destroy all cars

Congrats to the winner of my Along for the Ride giveaway, ! There were so many awesome comments that I had to randomly select my winner. Reading all of your entries about your favorite Sarah Dessen books was incredible. You can read everyone’s comments here.

Speaking of great books, have you read Destroy All Cars by Blake Nelson?

Destroy All Cars by Blake Nelson

I’ve been a hardcore Blake Nelson fan since Girl came out and was shelved in the adult fiction section. So I was majorly stoked for this book. It did not disappoint. The story is about this boy James who thinks that all cars should be destroyed before they destroy the entire planet. He is so angry and passionate that he reminded me of me in my teen and college years. I can still relate to his anger. Like when I was at the airport and saw how they have this service where you can wrap your bags in layers of plastic. Many, many layers of plastic. From this huge roll of plastic, all sitting in the middle of the airport, just waiting to destroy the planet in all of its stupidness, with people actually wanting this service. When I saw that huge roll of plastic, I wanted to scream. Maybe I could understand the need to wrap your bag after it explodes, but the people waiting in line had very intact bags.

Or how I was seeing an apartment the other day and the broker actually wanted to leave the air conditioner on (which we didn’t even need on in the first place – can you not be slightly warm for three minutes?) after we left so it would be “cool in here for the next broker.” Are you freaking kidding me? I could not march over to that evil greenhouse gas dispenser/energy waster fast enough and turn it off. It really made me mad because this is how some people are. Like, every day.


So yeah. I can relate to the anger. This book also made me think about how we change over the years. I used to be much more proactive and in people’s faces about the ways in which they are destroying the Earth. Now I’m not nearly as confrontational, which is a good thing. But we change in so many ways that we can’t even imagine, with our styles and music and colors we like. Back in college, my sheets and comforter were all in dark colors. Now I would never even think of dark colors for that stuff. My sheets and blanket and towels are all very light colors, creating a sort of Zen spa effect. And there’s no way I would wear most of the clothes I wore ten years ago. What was I thinking?

See, this is how you know Destroy All Cars is an amazing book. When a book makes you think about so many things, it has connected with you in a meaningful way. Rock on, Blake. Keep the spark alive.


There’s this force that drives me to always be working towards my goals. It keeps me wanting more, always moving ahead, always thinking about the next goal I want to reach before I even reach the one I’m working on. This drive is good and bad. It’s good because it keeps me going, even when I don’t feel like going anywhere. When you’re your own boss, you have to be in charge of your own work schedule. Being an organization freak definitely helps. And loving what I do makes me excited to start working (not every day, but almost every day). Lara Zeises recently discussed this issue on her blog. It seems to be on our collective mind.

The drive is also bad, in a way. Because most of the time I’m so busy moving on to the next goal that I don’t take the time to appreciate the one I’ve just accomplished. I always want more. I never feel like I’m doing enough.

It’s strange, really. Before I signed my contract for When It Happens, I thought just getting that one book published would be enough to make me happy. Everything else after that would be a bonus. But it’s not like that at all. My fourth book will be published next year and I feel like I’m somehow behind. Comparison can be dangerous. So instead of comparing myself to other authors, I try to learn from them. My favorite authors are my role models, not my competition.

Back to the collective mind. I was thinking about this stuff last weekend, kind of feeling sad about things, when I saw this tweet string on John Mayer’s Twitter:

Okay. This week? We’re going on a diet. All of us. But this is a diet of a different kind. We’re going to regulate the habit of unhappiness.
3:52 AM Jun 22nd

We will make the conscious decision to make the most of what we have and pine for nothing. No undefinable need or vague despair. Enough!!!
3:55 AM Jun 22nd

If you don’t like it, FIX IT. If you can’t fix it, PLAN B it. If you like it and want more, RESPECT IT. Clean straight lines of living.
3:59 AM Jun 22nd 

He woke me up. Why was I sitting around feeling all sad about things I want so badly that I don’t have? I mean, we all get like that sometimes, but enough. No matter how bad things are, they could always be worse. And the things that I do have are pretty freaking amazing. Paul Simon said:

“The thought that life could be better
is woven indelibly
into our hearts and our brains.”

It’s one of my favorite lyrics. This drive connects us. It gives us hope. It makes us work towards creating a better life. As you’re moving forward, just remember to take some time to appreciate everything you have and all of the wonderful things you’ve already accomplished. They’re pretty freaking amazing, too.

wednesday 5

1. Ever since Take Me There came out in paperback last month, I’ve been hearing from more readers asking about Rhiannon’s name. I’ve even heard from two girls actually named Rhiannon, which is seriously awesome. One sharp reader asked if Rhiannon and Sara from When It Happens were named after Fleetwood Mac songs. She is correct! Sara was named after both a friend and the song “Sara,” while Rhiannon was named after the song “Rhiannon.” Which reminds me…I haven’t done a readers’ Q&A here for a while. If you have a question you’d like to ask, please leave it in the comments section and I’ll put together another Q&A post soon.

2. Shout-out to Alessandria for letting me know about the double feature DVD set of Say Anything and Garden State. That’s so When It Happens!

3. I’ve seen the countdown widget for Crazy Beautiful on tons of blogs. At first I was like, Dude! There’s no way someone else got to write that book! Because I absolutely love love love the movie and totally wanted to be the one to write the book. But then I read a review and discovered that it has nothing to do with the movie. I didn’t know we were allowed to use movie titles for unrelated books. Won’t that cause a lot of confusion? In any case, it sounds like a very interesting book, so I understand the buzz.

4. Have you entered my Along for the Ride giveaway yet? Here’s how.

5. When I was little, I loved watching All in the Family. But since I was so young when it was on, I don’t really remember much of it. Now with the magic of Netflix, it’s been a big old Bunker family reunion up in here. This is a classic clip of Archie arguing with Mike about the right way to eat dinner. They’re both struggling with their diets. Best Archie line: “The cusini could all rush to a foot.” Hilarious up to minute 5:40. Enjoy!

over and over

Welcome to summer! For lots of people, summer already started on Memorial Day. For me, summer starts on the summer solstice, which was yesterday. Today always involves conflict. You’d think I would recognize this as an established annual event and be unaffected by now, but no. I want to be in the Now and appreciate the season of sunset walks and summer breeze and fireflies. But as of today, daylight hours are decreasing (and will continue to decrease until the day after the winter solstice). I’m trying really hard to erase this knowledge. Every day when I turn on my computer, the first thing I see after my Jim and Pam wallpaper is my daylight hours widget. And every day when I see that sunset is one minute later than the day before, I get all happy. Today sunset is at 8:30. Tomorrow when it’s at 8:29, I’ll just have to try really hard to be in the Now, be excited for summer, be one with seasonal cycles.

Which can be challenging when it rains, like, every single freaking day. The five-day forecast says it’s going to be cloudy with rain all week. Again. There’s been so much rain here that my busted umbrella is a permanent fixture in my bag. Even though I totally yelled at it the other day when we were caught in a torrential downpour and it decided to snap another stretcher. There I was on 5th Avenue, attempting to convince my umbrella to work with me just one more day. Curiously, no one walking by thought having a conversation with an umbrella was unusual.

I keep saying I have to get a new umbrella. But then the next day it rains some more and I need the one I have and I’m unmotivated to get another one, even though I end up all drenched again. It’s become a bad habit. Or maybe it’s a routine by now. I’ve been thinking about routines lately. Specifically, the ones we feel like we have to do every day even though we totally don’t. There’s this ep of All in the Family where Archie is arguing with Mike about the right way to put on socks and shoes. Mike goes sock-shoe-sock-shoe. Archie is outraged by this. He insists it must be sock-sock-shoe-shoe. For some reason, I always like to sit on my couch to put socks on, even though my shoes are by the door. If I put on my socks over by my shoes, I just don’t feel right about it.

There are lots of other examples of routines we feel like we have to follow, of course. What’s one of yours?

great indoors

Angela Chase’s dad from My So-Called Life keeps showing up. He was on Private Practice and I just saw him in 24. I am convinced that this is a message from the Universe. Cancel quality shows, the dads of those shows will haunt others.

On a related note, I’m interested to see where this season of Private Practice went when it comes out on DVD. I like the show, only it seems to have already run into a similar problem as Grey’s Anatomy did in season four: getting a bit ridiculous with all of those romantic entanglements (e.g. people marrying people they should never, ever marry). Does everyone have to hook up with everyone else? Seriously? I really can’t wait for the new Grey’s season to come out, though. My devotion will not waver.

Happy Blogiversary to Book Chic! He (yes, he) interviewed me, along with author Robin Palmer. You go with your fine self, Book Chic! Celebrate with a cupcake.

Wearing flip-flops last week was such a tease. It has been raining forever. There’s a flood warning today, so I even took out my boots. The taking out of boots in June violates several of my policies, but it’s desperate times over here.

Question: Why is it that every time I go to a movie, Popcorn Cruncher sits down right next to me? It doesn’t matter how many empty seats there are. Popcorn Cruncher likes to crunch loudly in my ear. Actually, Popcorn Cruncher was absent during the last movie I saw. Instead, Dude Who Sits Right In Front of You When There Are Like Eight Hundred Empty Seats was in the house. Combine these guys with the $12.50 ticket price ($12.50! For one movie!) and I’m all set with Netflix, thanks.

Hey, a new heavy element has been discovered. The Periodic Table will now include element 112. Par-tay!

high line

If I couldn’t be a science teacher or a teen book author or a closet organizer, I would probably be an urban planner. I have serious love for New York City, especially its green architecture and parks and all the ways in which it interacts with the people living here to enhance our lives. The idea of creating a Zen space out of a desolate area is fascinating. That’s why the High Line makes me so happy.

The High Line, June 2009

There’s an old elevated subway line running from the West Village into midtown. For years it just sat there. But now it’s been transformed into the High Line, a new green space with amazing views and lots of vegetation. All of the plants are indigenous, grown from preserved seeds. Trees, grasses, shrubs, and flowers were all planted around the old train tracks:

The High Line, June 2009

It’s a sweet place to relax. I love having peaceful places like this in the middle of a busy city. It’s a totally rejuvenating experience! There are lounge chairs that roll along the original rail tracks. There’s a wading pool you can walk across in the summer. A huge glass wall overlooks the street below. Benches are spread out. Every little section has its own theme going on. And all of the lighting is placed along the railing to reduce the amount of light pollution, which will rock on clear nights.

Since the High Line is elevated in an area with few obstructions, the views are incredible. You can check out the awesome surrounding architecture in a way that’s impossible from street level…

IAC Building by Frank Gehry

…or just watch sunset on the Hudson River :

High Line sunset

Yay for reclaimed materials! Here’s more info about the High Line’s design and history.

buzzing like neon

I’m still buzzing from my High Line experience last night. It was even more amazing than I was expecting! I’ll be posting pics later this week.

Some links:

Teens Writing for Teens interviewed me about fear, inspiration, and advice. I just found this awesome site, which was totally created by teens. If you’re a teen writer looking for advice, check them out.

Nisha and LIbrary Lounge Lizard recently reviewed Waiting for You.

The Wall Street Journal posted an article about darker YA fiction.

Even though I write back to all of my reader email, I just want to say thanks to everyone who took the time to share their thoughts about Waiting for You. I’ve heard from a lot of readers who can relate to Marisa’s struggle to feel normal, both readers who are dealing with an anxiety disorder or depression and readers who see parts of Marisa’s story in their own lives. Your kind words mean more to me than you’ll ever know.

i heart

Top Five Things I Heart This Week:

1. My new Rocket Dog flip-flops. Back before flip-flops got some style, I used to get silk and velvet ribbons from the fabric store and cover the rubber thong parts of my flip-flops with them. Then I would glue on sparkles or sequins. But now flip-flops are all tricked out. My Rocket Dogs are even tie-dyed.

2. The High LIne is open! It’s an old elevated portion of subway tracks that has been transformed into a park. Reclaimed and recycled materials were used to create a beautiful green space, which New York City totally needs more of. It has lounge chairs that roll along the old train tracks. And all of the lighting is positioned near the walkway, so at night we may be able to see a few stars.

3. Scoring the first season of One Tree Hill and a Flight of the Conchords tee at the Virgin Megastore closing sale.

4. John Krasinski in Away We Go. Even with that beard. HIs sweetest line: “You’re my life, Verona. My sky.”

5. This Waiting for You ad in the July issue of Seventeen. Woot!

Waiting for You ad in Seventeen