intensity vs. longevity

One of the concepts I’m exploring in my new book is whether a relationship can have both intensity and longevity. We all love the rush of those passionate first few months of a relationship (or if we haven’t experienced that intensity yet, we can imagine how awesome it is). But as anyone who’s been in a long-term relationship knows, that initial euphoria fades away after a while. I’ve been wondering if it’s possible to have an intense relationship that remains just as intense past those first few months, something I like to call “movie love.” In my experience, the more passionate a relationship is at first, the worse that person is for you.

This issue made me think about Serena and Dan vs. Blair and Chuck. Which couple (if any) are soul mates? It’s clear that Blair and Chuck have more fire, but are they better for each other than Serena and Dan because of it? Is it better to be with someone who cares about you and will always be there, or someone you’re so insanely passionate about that will most likely fizzle in the near future?

I asked these questions on Facebook yesterday. In my highly unscientific survey, everyone felt that Blair and Chuck are the more intense soul mates, while more people felt that Serena and Dan are better for each other. What do you think? Is movie love possible? Or does it only exist in movies?

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In my experience, stuff happens all together. There could be nothing going on for days and then wham! Everything spazzes out at the same time. This is what’s happening with my Netflix queue. Why do all of my shows have to come out in September? When I won’t even be here for half the month? At least the waiting is over. I thought maybe you’d like to know these release dates as well, so here we go:

  • Gossip Girl, season two – just released
  • One Tree Hill, season six – just released
  • Thirtysomething, season one – just released
  • Brothers & Sisters, season three – Sept. 1
  • Desperate Housewives, season five – Sept. 1
  • Fringe, season one – Sept. 8
  • Grey’s Anatomy, season five – Sept. 15
  • Private Practice, season two – Sept. 15
  • 30 Rock, season three – Sept. 22

See? So many of the best shows, all at once. And of course The Office comes out on September 8, but I have to buy that so it’s not on my queue. I could totally own all of these box sets and enjoy them immensely. However, I am applying restraint. Back in my Blockbuster days, a friend told me that Grey’s Anatomy season three was just as good as season two, so I went ahead and bought it. That was a mistake. But I hear Grey’s got really good again this season, so I’m excited to see what’s up with everyone.

I’m also curious about Thirtysomething. I was a teen when it was on and I never watched it because everyone was too old (i.e. in their 30s). Guess who’s in their 30s now? Fringe has Joshua Jackson and I am desperately missing Pacey Witter, so I’ve added Fringe out of Dawson’s Creek nostalgia. Not sure if the Housewives are still burning down each other’s houses and killing their neighbors and whatnot, but I do like that show. 30 Rock and Brothers & Sisters are just quality shows, always. I know they will not disappoint.

So yeah. I’ll have to remind myself that it’s not all about the Great Indoors for the next several weeks. As for this weekend, we’re having a sweet break from the heat and humidity. I’ll be stocking up on extra outdoor time. I hope you rock your weekend, too.

i heart

Some things I’m loving…

1. My new fluffy bath sheets. They are so fluffy! And huge! I heard Oprah tell this story about promising to buy herself bath sheets once she could afford them. I guess she has an entire bath sheet collection by now. In case you’re unfamiliar, bath sheets are like bath towels but bigger. MIne are really soft. I might actually work in a bath sheet one day, just to be decadent. It can be the new Casual Friday attire. I’ve already asked my boss and she said I could. (Joke, since I’m self-employed).

2. Fresh watermelon juice with crushed ice. When it’s hot and humid, I’m all about the crushed ice. Simple drinks are the best. I’m a big water drinker, but In August I tend to get bored with water all the time. Fresh, simple juices are so refreshing. Same with fresh, simple meals. Even though I’ve been a vegetarian since college, I’m sometimes still surprised at how good pasta with just vine tomatoes, basil, garlic, and olive oil can be.

3. I know I’m like a year late, but how good is season two of Gossip Girl? With a kick! I’m just past the ep where that psycho model torched all of Jenny’s dresses. This is bothering me way too much. Those gorgeous dresses – gone! I desperately want Jenny to remake them so I can stop being traumatized. Oh, and her scruffy hair/heavy eyeliner/drugged out look? Not feeling that. At least Dan Humphrey is still cute.

4. Apparently, I look just like Kiefer Sutherland’s girlfriend. Everyone knows that Kiefer and I go way back. We’re also connected by another degree because we have a friend in common. I saw our mutual friend the other day and he was like, “You’re the spitting image of Kiefer’s girlfriend. Every time I see her, I think of you.” So of course I had to Google her. In this pic, she does look exactly like me:

Kiefer Sutherland and Susane Colasanti...or is she?

I swear that could be me! But in all the other pics, it’s clear that she’s model gorgeous, so my friend is obviously just being kind. Still, though, it was funny how he was all like, “Oh, by the way…” As if this information was too dull to tell me about before. I assumed she’d be super young, but it turns out we’re the same age. She’s even a writer type. SP was not impressed by this conversation. No worries, boyfriend. Jack Bauer is unavailable. And, um, fictional.

vancouver

How refreshing was my long weekend in Vancouver? Sweater-wearing refreshing, that’s how. It was cool and crisp. Vancouver is very vegetarian friendly, so I had good things to eat, like an elaborate fruit and berry plate that made me very happy.

Other happy Vancouver things:

1. Bike riding! I know this sounds like an extremely basic activity, but there’s no way I’d ride a bike on these New York City streets with cars zipping by like two millimeters from my face. I’m into this living thing way too much. We went bike riding in Stanley Park. So. Much. Fun. Here I am in front of Science World with E. Lockhart’s The Treasure Map of Boys, which was incredibly wonderful (I’ll be writing about it soon).

Susane Colasanti at Science World in Vancouver

2. Canadian politeness! It’s both endearing and hilarious. This sign was outside of a parking garage. I love how it’s all like, We apologize for the bad news, so let’s make the sign all about how sorry we are and then maybe put the actual information you need in smaller font down there, as an afterthought.

Classic Canadian politeness

3. Living things! Here we have a seagull attempting to snarf down a sea star (he was not a starfish, as sea stars are not fish, they’re echinoderms). I’d never seen a seagull eating a sea star before. I didn’t even know that seagulls ate sea stars. Far out.

Seagull and sea star in Vancouver

4. What this license plate says.

Vancouver license plate

big gay ice cream truck

Found him.

Big Gay Ice Cream Truck with Doug Quint

It’s the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck! With Doug in the window! He’s out a few days each week, but it’s been so hot that I didn’t want ice cream. Which I know sounds counterintuitive. It’s just that when it’s really hot out, your ice cream melts in like three seconds. How much fun is that? So I waited until it wasn’t scorching and tracked down the truck. Doug is super creative with the toppings. He uses bacon to create the wildly popular Choinkwich. He has toppings like curried coconut, Nutella, Trix, pickles, and pumpkin butter. I’m sort of a purist when it comes to ice cream. I felt like an unadventurous dork getting my cup of vanilla with butterscotch and extra sprinkles. I prefer cones, but the cup was to prevent melting accidents. Unfortunately, the combination of my being a slow eater and August in New York resulted in the wind zinging melted ice cream right out of my cup. I’ve made a pact to return when it’s cooler, when I will be more adventurous. Not that I’m always more adventurous when it’s cooler. But this is a special occasion. The pumpkin butter sounds pretty good. So yeah, the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck is making quite a splash around these parts. Even NPR interviewed Doug. That’s how much of a rock star he is.

For the rest of the week, I’ll be unplugged from the Internet. I’m going to Vancouver, where it’s supposed to get down to the 50s at night! Yay for a cool, refreshing break. I like to do a technology cleanse every so often, so four days away from the computer will be restorative. Otherwise known as How Things Were Not Too Long Ago. Catch you next week. Stay cool!

reader q&a

TGIM! I thought that Monday would be a good day for some Reader Q&A. I like to answer questions here on my blog if they’re not too personal for the reader and I think you guys might be interested in them. Like these:

What is your favorite part about writing? – Raanan

Interacting with my readers is the best part! When I’m writing a new book, I try to write the kind of story that I would have wanted to read as a teen. But writing is a mostly solitary job, so the only way to know if people are liking my books is by hearing from readers. My ultimate goal is to write books that can help my readers feel less alone. If my readers feel better about life or connect with my characters in some meaningful way or can maybe even look at their own problems from a new perspective, then I’m doing my job. I love getting to talk with readers in person. Meeting all of the very important people who encourage kids to read is a joy as well – teachers, librarians, booksellers, and other mentors all rock.

Regarding the writing process, my favorite part is completing the first draft of a new book. At that point, I have something tangible with which to move forward. Right now I’m writing my fifth book and I have to say, it’s a bit scary! Even though I have an outline (which is constantly evolving as my characters reveal more of themselves to me) and I’m super excited about the plot, I worry that what I’m writing isn’t good enough. Once the first draft of a book is done, I’m relieved that I can begin to shape the story into the best book possible.

How long did it take you to write your books? – Ali

Each subsequent book seems to be taking less time to write. When It Happens took a really long time to complete. Back then, I was mostly writing on weekends and vacays. The original manuscript was submitted in 2001 and the book was published in 2006. There were tons of problems with the manuscript! It went through about nine revisions. Take Me There had maybe four revisions and took about two years to write. Now that I’m a full-time author, I can write a first draft in a few months. Waiting for You and Something Like Fate each had about three revisions. I hope this means that I’m improving as a writer. As I learn more about the writing process, I try to avoid making the same mistakes twice. This is a challenge since I make a lot of mistakes!

Do some of your characters reflect some of your characteristics? – Eden

They do. Sara from When It Happens is very close to me for that reason. I think a first book tends to be the most autobiographical. That’s the book you pour all of the emotions and observations you’ve been storing up into, so my first book was inspired by several of my own experiences. Sara is sensitive, artistic, and longing for a better life – all parts of the person I was at her age. However, I usually like to write about characters with traits that I wish I had. For example, I don’t like being tall. So the main character in Something Like Fate is tiny and very pretty, sort of like Rachel Bilson. She can wear all these cute little sun dresses that I can’t. I’m jealous.

You said you started the author dream around 16. I was wondering if you were always a good writer or if you just started to write after that point?

I’ve always been a writer. My first story, “The Carrot and the Rabbit,” holds a special place in my scrapbook. There are other random things I remember, like my 8th grade English teacher reading my creative writing sample in front of the class. I wrote part of a sequel to The Outsiders in 7th grade. That was the most horrid fan fiction ever. And I did some standard writer stuff like editing the literary magazine. Writing has always been a big part of who I am on many different levels. I’ve always been a passionate reader. These two things are strongly connected. I don’t think it’s possible to be a good writer without being a reader. So my reading obsession definitely improved my writing.

I’ve been getting lots of email lately from aspiring writers asking for advice. You can find some on the Q&A page of my website and in my Q&A blog tag. Bottom line: Never give up.

oh yeah? yeah!

First, some links:

So it seems that Flight of the Conchords is done. It only survived for two short seasons. That’s just not right, people. What a quirky, funny, smart, low-budge show. At least Jemaine Clement is up for an Emmy. Although he’s up against Steve Carell and Steve totally has to win. He’s really overdue. Anyway, it’s a crisis that Flight has been grounded. As my way of keeping the show alive, I’d like to share this hilarious clip from season two. If you’ve never seen the show and are considering getting your Flight on, this gives you a good idea about what kind of humor you’re in for. The awesome kind, is what. Yeah!