pick up the flippin bananas

Do you know anyone like this?

Mutts by Patrick McDonnell

Well this week is the opposite of greedy, so get your altruism on. Yay for Random Acts of Kindness Week, February 12-18! I am a huge Random Acts of Kindness Foundation fangirl and look forward to this week all year. The RAK Foundation has given you some kindness ideas for inspo. They would love for you to share any acts of kindness on your socials with #RAKWeek2017.

If you’re reading my City Love trilogy, you know that Sadie is all about the random acts of kindness and warm fuzzies and making the world a better place. I have so much love for her. As someone who was bullied and abused in my teens, kindness is close to my heart. That’s why I am a RAKtivist with the RAK Foundation. As a RAKtivist, I practice daily kindness, help when I see someone in need, share knowledge, and lead by example. You can become a RAKtivist too!

Sometimes it surprises me when I meet people who have not seen many acts of kindness in action. Like the other day at Trader Joe’s. I usually start my TJ’s shopping by getting a few bananas because they’re right near the door. If you don’t have a plan of attack for those TJ’s aisles, you risk drowning in a flood of aimless wanderers. Even on a Wednesday afternoon. So I was getting some bananas from the big bin when a lady next to me dropped the bunch of bananas she was inspecting. I reached down to the floor to pick them up for her.

“Those are MINE!” she yelled at me.

“I know,” I said, handing them back to her. “I saw you drop them.”

“You picked them up for me?”

“Of course.”

She couldn’t believe it. Like, she straight-up could not believe a total stranger would pick something up for her that she dropped. But then I couldn’t believe that she couldn’t believe it. She was so unaccustomed to people helping her or seeing people help other people that she seriously thought I was stealing her bananas. Off the floor. When I was standing in front of a huge bin with hundreds of bananas.

That was not okay.

For Random Acts of Kindness Week (and, um, every day), let’s commit to helping those around us. Hold the door open for the person behind you. Let someone go ahead of you in line if they look desperate. Give careful directions when someone asks. And pick up the flippin bananas. Because if more people had done acts of kindness for that lady in TJ’s, she wouldn’t have been surprised by mine at all.

And that’s exactly how it should be.

big talk

Small talk has never been my thing. Before I forced myself to get better at it so I wouldn’t die of boredom at cocktail parties where I didn’t know anyone, I totally dreaded any situation that would require the meaningless fluff and filler of small talk.

I swore that if one more person asked me the top two small talk questions:

“What do you do?”
“Where are you from?”

I would retaliate with questions that were meaningful and actually interesting to explore, thus encouraging some kind of genuine connection between us, like one of these:

“What’s your biggest dream?”
“On a scale of 1 to 10, how has your week been and why?”

These deeper questions aren’t serious enough to make people run screaming from me at parties, but are authentic enough to actually inspire a real conversation that isn’t a complete waste of time.

I didn’t want to make small talk anymore. I wanted to make big talk. But I didn’t know what to call it until Kalina Silverman gave a super impressive TED Talk. Kalina wanted to go out of her way to meet new people and skip the small talk, to have deeper conversations, and make more meaningful connections with them. So she created Big Talk, an initiative that inspires people to focus on what matters in this world. For her Big Talk video, Kalina asked strangers these big talk questions:

“What do you want to do before you die?”
“What would you do today if you knew you were going to die tomorrow?”

The results were magnificent.

Spread the big talk love, friendly neighbors ❤

10th annual nyc teen author festival

Has it really been 10 years since superstar David Levithan organized the first NYC Teen Author Festival? A whole freaking decade?

Apparently.

Get ready for the 10th Annual NYC Teen Author Festival, happening March 18-26!

NYC Teen Author Festival 2017

Dude. SO many fabulous authors will be at this thing it’s unreal. I mean, just look at the full schedule of events. How amazing is that?

If you are in the New York City area the weekend of March 25-26, you can totally find me at the festival. Here’s where I’ll be:

Saturday, March 25 – 7:00-9:00 pm

McNally Jackson Books
52 Prince Street
New York, NY 10012

What Is a Love Story? panel with Kayla Cagan, Susane Colasanti, Pete Hoffmeister, Adam Silvera, Sarvenaz Tash, Maggie Thrash, and Nicola Yoon. Moderated by David Levithan.

Sunday, March 26 – 1:30-2:00 pm

Books of Wonder
18 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011

10th Annual Ginormous Signing! With a ridiculous amount of authors! Which you absolutely do not want to miss!

Hope to see you at one of these events, friendly neighbors! xoxo

forever in love pre-ordering

Do you know what this is?

Forever in Love by Susane Colasanti, first pass

It’s the first pass of Forever in Love, the final book of my City Love trilogy! Forever in Love comes out on July 11, but you can pre-order your shiny new copy now.

The first pass is a printout of what the book pages will look like. Scrutinizing the first pass allows the publisher to make sure everything looks okay and catch any remaining bits that should be corrected. This is also my last chance to make any small changes I think would be improvements. And, a year after submitting the first draft to my editor, it is a beautiful thing to see these pages finally looking like a book.

Thanks to everyone who has read City Love or Lost in Love. I hope the trilogy concludes in a good way for you! xoxo

2017

Yay yay freaking YAY 2017!!!

I am psyched out of my head that 2017 is finally here. 2016 was one bummer after another…and now things are looking WAY up.

This is your year

I am really looking forward to embracing change, having courage in the face of fear, and taking things up a bunch of notches this year. And that includes sharing shiny new creative developments with you! The author life is a wild ride. 2017 is bringing lots of exciting things. Can’t wait to do more dream chasing and work harder than ever to make more big dreams reality. I hope you are with me, friendly neighbors!

This is our year. Make it shine. xoxo

20th new yorkiversary

I’m just going to say it.

2016 sucked every which way a year could possibly suck. Seriously with that ish? What even was that? You know it’s not a good year when you set your alarm clock to NPR every morning at the start of a major news hour so that the second you wake up you can find out where a shooting was and/or who died. I mean…I cannot EVEN.

Focusing on good things helps. One good thing about 2016 (that automatically included lots of other good things) is that January 6 was my 20th New Yorkiversary. I moved to New York City for grad school on January 6, 1996 in a blizzard with no money, no friends, and no job, just big dreams I was determined to make reality. So all this year I have been celebrating 20 years in my dream city, the city that makes me feel alive every day. Even when I woke up day after day to horrifying news, I was grateful to live in the city where I belong. And right now I am relieved that, as of December 22, daylight time is increasing a little every day. That is a very good thing.

Winter solstice

Some good things that happened in 2016? I got engaged. A scene from City Love manifested with Claire Danes on the street. The second book of my City Love trilogy, Lost in Love, came out and Epic Reads did an author fun facts video to celebrate. I got to be Maddy from Nicola Yoon’s spectacular Everything, Everything. I went to YALLWEST and chilled with author rock stars and fangirled all over the place. I made some dorktastic YouTube videos. I shared one of my favorite hidden West Village areas with you. And every day, no matter what sad things were happening in the world, I was feeling the city love. The past 20 years have been filled with magical New York City moments that have shaped the person I am today. I am forever in love with my home and the infinite possibilities it brings.

Something tells me you are looking forward to 2017 as much as I am, if not more. I am here to tell you this: You can turn your big dreams into reality in 2017. How do I know? Because dude. I went from having 73 cents in my bank account in college to becoming a homeowner in downtown Manhattan. With enough kitchen counter space to bake my annual 200+ Christmas cookies.

Christmas cookies by Susane Colasanti

That journey was not an easy one. Anything worth achieving requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and the passion to keep going when it feels like everything is falling apart. And I have to say, time is a wild thing. You are just living your life one day at a time. The next thing you know, 20 years have suddenly gone by. 20 years.

Where do you want to be in 20 years? 10 years? 5 years? 2017?

One technique I have used since I moved here is creative visualization. I picture my goals with clarity, then take steps every day towards achieving them. Try writing down your biggest goals for whatever timeframe you choose. Then write down one thing you can realistically do every day to take steps closer to achieving each of them. This process, the passionate dedication of working hard to achieve your goals, is how big dreams become reality. It worked for me. And if I could do it, you definitely can.

Happy New Year, friendly neighbors! Much love to you from New York City. xoxo

Empire State Building at Christmas

holiday magic from asteroid b-612

If you’ve seen any of my dorktastic YouTube videos, you might have noticed the one in which I fangirl over my Little Prince collection. The Little Prince is my favorite book of all time and I have been collecting all things Little Prince for many years.

Which makes this the best. Christmas present. EVER.

The Little Prince tote bag

A Little Prince tote with the text of the entire novel printed on it!!!

Dude. This bag is seriously ready to dazzle at my next book events. Hopefully I will see fellow YA author Nicola Yoon at one of them so I can share it with her. Nicola is also a Little Prince fan. Which you know if you’ve read her outstanding novel Everything, Everything. I had to rave about her book here. And that video I mentioned earlier? Was one of my Fun Fact and a Book videos featuring Everything, Everything.

So yeah. Lots of fun connections.

Wishing you holiday magic and a beautiful new year. xoxo