Friday, June 17, 2011
Welcome AJ Nuest as my First Blog Guest!
Wisconsin, doin cha’ kno?
“Where, exactly, are you from?”
This question has plagued me more than any other throughout my life. Born and raised in the unspoiled wilderness of Northern Wisconsin, I grew up blissfully unaware of my northern twang, until I graduated from high school and moved to the center of the universe (aka Milwaukee, WI) to attend college.
But even then, my accent was most often met with mild curiosity. My assumption is most folks either didn’t hear it because they carried the same inflection themselves, or they ignored the way I sounded altogether, instinctively knowing I must be from the Great White North. Still, I got the occasional query, people asking if I hailed from Canada or Minnesota, how come I said words like door (dowr) and out (ouit) so strangely and wasn’t I cute with my quaint country lingo.
In all honesty, I hated the way I sounded. Living away from home for ten years, my ear became attuned to the way others spoke, and when I returned for a visit I was horrified to learn the true nature of my voice. Did I really sound the same as all those backwoods hicks? Did I carry that same disturbing lilt which immediately made the listener doubt my intelligence? Why couldn’t I have been born with an accent like Audrey Hepburn? Maybe I could take lessons and learn to speak like Grace Kelly? For crying out loud, how had I made any friends?
Aside: If you’ve ever seen the movie Fargo, you know exactly what I’m talking about (aboot). Although Frances McDormand portrays a quick-witted, highly intuitive police officer, when you first heard her speak, didn’t you instantly think, “Boy, she’s a couple of watts short of a bulb.” I mean, come on! Who actually says, “Is there a phone down here, do ya’ think?” People from northern Wisconsin, that’s who! Ms. McDormand nailed that accent like she’d been reared a stone’s throw away from my childhood home.
Ten years after my move to Milwaukee, I made an even larger step and moved to Chicago. With nothing more than a job interview and two hundred dollars in my pocket, this country girl was making good on her dream to live in the big city. This is when the questions began in earnest. I literally couldn’t meet someone without them asking where I was from. Being a single, young woman looking for love, I can’t tell you how annoying this was.
I tried to rid myself of the northern drawl. I thought the longer I lived away from home, the more it would fade, right? RIGHT!? No such luck. Twenty-five years later, I still carry the same silly sound.
The other night my family sat down to watch America’s Got Talent. As luck would have it, the auditions took place in Minnesota. So I wasn’t surprised when several of the contestants arrived on stage and answered the judges’ questions with the standard, “Oh, yah” we northerners like to use.
One gentleman in particular carried a very heavy accent, and when he came out in his goggles and bike helmet, everyone in my family laughed. Heck, everyone in the auditorium laughed. The guy had to be a complete doorknob. But, not so..not so, at all. Turns out he performed a special “chain reaction” talent by arranging popsicle sticks so they snapped into the air, and when he received three YES votes from the judges, I smiled and heartily applauded.
You see, now that I’m older I’ve realized something. My accent didn’t stop me from meeting the perfect guy, having two beautiful children or becoming a published author. If anything, the way I speak helps me stand out in an area where people say “warsh” for “wash” and “pin” for “pen”. I know sometimes I sound silly and people may assume I’ve got an empty noggin, but that’s okay with me. The way I speak is a part of who I am.
Now I carry my northern twang proudly, and hope that it never fades. So, go ahead and ask me where I’m from. I’ll smile proudly and answer, “Wisconsin, doin cha’ kno?”
Only her deep connection with The Reverend, a gentle stallion who guards her darkest secrets, has her agreeing to spend any more time with Dr. Saunders. Caring for the stallion is the first bright spot in her life in months, and if being around the horse means she has to deal with Matthias Saunders, then so be it. Surely a city girl like her can handle one country vet—even one with disturbing blue eyes. Can't she?
Jezebel’s Wish Excerpt:
Jezzy stopped. “I thought I was having a riding lesson.”
“You are.” He nodded toward the empty paddock. “Go in.”
“Go in?” Jezzy propped a hand on her hip. “You sure you know what you’re doing? Because it was my understanding that an actual horse is needed for a riding lesson.”
“Don’t you think it would be wise at this juncture to leave the understanding up to the professionals?”
Jezzy rolled her eyes. “You’re making this way too easy. Professionals? Please. Don’t get me started.”
“Why not? Getting you started is exactly what I’m here for.”
Jezzy’s jaw dropped. She didn’t quite know how to interpret that remark.
He held out the rope. “Now go in. And take this lead line with you.” Steely blue determination glinted in his eyes. There was no way he was going to give in.
Jezzy snatched the lead line from his hand and stormed through the gate, then turned when he closed it behind her.
He put a foot on the bottom railing and rested against the gate, facing the horizon. “Take the chair to the center of the paddock and sit down.”
“And just exactly how is that supposed to teach me to ride?”
He cocked an eyebrow. “You want out of the deal?”
Jezzy’s fist clenched tight around the lead line. What she wanted was to march back to the fence and smack his face.
AJ Nuest lives in northwest Indiana with her loving husband and two beautiful children. She is the author of two contemporary romance novels.
Visit her on the web at:
Facebook: Tattered Pages http://tinyurl.com/3qvxyn6
Jezebel’s Wish Buy Links:
The Wild Rose Press: http://tinyurl.com/446f7r3
Check out the trailer:
Coming June 27: Guest Blogger Calvin Davis discusses "The Phantom Lady of Paris!"