Today was a dark, rainy day. I am not usually into dark, rainy days. But this time was different. Because I’m on deadline. Being on deadline can be hard when it’s all bright and sunny out. I tend to get distracted by more stuff when the sky is blue. So I was happy to stay in and make green tea and work. Tonight I will work some more. This will be repeated until I submit my manuscript for book five, which will hopefully happen next week.
At this point, I’m reading through my hard copy and making changes. This process always takes way longer than I think it will. Same with the next step where I type in my revisions. I’m always like, Yeah, I can pull that off in two days. Then it takes a week. Learning from past experience is a good thing. That’s why this time around, I’m trying to make room for the Mysterious Extra Time factor. We’ll see how it goes.
Since I have to get back to work, I won’t ramble on about how tomorrow is December and how can it be the end of the year already and where did this decade (whatever we’re calling it) go? Lucky you.
You rock. Yes you, friendly neighbor reading my blog. Because of you, I have a reason to write. You give me feedback and positive energy and advice and warm fuzzies. Because of you, I love my job. You make it possible for me to write more books. Thank you for letting me know your thoughts and sharing your life with me. I promise to keep doing the same.
I started this blog here on LiveJournal about two years ago with no idea how it would turn out. Some journal entries are easier to write than others. When I write about more personal things, I’m not always sure if my intentions will be understood. But I think you guys get me, and for that I thank you.
I’m also thankful that it’s almost time to get my vegetarian feast on. It’s never too early to roast up the Tofurky.
It’s a week of thanks, which means that it’s a good time to give back. Kind of like how my Gram always put special cookies out for everyone on Bingo night when it was her birthday, but on a larger scale. I’m talking about giving back by serving the community. I hope that my books help readers feel less alone and feel better about their lives in some small way. But there are lots of other ways I can contribute to society.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had a passion for volunteer work. I was a Girl Scout from Brownies to Leader-In-Training. In the summers, I was a candy striper. I trained as an EMT. Then Ryan White died and I knew I would be an AIDS activist. In college, I volunteered with ActionAIDS as a buddy and home helper. After I moved here, I became an educational outreach volunteer and curriculum developer for GMHC, the captain of my school’s AIDS Walk team, and the arts and crafts director at a camp for kids affected by HIV and AIDS. There were a bunch of other short-term things over the years as well.
And then…I just got overwhelmed. I was teaching and writing and totally exhausted trying to do both. Something had to change. I took a hiatus from volunteering, telling myself I’d go back in a year. Five years later, I’m ready to return. I wasn’t sure what my new volunteering would focus on. I thought about reading to children at the hospital or to older people at the senior center, returning to the Girl Scouts as a leader, working with Big Brothers Big Sisters, or mentoring. Then I found a wonderful organization that assists local seniors. The idea of working with them felt right. So I’m applying to be a shopper and escort, which mainly involves helping clients get to the doctor, grocery shopping, and running errands. Regular readers know that I don’t do winter, but the thought of someone being unable to get out for groceries when it’s cold breaks my heart. A lot of older people here are all alone. I would walk through all kinds of frozen precipitation if it means that someone will be taken care of.
Here’s why I’m talking about this. If you’ve been thinking about volunteering, now is the time. I really regret those years I let slip away without doing more. Time can be sneaky like that. So take control. You can find volunteer opportunities in your area at Do Something or Volunteer Match. We can all find room in our lives to help make the world a better place. The world needs you.
These three darkest months of the year are hard times for me. I miss the sunlight. I’m not a fan of sunset being at 4:35. So I’m looking for light within the darkness. Some of you mentioned tricks you use to get happy on my Facebook, like music and cake and friends. All of these are good. There’s much to be said for indoor entertainment.
Like how in recent Netflix adventures I’ve been watching last season of Private Practice. I never hear people talking about this show so I don’t know how popular it is, but I think it’s really good. It may not have that overwhelming intense thing Grey’s Anatomy does, but some of their story lines rival Grey’s. I’d watched that Grey’s ep where Addison takes her brother to Seattle Grace a while ago, so it was cool to see the tie-in from Private Practice‘s side. The characters are sweet and it’s always interesting. Recommended.
In movie news, I just saw The Men Who Stare at Goats. Dude, it was so much better than I thought it was going to be! It’s the best movie I’ve seen in a long while. Recommended, especially if your sense of humor is kind of weird like mine. Now I’m waiting for Brothers. I used to have a husband list when I was a teacher, where every year I’d list my Top Five Husbands and students could call me by any of those names if they wanted. Anything to make the day more fun for them, you know? And, um, me. For several years, my #1 and #2 husbands were Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal. I’ve been saying that those boys look alike for years, and now they’re playing brothers! Totally brill.
Books I want to read keep piling up. I like to read in bed, but sometimes I’m so tired that I can’t read more than a chapter. This means it takes me a ridiculous amount of time to read books these days. I’m finally reading Jonathan Tropper’s This Is Where I Leave You, which is just so freaking good. Highly recommended. I’ve been a fan since Plan B, so I’m thrilled about all of his success. You deserve every bit of it, Jonathan!
Of course, the only music I’m playing these days is the new John Mayer album. I scored floor seats for his concert at Madison Square Garden! Excellent ones, yo. It’s a good thing I’m into anticipation, because the concert isn’t until the end of February. Which is perfect, since February is the coldest month and I don’t do cold. So I’ll look forward to this concert and let it be my light at the end of the darkness. I feel warmer already.
Recently, I posted my new paperback cover designs. Now I can share the spine art with you, which I’m really excited about. By the time Something Like Fate is released on May 18, all four of my books will have a matching look on the shelves. Each spine has pretty watercolor stripes that reflect the color scheme of the covers:
The new editions of When It Happens and Take Me There should be out around March. I can’t wait to see them in bookstores!
Some shout-outs are in order. Let’s get to it.
Shout-out to the Manhattan Village Academy Book Club! These kids are amazing. I visited them on Monday as part of the Adopt-A-School program. Lots of positive energy and thoughtful questions were in the house. Thanks to Ms. Daehler and everyone for making me feel so welcome.
One friendly neighbor from the book club had this photo of a squirrel snarfing down a McFlurry on her Facebook page, so of course I had to swipe it.
Shout-out to Jonathan Ames! I went to an interview with him at Upright Citizens Brigade in which he spanked the interviewer at the end. He also attempted to play some Wii boxing, but that didn’t go over so well. It was his first time with the Wii. I never knew that Jonathan is fluent in Backward Word. That’s where you say every word backwards. He does it so easily! Thanks for dazzling us with your lesser-known talents.
Shout-out to John Mayer! His new album, Battle Studies, comes out on Tuesday. Along with a zillion other fans, I will be trying to score pre-sale tickets to his winter tour tomorrow. Good luck to everyone else with a secret code!
Forty years ago today, the first episode of Sesame Street was born. It was sponsored by the letters W, S and E and the numbers 2 and 3. Since that day, the show has done a brilliant job of evolving with the times. It is still relevant. It is still teaching in a way that speaks to us. And it is still freaking awesome.
I’ve posted some clips of the Yip-Yip Aliens already, so here’s one with Kermit, Cookie, and the Mystery Box. I love that Cookie has recently explained how cookies are “sometimes food” while fruit is for everyday. Not that he’s thinking about fruit here.
Happy birthday, Sesame Street!
Last week kind of sucked. On Monday and Tuesday, I felt like I was coming down with a cold, but it didn’t really materialize into anything serious. Then on Wednesday it was like, Wham! What I thought was a cold revealed itself to be a nasty stomach virus. Not cool. It was disgusting. Fortunately, it was not as disgusting as that crazy food poisoning thing a bunch of us had a while back. Which was caused by E. coli from tomato plants, by the way. Judy Blume had it. She posted a photo on her blog where she was sleeping on the bathroom floor with pillows and blankets and stuff. I remember being like, Dude! That’s such a good idea!
This was not that bad. Mainly, it just made me exhausted all week. I’m not good about working when I’m sick. I probably could manage to write, but I’m sure that everything I write would sound all groggy. So I took several sick days. Luckily, my boss is flexible about such things. That’s a joke because my boss is me. Hilarious. You know Michael’s World’s Best Boss mug on The Office? I just got a World’s Best Boss mug keychain, since it works both ways.
So yeah. It’s back to work time! Plus, there are lots of things to look forward to this week. I will hopefully be making progress on this second draft. I’m visiting Manhattan Village Academy’s book club today as part of the Adopt-A-School program. Sesame Street is celebrating its 40th birthday tomorrow. I’m finally going to see Whip It this weekend, if it’s still playing. And I just heard some exciting news from my agent. Something Like Fate is Penguin’s lead book for the Summer 2010 season! That means fun times are ahead. I should have marketing details to share with you soon. In the meantime, back to making some second draft magic…
In a negative situation, I always try to find something positive. Something positive about not having dental insurance is that I can go to any dentist I want. True, I might have to take out a small loan to pay for my visits. But I have finally found an Awesome Dentist! I always hoped that the Awesome Dentist existed, despite worrying that he was merely a mythical entity, rather like unicorns or zero-calorie cupcakes that taste like real cupcakes and not some sugar-free, low-fat variety which, really, why even bother? So I am very happy to announce that for the first time in my life, I have an Awesome Dentist. I’ve had Dumbass Dentist, Ghetto Dentist, Evil Dentist, Evil Dentist Group Practice (who were clearly practicing how to extort ridiculous amounts of money from their patients by performing all sorts of unnecessary procedures), and Grumpy Dentist. How relieved am I that dental karma is now showering me with its powers?
About as relieved to discover that my bottom wisdom teeth will never be pulled. Awesome Dentist took a 3-D image of my mouth and determined that the only way to pull my wisdom teeth would be to first remove chunks of my jawbone. Um, I’m good with all my jawbone intact, thanks. He also said there’s no reason why they should be pulled, despite all previous dentists yammering at me to get them out. Not only is Awesome Dentist awesome, he also specializes in sedation dentistry, dealing with sensitivity, and Invisalign. So I’m going back next week to do impressions for my braces. And then I’ll have braces. Invisalign is crazy expensive, but it comes with perks (like going on the back of the teeth and taking them out to eat), so hopefully having braces 20 years too late will be minimally traumatic.
Remember that rad poster alert from Wednesday? The mystery has been solved. It was part of Penguin’s booth at the Frankfurt Book Fair, where galleys of Something Like Fate were distributed. More photos from the fair were posted at The Letter Garden. Thanks to Ka-Yam for this incredible documentation! My editor also helped crack the case by discovering that it wasn’t actually a poster. It was more like a wall panel, so there’s no way to get one. Which is sad because it would have made a sweet door poster. But hey, maybe more Something Like Fate walls will pop up at book fairs here in the States! Let’s be on the lookout.