Yesterday I just hid away from the internet because Prince, but then I listened to Prince again with new ears when he said “Life is like a party, and parties weren’t meant to last.” And it’s true. Which is why we have to grasp at happiness and brilliance and life while it’s here, because if Prince taught me anything it’s that it’s later than you think so taste everything, and also that berets are always awesome.
If you’ve ever heard me speak about the process of writing I always say how important it is to surround yourself with great writers who make you better than you are, and I’m lucky enough to have six amazing people who are always willing to listen and read and push me in ways that I couldn’t have found myself. One of those people is Stephen Parolini, without whom my books would not have existed because he is an amazing sounding board and often inspired me to write things I never would have. We all have Stephens in our lives, if we’re lucky. People who understand the dark and the light. People who push you to do more even when you’re not sure you can. People who you might not recognize on the street because you know them almost entirely from the magic of the internet, but who understand you even when you don’t always understand yourself. You probably won’t have heard of Stephen unless you’ve searched him out or had his work passed to you by a friend who instantly knew you had to see it.
This is my favorite of Stephen’s books, partly because of the beautiful writing and subject matter, but also because I’ve seen so many incarnations of this book as it came to fruition. I’ve read it to Hailey when she was younger and she offered her own critiques (few) and enthusiastic responses (many) as we explored a strange and dark and magical world. When she saw the final book in my hands she grabbed it and shouted “WE HELPED MAKE THIS” with such glee. And we did. In the same way that you and Stephen and everyone who touched me helped to write my books. He’s a part of our community and worked for years to put this out and I’d love to see it do really well. So well that everyone who ever rejected it would say “Oh. Well, shit.” Not necessarily for him, because he deals with that stuff way better than I do, but because so many people have magnificent stories in them that never see print, and those that continue to push until their stories are heard need to be celebrated.
So. First off, go buy this book. Then leave a comment and I’ll choose a few to send gift cards so you can buy whichever book you think needs more recognition. And one more thing. If you’ve made something (A book. A painting. A store. A child. A blog. Anything.) and you want more eyes on it or just to talk about it, leave it in the comments. Or if you have a friend or idol who made something amazing that you think doesn’t get the recognition it deserves leave a link. You might just find something you’ve been looking for all along. And life is too short to miss out on those things.