Thursday Thirteen #23 — The Balancing Meme

My good buddy Erica at Writing Aspriations tagged me for the balance meme. You know, Lillie Amman’s meme about how to achieve balance in your life, especially when you’re juggling being a writer, a blogger, a literary agent shopper, a mom, a wife, a classroom volunteer, a gym rat, and the mom of a cat with irritable bowel disorder.
But it’s not me Erica wanted to tag. Rather, it was my “delicious fictional characters” she wanted to hear from. Not that I blame her; they’re way more interesting than I am. That’s why so much of this blog is devoted to them. (what? Did you think I was trying to sell you something? There’s no book to buy yet!)
So, to combine the fun with my weekly Thursday Thirteen, here you go, Erica.

Thirteen ways that the members of ShapeShifter achieve balance, presented in the form of an interview conducted with the famous rock journalist Kermit Ladd, who is so famous, he has no bio. Give me a break; I just invented him around noon on Wednesday.

Kermit Ladd: The question I’ve been sent here to present to you today is how you achieve balance in your lives. You’re these mega-huge rock stars, but you’re also ordinary guys. How do you do it? What is the biggest challenge you face in balancing your lives?
Trevor: Wait. What happened to that babe who called us delicious? Would she like a taste? (He leers. When that gets no reaction, he eyes Mitchell nervously, but the singer merely stretches his legs out before him and casually crosses his feet at the ankles.)
Trevor: Okay, then. Just make sure she knows how to find me.

Kermit Ladd: Balance, Trevor. Not women.
Daniel: Why can’t women be the balance? Even if it’s only for two minutes in an elevator, any sane man can get lost in a good woman. There’s your balance. You get that time to forget about performing for an audience and get to think about you.

Kermit Ladd: Most people would call that selfish since you’re not caring for your partner. That’s not very balanced — or is that your biggest challenge?
Trevor: My biggest challenge is doing it right. You need both feet on the floor. (He stands up and lifts one foot. Immediately, he sways and has to touch his toe to the ground.) See? My balance sucks.
Eric: There’s real wisdom in there, Trevor. (The bass player turns away, but not before a sneer crosses his face.) There’s a reason people call us stars. They think we belong up there–
Mitchell: In outer space. Like freaks.
Eric: No, M. High in the heavens, with the other celestial beings. Worshipped and celebrated. But the truth is that we’re just people.

Kermit Ladd: Exactly. Now, how do you manage to balance your audiences’ expectations?
Mitchell: We make better music and put on great shows.
Eric: We’re approachable. Our fans can come up and talk to us.
Mitchell: Well, they could before they got so thick. We had to hire security to save us from them!

Kermit Ladd: So you’ve got the fans. What about being yourselves? How do you maintain that balance between private person and rock figure?
Trevor: Well, Mitchell’s parents kick us in the ass when we need it.
Eric: They remind us to keep both feet on the ground. When we’re at home, not only do we do our own laundry–
Trevor: No, Mitchell’s mom does mine.
Mitchell: Kerri does ours. Won’t let me near it.
Trevor: You turned her favorite panties pink?
Mitchell: No. She said please. Please leave it for me. (He shrugs.) If it makes her happy, I’m all for it.
Daniel: Happy women are good things.
Trevor: Gotta have both feet on the floor to keep a woman happy. Or both knees on the bed. Take your pick.
Daniel: Val‘s happiest when I’m home and paying attention to her. I can be Daniel, not Daniel of ShapeShifter, and I do that because she makes me check my ego at the door.

Kermit Ladd: So, sometimes, it does get to your heads?
Eric: We wouldn’t be human if it doesn’t.

Kermit Ladd: How do you come back to Earth?
Mitchell: A roadie stops our prima donna routine over a broken amp by plugging it in. Management calls with something we need to deal with. You kick the garbage all over the kitchen floor and realize you’re the only one home to clean it up and take it out already.
Trevor: Eric and I get stoned. That’s a good way to come back to Earth.
Daniel: Sure beats those announcements the doctors make, telling what you caught this time.

Kermit Ladd: What about priorities? What are your priorities, and how do you meet them?
Mitchell: It’s a dead-heat between Kerri, making music, and running the band. As for taking care of it all (he shrugs), I do what needs to get done. Any spare time’s for me.
Daniel: Ditto. It’s what we do in our spare time that’s different.
Eric: I meet things one at a time and try not to freak about how much lies ahead. It’s about faith: having enough faith that I’ll get through everything and will have time for myself.
Trevor: My priorites are simple: women, girls, bimbos. My bike. Getting stoned. And the band. Possibly in that order, but you need to put girls in between all the other shit.

Kermit Ladd: How about balance in your personal lives, then? Mitchell, you’re married. Daniel, you’ve got a long-time love. How do you balance the demands of the fans with your personal lives?
(Daniel and Mitchell exchange looks, daring each other to go first.)
Mitchell: Sometimes, you have to turn to a fan and ask if they’d mind giving you some space. I hate to do it, but say you’re in the hotel pool, getting some laps in, and they’re standing on the edge, yelling at you to come sign an autograph. What do you do? We deserve down time, too.
Daniel: I had it once at an Otters game. Sitting in the stands, digging the ball field, eating my hot dogs–
Trevor: And Cracker Jack?
Daniel: Wouldn’t be a ball game without it. But there’s this fan, bugging you and not letting you watch the game. You feel like a total heel for asking them to let you alone, but you’ve got to, or suddenly, there’s ten thousand people forgetting they came to watch baseball. Instead, they’re standing in line for your autograph and the team’s gathered on the field, drawing straws to see who gets the privelege of knocking you out.

Kermit Ladd: What does that have to do with the women in your lives?
Trevor: Nothing, unless they’re at the game, too, and the fans are stepping on them to get to us. I’ve seen it happen.
Mitchell: You told them to do it.
Trevor: Well, the fans weren’t crawling after us, so what did we care? Besides, the girl who got stepped on dumped that dick and ran off with me. I got what I wanted in the end.

Daniel: I think that sometimes, our fans forget that we are people first. That we can’t be ShapeShifter twenty-four-seven.
Kermit Ladd: Why not?
Eric: We’d only have one foot on the floor. Show him again, Trev.
(Trevor stands and, again, lifts one foot. Again, he quickly wobbles.)
Daniel: See? You’ve gotta have both feet on the ground or you’re useless.
Mitchell: Especially when you need to adjust something on your guitar’s foot pedal without stomping on it.

Kermit Ladd: You make it sound easy.
Mitchell: Sometimes, it is. Sometimes, we need someone to stand on one foot so they can use the other to kick us in the ass. Especially when we’re on the road and we’re surrounded by people who get paid to say yes to us, no matter what we ask for.
Trevor: No one said yes when I asked to spend a night in the locker room with those cheerleaders.
Mitchell: You could’ve spent the night. You just got pissed when we said you’d have to do it without the girls.
Trevor: What’s the point without them?

Kermit Ladd: Final question and it’s back to the women, so please answer it this time. How do your women deal with you guys being on posters that fans pin to their walls?
Eric: We stay in a lot. That way, the girls don’t have to deal with the jealous pettiness of the others.
Daniel: Bodyguards.
Trevor: I let a girl pin me to … okay, not the wall ’cause I don’t get that hardcore. But the floor. With her knees. It was a lot of fun. (He ducks as Mitchell takes a swipe at the back of his head.)
Mitchell: Kerri’s strong enough that when she’s in a bathroom and hears someone saying how they wish she was dead so they could take her place, that sort of thing doesn’t bother her. And when girls come on to me and tell me to forget about her, she laughs in their faces.
Daniel: She likes telling you about the shit she overhears.
Mitchell: And most of it’s shit, too. We all know whose bed I’ll be in.
Trevor: Yeah. Just remind the world you’re the idiot who picked her over all the better ones out there, why don’t you?

Kermit ends the conversation here as Trevor takes off running, Mitchell hot on his heels.

One last note, now that you’ve reached the end: Don’t forget to scroll down to the Buy a Friend a Book Contest. And happy birthday to my blog! It’s one year old today, Wednesday April 4.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



  1. Joely Sue Burkhart

    April 4, 2007 10:12 pm

    Oh, man, you always come up with such cool ways to talk to your characters! I love it!

  2. Wylie Kinson

    April 4, 2007 10:21 pm

    You are ALWAYS a treat, Susan.

  3. Thomma Lyn

    April 4, 2007 10:34 pm

    Hee hee! That was such fun! I feel like I know your characters more and more — they seem to leap off your blog. :)BR/BR/Happy TT, and thanks for visiting mine!

  4. Vader's Mom

    April 4, 2007 10:37 pm

    “Happy women are good things.”BR/BR/LOL!!!

  5. Vader's Mom

    April 4, 2007 10:37 pm

    “Happy women are good things.”BR/BR/LOL!!!

  6. Vader's Mom

    April 4, 2007 10:37 pm

    “Happy women are good things.”BR/BR/LOL!!!

  7. bunnygirl

    April 4, 2007 11:02 pm

    Happy Blog Birthday!

  8. L^2

    April 5, 2007 12:54 am

    Very entertaining and fun list as always. I really like Eric’s reply on #8. BR/Happy TT! 🙂

  9. gabriella hewitt

    April 5, 2007 1:35 am

    Very funny and clever. I got a kick out of reading this list. BR/BR/Thanks for stopping by and happy TT Day!

  10. Rhian / Crowwoman

    April 5, 2007 6:55 am

    happy Blog birthday!! Great TT. You’re so freaking creative.

  11. Darla

    April 5, 2007 6:57 am

    This was so much Bfun/B! Really got to keep both feet on the floor. Wonderful. Can I take them all home with me?

  12. Christine

    April 5, 2007 7:35 am

    I love your posts, Susan. This is great. 🙂

  13. Tilly Greene

    April 5, 2007 8:10 am

    Love Kermit!


    April 5, 2007 9:07 am

    That was a great list. Thanks for sharing them. And oh, thanks for commenting on my TTCarnival too.


    April 5, 2007 9:07 am

    That was a great list. Thanks for sharing them. And oh, thanks for commenting on my TTCarnival too.


    April 5, 2007 9:07 am

    That was a great list. Thanks for sharing them. And oh, thanks for commenting on my TTCarnival too.

  17. Colleen Gleason

    April 5, 2007 9:23 am

    Hey! Congrats on being featured at TT today!BR/BR/Wooot!BR/BR/I’m back…I actually did a TT today: Thirteen Albums I Can’t Live Without!

  18. Kristi

    April 5, 2007 9:28 am

    that is awesome, Susan!!! great list…and what a fun thing to do with your characters. 🙂 Happy TT

  19. musie

    April 5, 2007 10:07 am

    Great Thursday Thirteen Happy Birthday Blog!!

  20. karen!

    April 5, 2007 10:18 am

    Happy Thursday (yippee! that it’s finally Thursday, what a week).BR/BR/The guys are such goof balls, but you gotta love them.BR/BR/I love how they completely run around the ueber-important Kermit.

  21. Rashenbo

    April 5, 2007 10:43 am

    Oh man… that was funny!!! 🙂 Those delicious characters have some great outlooks, eh? Congratulations on being a featured TT’er too! Woot! 🙂 I am curious about this oh so famous interviewer… he’s suspect I think! 😀

  22. Starla

    April 5, 2007 11:07 am

    “Both feet on the floor. Or both knees on the bed.”BR/BR/Love it!

  23. Janet

    April 5, 2007 11:28 am

    You know…I kinda like Eric :-)BR/BR/Happy belated birthday to your blog!

  24. Julia

    April 5, 2007 11:36 am

    Now that was fun! I’m starting to like your characters more, each time you post something more about them :)BR/BR/Happy T13! I hope you have great day! 🙂

  25. Daisy Dexter Dobbs

    April 5, 2007 11:53 am

    Imaginative, creative and fun! Great list, Susan. Happy blog birthday! 😀

  26. Tink

    April 5, 2007 12:42 pm

    Funny and interesting as always. I’d like to hear your personal answers too though!BR/My TT is about oracle decks I own.

  27. nancy

    April 5, 2007 12:42 pm

    That was awesome!BR/BR/A much needed lift for the day!

  28. Robin

    April 5, 2007 12:52 pm

    So creative, I love it.BR/BR/Happy TT.

  29. scooper

    April 5, 2007 1:20 pm

    As usual I’m impressed with your TT.(You make me ashamed of my pathetic books on my shelf TT.)

  30. Sparky Duck

    April 5, 2007 1:30 pm

    wow, I didnt know Trevor was such an idiot

  31. Susan Helene Gottfried

    April 5, 2007 1:51 pm

    Not an idiot, Sparky. Just a cut-up. But if you pay close attention, he’s a pretty smart guy under all that sarcasm and cutting wit.

  32. Marcia

    April 5, 2007 4:17 pm

    One word: No, two, freaking awesome.BR/Could not be a better 1st anniversary entry. Made me want to ask my own questions, just to hear the feet on the floor or knees line again.

  33. Douglas Cootey

    April 5, 2007 4:36 pm

    Creative TT. A fascinating writing exercise, I bet. I wouldn’t have thought to treat TT as an opportunity for my characters to have a conversation. ;)BR/BR/My A HREF=”” REL=”nofollow”Thursday Thirteen/ABR/http://thesplinteredmind.blogspot.comBR/BR/~Douglas

  34. Cory

    April 5, 2007 4:56 pm

    Happy Blog Birthday!!!BR/You’re characters are awesome. I love the way you have them interviewed for us.

  35. impworks

    April 5, 2007 5:01 pm

    Wow. You put a lot of work into that one.

  36. Stephanie

    April 5, 2007 5:49 pm

    Your blog is always such a treat to read!! I love it!!

  37. Amy Ruttan

    April 5, 2007 7:50 pm

    Great balance meme. That was awesome!BR/BR/Love it. Happy TT!

  38. FRIGGA

    April 5, 2007 10:13 pm

    I’ve never seen a TT13 done this way. Interesting and funny!BR/Thanks for commenting on my TT13.

  39. Haley-O

    April 5, 2007 10:56 pm

    This was soooo cool, Susan! So interesting to see your writing process, your character development. Love it! Happy Passover!

  40. elementaryhistoryteacher

    April 5, 2007 11:37 pm

    I find it interesting how you used a real meme and placed your characters within it. Great job!BR/BR/Thanks for visiting my TT.

  41. Nicholas

    April 6, 2007 2:08 am

    That is really something different! Lots of fun.BR/BR/My TT at

  42. Ash

    April 6, 2007 8:49 am

    Dude, you wouldn’t want my MIL. Not that she’s incredably evil, it’s just more that she hates me and likes me to feel uncomfortable. BR/BR/Great TT. BR/(I eat Matzoh year round, the everything kind with cream cheese. yum)

  43. Thumper

    April 6, 2007 3:13 pm

    …definitely one of the most original Thirteens I’ve read lately :)BR/BR/Here via Michele’s, and I am now going to snoop around your blog some more.

  44. Jill

    April 6, 2007 4:35 pm

    Yum! Cracker JAck!!!!BR/With balance you can stand with one foot on the ground!!!BR/I came here first, but you didn’t have your TT posted yet!!

  45. littlebirdblue

    April 6, 2007 5:01 pm

    Your dudes seemed to take a pretty Zen idea and bring it down to Earth.

  46. Susan Helene Gottfried

    April 6, 2007 5:03 pm

    Not too zen, though? BR/BR/Jill, yeah, we were up late with the TT this week. Long story…

  47. Becky68

    April 6, 2007 5:30 pm

    That was very interesting, I’ll have to check out your book.BR/Here from Micheles today

  48. Nancy J. Bond

    April 6, 2007 10:18 pm

    Brilliant! A very fun TT list…and a good peek at your characters. BR/BR/Happy Easter!

  49. Andrew

    April 7, 2007 10:26 am

    “Kermit Ladd, who is so famous, he has no bio. Give me a break; I just invented him around noon on Wednesday.”BR/BR/Haha! Nice. Interviewing your characters with a character you just made up. Now that’s funny. Not to mention the entire interview was also amusing.

  50. Joy Renee

    April 7, 2007 2:47 pm

    hilarious. That Trevor wouldn’t know balance from baloney.BR/BR/kinda funny that my TT was about balance too. i list 13 things i’ve neglected to an emabarrassing degree since getting the news about the library closure four months ago.BR/BR/ for blogging anniversary.BR/BR/and congrats for getting featured at the TT hub

  51. she

    April 8, 2007 12:17 am

    This is why I love you (and Erica). You take a great idea – balance meme – to the next level. The more I read, the more I can’t wait until your book is in my hot little hands.

  52. Ivy

    April 8, 2007 3:13 am

    That was great! Thanks for stopping by!!!

  53. PJ

    April 8, 2007 6:48 am

    I want to be a ShapeShifter groupie now!

  54. Susan Helene Gottfried

    April 8, 2007 9:06 am

    Oh, yeah, PJ? BR/BR/Stay tuned, then. I’ve got something for you! BR/BR/And She, you, too. I’m thinking of doing something a little bit daring that’ll get you something to at least hold in your hands.

  55. cheesygiraffe

    April 8, 2007 4:16 pm

    Naughty boys! And naughty cheesy. I thought I had commented on this Thursday, I guess not.

  56. West Of Mars — The Meet and Greet » Blog Archive » Thursday Thirteen #52 — Thoughts about Fire
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