The Friday Five!

1. I’m starting this entry at 7:34 am, while my kid watches Toot and Puddle in the playroom. On the TV behind ME, in the living room, GMA is covering the movie theatre shootings in Colorado. This kind of news is just so horrific: I have no words. I can’t even imagine how the families of the victims are coping, the town, and all the chaos and sadness. We live in scary times, and we know that. But once in awhile something happens like this that brings it right up close. Too close. Heartbreaking.

2. Last night, I did a chat over on the Facebook page for Girl’s Life magazine. Now, these things always make me kind of nervous: you have to keep up, type fast, refresh the page often AND answer concisely but also with wit and heart. WHEW! It was an hour long and by the end I felt like I’d run a 5K. I was literally out of breath. I THINK it went well, especially since just as it started we got hit by a summer thunderstorm that I was terrified would knock out the power altogether. But I am seriously out of shape when it comes to promotional stuff. It’s like a muscle you have to keep primed, and when you let it go, you feel it the next day. My brain is sore today, if that makes any sense. Clearly I need to up my reps before next summer, when the new book comes out.

3. SPEAKING of the new book, there’s been another title change. I KNOW. Believe me, I know. For those of you who are counting, this is title number three, but—-to further confuse things—it’s actually title number one, the original one I had in mind the entire time I was writing. Let me explain. Titles are complex things: sometimes they present themselves VERY early in a book (like This Lullaby, which came to me in the first sentence) and other times they evade me until almost the end (Just Listen, for example). Other times, I have a title in firmly in mind but nobody else likes it, so I have to change it during editing (just about all my other books fall into this category). For the new book, I was about a third of the way through when I decided to call it THE MOON AND MORE. But by the end, I got worried it would sound too much like a sequel to KEEPING THE MOON, so I changed it to THE BEST AFTER EVER. Which was cute, but everyone called it THE BEST EVER AFTER from, like, the minute I announced it, so we decided it was too confusing. Back to the drawing board. About a week’s worth of nail-biting later, I came up with SOMEONE ELSE’S SUMMER. Good, right? Well, my publisher wasn’t totally crazy about it, and neither was I, to be honest. It was kind of a Hail Mary, but I was prepared to run with it until they asked if I could PLEASE come up with another option. All I could think of—all that really EVER worked well—was THE MOON AND MORE. So I decided we’d go back to that, and just hope the similarity to KEEPING THE MOON would be okay. Which I think it will be. There’s some lesson in all this angst and worry and stress expended to end up EXACTLY where you started, not that I want to learn it right this second. I am just glad to have a title and a book I’m happy with. It will be out in Summer 2013. STAY TUNED!

4. My chickens continue to provide me with SO much happiness. Who knew poultry could be so great? They’re cute and funny and give me moments of Zen almost daily. I’m totally not kidding, by the way. Lately my favorite thing is watching our little furry footed d’Uccles practice their crowing. It sounds like someone trying to hold back a sneeze, but you can just TELL they think they are very fierce and scary. At least until Foghorn, our big rooster, chimes in and shows them how it’s done. This video isn’t great, but it makes me SO happy. I am such a nerd. Want more proof? I have a chicken stapler:

Whatever you are thinking, I have already thought it. Rest assured.

5. Okay, as I’m wrapping this up it’s now 4:23pm. I’ve stayed off Twitter and most social media today, feeling like I can’t just do my regular stupid updates when there are so many people grieving in Colorado. Instead, I got quiet, as I tend to do when I’m sad, and just spent the day with my kid. We went to our local indie bookstore, then to her swim lesson, where I sat and watched her as she paddled, sometimes frantically, as her teacher coaxed her forward through the water. For some reason, watching her swim has always kind of gotten me (wasn’t she JUST a baby in my arms?) but today it was especially poignant. When something happens like this movie theatre shooting, you just feel so scared and unsafe. It makes me want to bar the door and keep my entire family inside and in my sight, close, forever. But you can’t live like that. But how CAN you live in a world where senseless things happen like this? I have no answers to these questions. I guess that we are all figuring it out together, especially on a day like today. And so today, the best I can do is tell the ones I love how important they are to me, be grateful we are all accounted for, and hope for a better tomorrow. Yeah. I think I’ll do that.

Have a good weekend, everyone.