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Friday, December 21, 2007


My recent experience on a jury makes me think that if the police ever suspect me of something and they come to me asking for an alibi . . . I could be in trouble. Case in point, last night.

So there I was, sitting with the MJ Holiday Signing Workshop Elves, signing a pile of Suite Scarlett cards and waiting for various members of the Martin family to drop by and sign as well . . . and I got hungry. I remembered that I had purchased a jar of really good jam. I wanted some jam on toast!

The thing about the jam was, I had put it in the fridge. So when I went to get it out and have some, the lid wouldn’t come off. I tried and tried, but it was no good. I ran the thing under warm water, but I could see that was making the jam all runny . . . so I decided it needed a more gentle warming up. Like if I just held it in my hands for a few minutes.

So there I was, hugging my jam jar. As you do.

Now, imagine if I was framed for a crime I didn’t commit, and the police came and asked me what I was doing on the night of the 19th of December. I would have to say, “Why, just sitting on my sofa, officers, hugging a jar of jam.”

They would look at each other, then one would warily ask, “Can anyone back up this story?”

“Oh, the elves can!”

Another look.

“And J.K.Rowling,” I would add.

Did I not mention this? Of course she was there. I HAD JAM. (I swear, she can hear me every time I step into the kitchen.) She must have been lurking out on the fire escape with a glass cutter, because I never even heard her until she was sitting next to me. She even had a spoon.

“Give me the jam or I’ll kill Harry Potter,” she said.

“Too late,” I replied, smugly. “Everyone knows Harry lives. Suck it, Rowling!”

Oh, she didn’t like that. She stewed for a moment.

“Give me the jam or I’ll kill that girl Bella from Twilight!”

“You didn’t write Twilight! You can’t kill Bella!”

“Oh, can’t I?” she said. “I am MAGIC!”

“No you aren’t.”

“Yes I am! I’ll prove it! Accio, jam!”

She made a lunge for the jam, but I was ready for her. I jumped up just in time, hugging the jam close.

“Since you’re here,” I said, “you can help me pick a winner for the Suite Scarlett giveaway.”

“Give me the jam and I’ll think about it.”

“I will share the jam,” I said, “after you help me.”

“Fine,” she grumbled. “But I’ll get that Bella yet. She’s been hitting on Harry, and I don’t like it.”


That’s the question that was written across the tape dispenser at the East Village post office. I took a picture of it. This photo, of course, is the basis of the Suite Scarlett challenge. I asked you to explain it. Here it is again:

“What is that thing?” J.K. asked me, studying the photo. “Is it a phone?”

“It’s a tape dispenser.”

“What’s tape?”

“It’s sticky stuff,” I explained. (For all I know, “tape” may be an Americanism. I am willing to give J.K. the benefit of the occasional doubt.) “You use it to stick things together.”

“You mean glue.”

“No. It’s not glue. It’s tape. It comes in a roll. This is a picture of it.”

“What, the phone?”

“It’s not a phone!” I yelled.

J.K. smiled. She likes it when she gets me riled up.

“I’m getting my own amusement park,” she said. “I think I know what tape is. But it’s your book. You figure it out.”

“I’m not giving you any jam unless you help.”

“Peevish girl. Fine. Let me see some of these other questions. I’ll answer them. You talk too much.”


anonymous said...
I know for a fact that I'm going to be getting a whole lot of book store gift certificates for Christmas. I've got a few ideas of what to buy, but not nearly enough to quench the fire that is gift-certificate-mania. Have you read any really great books lately that you'd recommend?

JK replies:
I am the top selling author on planet earth and am magic . . . and even I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future! I don’t think you’re going to get a gift certificate at all! I’ll tell you what you’re probably going to get—you’re going to get a turtleneck! Or you may not get anything, because I pretty much own everything! Did you hear about my dolphin? I have a dolphin!

But I’ll play along. You want to buy a book? I assume, of course, that you already have my books. (Everyone does.) Maybe you should buy one of Maureen’s books, so then she’d get some money and stop being so STINGY with her jam. Merry Christmas.

cardiganweather said...
I have come to the conclusion thats it's JK Rowlings way of keeping in contact with you. She's leaving clues everywhere, so when you find out what Jorge Rodriguez is , JK will leave another one. All the while, she will be plotting getting away you from your house just so she can break in to try and steal your food. Watch your back. She's coming. 
Which is scary.

JK says:
You’re next, cardiganweather, if that is your real name. Which I don't think it is. Your house of lies will come tumbling down!

anonymous said...
Wow! So many questions! I can't speak German or French like apparently every other soul reading this blog can (Spanish, anyone?), but... I'm the 50th comment, so that means something, right? 

Who's your favorite friend (who is also an author?)

JK says:

I am.

reese said...
My friends think that my current goal is weird. It is a well known fact that gay guys make the BEST friends ever. So my goal is to make a gay italian guy who's two years older than me my best friend.
I just haven't found him yet. That is a perfectly good goal to have. What do you think?

JK says:
Dumbledore is gay. He will be your friend. Give me jam.

ally said...
Do you like cupcakes? Do french fries dipped in ketchup creep you out? Do you like Hershey Kisses?

JK says:

ysa said...
I have a cheer related question... Maureen, where are you on the whole candy cane thing. Do those gigantic peppermint sticks that are about an inch long count as candycanes?

JK says:

What is wrong with you people? You are food obsessed. But to answer your question . . . yes, they count. (Weren’t all those sweets I invented in the books BRILLIANT? Like the Puking Pastilles? I am more clever than twenty clever people at a clever convention. I should own a sweets company. Maybe I will buy one.)

joanna said...
Hullo Maureen,

Since you are knowledgeable on all things Christmas-related, I am hoping you can answer a question for me. I recently did a Christmas-themed crostic puzzle. When it asked for a 5-letter word for the clue "Christmas berry", I first thought that it must be "HOLLY"; I quickly realized that those letters were all wrong, though. Upon completing the rest of the puzzle, I found that the answer had to be "TOYON". Toyon?! They never taught me about toyon in Hebrew School! If you have the time, I would greatly appreciate the inside scoop on this mystical Christmas fruit!

JK says:
DO YOU NEVER STOP TALKING ABOUT FOOD? And anyway, everyone knows what a toyon is. So I’m not going to tell you. Happy holidays.

MJ adds:

I’m sorry. She can be rude.

JK adds some more:
Shut up, jam-hoarder. What ever happened to hospitality? If you came to my house, I would give you all the jam you could eat.

MJ adds more on that:
I have no intention of going to your house.

JK adds the final word:
No one said you would go voluntarily.


On that note, I handed over the jam. While was eating, I chose the winner of THE VERY FIRST COPY OF SUITE SCARLETT!

I can barely stand it! I’m so excited!

It was a hard choice. But I had to pick someone. I had to. It caused me pain. I agnozied. I asked JK!

So . . . .


*okay, JK tapping a spoon on the coffee table*

The winner is Karen, who wrote:

karen said...
You know, it strikes me as odd that the initials for Jorge Rodriguez are JR. Why? You may be asking this question. Well, MJ, I'll tell you why. In the spoken-phonetic alphabet, JR stands for Juliet & Romeo. Romeo and Juliet may very well be the most famous play ever written by the possibly most famous playwrite in the world, William Shakespeare. If you do not know what this play entails, I suggest you get your butt out of your computer chair and read it. Anyway, for those of you who do not know, Romeo and Juliet entails the story of young but tragically forbidden love. The only conclusion you can draw from this is that Jorge Rodriguez symbolizes young but tragically forbidden love. LOVE I TELL YOU. Hrmm, I guess theatre really did help me in the end.

This is ABSOLUTELY CORRECT. And what’s more . . . Suite Scarlett features Shakespeare! Specifically Hamlet! On unicycles!

So, Karen . . . send me your address over e-mail RIGHT AWAY, and the very first copy of Scarlett is yours for consideration.

There will be more in the future!


Suite Scarlett sounds stupid. Where are the moving staircases? Where are the house elves? I’ll probably read it anyway, because I am exceedingly generous, but I won’t like it. This jam is okay.

Please forgive JK’s lack of CHEER. I should tell you that there I do have elves . . . namely, the Holiday Workshop Signing Elves, who have agreed to work for one more night. So if you still want a card, and you write in tonight, you can get one!


Signing Elves aren’t real. I think it’s sad how she makes these things up, don’t you? Oh, and now she’s saying something about how you can keep asking cheer-related questions, whatever that means. I guess she’ll need me to help out with those again, since she’s clearly a little bit on the incompetent side. I mean, look how long she went without posting the other week! I wrote, like, a ZILLION pages of Harry Potter in less time! Still, we cannot all be me.

Anyway. Ho ho ho, etc. Write in if you want. I’ll be here. I think she’s got crackers somewhere. I can smell them.

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Anonymous Karen said...

AHHHH I WON. I can't believe it I'm so happy. This is all thanks to Nancy Drew. <3 But.. how do you know it's me? Won't their be zombie imposters claiming to be me? I am confused..

3:19 AM  
Anonymous cardiganweather said...


I'm sad. I don't know what to get my friends for x-mas. I'm thinking giftcards but I want to get something funny and under $15. Do you have any great suggestions Oh-Smart-One-Full-of-Cheer.

(and you can tell JK that cardiganweather is my screen name so that freaks like her don't get a hold on my real one. (: )

3:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it wrong that I thought "suck it rowling" was the funniest thing about that post?

3:52 AM  
Anonymous Distraught Beth said...

*Sigh* Yet another loss. I like all the prizes and contest you have, MJ but it gets quite self-deprecating when you keep losing because you're just not quite clever and/or insane enough. Maybe once you could ask a simple fact question (but w/ a twist, to make it harder)? Idk, just an idea. See, I never win anything and although it's nice *almost* winning the Girl at Sea newsletter contest, and being mentioned in your blog while being in the hospital (and recieving a *lovely* picture of Burl Ives) and getting a lovely Suitte Scarlett Holiday Cheer Card in the mail, It doesn't quite give the pride of *winning* something. I'm not mad at you, I'm just venting because it seems like I always come in *second* or anything besides *first.* It's quite sad, really. Well, that's all, just wanted to say hehe. Happy Holidays! :)

3:56 AM  
Anonymous jk said...

oh, see i thought that we were supposed ot be finding like the real meaning of it. but i guess this makes more sense cause i goes with teh book and everything. but ahh this is so sad I called him, i talked to teh guy with the tape dispencer, seriously. i google the post office i called it i talked ot the guy. he told me what it meant! ok i'm calm now, just deeply dissapoined because i found out what it really did mean! anyway funny post i enjoyed it. happy holidays and congrats Karen.

4:35 AM  
Anonymous laurenzo said...

Wow. That was... so much more clever than I could have guessed. xD I can't help it if I'm unimaginative and decidedly not Nancy Drew-like!

I think that Jo should use her magic to help me pass my last two exams tomorrow. Then maybe, just maybe, I'll send her a castle full of jam. Yes, a castle. There seem to be a bunch of those in... Europe. Somewhere.

4:54 AM  
Blogger Little Willow said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:01 AM  
Blogger Little Willow said...

More importantly, what would Jorge do if I gave him the jam that a very kind person gifted to me yesterday, unaware that I have never liked jam, jelly, or anything jam-like or jelly-filled?

5:01 AM  
Anonymous dead body googler said...

So, you see, MJ, I have a bit of a problem. I have these really long knee socks. They're Ravenclaw colors. And they're really, really cool. But dark blue picks up everything, and one of the other colors would be better. What other house would you suggest for my next pair of socks for the holidays?

8:33 AM  
Anonymous mildura said...

ohnoez, don't kill Bella! I am moving the day after x-mas so I can't seem to get into the holiday spirit, and am feeling kind of bah humbug. Any suggestions?

8:42 AM  
Blogger Gia said...

I have a story about giant candy-canes:
That year, in an act of euphoria and holiday spirit, my parents bought giant, plastic candycanes which we were going to place outside ...somewhere. They were about 4 feet tall and plastic...and hard.
My little sister, being so excited to have candy canes that were even taller than she was, decided to take them and run all over the house swinging them around like cranky old people sometimes swing canes (but only on TV).
Unfortunately, she seemed to find it exceptionally funny to hit my older brother with the candy cane. So imagine, if you will, a little runt holding a candy cane that is almost a foot and a half taller than her, hitting a much older boy with it over the head...repeatedly.

Though the concept is now endlessly hilarious, my brother still has a scar through his left eyebrow.

I felt like I should share something, since you so kindly share the stories of J.K. Rowling's visits.

8:56 AM  
Blogger Tim Walker said...

I've been thinking, MJ, about your serious long-term devotion to (and expertise in) CHEER. And here's what I'm thinking: the great scientists get units of measurement or scales of measurement named after them, e.g. ohms, watts, joules, the Richter Scale, the Beaufort Scale, etc.

So, humbly submitted: they should name the CHEER scale or unit of measurement after YOU.

Now, which would you prefer: "MJ" or "maureens"? And should it be "Such-and-such measures 14.6 maureens," or should it be "Such-and-such has attained Category 6 on the MJ Scale"?

I am resisting the urge to hold my breath awaiting your reply, but only because my breath-holding headaches can get really bad.

6:12 PM  
Anonymous KrazyKatie said...

thanx for giving me more holiday cheer. I have one problem though: I like to wear hooded sweatshirts and my friends like to pull the hood over my face and take the strings and tie me up! We almost couldn't get the knot undone today in algebra!
Luckily we did, but do you have any suggestions on how to avoid hood-pulling and jacket tying?
Please help! Before it's too late!

2:48 AM  
Blogger Reese said...

What would we have to do to get you to touch a jellyfish? And to make it more fun and cheer related, the jellyfish has been very carefully dressed as Santa Clause.

Also, I need a million dollars. What do you think would be the best way to go about this?

3:20 AM  
Anonymous xo-amoonzi-xo said...

Charm bracelets always work for me!
or CHOCOLATE!! I always say you can never go wrong with chocolate! If your friends are allergic to chocolate -or are lactosentolerant- theres always..... SOY CHOCOLATE!!!!! :) YUM! HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL
love- amoonzi

4:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you'd said a sticky plaster dispenser, she might have known what the tape dispenser was. Since characters in the wizarding world use spellotape though, you'd think she'd have known. Maybe she had low blood sugar and couldn't think?

6:29 PM  
Blogger DeAnna said...

Yes, but what kind of jam? Mmmmmmmmarmalade starts with an M, you know. Or several.

And then someone had to bring up candy canes, which reminds me of the hot cocoa with the picture of the bear on the front? It has crushed candy canes in it and it quite the stuff of delicious. However, since the candy canes are smashed by elven convicts, you may feel uncomfortable drinking it.

10:42 PM  
Anonymous Nuwon Wearspants said...

Have you, MJ, read Twilight?

Personally, I am not a big fan of the books. But I was wondering, since you plugged Bella in there.

10:53 PM  
Anonymous balexa said...

what holiday dishes do you recomend MJ?(Yes food IS all we talk about JK).Every year for christmas (and every other important dinner we have) we eat turky,chiken,or fish.If i even attempt at looking at one of these roasted creatures again i fear i might turn into one.I was hoping for something without fins or wings this holiday season.

3:37 AM  
Blogger Ryan said...

Chirstmas Question! My Euro History teacher brought up a debate over stockings. Apparently, some people wrap the things they put in them--I hadn't heard of that, he said his fiancee did it, and half our our class said they did it too. As Guru of Cheer, do the items in stockings get wrapped?

10:18 AM  
OpenID strikeredkite said...


JK, you may even kill me if you like, BUT YOU CANNOT KILL BELLA. Edward would surely eat you..

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

im sorry MJ, but i am unmistakably out of Christmas cheer. so, please do forgive me in advancefor what i will be syaing but, JK seems a little...odd. my dad's friend makes really good home-made raspberry jam the other day. it was yummy!

ok those things didnt really have anythign to do with eachother besides that you had mentioned them in your blog.

say hi to the Holiday Sighning Workshop Elves for me!

Happy Holidays, MJ!

quesiton: i am having a brain fart and cant remember if you told us when Suite Scarlett is coming out. so, uh, when is it coming out in 2008? 2009 even?


9:35 PM  
Anonymous laurenzo said...

Oh dear! O' Glorious MJ, I have a bit of a problem...

You see, tomorrow is Christmas eve, correct? Well, I have this friend who I've known for a few months now, but I didn't really think that we were on the whole 'BUY ME A CHRISTMAS PRESENT BECAUSE I'M YOUR BEST FRIEND, DAMNIT!' phase yet. So naturally, being lazy and quite cheap, I didn't buy him anything.

Lo and behold, I find out from his girlfriend (another good friend of mine) that he has, indeed, bought me a Christmas present.

And now it's the 23rd.

Um, yeah. Help?

I'm not going to see him until this coming Saturday, but my entire week is packed jam full of things to do, and I don't know if I have time (or enough money in my pocket) to buy the poor boy something for Chwistmasss. D:

And I'll feel really really bad if I don't.

I need your expertise in all things 'holidazzling' (a word my cell phone company uses for holiday themed wallpaper) and cheerful (a word the dictionary uses for... cheerful things).

So please, again, help?

7:58 AM  
Anonymous Rebekah the Unimaginative said...

I just now received my holiday cheer cards in the mail and I'm rather excitied.
Time to freak out my friends with random, anonymous Suite Scarlett cards in the mail!

7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is your favorit holiday movie?

10:56 PM  
Anonymous Danica said...

So I'm sitting here twiddling my thumbs, waiting for my card to show in the mail (which is actually for my friend), and I just wanted to say Merry Christmas to MJ, JK, Free Monkey, and the Elves!

11:07 PM  

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