love is a flower

1. Vampires have taken control of my stereo again. I was just minding my own business, listening to some Death Cab, when all of a sudden the volume went from 10 to 3. What’s going to happen when I start reading Twilight?

2. Today is one of those exciting work days for me. I’m almost finished with the draft of my fourth book, Something Like Fate. It’s only the first draft and there are many more revisions ahead, but the end is in sight and that’s super thrilling. It’s also great timing, since the copyedits for Waiting for You will be ready for me soon.

3. My neighbors across the street have a bird in their window that sounds like a sheep.

4. Congrats to Nico Medina on his shiny new job! Nico was my most excellent copyeditor. Sadly (for me), he’s left Viking for the next stage in his career. I miss you already, fam.

5. The other day I was looking for some yellow flowers. All of the yellow flowers were corroded, so I didn’t get any. Then SP shows up to dinner with yellow roses! How did he know? He also brought me blackberries because he knows that I will be missing berries for the next several months. How awesome is he? Pretty frickin’ awesome, that’s how. I documented the blackberries, seconds before eating:

Blackberries

jackson browne is popular

As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been one of those people with musical tastes that belong to an older generation. I wrote Paul Simon lyrics on my Keds in junior high. James Taylor and the Beatles and Cat Stevens and Led Zeppelin were (and still are) the word. True, I worshiped (and still worship) R.E.M. and the Cure, but I was mostly into stuff from the 70s. And one of my most adored musicians was Jackson Browne.

Jackson has a message. He’s all about peace and love, hippie style. His lyrics are all writing about the moon and dreaming about the stars and other transcendental stuff. I listened to “The Road” so many times that my cassette tape stopped working from exhaustion. So you can imagine how excited I was to see him perform last night at the Columbus Circle Borders.

Listen here: Jackson Browne – The Road

Whenever I show up for a reading, I’m mad professional about it. When Steve Martin came to the Union Square Barnes & Noble, I arrived at 4:00 for his 7:00 reading. I needed that seat in the second row, right in front of the podium. But here’s the thing. No one told me that, in order to actually see Jackson Browne last night, I had to show up at like 10:00 to get a wristband for his 7:00 show.

Jackson has tons of fans. And a lot of them live here in New York. Since I didn’t have a wristband, I was not allowed in front of the stage. I was banished with the rest of the no wristbands. This meant standing on tiptoes for half and hour, wedged in between CD racks in the World and Folk sections, trying to catch a glimpse of Jackson from around the edge of a sign and a guy’s swaying head. My view looked like this:

Jackson Browne

You can clearly see Jackson smiling at my determination to remain on tiptoes for the whole show. Good thing I’m 5′ 8″. And great quote by Joan Didion (I feel the same way!). Jackson was signing after and I could not wait to meet him and have him sign my CDs. Then I found out that Jackson was only signing his new CD. And, oh yeah, he’s only signing if you have a wristband.

Heart. In. Pieces.

And not just over my own disappointment. There were dudes with his albums from freaking decades ago. I wished them good luck at getting their albums signed, then took my Running On Empty and Hold Out and dug my way out of the crowd.

Of course I signed some of my books before I left. We should do whatever we can to remain in the happy place.

buono appetito

The Feast of San Gennaro is the oldest and largest street festival in Little Italy. Here’s what you do there:

1. Eat.
2. Eat some more.

Most importantly, fried Oreos can be found at the feast in abundance. The person who invented the fried Oreo is one smart cookie. It’s an Oreo cookie wrapped in dough, then deep fried to delicious donut consistency and sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar. So freaking good. We were too busy inhaling them to actually document, but here I am with a fuzzy pink marionette:

Susane Colasanti at the Feast of San Gennaro

A random stand had tons of plastic fruit. Laila was all excited because she knows someone who goes crazy for the plastic fruit. Don’t you? She purchased 13 pieces for $12. Fried Oreos are 6 for $5, by the way. My people with the fruit:

Feast of San Gennaro

Laila, in action with the fruit! Me, displaying some fruit with particular attitude.

Feast of San Gennaro

For quality dessert, your destination is Ferrara. We were too full to partake of Ferrara, but it wasn’t insulted. FYI: They don’t serve fried Oreos.

Ferrara, Little Italy

yes we can

I’m so proud of the YA world mother to us all Judy Blume for speaking out at YA for Obama. She also told us why she feels so passionate about this election on her blog. Today, John Green discusses religion, science, and the dangers of anti-intellectualism. It’s vital to the continued existence of all living things (and this planet) to distinguish between fact and absurdity.

YA for Obama is for everyone, but especially wants to encourage teens to take action. You can still make a difference even if you can’t vote. Find out about volunteer opportunities in your community. Your future education, health care, and quality of life are at stake now. Meg Cabot did a most excellent job of explaining how you can make a difference.

Something else to care about: Service Pays, a program that pays back college loans in exchange for community service after graduating. A quality education is worth every penny. As someone who paid for college and grad school with no help other than financial aid, I graduated almost $70,000 in debt (which I just finished paying off three years ago). My undergrad degree is from the University of Pennsylvania, which has a tuition more expensive than Yale’s (currently about $36,000 a year).

Do I regret attending such expensive universities and doing without so many things in order to pay back my outrageous loan debt? No way. You only get one brain. But that doesn’t mean it was an easy time.  And I hope that future college students won’t have to endure that kind of stress.  You can contact your local political representatives here to let them know why it’s important for Service Pays to become federal law.

Imagine your ideal world. Now go out and help turn your dream into reality.

seasons of us

Today is the autumnal equinox. Summer is officially over. This is always a hard time for me. I mean, I love the whole back-to-school excitement with all of that hope and the possibility of reinventing yourself. And most of fall has some refreshing weather going on. But it’s hard for me to say goodbye to flip-flops and summer breeze and the whole relaxing vibe of drinking fresh lemonade (with a twist of lime) out on a back porch watching the stars somewhere. I will be fruit starved. I will miss longer daylight hours.

John Mayer gets me. He said, “There’s fog inside the glass around your summer heart.” We go way back.

Here’s the thing, though. Time keeps zooming by at an alarming rate these days. It’s not like when I was in high school and one day felt like 23 years. Before I know it, the vernal equinox will be here. And I will celebrate again.

As a tribute to summer, here is the best of my window box sightings. No worries. The flowers will grow again.

New York City windowbox

New York City windowbox

New York City windowbox

New York City windowbox

dedication

Every year on September 11, my friend Stephen visits and we walk to Ground Zero.  Here are some photos from last year.

This year, we participated in the floating lanterns ceremony.  You can write names or messages for peace on Japanese lanterns, which are then lit and floated out onto the Hudson River at sunset.  There was Buddhist chanting and meditation.  The lanterns floated out onto the river.

Ground Zero, September 11, 2008     Ground Zero, September 11, 2008

I dedicated my lantern to Christopher M. Colasanti.  I didn’t know him, but of course we are all connected in some way.  Stephen tried to draw drew Manhattan with a sunset, since we were supposed to be on top of the Tower on September 11 at that time.  The lantern in progress:

Ground Zero, September 11, 2008

The night was partially cloudy, so there were cool lighting effects.

Ground Zero, September 11, 2008

We have this thing about needing to get as close as possible to the Tribute in Light.  I guess it’s a way of remembering that no matter how hard life gets or how sad we are, we’re alive.  We’re alive and we have an obligation to live the best life we can.  We can never give up.  Last year, we snuck onto a roof across from the lights.  But this year we kind of got caught.  Then we snuck onto another roof and it was the roof where the Tribute in Light was set up!  We were up close.

Tribute in Light, September 11, 2008

And then we said goodbye.

Tribute in Light, September 11, 2008

time warp

Bad hair day? Hair Forecast lets you know if tomorrow will potentially be another one. They use relative humidity, temperature, cloud cover, and precipitation conditions to predict how frizzy or flat your hair will be. It’s always good to know when to break out the extra product. Just enter your city and Hair Forecast ranks the morning, afternoon, and night from 1 (bad) to 10 (great).

In other ranking news, the new Facebook is so icky that I’m not even motivated to maintain my #4 ranking in the Dawson’s Creek Trivia Challenge. However, some good Dawson’s energy exists. I’m stoked that Joshua Jackson (I miss you, Pacey!) is back in the new show Fringe (loving the title and theme). Watchers in TV Land: Please let me know if the show rocks as hard as I expect it to. Not that anything can top Pacey and Joey back in the day:

Pacey Witter and Joey Potter

It’s like we’re in a time warp lately, what with the new 90210 and Knight Rider (which I hear kind of blows) and New Kids on the Block busting a move. I’m debating whether or not to see them here in New York next month. It would be so wild – sitting near the same seat I had when I saw them at Madison Square Garden 20 years ago. I had a third row floor seat and Jordan totally smiled at me! Of course, my attention is always focused on Joey, who looks just as tasty as he did back then.

Adding to the time warp, I Netflixed Square Pegs. All I could remember about it is that I loved how weird it was. I couldn’t actually remember anything that happened. And the only character I recognized when I saw it again was Jennifer DeNuccio. She’s the one who always talked like, “I always, like, talk like this, you know?”

Awesome Netflix karma delivered season four of Grey’s Anatomy right when it was released, so I’m not in that “very long wait” limbo. I have one more disc to watch and need to get my thoughts together. But can I just say how bummed I am that the George and Izzie thing didn’t work out? And what’s up with Meredith and McDreamy?! Can these people ever stay together for more than three seconds? Maybe it’s a Jam thing, where the anticipation of Jim and Pam together was way more thrilling than Jim and Pam actually being together. Don’t we ever like to see the people we’ve been dying to get together actually, like, together?