david letterman is why i’m here

It all started with a pencil.

Twelve was an extremely difficult age for me, but it was also an age when I figured a lot of stuff out. I knew I wanted to be a science teacher when I was 12. I knew my purpose in life as a grownup would be to help teens in any way I could. And I knew that I didn’t belong in Middle of Nowhere, New Jersey, in a small town at a school where I was bullied every day for being an outsider. My true home was out there somewhere. Not stuck in the middle of the woods, completely isolated and feeling so alone. I was determined to find the place where I truly belonged.

I stayed with my grandparents most summers of my teen life. The summer I was 12, I was staying up late watching The Tonight Show with Gram. Gram understood that I was a night person. After Johnny Carson said goodnight, a show called Late Night with David Letterman came on. I asked Gram who David Letterman was. She said, “He’s kind of like Johnny, but wackier.” Anyone who was wacky, zany, dorktastic, a hardcore nerd, or proud to be original in their own quirky way was a winner in my book. So I kept watching. Dave threw a pencil at the camera. He made weird faces. He threw a pencil at the window behind him with a sound effect of glass shattering.

David Letterman instantly became my hero.

I obsessed over Late Night that whole first summer, learning Dave’s tricks and idiosyncrasies. Connecting to things he said in a way that made it clear he was my people, and gave me hope that more of my people were out there. The energy of New York City was palpable. It was an energy that radiated from the screen, an energy that made me feel alive. New York City was clearly my destiny. It was my true home. It was the place where everything that made me different would make me shine. The New York City energy Dave showed me was a drug that kept me going all through high school as I carried hope in my heart that one day I would live there. I looked forward to the time when I could be free to be the best version of myself. As a reminder, I put a Late Night tee on my koala bear Chez, who is featured in When It Happens in the same tee. Chez is an attention hog who has photo bombed several book giveaway pics over the years:

Chez with Susane Colasanti books

I taped Dave’s show every night. The first thing I did when I got home from school was get my Late Night notebook, rewind the tape, and watch Dave show me more of what I had to look forward to. For the length of his show, I felt like I wasn’t alone anymore. I was in on the joke. I was one with Dave’s community. I wrote down the title of every Top Ten list, every description of “And now, a man who…”, and lines that made me laugh. One was, “I’ll give you 500 dollars if you let me take my teeth out.” I don’t know why that line resonated with me. Probably just because it was so weird. I wrote it on the top of an algebra quiz in 8th grade because my 8th grade algebra teacher seemed like the kind of dude who would watch Dave. Dave’s lines became like this secret language I could use with certain grownups to make me feel included in something. But my teacher didn’t get it. He gave the quiz to a guidance counselor who called me into her office and asked if I was okay.

Of course I wasn’t okay. I was miserable. But every day was one day closer to living in New York City. One day closer to when I could create a happy life for myself and start turning my big dreams into reality. And that made surviving worth it. When I say that David Letterman is why I’m here, I don’t just mean here in New York City. I mean here. Along with the books that saved me, he helped me survive the worst time of my life. He showed me a reason to keep holding on.

When I was fourteen, I sent a postcard in for Late Night tickets. They said it would take like a year to get your tickets. The first tickets I received were for April 24, 1989, one week before my 16th birthday:

Late Night and Late Show with David Letterman tickets

As you can see from these Late Night tickets (which are so vinatge that the NBC building wasn’t called 30 Rock, or even the GE Building, but the RCA Building) , anyone under the age of 16 would not be admitted. But there was no way I wasn’t getting in. Fortunately this was back in the day when ID wasn’t checked. They let me and my friend in and it was a completely overwhelming experience that made me even more determined to live in New York City.

I became obsessed with New York. The opener of Late Night started by zooming in across the water to the Twin Towers. The Twin Towers became a symbol of hope for me and the focus of every sketch, painting, clay impression, collage, and photographic paper etching I made in art class. I would go to the library at lunch and research New York, learn its buildings and streets, draw maps of the Village. Also in that Late Night opener was a part where the camera zooms through Old Town Bar. Of course I now live on the same street as Old Town Bar. Love that full-circle non-coincidence.

My inspiration for writing So Much Closer came straight from all of this. So Much Closer is the story of Brooke, a Jersey girl who dreams of living in New York City and finally has a chance to move there. This is why I acknowledged Dave in So Much Closer. Brooke wears the same Late Night tee Chez does and nails a Letterman question at trivia night. My publicist sent Dave’s personal assistant a copy of the book. She also included a letter from me in which I thanked Dave for changing my life and making the world a better, smarter, kinder place. See that Late Show ticket from May 4, 2015? Dave’s assistant remembered me from So Much Closer and was super generous in giving me tickets for his final month of shows. I was nervous about picking which day I wanted because it was impossible to know who would be on. But it turns out that I picked the best possible date. Because who was Dave’s guest on May 4?

President Barack Obama and David Letterman, May 4, 2015

Oh, you know. Just President Barack Obama. The Universe was totally on my side.

One of the things I respected most about Dave is his passion for improving public understanding of science, particularly with respect to global warming and environmental preservation. Dave had on physicists, environmentalists, and climatologists in an effort to help his viewers understand the detrimental effects we are having on our planet and how we can all be a part of the solution. Dave even had on my old boss from NASA, Dr. James Hansen, who was rocking the same Birkenstocks he always wore to work. But that’s what was cool about Dave’s show. It wasn’t about glitzy appearances and superficial interviews. It was about the heart and soul of us. It was about the truth, and innovation, and making a difference. David Letterman made this world a better place. And I know he will continue to do so, whichever path he chooses to take next.

This is how a guy as weird as I was showed me where I belonged. By dropping watermelon off the roof, crushing car doors in a 90-ton hydraulic press, with “I be hypnotized” and asking what else Just Bulbs has and rocking those Adidas with blue on the back and whipping all of those pencils at the camera. David Letterman showed me that it is okay to be exactly who you are. More than okay, actually. He showed me that by being exactly who you are, you can inspire more people than you’d ever dreamed and help others in ways you can’t even imagine.

Thirty years ago I was a 12-year-old outsider searching for my true home. David Letterman showed me that New York City was my destiny. Thanks for showing this lost girl where she belonged, Dave. Thanks for helping me survive the worst time of my life. And thanks for showing all the outsiders that they are not alone <3

top five – zen edition

I cannot be more excited that March begins on Sunday. February is always brutal. February is my least favorite month, filled with sharp winds and astonishing below-zero temperatures and a profound absence of leaves. But this year has been particularly harsh. The good news is that we survived! We’re leaving February in the dust. Spring starts in 21 days. Life is good. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, February.

So yeah. Feeling pretty Zen about things today. Which is why I’ve whipped up a top five (not enough for a top ten, but going with the flow is part of being Zen) to fit the mood.

1. We are getting so much closer (see what I did there?) to the release of City Love! The first book of the trilogy comes out on April 21. Advance copies are on the move. Some book bloggers and giveaway winners have emailed me pretty pics of their ARCs…including the shiny star confetti that came with!

City Love by Susane Colasanti

That confetti makes me so happy. I mean, confetti in general makes me happy. But pulling a shiny new book out of an envelope with shiny star confetti? Takes the experience up a notch. And being gifted with confetti is way better than Ship Your Enemies Glitter. I hope everyone who’s reading City Love early is enjoying the book!

2. More ARC giveaways are coming up, but I wanted to share something special from the giveaway I did for Random Acts of Kindness Week. Super friendly neighbor and dedicated reader Catherine S. decided to spread the city love on campus by giving out bright, colorful flowers with warm fuzzies attached. The photos she posted on Twitter made me so happy I wanted to share this one with you:

Show your #citylove

One of the City Love giveaways my publisher is doing in March is all about showing your city love with some artistic flair. I’m really looking forward to seeing your entries! In the meantime, please show your #citylove and spread the #citylove on social. Beautiful scenes from your city, inspiring images, reasons why you love where you live or can’t wait to live in your dream city, new things you notice when you look up…all are welcome. Use the #citylove hashtag so I can retweet you on my Twitter and repost you on my Instagram.

3. Want to see the best Zumba choreo out there? And me busting a move all over it? Here’s a clip from my Zumba class with master instructor Kara Doyle. Kara is pretty in pink up front. I’m in the Keep Calm tank all up in the camera’s face. If you want to see me looking even more dorktastic, here I am shaking it in this hilarious Vine. Because, really, what’s the point of the Internet if not to embarrass myself in front of the entire world?

4. There is a fragrance that smells like vintage paperbacks.

5. I will leave you with this gorgeous graphic by reader Kare Hui.

Waiting for You by Susane Colasanti

The Now from Waiting for You returns in City Love. Actually, you’ll see several familiar things from my previous books in City Love…including characters. Oh yeah. We’re taking this literary party up a notch.

Wishing you a peaceful, reflective weekend filled with moments of Zen <3

city love twitter giveaways

Happy Random Acts of Kindness Week! What better way to balance the negative energy of harsh February than with a flood of positive energy in the form of kindness? Sadie from City Love (and So Much Closer) adores this week. As a member of her local Random Acts of Kindness group, Sadie is all about spreading the #citylove with warm fuzzies and being the first to step up when she sees someone who needs help.

To celebrate this wonderful week, I’m giving away three advance copies of City Love on Twitter!

City Love by Susane Colasanti

City Love is sort of a love letter to New York City. But City Love is also a love letter to your city. It’s about the infinite possibilities all around us. It’s about the people who make a city what it is, people who help improve their communities with kindness. For this week’s giveaway, I’m asking everyone to share their photos, artwork, images, quotes, and any other inspiration that shows how we can give back to our community by spreading the love. Spread the #citylove and show your #citylove to enter the giveaway. Everyone who posts inspiration for kindness with the #citylove hashtag and follows @susanecolasanti on Twitter during Random Acts of Kindness Week will be entered to win. And yay, this giveaway is international :)

How to enter the giveaway:

1. Follow me on Twitter.

2. Show your #citylove by tweeting inspiration for kindness. This can be a photo of an act of kindness you do or see in your city. It can be an act of kindness from another community. It can be your own words of wisdom, encouragement, or motivation to inspire others to be kind. It can be your original artwork or an existing image that inspires kindness. Or even an inspirational quote that will encourage everyone to spread the #citylove. Any example of kindness is welcome.

3. Your entry MUST include the #citylove hashtag and @susanecolasanti to be counted.

Giveaway rules:

1. All entries must be tweeted during Random Acts of Kindness Week, February 9-15, 2015. Entries must include both the #citylove hashtag and @susanecolasanti.

2. Three winners will be announced on Twitter on February 16, 2015.

3. Each winner will have until February 23, 2015 to email me their full name and mailing address. My email is susanecolasanti at gmail.

4. This giveaway is international. Anyone may enter.

5. Entries to this giveaway are unlimited. You may enter as many times as you’d like.


Show your #citylove, friendly neighbors!

top ten, after deadline edition

Win! Book two of City Love has been turned IN. Which means I have some time off while my editor reads the manuscript. These are the first days off I’ve had in a super long time. So of course I’ve been tackling a to-do list that got crazy while I was on deadline. Must add to list: relax.

Life after deadline also means I get to write another top ten blog post and include all the fun stuff I’ve been wanting to tell you about. Fun stuff like…

1. City Love comes out in two months! Hard to believe that April 21 is almost here. Especially now that we’re dealing with stark, cold, unrelenting February. Submitting book two of the City Love trilogy was a good way to retaliate against February rolling in. That and warm chocolate chip cookies. You can typically find me hiding out under several fluffy blankets for the entire month of February, a sort of hibernation involving many mugs of green tea and many piles of good books. But I have decided to own this February. Wintry mix has nothing on me.

So instead of hiding out during my least favorite month, I will be looking forward to the release of City Love on April 21. You can read the synopsis and find pre-ordering links on the City Love page of my website. Please stay tuned for lots of related funtivities and my book tour schedule. The events page of my website is always the best resource for where you can find me at upcoming book events. More events will be added soon when the final tour schedule goes up, but so far events in New York, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, and Charleston have been confirmed.

2. In other book news, the first book blogger review of City Love is up! Thanks to Confessions of a Bookaholic for this sweet review. Five hearts <3

3. Those of you who’ve been reading this blog for a while may remember that I bought an apartment in 2012. Then I did a gut renovation and was psyched out of my head over every detail (fixtures! floors! faucets!). What is more fun than drooling over before-and-after photos of gut renos? Not much. That’s why I shared my own before-and-after photos of my place with you. The links to all of those home life posts can be found here. However, setting up a sweet space does not mean I don’t continue to dream bigger. Which involves more drooling over gorgeous apartment pics. Like my future bathroom at 432 Park Avenue.

432 Park Avenue

Any view that makes the Empire State Building look small is a view I wouldn’t mind having. Plus this place is a steal at only $82 million! Like I said. Always dreaming big…

4. Did you see Wild? I did and was blown away. Wild is an outstanding movie on its own, but what makes it even more amazing is that it is based on a true story. Cheryl Strayed is a perfect example of how you can become the best version of yourself by turning negative experiences into something immensely positive. Cheryl is a role model to us all. And Nick Hornby (who you can catch me rogue fangirling over in 2009 here) wrote the screenplay, so hello film perfection!

5. Speaking of role models, Mean Stinks is spreading the #citylove by collecting your ideas and mantras to help stop girl-to-girl bullying. You can submit your theories, insight, and visuals here. One idea that I use when I hear a group of girls talking trash about another girl (who is usually their friend)? Retaliate against the negative energy by bringing positive energy to the conversation. A good way to diffuse girl-on-girl trash talk is to speak up and defend the girl being dissed. Saying something nice about a person who is being attacked can have a huge impact.

6. How hard was I book nerding over this fortune?

A house without books is like a room without windows.

A house without books is like a room without windows. Word.

7. Feeling bummed about New Year’s Resolutions you’ve already broken? You are not alone. Check it: 90% of New Year’s Resolutions are broken by January 15. Ninety percent, yo. The good news is that you can make resolutions any day of the year. Including today! The best way to break a bad habit is to replace it with a good one. But on average, people fail seven times before trying to break a habit. Do not let that scare you. Do not give up. Keep working for it and you WILL succeed. When you feel the urge to do whatever that bad habit is (A), have a plan ready for a replacement routine (B). Plan on telling yourself this: If I feel like doing A, I will instead do B. Eventually B will become part of your new lifestyle and A will be a thing of the past. Work it and own it, you rock star.

8. My daily email from NPR had the best subject: Look Up. That is so City Love. And you know it’s one of my main mottos.

NPR Look Up

 

NPR just ran a week of challenges on New Tech City involving your phone. Actually, your lack of phone. The challenges were all about putting the phone away and experiencing real life as it happens. Snaps to this NPR segment for encouraging everyone to put the phone away and see the world through your own eyes. To be in the moment. To enjoy the Now.

9. This.

Liquiteria Acai Parfait

10. Finally, I’ll leave you with this screenshot from the City Love cover shoot video. Remember this when you are feeling dark and twisty. Remember this when you are feeling alone. Most of all, remember this when you want to give up.

Anything Is Possible

 

Never, ever give up.

Much love. xoxo