Carlip, Queen of the Oddballs
June 02, 2006
you were slightly off kilter as a child, or if you were hopelessly out of style
because your mother insisted on a Dorothy Hamill wedge haircut for your entire
childhood, or if you were the source of ridicule because of you wore a hideous
headgear then well, we could be very good friends. Anyone who was the butt of
cruel jokes or was teased will pique my interest and I will want to learn more
about you. Those who stood firmly on the outskirts of popularity are the most
interesting souls in adulthood, this is simply my humble opinion and what I have
found to be true.
it's not surprising that I zipped through Hillary Carlip's memoir, Queen of
the Oddballs because I am a card-carrying member to the Oddball club. Yes,
Hillary's life was a bit different and she calls herself an oddball, but I think
she's super cool.
kept wanting to see what each chapter held, like an adventure with your best friend,
never quite knowing which direction you are headed in next. Hillary has done all
kinds of things in her life: being on House Party as a child, hanging out with
Carly Simon, appearing on the Gong Show (and winning I might add), fire eating,
juggling and more. She sums up the various eras of her life with snippets of what
was happening in the world during the 1960's through the year 2004.
also runs a site called Fresh Yarn
which is a collection of personal essays from all sorts of oddballish people,
all with an excellent sense of humor. After you scope out the many essays on Fresh
Yarn, you can skip to her website here.
And then buy the book here.
And check out the write up on Augusten Burroughs, Hillary Carlip and Terri Jentz
what's the difference between being a weirdo and being an oddball? Is this a subjective
opinion? What do you consider to be the official definition of oddball?
me an oddball is someone whos on the sunny side of weird. Anyone whos
a crackpot, an iconoclast, a cock-eyed optimist or a tin-foil-hat-wearing kook.
Its someone not afraid to do things unaccording to plan.
assuming that's you on the cover of the book. Sweet outfit! You should have worn
that hot little get-up to the book festival rather than those True Religion jeans
you were sporting.
not me on the cover, though I have danced with a wooden spoon before! Its
a pic from the 60s that I found that captured the oddball essence and spirit
of the book. Im just waiting for some random older lady to come up to me
and say, Hey, thats ME!
did it feel to smooch with rumored CIA assassin, Chuck Barris on The Gong Show?
Did you get any vibes from him, like maybe he killed someone minutes before you
preformed your juggling routine?
No tongue, though. Total vibes. Why else would this smart guy come off so damn
bumbling and goofy? Im sure he so totally offed someone right before I did
my act (and WON, I might add!)
she reads the book, Carole King may find out how you spent several weeks plotting
The King Case. Do you think she already knows? How would you feel if two teenagers
were spending their summer vacation setting up the "Carlip Case"?
long as they show up with homemade banana bread like my friend Greg and I did,
its cool. And keep in mind -- once we found Carole and she gave us lemonade
and performed her Lamaze breathing exercises on her kitchen floor, THAT WAS IT.
We didnt stalk her!
you still bake banana bread as a way of trying befriend celebrities? I have some
blueberry muffins for you by the way.
Thats probably the last thing I ever baked or cooked -- decades ago. Now
Im sure my baking would only bring hatred and potential law suits.
do you feel about being so honest about your life, allowing strangers to read
personal things about you? Does it make you nervous? Do you have any fear about
how people will react to what you've written?
only nervous about the hate-mongers. And I dont just mean the ultra conservatives
or homophobes. Im talkin about the juggler-haters. Or the anti fire-eaters.
(Ya know, mimes gave a bad name to both jugglers and fire-eaters!)
you have any plans to write more books? Queen of the Oddballs has such a great
buzz, you might need to follow it up with something else. Oddballs Part 2 perhaps.
definitely continuing to write about more oddball adventures. Im also doing
an anthology of personal essays from my website FRESH YARN. Id like to have
FRESH YARN become sort of like a McSweenys, where I can continue to support
and develop other writers, and help get their work out there. I know that was
an incredibly dry answer, but whatev!
do you spend your time when you aren't writing or running Fresh Yarn? What types
of books do you like to read? I hope you aren't a sci-fi fan because those people
are just plain freaky. (if you love books about bug- eyed aliens, unicorns and
spaceships then Im just kidding)
thats exactly the sequel Ive been writing! A book about a bug-eyed
unicorn who comes to earth on a spaceship. All Ive been reading for a couple
o years now are memoirs, memoirs and memoirs.
you could have dinner with any celebrity who would you choose and why?
Just to explain why I started my last chapter in Queen of the Oddballs with the
line I didnt always want to bitch-slap Oprah.