How did I spend the first day of fall?
Up on my roof like a summer lover gangsta!
One of the most frequent questions authors get is this: Do you ever put real experiences in your books?
Heck yeah we do.
For example. There is a scene in Lost in Love where Sadie has a meltdown/rant/enraged fit over a new store on Bleecker Street. She grew up in that neighborhood. The West Village is the only home she’s ever known. One of the things she loved about the West Village is how it was a community of artists and musicians, filled with mom-and-pop stores that had been there forever. But the West Village, like a lot of New York City neighborhoods, has changed. It’s no longer the boho creative enclave of the 60s and 70s it once was. Sadie observes that Bleecker Street is kind of looking like an upscale strip mall these days. Case in point: this one artisan soap boutique that has, um, leaves inside.
Sadie’s meltdown/rant/enraged fit is sparked by a certain Coffee Shop That Shall Not Be Named. The new coffee shop muscled in after a mom-and-pop record store that had been there for 17 years got pushed out by an outrageous rent increase. Which is why a lot of older stores are closing all over Manhattan. The rents are crazy. Sadie sees the shiny new coffee shop and has what I hope is both a passionate and hilarious fit in front of the store. She even makes a protest sign out of some recycled cardboard and a borrowed marker from Rocco’s. Darcy records Sadie’s rant and they post it online. You’ll see what happens in the final book of the City Love trilogy, Forever in Love, coming out next May.
What does Sadie’s fit have to do with experiences IRL? I had the same exact fit.
I was walking down this block of Bleecker Street I hadn’t seen in a while. When I lived in the West Village for nine years, I walked down that block all the time. But it had been a while since I was right there. And when I saw that our beloved record store had been replaced by the Coffee Shop That Shall Not Be Named, I lost it. I freaked the eff out. Just like Sadie did. Minus the protest sign.
Of course my meltdown/rant/enraged fit had to find its way into a book. The City Love trilogy was the perfect place for it.
At first the Coffee Shop That Shall Not Be Named was named. But my editor made the wise decision to change the name. You know. Good vibes only. So I came up with Java Stop, which I’d never heard of before. Or so I thought. Almost a year later, I was watching Singles, a dope film I hadn’t seen in many years. And what was the name of the local coffee shop?
Was this another fun non-coincidence? Maybe. Had I ever even noticed the name of that coffee shop before? I don’t think so. But maybe I did and I forgot about it on an obvious level. The brain is a fascinating thing. Our memories are there, just not always accessible. Whatever the reason for coming up with Java Stop, it makes me smile to know that Sadie’s fury over its rampage of bullying smaller shops like a big bad boogeyman is making readers smile too.
Keep smiling. And remember to look up.🙂
TGIM! To keep this Monday Motivation train zipping along on a gray day, I thought I would share a non-coincidence with you that, at least to me, speaks to the power of positive energy.
You might be wondering what a non-coincidence is. Excellent question. A non-coincidence is an example of awesomeness in the universe I wrote about in Something Like Fate. I was writing about the concept of fate and to what degree we are the architects of our own destiny. And about other fascinating things we can’t explain. Like this one time when I had a dream about two people I had not spoken to in years, and the next day they both called me. Or how I was taking a subway line I never take at a time of day I never ride the subway and looked up from my book at this one stop for some reason…and a friend I hadn’t seen in forever got on who didn’t even live here. These are non-coincidences. Why do I call them that? One of the quotes I included in Something Like Fate is by David Life: If you believe in coincidence, you aren’t paying attention.
Do I think everything happens for a reason? I do. Do I think that if you live your life in positive energy and work toward your goals with determination and dedication, everything will unfold as it should? No doubt. And do I think that non-coincidences can enrich our lives if we are paying attention? Absolutely.
Here’s a recent example of a fun non-coincidence. I have this DVD of Legally Blonde. When I first got it over ten years ago, it played like a DVD should. No problems at all. Then one day, it stopped playing. Just gave up and called it quits. Given how much I enjoy that movie, I was understandably a bit devastated. I thought about mailing it to the manufacturer to request an exchange. Or just going out and buying a new one. But something kept stopping me. Every time I was like, “I am going to send Legally Blonde back today!” I never did. Which is really unlike me. When I say I am going to do something, I freaking do it. I can’t explain why I held onto this busted DVD.
So my Legally Blonde DVD would not play for years. Years, people. At least five, probably more like seven. I tried to get it to play so many times, hoping each time would be different and it would magically play despite the ever increasing evidence to the contrary.
Of course it never played.
Then it was May 11, 2016. I had recently turned Fabulous at 43. And I woke up that morning determined to make some changes. Things I had been working on for years suddenly were DONE. I was done entertaining negative energy in my life. All negative energy had to go, as I was a positive energy only zone. I decided in that moment that my word for Fab at 43 would be STRONG. I called my crazy busy doctor who I could never get on the phone and insisted on speaking to her directly after several attempted distractions by her intimidating staff, who usually wore me down so much I gave up trying. I spoke to her, then found a new doctor because no patient should be treated like that. I threw down a schedule that would protect my workout time. I shimmered in my Knowing that the new book I was working on chose me to write it. Positive energy was abundant…and powerful.
It was the perfect time to try playing Legally Blonde again.
But this time, I made an executive decision. If it didn’t play (as it hadn’t for the past 32 times I tried over 5+ years), I would toss it and order a new one. That was it. I was DONE.
Guess what happened?
The DVD played.
To me, this non-coincidence reinforced the power of positive energy. I believe that our energy not only affects other people, but also affects every living thing. And even, in mysterious ways, inanimate objects. I know how wild that sounds. But I’ve seen enough evidence in my lifetime to know that the energy we radiate can change the entire world. Including everything in it.
Whatever you want to achieve, whomever you want to become, whichever path you choose to follow, remember this: Positive energy is the key to creating your dream life. This was just a fun non-coincidence I shared, but positive energy is a catalyst for epic non-coincidences on a much larger scale that can change your entire life.
Embrace the power of positive energy. Then go out there and get your DVD to play.
My Fun Fact and a Book video series continues with The Outsiders! You guys know that I worship this book in a godlike way. I slept with the original copy I show you in this video under my pillow in 7th grade, wishing for some magical form of osmosis to seep through the pillow into my brian so I could one day write a teen novel that would help other teens the way The Outsiders helped me. And if you’ve seen me on a panel at an event, you might have heard me mention that Ponyboy Curtis is my book boyfriend because he understands about sunsets and colors and things.
So yeah. Much love for this book.
The first Fun Fact and a Book video expanded on one of the fun facts in my Epic Reads author fun facts video where I share one of my collections. I collect a lot of things, but that would have been the whole video if I showed you them all. There just wasn’t enough time to share everything about each fun fact! So I decided to do this video series where I expand on one of the fun facts in the Epic Reads video, then connect it to a book. The fun fact I expanded on in this new video? The Knowing when I was a teen that New York City would be my true home. I felt like an outsider in my isolated small town, which is why I connected so strongly to The Outsiders. Here’s the whole story:
If you feel like an outsider like I did, I hope this gives you some inspiration. Visualize your place to belong. See it. Feel it. Your happy place is your true home where you will find your people. It is the place where you will not only be accepted for who you are, but appreciated, celebrated, and loved.
You matter. You have a purpose. And you belong.
Here in New York, the first day of school was yesterday. Which, I mean, what? We’re actually into September already? Really? WHAT IS HAPPENING. But yes, these are the last days of summer to cherish, and yes, it is still summer. It is still summer until September 22 when it will officially become fall and don’t let anyone tell you any different. So keep working your graphic tanks and snapping those flip-flops with purpose as you walk down the street enjoying the summer breeze. Speaking of graphics…
1. You know you are dorktastic to the max when your idea of a fun night out is rocking your matching Mister Rogers and Bob Ross tees.
We found these tees earlier in the summer and I freaked. out. My plan was to wear them to some upscale restaurant like the total dorks we are. So we went on a Citi Bike ride down the East River, chilled at Ost Cafe on the Lower East Side, rode to South Street Seaport and had dinner at Barbalu, a restaurant we discovered on a Citi Bike ride last summer that is so fantastic it will appear in Forever in Love, the final book of my City Love trilogy. But of course it was Labor Day weekend and no one was even around to notice the ironic fabulousness of our tees. What can I say? We were on fire.
2. In other Forever in Love news, I recently finished reviewing the copyedits. Which I was sort of avoiding because after copyedits there is only one step left in the publication process: looking over the first draft, a hard copy of the book’s layout. It has been really hard to say goodbye to my girls. After three books and so much more to write about, this is a difficult transition. Fortunately I am super excited about the new book I am working on!
3. Here’s a throwback to 9.09.09.
What was I doing seven years ago today? Oh, I don’t know. Just chilling in this world famous infinity pool at Katikies in Santorini! Santorini is the most beautiful place in the world. The resort I stayed at was positioned on a steep slope on the rim of the caldera. So in this photo you are looking at me blissfully floating at the top of a volcano. How incredible is that?
4. Shout-out to my girl Andrea on Twitter for designing this:
If you’ve read any of my books, you might have noticed that I love including music. It makes me so happy when readers tell me they are into The Cure or R.E.M. or Paul Simon or Fleetwood Mac because they were inspired by my books. But I don’t just include old-school sound. John Mayer is a big part of Waiting for You, a story of a girl dealing with anxiety and depression, and that makes this graphic especially sweet.
5. I don’t know how long it will take for me to not burst into tears when I hear “Empire State of Mind” around September 11, but apparently it’s longer than 15 years. This Sunday, September 11 will mark the 15th anniversary of the Twin Towers attacks. I cannot believe that was 15 years ago. I remember lots of details about that day, both big and small, mostly because I have relived September 11, 2001 so many times: how perfectly blue the sky was, what I was wearing, that excitement I always felt as a teacher at the beginning of a new school year. And of course the fact that, out of all the possible days I could have gone, I had plans that day to go to the Twin Towers with my friend Stephen. We were going to meet up after school and go to the observation deck. But we didn’t because the Twin Towers were…gone. You can read archives of my past September 11 posts linked from here.
Our plan for that day was a sign. Every day since for the past 15 years, I have been grateful to simply be alive.
This September 11 I will be broadcasting my walk down to Ground Zero on Periscope. You can find me there @SusaneColasanti if you want to see the Tribute in Light. Every year when I see the Tribute in Light, I see it as a signal reminding me to be grateful for everything I have. And every day when I see One World Trade, now standing proud and tall near the footprints of where the Twin Towers once stood, I see it as a sign of better things to come.
Anything is possible. This is New York.
We will never forget.❤
Here in New York, there is a hidden cobblestone path in the West Village called Charles Lane. Not many people know about it. I’m like the only one I know who knows about it…except for the people I have shown it to when we were walking in the area. Charles Lane is between Charles Street and Perry Street, but it is only one block long between Washington Street and the Hudson River. I felt like I discovered hidden treasure the day I came across it.
As part of my 20th New Yorkiversary this year, I am celebrating these secluded enclaves that radiate the most positive energy New York has to offer by sharing them with you on Periscope! You can find me there @SusaneColasanti. Every Tuesday evening this summer, I’ve been Periscoping New York City block tours. This week was Charles Lane. Now that Periscope is archiving its broadcasts, you can watch it here. And you can search for me on Periscope and watch my past block tours, too.
Only a few people live on Charles Lane. They are all badass. Like these guys. You can tell by their door.
Here’s to more sweet discoveries, city love, and the power of looking up.