Created for Necessity, Employed for Passion

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet"

Let's build a world. Explore what we believe by writing. In many ways my characters’ experiences with fate, destiny and free-will mirror my own. What is up to us and what isn’t? It’s one of the great questions of the human experience, I think. But no matter what is for us to control, we must own the identity. You’re a writer if you write. Period. Writing is a lovely way to spend one’s time. Enjoy it. And I hope you enjoy my writing here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Me and JK

Last night Leila Sales and I saw JK Rowling. This is one of the remarkable things about living in New York---  Ms. Rowling was doing ONE US appearance, and it was in my town. Getting tickets wasn't easy. It involved a lot of frantic online stalking, and two 1:00 am nights-- but we got them! We were two of the lucky few to see JK in all of her glory--- and she was glorious.

I know we all have our own versions of how Ms. Rowling has affected us. We picked up her books at a moment where we really needed a friend, we grew up with Harry. We were Hermione or we fell in love with Ron. We watched her rise to dizzying fame. We saw her do midnight readings from castles and we looked on, thinking that what she had done was truly (there is no other word for it)-- magical.

Here is my story:

I, like many people my age, came to Harry Potter when I was thirteen. I had just started high school and I was nervous, and scared. I was happier in fictional worlds than my real one, at that time, and Hogwarts never ceased to disappoint. Book one I read under my desk as a freshman. If I didn't have someone to talk to, that was okay, there was a whole world waiting in those pages.

Books two and three found me with someone to share them with! I was making my way through high school, and making friends. Book four I took with me to college. I set Harry down on my little shelf, sandwiched between “Wuthering Heights” and “Nine Stories.” I turned to him that first night my parents left, the first night I spent alone in my new dorm in my new city. Book five and I was making my way through USC, settling into a degree in creative writing. If my path hadn't always been clear (it had) it was now: I was going to be a writer.

Book six and I was leaving for Europe, graduating, packing my things, saying goodbye to friends and heading off for Edinburgh--- a city I had decided on because, you guessed it, JK calls it home. Every cafe I wrote in, I imagined her there--- I imagined her walking in. What I'd say to her if she did. What do you say to someone who has influenced your life (so, so many lives) the way she has? What do you say as an aspiring author, longing for some word of wisdom to let you know, eventually, it will all be okay? That it's worth it? 

Book seven and I was a newbie in New York. I was heartbroken, broke, twenty-two and lost. I remember leaving a bar of friends to go to Barnes and Noble at midnight on July 27th, 2007. I stayed up all weekend to read. I refused to let Harry go, and when I came to the end, saying goodbye was even harder than I had anticipated. 

But I didn't say goodbye. I went back to Edinburgh four times--- on each trip, waiting for her around a corner. Hunting down her haunts (you know, in a non-stalkery way), soaking up the Harry-ness of that city--- the place that inspired a world that inspired the world. I re-read Harry. I fell in love with Emma Watson and Rupert Grint and Daniel Radcliffe. I shared the book with friends. 

On the night the final movie was released JK Rowling gave a speech--- do you remember this? She stood on the stage in Trafalgar Square, where they were premiering the film, and she told us (I'm getting choked up writing this) that "Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home." 

Last night, I met her. I said "thank you," and she said "thank you," back. I have spent fifteen years wanting that moment. Fifteen years wondering what I would say, if I ever met her. If I ever got the chance to be in the same room as the woman who had inspired so much. Two words ended up being all that was needed. 

Thank you, thank you. What else is there to say? 



Friday, October 12, 2012

The Vampire Diaries is BACK!

And I have totally lost my mind...again.

I still blame all of you for getting me involved in this mess to begin with. Life was so much simpler before Elena, Stefan and Damon...sigh.

Anyone who knows me (or follows me on twitter) knows that I am a huge TV fan. And some of you have asked which shows I watch (besides our beloved vampires). Here's my list:

The Vampire Diaries
Gossip Girl (because I'm a big believer in finishing what you start)
Modern Family
Up All Night
New Girl
Nashville (I think this one is gonna be a keeper!)
How I Met Your Mother
The Mindy Project (for now)

Tell me-- what shows do you guys watch? What's your tivo (or hulu) time look like?



Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Office Hours-- mark your calendars!

Leila Sales and I have come up with what we hope will be a fun new tradition: office hours! 

The details: 

We will be at one our favorite coffee shops (Newsbar at 11th and University) from 12-2 pm on Sunday, November 4th-- come talk to us! No book selling, no readings, no panel-- just us, having coffee (hot chocolate) with you. Have questions about the writing process? Come chat! Want to know what we use on our hair? We'll spill! Ask us anything--- just don't ask us to do your math homework. 

Hope to see you there! 



Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Dear (Teen) Readers

Disclaimer: I just came back from seeing The Perks of Being A Wallflower. This could get corny.

I loved the movie. I thought it was poignant and nuanced and just...powerful. I cried. I totally bawled, actually. And that line when Paul Rudd tells Charlie he could write a book one day? On the floor.

I had a teacher like that. I had many teachers like that. I'm also old enough to remember when Paul Rudd wasn't a teacher, but the dorky (hot) college kid in Clueless. The people who handed me those books, who never closed an after-school door, who told me if I wanted to, I could do it, too--- they're the reason I am here, now, writing to you.

And that's all well and good, but the reason Perks struck me was not because Stephen Chomsky wrote that book, about his experience, and then made it into this movie. It was because it reminded me of what it's really like to be that young. Correction: of how hard it is to be that young.

I spend a lot of time in the brain of seventeen year olds. I poke my head into their surroundings, and I try to envision the way they see life, love. The way they see themselves. But I'm going to let you in on a little secret: I get it wrong. I forget. I over romanticize. Because I'm not seventeen anymore. Somewhere over the course of when I experienced the things I wrote about in When You Were Mine, and published that book, it happened. I grew up.

I'm a nostalgic person by nature, and I often mourn the loss of youth. I have a life now-- one that I built. It's real. It's mine. It is filled with both the wonderful and mundane: excellent friends, travels, bills, laundry, deadlines. I suppose what I'm saying is this: I am happy, but I am not infinite. Not anymore.

I'm not saying I miss it.  Honestly, If someone wrote me a check for twenty million dollars I wouldn't go back. It was awful. I felt like I was constantly getting it wrong. I felt so misunderstood. I felt so terribly alone. But it was also so short lived.

As I watched Emma Watson lift her arms through that tunnel tonight my breathe caught in my throat. It was beautiful, and tragic, terrible and exhilarating. And that's youth. That's what it means to be seventeen.

I am sorry that sometimes I forget that. I am sorry that sometimes I make it seem, or sound, easier than it is. But do me a favor, okay? Just for a moment look around, and remember this. Hold your eyes wide open. Take it in--- all of it. Because someday it won't be like this. It will be better, I promise you. You'll know more, you'll forgive easier, you'll be kinder--- to others and yourself. But you won't be seventeen.  

I'm off to continue revising. I'm writing a new one for you--- something I hope will keep you company in the meantime.