CASKETS FROM COSTCO
By Kelly Wilson
Crystal: Today I have the pleasure of hosting Kelly Wilson. Welcome Kelly! I'm so happy to have you here today. Would you share a little bit about yourself with us today?
Kelly: My name is Kelly Wilson, and I am an author and comedian in Portland, Oregon. My life’s work is basically trying to stay sane, mainly through laughter. I’m a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and have PTSD, and I channel all of that energy into speaking and writing about finding hope in the process of recovery. When I’m not parenting my two boys, hanging out on social media, or writing, I’m doing improv and stand up comedy. My three books are Live Cheap & Free, Don’t Punch People in the Junk, and Caskets From Costco, and I write about a variety of stuff over on my website, www.wilsonwrites.com.
Crystal: Do you have a favorite scene you would like to share with us?
Kelly: Here’s a scene called Full Access?
The morning after Jim’s death, as I dried off after my shower, I wondered to what extent, if at all, Jim was…around.
Could he look down on us? Could he be with us, unseen or unsensed by us, but able to observe? Was he able to blip in and out, like the cameras of a reality TV show, observing us at random moments, with access to everything?
Most importantly at this moment, could he possibly see me naked? I looked around the bathroom, and I wanted to ask, “Are you here?” I also wanted to say, “Avert what passes for your eyes at this point.” But I didn’t.
The next day, I shared my thoughts with my friend Bobbi Cumberbun, a good friend who came to hang out during the days after Jim’s death.
Bobbi is the youngest of four children. She has been known to sign the “i” with a heart over it. I am the older of two children, and my name is Kelly with a “y.” No heart. Bobbi is miniature and petite. I am gangly with a large frame and plain features, easily lost in a crowd.
Bobbi and I lived in the same town, went to the same church and attended the same college. Opposite in many ways, we made an odd pair, but our similarities have become more obvious throughout the years.
Bobbi’s mom became ill with flu symptoms on a Saturday in January five years before Jim’s death. Diagnosed with a rare blood disease, she was admitted into the hospital in May and died later that month.
If there’s something you want to talk about concerning death and grief, Bobbi’s your girl.
She understood exactly what I meant about wondering if Jim was hanging around. “Don’t you remember Mary Jo and the Nut Shack?” she asked.
“What are you talking about?” I asked.
Bobbi was sixteen when she worked at the Nut Shack; Mary Jo, then twenty two, was a manager of sorts. One night they told their parents (Mary Jo still lived with her mother) that they were spending the night at each other’s houses.
Instead, Mary Jo rented them a hotel room, where they got wasted on cheap light beer.
“Light beer?” I asked. “Can you really get drunk from light beer?”
Bobbi nodded. “And wine coolers.”
The morning after her mother’s death, Bobbi woke up, marched into her father’s room, and confessed every detail of that night with Mary Jo even though it had happened several years earlier.
“Why?” I asked.
“Same thing you were talking about,” she said. “I didn’t want to take the chance that he was finding out from Mom in some dream.”
I had to agree.
I just really hoped Jim – or any other person transitioning into the afterlife – could not see me naked.
Crystal: Where did you come up with the idea for your latest release?
Kelly: Like many writers, I have stacks of notebooks from my childhood and adolescence, for many years, I considered writing a hobby that I may or may not have time for, depending on the seasons of my life. That all changed when my first child was born. Because this birth experience was so traumatic, I found that I simply could not process it without writing about it. A few years after my son was born, my father-in-law died, which was a devastating loss. I began to delve into suffering and grief, and discovered that much of my writing throughout the years had also focused on these subjects. Going through this process of grieving and discovery led to the publication of my book, Caskets From Costco.
Crystal: What are you currently working on?
Kelly: In 2011, I self-published a funny book about parenting called, Don’t Punch People in the Junk! My two boys – now thirteen and ten years old – have remarked that the last story in that book is dated 2011 and that it is time to write another book with stories about them. For 2016, I have decided to write another funny parenting book called, Poop Before You Get on the Boat. It should be published by 2017.
Crystal: Do you have any special routine that you follow when you are writing?
Kelly: To be honest, I don’t have a special routine. For me, the issue is always simply starting. If I’m having trouble sitting down and starting something, I go for a walk. This usually helps me think through whatever I’m stuck on or have in the back of my mind that needs to be put on paper. Then I can’t wait to get back home!
Crystal: Did you have to do a lot of research for this book or any other? If so do you have a fascinating fact that you have learned you would like to share with us?
Kelly: I did a lot of reading and research about grief, suffering, and loss during the years I was writing Caskets From Costco. I became reacquainted with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross's stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, and have a newfound respect for her work in death and dying.
Crystal: Who are some of your favorite authors that you like to read?
Kelly: I like to read a wide range of authors, and my favorites are Elizabeth Peters (Amelia Peabody mysteries), Laurie R. King, Diana Gabaldon, Madeleine L’Engle, Nadia Bolz-Weber, and Ann Lamott. And anything Sherlock Holmes.
Crystal: Is there a genre you haven't written that you would like to try?
Kelly: I read so many mysteries, I feel that one day I will conquer that genre with a story of my own.
About the Book:
For twenty years, I thought that I had been marching through the stages of grief in a straight line. I had been following the formula, crossing each processed grief experience off my list.
Publisher: GravityExcept that I was totally deluded. And I didn’t discover that until Jim, my beloved father-in-law, died. I found myself drying off from my shower the morning after his death, really hoping he couldn’t see me naked. Or, if he could, that he was averting his eyes.From that moment, my path through grief resembled a roller coaster, spiraling and twisting and turning, circling back around. Echoes of past trauma, including childhood abuse and cheating death, would no longer be ignored. I somehow needed to get from the beginning to the end of this grief adventure, and I don’t have a good sense of direction.But what is always present during a journey through grief, regardless of the path chosen?Hope.Caskets From Costco is a funny book about grief that demonstrates the certainty of hope and healing in an uncertain and painful world.
~*~*~*~*~*~Meet the Author:
Monday, January 4 – Interview at The Writer’s Life
Tuesday, January 5 – Book Featured at Queen of All She Reads
Wednesday, January 6 – Book Featured at My Bookish Pleasures
Thursday, January 7 – Interview at Reviews by Crystal
Friday, January 8 – Book Featured at FictionZeal
Monday, January 11 – Book Review at Comfy Reading
Tuesday, January 12 – Book Featured at Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!
Wednesday, January 13 – Interview at I’m Shelf-ish
Thursday, January 14 – Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner
Thursday, January 14 – Book Featured at CBY Book Club
Monday, January 18 – Book Review at Booklover Sue
Tuesday, January 19 – Book Review at Ali – The Dragon Slayer
Wednesday, January 20 – Interview at Examiner
Thursday, January 21 – Interview at Literarily Speaking
Monday, January 25 – Book Review at Book Babble
Tuesday, January 26 – Guest Blogging at Confessions of an Eccentric Bookaholic
Wednesday, January 27 – Character Interview at Pimp That Character!
Thursday, January 28 – Book Review at Celtic Lady’s Reviews
Friday, January 29 – Book Featured at Around the World in Books