I had one written, but I just can’t post it. My heart is broken for the families in Newtown, CT who lost their children today in a senseless act of violence. Unfathomable. I can’t even imagine. Thinking all the good thoughts and saying all the prayers I can, and hoping for change, somehow…
1. I’m here in New York, after the LONGEST day ever yesterday, watching GMA in my hotel room. My feet hurt, I need to pack up, and tomorrow at home I’ve got Disney On Ice with my kid, which I have a FEELING will be very intense for both of us. So this Five is going to be quick one, if only because I signed a BUNCH of galleys yesterday as well, so my hands are as sore as my feet. Whew!
2. Okay, but the BIG thing yesterday was this super secret thing I couldn’t tweet, blog or even really talk about. A couple of weeks back, I got the SWEETEST email from this guy David, whose girlfriend Rachel loves my books. He was wondering if I was going to be in New York anytime soon because he was HOPING he could 1) introduce her to to me and 2) have me be part of him asking her to marry him. I mean, HELLO! How often do you get to be a part of something so romantic? I could not resist. So we went back and forth, emailing and planning, and then last night it was finally happening. I brought my friends Elyse and Leigh with me, as they are ALSO huge romantics, and we met as scheduled at a gelato place. He and Rachel came up in line behind us and I turned around and smiled, then said hello. Her eyes went wide. (So, whew, she did know who I was.) She was sputtering and so surprised and I said, “Oh, David just wanted us to meet!” and she was still kind of sputtering but we took a walk and then sat down and talked about writing and high school and life in general. After about a half hour, I said, “Well, I should go,” and David said they’d walk me back to my friends. He’d already told me that the guy playing the guitar under the lit-up arch at this market was there for the proposal, so when we got there, I said, “Oh, I almost forgot, I have a book for you.” It was a copy of THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER, which David had told me was her favorite book. Earlier we’d done this total high-intrigue top-secret book signing, made possible by my friend Elyse, who stealthily met David at a restaurant, then ran back to give ME the book so I could give it to Rachel. Which I did. Inside, I’d said if this was her forever, it’s a pretty great one, and David wrote something incredibly sweet beneath it. While she was reading the inscription in front of me, HE was getting down on one knee behind her. She said, “Thank you so much!” for the book and I said, “I think you should turn around now.” She did, and saw him, and OH MY GOD IT WAS THE SWEETEST THING EVER. Everyone nearby stopped what they were going, the guitar guy was playing Sam Cooke, and when she said yes everyone cheered. I still get chills thinking about it. Just so, so amazing. I was honored to be a part of it, and wish them all the best in the world. Forever.
3. I don’t even know how to follow that, seriously. How can I even try? How about a picture of me with Miss National Sweetheart, who I met while watching GMA from inside the studio yesterday? I was TOTALLY coveting her crown and sash and she was SO sweet she said, “Oh, they have pageants for people your age, too.” Which I am sure they do, but I do not think I have what it takes, sadly. I mean, just look at the picture. She looks great and runway ready, whereas I…look like I’ve been up since 5:15. Oh, well.
4. Yes, so I DID get to GMA, and I was out in Times Square with My People (fellow huge GMA fans) and it was COLD. And I did not have a tiara or sash, which I thought I might need to get inside. But it was a fun scene and everyone was laughing and getting SO excited whenever Sam or Josh or Lara or George walked across the room (as I said, my people). Then my friend Cap, who is a stagehand there, and who I met on another visit when I got inside, saw me through the window. She gave me this look, then said, “What are you DOING?” I was like, “What do you mean?” She sighed, visibly. Was like, “Do you WANT to come in?” (This was all with hand gestures, by the way.) Another sigh, and she pointed to the stage door. And I was in!
5. So, yes, it’s been a busy couple of days. I need to pack and gear up for home and my kid and the puppy and chickens and, you know, all the chaos. Oh, and did I mention Disney on Ice? Yikes. But for now, I will have a nice breakfast, soak up all the city I can, and then take my country mouse self back where I belong. Next year, I’m going to be doing a LOT of blogs and tweets from hotel rooms, this I know. But for now, I’m happy to get back to NC. Oh, and this:
Yeah. Pretty nice.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
1. Look what the UPS guy brought me yesterday!
It’s an Advance Reader’s Copy of THE MOON AND MORE, also known as a galley and a BOM. But to me, it just means that all this hard work and agonizing and title and cover drama is finally…a book. That I can hold in my hand! And read—if I wasn’t so totally sick of it by this point that doing that is the LAST thing I feel like doing. I got two copies, one for my husband and parents to read, one to keep for myself, and my daughter immediately threw a fit that I wouldn’t let her have one of them. Do I want princess stickers, magic marker and kid schmutz all over my beautiful BOM? I do not. So I am holding my ground and, um, hiding them on high shelf. You do what you have to do.
2. Guess what’s in THESE boxes?
Well, that would be tip-in sheets. And what are those?
They are single sheets of paper that I am supposed to sign, which will then be bound into finished hardbacks to make signed copies. I’ve done this before, for LOCK AND KEY, but only about 5000. John Green, rock star that he is, signed 150,000 for his great novel THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. I am only (only?) doing about 12,000 for THE MOON AND MORE, but it’s a bit daunting nonetheless. I am approaching it tortoise style, which is to say slow and steady, a small stack at a time. So far having NASHVILLE on seems to increase my output. My mother, for her part, keeps reminding me that my grandmother had to have surgery on her hand for carpal tunnel syndrome. Which I really hope doesn’t happen. See, and just like that I’m worried again. Slow. Steady. Slow. Steady…
3. We’re at week two of puppy housebreaking with our new pup Goose, and it is also slow. Although not exactly steady. Not sure why, but I can take him outside for a full half hour, during which time he will eat sticks and chew on leaves, ignoring our purpose for being outside altogether. Then, the minute we are BACK in the house he pees on the floor. So it’s outside AGAIN because I have always trained all my dogs by making the association that outside=peeing and pooping, even if it’s AFTER they have done it. I keep thinking we will have that Eliza Doolittle “Rain in Spain” moment, when he suddenly GETS IT, but so far it’s not happening. As far as the nights, he’s whining less, but still loudly when he does. Of course, he’s so cute that all of this is, really, forgiveable. But I did catch him chewing on my Cole Haan shoes the other day and THAT IS NOT OKAY. He’ll probably learn that before he does the housebreaking thing.
4. Tomorrow is the first day of December. How do I know this? Because my daughter keeps reminding me that we have to put up our advent calendar, take down the tree and ornaments from the attic, and officially begin to Get Our Holiday On. Left to my own devices, I am not an early celebrator. As a rule I used to wait until the semester was done and I’d handed in my grades, when it really FELT like I was on vacation and ready to start thinking about Christmas. Even when I quit teaching, I stuck to that schedule. Enter a kid, and now we’re all holiday, all month long, unless I can fight the issue. I’ve agreed to the advent calendar and MAYBE hanging up some decorations, but I’m staying strong on the tree, at least for another week or so. Then again, A Charlie Brown Christmas has already aired, which was my OTHER real guideline. So who even knows?
5. Finally, next week I head up to New York for a couple of days for book stuff and some meetings. It’s always fun to be there before the holidays, because it feels so festive, but I’ll be running around so much I won’t have time to see much of anything. I was even thinking I wouldn’t get by GMA to wave at Sam Champion and Josh Elliott, but I’m thinking I won’t be able to resist. I know my love for GMA is really odd to some people out there, and I’ve given up trying to explain it, other than to say that when you’ve been up with an energetic preschooler (and now a chewing, non-housebroken puppy) for a full hour before sunrise, you just are really happy to see some warm, familiar (adult) faces, even if it IS only on the TV. You look for companionship where you can, I guess, especially after several rounds of Princess Car Crash (my daughter’s current favorite game, and yes it IS just what it sounds like). So I’ll be out there in the cold on Thursday or Friday, waving at the camera with all the other fans, and thinking of the harried, exhausted parents that just MIGHT be staring at me on their own sets. We’re all in this together. Thank god for coffee, though.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
In the end, my husband just couldn’t help himself. He knew right before the holidays was a bad time to get a puppy. That we already had a House of Chaos, and this would just make it more crazy. And that puppies are a lot of work, even if you DON’T have a high maintenance five year old. But none of this mattered. When you know, you know. And he knew he wanted this dog. We named him Goose, and he’s barked all night long in his crate for the three nights we’ve had him. It’s like having a colicky newborn, except he doesn’t even cry it out. The boy has STAMINA. When he is not howling, however—which is basically whenever he’s out of the crate—he’s adorable and lovely and poops everywhere but I don’t even care. (See adorable and lovely, previous.) He’s got to get used to his crate, though, for his own safety and well-being. My husband, who is now as sleep deprived as I was when my kid was seven weeks old, is walking around like a zombie, but determined. “It’s a battle of wills now,” he says. But how can you battle with THAT FACE? *squees*
2. In other news, the rough pages for THE MOON AND MORE arrived this week. This the typeset book, my last chance to read it over and make any changes before it’s actually printed. It makes it feel so real!
The honest truth is that, by this point, I have lost ALL perspective on this novel. It’s probably the tenth or eleventh time I have read it since finishing, and it’s all starting to blur in my head. Which is bad, because I really need to catch all these last little mistakes and issues. People often ask me if I ever re-read my books once they are published, other than the excerpts I do aloud. I don’t. Mostly because by the time I finish editing, then talk about the book for a full year or so, I’m ready to move on. But in a good way. Otherwise I’d never start another one. Which I really need to do. As soon as I can get through these rough pages.
3. The other day I heard “Once In A Lifetime” by the Talking Heads on the radio, and I realized it pretty much sums up my life these days, or at least this week. When I was in high school and loved that song, I didn’t really get the whole, “You may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife/And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?” But at forty two and change, when I found MYSELF volunteering at my daughter’s preschool to help the kids make ornaments AND baking magic bars for the class bake sale, I almost got whiplash from the realization that yes, this IS my life now. Honestly, I still feel like I JUST became an adult. Like, yesterday. How did I end up at a small table, with small children, showing them how to press a stamp into clay to make a snowflake? Isn’t that what MY mother should be doing, while I, oh, I don’t know, ride around in cars with boys she wouldn’t approve of? Man. Life is crazy. Which I guess is what that song is about, in the end.
4. OH I can’t resist. One more and then I swear I will stop:
I can hear him right now, in his crate, howling. Poor baby. Why do I think he’s going to be the Most Spoiled Dog Ever? Just a hunch.
5. I just clicked over to check my email and found one from Kate Spade, offering 20% today and tomorrow on both sale AND full priced stuff. Oh, dear. I have many weaknesses—Luke Perry, chocolate chip cookies, potato chips, Almost Famous, puppies, the list goes on and on—but lately my Kate Spade fixation has become, um, a bit of a problem. I CANNOT stop stalking their online sale. And buying purses. How many purses do I need? Apparently, enough for my husband to be considering an intervention. I have NO IDEA why I am so fixated. I think their stuff—purses, clothes, the jewelry—just lets me pretend, albeit fleetingly, that I am living a much more glamorous life than I actually am. I might be cleaning up puppy poop AGAIN at 9:20am, but I am doing it with some very cute cocktail earrings on. I am struggling to be crafty in my kid’s preschool classroom, helping little hands make ornaments only a parent could love, but I have a very kicky red patent leather purse to make me feel like I’m still slightly hip. I guess we all do what we can to be what we hope to be, and for me it happens to involve accessories. And the occasional sweater. I guess there are worse things? I can only hope so. I can also hope I will NOT click over to their site. Oh, who am I kidding…
Have a great weekend, everyone!
1. Whew. That’s all I can say about this week. Between the election and my cover reveal it’s been BIG BIG stuff for days, and I’ve been stuffing my face with cookies to deal with all the excitement/stress. I have this recipe I make whenever someone I know is having a hard time: I call them my Everything Is Going to Be All Right Cookies. Basically, it’s the normal chocolate chip cookie recipe you find on the back of the Nestle chips, but you add a cup of dry oatmeal and a half a cup of Grape Nuts cereal. The end result: total bliss. I’ve already had two this morning and it’s not even nine a.m. yet. Whoops.
2. I was SO excited to share the cover reveal and excerpt for THE MOON AND MORE yesterday. (If you missed it, you can check it out here.) It’s always such a crazy thing to have a book you’ve been working on for two years or so FINALLY start to emerge into the world. It’s exciting and terrifying and wonderful, all at once. I finished the book way back in May, then edited over the summer, and by June it will be in stores. (If you’re wondering when WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE will be out in paperback, that’s April.) Now, I just have to start ANOTHER book to distract myself from all the nervousness. Number twelve? Really? Maybe tomorrow. I’ll have another cookie first.
3. It’s been almost a month since my dog Monkey passed away, and it still feels weird not having him around here. We’ve been a two dog family since back when I was in college, and when we just have one it just doesn’t feel right. That said, I am REALLY not ready for another dog right now. My little Boston Terrier, Coco, is small and easy to deal with. She’s 17 pounds or so, six years old, and portable: I can scoop her up easily at a moment’s notice, which is necessary as she is a barker and a jumper. But my husband is slowly developing a case of puppy fever: I can see it happening, every time I pass by him at his computer and see the page for Boxer Rescue. And don’t even get me started on the idea of a puppy. Boxer puppies (and we would have to get a boxer, even though I am lobbying, unsuccessfully thus far, for something smaller) stay puppies for about, oh, six years or so. They are bouncy, like Tiggers. We’ve just finished this huge remodel, the house finally looks nice, and NOW we’re doing to introduce a teething, unhousebroken terror into the mix? The answer: probably. I mean, for all the convincing I’m trying to do to my husband (and, let’s face it, myself) there is also this:
I called this Monkey’s “What You Talking About, Willis?” look. It killed me, then…and, fine, now. Oh, please just let us hold off until spring. Or the new year. Or…
4. This has been the month of new photos for me. Last week I posted my new pubshot, and a couple of weekends ago we went back to my friend Kristin’s studio for a family picture. My kid was sick, my husband was exhausted, and I was…well, sick and exhausted. Coco, true to form, was just fine. The photos came back, and I swear I cannot stop obsessing about my neck. What is WRONG with me? But it just looks weird. You know how if you look at ANY word or picture for too long it starts to seem strange? That’s where I am right now with trying to pick one of these shots for our holiday card. All I see is my neck. Happy Family? Neck. Cute kid and dog? Neck. Even the stuffed giraffe in the picture has a shorter, more normal neck than I do. I have a feeling we’ll just be going with a plain shot of my kid, again, probably WITH said giraffe. Or maybe I just close my eyes, pick one, and be done with it? Decisions…
5. With Halloween over, my kid (and the local malls) have turned their attention to Christmas. Already, there are ornaments and trees and Santa and everything else. Thanksgiving, which is one of my favorite holidays, is as usual sort of overlooked. But I LOVE an eating holiday, and this is a year that I think, more than ever, it’s important to focus on all the good things we are so lucky to have. I’ve had friends diagnosed with cancer this year, watched others suffer through the recent storms in the Northeast—some STILL without power—and seen others struggle with family issues and work stuff and everything else. I always love the idea of a reminder of all the good things in the world, and Thanksgiving has that PLUS family coming together. And mashed potatoes and stuffing. I mean, come ON! So even if everyone else has already moved on to December, I am going to savor these weeks of November, even with their early darkness and encroaching winter. Take stock, and you might just see you have more abundance than you even realized. If we can’t celebrate that, what CAN we get excited about?
Okay, one more cookie and then off to have my day. Have a good weekend, everyone!
Okay, so I am SO excited to finally be able to share a link to the cover from my new book, THE MOON AND MORE, plus an excerpt from the first chapter. It’s so thrilling and sort of terrifying to put something out there that I’ve been working on for two-plus years. So without further ado (although I do like the ado): HERE IT IS.
I would like to savor this more but my kid needs to look at pictures of fairies on the internet. Back to reality!
Have a great day, everyone!
1. Man, what a week. We were lucky down here in middle of NC to only get some rain and wind from Hurricane Sandy, although our mountains got hit with snow and our beaches damaged from the water. I’ve watched the coverage of New York and New Jersey and just feel SO helpless that I can’t somehow send some of our power, our generator, our normalcy up there. I know from hurricanes and ice storms we’ve been through how tough it is to keep your spirits up, especially after those adrenalized first few days. People will be okay, and will rebuild. But they’ll need our help. If you can donate to the Red Cross, please do.
2. But then there’s this:
I have no reason for posting this other than it makes me laugh. This is Will, who works for my husband, holding one of our furry footed chickens. Apparently, something is hysterical. They laugh a LOT while they are working. Boys.
3. In other picture news, I have finally updated my author photo. It was time. I got the last one taken back in 2008, right before that election. Since then my kid has grown and changed, and it shows on my face, which is a BIT more weathered, by which I mean, TIRED. Since I hit forty, when I first wake up in the morning I look like I’ve taken a frying pan squarely to the face. It’s not pretty, folks. But luckily my friend Kristin, who runs a company called KPO Photo, can work magic with light, lenses and Photoshop. We took a BUNCH of shots, and narrowed them down to a top four. This is the one I finally went with:
I like the orange behind me: it reminds me of Tang, that powdered drink that was all the rage back in my childhood in the 1970s. The astronauts drank it! Remember? Okay, maybe not. Anyway, this will be the shot on my new book, which I am HOPING I will able to tell you more about (and share the cover!) very, very soon. Fingers crossed. And no frying pans. Please.
4. We are FINALLY past Halloween, and I have to say, I’m kind of relieved. I was never one to be big into the whole costume thing: after college, I kind of phased it out, preferring instead to focus on the candy part of the holiday. Once I had my kid, though, and she was old enough to get into the swing of it, I was sucked RIGHT back in. No choice in the matter. In fact, we celebrate Halloween around here ALL YEAR LONG, with a haunted house pretty much constantly set up on our second floor. This is what I see whenever I pass the guest bathroom:
Why, yes, that IS a giant giraffe wearing a zombie mask. It has been in the bathroom since June, and STILL scares the crap out of me every single time I walk in there, especially when it is dark. I have tried to remove it, only to be resisted totally. My nerves are worn thin, to say the least. But anyway, this year we decided to go with a royal theme, since my daughter is princess obsessed and was dressing as Sleeping Beauty. I was Snow White, and my husband was a king, with robe and scepter. Because my “Sassy” Snow White costume was a BIT shorter than I anticipated (why, oh WHY are all women’s costumes partially or totally slutty? I don’t get it) I wore it with leggings and flats instead of the heels I’d planned. I got some odd looks, especially when we were out for dinner. But there are worse reasons for people to stare, I guess:
Coco is behind me, functioning as the eighth dwarf: Crazy. But I guess that could apply to me as well, especially this week. Anyway, at least there is candy.
5. Speaking of candy, though, this week we went to the dentist and my kid has TWO cavities. Oh, the horror. And the shame, considering this is an open office and everyone can hear the hygienist lecturing you about 1) not getting xrays for your five year old and 2) not flossing her teeth enough. I was so guilt ridden, it was like I’d spent a week with my family. (I’m joking! I love my family. And I don’t need them to feel guilty, I do that All On My Own, Pretty Much Constantly.) And then the news about cavities, and I just wanted to crawl under the closest chair and hide. Sigh. This parenting thing, it’s not for wimps. I’m honestly doing the best I can, under the circumstances (as Owen Armstrong would say) and the circumstances are always changing. It’s like aiming for a moving target: you just get as close as you can, pull the trigger, and hope for the best. I’m trying to limit the candy from her treat bag, floss more, and brush multiple times a day, even if it is too little, too late. Nobody can say I don’t give my best, even after the fact. At least, they better not say it in earshot.
6. Yeah, I know this is a Five, but like I said, it’s been a long week. And I know a lot of folks up north don’t have much to smile about. When I’m down, I find a little Carlton Dance can always cheer me up. So if you have power, take twenty seconds and watch this. I don’t think you’ll regret it.
Have a good weekend, everyone!
1. My week began with my whole Julianne Moore story (which I have told to everyone who will listen, but if you missed it, just go back an entry) and then it’s just been crazy from there. I keep waiting for things to calm down. But I am realizing that this one mom at my kid’s preschool was right when she said to me, very kindly, “Yeah, that’s not going to happen.” Leave it to a mom to shoot it straight. Was my life this chaotic before I was trying to juggle career, home stuff and parenthood? To be honest, I don’t even remember. Wouldn’t change it for the world, however. Although a BIT more sleep might be nice. Just saying.
2. But then there is this meme, from Ultimate YA, which made my day yesterday:
I love this because 1) It’s super flattering and 2) I’m kind of a meme freak, so to be the subject of one is just so cool. I get asked a lot about why I reference earlier books in my later ones. The main reason is that I used to get asked a LOT about whether I would write sequels, especially for This Lullaby and Someone Like You. I think some people are really good at writing series: I just don’t think I’m one of them. But I appreciated the interest, and wanted to do something for all those loyal readers who had devoured every detail in every book. So I put a few little things for them to find, as sort of an inside joke between us. Hopefully if you haven’t read any of the other books, it’s not a distraction, but if you have, it’s like bumping unexpectedly into an old friend. I always think I’m being VERY sneaky with my references, making it challenging. But then, invariably, someone posts them ALL the day a new book is released on Wikipedia, so I guess I’m not so clever after all. Still, it’s fun. Thanks for the meme, UltimateYA!
3. I looked out from my office window yesterday to see my kid having a blast with the babysitter, which is always a great thing. They were piling leaves at the bottom of the playground slide and just barreling into them at full speed, over and over again. Whee! Then, a couple of hours later, she was totally stuffed up. Is there any fun childhood activity that does NOT result in stuffy noses, bug bites or sunburn? Can you be allergic to fun? I mean, when I was a kid we biked without helmets and ate cookie dough by the bowlful, raw eggs and all. Now we have to worry about concussions and salmonella. But I get that. I’m not a fan of head injuries or food poisoning. My husband, watching her sniffle endlessly, said “No more jumping in leaves,” and I thought, “Oh, MAN.” What’s next? No going outside? Wearing a mask everywhere? Yikes. Hopefully not. For now, though, pass the tissues.
4. I never know how many people who read this blog also follow me on Twitter. But just in case, I want to address something that I tweeted this week here in this longer format. I was watching GMA with Oprah guest-hosting, which was GREAT, by the way, and they were doing a segment on steals and deals. They held up some kind of skin moisturizer and Oprah said, “Oh, this is GREAT for ash and dry skin!” So I tweeted this: “Oprah just used the word “ash” to describe dry skin on GMA. I love morning television.” I very quickly got some responses, mostly from African American followers, that it’s a common term for dry skin and I must not know a lot of black people if I didn’t know that. I was surprised: I didn’t mean to seem that I didn’t know the term—I do—just that I had not often heard it on TV, much less from Oprah Winfrey. I did not at ALL mean to offend ANYONE and I was horrified that someone might think otherwise. I deleted the tweet and responded thusly to those who had let me know it bothered them, but I wanted to explain myself here as well. Twitter is SO instant, just 140 characters and an button push. I am sure I am not the only one who occasionally puts things out there that they later regret. Anyway, I just wanted to say again that I never meant to offend. I know now, and as O herself says, when you know better, you do better.
5. On a lighter note, I have decided that it is time to start thinking about taking my kid to Disneyworld. She’s five, she’s obsessed with Princesses and Tinkerbell, and I think it would make her WORLD to see Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella in person. So I hopped on the internet to do some research and immediately got TOTALLY overwhelmed. So many options. I tweeted about it, and got TONS of great advice from people—try to stay at the park if you can, get the meal plan, book dinners WAY ahead, use an app for ride lines—but I am still feeling daunted. Then again, I am not someone who enjoys planning big events. I get the sense that making all these decisions about the park is akin to putting together a wedding, which was ANOTHER task that almost did me in. In retrospect, I would have been better off letting someone else do that and just showing up at the appointed time (which was what my husband got to do, although he also had to listen to me agonize about appetizers and invitations for an entire year, so nobody really won in that scenario). I’m thinking about looking into the travel agents that work for Disney and/or AAA, to see if they have packages where a lot of stuff is decided FOR you for one price. It may make the difference between us going or not. Maybe the Fairy Godmother runs a travel business? Bippity-boppity-here’s-your-itinerary? It is Disney. Anything is possible.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
Okay, I HAVE to share this story. Because I still can’t believe it actually happened.
Regular readers of this blog know that I spoke at BEA a few years back, and Julianne Moore was the emcee. It was, honestly, one of the best days of my life. I was terrified to get up in front of so many industry people, and terrified in general, but I did it and it was freaking awesome. As was Julianne Moore, who was just as nice and down to earth as she could be, both there and when I saw her a couple of months later at the National Book Festival.
Okay. So now, fast forward to last night. My husband and I are watching The Night of Too Many Stars on Comedy Central, a telethon to raise money for autism research. They have celebrities manning the phones, the way they do at those events sometimes, but when I called to pledge I figured there was no chance in I’d actually get to talk to anyone. I mean, I was just going to give my money and be done with it. But after I pledged, the woman asked if I wanted to be put in the queue to possibly talk to a celeb. She also said it was not guaranteed I’d be connected to anyone, and if I got cut off, that was that. Fine, fine. I was just watching Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. So I sit on hold a minute or two, and then, I hear, “Hi, this is Julianne Moore!”
And I just DIE. I’m so in shock I say, “Hey, Julianne, it’s Sarah Dessen, we met at BEA a few years back.” And SHE says, “Oh, my God! It’s someone I know! Hello, Sarah! How are you?” I can see her on TV, sitting between Tom Hanks and Andy Cohen from Bravo. (!!!) I was freaking out. We chatted for a moment about books (she’s got a new one coming out in the spring) and being on the phone bank (she said she was glad to get connected to someone who knew who she was: I’m like, who doesn’t know Julianne Freaking Moore?) And then we said bye and I hung up and just stared, goggle-eyed, at my husband. It was just SO crazy. Weird enough to get through the celeb phone bank, even WEIRDER that the one who answers is someone I have met and who remembers me? I mean SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! (as she said in The Kids Are All Right).
And that, friends, is my new Julianne Moore story. I am telling it here so I can maybe get it out of my system. So far I have shared it also with Will, who works with my husband, and just about anyone else I have crossed paths with. I mean, how can you NOT?
Have a great day, everyone!
1. Finally, it’s Friday. But seriously, between my kid catching yet ANOTHER bug at preschool and getting super sick, followed by a 24-hour trip to MD to do some school visits for my cousins, Wednesday felt like the end of the workweek to me. Which makes today…Sunday? Oh, who even knows. Friday for real, God only knows what in my brain. But I am here and that is what counts. Or that’s what I’m telling myself.
2. I haven’t done school visits in YEARS, other than quick ones here in Chapel Hill. But my cousins Eric, Wiley and Elise had been asking me to come visit their classes for ages, and Teen Read Week seemed like a great time to do it. (As far as any time with a recently deceased dog and sick kid can be great. It’s all relative.) So on Tuesday morning, I caught a quick flight and headed first to a fifth grade class, where the kids were GREAT and funny and asked the best questions ever. Like, “Where do blurbs come from?” and “Which of your characters do you wish you could be?”. These are two I have NEVER before been asked, which is saying something, because I’ve been answering questions about my books and writing in general for years. Then it was onto the middle school, where I spoke the entire eighth grade—300 kids—and did a writing workshop afterwards with a smaller group, which I LOVED:
The bigger kids had more specific questions. Like, ‘How much to you make?” I told them NOYB.They said, “Ballpark! Just ballpark!” *snort* I was also asked if I needed a bodyguard to travel with me. Um, no. But wouldn’t THAT be cool? Anyway, it was total fun to do and to see my cousins, who are still, in my mind, tiny babies in diapers, not even old enough to be walking, much less in middle school. Time flies, folks. If you don’t think so, you’re not paying attention.
3. Seriously, though, the teachers at that middle school? Who can deal with 300 restless, squirmy teens and make them quiet? They are SUCH rock stars. I kept thinking of them that night at my hotel, when I was watching the Presidential Debate. Politics aside, neither candidate was exhibiting good listening skills when it came to the moderator asking them to stop talking. I kept thinking of those teachers from earlier in the, the death look they could shoot across a huge room that would silence a rowdy group of boys in mere seconds. THEY are the ones who should be running the debates, if not the country. They do NOT mess around. My heroes.
4. I came home from my trip to find my husband and daughter had made a run to Party City for Halloween stuff. First things I saw were pretty tame: matching Viking hats, a nurse cap, a clown horn. Then I spotted the bloody cleaver and big plastic ax. I was like, “Do you really think this is a appropriate for a five year old?” He just looked at me, the same way he does when I won’t jump an apartment pool fence to go swimming with him, or want to come home from our date night out at 7:30 so I can put on my pajamas. “It’s HALLOWEEN,” he said. Which I guess makes fake, bloodied implements of death a-okay. Didn’t get that memo. But then again, I am uptight. It’s proven and known and just How it Is. But really, a bloody cleaver? What happened to throwing a sheet over your head and calling yourself a ghost?
5. I’m writing this JUST after returning from a trip to the NC Zoo in Asheboro. It was my daughter’s first time, and she—and we, to be fully honest—were SO excited. It’s a huge zoo and she’s a small kid, so we only got to hit the Africa Pavilion before calling it a day. But it was enough. There is something so awesome about seeing wild animals right up close, as opposed to on TV or in books. She loves her giraffe George, and giraffes in general, so I was really hoping we’d get a good glimpse. At first they were far off, but then one came closer. And closer. Until..
It was like he knew how much we needed to see him. (Or her. Not sure how to tell the gender.) There are moments when you just need to be in awe, and this was one of them. I was glad we all got to do it together. Now: bring on the weekend, for real!
Have a great one, everyone!