And one to grow on

Hello and welcome to year 11 (ELEVEN?!) of the James Garfield Miracle!

What is the James Garfield Miracle, you ask? You must be new here. Welcome! It’s basically a day celebrating the time I bought a jolly taxidermied boar which morphed into a day where parents who are really struggling can get a present for their child this holiday season. It’s a very strange community project of strangers helping strangers anonymously and it’s pretty great.

I thought last year would be the end of the James Garfield Miracle because it’s gotten large and unwieldy and the one or two scammers who pop up often ruin it for the thousands of wonderful people who help or are helped, but I need a little holiday pick-me-up so this weekend I am Santa on a very small scale. We’ve tried lots of iterations of this with all levels of success but this year things are a little tighter in my household and I suspect I’m not alone so this year we’re going to keep it very simple and go back to the basics and hopefully it will still bring smiles to a lot of people and also make it something so simple that no scammer would care about.

So this year I am sending out 100+ teddy bears to kids.

That’s it. Just sweet, snuggly teddy bears. Well, not just teddy bears because the teddy bears have eyes that babies can swallow (stop swallowing eyes, weird babies) so I’m also adding a few other stuffed animals you can choose from if you have an eye-devouring baby or your child has a bear phobia or Amazon sells out of teddy bears.

But that’s it. Simple. Easy. Not perfect because in a perfect world everyone would get everything they need but I’d like to imagine that even people who may be disappointed that we’re just doing stuffed animals will at least be happy imagining all the kids finding unexpected fluffy new stuffed animals in their arms this holiday. It makes me smile, at least.

So, if you are struggling this year and you need help getting your child a present for Hannukau/Christmas/whateveryoucelebrate then I am ready to Santa Claus it up and drop one lovely plushie at your doorstep.

Here are the links for the plushes:

12 inch Gund teddy (pick any color they have in stock)

Fat white cat

Gund musical unicorn

Gund dog (which for some reason is more expensive for the larger one? Pick whichever size you want as long it’s still showing under $20)

Jellycat 12 inch bunny (If you’d prefer the cheaper 7″ one instead that’s totally cool.)

Currently these are all between $15-$23 each but Amazon can be wonky about changing up the prices daily or running out of stock so if I see that happening I’ll come back here to add other choices to choose from to replace any that sell out this weekend or suddenly skyrocket in price from $20 to $180. (Wtf, Amazon?) If I haven’t bought you a stuffy it’s probably because they sold out, jacked up the price or you forgot your address.

(Also, I always use the profits I make on affiliate links to buy toys for kids so that means that if you’ve clicked on one this year then you are the reason why I’m going to be able to buy toys for at least 100 kids this year.  That is amazing and I’m so grateful.  Thank you!)

The wishlists will be posted in the comments so (as always) if you want to buy a present for a stranger you totally can.  Or you can donate to Project Night Night, an amazing organization that provides a tote bag, book, stuffed animal and security blanket to homeless or displaced kids throughout the year.  They are AMAZING and the have more requests than they can fill so I cannot recommend them enough.

(Also, I know a lot of you are asking why I don’t just do this through my bookshop instead of Amazon and I’d love to but 1) our wonderful employees would be swamped with extra work since we only have three right now 2) we don’t have a way to make a registry work online yet. But maybe one day we’ll figure it out and have enough employees to do it and be able to use all the profits to help more people. Just not this year.)

SO…if you want in on this you have to read all the directions and stick to the rules or otherwise you will be set on fire and pushed out a moving plane.  Or maybe I’ll just delete your comment and look at you with that disappointed look your mom gives you when she knows you’re trying but are still fucking up.  One of those.  Here are the rules:


Okay, how do I do this?

You are my special angel.  Just look in the comments and find someone who has an unfilled Wishlist. I’m going to buy at least 100 but there are always more than I can handle.  (If there’s nothing on their list it means their toy was already bought- yay!)  Buy their present and make sure when you check out that you select their shipping address.  (It won’t give you their full address but it’ll tell you the town you’re shipping it to.)  If you try to fill a wishlist but it doesn’t give you a shipping address to choose that means the person didn’t assign a shipping address to the list so delete their present out of your cart and go to the next wishlist.  If it says “these are duplicates.  Someone else may have already bought this” when you try to check out then someone else already bought the stuff so delete it and try another one.

But what if I don’t live in America?

Check the comments because we often have Canadians and others outside the US who need help and I can’t fill those lists because shipping kills me so if you want to adopt a family, this is a great way to do it.


You are my special angel.  Here are the things you have to know:   You have to make a BRAND NEW wishlist, you can only choose one stuffed animal per child to put on your wishlist, and it has to be one of the ones above. In your comment you need to say the city and State you’re in (it has to match what you have on your wishlist), how many kids you have, and a link to your wishlist.  (Add your country to the comment you’re outside of the US so people in your area can find you.)  Do not make multiple wish lists.  Just make one.  One of the most important things (people do this wrong every year so PLEASE do this part right) is that you have to assign a shipping address for this specific wishlist.  I’ll give you the details on setting up the wishlist below.

What if I want to make wish lists to surprise other people who I think need help?

Nope.  But you can totally tell them to come here and make their own.

I’ve never done this before.  How do I make a wishlist?

It’s pretty easy if you follow the formula.  I’ll walk you through:

On Amazon, click on Accounts & Lists and then “Create a list”.

Name it “James Garfield plushies” then choose “create list”.

On the right you’ll see something that says “…More“.  Click on that and choose “Manage list.”  Change “private” to “PUBLIC” so I can see it. In the description part box just put how many kids your list is for. YOU MUST ADD YOUR ADDRESS FOR THIS SPECIFIC LIST so click on the drop-down for the shipping address and change it from “none” to your address. PLEASE DON’T SKIP THIS PART.  Make sure that the checkboxes for “keep purchased items on your list” and “don’t spoil my surprises” are NOT selected.  Save changes.

Now just go pick one of the stuffed lovies for your child.  When you have the one you want click on the “Add to list” drop down arrow on the right (under where the price is) and then select your “James Garfield 2020” list.  Click “view your list” to make sure it’s there. If everything is right you should have your stuffed animal(s) on the page and it should say it’s public and your address should show up in the “…more” box.

If you have another kid just go back to the list and pick a present for them and add it to the same list.

Copy the link to your wishlist. Now you go to the comments below and leave a comment saying how many kids you have, what city and state you are in, and a paste in the link to your wishlist.  That’s it!

So for example, I would say, “Hi.  I live in San Antonio Texas, and I have one child. Here’s my list:


Now…to go shopping.  Happy James Garfield Day!

PS.  Please please please double check before you hit the submit button that you have assigned a shipping address to your wishlist, that your comment has a link to your wishlist, the city and state you live it and the number of kids you have. Love!

The worst story about me

So I just opened the mail and discovered a copy of Furiously Happy from Korea!

And I love it, but I don’t speak Korean so I used Google Translate and this is what it gave me:

In case you can’t read it, my favorite parts are:

Between normal and abnormal.”


“Gloomy and tall.”

We are all insane.

And I’m pretty sure that this is just a wonky google translation but honestly even if this is an exact translation? I think they totally nailed it.

Y’all made my heart hurt in such a good way.

Remember last week when my granny died and then raised from the dead and then died again? And we couldn’t have a funeral or gather together because covid is too dangerous so my mom said that in lieu of flowers, just care for one another? And then I suggested donating to Project Night Night because they are an amazing organization that helps displaced children and they were having a hard time meeting the needs of all those who needed help?

Well I just opened my mail and found a letter from Project Night Night. They were overwhelmed with how many of you reached out to them. Over $8,000 was donated in honor of my sweet granny and I cannot thank you enough. I don’t have the words to tell you how incredibly touched my whole family is. Hundreds of kids in need will be getting a tote bag with a book, a stuffed animal and a security blanket. My granny would be absolutely thrilled.

Thank you, you amazing and brilliant people.

Is this yours?

So this morning I was in the front yard with Dorothy Barker and this guy walked past my house and yelled, “HEY. IS THIS YOURS?” as he pointed at a dead squirrel in the road that had been run over by a car and I was like, “NO. THAT’S…um…THAT’S NOBODY’S, DUDE” and he looked at me like he was trying to decide if I was telling the truth and then nodded and said, “OH, OKAY. JUST CHECKING.” And I honestly don’t know if he thought I was littering dead squirrels or if he wanted the body and was asking if I had dibs but it has been haunting me all damn day.

I don’t have an ending to this story but it’s too weird not to share.

In entirely different news, I did a really lovely (virtual) talk at Richland Library in South Carolina and if you’re bored you can watch it because I did a small reading from Broken that might distract you.

PS. If you ordered one of the limited edition Nowhere hoodies or shirts they’ll be shipping out at the end of the month. Whoop! (If you want one I think they’re still available for a few more hours.)

Who *doesn’t* need a bit of good news?

Last week I was too overwhelmed to open my mail and get my shit together but today I’m back to work and that’s why I have something special to share with you:


Why, yes, that is an advance copy of Broken thankyouverymuch. The real ones in April will be bigger and nicer and hardback and will have end pages all that jazz, but having an actual copy of this book in my hands felt like an amazing accomplishment during a time when I often feel like I’m treading in quicksand. I mailed a copy to my mom and one to my sister but I still have one left over and it’s going to you. Just leave me a comment and I’ll randomly pick one of you to send an autographed copy to. (But you have to live in the US because I’m using a pre-paid book mailer so that I don’t have to go to the post office in the middle of the plague. Sorry!)

This week I started recording the audiobook of Broken and usually that looks like a small but fancy recording studio in New York, but in the age of covid it looks more like my closet. Because it is my closet. They sent me cases filled with equipment and I learned how to set up everything and today I recorded the first few chapters with my lovely team listening in live to direct me and point out when they could hear my stomach growl or Dorothy Barker bark or my wedding dress fall off the hanger onto me. When the door is closed the small space and the soft clothes create the closest replica to a sound studio so this is how recordings are done now. I know a lot of people would think hiding in a closet for hours each day is a step down from New York but I suspect those people don’t have anxiety disorders and it’s kind of a blessing in disguise to be able to have the cats on standby if I need them as I pretend to be an old-fashioned phone operator.

“Operator. How may I direct your call and then listen in on it to blackmail you?”

Life is weird. But so am I.

PS. There have been several scammers on Facebook pretending to be me and sending out friend requests. My Facebook page is public so you don’t need a friend request to be my friend. Please report them (and anyone who asks for your credit card to facebook). This is me if you want to be friends, but honestly I get overwhelmed on Facebook and am way more of a twitter sort of girl.

More soon…

Care for one another

Today is my granny‘s burial and in a normal time all of our families would be flying in from all over to celebrate her life, but covid makes the world strange. Her death was one of too many in a Texas hotspot so there will be no funeral and my mom and her brothers will watch (at a careful distance from each other) as she goes into her grave on top of my papa.* I’m sad to not be there but so grateful to have a family that puts the safety of others first. We’ll celebrate her life next year when things are safer. The rules are looser during these moments and it’s easier to give grace and space to others as we all find our way. It’s something I hope we carry on when covid is a memory.

My mom wrote the obituary and it’s very lovely. My sister asked why I didn’t write it but then I reminded her that any obituary I write will inevitably include recriminations of all of my real and imagined enemies, several secret codes, clues to a buried treasure and a video of an otter eating cereal instead of a photo and then she was like, “Oh, right. I forgot.” But my favorite part of granny’s obituary was the ending. Well said, mom.

In lieu of flowers, care for one another.

So today, since there won’t be a church filled with people celebrating my granny’s life, let’s celebrate out in the world. Today, tell someone how much they mean to you. Do something nice for a friend or a stranger or even yourself. And if you’re not sure where to start, you can check out Project Night Night, which helps displaced or homeless children. A $25 donation gives a child in need a new security blanket, an age-appropriate book, a stuffed animal and a canvas tote bag. Right now the need is greater than they can handle so if you can help I know they’ll be grateful.

And if no one has told you yet today, I love you.

*As an aside, yes, on top of my papa. They didn’t want to waste money with two burial plots so they just bought one and agreed that whoever died first would be on bottom. Granny was like, “I told your papa he better die first because I don’t want him dripping on me. Ew. I’ll be the one dripping on him, thankyouverymuch” and he laughed because that is totally granny. And my mom and her brothers won’t be alone because I suspect they’ll be there at the burial as well, as granny smugly says, “Well thank goodness that’s settled” and papa laughs as he puts an arm around her shoulder.

I miss them already. And I’m so glad I had them in my life.

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