Emails from Jeremy

An email from my friend Jeremy Johnson, who made Totes MaGoats and Rory:

So this isn’t as random as the London shot, but I saw this at a local bar tonight. Gotta love the Game of Thrones reference! (Photo is a bit dark, but it’s a sword throne made of sausages).

winter is ending

People looked at me a bit weird when I screamed out “that’s my goat!” pointing at the restroom door… then an old dude walked out. I thought we should all slow clap for him to ease the awkwardness… but they didn’t. I then took my belongings and left.

One of us, y’all.

Pretend You’re Good At It

If you’ve read Furiously Happy, you already know I wrote an entire chapter about how I almost lost the chance to narrate my first book because I was too terrified and kept fucking up.  My amazing friend Neil Gaiman gave me the wonderful advice to “pretend you’re good at it” and it worked.  Since then I have written that mantra on my arm every time I panic.  I write it a lot.  

Today the Audie Award nominations were announced and I found out that I’m a finalist in the categories of Humor and Best Narration by Author.  And I may have cried a little.  Because I still have to pretend I’m good at it (and perhaps I always will) but maybe it’s not as obvious to everyone else.  Which is nice.  No pretending necessary.

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PS. It just dawned on me that most of you probably have no idea what the Audie Awards are.  They’re like the Grammys, but substitute “glamorous rockstars” with “audio books”.  So, yeah.  It’s a pretty big deal.

PPS.  Giant thanks to everyone who bought my audiobook.  I like to pretend that I’m going with you on long road trips, or that I’m in your house with you while you’re doing the dishes.  It makes me feel less hermity and also lightly stalkerish, but in a friendly and encouraging sort of way.

PPPS.  Everyone in these categories are amazing.  You should check out all of these books.

PPPPS.

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Fun with closed captioning

I watch shows on my phone but I have a hearing problem so I always watch with closed captioning so I can understand it.  These are the most baffling screenshots I got from watching Orphan Black last month:

orphan black cc thebloggess

I’m sensing a theme.

*******

And now, the weekly wrap-up:

bloggess sid

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

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

This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by Wende Mitchell’s new book, Flowers in Winter.  Summary:  Elly MacCalloum isn’t special. And she’s okay with that.  No owls are ever going to bring letters inviting her to attend a magical school. Her wardrobe only has clothes in it. She will never rescue a damsel in distress, lead valiant men into battle, or meet her husband through her inability to keep her shoes on. She has occasionally lost her shoes, though.  Elly is trying to create a normal, happy life for herself. She just isn’t sure what that looks like. While trying to balance her job and her relationship, Elly is also trying to help her friends — brash, opinionated Abby, and sweet, quiet Ryan, whose family refuses to accept him for who he is. As the three of them struggle to define themselves, they must decide what is worth fighting for, and what they should let go.  How do you find your way back to balance?  You should check it out right here.

Pintrest. Kind of a dick.

I just spent two hours on pinterest looking at intricate school lunches that are pandas carved out of fruit and shit, and do-it-yourself paper-mache-glittery-giraffe heads and I was thinking, “Who in the hell has time to make this shit?” And then I realized that I just wasted two hours looking at shit that I’ll never do on pinterest.

Touché, pinterest.  You win this round.

PS. That booksgiving experiment we did this week?  Holy shit y’all.  Go look at the comments and cry.  From happiness.  Or from sadness if you bet someone that humanity was doomed and now you’re like, “Shit.  I owe you five dollars.  Good people are still out there.”  Personally I think that’s worth the five dollars though so maybe stop complaining.  Although technically if you decide to welch on the bet you’d probably convince the person betting on humanity that people do suck and then you’d win.  That’s a shitty way to make five bucks but I’m not judging you.  Much.

PPS.  Today I thought I was going to have to pay $1700 cash for a single shot to keep me out of a wheel chair (long story short: INSURANCE COMPANIES SUCK) but then a nice nurse helped me out and I melted in relief so I’m paying it forward by buying going into those comments and buying more books if I can even find any wish lists that haven’t been filled.  Because good pushes more good and I need all the good karma I can get.

Booksgiving. An experiment.

Last September when Furiously Happy came out I was so terrified that people wouldn’t like it, wouldn’t understand it, or would run away after realizing I’m quite a bit crazier than I ever let on.  But you stayed – for the most part – and then even more of you showed up, and now it’s February and Furiously Happy is still on the top 20 NYT list.  This is because of you.  You share quotes, and pictures of yourself reading it, and tell others that it helped and pass it on to people who you think will need it to understand you or to better understand themselves.  Every day I see people online sharing it and it makes such a difference to me and to the people who every day discover that they are so much less alone than they thought.bookplateforfuriouslyhappy

As a thank you I’d like to give you all a box full of live kittens but I don’t have that many kittens or boxes and also I don’t have your address, so instead today I’m giving out copies of Furiously Happy to people who haven’t been able to afford a copy.  If you’re struggling right now and you need a copy just make a wishlist with Furiously Happy on it.  Or if you have Furiously Happy but need someone to buy you another book to get you through a rough time then make a wish list with that book on it.  A book you loved as a kid.  A book to calm you, or revive you, or to read to children.

rory furiouslyhappyI’m going to give out 30 copies of my book.  If you need one I’m going to tell you how to do it.  And every time I do this sort of thing others want to get involved and help so if you want to give books to someone in need you can click on the wish lists in the comments section and send hope and stories and escape to lovely strangers.

Will this work?  No idea.  But let’s try.

Here are the rules:

  1.  If you’re in a rough place and need a book to transport you somewhere else make a BRAND NEW wish list with nothing on it but the book you want.  (Exception: If you have a kid who needs a book you can add that too.)
  2. Here’s how you make a wish list:  Under “Your Lists” on the right, top side of Amazon select “Create a list”.  Choose “Wish list” and name it something like “The book I really need right now” and choose “Public”.  Then click “Create list”.  Now add a book to your list by going to the book and clicking the “add to list” button on the bottom right.  Now here’s the most important thing that everyone forgets to do.  You have to assign a shipping address to that specific wish list or it won’t go to you.  So click on the wish list and click on “public” and it’ll take you to “List settings”.  Click “view details” and where it says “shipping address” add yours.  (Your city will be shown to others but not your full address.)  Then save changes.  Now leave a comment with a link to your wish list.  Click here for my sample wish list so you’ll know what one looks like.  I have about 20 books listed on it for inspiration if you don’t know exactly what you want.  In your comment say which book you want in case someone specifically wants to buy you that book.  Feel happy.
  3. Here’s how you buy a book for a stranger.  Click on their link.  Choose a book.  Select their name so it goes to their address.  If it doesn’t give you the option of picking their name it means they didn’t add a shipping address so delete what’s in your cart and go to the next person.  Send a story to someone in need.  Feel happy.

The only rule is that this is just for books.  No gift cards or clothes or anything else because it gets out of hand really quickly.  Just a simple book to take you away from the world and help you find new ones.

And as always, thank you.  Thank you for supporting my words and listening and passing them on to others.  I’m hesitantly starting book 3 right now and you’re giving me strength to keep writing even when I doubt myself.  I owe you one.  Or 30.

UPDATED: Here are screen shots of what you should see while making a wishlist and add a shipping destination because it’s really easy to mess up.

Create a list under “Your lists”.

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Make it a wish list, name it and make it public.

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After you click “create list” click on the “public” button below:

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Click “view details” to add your shipping address to this wish list:

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Choose a shipping address and save changes.

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Now you’re ready to add something to your list.  Pick a book and choose the “add to list” button on bottom right side:

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If you have another wish list set as your default then you’ll need to click “move to another list.”

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Just click the list you’re going to share here.

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Now go to the wish list and copy the link and paste it into the comments.  That should work.  There might be a better way of doing it but that’s how I do it.

PS.  If you click on a wish list that says it’s empty that’s because the book has been bought for them.  :)  If you leave a comment and don’t see it that’s because my blog puts people into moderation for a bit so I have to approve the comments and sometimes it takes me a minute.  It’ll show up.

PPS.  In the time it’s taken for me to write all of this a ton of books have been sent out to strangers (I prefer the term “strangelings”) on the internet and I haven’t even started giving away my own portion.  Thank you.  For asking and for giving.

PPPS.  It’s 10:30pm Texas time and when I try to buy people books it gives me an error message during checkout.  I’m just going to assume we broke amazon with our awesomeness.  If you get error messages too just try again in a bit.  Also, a ton of books have been sent out all over the world so you might have to search a lot to find a wish list that hasn’t been filled.  Keep looking though if you want to help.  New comments are approved every 15 minutes (until I go to sleep, at least) and they’re still coming in.

UPDATED, DAY 2:  Technically yesterday was Booksgiving but Amazon crashed for like 4 hours yesterday so I say we keep going today.  Besides, it’s a leap year so we get an extra day this month anyway.  Might as well use it for good.

Also, are you reading these comments?  Because you should be…

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I love you guys.  Off to buy more books…

 

 

You really are, you know.

I have a picture on my phone from four years ago.  I took it in the back offices of a bookstore when I was panicking and pacing and trying to calm down so I could go out and do a reading.  And in the middle of my panic I looked up and saw a cardboard sign above the door, and it was exactly what I needed to see at exactly the right time.

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Whenever I start to fall apart, or doubt that I’ll ever fully get my shit together I pull up that picture.  I don’t know who wrote it or how it came to be but it helps me.  Maybe it’ll help you.  Because even if you’re fucking up in one part of your life, know that you are doing an excellent job in other parts.  It’s just hard to see it because the negative stuff feels so big that it keeps you from seeing all the things you’re nailing.  Like breathing.  You’ve been breathing all day, y’all.  Probably all your life.  EVEN IN YOUR SLEEP.  That’s dedication, motherfucker.

So just a reminder…

You’re doing an excellent job.

*******

And now, the weekly wrap-up:

bloggess sid

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

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

This week’s wrap-up is brought to you TranscribeMe, a highly acclaimed, top rated work-from-home site where you can make money by transcribing audio and video files. From them: “With a user-friendly platform, convenient and regular payouts, and a steady work stream year round, it’s an amazing opportunity for moms to earn extra money, take charge of their own work schedule, and spend more essential time with family.”   Click here to register and find out more.

 

Get ready to waste a good hour.

My friend, Christine, introduced me to Dreamscope where you can add filters to your photos.  Not normal filters though.  Stuff like, “What would I look like if I was made out of gummi bears?” or “What if the world turned into raspberries?”  An hour later and I have a million variations of me.

Get ready to waste a good hour of your life.  But it’s for creative reasons, so I’m pretty sure it counts as art therapy.

bloggess dreamscope

bloggess dreamscope 2

For David. For you.

I’ve been carrying this around since yesterday and I wasn’t sure if I was going to write about it, but if it affected me then maybe it will affect you, so here goes.

There’s a guy named David who you probably know, but probably also don’t know.  He’s been part of our community for at least the last seven years.  You sometimes see him in the comments.  He encourages me on Facebook.  He’s always smiling.  I never spent any real time with him but I knew him well online and as part of this amazing community.

Sunday he told his online friends that he’d been diagnosed with cancer and that he wouldn’t survive it.  He said it in a Facebook post that was alternately horrible and inspiring and he ended it with this:

“Much love to you all, and thank you for your friendship. Above all, don’t take tomorrow for granted. Live today as if it counts, because it truly does.
Enjoy every sandwich.”

And then, yesterday, he was gone.

He’d be mad if he knew that his passing caused sadness because he was all about joy and laughter, so I’m passing his words on to you only if you use them for good.

Whether you knew him or not, listen to his words.  Enjoy life.  Laugh.  Play with dogs.  Do silly things.  Be great.  Be you.  Do something for yourself.  Do something for others.  Walk barefoot in the grass or build a snowman or read a book or adopt something wonderful into your life.

Go right now and make a decision to do something fun or silly or glorious that you hadn’t planned until you read this, because it’s the best way to honor the passing of those we love who want us to be happy, and also the best way to honor the life we’ve been given.

Enjoy.  Every. Sandwich.

Amen.

PS. Today I had a german brisket hoagie covered with fried pickles.  And I made myself enjoy every bite.  It was one of the best meals I’ve ever had.

Thank you, David.

And thank you for your friendship.

 

The happiest four words. The saddest four words.

Conversation with Victor at lunch:

Victor: I read something about a contest where you have to come up with the saddest story in just four words, and I think I’ve nailed it.

me:  Okay.  Hit me.

Victor:  “She loved someone else.”

me:  Ooh, that is a good one.  How about… She’d forgotten his smell”.

Victor:  Hmm.  “He never became himself.”

me:  “OUR DOG WAS EATEN.”

Victor:  Um…subtlety?

me:  “The baby spontaneously combusted.”

Victor:  Jesus, Jenny.

me:  Well you said it should be sad.

Victor: Okay, let’s switch to happy.  The happiest story in four words.  “He loved her back.”

me:  Okay.  “The monsters never returned.”

Victor: How about…“She became his world”.

me:  Ew.  No. That sounds like a stalker.  Oh!  “More gravy for everyone!”

Victor:  “They made a family.”

me:  Aw, I like that.  How about…Knock knock mother fucker.”

Victor: No.  Also, “motherfucker” is one word.

me:  Fine.  How about… “He never questioned her.”

Victor: How about…“She stopped acting stupid.”

me: How about…“Her divorce came through.”

Victor:  Hmm.  We should probably stop this.

me:  Yeah.  Agreed.

And they lived happily (ever after).

Your turn.  Happy or sad story in four words.  Go.

Endings and beginnings

Are you a fan of Sandman? Because you should be. But if you’re like me you were afraid that the recent(ish) The Sandman: Overture couldn’t possibly be as good as the old books that rearranged your mind, and so you put off reading it because of that fear. I finally read it this week and GET THEE TO A BOOKSTORE BECAUSE IT IS AMAZING. After the last few weeks which seemed too full of endings I really needed this… a brilliant ending that became a beginning.

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It reminded me of the first time I discovered those few important books that made me realize I wasn’t alone.  Hailey’s asked to read Sandman before because she knows I love them but I haven’t let her yet.  Partly because I think eleven is a bit young for some of the subjects, but more importantly because if I’d read Sandman at 11 it wouldn’t have become the lifesaver I needed because I wasn’t quite yet the confused, lonely and angsty person I’d become.  The books were a balm for me during rough waters and they still are today.  They are also to me what the Harry Potter series are to her…a benchmark and a milestone and a moment when characters become real and stay with you forever.

It’s strange that the books that really spoke to me at her age (A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass) don’t appeal so much to her.  She still devours my Ray Bradbury books when she thinks I’m not looking (I suspect the thrill of sneaking them from me adds to the appeal, like it did for me when I borrowed my grandmother’s Stephen Kings) and this week I’m letting her read The Graveyard Book, which she’s enjoying.  When I ask her what books have meant the most to her she names A Wrinkle in Time and the Divergent series.  She asks if Princeless counts since it’s just a graphic novel and I clear my throat.  It counts.

I don’t know if Sandman will save her like it did me, or if it will be Catcher in the Rye, or something that hasn’t even been set to paper yet, but it’s so nice to know that those books are out there and that they’re still saving lives and making lives. I can’t wait to read the next one that will change the way I think and change me in the process.

And how about you? What books touched you at certain ages?  What books affect your children now?  What books should we all read?  What books have you found recently that made a difference in your life?  What books are lost to the out-of-print rare bookstores that you search for each time you scan the shelves?

I need something to read.  Go.

*******

And now, the weekly wrap-up:

Fabulous graphic by @wedrawtweets

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

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

This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by Scarology.com“Scarology is an affordable, simple and effective scar treatment system designed to dramatically improve the appearance of scars. Our unique 3-step process is clinically proven to improve the appearance of new and old scars resulting from surgery, pregnancy, acne, injury and burns.”  You can check it out here.  They’re offering 25% off using the code “BLOGGESS.