When life may or may not give you lemons

I was at the gas station and I overheard someone say “Did you know lemons aren’t real?” And the person they were talking to was like, “Yeah, I heard that.”

And then I couldn’t stop thinking about it because WHAT IS HAPPENING so I went on twitter for their feedback and most people were as baffled as I was, but quite a few people pointed out that there is an ongoing internet argument that since lemons are a hybrid of a sour orange and a citron then they must’ve be man-made and so technically life didn’t give us lemons….we gave ourselves lemons.

I googled “are lemons real” and google suggested I search for “DO LEMONS EXIST?” which makes me think that even google is a little confused at this point. I found an equal number of websites saying “lemons are man-made”, “lemons are a naturally concurring hybrid”, and that “no one knows where lemons come from”. But even if they were man-made wouldn’t they still be real? I mean, babies are man-made and don’t naturally occur in the wild, but they’re still real, right? Are the rules different for fruit? How does science work?

Anyway, I don’t have an answer about lemon origins except to say that they are at least as real as babies, and if they aren’t real then what the fuck did I just eat?

Edited to add: I was referring to lemons. I did not eat babies. Not sure that clarification is necessary but at this point all bets are off.

Victor is going to miss these moments. Eventually.

This weekend was Hailey’s last high school performance and was also the very first time I ever saw them sing a solo on their stage. (This is one of the things they don’t warn you about when your kid gets accepted into a fine arts high school…your kid may get great training, but will also be competing against so many other incredibly talented kids.)

This was a showcase where each of the seniors picked one song themselves, rehearsed for a day and then did whatever they wanted on stage with live accompaniment. Hailey decided if this was going to be their only time in the spotlight they were going to do a full Marilyn Monroe homage from Smash and I literally cried.

The only problem is that Hailey’s assigned time to choose their college dorm was at 8:30pm, which was when the show was supposed to end and so Victor had brought his laptop so that they could have a chance to nab the room Hailey wanted as soon as Hailey was off the stage. Unfortunately the end time had been badly miscalculated so at 8:30 Victor crept to the very back of the theater so he could log in without bothering anyone but still listen to other numbers Hailey was in. The back half of the theater was empty but he was worried that the light shining on his face could be distracting for the kids so he crouched down on the floor underneath the chairs to log in just as he heard a girl on stage stop the orchestra in the middle of her song to yell, “HANG ON. STOP THE MUSIC. BRING UP THE LIGHTS. JUST WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE??” and then Victor may have peed himself a little as he slowly peeked over the tops of the chairs in horror, but turns out the singer was yelling at Hailey, who was now in the audience pretending to be an obnoxious theater-goer taking flash photos and the singer did a full Patti LuPone meltdown which was an ENORMOUS hit with every musical theater person in the audience who got the obscure reference, and possibly a little confusing for everyone else who didn’t understand what was happening until the singer said, “Let’s start this again” and pulled off her previously plain dress to reveal a flashy sequinned number and killed it.

And Hailey got the dorm they wanted.

Everyone wins.

PS. I know a lot of you may be in the process of helping your kid decide whether they want to try out for a specific charter high school and I have a lot of advice to share after Hailey is done because maybe you can learn from our experience, which was (like most high schools, I suppose) both very good and very bad. Lots of things I wish we’d known before. And speaking of advice, the advice I’m getting on this post about what I should do prepare Hailey (and me) for college has been incredibly helpful (even the stuff that is sort of breaking my heart a little) so please keep it coming. And if you have a kid about to enter college, take a look because it’s thoughts from kids in college and parents who’ve been there and it’s really eye-opening. Thank you for being my village, y’all.

Ends and beginnings

Next week is Hailey’s last week of high school and I am mentally unprepared and also incredibly proud to announce that Hailey got accepted to their first choice, Texas State University:

What will they do in college? The same thing everyone does, I suppose…change their minors a million times and deal with the self-doubt of seeing everyone else pretending they know exactly what they’re doing while secretly panicking because I think that’s pretty much what college is for. In my mind, a degree is basically just a way to show your first employer that you have the ability to finish a long-term project while making terrible mistakes and new friends.

I’m feeling incredibly lucky that Hailey will be close enough to come back on weekends and also a little bit at loose ends. A friend of mine said that when your kid graduates it’s like being laid off from a job that you only just started to get good at and that is it entirely.

I’m a little terrified because when I went to college I still lived at home so I never knew what it was like to stay in a dorm or be away from home so young and I don’t know how to do this best. Do I call every day? Do I let them call when they want? Do I call them in the morning to make sure they didn’t forget to set their alarm or do I let them oversleep and be tormented with dreams of missing classes for the rest of their lives? What do you need for a dorm? Do I encourage them to be in the same dorm building with their sweetheart so they can support each other or a different dorm so they won’t get distracted? HOW DOES COLLEGE EVEN WORK ANYMORE?

I know this is the time when I need to start letting Hailey take the reigns and I know that they’ll do well no matter what but it’s so hard to figure out what my new role is. They will always be my baby but now they’re an old baby (probably a better phrase for this) and I’m not sure what I should know. So I ask you, parents of old babies…what have you learned? What should I know? What’s the thing that helped the most when sending your kid out into the world? Is it overkill to place GPS trackers in all of their shoes and hide a baby monitor in their dorm room? How many hobbies do I need to get to not constantly worry about them and instead celebrate how far we’ve all come?

All. Advice. Welcome.

I mean…

Graduation is only a few weeks away and Hailey just picked up the stole they’re supposed to wear with their cap and gown:

And I’m not even mad about it because I really fucking needed that laugh.

May books light your way

I am a few days behind on telling you what books you should read and what authors you should come see (hello, David Sedaris and Samantha Irby) but my kid is graduating from high school in a few weeks and that means time is moving in fast-forward and I am utterly unprepared to handle this emotional transition which is both a bittersweet relief and absolute agony.

But if you are also going through it at the moment (whatever “it” is) I have the perfect distraction, in the form of this month’s Fantastic Strangelings book club pick…Killing Me by Michelle Gagnon.

Short description? I was going to say “Queer con-artist teams up with sex-workers and bad-ass Vegas misfits to fight serial killers in this psychological thriller…but also funny?” but I don’t think I’m doing it justice so in case you’re not already convinced, here’s the beginning: “She escaped a serial killer. Then things got weird.”

It’s quirky, funny, terrifying, heartening, thrilling, infuriating, inspiring. As soon as I finished the first chapter (pikachu serial killer…’nuff said) I was like, omg this is the book.

And our Nightmares from Nowhere Book Club selection is Our Hideous Progeny by C.E. McGill.

A subversive, feminist, queer spin-off of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein set in the 1850s and narrated by Mary Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein’s great- niece. AND THAT COVER.

Need more to get you through the month? Some of the best May books I’ve read:

Quietly Hostile by Samantha Irby – Literally the funniest lady I know has a new book coming out and it’s fried gold. Two words: Nun porn. Also, I’m doing a zoom event with her so click here for details and join us. Tickets include a copy of Quietly Hostile shipped to you. Hell yes.

The Secret Book of Flora Lea by Patti Callahan Henry – When a woman discovers a rare book that has connections to her past, long-held secrets about her missing sister and their childhood spent in the English countryside during World War II are revealed. It’ll keep you guessing.

The Enchanted Hacienda by J. C. Cervantes – Lovely magical realism and romance. Like Practical Magic and Encanto had a baby. Reminded me a little of The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina.

Ascension by Nicholas Binge – This novel freaked me right the hell out, but in a really good way. Creepy as hell. Like John Carpenter’s The Thing mixed with Stargate.

Super Bloom by Megan Tady – A heartfelt and warm novel that’s part rom-com but goes so much deeper. An excellent beach read on grief, healing, and the transformative power of writing.

Edison’s Ghosts: The Untold Weirdness of History’s Greatest Geniuses by Katie Spalding – Overturn everything you knew about history’s greatest minds in this irreverent book, where it turns out there’s a finer line between “genius” and “idiot” than we’ve guessed.

The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer – Years ago, a reclusive mega-bestselling children’s author quit writing under mysterious circumstances. Suddenly he resurfaces with a brand-new book and a one-of-a-kind competition, offering a prize that will change the winner’s life in this absorbing and whimsical novel. Like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but make it books.

Everything is Fine, Vol. 1 by Mike Birchall – Do you also read WEBTOONS like Lore Olympus or Heartstopper or is it just me? Well, this is volume one of the deeply unsettling dystopian horror webtoon that has been haunting me for years. And everyone has cat heads. So there’s that.

In other book news, David Sedaris is coming to do a reading at Nowhere(!) on June 12th.

We sold out of tickets to the reading in minutes of announcing it on our instagram but you can still get tickets to the priority book signing line after the event and a purchase of the ticket enters you in a chance to win a spot for the reading. Tickets include a paperback copy of Happy-Go-Lucky that you can have him sign. And after that the signing line will be free for anyone who wants to stop by and meet David. And yes, if you aren’t in San Antonio you can order any of David’s books from us here and he’ll personalize them for you and we’ll ship them. And no, we can’t show all of this over zoom because David doesn’t do pictures and frankly, I suspect it’s because he’s a vampire, which just makes him even more fascinating. Click here for all the details.

Thank you for supporting Nowhere. We literally would not be here without you. And a membership to one of our book clubs makes a fabulous Mother’s Day gift if you’re into that sort of thing. We do romance, horror, weirdness and picture books for little ones, so take your pick.

Tell me it’s going to be okay.

In about an hour I am going to be high off my tits getting a ketamine booster for my depression treatment and I’m having one of those days where I’m certain everything is going off the rails and that everyone hates me and I know this is all just my brain lying to me but still…tell me it’s going to be okay?

And then I’ll tell you right back.

And maybe by tomorrow I’ll believe it.

Love you forever.

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