Home / Blog / integrity


In Blog

Okay, so this was SUPPOSED to be a blog post solely about the great event Flyleaf put on for WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE last night. It was, in a word, awesome. I mean, check out the sign:

We arrived with the cars, got them unloaded from the trailers and into place:

Then headed over to the Flying Burrito for dinner, where I ate my weight in queso, chips, and the trademark Mexican Trainwreck (beans, cheese, salsa, guac, green onions, sour cream). It was so awesome, both the food and the memories. Then we went BACK to Flyleaf, where a great crowd had gathered. Included: my mother, one of my babysitters, my fourth grade teacher, one of my former colleagues from UNC Creative Writing, and a girl I babysat when I was in college. Among other people. It was, as my mentor Lee Smith would say, like old home week. I loved it. Also, loved these girls from Fayetteville, all elementary school teachers, who arrived in matching shirts:

I read, did trivia, then we handed out a TON of t-shirts and water bottles. My husband had worried we’d brought too many Dessen Racing shirts and would be lugging them all right back to the garage with us. Instead, they were gone in, like, ten minutes. POOF! Time for another screen print run, clearly. Anyway, everyone was fab, the folks at Flyleaf ROCKED, and it felt like a nice little wrap up to my local events, at least for now. I’d done my first one ALL the way back on May 10th, and been around the country since then. I’ll be in New Orleans for ALA later this week, but after that, I’m planning to disappear for a little while. It just felt…good. Like a nice, best way to round things out. I mean, look how relaxed and happy I look with my Dessen Racing friends:

On the way home, I saw my first firefly of the year. On the eve of the solstice! Like I said: nice.

Then, this morning, I woke up to find 100+ emails in my website account. They were all identical, but sent from individual people. Apparently the commercial for my books has been running on Teen Nick during some episodes of Degrassi that feature a transgender character, and my name and email was included on a form put together by a group in Florida to protest. Now, I actually have no control when and where my ad airs. I didn’t even know it was running during Degrassi: I saw it on MTV about a month ago during a Diary about Justin Bieber and haven’t seen it since. My publisher bought ad time from MTV networks (I believe) and it runs whenever they decide to run it. So I was surprised (to say the least) to find myself the target of all these emails. Worse, when some of the folks who sent them got my auto-response (which goes out, um, automatically if you email me at that address) they wrote back very nasty emails accusing me of spamming them. When they had emailed me. WHAT? I know! Needless to say, my Zen was gone. It was like waking up and getting kicked in the face for no reason. Good morning!

I will say this, though. I don’t watch Degrassi, it came along after my time. But I believe in equal rights for ALL people, regardless of race, sex, or sexual orientation. If that makes me “depraved” and “lacking integrity” (both things I have been accused of today, more than once) then, well, okay. I’ll take it. I was raised to stand by what I believe, and I believe in equality. You don’t have to agree with me. That’s what’s great about this world. But you don’t have to be nasty about it, either.

Add in the fact that my babysitter was down with the flu and for whatever reason my daughter was PARTICULARLY energetic and refused to nap, and this has been a long, crazy day. One minute I’m trying to cool down and NOT fire back equally mean emails (“Sticks and stones,” I kept hearing my mother say, over and over again in my head, as I hit ARCHIVE instead of REPLY) the next I am cutting crusts off a PB&J and telling myself to chill the heck out. But now that I (finally) have a few free minutes I’m able to process it all and realize that really, it doesn’t really matter. I think it was Meg Cabot who said, “You’re not a hundred dollar bill. Not everyone is going to love you.” True and truer. You can always count on Meg to say it better than anyone else.

Look, I’m just a girl from NC. A mom, a wife, a daughter. An author. I write about high school. I don’t think I’m changing the world for the worse or better. I’m just doing what we are ALL doing, which is the best we can. Highs and lows, highs and lows, as they say. My high was those friendly faces and those fireflies here in my hometown. Low was a bunch of emails from people who, most likely, have no idea who I am or what my books are about. Really, that’s not much of a low. If it is at all.

And it’s GOT to mean something that as I was writing the paragraph above, my iTunes began playing Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds.” Don’t worry about a thing, because every little thing gonna be all right… That says it better than I ever could. At any rate, as always, thanks for listening.

Have a good night, everyone!