Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Winter = Hibernation = Eating Anything That's Not Nailed Down

Although I grew up in New England and very clearly remember the Blizzard of '78 and how my sister Jaime got lost in a snow drift because she was a peanut-sized 6 year old, and how we had to walk to Star Market to get milk because the roads were closed, the truth of the matter is that this is the first winter in a very, very long time (read: 17) that I've been in the cold for extended periods of time.

Although I've been good about dressing appropriately (read: wearing socks and boots and gloves and scarves and other assorted items that protect my skin from the elements, which, as my college roommate Graciela can attest, was not something I practiced when I was at Boston University -- especially when I went out at night, which wasn't such a good thing that time I lost my shoe in the snow at 2am after leaving a bar and had to hop home shoe and sockless and laughed the entire way which helps to explain why it's probably a good thing for all involved that I don't drink anymore) the thing about winter that I forgot is that not only is it cold, but there's only like 23.4 minutes of light a day, which makes strolling the streets of NYC in Ugg boots and a North Face parka not exactly...pleasant. In fact, I feel like that giant marshmellow thing in GHOSTBUSTERS. Now, this wouldn't be so bad if it snowed once in a while, but it refuses to do so. Once--it snowed once. On a Sunday morning and it was beautiful and quiet and magical. And that week I went out and bought super duper strength snow boots for the next snowfall because that one ruined my Uggs and I walked around with a wet right foot that was soon stained brown from my wet socks.

But those super duper strength snow boots are just sitting in my closet, just waiting because, for whatever reason, it refuses to snow again.

You'd think with a book coming out in one week, I'd be fantasizing about how great it will be to go into Barnes & Noble or Borders or TARGET and see it sitting on the shelves, but I have to be honest -- the last two days, that's not what I've been thinking about. What I've been thinking about is how great it will feel in May when I'm having brunch at some cute little French bistro downtown wearing a cute sundress and flip-flops, daintily dotting away the beads of perspiration on my forehead because it's so warm out.

But back to winter, which is where I currently reside.

So another thing I forgot about winter is that because it's so cold, and dark, and maybe because we're mammals, it appears that all I want to do is eat so that my body will be protected from the cold. Which wouldn't be so bad if what I felt compelled to eat were vegetables and other assorted zero-point Weight Watcher-approved foods. But that's not what's happening. What I'm craving (and eating) is more in the family of 120 calorie Kudos bars. Which wouldn't be so bad if I ate one. But I don't. See, because my brain says "Oh, look at this -- these Kudo bars only have 120 calories!" I then eat all six in the box. Which is NOT a 120 calorie snack -- it's a 720 calorie snack.

So, yeah, between the cold, and the lack of light, and the fact that I'm making Kudo's stock go up, I can now say I'm in the midst of my first winter in a very long time.

P.S. The non-Kudo pic is one of me and my best friend Amy at the Xmas tree at Rockefeller Center. Note the appropriate clothing.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Interview with Teens Read Too

Can't believe Cindy Ella comes out in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS.

Completely bizarre.

And what was also bizarre was seeing this interview that Teens Read Too did with me up on their website. You can read it here.

Life is good.

Oh, and P.S. -- I got my New York State driver's license in the mail yesterday so I'm now OFFICIALLY a New Yorker!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Don't forget... vote in your primary.

And in a codependent move, I'm making it super easy for you to register if you haven't done so already.

Just click on the Rock The Vote icon below.

I guess I'm legit...

Okay, I'm going to out myself:

Now that my book is going to be published in 18 (but who's counting) days, I've started Googling myself on a semi-regular (okay, scratch the "semi" part) basis to see what comes up. I know it sounds self-involved and narcissistic, but I've been told that's what authors do.

And if they say that they don't, they're lying.

So today I saw that Time Out New York Kids has my Barnes & Noble Park Slope reading and signing appearance listed here which for some reason has made the whole thing a lot more real.

Not only that, but it's spurred on outfit anxiety.

And on February 6th, I'll be one of four readers at Teen Author Reading Night at the Jefferson Market Branch of NYPL, located at 425 6th Ave, at 10th St., NYC, from 6-7:30 p.m, hosted by David Levithan who, along with being a very talented and prolific author himself, is also an editor. You can check out his website here.

More outfit anxiety.

And because it's the dead of winter, I can't even wear flip-flops in honor of Cindy.

Friday, January 4, 2008

If you're lucky, you're just taking dictation...

So I've been thinking a lot about something Henry Miller said and the other day I dug out the book Conversations With Henry Miller which is where I had read it and this is the passage:

"Who writes the great books? It isn't we who sign our names. What is an artist? He's a man who has antennae, who knows how to hook up to the currents which are in the atmosphere, in the cosmos; he merely has the facility for hooking on, as it were. Who is original? Everything that we are doing, everything that we think, exists already, and we are only intermediaries, that's all, who make use of what is in the air. Why do ideas, who do great scientific discoveries often occur in different parts of the world at the same time? The same is true of the elements that go to make up a poem or a great novel or any work of art. They are already in the air, they have not been given voice, that's all. They need the man, the interpreter, to bring them forth. "

I think that's why I was so interested in retelling fairy tales -- because they're stories that are so ingrained in our culture and our psyches, but I wanted to see what my take on them. Not because I'm so special, but because I thought it would be interesting to see what a soon-to-be 39-year-old woman who came of age under the shadow of the womens' liberation movement thought about all this stuff.

Anyway, enough Womens' Studies talk.

A few years ago, after finishing my first novel, I drove up to Big Sur and stopped at the Henry Miller Library which isn't really a library, but more of a...I don't know...a bookstore? Anyway, there was a guy working there named Ted Jauw and he had this fabulous story about having been married with kids and living in Michigan before everything fell apart and he left and ended up in Big Sur at Esalen with absolutely no money before he got a job at the Library. He also read tarot cards -- this beautiful old set of Mayan cards that were so worn you could barely see the pictures on them -- and I asked if he'd do a reading for me and he kindly said yes and told me to come back the next day because it was his day off. So the next morning I returned and we went to the little cabin where he lived which was next door to the Library and it turned out that it had been built for Anais Nin to stay in when she came to visit which was just too perfect because she's one of my idols. So I had this three-hour reading in this tiny little cabin and it was super bizarre and I still remember everything he said and remained shocked at the accuracy of it. The whole trip was full of these bizarre synchronicities that I like to think only happen in places like Big Sur -- or maybe they only happen when you're just so drained because you've just finished writing a novel.

That's the thing -- my experience has been that once you tire yourself out and stop trying to manage and control every situation, you clear the space for all sorts of happy accidents to occur. I guess some people call it grace. I don't know what I call it, but I know that it's rare and special and they're all moments to be cherished.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy 2008...



I still remember thinking 1990 was a huge deal, let alone 2000. *Sigh*

Figured out something kind of crazy which is that Cindy Ella debuts on the anniversary of my mother's death. Obviously that's always been a sad day, but now it's turning into a birthday. The magic of that feels appropriate for this particular story, huh?

Starting to work on a new series of books that I'm super excited about and hope that others (read: publishers who have money to dole out) will be, too. That first day of writing is always agonizing, though. Like going to the gym when you haven't been in months. One word at a time, I guess.

Wishing everyone a new year filled lots of good things.