cast
    interview- so I am not making this up. Haven talked about Trace as a child who romanticized her father so much that she fell in love with him. So, now, I put
    that together along with what I believe: Trace suffers seizures and suffered from the effects of terrible medical treatments for her seizures. She also may have
    been molested by Marty at this time. The molestation, the medical treatments all happen at the same time.
    That is too much for a child to bear. Also at this time in her life, the child cannot get out of her complex and
    experiences a rift in her reality– a “split” in her psyche, if you will. She inhabits a world of animal tokens and made-up friends to guide her through.

    Here’s where I’m not clear. I get the part that she
    goes to university. I get it that she is about to
    graduate when she meets Dr. Jacob Matthias. But here’s
    where the story stops being linear and I stop understanding so well. Did she literally live in a deserted farmhouse or was the farmhouse just in her
    psyche, part of her fragmented, tortured inner landscape?

    Whole segments of time, the way you and I would measure time, move around this tortured landscape. We read that Trace is sitting in Jacob’s porch, having jimmied the lock, and so we think it is her first personal encounter with him. But I don’t think so. I think it may be that she is returning to him, to her marriage, after being away for some time. She shows up in his class with her alter, Myka, to test the waters so to speak for her return to Jacob and she is not aware that she has been married to him for a very long time! In fact, the alter(who knows Jacob as
    her husband)is the person who is called Rita. Yep, as
    strange as it might seem. Rita is Trace, or the alter
    who lived with Jacob as his wife. Trace/Ianthe does not know this but she suspects. She suspects, which is why it is so important for Ianthe to check out a particular date, and only that date, in Rita’s medical records. Something is filtering through to Ianthe’s core. And that is when she finds the ultrasounds. Jacob knows this reality is toxic to Ianthe. Jacob knows that Ianthe is Rita is Trace. That’s why he says to
    the doctor in the hospital not to go poking around in
    her background. “I know who I married.” Sure he knows.
    He loves her- Ianthe, he loves her-Rita, he loves her-
    Trace. Does it matter which identity she inhabits?
    He loves her and loves them all. “I know who I married” Jacob says. Yes, he does.

    I think the only “real” persons are Trace,
    Loretta, Billy Dusty and Colt. They comprise the family romance. And then there’s Jacob, the supplanter-
    the supplanter of her fixation with her father.
    (In the bible, Jacob is the supplanter of his brother’s
    birthright and was born holding the heal of his brother, Esau.)All the other characters, Dr.Cohen,
    Dr.Scheering, Candy, Myka, her uncle Eugene,
    Rita, Gianni, everyone else is an alter or a construct to help her make sense of the world.

    It took me a long time to accept it, but I think what
    happened at the end is that Trace makes a deal with
    the dying Colt to shoot him if he will have sex with
    her. Colt agrees, but then re-negs. In the woods,
    Billy shoots Colt, misinterpreting that scene as
    molestation of his naked sister. And in reflex, Trace
    shoots Billy and has carried the guilt over it for
    years adding more layers of delusion, pain and suffering. Until she meets Jacob and realizes she no
    longer wants to be a member of the I Love Heckate Club.
    She is done with the bitch. She says so. And from there
    she is ready to embrace a different way of living,as maybe an intergration of all of her alters- Ianthe,Trace,Myka, Rita. All those gals. And the medication will help. Whatever she suffered at the hand of Marty, she knows she has survived and can go on,from merely surviving to living. She has hope and she trusts. She watches Jacob watching her taking her three pills a day. And maybe life won’t suck. Whatever Marty did to her, she survived, and now she has Jacob to protect her. “There are men. Jacob is a man” she says. And she takes her pills. Later, when he gets into bed with wet hair and Jacob notices this, and he readily
    agrees to listen to one more of her “stories” filled
    with strange people, places and ideas. So she tells him she has been out shooting the ghost of her dog, Weeds, meaning, she is ready to move on. She can face her past and embrace her future.

    Are y’all good with my take on it? Sher, Rose? Bueller?

  991. Sher, wanted to say your notes are awesome! It’s so hard to nail down what’s real and what’s not. What an adventure.

    Carolyn, I agree with pretty much everything you said! I am pretty comfortable with the idea that Trace is the core person. I really like the way you summed everything up.

    I’m still wondering a couple of things (well more than a couple, but here are the big ones) …

    If the farmhouse wasn’t real (and it makes sense that it wasn’t if Weeds wasn’t real in the later parts of the story) then where was Trace/Rita when she left Jacob’s life temporarily? Was she actually out in Arizona? I was thinking she was in the farmhouse all that time. The journals … those were real, tangible objects that made it to the end of the story, right? She plans to burn them. I just can’t see her writing them anywhere else than that farmhouse.

    And then there’s Trace/Rita/Ianthe. This part is so confusing to me, and I have read the timeline posts, but still. Were the classes? How could the core person have the knowledge she had without those classes? (I mean in reality she could have been self-taught, but the details suggest she actually sat in the classes.)

    If they are real, how could Rita have shown up in the class as Ianthe as a 21-year-old? I thought she was much older?

    Rather than Myka as an alter, is Myka someone Rita actually saw the first time around who helped her create Ianthe? Myka just seems so hollow, just a building block.

    Rita wouldn’t have taken the classes, according to her personality description, right?

    The school years are the part I really can’t get a handle on. I want to reread, but I have a stack of books beside my bed, including “She Got Up of the Couch.” (That’s the only book of Haven’s I haven’t read yet.)

    Thanks for the discussion!

  992. Hum, I listened to Iodine again last night – in fact, ALL night while I worked in the studio.

    I might be renigging on a few points. I think Dr. Cohen was real, but that Ianthe had a fugue state at the dinner party at Jacob’s house, imagining she saw her – Dr. Cohen is part of the past and we know that ghosts from the past constantly inhabit Trace’s fugue states.

    At the end of the book Jacob tells the DR that Trace was going to graduate Magna Cumme Laude in her last year, but he ‘pulled her out’ . . . she couldn’t handle it. Is this the year, maybe year 3 of their marriage where she has the spontaneous early labour/miscarriage at 18 weeks?

    Perhaps the Dr at the end is real and being as Rita was in the health field, perhaps they knew each other; thus, he knew that Rita had absconded to the desert?

    I still think Myka/Anastasia are created from Trace’s fugue states. That Colt, Loretta, Billy, Dusty, and Dusty’s children are real. Marty was definately real and was a danger to young girls . . . he was Ole Hoss, the money man, the man that drives the Lincoln Town Car. A predator.

    I do believe that Loretta was seeking ‘treatment’ for Tracey’s issues, but she thought it was defiant behaviour, the telling of lies and possession. So she sought treatment in the ‘back woods’ – a church group that made some hoo-ha to exorcise the demon (without knowing it was a medical issue). Something major happened to Trace in her 6th year that caused the break of her core being.

    This event caused to her to stuck in the early youth stage of romanticizing her father. I can infer from this that any type of sexual molestation would/could cause this and it also creates a sense of ‘currency’ for your sexuality. You would think that is how you love someone. Tracey wanted this closeness from her father. He denied her that intimacy. He also realized at some point the danger she posed and he ‘took her weapon away.’

    Loretta tells Tracey at some point that Marty sees her with Colt and decided he wanted her. He manipulated Loretta financially until he got in the house. This we know via Dusty and the ‘narrator’ – I believe that is real information. The wedding of Marty/Loretta, etc. – probably all happened after Colt died.

    Tracey was 14 when the shooting happened.

    Tracey was 16 when she left Loretta’s house after Loretta threatens to beat her and leave her in a ditch for dead. At this point, I believe Trace did move into the abandoned farmhouse (hallucinating Weeds, etc.) She finishes high school and wins a scholarship which she REFUSES.

    She gets a new name for herself. Iantha (Violet) Dianna (Hunter/Goddess) Covington (Cave Dweller) . . . born the same year as herself.

    [posting this portion]

  993. pg. 135 – Ianthe was born in 1965 (March). (same as Trace, but I can’t find that quote).

  994. Why am I changing my mind? Because after LISTENING to it again, I caught a line where there is a discussion about dreams and Ianthe states that her dreams are not aspects of herself, her soul, but real people . . . she disagrees with Jung’s theory about the symbology of dreams.

    My jump her is that perhaps this is the author’s true viewpoint (which is the only reliable source) and that she is using Trace/Ianthe’s dream journals to get her to “pay attention” and “wake up” (Lyrics of one of the Kate Bush songs).

  995. We know that Trace/Ianthe recalls living with Jacob for 4 months and that part of that time is in 1987. If she has really lived with him for the 4 years (which we pretty much all agree on), then she ‘got with him’ around 1983. She was purported to have been born the same year as is marked on Ianthe’s grave (1965).

    1965 – born
    1966- 1-2
    1967- 2-3
    1968- 3-4
    1969- 4-5
    1970 – 5-6
    1972 – 7-8 **THE YEAR DUSTY LEAVES????*** 8 & 8 =16
    1973 – 8-9
    1974 – 9-10
    1975 – 11 – 12
    1976 – 12 – 13
    1977 – 13 – 14 * THE YEAR SHE SHOOTS BILLY,
    1978 – 14 – 15 LIVING WITH LORETTA
    1979 – 16 – 17

  996. OOPS
    1979 AGE 16-17 **Loretta almost kills her,
    threats to leave her in a ditch,
    TRACE packs up and leaves with WEEDS

    1980 age 17-18 continues HIGH SCHOOL, graduates
    with scholarship, which she turns
    1981 age 18-19 Creates her alias: Ianthe
    1982 age 19-20 Begins college
    1983 age 20-21 missing year – attends college
    1984 age 21-22 missing year – attends college
    1985 age 22-23 missing year – loses J’s baby?
    1986 age 24-25 re-meets Jacob, moves in
    1987 age 26-27 living with Jacob, remembers
    only 4 months of it
    1988 age 27-28 final crisis, ‘shoots’ ghost of her
    dead dog

  997. Sher, you are awesome. Thanks for writing up a timeline.

    I’m going to be thinking about lots of the things you said, but my brain is fried right now from researching a story all day.

    In the timeline, when is does she present as Rita do you think?

  998. SHER- I’m buying you a drink when we get to Durham.
    The timeline is awesome….have to read it a couple