I don’t like the sound of my own voice but apparently other people do.

So Broken (in the best possible way) is somehow on the NYT audiobook bestseller list this week and I can only assume that’s because I recorded it in my closet and Hunter S. Thomcat and Dorothy Barker make several audio cameos. Regardless, it’s very exciting so to celebrate I’m giving away a set of each of my audiobooks on CD. (Well, on lots of CDs, to be honest. I am very long-winded, apparently.) Just leave a comment saying which one you want and I’ll randomly pick some winners. (But shipping outside of the US is crazy expensive so US only for this one, okay?) Also, I think Let’s Pretend and Furiously Happy might be out of print in CD form so these come from my personal stash. You can still find the audio copies digitally all over the place though.

And in other news…it’s Sunday, so that means it’s time for the weekly wrap-up!

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This week’s wrap-up sponsored by the lovely people at StoryWorth, who have a fantastic gift idea for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day or any day you want. How it works: StoryWorth will email you (or someone you love) an inspiring story prompt once a week for a year.  You (or your loved one) will just email your response back when you have time.  You can keep your stories private or share them with others.  And at the end of the year StoryWorth puts it all together as a memoir bound in a hardcover book.  It’s crazy easy and it makes an amazing gift to yourself or to others.  I used it on past Father’s Days and Mother’s Days and now I have two beautiful books filled with amazing stories that my parents loved sharing and that my sister and I and our kids loved reading. Click here to check it out.

The best Mother’s Day gift.

So as of today we are all fully vaccinated and so are my parents and that means that my parents are on the way to my house right now so I can see them in person for the first time since 2019. And I am both INCREDIBLY HAPPY and also entirely overwhelmed because I haven’t really been around real people for more than a few hours in over a year and I think I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be around anyone other than Victor and Hailey. But there’s no one I’d rather be with than my parents and I’m sure it will all be fine and having them here will be the best Mother’s Day present ever.

The second best Mother’s Day present though (and yes, this part is an ad but I only do ads once or twice a year and only for places I honestly love so you should keep reading) is a subscription to StoryWorth. Do you know about StoryWorth? Because it’s amazing and I’ve bought it for so many of my family members. Also, if you’ve waited until the last minute to get a Mother’s Day present this in perfect because you can buy it the day of and it gets there in time.

Here’s how it works: Once a week StoryWorth emails your loved one a question you’ve probably never thought to ask them (you can help pick the questions from a lot of great suggestions), and then they just reply to the email with their answer, and at the end of the year all of their stories are bound together in a lovely keepsake book. You also get to see each email as they respond, which is sort of wonderful because it gives you fantastic things to talk about with them on the phone other than just what you’ve watched on tv.

I bought a subscription for my mom and my dad and they both really loved it, but honestly I’m not sure that they loved it as much as my sister and I did because the family stories they shared were so wonderful that we each bought copies of the books ourselves.

For real, I can not recommend this enough I wish I could go back in time to give this to my grandparents because I would have loved to read their stories.

Just click here for details or to get started. There’s also a FAQ at the bottom of the page that answers all your questions.

And now, to clean the shit out of my house.

I literally forgot to post this and that just proves this whole post.

So I cannot think straight today because of this:

So I’m going to share with you day-in-the-life post that I wrote about the bullshit of living with ADD that I wrote it for The Cut but then they cut it down to just a few sentences and that makes sense because it’s right there in the name but I still wanted to share the whole thing here and then I completely forgot about it because I have ADD. *sigh* But here it is, in its entirety and you probably need to read it if you share my diagnosis or love someone who does.

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I have had ADD (attention-deficit disorder) for as long as I can remember but that’s only because I literally can’t remember when I was diagnosed because I have ADD.  Technically I don’t even have ADD because at some time when I wasn’t paying attention they decided that ADD should be folded under ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) but since I don’t have the hyperactivity part (which would possibly make up for all the time I lose getting distracted by otter videos) my diagnosis is actually “Inattentive-Type ADHD” which I literally can never remember the name of and when I go looking for it I end up in a rabbit-hole of “Do you have ADD quizzes” which pretty much is a pretty good indication that, yes…yes I do.

I didn’t actually know that I had ADD for a long time because I also have clinical depression and anxiety which can mimic a lot of the symptoms of ADD so it can be hard to tell exactly which of my mental disorders is being the biggest asshole at the time.  If you get misdiagnosed with ADD (it happens a lot) and you actually have anxiety disorder masquerading as ADD it makes your anxiety disorder jump into overdrive and can make everything a million times worse but if (like me) you have ADD and anxiety you just end up trying to balance the anxiety of having ADD with the ADD meds that help lessen the anxiety of not being able to concentrate while at the same time heightening the anxiety of your anxiety meds not working because your taking stimulants for your ADD.  And my head hurts just from trying to explain that last sentence.

A typical day in the life of me:

Midnight – My plan to go to sleep early was thwarted when I fell into a Wikipedia page about all the ways people have died at DisneyLand.  I scold myself and close Wikipedia.  I take a quick glance at my instagram before going to sleep.

3am – How are there this many otter videos on instagram?  How is it already 3am?

3:30am – Can’t sleep. I ask twitter if they’re still awake too.  They are and they are all thinking about that dumb thing they said in junior high.  This is strangely comforting.

4am –  My dog (Dorothy Barker) is whining.  Can’t remember if I took her to pee before bed. Take her again while pretending to talk to the police on my phone just in case a serial killer is hiding in the bushes.

8am – Wake my 16 year-old daughter up for virtual school.  Make sure she gets up and doesn’t immediately fall back asleep. Immediately fall back asleep myself.  

10am – Wake up, vowing to go to sleep at a normal time tonight.  Take the dog to pee.  Take a shower.  Forget if I’ve used conditioner.  Use conditioner again.  Wonder if I used shampoo.  Start all over again. Remind myself to buy shampoo and conditioner because I’ve run out again for some reason.

11am – Can’t remember if I took the dog out.  Take the dog out again.

Noon – Time to get to work.  Wonder why there’s a word for noon and for midnight but not for any of the other times.  Ask my husband, who tells me to get back to work because I guess he doesn’t appreciate the value of a curious mind and also because he just looked at my computer and pointed out that I have over 300 unread emails.  This is when I realize that I need to take my ADD meds so that I can concentrate but then I remember that I need to eat something first.

Go to put bread in the toaster.  Realize there is already bread in the toaster.  From yesterday.  Realize that I’d started making a sandwich for lunch yesterday and must’ve forgotten halfway through and now it suddenly makes sense why I was ravenous last night.  

Make a new sandwich but realize I’m out of cheese so start a grocery list but then that make me think of my to-do list for the day and that I have a meeting that started 2 minutes ago.  Run to get on the zoom call.  No one is on there. Do a quick email search and find that it was postponed days ago and I just didn’t know because I’m so far behind on email.  Feel alternately good for being only two minutes late to a meeting that didn’t actually exist and then bad for exactly the same reason.  Realize that I still haven’t taken my ADD medicine.  Also realize I left my sandwich on the kitchen counter and Hunter S. Thomcat has eaten most of it.  Clean it up and then notice there are dishes to clean to so I start rinsing but discover I haven’t emptied the dishwasher and then realize that I’d forgotten to evenstartthe dishwasher last time I’d filled it.  This reminds me that I also forgot to put the load wet clothes in the dryer.  I did the same thing yesterday but I couldn’t remember how long it had been since I washed those clothes (was it yesterday?) so I just ran them again.  Wonder if that was yesterday I’m thinking of or day before yesterday.  Decide to run the clothes again.  Wonder if I’ve accidentally set a Guinness world record for washing the same load of clothes the most times ever and imagine Greta Thumberg looking very disappointed in me, which I totally deserve.

OH MY GOD I STILL HAVEN’T TAKEN MY MEDICATION.

Go to the medicine cabinet.  Look at bottle and wonder if I’ve already taken my pill for the day and just forgot.  Remind myself to get a calendar to keep track of this and everything else.  Wonder if it’s worse to take slightly too much or slightly too little before deciding to skip it just in case.  

Dorothy Barker whines. I can’t remember if I took her out or if she’s just fucking with me.  She looks like she wants to pee.  Take her out again.  Or for the first time.  WHO KNOWS?  Consider putting marks on my arm to remind myself that she’s gone out many times and is not trustworthy but then realize that would mean keeping up with a pen on a regular basis, which is just not going to happen.

3pm – HOLY SHIT – HOW IS IT 3PM?  Reply to a glut of emails, all of them opening with variations on “Have I answered this?  Do you still need me?  I am so sorry.  I am an idiot.”  Also open dozens of emails that seem too complicated or overwhelming and then change them to “save as unread” so I can come back to them later and they can continue to haunt me forever.

4pm – Realize I have not seen my child since this morning.  Find her playing Dungeons and Dragons online with friends. Make her eat something and check her schoolwork and tell her about the importance of focus and dedication until I get distracted by the dog who is whining and I can’t remember if I’ve taken her out today so I grab her leash and keep talking to my daughter as I walk Dottie out.  My daughter says, “I think you forgot something” as I that notice Dorothy Barker is halfway across the lawn without me because I’ve literally FORGOTTEN TO ATTACH THE LEASH TO HER COLLAR.  Dorothy Barker looks just as baffled as she stares at me holding a leash which is attached to nothing.  This image is an analogy for my damn whole life.

5pm – I kept forgetting to charge my phone throughout the day until an hour ago when I finally plugged it in at 2%.  Went to pick it up.  It is now totally dead because apparently I forgot to plug the charger into the wall.

6-10pm – It’s been 4 hours since I may or may not have taken my ADD meds so that means it’s safe for me to take more.  Take ADD pill even though it’s late and will make me stay up too late. Write.  Email.  Make business decisions easily that I labored over all day.  Look like a normal person.  Remember to put the clothes in the dryer and then start a new load of laundry because I have more faith in tomorrow me than I possibly deserve.   Dorothy Barker whines.  I take her for a walk but make sure to tell her that I know exactly what she’s doing and that she’s not fooling anyone (except for me a dozen times throughout the day apparently).

11pm – My husband asks why I’m still working at 11 at night and tells me that if I worked normal hours I wouldn’t be up this late fighting deadlines.  He tells me that opening and closing work and not finishing it is crazy and that “touch it once” is the key to success.  This all sounds very valid but my medication is wearing off and I really want to get into bed so that I can get a good night’s sleep and wake up at a normal time tomorrow but first I want to finish reading that Listicle about all the famous people who were decapitated.  Feel exhausted because I worked like mad but accomplished only half of what I wanted and am filled with anxiety about all of the things I can’t remember that I’ve already forgotten.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Literally.  

And I’m exhausted just from writing this.

But I remind myself that (in spite of myself) I probably accomplished a lot more than I think I did but I just can’t remember it.  And after all, if you’re going to lightly hate yourself for your faulty brain fucking things up you should probably give it credit for the amazing things you just didn’t recognize you did at the time.  

Did I try hard? Yes.

Did I survive the day? So far, at least.

Was I kind to myself and others?  I hope so.

Am I human?  Fully and totally.

Did I take the dog out?  OMG YES.  STOP ASKING.

Wait…did I take the dog out?  Yes.  You totally did.  I was messing with you.  Sorry.

That’s okay. Wait, when did we slip into a conversation with myself?  

No clue.  But let’s go with it because I think you need someone to tell you that you’re doing fine.  Even when you’re sort of falling apart and doing it all wrong, you’re doing just fine.  Just like everyone else.  Just like the person reading this right now.

Is someone reading this?  

Yep.  And maybe they have the same struggles and maybe they have different ones but no matter what they should remember to appreciate how important they are regardless of what they have or haven’t accomplished today.

And also to go put the clothes in the dryer.

Amen.

OMG I’m so behind.

This month has been incredibly long and incredibly short all at the same time and now that things are slowing back down I thought I’d open up discussion for last month’s Fantastic Strangeling Book Club pick, Luvvie Ajayi Jones’ Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual. As always, you can go to the Fantastic Strangeling Facebook page to discuss, but I always open up comments here on the blog if you’re not a fan of Facebook.

AND! If you’re already a Fantastic Strangeling you’ve already gotten my email telling you next month’s pick but in case you’re an honorary member or you’re avoiding emails (relatable) then I’m super happy to announce that next month’s book is Sorrowland: A Novel by Rivers Solomon.

“Vern―seven months pregnant and desperate to escape the cult where she was raised―flees for the shelter of the woods. There, she gives birth to twins, and plans to raise them far from the influence of the outside world. 

But even in the forest, Vern is a hunted woman. Forced to fight back against the community that refuses to let her go, she unleashes incredible brutality far beyond what a person should be capable of, her body wracked by inexplicable and uncanny changes.

To understand her metamorphosis and to protect her small family, Vern has to face the past, and more troublingly, the future―outside the woods. Finding the truth will mean uncovering the secrets of the compound she fled but also the violent history in America that produced it.

Rivers Solomon’s Sorrowland is a genre-bending work of Gothic fiction. Here, monsters aren’t just individuals, but entire nations. It is a searing, seminal book that marks the arrival of a bold, unignorable voice in American fiction.”

It is strange and haunting and thoughtful, and unsurprisingly it is getting amazing advance reviews. I really think you’re gonna like it.

And I always pick a bonus book suggestion for those of us who need more than one book to get through the month so may I suggest Madhouse at the End of the Earth by Julian Sancton.  It’s the harrowing true survival story of an early polar expedition that went terribly awry, with the ship frozen in ice and the crew trapped inside for the entire sunless, Antarctic winter.  (The first few chapters feel a bit slow because they’re all backstory but it’s totally worth it for the payoff.) As soon as I finished it I immediately sent it to my mom who devoured it as well.

Speaking of bonus books, did I ever pick a bonus book for this month?  Because I think I forgot to post about it but you should check out I Am a Girl from Africa by Elizabeth Nyamayaro, the inspiring journey of a girl from Africa whose near-death experience sparked a dream that changed the world.

Right now I’m trying to pick a June book but it’s proving impossible because there are SO MANY GOOD JUNE BOOKS. There are two sci-fi/magic realism books that melted my brain (including one that had me convinced I was living in an alternate reality game) but there’s also another book that is so sweet and lovely and unlike what I normally choose but made me cry so much I couldn’t see out of my glasses. But a really good, cleansing, hopeful cry, you know? Like A Man Called Ove or Klara and the Sun. Summer reading is going to be so good, y’all.

PS. We still have copies left of the (signed) special Fantastic Strangelings printing of Broken if you want to sign up for the bookclub, and make sure to check your email because next week I’m doing a zoom just for you. 🙂

Let’s start 2022 early

Okay, so a ton of you have asked if could get a deck of Broken Oracle Cards because your local bookshop ran out and technically the answer is no because it was just a special free gift for Indie Bookstore Day but I’ve had so many people reach out that I decided to release next year’s bloggess calendar early because it includes every single one of the wonderful Katie Gamb illustrations. And you can frame the pictures or paste them on your wall and at the end of the year you can cut out the front and back calendar cover and make yourself a homemade deck. The profits go to help fund The James Garfield Miracle (which helps struggling families get toys for their kids during the holidays) so everyone wins!

Click here to get yours. (It’s 15% off today with the code THURSDAYZAZZ at checkout.)

Can’t afford a calendar? I gotcha. Click here to play with the free digital deck.

I didn’t think I’d missed it so much

So on Saturday we surprised everyone (including possibly ourselves) by actually opening Nowhere Bookshop for one day only TO REAL LIVE CUSTOMERS.

And it was only half of the store and only a limited amount of people could come in at a time but it was magic. Everyone wore masks and waited patiently to come in and I was able to see people in real life as they discovered the store that we’d been saving for you for the last year. So many people came and explained that this was the first time they’d been around people since their vaccinations and I totally get it because it’s pretty much the same for us. And in spite of the masks and distancing it was like a return to the past and a glimpse at the future all at the same time, and I literally had forgotten how much I’d missed people. At the end of the day my face physically hurt from smiling and we were all exhausted but it was the good kind of exhausted that comes with giving people books that open up doors to everywhere. We gave away hundreds of oracle cards and if you bought something from us online on Saturday you’ll be getting Nowhere stickers and we’ll also be randomly dropping some oracle decks we have left over into packages so you may end up with a deck even if you couldn’t make it in person. (We were overwhelmed – in a good way – with orders so thank you for your patience!)

And afterward when the last customer left and we locked the doors back up again Elizabeth pointed out that we were all fully vaccinated and so we could actually take off our masks and it was the first time I’d seen real people’s faces in real life other than Victor and Hailey in almost 14 months. We took pictures and it was lovely and felt almost sinful.

Exhausted but thrilled bookmongers: Vicky, Elizabeth, me, Aedan (Not shown: Victor who is taking the picture and Matt who was home resting for the day because he’d just had his second shot.)

If you missed it, no worries because I’ve always said that I don’t believe in Grand Openings because they sound terrifying and way too crowded so instead we’ll be having a series of Bland Openings over the next 12 months so you don’t have to feel bad if you miss one. We’re still not technically open to the public because we’re still watching the numbers and want to give more people the chance to get vaccinated but follow us on Instagram because we’ll probably have some more surprise open days in the near future and we’ll let you know there. And maybe one day soon we’ll be open for good. ALL FINGERS CROSSED.

So part of this post is to thank you for your support because we literally wouldn’t be here without you…but another part is to encourage you. To tell you that if you are like me and have been hiding away from the world for a year, there is hope and it is closer than we imagine. If you haven’t already gotten your vaccinations I cannot tell you how incredibly wonderful it is to not have to run away from people in terror. So many people who came into the bookstore were like me…immunocompromised and vulnerable…but were now fully vaccinated and joining the world again. And it was amazing. And a little scary. Much like life in general.

If you’ve been putting off getting your vaccinations, I want so much for you to call and schedule them as soon as you can because the sense of freedom and the wonderful feeling of getting to see people without worrying that you are going to get sick or make others sick is so incredible. Victor and Hailey and I have all had our vaccines and one day soon we’ll actually be able to see my parents, who also have theirs. Not everyone has the option of taking the vaccines though so if you can, please do, so that you can protect them at least a little bit.

I know a lot of people have put off taking the shots to make sure that none of us have grown tails but technically I think it would be amazing to have a tail and you’re going to feel awful if all of us get kick-ass tails and you don’t. Also, I know some people haven’t gotten their first or second shot because they’re afraid of the side effects but personally most of the people I know have gotten theirs and other than one day of feeling achey and blah and a sore arm it’s not usually that bad. It’s much better than the side effects of covid, which has killed my grandmother and several friends and left a lot of my friends and family with long-covid effects that they are still suffering from today. I’m not judging you if you’re afraid. I’m afraid all the time. And it’s your decision in the end. But if you got your vaccines or are planning on getting them then you are my hero and I super crazy love you. The world is out there and ready for us. Let’s make it safer for everyone.

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