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sarah · dessen


I have a friend who is always coming up with ideas for inventions,…

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I have a friend who is always coming up with ideas for inventions, like an aerodynamic mattress carrier (so it doesn't fly up when you have it strapped to the roof of your car), a restaurant that sells only brown paper bag lunches, like the kind you took to school as a kid, and countless others. Lately, though, I have come up with one of my own: a word-ometer. It's like a pedometer, but somehow---don't ask me, ask Sheldon from Big Bang, I am no scientist---it would measure how many times you say a certain word per day, the way a pedometer measures steps. It would help you to, say, stop swearing, or using the word "like" or "you know" (I am guilty of both of these). But for me, it would measure how many times I say "I feel bad," and, somehow, charge me a quarter for each time. Because I really think that's the only way I'll be able to realize how much I say it and how deflating it is on a constant basis. When I worked at the Flying Burrito, back in The Day, I remember one of my fellow waits once put out a jar and said you had to put a quarter in it every time you said, "I'm so stupid." It was a self-esteem exercise, and this, of mine, would be too. Because God knows why, but I feel bad about EVERYTHING.

I feel bad if I don't recycle a jar, even if it's full of rotten mayonnaise. I feel bad if I don't say yes to requests for interviews or free copies of my books or playdates. I feel bad about having babysitters, but then I also feel bad about not working as much as I should. And don't even get me started on eating and working out, as they would probably blow up my word-ometer all by itself. I remember I had another friend who was trying to get over a girl and put a rubber band on his wrist, then popped it---hard---every time he thought of her. But that seems sort of extreme. And it might make me....feel bad.

Another idea would be to embrace my ability to feel guilty and put it to better use. Like, say, suppose you SHOULD feel guilty about something but you're too busy or don't feel like it. So you tell me, and I take it on as well. In return, you buy me a lipgloss or something. But again, that doesn't really solve my problem. So scratch that. Although new lipglosses are never a bad thing.

Okay, enough of this self-flaggelation. Honestly, I think this could be an unexpected side effect of moving to Sunday night updates: I might always have this kind of end of weekend mood funk going on, and the last thing I want is to be a big 'ol downer. Quick, something cheerful!

Regular readers of this blog know that for the last year or so, we've been working on an addition that will house a new office for me. Around the first of the year, it was finally done and I moved in, and I've spend the time since then puttering around, getting organized and putting things where I want them. I think it is finally Just About Right now. So, for contrast, here's where I have been working for the last two years, in our guestroom:

Note the creepy pencil drawing of Albert Einstein. Don't ask me why it's there, I have no idea. I think my husband just stuck it up and we never took it down. Do you know how hard it is to write YA novels with Albert Einstein watching you? Also note the fire-hazard halogen light you see in dorm rooms everywhere, and the high tech back support system in place on the bed.

And now, click below to see my new digs:




A big difference, right? And it's QUIET, without dogs barking or toddlers hollering and kicking the wall when they don't want to nap. I have all my books, so I feel like a Real Writer. Simply put, it is wonderful and I love it, and I REALLY love my husband, who built it for me so I could finally have a real office again. I like it so much that I would probably live over there if I wouldn't miss my family so much. Luckily, they are only a door, a flight of stairs and a breezeway away from me. And that is something to feel good about.

Have a great week, everyone!

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