mclean

this just in!

Remember a few weeks back, when I was stressing out about the videos we were shooting for the new book? (I know, I am always stressing out here about something. But this was particularly notable. At least for me. For you, it probably all runs together, I know.)

ANYWAY, it all went fine, and now two videos are up, one on the WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE Amazon page (scroll down to see it) and on YouTube:



Please don't dwell TOO much on how crazy I look above, as I hold up my phone like I am about to throw it at you. I think I just got a bit too excited about the whole "taking questions from Twitter" thing. Penguin of course HAD to choose that pose as the one everyone will see before clicking. Oh, well....

Okay, back to our mountain family vacation. LOVE Asheville!

Have a good day, everyone!
mclean

(no subject)

A few days ago, one of my babysitters arrived clutching a piece of paper. "Look!" she said to my daughter, holding it up. "Want to see an old picture of Mama?"

This, I thought, will not end well.

But of course I HAD to see what it was, so she handed it over. (Daughter was entirely uninterested in anything having to do with me: she's already a teenager in so many ways!)And there, right in my face, was a picture of myself from 15 years ago, accompanying an essay I wrote for the local paper about being a waitress/writer. THAT SUMMER, my first novel, was not even out yet. Whoa.

Of course the first thing I noticed was my hair, which was doing some sort of weird half-bang, half not thing. Was I actually going for that look? (I fear I was.) There's the fact that my arm in view looks like a big, shapeless loaf of french bread, attached to my shoulder. (Wasn't I working out then? Good Lord.) Then, peering more closely, I recognized the office from our old place, the little yellow farmhouse in Durham (which has reappeared, in various incarnations, in several books since). There's the halogen lamp I used because the room was so dark, as it (and every other one) had dark fake-wood paneling. There's my UNC diploma, hung up proudly behind me, and the little angel made out of paper towels (yes!) that one of my mom's dearest friends made for me. It was like falling headfirst into a pit of nostalgia. I'll say it again: whoa.

And that was before I even read the article, which I BELIEVE appeared in the Raleigh News and Observer sometime in 1995 or 1996, although I can't be sure exactly. It's all about how I was having trouble calling myself a writer, even though I'd already sold a book, and how waitressing was such a good job for me at the time. By this point, a lot of these same ideas and quotes have been recycled for other interviews, becoming what my father affectionately refers to as "my schtick," but at this point, nobody knew any of it.

I can tell you EXACTLY where I bought the outfit I am wearing (which I spent a LOT of time picking out): the skirt was from TJ Maxx, I believe, the top maybe from Marshall's or Upton's. I was not smiling with teeth because then, as now, I was worried about the fact they are slightly crooked. I hadn't even started teaching at UNC yet. In fact, I remember calling the person who was editing this piece for the paper from the office at the Flying Burrito, where I worked, before my shift began to go over his suggestions for changes. Now the Burrito's had a total renovation and I don't even know where that paper towel angel is. These things I have left behind, although it does NOT feel like 15 years since they happened. It's just so weird.

Odder still is that while so much has changed---different house, I'm a mom now, ten books done---a lot has not. I STILL have a hard time calling myself a writer, something I think the 25ish me that wrote this piece would be surprised to hear. And one of the quotes, about how I spend a considerable amount of my time---"writing, thinking about writing, and thinking I've lost any ability I ever had to write in the first place (Not necessarily in that order.)"---is still pretty much dead on, except that now I have to think about things like Team Umizoomi and goldfish crackers as well. Also, my hair is still doing strange things I feel I will regret later on.

But maybe---at least I hope---that this is a good thing. I can recognize these my insecurities as quickly and easily as my clothes and halogen lamp. They are mine, for better or worse, and God knows we're been together long enough to get used to each other. I AM a writer now, and IT is what I do. But in the end, I am grateful to my babysitter, even with the cringe factor of the photo, for putting this in front of me. If you can't look back, you can't move forward. That's still true for me, too.

If you want to check it out---and this I will probably regret, but oh, well---you can squint at it here. The quality isn't great, and one side is a bit cropped, but you'll get the general idea. And see that bread loaf of an arm. Yikes!

Have a good night, everyone!
mclean

The Five!

1. I just deleted MORE spam entries from the comments here. Which means that adding a CAPTCHA (i.e. that annoying thing where you have to write in the letters you see, even if you can't always tell WHAT they say--or maybe that's just me?) did not solve the problem of people peddling pharmaceuticals and other things on the blog. Sigh. SIGH. Oh, LiveJournal, I have been with you almost ten years! But tomorrow I am meeting with my fab web design guys to talk about moving the blog over to my site and using Wordpress. Don't worry, LJ folks: I will make SURE we can do a feed here or provide some other easy link. But it's going to be the end of an era! And you know what that means: lots of LJ nostalgia in the lead-up to the switch. Maybe I should do a greatest hits, or a montage kind of thing, set to something like, "I Will Remember You," or "Time of Your Life." Hmmm. Anyway, it won't be happening immediately and ideally, you won't notice THAT much of a difference. Until then, prepare for me to be more sentimental than usual. You have been warned.

2. I am currently multitasking as I write this, trying to also get my daughter to eat a decent dinner. She is lobbying for a lollipop, her newest addiction, and I am telling her that she needs to eat some actual FOOD before I will even consider that. I swear, her palate is so limited it's ridiculous: peanut butter and jelly, bananas, canned green beans and carrots, ham, chicken nuggets, cereal, macaroni and cheese, and alphabet soup. Oh, and any cracker or cookie. I know, I know: Michelle Obama would NOT approve. I see kids out at restaurants eating all kinds of stuff and think: why, why, WHY can't I get her to venture out a bit? I was at a sushi place and saw a kid her age eating seaweed salad. SEAWEED! And this one won't even eat string cheese. Or mashed potatoes. Isn't that, like, a rule, that as a kid you have to like those things? I can hear my wiser Mom friends right now, though, saying it again: "Don't live laterally. Your kid is your kid." (Thank you, writer Leah Stewart, who gave me this mantra to repeat, endlessly.) My mother maintains that my brother, who is now the healthiest eater I know (vegetarian, whole grains, formerly macrobiotic) once subsisted on Ho-hos for breakfast and canned Vienna sausages the rest of the day. So maybe there is hope?

3. I think I've written here already about how my local Borders is one of the ones that is closing. I wasn't a regular there, but I did go in with my daughter from time to time, as she loved the children's section. We went back the other day and it just made me so sad. Everything's on sale and picked over, and I just wanted to buy ALL the books that were left, they looked so bereft. I mean, there was Goodnight, Moon! And some Pigeon books! And Knuffle Bunny Free! I told the woman who was working the children's section that the whole thing made me so sad, and she nodded. She said she felt like she'd spent all this time sculpting this perfect thing, this great place for kids, and now she was having to watch it just get dismantled right before her eyes. I'm not here to preach but I will say, love your local bookstores. They need it. I'm still haunted by this one Leslie Patricelli book (Higher! Higher!) sitting alone on the shelf, hoping for a home. See, there I go, being WAY too sentimental again. *sniffle*

4. In encouraging news (and don't we all need that) today at the grocery store, I saw lawn chairs and potting soil piled up outside for sale. YES! We are getting closer, closer to spring. I can feel it---even though it's going to be in the twenties tonight. NO MATTER! Another sign of warmer times coming: today, my husband and I went out and cleaned out our pond pump and filter, pulled out all the leaves, and got it running. Which is great, because I was really thinking our feng shui was suffering since it had been turned off. (Yes, I realize I sound like a crazy person. But I do believe in that stuff. I just...do.) I'm happy, the fish are happy, and I can hear the waterfall at night again. Now it hopefully just won't freeze over again...

5. It's March, the final Duke-Carolina game is this weekend, and you know what that means: it's almost Tourney Time! (When I mentioned this on Twitter, I was actually asked WHO I pull for, Duke or Carolina. Let me say now, and always: CAROLINA! I am a Chapel Hill girl since I was three. There is NO OTHER OPTION. At least for me.) This also means that Laurie Halse Anderson (author of SPEAK, WINTERGIRLS, FORGE and many other amazing books) and I will be reprising our basketball challenge. She pulls for Georgetown: I love my Tar Heels. We have agreed, again, that if your team goes out first, you must donate a signed book to the other person's local library. So in a couple of weeks, get your brackets ready. YA and basketball: it is ON!

Have a good weekend, everyone!
mclean

(no subject)

Today, my plan was to write. Actually, you know, on a novel. I waited until the sitter came, took a breather to read and reset for a little bit (still on Franzen's FREEDOM, which is amazing) then settled in at my desk. I always allow myself about five minutes of web surfing before I buckle down, so I popped over to my Facebook page, which I've been sort of avoiding for a few weeks. The inbox: PACKED. Replies: woefully late. Miss Manners: would not be happy. So I dove in. And now...well, now it's an hour later and I haven't written anything but emails and lists and responses. How did this HAPPEN?

I used to be very productive. I swear! I wrote every single day when I had a book in progress and still managed to stay on top of everything. But now with Twitter to update, and Facebook messages to reply to, and the blog, and the website, and lions and tigers and bears....oh, my.

*takes deep breath*

There is a way to balance all this. I know it! Toddler, husband, dogs, building company (that's my other job, doing books for my husband's business) extended family, the upcoming tour, feeding the continually ravenous birds in my yard, cooking dinner, doing laundry, finding assorted lost plastic action figures, and all the rest. Oh, and writing. WRITING! Of course. I'm just not exactly sure what that solution is, right now. I think I will sleep on it and wait for a solution to present itself. Although..that's what I have been doing. Huh. Oh well, at least I am optimistic.

And why is that? Well, partially because it's warming up here. In fact, my daughter and I planted pansies this week, which is a certain way to make it FEEL like Spring even if it isn't quite yet. I used to be really into gardening, actually: I was the one who handled all the beds, and poured over seed packets, and drew diagrams of what I would plant and when. But then we moved here, and I planted all this stuff, and the deer annihilated EVERYTHING. I was totally bereft and discouraged. My husband got interested in conifers and trees (which the deer won't eat---usually) and I left the garden to him. Now, though, we have this deer fence, and a big plot that is just for me and Sasha to work together. Hooray! I am thinking daisies, coneflowers and black-eyed Susans for sure. Veronica Speedwell also, one of my favorites (I wanted to name my daughter that, actually, but was soundly voted down). Zinnias from seed, maybe mixed with some cosmos. When we went to buy plants, though, I found the toddler had other ideas.

First, she wants everything pink. (Disclaimer: she has never even SEEN any princess TV or movies, I swear to you. This just happened.) What was not pink had no flowers at all. In fact, she wanted cacti. Oh, and ferns. And a fountain made up of two small, big-eyed children, peering over to look at some assembled birds. Lord help me.

I know, I know. This is our project, together! I have to not micromanage. If she wants Venus Flytraps (sigh) then she can have them. ON HER SIDE. See, though, this is just like the whole Facebook/Twitter/Blog/Life balance thing. It can't be done quickly, or cleanly. The days of everything lined up and labeled neatly in my life are OVER---if they ever even existed---so I need to stop yearning for them.

The best I can hope for, and what I SHOULD want, is a mix of both worlds. A day of writing, followed by a day of catch-up. A plot of zinnias, bordered by strange succulents. A successful book tour this spring and summer, followed by a fall where (hopefully) my next novel will be waiting patiently for me. You can learn a lot from the garden: that's something the deer couldn't take away from me. Instead of spinning in my brain, trying to work things out, I probably should just step outside. Get some dirt under my nails, dig up some worms. Can't hurt, regardless.

That said, I will not have a creepy children fountain in my yard. There, I draw the line.

Have a good night, everyone!
mclean

yawn....

Quick update here, on this Monday morning, when my head is swimming for several reasons. First, there's the fact that my daughter was up every two hours last night, coughing and needing my attention. Then there's the post-Oscar roundup, which I am trying to watch even though I missed most of the awards due to the fact that I went to bed at 9:30 (I think I knew I wouldn't be sleeping much, somehow). Then throw into the mix that I woke up all blurry and sleep-deprived, only to see Charlie Sheen on GMA having what looks like some sort of extended manic episode. Clearly I am not the only one whose brain is a bit muddled right now.

I just don't know what to think about Charlie. The way he's acting now reminds me WAY too much of when Britney went through her public breakdown, complete with renegade interviews (with Matt Lauer, remember?) and shaving her head, and attacking cars with umbrellas. It's hard to watch because you know they're sick, somehow, and need help, and yet they are not getting it. I think it's ironic that during a break in the midst of the Charlie craziness this morning on GMA, they featured an ad from Britney, announcing a live performance next month. She's somehow pulled it together: hopefully he can, too. It just makes me sad for his family and especially his kids. Can't be easy to watch.

Okay, I need to stop writing about this. Probably need to stop writing altogether. Sleep deprivation makes me, in a word, NUTS. When my daughter was an infant I couldn't even put two words together. I was a danger to myself and others. But she's three and a half now! Shouldn't sleep (or lack of it) no longer be a problem?

No, says my mother. And, to add insult to injury (or sleeplessness to sleeplessness) this issue isn't going away anytime soon. "But eventually," I argued, "she'll sleep later, and not wake up so much. She has to!" My mom considered this. Then: "Well, perhaps. But, see, then she'll be out late with her friends, or not calling when she should, and you STILL won't be sleeping."

See, these are the things people don't tell you when you're all pregnant and rubbing your belly and, "Ah, I am the miracle of life, behold me." When I see women in that phase now, carrying their first and worrying about burp cloths and birthing classes, I just want to say, "WHY AREN'T YOU SLEEPING RIGHT NOW?"

*reads over entry, slowly, with bleary eyes*

Okay, now I DO sound like Charlie Sheen, i.e. a bit unhinged. Time to sign off. Will update again once I get some sleep. Which will be....well, someday. Maybe?

Have a good Monday, everyone!
mclean

The Five!

1. Whew. It's Thursday, not even the end of the week yet, although it feels like it. Today I had a BIG conference call to discuss tour and promotion for What Happened to Goodbye, which was very exciting and required massive NASA-like scheduling to achieve. (Preschool drop-off and pickup: the world revolves around it. Not sure you knew that, but now you do.) Then, when I was finally exhaling and making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for the toddler, my little dog Coco had a seizure. It's not the first time---she's actually on medication to control them---but I'd only seen her do it once before, and it was not as scary as the one today. It's just really awful to see something so small twitching and breathing hard and know there is NOTHING you can do but just sit there and reassure them. Which is more difficult when you have a very impressionable three and a half year old watching Little Bear in the next room who really, really doesn't need to see ANYONE have a seizure, much less a dog she adores. Anyway, after what felt like forever it was over, she came out of it---a bit wobbly---but okay. I took her to the vet, where she checked out fine and we were told just to keep a close eye. All's well that ends well, right? But it just goes to show that when you THINK you have something big to worry about, it turns out to be not even the biggest thing that happens that day. Man, life is a wild ride. And I don't like rides! Oh, well...

2. Thanks to everyone who weighed in after my last entry about the blog, and whether to move it from here on LJ to my site or not. Thanks to your input, I realized I could put a CAPTCHA on comments to prevent some of the spam, which is a good temporary solution, but I think I need to have a long-term change as well. My website guy, Mark, thinks we can make the blog REALLY awesome using Wordpress on my site, and he guarantees I will like the interface. Have I told you, though, how I feel about change? Suffice to say, things WILL probably be changing here, but not right away. And ideally I'll be able to still post here AND there and, well, everywhere. Stay tuned.

3. I realized the other day that I have an UNUSED Sephora gift card, from Christmas, in my wallet. This is SO not like me. Normally if I have gift cards anywhere they are spent within twenty four hours of me receiving them, but for some reason I can't seem to GET over to my store. I know, I know, there's a website, it's great. But with makeup you kind of have to try things on, and compare them. And so it sits. And sits. But now that I'm aware of it, it's driving me NUTS so--barring preschool or seizure issues---I am going to try and get there this weekend. I think it's time for a new lipstick, anyway. I need one that is long-lasting, doesn't dry out your lips, and comes in endless varieties of pinky-brown. If you have one, fill me in!

4. You know how much I love Glee. Like, crazy love it. But did anybody else feel like this week's episode was kind of...weird? Maybe it was the week I was having. Entirely possible. But all the drinking, and the drunk dialing, and the, um, vomiting? Not sure what that was all about. I have to give them credit though, as they NEVER bore me. Maybe I just need to watch it again. Although with the vomiting, I'm not sure....

5. Speaking of Glee, it's because of it that I actually first heard a fair amount of Lady Gaga. Before they did a show all about her music, I just didn't...get her. Or something. In fact, I may STILL not get her, but I have a new appreciation for her songs. The thing is, I actually sort of enjoy covers of them---like Glee's "Poker Face"---more than the originals. Which I guess says more about me than her music, but whatever. For instance, when I first heard "Born this Way," all I could think was that it sounded a LOT like Madonna's "Express Yourself." I couldn't get past it, and thus didn't pay much attention to the words. But then, today on GMA, they had this little girl who did a cover that became this huge hit on YouTube. And it just made me stop everything I was doing to listen. (Which is saying something, as I am constantly multitasking. I swear even when I sleep I am running through lists in my head.) Anyway, in case YOU haven't paid attention to the words closely either and would like to, here it is:


Off to pet my little dog now. Have a good weekend, everyone!
mclean

(no subject)

My blogging schedule is so messed up right now. In fact, I don't even HAVE a schedule anymore. I'm telling myself that this is me just Being in the Moment, Going With It and Letting Go. But really I'm just so busy I don't have a choice.

There's also the fact that lately the comments section of this, my beloved almost TEN year old blog, has been hit hard lately by spammers. Which STINKS. I could cut down on it by only allowing comments from registered LiveJournal users, but I know a lot of you regular commenters don't have accounts and probably don't want to sign up just to comment once in awhile. But as is, I'm spending WAY too much time deleting pharmaceutical ads (and the occasional porn ad, which is SO upsetting as I know some younger folks read this). My awesome website guys at Neural 9 have said we could easily move the blog over to my site, and have an RSS feed there, but I'm worried people would stop reading if I left LJ. Dilemma! Plus there's the fact that I totally can't figure out my own Google Reader thing, so can I really expect other people to?

(On that note, does anyone know how to get an RSS feed of Meg Cabot's blog? Mine no longer works and I really, really WANT it to! And here I like to think I'm tech-savvy. Apparently not.)

Oh, I just don't know what to do. Especially since I am typing this as my daughter---who promised to give me ten minutes of peace if I let her watch Team Umizoomi---is totally not holding up her end of the bargain. She is demanding to make muffins, or go outside, or play with glitter pens. Or, you know, all three. She's flexible....as long as she has my full attention.

If you, however, have a moment of peace (or two, or even three! Jealous!) and have any bright ideas about the spam/RSS/official website blog thing, let me know. I hate that LJ might not work for me anymore, as you KNOW I do not like change. But it seems to be inevitable lately. Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something? Hmmm....

Have a good day, everyone!
mclean

(no subject)

Oh, man. I got sucked into ANOTHER reality TV show. How did this happen?

Okay, I know how it happened. My friend Dana, who is also my arbiter of style---if you like any shoes or dresses I am wearing on booktour, more likely than not she selected them---is a big fan of the Bachelor. She could not understand how I, as someone who loves TV, was not watching it as well. I told her I'd tried, but just couldn't get into it---mostly because my husband was groaning too loudly to hear anything. "You have to!" she persisted. "It's like Rock of Love, but with better clothes!" There's also the fact that Jennifer Weiner, an author I adore, is obsessed with it. I mean, two people I admire can't be wrong, right?

Fine, I thought. I'll try one more time. So this weekend, while I had the house to myself---nobody groaning---I pulled the premiere of this season up on Hulu and left it on while I prepped some stuff for dinner. By the time my salad vegetables were chopped, I was IN. I know, I know. I am WEEKS behind and thanks to US Weekly I already know who has been cut. But you know what? It doesn't even MATTER. I still love it.

Oh, it's just too humiliating to even admit this. In my defense, can I remind you that I am also reading Jonathan Franzen's FREEDOM (which is fantastic) and just finished listening to Amy Chua's BATTLE HYMM OF THE TIGER MOTHER (thanks to the commenter who pointed out I had a HUGE typo there---fixed now!) on audio? I DO engage my brain in other ways. I promise you. And really, we just can't be hard on ourselves, can we? My husband accidentally gave my daughter a dog biscuit this morning instead of a cookie. Did I judge? No. Did I laugh? I am STILL laughing. But i digress....

In other news, this week we start talking about my book tour for WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE. (Which, incidentally, will be out in 79 Days. Thank you, Countdown App!) From what I've heard, the publicity folks at Penguin MIGHT be sending me to some cities I haven't been to before, which is very exciting. I'm also going to be doing some festivals, which are new to me as well. Planning a tour is always stressful, because you want to get as many places and see as many people as possible, but there's also the stickiness of balancing all that travel with your sanity and health. Laurie Halse Anderson has mastered the SUPER tour, staying gone for weeks at a time and traveling only with a carry-on (something Ally Carter does as well) but I am not setting the bar that high. I have a toddler I can't be away from for more than a few nights without turning into a sobbing mess, and I am way too neurotic to only pack one outfit choice per day. So yes, that WILL be me you may see sniffling at a crowded baggage claim at your local airport come May and June. If you do, please don't judge. Please?

Okay, I'm off to make the most of this weekend by fixing some pigs in a blanket for the hot dog party we are having tonight. Will I watch the Bachelor while I wrap crescent rolls around little smokies? What do YOU think?

Have a good night, everyone!
mclean

The Friday Five!

1. Right now, it feels like spring here. You can always tell when people are really READY for warm weather, because the minute the temperature rises above fifty everyone immediately begins to act like it's summer. Watch: it's supposed to be in the upper 70's today (!) and I am betting MONEY that my babysitter will show up in shorts and flip flops. College students are the first to jump on a warming trend, or so I learned when I was teaching at UNC. I had people in my classes that wore flip-flops all the way into winter. Their feet would look like they were on the verge of frostbite, but no matter. I never felt older than when I heard myself saying things like, "PLEASE put on some socks and real shoes! It's winter! You don't wear flip-flops in the winter!" Actually, the only thing that made me feel older was pushing a baby stroller on campus. It's like you're riding an elephant: people just don't know WHAT to make of it. Maybe if I pushed my stroller IN flip flops, IN a snowstorm, that would balance things out? But why would I do THAT?

2. It looks like we're getting chickens. I say "looks like" because even though the coop is finished and my husband has already decided what breeds he wants, I am still in a state of livestock denial. I know, I know. I'm a total party pooper. The toddler is SO excited, we'll have fresh eggs, it's all good. But we also already have this insanely chaotic household. Now we're adding barnyard animals as well? This is a great thing about my husband, though. He pushes me out of my comfort zone, which is famously narrow, and forces me to try things I wouldn't otherwise. Like sushi (which I now love) and camping (not so much) and now, apparently...chickens. Okay, I'll accept it. But I am going to ignore the fact that he's also making noises about goats. Because that, my friends, is just crazy.

3. Friday Night Lights may be over (SNIFFLE!) but at least the cast, like my heart, will go on. (Sorry, couldn't resist a Titanic reference there.) Case in point: this week it was announced that Adrienne Palicki, who played Tyra on FNL, is the new TV Wonder Woman. YES!! And a friend told me that Connie Britton has deal with a network for HER own show, plus Minka Kelly is on the Charlie's Angels reboot. I can already see what will happen here. I will have to start watching, like, ten shows just to see the people I love, rather than just one. But this is a sacrifice I will make. Because the alternative is someone from a show I love just disappearing, which I fear is what happened to the guy who played Logan on Veronica Mars. Where IS he now? I think I need to do an IMDB search...

4. My husband may be obsessing over livestock, but I have my own weaknesses. It's...my dollhouse. I mean, my daughter's dollhouse. (Ahem. But it DID used to be mine!) I have to say that I am not much of a hobby person, other than shopping and TV and sleeping. But as soon as we pulled this dollhouse back out---which I adored back when I was a kid, and created this whole little world within it---I found myself a bit TOO interested in looking for furnishings and other little things. It was all under the guise that the TODDLER needed these things. I mean, of course she wants a fishpond for the dollhouse! And a bubblegum machine! And a plate of tiny little deviled eggs (Okay, so that last one was me.) The sticky part of all this was that the last time I was so into this, I was about ten and had no income. Now I am forty and can actually spend a bit of money on it, which is...DANGEROUS. I have to keep repeating to myself: This is not my dollhouse. I have a novel to write and another to promote. I am not someone who has real hobbies! But...those deviled eggs are AWFULLY cute. I'm just saying.

5. Finally, on a more serious note, I was so, so sad to hear about Borders filing for bankruptcy this week. They're closing a lot of stores, including my local one, and I feel so badly for all the great folks who work there. I also have been lucky to meet a lot of people from Borders corporate over the years---they did a great book club event for Along for the Ride a couple of years back---and I worry for them as well. The bottom line is, the book business is really changing right now. Even me, who LOVES the feel of an Actual Book in her hands, have been reading Jonathan Franzen's Freedom both in book form AND on my iPad, and I have to admit, it's nice to always have it with me, wherever I go. But I was raised by a lover of bookstores, and there is no online substitute for being able to just wander the aisles, sliding books out and looking them over. We need that, and so I hope that the rise in e-readers and e-books doesn't mean we won't have them anymore. And if YOUR local Borders is closing, I hope you'll take your business to another local store, maybe even an independent, that could probably really use your business right now. For us Chapel Hill folks, that's Flyleaf Books, or McIntyre's in PIttsboro, or The Bull's Head down on campus. Just so you know....

Have a good weekend, everyone!
mclean

(no subject)

I'm having trouble trying to figure out a calm, stress-free, creativity fueled time to write my blog entries. This may be because I don't have any calm, stress-free, creativity fueled times. I tried to write it in the morning, but the chaos of husband, toddler, two barking dogs and the day beginning was just too much. I did it for awhile in the afternoon after my writing time, but my brain is so taxed by then I can barely form decent sentences. If I try to do it around dinnertime, there is, well...dinner to deal with, along with aforementioned toddler, husband and dogs. So when? Maybe I need to set an alarm and get up at, like, 2:30 am or something. Then I'd have the whole place to myself. And I'd probably fall asleep and drool all over my keyboard. Sigh....

Anyway. I have nine minutes before my sitter leaves so for better or worse, here I am.

I have written here before that I am a person who does not embrace change all that readily. I live in my hometown. I married a guy I met when I was 15. And so on. But this new year, professionally, has been ALL about Big Changes and I am trying do to as REO Speedwagon says and roll with them, but it's not easy. First, early this year, my beloved publicist Allison, who has worked with me since The Truth About Forever, left Penguin for another job. SOB! I was so, so sad to see her go, even though I knew it was a good thing for her, as she needed a change as well. But now I have this book coming out and no Allison, and it makes me nervous. I know, I know, I will be fine. But again: hometown. Met husband at 15. I am trying to roll, though.

Also in the new year, my agent left HER longtime agency to go to a new place. I am going with her, but it is ANOTHER Big Change, but a good one, for her and for me. Again, though: YIKES! I keep having this urge to grab on to the dashboard of this car that is my life and say, "Slow it down!" But of course, that is not an option. People move on, things change, life is always in flux, whether you feel the ground shift beneath your or not. Right now, plates are pulling apart and pushing together way, way under the earth's crust. (Okay, maybe I shouldn't think about that. Am getting nervous. Or more nervous.) Maybe if I didn't have a book coming out in a few months, with the attendant pressures of that, this would all not be such a big deal. But it is what it is, so I will adapt. I mean, it's not like I have a choice, right?

Finally, I have to share this story. I was at Whole Foods today with Sasha, and when we got out of the car I saw this woman with a toddler, walking away from speaking with a police officer who was parked nearby. She looked a little upset so I said, "Everything okay?" She told me her daughter had locked herself in the car and she'd had to call the cops, but then the baby managed to unlock the door. I said, "OH MY GOD, I just did that a few weeks ago!" She looked at me. "Really?" she said. I nodded. "And what's more," I told her, "so many people have done it. I mean, you have NO idea. It's like a rite of passage it's so common." She looked really relieved. And the baby was fine, smiling. All was well. But man, I felt her pain. Talk about stressful. Luckily, though, she was right there at Whole Foods. So hopefully she went in and got a cookie to calm her nerves. It's the least you can do in that kind of situation.

OOPS! My babysitter was due to leave four minutes ago. Gotta run!

Have a good night, everyone!