The Five!

1. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to clear out the clutter, both literally and spiritually. The spiritual part is harder, so I decided to tackle the literal first. I’ve been doing a lot of culling, packing bags for the thrift shop and swap shed, that sort of thing. Yesterday, I FINALLY managed to open up the huge backlog of fan mail that had been collecting in my office. It was a big heap, and every time I looked at it I just felt horribly guilty that I hadn’t responded. I’m so flattered and honored to get letters, and I love reading them. But if I answered every single one I’d never get ANY writing done. Or housework. Or, um, anything. I used to send postcards, and then I sent form letters to people who included SASEs, and now….well, now I just read them and appreciate them and hope that’s enough. Maybe someday I will come up with the perfect way to respond and not have it take up so much time. Maybe another author already has? If so, fill me in! I’ll be waiting.

2. The other thing I’ve been needing to clear out is my foreign editions. I’m incredibly lucky that my books have now been translated into TONS of languages, including German, Japanese, Italian, French, Polish and others. Getting the foreign editions is always a blast, and I keep one copy of each on my office bookshelf. The extras, in the past, I have given to local high school foreign language departments, shipped to teachers who said they could use them, and given to friends who teach. But somehow I STILL ended up with a big box of them that I could not find homes for. My mother suggested that I take them down to Dey Hall, which houses the foreign language classes at UNC, and leave them there for the taking. And so began my stealth book drop off. Step one: I put the books in bags. Step two: made a sign that said FREE BOOKS! IN MANY LANGUAGES! FREE! TAKE ONE! OR TWO! Step three: I risked the wrath of the UNC Parking Department by sneaking into a totally illegal space, then sprinting to Dey, where I hurriedly stacked the books inside the main entrance, taped up my sign, and then ran back to my car, hoping I hadn’t been towed. I had not! I have no idea if the books have been taken, but I am DYING to know. I may have to get one of my babysitters to do some reconnaissance tomorrow. If they are still there, unloved and unwanted, it will kill me. And I will most likely traipse BACK up there and retrieve them. But at least I tried.

3. This morning, I was pulling on a pair of my favorite jeans and the zipper broke. Just broke, BOOM!, with one tug. It was like I could hear the universe saying: “That is enough pie, Sarah.” I have to admit, I’ve gotten a little bit carried away with this whole pie and coffee thing. It’s like I’m channelling the whole town of Twin Peaks. (And if you got that reference, I’m so glad! I wonder if anyone will.) Add in my new habit of potato chips before bed and I think I have my answer about the zipper. Point taken, universe. Will hit treadmill tomorrow. And the next day…..

4. The Golden Globes are this weekend, and I am so excited…even though I have hardly seen any of the films nominated. Used to be I was really up on movies, but then I had a baby, and time got tight, and then I started trying to write regularly, and time got tighter. Still, I WILL watch the Globes and the Oscars, and am hoping I can at least get to Black Swan before one or both of them. Although I hear it is scary. And that you shouldn’t see it alone. But it’s about ballet! Isn’t ballet soft and pretty? No? Oh. Okay. Maybe I’ll wait for the DVD….

5. I am a person who does not like controversy. I avoid conflict like the plague, often to my detriment, but whatever. Which is why I am going to present to you without commentary or comment this story that currently has the publishing blogs (and other blogs) all a-Twitter (so so speak). It’s been tradition that the winners of the biggest children’s book awards, the Newbery and the Caldecott, appear on the Today show the day after they are announced. This year, however, Today said they were fully booked for the week and couldn’t accommodate them. On the SAME show, however, they did have Snooki from Jersey Shore talking about HER debut novel. Which has kicked off all this discussion about what it means to be an author and who decides the parameters. Is it because you wrote a book? Or because your name is on a book? Or because you had an idea for a book and someone helped you flesh out said idea?

I do not know the answers to these questions, but am hoping that maybe one of you might. While you are at it, maybe you will advise me on the fan mail, foreign editions, how to give up pie, and whether I should see Black Swan. Talk about codependent. What would I do without you guys?

Have a great weekend, everyone!