ALA, NOLA, ZZZZ….

In Blog

It’s a blog of acronyms! No, not really. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that looking at that heading above makes me feel just as scrambled as my brain actually is right now. Does that make sense? Yeah, didn’t think so.

Really, I shouldn’t be doing a blog right now. I’m too tired and worn out. Other things I shouldn’t be doing: driving, talking to people, being vertical. I mean, seriously. I have not been this brain dead since my daughter was a newborn. I literally feel CRAZY I am so exhausted. You know what I mean: your brain is mushy, you feel hot and cold and hot and cold, and sometimes, when people speak to you, you think they are talking in another language. Then you realize no, they aren’t, you’re just stupid and unable to process what they are saying.

Like I said: probably shouldn’t be here. But has that stopped me before? No. And once this entry is done, I intend to vanish (poof!) for a little while, until I feel normal again. Until then, enjoy the craziness. I dare you!

The American Library Association convention is ALWAYS a blast and super nuts. But put it at the end of a month and a half of pretty much constant travel for me AND locate it in New Orleans, and you’re talking major crazy sauce. I was basically running on fumes before I even left on Thursday, due to a babysitter down with strep and various email issues I had no time to really deal with, as I have a daughter who does not understand the concept of, “One second, Mama has to do this, okay?” I was racing around like a madwoman, trying to pack on Thursday, then headed to the airport for my flight. I was conked out before takeoff, and barely roused myself to stumble through the Miami airport for my connection. On that plane, I had a glass of wine. ONE! (It’s the end of the tour, cut me some slack. Did I mention I am crazy?) Anyway, we landed in New Orleans, and I’m wandering around the airport, tired and now a little tipsy, feeling like a stranger in a strange world. I was trying to find the taxi line when I heard someone call my name. I turned around and it was Jay Asher, author of 13 Reasons Why, who I had actually never met before. So how did I recognize him? Because I had literally JUST read an article in EW about his book and success as we were taxiing to the gate with a huge picture of him in it. It was like he’d jumped off the page and into the taxi line. (Did I mention I’d had a glass of wine? On a basically empty stomach? While exhausted?) Anyway, all I can say is THANK GOD FOR JAY ASHER. He collected me up, charming as can be, and we got in a cab together. I am pretty sure I talked his ear off the entire time, but he was totally nice about it. Oh, man. I owe him big. If he’s ever tipsy in a strange airport, I will come running. Even if I have to fly across country to get there!

So then we’re at the hotel, and I pull myself together enough to have a nice dinner out before crashing. Ah, sleep. I felt relatively normal the next morning—other than the shame of talking Jay Asher’s ear off in the cab, oh, dear—and had some free time to walk around the French Quarter, which was lovely. Then, that afternoon, I met up with Jay and the superawesome Carolyn Mackler for our pre-conference YALSA talk. My friend Allison had told me that they are SERIOUS in NOLA about their air conditioning and to always have a sweater. I am so glad I listened, as it was literally thirty degrees in the conference room. BRRR! Here’s me, Jay and Carolyn, before the freeze set in:

Sorry if it is a little blurry. Then again, everything looks blurry to me right now, so maybe it’s fine. Anyway, the next day the conference REALLY cranked up. I had four signings in five hours, one of them off-site at the fabulous Octavia Books. I’d met Judith, the owner, YEARS ago at BEA and we’d both been trying to plan an event there for me since then. I was so happy to finally get to to it! Even better, I was followed by the fabulous Lauren Myracle, who came in sporting pink threads woven into her hair. (I know there is another name for those things, but as I am barely functioning, just bear with me, okay?) I complimented her, and because Lauren is a force of nature the next thing I knew she was corralling a bystander to help her put one in my hair as well:

I know, you can hardly see it. But I swear, it is there!

After the fourth signing, I had JUST enough time to scarf down a piece of pizza (Oh, Weight Watchers, forgive me, for I have been Off Plan) before darting to a cocktail party thrown by my publisher where I signed MORE books. I was positioned right by the Bananas Foster station, which was just about the coolest thing ever. Also very cool? I got to meet Harlan Coben. Look!

Here’s me with Maureen Johnson, just before we tweeted John Green to tell him how much we were missing him:

And here is a re-enactment shot of the VERY FIRST TIME Maureen Johnson and Carolyn Mackler ever met. It is re-enacted because I was too slow with the camera the first time to catch this momentous event as it happened:

Okay, so THEN we had a big dinner, after which I collapsed, because about six hours later I was due up for the YALSA Coffee Klatch. If you’ve never heard of this, let me tell you: it is CRAZY. Forty YA authors, 40 tables of awesome librarians and teachers. They give you a number, you go to that table, and you have four minutes to talk about your book and answer questions before someone blows a whistle, signalling that you move to the NEXT table to do it all over again. It is like speed dating. Or having your wedding reception, over and over again. WHEW! It was also the Very Last Thing I was doing before I went to the airport and officially got off the road for What Happened to Goodbye. The book came out May 10th. I left May 11th for Denver, and since then have taken five trips out and back, including BEA and now ALA, as well as done four local appearances in the downtime between. Whoa. So I apologize to anyone who got stuck with me at their table, as I was probably talking total gibberish. I was subsisting on coffee and adrenaline, not much else. Plus the homesickness had hit a serious peak. I mean, look at my badge:

As usual, though, the librarians were AWESOME. Energetic, passionate, they love their kids so much and want nothing more than to help them to love reading. It’s a great, noble thing and I was so happy to get to be a part of their meeting. I will also say again, since it is the end of the official tour (although I’ll be in Cape Cod, MA in July and Asheville, NC in August) how grateful I am to ALL of you who came out to see me in your bookstores and libraries, and made me feel so at home. Your kind words are what will get me back to the computer as soon as I am mentally able to start back on the next book. Before then, though, I think I will need a little break. So if I’m not here or on Twitter as much, you’ll know why. I just need to pull myself back together. It’s been a great, great ride, but as this pic from my plane window attests, there’s really not much better than looking down at your home state when you’ve missed it so much.

I’ll be back here, too, promise. Soon!

 

Thanks again for everything. Have a good day, everyone!