On Monday, Goldie Goldbloom wrote about why she’s totally going to be excommunicated (hint: She’s a Chasidic Jew who just wrote a novel about gay sex in the Australian Outback, circa World War II). She is the author of Toads’ Museum of Freaks and Wonders. She will be blogging all week for the Jewish Book Council and MyJewishLearning.
Oh, I do so love a pie-eyed, dyed-in-the-wool loony! There’s something that gives me a savage kick in the guts — the kind other people get when they leap off tall mountains with skis strapped to their feet — when I see someone coming, rolling their eyes and frothing a little. Yes! I think. Yes! Bring it on!
So, being stalked by a delightfully bright-eyed crazy person in Australia whilst doing readings from my novel, Toads’ Museum of Freaks and Wonders, was kind of cool. I mean, I thought only real celebrities got their own personal crazy person. Celebrities who are both skinny AND beautiful (beautiful on the inside doesn’t count when it comes to stalkers), like Catherine Zeta-Jones and Jodie Foster and Uma Thurman and George Harrison. Alright. Not George Harrison. He’s a beautiful-on-the-inside person like me, and anyway, his stalker ate his frozen pizza.
Dang. If my stalker ate my frozen kosher pizza I wouldn’t have taken him to jail like George. I’d have beaten him over the head with the empty box and made him go buy another pizza. Parenting books say the punishment must fit the crime.
I’m given to exaggeration on occasion but I’d never say I’m a celebrity or skinny or beautiful on the outside, so my personal stalker has been a wonderful surprise. Like winning the million-dollar lottery without the money. She’s little and cute and old and has a wonderfully hoarse smoker’s voice and she told me that she wanted, really badly, to hate Toads’ Museum of Freaks and Wonders and promised herself that it was going to be utter dreck, but then, annoyingly, she loved it instead and gave it a five out of five in her head and decided she’d come down to the university to tell me so herself.
Each day, when she showed up, it gave me a little boost to see her bright blue eyes and ever so slightly malevolent grin coming through the crowd. She’d lean across the signing table as if we were old friends, and by the third day I actually did know her better than anyone else there, due to her infinite capacity to talk about herself once the line at the signing table thinned out.
It made me feel a teeny tiny bit Catherine Zeta-Jones, even though I’m definitely rocking the sweet-potato-wearing-a-blimp look these days.
Goldie Goldbloom’s first novel, The Paperbark Shoe, won the AWP Prize and is an NEA Big Reads selection. She was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and has been the recipient of multiple grants and awards including fellowships from Warren Wilson, Northwestern University, the Brown Foundation, the City of Chicago, and the Elizabeth George Foundation. She is chassidic and the mother of eight children.