The Care and Feeding of Your Author

When I met someone new in my college years, I could count on answering 3 questions:

  1. Where are you from?
  2. What’s your major?
  3. What do you want to do when you graduate? 

It’s the same thing as a nurse. I know what people are going to say when they find out what I do on the days I’m punching a time clock. They’re going to ask:

  1. Where do you work?
  2. What kind of [nursing] do you do?
  3. Do you like it?

But as an author, I can almost never predict how people will relate to my profession. Some never mention it at all. I used to assume those were the ones who had read my book and didn’t like it. They were just being tactful, I reasoned; avoiding an uncomfortable subject. Other people talk about it all the time, as if it’s the only dimension of me that exists.  Love an Author


It was a puzzle to me until last month, at camp, when a friend turned a flashlight on the subject (so to speak.)

“I never mention your writing, because I don’t know what to say,” she confessed. “Most of us know plenty of teachers or nurses or engineers, and we know how to talk to them about their jobs. But hardly anyone knows a published novelist. I’m not sure how much you like to talk about—or not talk about—your work, so I just don’t say anything.” Then, she did a brave and admirable thing. She said to me, “How can I love you, as a writer? How can I talk to you about your work?”

Do you realize how many questions in life would be answered if we just had the courage to ask?

So in case this is a burning question for you too, I’ll tell you what I told my friend. Here are 5 Tips For the Care and Feeding of the Author in Your Life

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Why I Don't Read My Reviews, Take 2*

One of the riskiest things about putting your writing out there for the world to see is…well, that it’s out there for the world to see. All Right Here had been released about 2 weeks when I realized it wasn’t a good idea for me to read what people were saying about it. In one morning, I might read 5 great reviews and a single cutting one, but guess which one stayed with me all day? Which hung around at my heels, tugging insistently at my shirttail like some morose, runny-nosed kid, until I dove, sniveling, into the pantry, where I crouched in a corner and ate spoonfuls of Nutella straight from the jar? Nutella, Straight from the Jar


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Embracing Un-Coolness, and National Bad Poetry Day

5:00 this morning found me sitting on the couch, my head wrapped in a plastic grocery bag secured by clothespins, with a Spiderman towel draped over my shoulders. I was doing an emergency henna job on my hair, because later this morning, I leave for camp. And it’s important to look like a natural, glowing redhead when you’re at camp. Obvs.

So there I was, swathed in 30% post-consumer waste plastic, wearing a Spiderman cape, clipped about with clothespins, when my son reminded me that he needed a ride to his morning job at Dunkin’ Donuts. And it is a mark of how absolutely awesome Miles is that he never so much as cringed when I said, “Okay, but I can’t take the bag or the clothespins off my head. I’m going to have to drive you like this.”

This kid is so used to having an un-cool mother that nothing fazes him anymore.

On the drive home, I discovered something that made my morning. According to The Coast Morning Show, today is National Bad Poetry Day!

Naturally, my mind flew at once to the worst extant piece of poetry I have ever written. And I felt compelled to share its badness with everyone. (This may be that same instinct that leads other people to go on shows like Dr. Phil and air their dirty laundry before the world, but I assure you: sharing my awful poetry on the internet is as badly behaved as I intend to be in public.)

And now, in honor of National Bad Poetry Day, I give you my own: Ode on a Downy Fabric Softener Ball:

Downy Fabric Softener Ball

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