The Friday Five!

1. I am sick. There: I said it. All week, since the first tickle in my throat on Monday afternoon, I have been in total denial about this. “It’s allergies!” then “It’s a little cold!” then “It’s getting better!” After dinner out last night, though, it hit me like a wave and I gave in, crawling into bed with my tissues at 9pm. I slept for ten hours, woke up and….was still tired. I HATE being sick! (In all fairness, I don’t know anyone who actually enjoys it. But maybe some (sick?) people do?) I do feel like I am on the mend, though, slowly, and on the upside I have gotten a lot of reading done. I finished Laurie Halse Anderson’s newest (I had an advance copy, it’s out in January!) THE IMPOSSIBLE KNIFE OF MEMORY, and it is SO FREAKING GOOD it’s going to blow your minds. In a good way. Also I started Curtis Sittenfeld’s SISTERLAND, which is awesome as well. Being sick is honestly the only time I let myself just STOP everything and get into bed and stay there during daylight hours. My mother is always telling me to slow down, simplify, but it’s hard: life is fast and complex. So I kind of have to look at getting sick as the ultimate mother, the Universe, stepping in and taking charge. Stop. Get prone. Read. Yes, ma’am.

2. Before I was felled by whatever this is I had, I was interviewed by my college newspaper, UNC’s The Daily Tar Heel. Regular readers know I love all things Carolina, since I grew up on the campus, got in trouble there as a teen, then attended as a student before teaching there myself. (Reading over that, I’m like: okay, sort of lame. But I can’t change it now!) Anyway, it made me so happy to be able to get my picture taken on McCorkle Place, one of my favorite spots in the world. (You can see the picture and read the article here.) Every time I go back to campus, especially when it’s so gorgeous like right now, I just want to keep walking up to my old office in Greenlaw Hall and sit down and wait for my students to show up for office hours. Although…I’d be waiting awhile because I left there in 2005 and they’re all long gone now. It’s like that quote from WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE (yes, I am quoting myself):“I mean, it’s not surprising, really. Once you love something, you always love it in some way. You have to. It’s, like, part of you for good.” That’s how I feel about UNC, no matter if it’s in the news for stuff that is not so great, or we stink at basketball, or whatever. My heart is there. Even when I’m not. Go Heels!

3. My kid being in kindergarten has been a whole new world for us on many levels. There’s the fact that she’s now gone all day, that she has a life away from me I know nothing about (unless I press her HARD for info, which she hardly ever gives) and that she seems like she’s aged a year in the month since school began, maturity-wise. Then there’s the parental involvement factor. I didn’t realize how much you CAN do for your kid’s school if you want to, how much help they’d LIKE. There’s classroom hours, and sitting in on art/music class. There’s the Fall Festival, and field trips and special occasion volunteering. I am the kind of person who always feels guilty if I don’t do everything people want me to, so this is a slippery slope for me. Again, I keep thinking I should be the Super #1 Parent, but there are also books that need to be written, and dogs to be dealt with and Life in General. More and more, I feel like I keep coming back to this concept of balance and moderation. Which are big words for just chilling the heck out, please. I’m trying to listen. Although I LOVE the idea of running the cakewalk booth at the Fall Festival.

4. This time last week, I was on my way to Texas for the Austin Teen Book Festival. You guys: this was SO MUCH FUN. First off, it’s Austin, which is such a cool city, with some of the best food I’ve ever had. (I had queso at pretty much every meal, as planned, and ate breakfast tacos every chance I got.) I’m fortunate that I get to go to a lot of conferences and festivals, but there were SO many teen readers at this one. It was awesome. Everyone was so excited about YA, and I got to see a bunch of my friends, plus make some new ones. I did my lunch talk with Rob Thomas, who created Veronica Mars, and managed not to fangirl TOO much. Although I do look pretty excited in this picture:

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And here’s me with YA rockstars Siobhan Vivian and Jenny Han:

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And the fab Lauren Myracle:

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And new new friend Sara Farizan, who is so freaking cool I can’t even:

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Plus the crowd at one of our panels!

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This time NEXT week, I’ll be on my way to Nashville, TN for the Southern Festival of Books. It’s my first time at that festival, as well, and I am SO excited because I get to fangirl again over many authors I know and will just have to stalk. Plus: Nashville! I might even see Rayna James. Or Connie Britton. Either way, amazing.

5. Finally, speaking of awesome YA authors, I also met Maggie Stiefvater in Austin.  Now, YOU may know her as a bestselling rock-star YA writer, but for me, forever, she will now be known as The Person Who Introduced My Husband to Pygmy Silky Fainting Goats. I’ll give you a minute to process that. With me now? I met Maggie (who is so cool, just as you’d expect) and somehow we got talking chickens. Which led me to talk about goats, and how my husband wants one. Turns out she has regular goats (which she says are hellions) and some Pygmy Silky Fainting Goats, which she LOVES. I took a picture of her goats from her phone, came home, and and showed it to my husband. Within minutes, he was on the website where she got hers in VA, doing research. See: I set this into motion! What was I thinking? I believe it was being in awe of Maggie, to be honest. She was so positive about them, though, and he does really want one…oh, man. This is how it starts, people. First dogs, then children. Then chickens. Now goats. What’s next? Wait: don’t answer that. I mean it! DO NOT!

Have a good weekend, everyone!