07 December 2010

Imprint Extra: CeeCee Honeycutt and Oletta's Next Adventure

As I have mentioned once or twice, I absolutely loved Beth Hoffman's novel, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. The women Beth wrote about came alive for me, and I still think about them and hope that CeeCee is feeling safe and strong.

I am honored to have a very special treat for you today: Oletta Jones's debut into the world of journalism. Please give a warm welcome to a wonderfully wise woman, who is here to tell you how she became an author.

What Would Oletta Say?

My name is Oletta Jones. Up until a few months ago not many folks knew who I was, and that was fine by me. Then some woman wrote a book and made me a main character; can you believe that? And now, well, I guess I’m kinda famous. But I don’t mind, not most days, anyway. I go to my job at Miz Tootie’s just like always, and I still keep an eye on CeeCee as if she was my own. Lord knows that child needs some guidance. She’s doin’ real good, but with all she’s been through in her young life, I can’t help but worry.

Lately all sorts of letters been comin’ to my mailbox. People think I’ve got answers to their problems. A lot of those folks think I’m wise. Makes me feel good, especially since I didn’t finish school. Somehow the newspaper people got wind of all those letters and they asked me to write a column—said they’d call it “What Would Oletta Say?”

They want me to pick one letter each week and give my answer so they can put it in the newspaper. Well, CeeCee and I looked over all the letters and had ourselves a gay ol’ time readin’ the questions. It was hard to take some of ‘em serious, I’ll tell you that.

The first question we picked is from somebody named Luellen:

Oletta, No matter what I do in life or how much my net worth is, I never feel like I have enough. To make matters worse, I’m in a relationship, but he hurts my feelings all the time. I was thinking maybe I should see a therapist, but what do you think I should do?

Dear Luellen,

Net Worth? I don’t know what that is, but CeeCee says it’s got something to do with your checkbook. And if you think your worth has anything to do with how much money you got, then you’re in trouble plenty! When I hear about so many folks goin’ to what they call “therapy”—well, I wonder what this world’s comin’ to. Now, I know some people need genuine help, and it’s real good they get it, but here’s the thing: too may people lookin’ to others for answers. Somewhere along the way a whole lot of folks up and forgot how powerful they are. Seems to me you’re of ’em.

Maybe you never feel like anything is enough ’cause you don’t like yourself, and if you don’t like yourself, then you’ll never feel like you’re enough and you’ll never be happy with your place in this world. Now, as for your boyfriend, I’m no expert on love, but here’s what I know—love ain’t supposed to hurt.

Think about that. My momma always used to say, “The Good Lord gave you a brain for a reason. Use it.”

All I know is this: happiness comes from the inside, a good days work should bring satisfaction, people get money all mixed up with happiness, and it sure ain’t love if it hurts.

Seems to me that sentence right there just about sums up anything I could ever say, so there’s no sense in me readin’ any more letters or doin’ this column.

Guess I just put myself out of a part-time job at the newspaper, but that’s okay—I got bread in the oven, friends to laugh with, a nice roof over my head, and I like myself just fine. I’m enough. And I hope one day you'll think you're enough too.
Oh, Oletta, you really are wise, whether you think you are or not. And don't fret over not becoming a famous columnist; you've given so many of us plenty to think about already.

Now my biggest wish is that you have a pot of tea warming on the stovetop and some of that fresh bread ready to slice and eat with honey or your fresh strawberry preserves. I'll make room for everyone else at the table too.

This post was an Imprint Extra for the featured imprint Pamela Dorman Books. For more on Pamela Dorman Books, please see Pamela Dorman's guest post and the introduction to her imprint. For my review of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, click here. To meet Beth Hoffman, visit her website and blog, and follow her on Twitter.


Julie P. 12/7/10, 6:36 AM  

I love this post. A few weeks ago, Beth came to Lancaster and we were joking about having WWOS shirts and totes!

Pam 12/7/10, 6:49 AM  

Oh this is so fantastic!

Peaceful Reader 12/7/10, 9:55 AM  

This is on my to-read list. Thank you for bringing the book alive so I need to put it on my Christmas list!

MOLLYC 12/7/10, 9:59 AM  

I love Beth, I love Oletta, and I love CeeCee. This is wonderful! molly

bermudaonion 12/7/10, 10:23 AM  

This is fantastic and Oletta (and Beth) is a very wise woman!! I want one of those What Would Oletta Say? shirts!!

Beth Hoffman 12/7/10, 10:39 AM  

Oletta is so tickled! She never dreamed anything like this would ever happen to her. And CeeCee is dancing all through the house laughing.

Kathy ... I just might have to have WWOS? T-shirts made for y'all. LOL!

Anonymous,  12/7/10, 11:53 AM  

Thank you, thank you, thank you for a few more moments with Oletta. It made my day. I would buy a WWOS shirt in a heartbeat. Just thinking of Oletta, CeeCee, and everyone else makes me happy. I can't wait for Beth's next book, she is just amazing.

Dorte H 12/7/10, 1:35 PM  

Nice to meet you, Oletta!

Beth & Beth: it is funny how book characters can seem almost as real as our friends and neighbours. Recently my youngest daughter paid me a wonderful compliment. She said that she kept forgetting that Rhapsody (my protagonist) wasn´t a real name.

Beth Hoffman 12/7/10, 2:26 PM  

Dorte ... it's so true, isn't it? Oletta is so absolutely "real" to me that sometimes I catch myself talking to her ... and she answers!

I wonder if I'll one day end up at Happydale Sanitarium. Lol!

Mary (Bookfan) 12/7/10, 2:54 PM  

How wonderful to hear from Oletta again. I've missed her! She's like everyone's favorite grandma :-)

Margot 12/7/10, 4:08 PM  

What a treat to hear from Oletta. She is so real to me. I wish I'd thought to send her and CeeCee and Miz Tootie a letter, but I didn't. Beth, please tell them all we said Hi and we're thinking about them.

Stuart Ross McCallum,  12/7/10, 7:00 PM  

Wonderful to hear from you Oletta, we (your fans in Australia) love having you, CeeCee and Beth in our lives.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas Oletta, and a happy, healthy, New Year.

Veens 12/7/10, 8:05 PM  

***My momma always used to say, “The Good Lord gave you a brain for a reason. Use it.” -- cracked me up :)

**All I know is this: happiness comes from the inside, a good days work should bring satisfaction, people get money all mixed up with happiness, and it sure ain’t love if it hurts.** - love these lines...

and I want those Tees!

Rebecca Rasmussen 12/7/10, 8:12 PM  

Oh Bethie, I adore you!!!! I am in Macon, Georgia and I keep thinking of you :) xoxoxo

Beth Hoffman 12/7/10, 9:06 PM  

Oletta is tickled that y'all stopped by to read her very first blog post!

Many thanks to each and every one of you. And a special thanks to Candace for inviting Oletta to Beth Fish Reads today.

Nise' 12/7/10, 11:16 PM  

So true, Miss Oletta!

I would love to be at that tea party.

Kaye 12/8/10, 8:45 AM  

Fantastic post!

Esme 12/8/10, 11:55 AM  

What a lovely post-this book was truly a delight.

Unknown 12/16/10, 5:33 PM  

Oletta sure is a wise woman. Loved this! Thanks so much for sharing.

Sheila (Bookjourney) 12/17/10, 1:46 PM  

This was fantastic! I enjoyed reading about Oletta! I just posted my interview today with Beth Hoffman.

Robin in New Jersey 2/9/11, 1:54 PM  

Finished the book last night. Loved it. I have to say...on page 290, I love what Oletta says and I even wrote it in my quote book. Just one thing I disagree on, "ain't no book in the world gonna make you wise." The Bible is full of wisdom from on high.

I will be recommending this book to all my friends.

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