Monday, November 28, 2016

Some (Mostly Meaningless) Reflections on Our Current Reality

For the last three weeks, I have mostly been listening. I've been listening to my friends talk to me and to each other. I've been listening to the reactions of smart writers and thinkers. I've been listening to podcasts and pundits. I've been listening to the sadness in my mother's voice and the faith in my father's voice. I've been listening to the comfort in Kevin's voice. I've been reading the texts and emails of my sisters, who are holding me up. At 2 AM the night of the election, the last thing I did before finally attempting sleep was to read a text from one of my heartbroken sisters. It said, "Love still trumps hate."

I've been listening to Georgette Heyer audiobooks and watching Jane the Virgin and Gilmore Girls, for comfort. I've been writing a new book, which is an amazing distraction and vast relief in the moments when a scene manages to suck me in. As is the case for many people, my mental health has taken a hit. So I've been dealing with that.

I haven't been blogging much, because I don't have anything new or fresh to contribute. Everyone else is saying everything better. Have you read Malinda Lo's lovely post?

I haven't figured out yet how I'll contribute. Of course I'll donate what money I can to what causes I can. Of course every book I write will be influenced by the realities of our world; they already are; I've already written three books with the backdrop of a narcissistic, cruel, selfish, power-hungry man who manipulates and traumatizes people with lies. I will keep telling stories – of the young people who throw their hearts and bodies into fighting that bullshit.

But I haven't figured out yet what else I will do. I'm slower than a lot of people who are currently bursting with passionate ideas left and right. But I'll figure it out. Each of us needs to find her purpose; forgive yourself if it's taking you longer than it seems to be taking other people. Forgive yourself if you're hearing ideas and thinking, "I'm not ready," or "That's not for me." Also, remember that small things matter as much as big things. Everything matters, and everything is connected.

Because I'm mostly listening and thinking, I'm not sure how much I'll be blogging about all of this. I'll keep blogging about writing; I'll keep blogging about the new things we're doing every month; certainly I'll be blogging about my new book. Beyond that, I'm still figuring out what to say here.

I wish I had something beautiful and inspiring to offer today. I don't. But, from my current place of deep processing, I wanted to reach out… and let people know that I don't have anything to say yet. If you find yourself trying to understand or articulate or express yourself right now, and you just can't yet – I feel for you. I get it. It's okay. We'll get there.

The one thing I'm sure of is that love does trump hate. Always.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Announcing My New Book: Jane, Unlimited

I have a new book coming out in Fall 2017, and I'm finally allowed to talk about it. :o)

It's called Jane, Unlimited. I won't say a lot for now—more will be forthcoming—but for today... Jane has led a small and mostly ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia—an adjunct professor at a small college and a world-traveling deep sea photographer. But when Aunt Magnolia dies unexpectedly on one of her expeditions, Jane finds herself adrift, and when an invitation comes from an old acquaintance to accompany her to a gala at her family's island mansion called Tu Reviens, Jane leaps at the chance. There, her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn't know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price.

This book has been years in the making, and has gone through more revisions than any of my previous books, probably because its structure was challenging and it took longer for me to figure out what the book was asking for. My editor, Kathy Dawson, is my freaking HERO. What else can I say about it? It's not the doorstopper Bitterblue was, though it's not exactly that elusive short book I keep trying to write, either. It's full of umbrellas. And adventure. And a big, weird, mysterious house. It's a little bit of an homage to duMaurier's Rebecca, and other "orphan visits a house of mystery" books. Mostly, I'm hoping it's a puzzle, but a puzzle that's full of heart. And I hope it will bring joy. And it'll be coming out in about a year! And I'm so grateful for the opportunity to offer it to you—and so relieved that I'm finally allowed to talk about it.

More soon!

♥ ♥ ♥

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Two Seven-Year-Olds Write Two Letters

My twin nieces live in Jacksonville, FL, an area that generally votes red, but only by a couple percentage points.

After the election, one of my nieces noticed that the neighbors had taken down their Hillary sign, and she worried that the neighbors were sad. So she wrote them a letter.

from: your neighbor [name redacted]
I Loved your Hilary sine

We are glad you Love Hiorlory.
We do too. I Loved your
Clinton Sine. and we
are Sad Trump won.
He is soooooooooooo
ooo mean. But
were Glad Hilary
tride. I hope you saw
her speches?

(Final version of the letter, edited to strike a more positive note:)
We are glad you Love Hiorlory.
We do too. I Loved your
Clinton Sine. and we
are Sad Trump won.
We Hope He lernds
to Be nise. But
were Glad Hilary
tride. I hope you saw
her speches?

My other niece also wrote a letter (and you can too).

go Hilray
you are the Best
you tryed
Thank you for making us proud.

Hillary Clinton
PO Box 5256
New York, NY 10185-5256

SNL's beautiful tribute to Hillary and Leonard Cohen

In a week during which we lost both the election and Leonard Cohen, SNL's response was perfect. Press play. (And don't read the comments.)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Love Still Trumps Hate

"Are you fighting the Black Thing?” Meg asked.

“Oh, yes,” Aunt Beast replied. “In doing that, we can never relax."

—Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time

An article in the Huffington Post that helps: What Do We Tell the Children?

(Thanks to Jess and Catherine.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Sara Bareilles and Leslie Odom, Jr.: "Seriously"

This American Life asked Sara Bareilles to imagine what President Obama might be thinking about the current election and that horrible person, but can’t say publicly. Leslie Odom, Jr., performs the song. (There's a lot of hatred and bitterness in the youtube comments. Skip them.)

To my grandmas, my great aunts, and all the women who never got a chance to vote for a woman for President....

We went to the polls today for you.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Today's Election-Free Zone: Fall Foliage in Mount Auburn Cemetery

Leaf season this year has been (1) late and (2) more muted than average. My walk through the cemetery on Tuesday wasn't as spectacular as it is some years -- but it was still beautiful. Especially for those of you who don't get to experience a New England fall, here are some pictures :o)