This isn’t a real post. It’s just a quick note to tell you that I’m going to meet the lovely people fromBookPeople tomorrow in a parking lot to sign all of the books you might want personalized for Christmas/Hanukkah/Festivus/Flying Spaghetti Monster week. If you want one for yourself or for a gift make sure you call or order online by tomorrow morning so they bring enough. Also, I will be happy to write “Knock knock mofo” or “Thank you for burying that body” or “I’ll always remember that night in Vegas” or “This is the best gift ever” or whatever else. They have copies ofLet’s Pretend This Never Happened and Furiously Happy. Just click to order.
(To order a signed copy of a book, place the book in your cart and indicate “SIGNED COPY” and write the name of whoever you want it made out to in the comments. They ship worldwide.)
PS. I don’t get anything extra out of doing this. I just like to give everyone the chance to get a signed copy even if they can’t ever (or don’t want to) go to a signing. Plus, it’s from an independent bookstore and that’s always a plus.
PPS. Later tonight if I can get my shit together we’re going to start the James Garfield miracle. More to come.
Okay. Next week we’re doing the 7th Annual James Garfield Miracle. Every year I think it will be the last and every year the people who were helped in the past ask me if it’s going on again because they’re now back on their feet and they want a chance to give back and this year is no exception, so technically I blame you. But in a good way. (In case you’re new, the James Garfield Miracle is when we get together and help give toys, blankets, and books to homeless children or to children whose parents are seriously struggling during the holidays. It’s done anonymously in this community without any sponsors and it is a great joy to watch.) If you want to help someone, or if you’re unable to buy a toy for your kid this holiday then watch this blog next week and I’ll set it up with all the instructions then. It is awesome and exhausting and THIS IS NOT THAT.
Today’s post is just a small way to say thank you to everyone here who has been so amazing and supportive. Because of the sponsors on the sidebars we’re able to keep this blog going without losing money. Because of the people who buy things using my affiliate links I’m able to give back that money during the James Garfield Miracle. Because you’ve been so incredibly supportive with my writing I now have two #1 NYT bestsellers and can spend my time creating ridiculous things that somehow help others. That’s pretty amazing and I am so incredibly lucky.
As a small ‘thank you’ I decided that it would be nice to give back in some way so I pulled out a stack of my books that I usually drop off at Little Free Libraries and I’m going to give them away to the first people who say that they really need one. Maybe you haven’t been able to afford one of them yet, or maybe you know someone who needs one, or maybe you’re in a bad place and you just need a reminder that someone cares…whatever. Just leave a comment (with an email address!) telling me if you want Let’s Pretend This Never Happened in hard cover, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened on CD, Furiously Happy in hardcover, or Furiously Happy on CD. If YOU ARE HERE was finished I’d give it away too but we have a couple more months before it’s done. I’ll email you for your mailing address so make sure you check your email today.
Additionally, I know there are a lot of people during the holiday seasons who feel alone so I thought maybe I would set up an open thread on my Facebook page if any of you want to become friends or exchange info to send cards or to find someone struggling with similar things to have someone to talk to. I have no idea if this is a good idea or not, but what the hell. Click here if you want to find friends in the community.
And now, comments are open. Let me know if you are in need of a book and be sure to specify which book and which format because it’s first-asked, first served.
Things to give away today. Dorothy Barker not included.
UPDATED: Holy crap, that went fast. I gave away the 35 copies I had and I’m going to check the closets to see if I have any more. I think I have a box of Let’s Pretend copies somewhere if I can find them. I left comments on all the comments that I could fill and I’ve already been told that some people are contacting others to pass on their copy or buy one for others. I love you people so hard. If I find more books and email you but someone else has bought it for you since I’ve written this then just let me know and I’ll move on to the next person. Thank you for being you.
PS. I’m not sure how safe it is to have your email address in a comment so I’ll probably go back and delete them in a day or two so they don’t get used for spam or something. Also, if you want to buy someone a copy but don’t want to ask for their physical address you can just confirm that the email works and then send them an electronic gift card. I trust everyone in this community but I’m just throwing it out there just in case.
I’m working through this depression and finding more and more days where I’m feeling human. (WHOOOT!) Today is one of those days and it’s an incredible change from the one I had yesterday when Hailey came down for breakfast and was like, “Why are you laying on the kitchen floor?” and it seems pathetic to say I was too tired to sit on a chair, so instead I was like, “I’m doing the mannequin challenge” and Hailey was all, “I don’t think that’s how that works” but I was like, “Agree to disagree. I’M NAILING IT.”
Whenever I have days where my mind and body shut down I draw. Last week when I shared a drawing I was working on (and the furry person keeping me from completing it) people asked how I’d made such perfect circles and the truth is that I use whatever I have on hand to trace the shapes I need.
Last year when I was on book tour someone gave me a ring with “NEVER GIVE UP” engraved on it to remind me that I’d helped save them, and to remind me that I was needed even when broken. A few days later someone in line told me they were struggling and I handed her the ring that had comforted me. And the world goes round and round. And then I had Victor buy a dozen more and send them to me on tour and every day I’d wear one and if I thought someone needed a reminder I’d give my ring to someone who was struggling or who was celebrating surviving but scared of the future. I’m still wearing my last one. And it’s what I used to make a lot of those circles.
PS. I really am fantastic at the Mannequin Challenge. I can literally do it in my sleep. In fact, that’s where I do it best.
If you’ve read here lately you know that I’m coming out of one of the longer depressions I’ve ever dealt with and although it’s still up and down I’m having more and more days when I’m myself again. Those days are bright and warm, and coming back is like the first brilliant, life-saving breath after spending too much time underwater. I’m writing this now to remind myself how wonderful it is to breathe and live and feel human, both because I need a reminder for next time depression lies to me and tells me it will never go away, and also because maybe you’re in the hole right now and need a reminder that it will get better.
And then maybe it will get bad again. The ups and downs are always there for those of us with forever broken brains. But that’s okay because you come back out. The good is worth battling through the bad. It’s so worth the meds and the therapy and the time and effort and the waiting.
There’s a park in my neighborhood that we go to sometimes. There’s a playground at the edge of the park and the swings look out onto a cemetery, which I always thought was both strange and also a bittersweet type of poetry. Small children laughing and playing as funerals pass. Life beginning and ending and ending and beginning all at once in the same small space.
Yesterday I stopped there and the playground was empty so I decided to swing, and I went so high I felt like I was flying. And I flew, in between death and childhood, up and down and up again…in the place where I felt alive again.
I use my books. It drives Victor insane. He’s the person who will scream “YOU MONSTER!” at a complete stranger if he hears the sound of a spine breaking, and most of his best comics are permanently sealed in hard plastic slabs, mostly to protect them from me probably.
I live on the other side of the extreme. My books are all broken backs and finger smudges and dog-ears. You can find the best parts of my most beloved books by just letting the book fall open naturally, because it will automatically open to the places it’s been read over and over.
One of my favorite things to do is buy old books from estate sales…those books that have been well-loved by people who have passed. I flip through and look for the ones with creases and notes written in the edges and signs of a life well lived. Victor doesn’t understand it, but reading those found books is like reading with ghosts, ones who eagerly point out their favorite passages or share their thoughts or questions in the margins.
It sounds wrong, but you can tell that I really love a book if I damage it thoroughly. I destroy it with my love. I shove it in pockets and carry it in purses and suitcases. I drip bathwater on the edges and get pollen stuck in the pages. I underline passages that remind me I’m not alone, and tuck receipts and slips of paper into places I need to reread. It is my opinion that a treasured book should not be kept in a box or wrapper. It should be used. And battered. And loved…just as much as the owner is, as they carry that book through their life. As they drag it through the rough spots. And as it drags them through the rougher spots. Whenever I finish writing a book I always hope to myself that this is the kind of book I hope I have written.
Recently someone asked me to autograph their copy of Furiously Happy and they were embarrassed to show me the shape it was in, but it made me so incredibly happy. I asked if I could take a picture of it, and I keep that picture with me to remind me that in some ways I’ve succeeded.
Today is #NationalBookLoversDay and so I’d love it if you would share a few books you love so much that they’re like a part of you.
PS. My next book (You Are Here) is literally made to be written in, tacked to walls, shared and used. Victor is shuddering already. Leave a comment if you want one and I’ll randomly choose a few people to get free copies once they come out.
Last week my friend – Jeremy – who taxidermied Rory (the Furiously Happy raccoon) emailed to tell me that Rory turned 5 years old on Friday, but I’m terrible at keeping up with emails so I totally missed his birthday. So to make up for it I gave him a vespa. Or, rather, I stole one of Hailey’s doll’s vespas after I realized that all of her fake American Girl accessories are the perfect scale for a small dead raccoon. (Honestly, they are really missing out on an untapped market.)
“Look, ma! No hands!” It’s a clear violation of safety rules, but are you going to tell him that? IT’S HIS BIRTHDAY, YOU MONSTER.
Regardless, Rory and Rory II had a blast.
The spectators were perplexed.
And so did the cats because for once they weren’t the ones giving Rory a ride.
I’m not sure what’s happening here but it made me laugh so I’m including it.
And then Victor was like, “WHY IS IT SO LOUD IN HERE? DON’T YOU HAVE WORK TO DO?” and I was all, “YOU CAN’T JUDGE ME. IT WAS YOUR SON’S BIRTHDAY AND YOU DIDN’T EVEN REMEMBER” and he just stared at me in confusion and I was like “THE CAT’S IN THE CRADLE, VICTOR” and he shook his head and locked the door to his office, and then I thought I should maybe clarify that I was referring to the Harry Chapin song and not to me actually putting one of our cats in a cradle. But then that seemed ridiculous because we don’t even have a cradle. We barely had a vespa for a dead raccoon’s birthday.
Honestly, we are terrible parents.
PS. I really need to get a tiny saddle made:
Cat balancing is the new planking.
PPS. I haven’t updated my shop in months. Until now.