Category Archives: FURIOUSLY HAPPY

Dear stranger who made my whole day:

Dear anonymous stranger in the car ahead of me who paid for my breakfast:

You made my whole morning brighter and you inspired me to pay for the next person behind me.  Which actually made me feel even better, which is the nicest thing ever but it’s also sort of weird because the gift you gave me is basically you giving me a reason to give a gift to someone else.  Now my head hurts from the circularness, but it’s totally worth it.

When I got home I got a small, unexpected box of audio books from my publisher to celebrate winning an Audie award so I’m giving them out randomly to people who want them.  Want one?  Just leave a comment telling me if you want Furiously Happy or Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.

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PS. I love you.

Bad Lizard Math

Whenever you write a book you always end up with a few chapters that you love that your editor suggests you cut and most of the time you argue about it until one of you caves.  This was one of those chapters from Furiously Happy and it was one of my favorites but it had to be cut both because the book was already too long and also because most everyone who read it was like, “What the fuck is a horny toad?”  I assumed that’s because all the people who read it were from New York but then I went on twitter and asked people if they knew what a horny toad was and 90% of them were like, “Uh…Overly sensual frogs?” and 10% were like, “Sure.  Those mostly extinct lizards that were all over in the 70’s that squirt blood out of their eyes and sleep on you?” and then the other 90% were like, “WHAT?  Are you guys high right now?”  And yes, most of us were, but that’s not the point.

The point is that if horny toads were not endangered this chapter might have been relevant enough to be in the book, but since they are almost extinct I had to cut this chapter.  But I still think I should share it because this is a good lesson in why we need to protect endangered animals.  Because otherwise it makes book-writing more difficult for me.  And other reasons, probably.

So here is a bonus chapter that never got published for those of you who loved, or have yet to discover Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things.
The 40th Argument I Had With Victor This Week:

Me: LOOK! I FOUND A HORNY TOAD! I THOUGHT THEY WERE ALL EXTINCT!

Victor: That’s not a horny toad.

Me: The fuck it isn’t.

Victor: Horny toads are rounder. That’s a Texas Spiny Lizard. You can buy them at the pet store. Horny toads are endangered. That’s why you never see them anymore.

Me: Huh. You know what else you never see anymore? Tumbleweeds. Where have all the tumbleweeds gone? I can only assume they’re with the horny-toads. Here’s a thought: Maybe horny toads eat tumbleweeds. That would explain a lot.

Victor: Not really.

Me: Remember when you were a kid and you’d find horny toads all over the place and then paralyze them by rubbing their bellies and then they’d fall asleep in your hands like teeny lizard baby dolls?

Victor: Um…sorta?

Me: And then your mom would yell, “Take that horny toad outside before it squirts eye blood all over the carpet!” and you’d be like “Calm the shit down, mom. I’ve paralyzed it with my love.

Victor: No.

Me: Well, you obviously didn’t say the last part out loud because you’d get slapped.

Victor: No. I mean, I don’t think a lizard ever spit blood out of its eyes at me.

Me: Really? Are you sure you’re really from Texas?

Victor: Well, I recognized what wasn’t a horny toad, so yeah...I think I just passed my citizenship test.

Me: It makes me sad that horny toads aren’t around any more. I want to find some and start breeding with them.

Victor: Questionable phrasing.

Me: Frankly, I don’t understand why people aren’t breeding horny toads all the time. They’re obviously already aroused.

Victor: You do realize that “horny” is really short for “horned ” because of the spikes all over their bodies, right?

Me: Well, I still don’t understand why they aren’t having sex as much as they used to. Although, it would probably be hard to mount someone who had jagged spikes all over her. God. No wonder they’re so horny.

Victor: Again, that doesn’t mean-

Me: Oh, and they’re really easily paralyzed when you rub their tummies so they probably get stunned during sex all the time. Stunned and stabbed. No one wants that. That sounds like the worst porno ever.

Victor: Huh.

Me: OMG, we should make tiny little sweater-vests for them. And maybe some lizard cologne to get them in the mood.

Victor: You’ve thought way too much about this.

Me: And special lighting. MOOD LIGHTING. And I’d teach the horny toads to strut. I’d be like “Work it, girl!”

Victor: I don’t think lizards have anything to work.

Me: Well, I’d say it anyway to build up their self-esteem. Because confidence is sexy.

Victor: Stop.

Me: They need my help, Victor. Those horny toads are a hot mess right now and they need to get their shit together. And I can help them. Maybe give them tiny hats? Like bonnets for girls and Stetsons for boys. Or vice versa. I don’t want to encourage stereotypes. Just whatever keeps them from stabbing each other in the neck when they’re snogging.

Victor: You’re totally high right now, aren’t you?

Me: If I were high I’d physically try to mate them like you do with Barbie and Ken dolls. But instead I’m just going to give them all the tools and be like, “I did this for you so don’t fuck it up, okay? Make some babies, yo.” I just need some horny toads. I’d be like, “HEY LIZARDS: LET ME HELP YOU HELP YOURSELF BECAUSE YOU’RE RUINING LIZARDS FOR EVERYONE.”

Victor: For everyone?

Me: Well, for some of us. I miss the horny toads. I have sad lizard nostalgia. And our daughter will never know what it’s like to paralyze a lizard that can shoot blood out of its eyes.

Victor: So, you want to dress lizards up in sweater-vests for humanitarian reasons?

Me: I’M DOING IT FOR THE CHILDREN, VICTOR.

Victor: Got it. Going to sleep now.

Me: Remind me in the morning to learn how to knit.

Victor: I’ll get right on that.

PS. He totally did not remind me. Luckily though, I sent myself a voicemail saying, “DON’T FORGET TO FIND OUT HOW TO KNIT TINY SWEATERS SO LIZARDS CAN HAVE SEX BETTER” but then I forgot about it until I realized that I had 32 voicemails, and when I checked them in the movie theater during the previews I couldn’t figure out how to turn it off of speaker-mode so I got some weird looks, but then I explained “I’m a scientist” and then people looked less alarmed. I assume. I stopped looking because I didn’t want to have to deal with follow-up questions, and because at that same moment it occurred to me that maybe it’s not just a matter of the horny toad dudes not wanting to get stabbed in the junk. Maybe it’s also because horny toad newborns come out with full spikes and that would probably wreck a vagina. So probably after one baby the mama lizard is like, “Hey, you know what? We’re good. One is plenty.” I don’t know how to solve this, but I think it involves lizard-vaginoplasty.

Winner: No one wins when awesome lizards keep halving their population every generation. That’s just bad lizard math.

UPDATED: Shout-out to everyone who shared this with me today:

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They’re so cute I just want to eat them up.  Which would be counter-intuitive and is not to be taken literally.

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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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…

 

 

I’m sharing this with you because I love you.

Remember in September when I had to put a book trailer out, but instead of talking about the book I decided to do a video where I asked my friends to share their stories with the world?  And my niece, Gabi, composed and played the lovely tune for it?  Here.  I’ll show it to you again in case you forgot because it is amazing and it makes me smile and I love all of the people in it.

But here’s a story you never heard…

My publicist and close friend (Marlena) traveled with me for most of the tour and helped me when I got stuck in panic attacks or dark pits.  She and her husband (John) helped me through a lot of rough times when I felt overwhelmed and John was the person who edited and polished the Furiously Happy video above.  He took several minutes of each person flipping their signs and edited it into what it became.  What you may not know is that John made me an alternate video inspired by something that showed up on Patrick Rothfuss‘ video.

I watched it and laughed like mad and I wanted to share it but I was worried that people would think I was being irreverent and flippant, but I was just looking at it again and I realized that irreverent and flippant are exactly the things that I excel at so I thought, “Fuck it.  You guys know me enough to love this as much as I do, because in spite of the fact that the subject is serious, laughing at it makes it so much more manageable.”  I sent it to a few people on the video and they agreed it was fabulous.  And now I feel stupid for ever doubting you.

 

Season’s Greetings, you magnificent bastards.

It’s Christmas!  Which is full of awesomeness and glitter and also a lot of conflicting emotions and sometimes depression, which seems even worse than normal because it’s a day when you’re supposed to be happy.  But that’s okay because it’s just a day, y’all, and I’m giving you full permission to be joyful, or nostalgic, or sad, or to avoid people who make you feel like shit, or to be happy in spite of the fact that the holidays are full of weirdness.  I am glad that you are in the world and I’m toasting you right now from my own quiet house.  It’s a time to be thankful for the things that are going right in the universe and to lock yourself in the bathroom with a small flask of schnapps when things get overwhelming.  It’s a time to dance in your living room to songs that make you happy, or watch zombie movies and eat Chinese food all day.  It’s whatever it needs to be for you.

It’s also a good time to remind ourselves of the awesomeness in the world and I’m doing that starting with a quick recap of the 6th Annual James Garfield Miracle.

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(That’s James Garfield, above, in his festive finery.)

This year (in just a little over a week) we collectively gave over $85k to help children.  That includes giving presents to kids who might not otherwise get them, donating to Heifer International, and giving over $30k to Project Night Night, who will use our donation to put a bag with a stuffed animal, security blanket and a book into the hands of 1,200 homeless children.  In the six years we’ve been doing this some of the kids who were helped that first year are now old enough to help others, which makes me feel very proud, happy and also more than a little old.  In the last 6 years more than a quarter of a million dollars has been given by this community to help others.  No sponsors.  No middle-men.  No special recognition or fancy graphics or pleas for help.  Just people directly helping people because it made them happy.

What the shit, y’all?  That’s amazing.  My email has been full of awesomeness (which is a wonderful gift to me because I’ve been fighting off a bit of depression myself) but I thought I’d share this one because it’s one of my favorites:

“I cried every night for a week when I realized that an unexpected bill had decimated the plans I’d made to get my kids presents this year.  I told my kids that there wouldn’t be much for Christmas this year but that our Christmas present was that we had a roof over our heads and that we were together.  They were as understanding as kids could be but I was heartbroken and felt like a failure.  I left a comment on your blog hoping that I could get a warm coat for at least one of them and within a day so many people gave help.  Packages started arriving this week and it made me cry again.  Happy tears. When my youngest  asked why I was crying I told her that I’d gotten a Christmas miracle.  There are two new coats under the tree for my little girls, plus three toys and two books that I can’t wait to read to them.  I was able to thank some people but some of the packages didn’t come with any notes saying who the presents were from so I’m sending you this email so you can maybe pass it on and tell whoever saved Christmas for my girls that they gave me a gift so much bigger than they probably know.  Thank you for this grace, in helping me keep them safe and happy and for reminding me that people care.  Next year when I’m back on my feet I can’t wait to pay it forward.  I will never forget this.”

Ditto.

Thank you, everyone, for another year of craziness and kindness.  You are the best kind of people and I’m lucky to have you in my life.

PS. A special Merry Christmas to my parents, sister, grandparents and all my other family members that I won’t see this Christmas.  I love you guys more than cheese.  We’re with you in spirit.

I’m licking all of your faces right now. But not actually, because I understand personal boundaries and virus prevention.

There’s a real post coming but I just wanted to share that we’re in the Wall Street Journal today.  It’s a little bit about me but it’s mainly about you and that makes sense because you guys are who made all of this possible.  Also, we’re currently hanging out with Benedict Cumberbatch.  Just on the page, but still.  Pretty sure that counts.

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If you can’t read this because you don’t have super-human eyes you can click to read it here and see the other pictures.  Also, yes…that is a picture of me running terrified from everyone while clutching my “CAT LADY FOR LIFE” book bag.  But happily.  Which sums up my whole life, really.

You are amazing and I love you more than tacos.  And I love tacos.  Like, a lot.  And I love that the world is discovering how fantastic you are.  I hope you are discovering that as well.  You are magic.

 

I’m alive. You are too. And for that I am thankful.

Right now I am on my way home from the last leg of the Furiously Happy book tour, which was filled with giggling adventures, new and old friends, tears and stories whispered in signing lines, terror and anxiety and adrenaline, and a particularly virulent case of food poisoning that left me stranded in Arizona for an extra day. Right now I am weak and tired and relieved and in an airplane beginning its descent home. And I find myself crying, startling the uncomfortable businessman beside me who doesn’t know what to do with this too-pale frizzle haired girl who looks the very picture of a nervous wreck. I explain to him that these are happy tears. Because they are. Not just because the call of home is so near but also because I will miss you. That’s odd to say because I hate traveling, and speaking is scary but I will miss seeing big groups of you, so many of you looking at me with the same scared look reflecting mine -reminding me that I am with people who understand me and will nod if I hide under a table. I will miss your stories and the cool hands on mine as you assure me my panic wasn’t too obvious. I will miss your smiles and stories of people you met in line who are now new friends. I will miss the emails from those who couldn’t make it but still wanted to share their stories, and the handwritten notes given by shaking hands of friends who were too afraid to speak but still managed to proudly make it through the line. I will miss you. But I know that you will still be here, helping me write my next book as you helped me through the last two. I know that even if I don’t see you in person that you are real and important and are in my strange camp of wonderful misfits. I know that I am not alone. I hope you know that too.

As I write this the taxi is nearing my house and all I want to do is melt into my family and couch and furry babies but before that I want to say thank you. Thank you for being my family, both on the road and off. And in a day or so I’ll be back with something lovely for us to do, but until then I wish for you all the love I felt from our amazing, talented, bizarre and far-flung community and I hope you understand how much you mean to me, to our strange tribe, to the world.

Thank you.

Ps. Ignore the typos. This is what happens when you write on your phone after almost no solid food for 30 hours. Also, this is where I’d put pictures but I’m too exhausted so instead I’m linking to Instagram so you can relive the last 3 months of touring with me if you like.

Thank you.

What is Sunday?

So day before yesterday was Black Friday and yesterday was Small Business Saturday and tomorrow is Cyber Monday, but what’s today?  Is today something?  Am I going to feel bad later when I find out it’s “Save All The Kittens Sunday”?  Probably.  But since I don’t know entirely I think today should be Self-Promotion Sunday.  Today you should give yourself a shout-out regarding whatever it is that you do.  Your blog, your book, your art, your business, your knitting, your ability to whistle, the fact that you put up holiday decorations before December even started…whatever.  What’s going on in your life that you’re happy about?  Let’s hear it, because I think we could all use some happy words.

I’ll go first.  FURIOUSLY HAPPY has been on the bestseller lists for 2 months (although it’s probably off by now) and Indigo just named it one of the best holiday gifts of the year.  I’m heading back off on book tour next week and so far I have not had a nervous breakdown.  Also, I briefly considered putting up the Christmas tree and then decided that sounded exhausting but I’m giving myself points for even thinking about it.  Also, no one has been eaten by bobcats yet.  YAY US!

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Your turn.  What do you want to promote or share?  What’s going on in your world?  What’s made you happy or proud lately?

 

If it’s Saturday this must be Portland.

Hey Portland!  You and me at Powell’s at 4pm.  Rumble.  Wait, no.  Not a rumble.  A reading.  And a book signing.  But if you want to rumble I guess we can have a fake slap fight.  I’m pretty flexible.

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Next stop?  HOME!  Until December.  Then the final leg starts up.

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You guys are wonderful.  Thank you for making this tour so amazing.