1. Okay, so total honesty: I’m basically a nervous wreck about giving this commencement speech at the NC School of Science and Mathmatics this weekend. I know the crowd will be great, as the students are great, but it’s just…whoa, you know? My own high school experience was far from exemplary, and I feel like the last person who should be giving anyone advice about their future. Or present. Or anything. I mean, as I write this, I have a ketchup stain on my shirt. But my speech is written, I’ve practiced it out loud a few times, and I think it’s a good mix of funny and serious. But if you can spare a good thought for me around 10am on Saturday morning, I’d appreciate it. And could use it, if only to stay stain-free.
2. I’ve written here a lot lately about how I’ve been working like crazy on my new book, which just went back to my editor to commence another round of revisions. One thing that’s already changed: the title. It was CUT AND RUN. Actually, it was BEING REAL, but everyone hated that except for me, which is par for the course. Nobody ever likes my original titles. That’s why THE FOREVER became THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER and STORY OF MY LIFE became JUST LISTEN and LOST AND FOUND became LOCK AND KEY. So I don’t sweat it much. Usually, though, the novel itself isn’t announced until the title is totally set, but this is number ten, so things happen. Which is a super long way of saying that CUT AND RUN is now WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE. And it will stay that way. I think.
3. My birthday is fast approaching, but I am determined to remain calm. Forty is the new thirty, right? And thirty is the new twenty. And twenty is…well, twenty’s just twenty, it can’t be anything else because you’re too busy figuring everything out. I am taking some small solace in the fact that I got carded buying wine yesterday (YES!) and that I will be able to deal with my anxiety, should it crop up, with copious amounts of birthday cake and shrimp burgers. In all seriousness, though, I am just happy to be here and to have such great friends and family and a job I love and good dogs. And every day of these forty years—or almost forty years—is all mine. So no complaints. Bring on the cake!
4. Last night, to kick off the birthday month—and because we had a babysitter, and will go out anytime that’s happening—we went to my favorite restaurant, Lantern. I was super lucky because they had my three favorite things on the menu: summer rolls with shrimp (!), pork lettuce wraps with glass noodles (!!) and this amazing banana ice cream with peanuts and caramel dessert (punctuation cannot even begin to do it justice). After dinner, our friends Jason and Blaine stopped by to have a drink with us, and as we were talking this young couple came in and sat down a few tables down. Now, it’s probably because I had a verified sighting of Zooey Deschanel at Lantern a few months back, but I was convinced this couple was Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens. And it wasn’t just me! Blaine said, “Oh, my God, is that Zac Efron?” before I could even pose the same question. Now, I know what you—especially those of you in NY and LA, where you see celebs a lot—are thinking. Why would Zac and Vanessa be in Chapel Hill? No idea. But it’s possible, right? So I had to do a walk by…and it wasn’t. At least, I don’t think so. Which begs the question, how crazy is it that a guy who looks just like Zac Efron would date a girl who looks just like Vanessa Hudgens? It seems almost too bizarre, like they planned it or something. Anyway, I have no point to this story, really. Other than the dinner was freaking FABULOUS. Yum!
5. As I’ve said, I’m heading out of town for a little while this weekend to do the whole birthday/anniversary thing. So blog entries, Tweets and Facebook updates (although I never update Facebook, I am super slack on that front) will be few and far between if not non-existent. But I do want to thank you all for the kind words, and for reading this silly blog, and for liking my books and, you know, tolerating me. I really, really appreciate it, and look forward to sharing my forties with you. Whether you like it or not.