Yesterday, the Charlottesville branch of the Worldwide Literary Ladies Luncheon gathered at Milan indian restaurant for the annual White Elephant gift exchange.
Going clockwise: that's yours truly (Janis Jaquith) with hand raised, Fran Slayton (who has wonderful publishing news that may not yet be disclosed), Jenny Gardiner, Laura Rydin Ventre, Marianne Sullivan, the intrepid Susan Wright, and Erika Raskin.
And lucky me, I got what has to get the award for "Most Desperate Gift, Ever." A can of beans, courtesy of Rose Elliott.
Marianne Sullivan having a "what the hell is this?" moment with a ghastly, multicolored ceramic bowl festooned with stuck-on ceramic fish. She decided it would make a good water bowl for the cat. (Although the ceramic fish could be cause for some feline frustration...)
That's Susan Wright holding her Hokie Napkins (unfortunately, the Hokie turkey doesn't show in this shot). Additionally, this tacky collection of Virginia kitsch included a snow and glitter globe of Jamestown, and a Hokie-bird golf tee.
Laura Rydin enjoys, temporarily, the painted-lady glasses that had been happily perched on a windowsill in my gracious kitchen for the past two years. (My gracious kitchen is painted the same periwinkle blue as the ladies.) My husband suggested last week that someone else's house -- anyone else's house -- would be a good place for the glasses. With a heavy heart, I wrapped them up for the LLL wingding. But Laura, the very soul of generosity, wouldn't hear of keeping the glasses, and they are now back home in my g.k.
Jenny Gardiner actually LIKES the collection of Christmas tree decorations she received.
I regret to report that the winner of the Tackiest Gift Prize (wrapped with panache by Erika Raskin) was not captured in a photograph. It was a plastic box (the kind a corsage should come in) filled with taupe satin rosettes. (Even if you could make a taupe rose, why would you?) Elizabeth Howard was the baffled recipient. ("Whatever would you do with THESE?" We suggested that she strew them on her sheets to wow her husband.) Although they didn't actually smell like some musty artifact from Miss Havisham's hope chest, they looked as though they ought to.
I raise my virtual champagne glass to Literary Ladies everywhere: Charlottesville, Denver -- wherever you may be. May 2008 bring inspiration, finished projects, wide distribution, and fat checks. Cheers!
(And many thanks to Elizabeth Howard, who took these photographs -- and had to take home those crappy roses.)