Books and an embarrassing story

Usborne & Barefoot book order

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I promise I’ll only keep up this ‘read more’ nonsense until after Tracy and Kat are done with their nefarious generous and loving purposes.

Hopefully most of you have received your Usborne and/or Barefoot Book orders by now. There were a few backorders / out of print snafus from both publishers — those affected should have received a Paypal refund and note about those. If you didn’t, and something in your package looks amiss, send me an email and I’ll get you sorted!

Usborne & Barefoot book order

I hadn’t ever seen Barefoot Books live and in person, and wow, they were all so, so lovely. We oohed and ahhhed over the artwork and the stories, and tried very hard not to drool on your goods.

Usborne & Barefoot book order

The next book order will be in the spring, but if you need something in the meantime, let me know. I can usually find a way to get a book or two for you at a discounted price.

My Super Embarrassing Story

Okay. I think I can write this out now. It makes my finger tips go numb a little bit, but I can almost laugh about it, so I might as well share.

So I was recovering from surgery, being a good girl, and resting in bed with my icepack. I’d like to blame this story on drugs, but I was only taking aspirin and magnesium supplements. My bum was really tired of being in bed, and I’d hit a wall with my plot. You’re not supposed to bother about rewriting with Nanowrimo, but I’d just deleted six chapters and was in the process of rewriting them, totally changing the direction I’d thought I was going in.

Anyway, in need of a little break and some encouragement, I remembered that one of my favorite authors had quite a few articles on writing on her website. So there I was. Poking around a published author’s website. A published author with award winning books. A published author with books on the New York Times bestseller list. I stumbled across a phrase on an article about why good editors are important. OH THE IRONY. Are there editors for hire who will proofread your emails and save you from your own stupidity?

The phrase in question was, drumroll please:

kick against the pricks

It was after midnight, maybe close to two a.m. at that point, so if I can’t blame the following on drugs, maybe I can blame it on fatigue?

I thought, “Oh, what a funny typo! Prick is a slang term for penis! Surely she didn’t mean that, she meant to write ‘kick against the BRICKS.’”

Stop laughing. I… I had no idea that ‘kick against the pricks’ was not only a real term, but one that is FOUND IN THE BIBLE. What? Did my eyes just magically turn the ‘p’ into a ‘b’ because at some point in my life, I was plagued by mysterious flesh eating disease that left a gaping hole in the reading comprehension part of my brain?

But wait, it gets worse. I WROTE HER.

I actually dug through her website to find the contact information that most authors intentionally bury since they are often beleaguered by email they don’t have time to answer. I pasted her email into my gmail account (this will be important later) and sent her an email pointing out the mistake and how funny I thought it was (I quipped something about how I was sure some editors could behave prickishly), and HIT THE SEND BUTTON.

I… I didn’t even google the term. I didn’t stop, and scratch my head, and wonder at the very idea of writing to correct a published author. I just totally assumed that kick against the bricks was what everyone around me had been saying forever.

She wrote back.

She wrote back one single sentence. “Actually, that is the correct term, but thanks anyway.”

Whuugh? I punched it (belatedly) into The Google, and felt my mouth drop open as my face flamed all the way up to the tips of my ears. This, this cannot be!

I fired off a reply. I apologized for bothering her for nothing and muttered something about having egg on my face. And then I proceeded to justify my (clearly damaged) thought processes. I speculated on why everyone around me said ‘kicking against the bricks’. BECAUSE THIS IS WHAT I STILL THOUGHT. My poor, newly oxygenated brain was trying to process the information that I was wrong, because I am never wrong! There was no possible way. It must be local dialect! Perhaps everyone in Idaho had changed it to ‘bricks’ after ‘prick’ became a slang term! Maybe no one here reads the Bible! THERE HAD TO BE A REASON.

After I hit send – again – I turned to my husband and asked him if he knew that ‘kicking against the bricks’ had once been ‘kicking against the pricks.’ Without looking up (from the Bible he was reading, like he does, because he’s some kind of genius scriptorian), he said, “Nobody says ‘bricks,’ honey, it’s ‘pricks.’ It’s in Acts.” And then he starts thumbing to it so he can read it to me.

Wait, hold the phone. He’s a pretty smart guy, he knows things most people don’t. So I had to poll some other people. And some other people laughed and laughed and laughed some more.

Grumpy, I went back to The Google and plugged in ‘kicking against the bricks‘ ready to arm myself with all kinds of myspace, livejournal, and twitter accounts of people who used the term my way. And lo, there were none, and The Google even tried to correct me, as if to (gently) say, “Oh sweetie. Oh honey pie. You poor thing, it really is ‘pricks. Maybe check me next time, before you go emailing super famous people?’”

I won’t lie. I died a little bit.

But then I died even more when I realized that writing directly through my gmail account (I was on my laptop) instead of through the usual Apple Mail, inserted my full signature at the bottom of the email. So I wasn’t some anonymous housewife, I was a person with a name and a website. So embarrassing.

I wasn’t going to tell you, but it was Shannon Hale, and here is the article in question: Working with an Editor. Go forth, enjoy, and marinate in your own wisdom, because I know you knew it was kick against the pricks, didn’t you?


    • jessica says

      That totally makes me feel better. Because maybe if you heard someone say it properly, your brain would change pricks to bricks. Since kicking against the bricks is also a fruitless endeavor, and that makes sense. And then we could trade BFF necklaces and live happily ever after.

  1. audrey says

    Let me clarify – it doesn’t work if you click “read more,” but when I came through to the comments, the whole post appears. Sorry…

  2. Jennifer says

    Oh sweetie. I did know it was pricks, but his is so, so funny. I’m sorry for laughing, but maybe it will be funny someday? And Shannon Hale seems very nice, I’m sure she’s either forgotten all about it or didn’t care in the first place.

    I can also completely see how you’d hear bricks, because it does make sense. Isn’t “up against a brick wall” a real term? I’d better google it… ha ha ha h!

  3. Christine says

    You can totally blame it on the drugs. Or at least the whole heart-surgery thing. You can blame anything you like, for ever, on that.

    For the record, it’s a phrase I think I’ve heard but not exactly in frequent rotation. And even if it is in the bible, it doesn’t sound very nice. So your brain was just making it prettier, that’s all.

    • jessica says

      Ha ha ha! “You can blame anything you like, forever, on that.” I love this, and I’m totally going to do it.

      I like this too. I was making it prettier. Yes, please. That sounds so much better than, “way to be a huge idiot, Jessica!”

  4. Amanda says

    I have never in my life heard that phrase, but oh my word that story gave me a much needed chuckle in my stomach-bug-induced haze!

    • jessica says

      I am so glad it’s not as well known as I first thought when I learned what the phrase really was. Maybe more of us would have heard ‘bricks’ — at least I can hope!

  5. Amy says

    I also in my 35 years of life (all of that deeply involved in church) have never, ever heard that phrase before. And I probably would have done the exact same thing.

  6. Angela Stone says

    I’ve known that phrase most of my life but never knew prick was slang for that. I know prick is generally a derogatory term though. Oh when you said it was Shannon Hale I about died. I love her! I would have been mortified to embarrass myself like that even though in the grand scheme it probably doesn’t matter. But still…..HAHAHAHAHAHHA! I love that you justified yourself to her and continued to make your case. That is awesome. :)

    • jessica says

      It is not awesome! It’s so much worse! I can’t believe I didn’t stop and google and poll people right there. Oh my word. I really hope she’s so busy that she’s already forgotten.

      • Angela Stone says

        Nah, in about a month it will be totally awesome. Stories like this are what make life interesting. Though sometimes its nice not to hear them repeated. My husband very kindly only referenced to a story about when I would follow him around at a ysa dance back in the day. I have always been mortified when he tells that story but have gotten to where I can simply turn red and sign about it….its been 11 years on that one…

        • jessica says

          Ha ha! So true. Weirdly telling my embarrassing stories seems to help. If I can make people laugh I can feel a little better about them. Though there are a few that even I don’t think I’ll ever share. *blush*

  7. Katie says

    Aww, I can feel the embarrassment permeating this post.

    As I started reading, I thought “Wait a second, you’re LDS. Surely you’ve heard this your whole life.” And then you explained that you had just misheard it :-) Yes, I did know it was ‘pricks’, but we have all misheard things!

    It’s in D&C 121:38 too :-)

    • jessica says

      I KNOW RIGHT? I don’t think I’ve sat down and read the New Testament straight through since high school, and the D&C not since college, though I’m always referencing them and reading parts. Sheesh. Guess I’ll be focusing on these two books after I finish the BOM this year. *blush*

  8. Michelle @ needle and nest says

    Crawling out from my rock here… Put me down as another person who has never heard that phrase before. Also is it bad that I completely love your occasional embarrassing moment posts? You are so awesome to have such a good sense of humor about stuff like this. :)

    • jessica says

      High five! And when you do, now you’ll know that it’s not bricks!

      Ha, no, it really does make me feel better if people can at least laugh at my foibles. It truly helps me get over it, though I’m sure if I ever met Shannon Hale face to face, I’d run the other way.

  9. kirsten says

    I have been to two of S.H.’s book signings, and she is as funny and personable and awesome as you think she should be… but I had my own embarassing moment with her. She had just been explaining about how she doesn’t write for specific age groups, she just writes and eventually the publisher decides on an age range for the book’s intended audience. Then she opened the floor for questions, I was picked first, and I asked ‘what age range is your new book for?’ and she just looked at me for a second. What I MEANT was what age is your newest main character (daisy danger brown – sounds adorable, and she’d just been talking about it), but it came out all wrong. Oh well. She actually lives in the same town as me, one day we’ll meet at aTarget and become best friends and have a laugh at how lame I am. ;)

    • jessica says

      Oh I love it. I could see myself doing exactly that, and then getting home and wondering why on earth I couldn’t find the words to clarify. No! I meant how old is the protagonist! Augh!!

      She does seem so nice, and I give her credit for not being snarky to me in her email. I’m sure it was tempting. Heh.

  10. Gayle says

    Never heard it before but I too thought it was bricks and that pricks was a typo or something .

    And I haven’t googled it yet, so i have no idea what either kicking pricks or bricks mean ;)

    • jessica says

      Well. The meaning is part of why I was so convinced it was bricks! It means you’re making an effort for nothing, that your work is futile. So if you’re stuck, or er, ‘up against a wall’ so to speak, you could be kicking against the bricks, see? I had such a visual of being stuck, and kicking those darn bricks until your toes were bruised. But ah, it references old spikes they used when handling oxen in fields. Kicking against the pricks wouldn’t get you anywhere either.

  11. Jenny says

    You make me giggle. Are you a visual person? Maybe your brain changed pricks to bricks so you wouldn’t have such a nasty image seared into your brain. Fortunately the first time I heard the expression I was given a pastoral/Biblical vision to go with it along with deep spiritual meaning. That has now been replaced…thanks a

    • jessica says

      TOTALLY. I am positive I never even retained the fact that it was ‘prick’ instead of ‘bricks’ I heard ‘bricks’ or read ‘bricks’ incorrectly and it made perfect sense to me. Trapped up against a brick wall, kicking against those bricks. Futile and trapped! Useless effort! So, I had the meaning correct, just not the word. SIGH.

      Would love to hear your visual, maybe it’ll help me dislodge that picture of bruised toes against a brick wall :o)

  12. bethany actually says

    Does it make you feel better to know that I—someone who’s kind of infamous among her friends and internet acquaintances for having a vocabulary full of multisyllabic words, not to mention being incapable of not correcting editorial mistakes—have never heard either term? And I’ve read Acts! Multiple times!

    As embarrassing stories go, it could have been much, much worse. :-)

    • jessica says

      As someone who is very familiar with your editorial superhero cape, it DOES make me feel better. Wooooot!

      True. So true. It’s certainly not the highest on my embarrassing moments list. I think that special spot is reserved for the time I mooned the Fed Ex guy.

  13. mamalang says

    This is hilarious. I was alternating between a cringe and a chuckle the whole way through, because I feel your embarrassing pain. I do have to wonder if different versions of the bible have different wording?

  14. Jen says

    Jess, I also have never heard that term and am ashamed to admit, worldy enough to have. Anyho, never heard of Shannon Hale either, so don’t feel bad. At least it wasn’t Micheal Chabon.

  15. falwyn says

    Yeah, I’m familiar with it. But I am always fascinated with little variations like that that come through mishearing… or just regional variations. Card shark vs. card sharp… or “If you think that, you’ve got another think coming!” vs “…another thing coming!” Yeah… I think I might be a nerd or something… ;)

    • jessica says

      Me too! I was so certain it was this like, local colloquialism, but NO. It’s just ME that’s misheard my entire life. Fantastic. The ‘think’ coming makes me laugh!

  16. Tina says

    Add me to the list of those who’ve never heard that phrase. And while I don’t read the Bible nowadays, I did grow up with a pastor for a father…and still never heard of that not do I have any idea what it means. Will have to Google. And I’ll ask my dad tomorrow if he’s familiar with the term. :)

    And also wanted to tell you, Jessica, that I absolutely LOVE these sorts of posts….makes you more real to the rest of us! I hate blogs that only share the pretty and in-embarassing sides of life. Your posts always make me laugh and feel like I’m not alone. :). You’re so very funny and down-to-earth…don’t ever change! :)

    • jessica says

      Ha ha! I think it’s probably better to have never heard the phrase than to have misheard it your whole life. Good gravy.

      I’m so glad you think so, and thanks!

  17. Rooh says

    I’ve never heard of the phrase, like other commenters. Don’t feel so bad! It’s actually kind of neat that she wrote you back.

    Deleting six whole chapters though?! That’s gutsy! I only go back and read each chapter on the day(s) I’m working on it. I’d never get it done if I went back farther than that!

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