Hailey sent me a picture from their dorm room window and I was like, “Ooh, pretty view.”
And they were like, “Mom” and I looked closer…
And I was like, “I don’t want to kink-shame but I bet that’s not what their mother had in mind when she was buying them post-it notes.” And then right after that Hailey’s sweetheart’s mom (who was visiting the campus) texted me an adorable picture of Hailey and Laurel together and I responded to it but it didn’t send until a split second after she’d sent this message, which resulted in this.
And honestly I’m not sure if the clarification made it better or worse (probably worse) but it’s impressive that I can manage to mortify myself without ever leaving the house.
And Hailey is loving college, which makes it so much easier, although I’m still a bit weepy and untethered. They called this morning to tell me that they’re getting involved in lots of activities and had spent the morning in a mental health workshop focused ongroupmind control. And I was like “Jesus Christ, those crazy-ass republicans were right for once…call your father, you’re in a cult” but turns out Hailey was just distracted by lunch when they were telling me about it, and instead of “Focused on Group Mind Control” it was actually a “Mindfulness Group Focused on Breath Control.” Phew.
And here’s your list of songs to listen to (or block) when your kid leaves home for the first time:
Feel free to add your own heart-breakers in the comments. I’ll just be listening to “Never Grow Up” on repeat while I sob into the cats. It’s fine. Everything’s fine.
So yesterday we dropped Hailey off at college and I’m really lucky that Texas State is only an hour or two away but it was still hard as hell because it feels like the end of an era. It was hot as fuck outside and I was trying not to show how panicked I was, but the college assigned these individually named rolling carts to each student to help get everything upstairs and when I looked at the name of ours it seemed like a sign that we were going to be okay:
We got everything unloaded and helped Hailey unpack their dorm room. They collect stuffed animals like I collect books but I told them that they should really limit themselves and only bring a couple with them because you don’t really need stuffed animals. And surprisingly they agreed. And when we finished decorating the room they pulled out an unnaturally dense, vaccum-packed, duct-taped sack from which exploded a 6 foot giant fluffy goose.
Hailey: “This is my son. His name is Steve.”
“Honk honk, motherfucker.”
PS. I did not cry (much) in front of Hailey because I want this to be a fantastic adventure for them but on the way home that “Who’s gonna drive you home?” song came on and I fucking lost it And then right after that was the Eels song that starts with “It’s a motherfucker being here without you” and I was like, “THE RADIO IS TRYING TO KILL ME” but turns out it was a playlist Victor made of terrible songs because he thought I’d need to cry or maybe he just wanted to see me throw myself from a moving car. And he was like, “We haven’t even gotten to PJ Harvey’s ‘Come back here and bring me my daughter‘ song yet” and then he forwarded through a dozen terrible songs on the worst playlist that has ever existed as I stared at him in utter amazement. And then I started laughing at the ridiculousness and couldn’t stop until I got hiccups.
So I guess we’re gonna be alright.
But still…ow. Take care of my baby, Steve.
PS. Shout out to all my ladies who also scream-sang this song (that Victor -of course- included) in our young adult years and who now find ourselves on the other side. We made it through. So will they. You remind me and I’ll remind you.
I try to include photographs in my books whenever possible because sometimes people (especially people not from Texas) assume that the ridiculousness I write about can’t possible be true, including the mention in my latest book (Broken) about being attacked by a squirrel working in tag-team with our neighborhood owl which several people – including my husband – said was too ludicrous to be believed:
But then yesterday a news story came out about a Texas granny who was attacked by an airborne snake and then by the hawk who had dropped it on her and her husband couldn’t hear her screaming because she was driving around on a tractor while fighting off a snake and a hawk at the same time and I have never related more. Anyway, she’s fine (but probably traumatized) and I feel bad for her but also a little bit vindicated, and if you own a bookstore you should probably move Broken to the self-help section (with this blog post printed out beside it) because this is exactly the sort of shit people should know about.
Rory from the Furiously Happybook was very popular in China so I guess he’s making an encore while getting sloshed off his tiny little face. I ran the image through google translate to see what it says…
“CHEERS WHILE BREAKING DOWN.”
Can’t argue with that one.
Also, I was going to buy a copy but it says that they are already temporarily sold out, because maybe they had a big demand for drunken raccoon books? It’s probably for the best though because clumsy birds are all over the world and reader awareness is the first step in protection.
PS. I apologize if I have unlocked a new fear for you. To make it up to you I will send a signed copy of Broken to a random person in the comments because not all surprises are snakes and squirrels thrown by careless birds. Sometimes they’re ridiculous books thrown by authors who just want to keep you safe.
It is somehow August so that means if you’re a member of one of my book clubs a book is flying toward your home from me, or if you’re an honorary member you’re waiting to see which books I’ really loved’m recommending this month. WAIT NO MORE.
My Fantastic Strangelings pick was an easy one because R. Eric Thomas is an auto-buy for me. So funny. so irreverent. So relatable in spite of the fact that I’m not a gay black playright married to a Presbyterian minister who was a writer that anachronistic Emily Dickinson tv show that Hailey and I adored.
Your copy will not be decorated with cat bite marks unless you also have a cat like Hunter S. Thomcat who chews paper obsessively and ate two of my contracts this year. WHY?
Eric’s latest book of essays is hilarious and heartbreaking and lovely and tender. And delicious to cats, apparently.
A small-time criminal. A has-been rock star. A shadowy government agency. And a severed hand whose dark powers threaten to destroy them all. Reading this was like reading The Stand for the first time. Also, it ends in a way that was satisfying but also made me go “I WANT MORE” so I was relieved to find out a second book is coming. WHOOP.
Need more books to get you through the month? Here are a few new releases I loved:
Vampires of El Norte by Isabel Cañas – Did you read The Hacienda? Same author! Vampires and vaqueros face off on the Texas-Mexico border in this supernatural western.
Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher – OMG I love T. Kingfisher., Thornhedge is the small tale of a kind-hearted, toad-shaped heroine, a gentle knight, and a mission gone completely sideways.
The Council of Dolls by Mona Susan Power – The long-awaited, profoundly moving, and unforgettable new novel from PEN Award-winning Native American author (and my friend) Mona Susan Power, spanning three generations of Yanktonai Dakota women from the 19th century to the present day.
Terrace Story by Hilary Leichter – Annie, Edward, and their young daughter, Rose, live in a cramped apartment. One night, without warning, they find a beautiful terrace hidden in their closet. It wasn’t there before, and it seems to only appear when their friend Stephanie visits.
I Hate This Place, Vol. 1 by Kyle Starks– A dark graphic novel about a mysterious farmhouse that’s attracted ghosts, aliens and all kinds of supernatural being for decades.
Which August book are you most intrigued with?
PS. I’m about to open up the discussion facebook pages for last month’s books, but in case you don’t do facebook I’ll leave my thoughts in the comments. And as always, no rush and no need to join in on the discussion. There are no deadlines in bookclub. I personally have 28 unread books on my counter right now and that is the sign of a feast to be anticipated at a later date rather than (as Victor says) a sign that I have a serious problem.
Welcome to xanaru: A mostly funny blog about the quest for happiness through authenticity, Great Danes and indiscriminate swearing. Plus hand-painted, custom artwork on bags, jackets, backpacks & more.
How the Hell Did I Not Know That?: Humorist Lucie Frost shares daily Instagram reels with learnings of the day—words, music, whatever–with plenty of laughs and all the curse words.
The Family Skeptical Podcast: We’re an atheist couple raising two children – we ask big questions, dissect weird parenting moments, and are jealous that our cats get so much sleep.
Beautiful Writers book: Writers! This coming-of-career memoir (w/ the BEST advice from celeb authors, real shit you haven’t heard) is life. A page-turning beach read doubling as how-to. #Magic
Uncommon Creatures Digital Portraits: Animal art inspired by Earth’s most magical creatures. Got your own beloved pet you’d like to memorialize? Have no fear… let me turn your fur-baby into a work of art.
Dark Matter Zine talks to authors, actors and artists in a free podcast available on all good podcasting platforms. Plus book reviews, book launches and more.