What the shit, me?

I just ran all over my house trying to find my phone because I could hear it ringing, but no matter which room I ran into it sounded like it was right in the next room and I started to suspect that Victor had my phone and was running around with it just to fuck with me.  Then the phone stopped ringing so I asked Victor to call me so I could find it but it still sounded muffled like it was hidden under something big so I was lifting piles of books and looking under cats and then I noticed that Dorothy Barker was following me around and I was like “DID YOU EAT MY PHONE, DOG?” and she looked at me like this:

I'm judging you. And I eat my own poop, so...yeah.

I’m judging you. And I eat my own poop, so…yeah.

And Victor said, “The dog is smaller than your phone.  What is wrong with you?” and I was like “I’M BEING HAUNTED BY MY OWN PHONE.  THAT’S WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME” and then Victor sighed and got up to help and started picking up all the shit on my desk because it sounded close and then I bent over to look under my desk and it got louder and louder but nothing was there but the rug, so I pulled back the rug and slowly put my head down on the floorboards and I was all, “Uh.  I think it’s coming from under the house” and Victor shook his head at me and I may have screamed, “MY PHONE IS THE TALE-TELL HEART.  HOW IS THIS EVEN POSSIBLE?” and Victor was like, “It’s not possible” and I yelled: “TELL THAT TO MY UNDERGROUND PHONE, VICTOR” and that’s when I felt this buzzing on my leg and I thought it was a bee and I thought to myself, ‘First I lose my phone and now bees?  Is this a plague?’ Then I slapped at my leg to stun the bee and that’s when I realized that my phone was in my dress pocket and had been following me around while I looked for it, and when I pulled it out Victor was like “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?” and no – no, I was not.  But then I was like, “Well at least it wasn’t bees, Victor” which probably would have made more sense had I explained that I was on the floor punching myself in the leg because I’d thought there were bees in my dress.  Or maybe not.  It’s hard to tell with Victor.

And that’s pretty much how my whole week has been.

An accidental competition for the worst mother ever.

The first week back to school always brings out the usual excitement, insecurities,  fear of failure and concerns about not fitting in.  I guess probably our children go through that as well but right now I’m talking about being the parent of a child heading back to school.  I have a group of friends who sporadically group text whenever things get weird and we need to vent, and the first week of school almost always sets us off so I thought I’d share.  Names have been redacted from this group text because CPS doesn’t always understand humor:

“Y’all.  I might be the worst mother ever. I bought a weeks worth of school clothes the night before school started.  I almost had a fistfight with another mom over the last pair of shorts at Target.”

“Oh, I can beat that.  All the stores were sold out of the “MANDATORY” red folders on the school supply list so I sent my kid with green folders and told him to tell his teacher that his mother is colorblind and very sensitive about it.”

“I forgot to pack a lunch for my kid so I brought her take-out tacos. There’s a mom at my kid’s school who makes home-made sushi in the shape of endangered animals for her kid’s lunch.   It’s like she’s making lunch at me.”

“I can top that.  I gave Hailey some burlap and told her to make her own damn shoes. She asked me for thread. I’m like, ‘THAT’S WHAT HAIR IS FOR, HAILEY.’ I mean, honestly.”

“I gave my kid a dead cat I found on the highway and punched him in the face.”

“I forgot school even started until I read these messages.”

“I just realized I forgot to pick my kids up from summer camp.”

“Jesus.  You guys make me glad I don’t have kids.”

“Sweetie, you do have kids.”

“Oh Shit.”

“Wow. You win.”

I WON 5 HUGO AWARDS. And we all lost.

Do you know what the Hugo Awards are?  They’re the annual award for best sci-fi and fantasy writing and this year they were full of controversy because they were sort of hijacked.  The people voting had the opportunity to vote for “no award” in each category and I suspected that might be the case since it was one of the only ways to show their displeasure at the hijacking, and so last night as the awards began I tweeted this:

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And by my logic that means that I won a shit-ton of Hugo Awards last night.  And so did you if you are a nobody in the sci-fi world!  WE WON!  And we also lost.  Because I use those award lists to find new things to read and they’re also helpful to get publishing houses to invest money into buying sci-fi books and finding new authors and then we all win when we have new stuff to read.

So instead of gloating about my well-deserved *cough*  awards I’m going to instead accept them in the names of a few sci-fi/fantasy authors I’ve enjoyed recently and if they’re new to you then you can check them out.  And then you do the same for me and tell me the sci-fi/fantasy authors I need to check out.  And then we all win again!

Here are a few of my favorites off the top of a my head:

John Scalzi, Pat Rothfuss, Octavia Butler, Neil Gaiman, Jeremy Whitley’s Princeless collection, Sydney Padua (Seriously, go read The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage RIGHT THIS SECOND.  Then give it to your young daughter because she’ll love it too.)

Your turn.  Who should I be reading?  Bonus points if I’ve never heard of them before.

*******

And now, the weekly wrap-up…

shit I did by Eric Orchard

 

Shit I made in my shop (Named “EIGHT POUNDS OF UNCUT COCAINE” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

  • As requested, #WheresRory shirts to confuse everyone around you.

Shit-you-may-or-may-not-want-to-see:

This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good, the third book by award-winning New York Times best-selling author Kathleen Flinn. It’s a fabulous memoir about Kathleen’s sweet, but quirky family having sweet, but quirky adventures. They’re like The Waltons but in Michigan, and were poor, grew vegetables and they all read encyclopedias for fun. As an added bonus, you’ll find recipes, plus bigamy and bootlegging. Her first book was The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry about attending Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and falling in love with her husband. You should check it out here.

IT’S HERE. IT’S HERE. IT’S HERE.

Look what just came in the mail, you guys!

The real, final copy of my book.

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It feels so real and heavy and substantial and holy crap, y’all, after years of work and doubt it’s actually done.  Well, not done done because the book tour starts in four weeks, but still.  And I heard Victor in the other room leafing through it and laughing out loud.  And that man doesn’t laugh out loud.  Best review ever.

PS.  You’re in this book.  Be prepared.  (It’s all good though.)

PPS. Did you sign up for your free, autographed bookplate?  Because they’re going fast.  And I’m giving away a copy on that same post so leave a comment?

PPPS.  Thank you.  I would never have finished this without your support.  I hope to God you like it.

Will a signed copy of my book one day be worth one million dollars? Almost probably.

So, I was asked to sign some collector copies of FURIOUSLY HAPPY for people who wanted a signed book but didn’t want to go to a signing and I said I’d do it, but then I got a draft of the signing page and it said something like, “This limited, signed, 1st edition has been specially bound” and it felt like it was missing something, so I scrawled “IN HUMAN SKIN” on the bottom and sent it back.  Then a month later I got to sign the actual books:

inhumanskin

I fucking love my job.

Lots of indie bookstores will have collector signed copies available so if you want one just check this list for your local store and then call or email to pre-order:

AL: Alabama Booksmith, Homewood * Capitol Book & News CO, Montgomery * Little Professor Book Center, Homewood
AZ: Antigone Books, Tucson  * Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe * University Of Arizona Bookstore, Tucson
CA: Vroman’s Bookstore, Pasadena * A Great Good Place, Oakland * Alexander Book CO, San Francisco * Book Seller, Grass Valley * Book Shop West Portal, San Francisco * Books Inc, San Francisco * Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Chaucers Books, Santa Barbara * Copperfield’s Books, Sebastopol * Gallery Bookshop, Mendocino * Green Apple Books, San Francisco * Haight Booksmith, San Francisco * Kepler’s 2020, Menlo Park * Readers’ Books, Sonoma * Skylight Books, Los Angeles * Warwicks, La Jolla
CO: Book Shop of Fort Collins, Fort Collins * Bookies, Denver * Bookworm of Edwards , Edwards  * Boulder Bookstore * Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver
DC: Kramerbooks & Afterwords, Washington
DE: Browseabout Shop Inc, Rehoboth Beach
FL: Bookstore 1 Sarasota * Classic Bookshop, Palm Beach * Inkwood Books, Tampa * BookMark, Neptune Beach  * Vero Beach Book Center, Vero Beach
GA: A Cappella Books, Atlanta * Avid Bookshop, Athens * E Shaver Fine Books, Savannah * Eagle Eye Bookshop, Decatur * G J Ford Bookshop & Café, St Simons Island * Little Shop of Stories, Decatur
IA: Prairie Lights-Bookstore, Iowa City * Iowa Book, Iowa City
IL: Anderson’s Bookshop, Naperville * Book Cellar, Chicago *
Book Stall of Winnetka, Winnetka * Book Table, Oak Park *
City Lit Books, Chicago * Unabridged Bookstore, Chicago
KS: Raven Book Store, Lawrence
KY: Carmichael’s Bookstore, Louisville * Coffeetree Books, Morehead
The Morris Bookshop, Lexington
LA: Garden District Bookshop, New Orleans * Maple Street Bookshop, New Orleans * Octavia Books, New Orleans
MA: Odyssey Bookshop Inc, South Hadley
ME: Maine Coast Bookshop, Damariscotta * Sherman’s Books & Stationery, Boothbay Harbor
MI: Bookbug, Kalamazoo * Between the Covers, Harbor Springs * Forever Books, Saint Joseph * Horizon Books, Traverse City * Literati, Ann Arbor *
Mclean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey * Schuler Books & Music, Grand Rapids
MN: Magers & Quinn Booksellers, Minneapolis * Common Good Books, Saint Paul * University Minnesota Bookstore, Minneapolis
MO: Subterranean Books, Saint LouisThe Novel Neighbor, Saint Louis
MS: Fountain Books GreenwoodLe Muria Books, Jackson * Square Books, Oxford
NC: Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh * Park Road Books, Charlotte Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill * Malaprop’s Bookstore, Ashville * Regulator Bookshop, Durham
NH: Country Bookseller, Wolfeboro * Gibson’s Bookstore, Concord 
NJ: Word Bookstore, Jersey City
NM: Bookworks, Albuquerque * Collected Works Bookstore, Santa Fe
NY: Book Revue, HuntingtonWord Bookstore, Brooklyn * Oblong Books & Music, MillertonOpen Door Bookstore, SchenectadyPower House Arena, Brooklyn * The Golden Notebook, WoodstockStrand Bookstore, New York * The Northshire Bookstore
OH: Book Loft, Columbus * Joseph Beth, CincinnatiThe Bookshelf, CincinnatiBooksellers on Fountain Square, CincinnatiBooksellers at Austin Landing, Miamisburg * Jay & Mary’s Book Center, TroyLearned Owl, Hudson
OR: V J Books, Tualatin
PA: Penguin Bookshop, SewickleyTowne Book Center and Cafe, Collegeville
RI: Books on the Square, Providence
SC: Hub City Bookshop, Spartanburg
TN: Union Ave Books, Knoxville * Booksellers at Laurelwood, Memphis
TX: Brazos Bookstore, Houston *
UT: The King’s English Bookshop, Salt Lake CityDolly’s Bookstore, Park City
VA: One More Page, Arlington
VT: Everyone’s Books, Brattleboro   * Phoenix Books, Essex * Yankee Bookshop, Woodstock
WA: The Elliott Bay Book Company, SeattleVillage Books, Bellingham
WI: Books and Company, Oconomowoc
CAN: Raincoast Books, Richmond, BC

And you can preorder it online at Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, or if you’re in Canada, you can get it at Indigo.

And you may be saying to yourself, “But what if I already preordered?  Why am I being punished for being helpful and supportive?  WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO US, JENNY?” and I would say, first of all, stop yelling because you’re going to get us all fired.  And secondly? I’ve got your back, Little Ninja, because if you preordered and can’t make it to a book signing then just click right here to fill in your address and you will get (for free!) a signed bookplate that you can stick inside your book.  Last time my bookplates had Hamlet Von Schnitzel on them and that’s hard to top, but these have illustrations of the Midnight Raccoon Rodeo on them and they are better than tacos:

bookplateforfuriouslyhappy

You might be saying to yourself, “What is the Midnight Raccoon Rodeo?  Is this supposed to make sense to me?  STOP GIVING ME REFERENCES I DON’T YET GET, YOU WHORE” and I would say, “Calm your tits, y’all.  Calm all of your beautiful tits. Are you hungry right now?  Because you’re not yourself.  Go eat some cheesecake.  And then go listen to the sample of my audiobook where you can hear a tiny snippet of what the Midnight Raccoon Rodeo is all about.  You’ll have to get the book to find out how I actually lost both of my arms and if I ever got them back though.  That’s a teaser, btw.  Not a very good one if you’ve seen pictures of me with arms lately, but still.”

Here’s a picture of me signing hundreds of bookplates in spite of the fact that Hunter S. Thomcat insisted they were tiny pillows he needed to lay on while I was signing them.

Hunter: “Why are you writing on my pillows?  What are you even doing?”

furiouslyhappybookplates

FYI: A few of bookplates have weird marks from when the cats would grab at my pen while I was signing (because my cats are assholes who don’t understand professionalism) but whenever that happened I tried to make up for it by turning the errant squiggle into a small drawing of a dog’s face or curly fries, or a lower intestine.  Sorry.  I had to work with what they gave me.

So go preorder and then get your bookplate and then leave me a comment because I’ve heard a rumor I’ll be getting real copies of the book any day now and I’d love to give a few away as a small thank you for your incredible support.

Honestly, this book would never have happened without you.

So if people don’t like it, I’m blaming you.

#WheresRory? Having more fun than should be legally allowed.

Have you been following Rory’s adventures around the world?  Because you should be.  If you’re lost, go here to catch up.  I’ve been sick for the last few weeks but I’ve been traveling vicariously with Rory and it’s been lovely and probably not just because there is a lot of codeine in this cough medicine.  In the last week he’s been to Korea, Italy, the Netherlands, Japan, Germany, Mount Rushmore, London, Canada, Australia, and in lots and lots of trouble.

You should check them out here but here are a few of my very favorites which weirdly seem to tell a story:

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roryinsanity2

Maybe it’s just me.

 

*******

And now, the weekly wrap-up…

shit I did by Eric Orchard

 

Shit I made in my shop (Named “EIGHT POUNDS OF UNCUT COCAINE” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

  • UPDATED:  As requested, #WheresRory shirts to confuse everyone around you.

Shit-you-may-or-may-not-want-to-see:

Shit you should buy or steal because it’s awesome:  

This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by  LiceToKill.com. From them: “Lice! When you’ve got to kill the little bastards (the lice…not the kids) & kill ‘em fast, you need the “Lice-nse To Kill Naturally” guide (& FREE BONUS: Lice Coloring Book for kids). Download instantly.  100% Money Back Guarantee if you aren’t thrilled STEP 1: Kill The Lice. STEP 2: Go back to eating Bon Bons & watching soaps. Easy Peasy. It’s right here.

A love letter to libraries

I just found out that Furiously Happy was chosen as one of the 10 LibraryReads for September.  That means that librarians around the country nominated it as one of the top books they can’t wait to share with readers.  That nod is one of the most poignant honors I have ever received and I cried when I heard it, although not everyone would understand why.

When I was little my favorite places were libraries.  You weren’t expected to speak, which was heaven for a shy girl with an anxiety disorder.  Thousands of small secret stories were hidden in plain sight all around you, just waiting to be held in your hands and discovered.  As a small girl in rural Texas, I knew that the best chance I had of seeing worlds that would never be open to me, and meeting fantastic people I’d never be bold enough to speak to was through books.  I was able to see places that exist (or that had existed, and or that would never exist) through the words of the storytellers whose worlds had been bound up and shared and protected through generations of docent-guardians who called themselves “librarians”.

I don’t remember my mother ever playing with my sister or me, but she read during any spare second she had.  She read to us.  She read to herself.  She had us read to each other.  A few times a month we’d get dressed up to drive into town to visit the nearest library.   I still remember the reverent hush as we walked through the doors – the quiet hum of the air conditioner…the feeling of reverence that others may have experienced in churches but which I found in the quiet awe that was the library.  I remember breathing in the welcoming smell of the dust of the books.  The soft sounds of the drawers of wooden card-catalogs that had slid open and closed so many times that they became a velvety hush.  The clean white slips of paper and tiny pencils waiting there (for free!) so that you might look up something wonderful and write down the secret code that would lead you to treasure.  I remember the hunt for the book.  For adventure.  For magic.

And sometimes you’d get lucky and there would be a special librarian there.  Of course, all librarians were special when you were little.  They were the guards and they were larger than life.  They knew the secret codex of books.  They were good witches and wizards who kept small keys around their necks, keys to special, sacred artifacts you had to know the secret password to see.

The librarians were all magical in their own way, but some had a special gift, as if they could see behind your eyes.  They could look at you, measuring you in their heads, and say:

“Let me see your hands.  Ah.  Yes.  Today is a day for adventure.  Would you like to see Mars?  Let me introduce you to Ray Bradbury.”

“Today you look like you need magic.  I think a dose of Ruth Chew will fix you right up.”

“I know you may feel lonely sometimes but I have friends I think you’d love to meet.  This is Francie Nolan and Celie Harris and Laura Ingalls-Wilder.  They will never, ever leave you.”

They knew the secret spider-web path from one book to the next.  They knew when it was too early for Melville.  They knew when to turn a blind eye as you furiously devoured the Stephen King books your mother didn’t think you were old enough for.  They knew when to pull out the special key and gloves and let you see their first edition of Alice in Wonderland, or the hidden-from-light, brittle, handwritten histories of the bordello that had done booming business next door to the library until the Texas Rangers shut it down.  They knew all the secrets that had ever been whispered and you hoped – in time – they would share them with you.

Librarians are how libraries speak.  Theirs are the small faces behind a million stories and facts.  Theirs are the simple hands that introduce you to the people who will shape you, and the ghosts that will haunt you, and the ideas that will drive you, and the friends that will never leave you.  They know the science of knowledge and beauty and laughter, and – though you can’t quite imagine it – they’ve cried over the same books that have broken and rebuilt your heart.  They’ve ridden in the same sleigh with the snow queen.  They’ve flown over London and sailed on pirate ships and visited Shangri-La and watched the world be destroyed and created and destroyed again.  And what they want more than anything else is to share those impossible journeys with you.

Librarians are magic – In every sense of the word.  And that’s why this particular recognition is one of the greatest things I could possibly imagine.  Because it feels like – in some small way – I’m giving back.  That I’m becoming  part of the tapestry of writers who reach out through time with their words to say, “Let me tell you a story.  Let me tell you about us.  You are not alone.”

One of the greatest gifts I will ever get is to imagine that one day soon, in a faraway town, a librarian may look down at searching eyes and say, “Yes.  You look like you need something special today.  Let me introduce you to my friend – Jenny Lawson.  She’s slightly profane and highly irreverent and I believe she may have exactly what you need.  I think you’ll be great friends.”

“Honored” doesn’t quite seem like a strong enough word for what I feel.  I need a better word.  I suspect a real writer would probably know that word immediately, but I’ll give it time until it comes to me.  And if it doesn’t come, I’ll do what I always do.  I’ll ask a magician.   I’ll ask a librarian.

 

 

Thanks a lot, deer.

I just went outside to let Dorothy Barker pee but when I stepped off the porch I screamed a little because the whole lawn was filled with deer and apparently I’d scared them because they all started to run away, but I’m in a cul-de-sac and they wanted to hide in the empty lot near us, so they had to run past me which meant that I had a dozen unexpected large mammals running at me which exactly is why I was screaming.  Then I realized they were just deer and nothing to be afraid of but then I immediately thought, “WHY ARE THEY RUNNING?  WHAT IF THE COUGAR COMING?” because there’s a cougar in our area.  So I picked up Dottie and started running with the deer and then they started running even faster and I was like “HE’S GAINING ON US” and I ducked into the bushes, but turns out that they were just running because there was a mad woman who was screaming and was running after them with a small dog in her arms.

This is the most exciting thing to happen to me all day.

This is as bad as it gets, right?

Conversation with my ten-year-old yelling at me from another room:

Hailey: Mom?  Where are you?

me: I’m in here.

Hailey: No you’re not.

Wow.  It starts so early.

*******

And now, the weekly wrap-up…

shit I did by Eric Orchard

 

Shit I made in my shop (Named “EIGHT POUNDS OF UNCUT COCAINE” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

  • Nothing.  Sorry.  I have bronchitis and a minor lung infection.  I’m moving in slow motion this week.

Shit-you-may-or-may-not-want-to-see:

Shit you should buy or steal because it’s awesome:  

This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by the memoir Ezra and Hadassah: A Portrait of American Royalty, a real life tale which goes from the darkness of foster care to serious bleakness as sibling Ezra and Hadassah find themselves stuck in an abusive adoptive family with no way out. Unbeknownst to the children, their biological parents fight to the Supreme Court to get them back, changing case law for future families. After years of complete separation, the children reunite with each other and their parents, learning along the way how to let go of the pain of abuse and neglect.  A compelling but hopeful look at foster care, abuse and mental illness.  I’m reading it right now and it’s fascinating.  Check it out here.

Where’s Rory? He’s fucking everywhere. (I mean, not literally. Ew.)

An update:

A few days ago I wrote a post about how awesome it would be if Rory the raccoon traveled all over the world to see the places most of us might never see and you said, “YES, LET’S MAKE THIS HAPPEN.  SEND ME A RORY.  NO -FUCK IT.  I CAN’T WAIT FOR YOU.  I’LL PRINT OUT MY OWN” and then suddenly there were pictures all over the internet of Rory in Italy, in airplanes, in refrigerators, in dunk tanks, eating funnel cake, and someplace that is actually named “SPIDER ISLAND” which I just think should be burned to the ground on principle.

wheresrory7

A few of my favorites are here and I’m updating it daily because you people are made of magic.  (It sucks that pinterest requires you to get a free account {STOP BEING A DICK, PINTEREST} but it’s the easiest way to pull it all together.)

The pictures are amazing, but even better are the comments I’m getting from people who – like me – are afraid of leaving the house, but who are excited to have a small raccoon companion who gives them a reason to get out and go someplace ridiculous and amazing.  And I totally get that because today I was thinking that I live pretty close to the world’s largest pair of cowboy boots and that seems like something Rory needs to see.

So today I’m going through the comments on the last post to pick out a few dozen people who want to take Rory to amazing places, and then they can look at the comments and email the next person to pass Rory onto.

And if you don’t hear from me by tomorrow and just can’t wait then you can print and make your own here.  Or if you want a small, plastic version you can take anywhere I have one in my shop.  It looks like this:

Hunter S. Thomcat imaging ways to murder me in my sleep.

Hunter S. Thomcat imagining a plethora of ways to murder me in my sleep.

If you upload a picture on instagram or twitter or elsewhere, tag it with #wheresrory so I can find it.  Also, I went back to the doctor yesterday and I’m on a LOT of codeine so it’s possible this makes less sense than normal.  Sorry about that.

#wheresrory?  He's stealing the tongue depressors while I cough a lung out.

#wheresrory? He’s stealing the tongue depressors while I cough up a lung.