Monday, July 22, 2013


Springfield (my hometown) is known for being the childhood home of Brad Pitt, Tent Theater, Cashew Chicken…and Pineapple Whip.

Every summer, Hula Lulu swings her hips from the top of Pineapple Whip stands across town.  (Literally—her hips swing, and her grass skirt sways back and forth.)  No summer is complete without the stuff—it’s closer to sherbet or sorbet than ice cream—and if I were to describe the taste, I’d have to say—it tastes just like July.  Like the Ozarks Empire Fair and blaring sun and humidity and…well.  It takes like summertime at home.

Pineapple Whip is definitely part of the local color of Springfield.  Sometimes, though, I forget that it is local color.  I’ve lived here so long that sometimes, it seems as though every summer, there should be Hula Lulus shimmying atop stands on corners all through the country…

Most of my pubbed books take place in my area of the country.  It just seems a natural fit for me to write about the Midwest.  Often, I find myself inserting details that, again, I feel like are well-known cross-country…only to get hit with margin notes as the book hits copyedits: “Is this a real product?”  Or, “What does this refer to?”  

I’m reminded, as I go through copyedits, that not everyone has the same “Hula Lulu.”  Not everyone has eaten a cup of Pineapple Whip during the Ozarks Empire Fair.  It’s my job as a writer to balance both worlds—to make sure those who are from the area nod in agreement, saying, “I know exactly what she’s talking about,” while those who aren’t can still vividly and vicariously experience the Midwest for themselves…

…How has local color made its way into your own work?


  1. Holly, You made me feel like I was standing on the hot summer pavement, looking up at Hula Lulu, myself!

  2. Fantastic! Writing about it made me want to head down the street and pick up a quart...