concentration

Over the past few years, I’ve heard lots of people saying how they don’t read as much anymore. And when they do read, they find themselves not being able to concentrate for very long. I’ve been experiencing the same alarming change. When I read now, my mind usually starts wandering after a few paragraphs or pages. Even if it’s a really good book. It’s like I can’t concentrate the same way I used to. Which is weird because reading has always been a vital part of my day, much like breathing. I can’t even fall asleep without reading. When I first started hearing about how all these other people are spacing out while they’re reading as well, I thought it was a symptom of how busy our lives have gotten. But it’s not just about stress and preoccupation with everything we have to do. This problem is a result of the Internet. We’ve become so accustomed to a constant influx of information, it’s like we can’t even concentrate long enough when we’re focusing on only one thing for an extended period of time. Unacceptable! I’ve made a pact with myself to get the concentration back. I’m working on being in the Now when I read, just like I used to do effortlessly before I started spending hours online every day.

A change of scenery can sometimes help redirect my focus. I’ve been on a Carrie Bradshaw kick lately, watching Sex and the City season six over and anticipating the movie (which I’m seeing tomorrow) despite the sucky trailer. So it was inevitable that I spend a day working in a neighborhood coffeehouse to take in the New York writer scene. I mean this is the West Village, not where Carrie is supposed to live but her actual brownstone is here. My friend Jim told me how he works at a coffeehouse that’s been on my list to try, so I dragged myself and a hard copy of my revision to meet up with him the other day. The vibe was awesome. They had lots of cool plants. Everyone in there was working on their laptops or reading. But working outside my place isn’t really for me. I missed my sexy iMac. I needed more air. And before I scored the puffy couch, I couldn’t get comfortable. I like things a certain way, you know? However, it was fun to bring the work thing out for a day and be among other writers for a while. It reminded me that I’m part of a creative center here in New York, right where I wanted to be for so long. Sweet inspiration!

Speaking of my nabe, there’s a restaurant here called Minetta Tavern that I love. Well, I used to love it when we could walk in any time and have a delicious pasta meal. It’s since been redone as a schmancy celeb eatery with a doorman where you can’t get a reservation unless you call a month in advance. And even then the only available times are 5:30 and 10:00. So you can imagine how excited I was when my friend Mark scored us 8:30 reservations last night. I was ready for a Madonna sighting. She wasn’t there, but Sonia Sotomayor was. Minetta lived up to all the hype – the food was incredible. I miss the days when it was an old-school Italian place, before the windows were covered and bodyguards hovered outside, but it was fun to finally see what’s on the other side.

The desserts were unbelievable, of course. But you know me. I’m all about the little things. When it comes to treat time, I enjoy the Crumbs. I enjoy Crumbs so much that they’re now following me on Twitter! Along with over a thousand other people, but still. I just had to tweet about their cupcake of the month, Chocolate Sundae:

Chocolate Sundae cupcake at Crumbs

Yeah, I’m pretty sure Crumbs will be seeing me really soon. Hope your weekend includes a delicious treat as well!

i believe you have my stapler

After being on a harsh deadline for the past two weeks, I’m thrilled to announce that I am done. Woot! Of course, there’s always the next deadline and I’ll be working on my revision for another week or so. But I’m happy that I wasn’t owned by this deadline. I did publicly challenge my deadline to a throwdown on Twitter. It even whipped out the Freddy claws more than once. I was all, “Do you really think you’re scarier than the Donnie Darko rabbit? Best step back, son!” So I’m relieved I met my deadline and showed it who’s boss. I even showed it my Michael Scott World’s Best Boss coffee mug keychain, just in case there was any lingering doubt.

Speaking of office type paraphernalia, after I finished working today I immediately rewarded myself by purchasing a red Swingline stapler. Just like the one in Office Space! Office Space is one of my Top Five fave movies. Whenever someone feels like they need to be all up in my face with some nasty attitude, I often pull out the Yeah…did you get the memo? line in my head. I own a box of flair, including the I Believe You Have My Stapler piece. So you can see that owning the red Swingline stapler was way overdue.

Red Swingline stapler from Office Space

Things occurred while I was in deadline throwdown mode. Something Like Fate was reviewed by The Book Obsession, Trisha’s Book Blog, S. Krishna’s Books, and Reclusive Bibliophile. Plus, The Ultimate YA Reading Group posted part two of their interview with me. And Girls Life magazine is featuring Something Like Fate as their book of the month.  I really, really appreciate everyone who’s taken the time to spread the word about my new book. Word of mouth is a powerful thing!

The last bit of news I have is for those of you in the New York City area. I’ll be at Teen Author Reading Night this Wednesday, June 2 at 6:00. It’s held at the NYPL on 6th Avenue & 10th Street. Fellow authors reading with me are Cathleen Davitt Bell, Lila Castle, Donna Freitas, Emily Horner, Morgan Matson, and Eliot Schrefer. If you can make it, I’d love to see you there!