Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Home Again!

We got home late Sunday night and the Summer of Fun was all I hoped it would be. I had such a good time. On the way home we even stopped in DC, saw some sights and went to a museum and ate at Chipotle's new, South Asian style venture, Shophouse, which was gross, so Chipotle really needs to go back to the drawing board on that one. Sorry, Chipotle. I love you, but Shophouse is awful.

The Summer of Fun was so successful that I think I will write a future book about it, though not for a while. I have a few more other books that need to be written first before I get there. You all have lots to look forward to.

So I've really been struggling with what to write next. It almost felt out of my control. I had a story I wanted to tell and wanted to write and I started writing it and it was really intense and I came to feel that that particular book needs a rest. I don't have the distance and perspective required to write the story that truly needs to be told yet and I kept feeling a strong pull to write a different story, which I was resisting, but on my trip, I got a sign, or what I interpreted to be a sign any way, about what my next book would be and I started writing and it just came gushing out, so I'm taking that to mean that that story needs to come to life right now. This one came into my head fully formed, just like Amateur Night did, and I had the title and could see the cover art and everything, so I decided to go with it. The good news? It's a bit of a sequel to Amateur Night at the Bubblegum Kittikat. It starts the day after I quit the club and spans the next year, which includes more online dating, tales from my grandparents' temple, a visit to Delaware, September 11th, a black sunflower, an eccentric old man, a frog orgy and a con artist named Saddam Hussein. You will love it. It's called Sun Shower. Hopefully it won't take me a year to write this one.

More good news is that the Little Lawns is starting preschool full time in a few weeks, which gives me an extraordinary amount of time to write. There's a Bux next to her school, so I am taking my laptop, getting some green tea and writing like it's my full time job. My goal, which may be a little lofty, but we'll see, is to publish two books per year, but again, we'll see. And next time I'm hiring a professional editor. I promise. Because it just doesn't look like I'm going to be able to figure out how to use commas any time soon. Fucking commas. Grammar is where my lack of a high school education becomes very apparent. But hey, if you want to discuss some literary theory, I'm your girl. I have a master's degree and skipped basic high school grammar. I make no sense at all. Zero.

One of my summer goals was to read and read a lot and to share my favorite books with you. I had au couple of disappointments which we won't discuss, but last week I read two, excellent memoirs.

You all have probably heard of Dad Is Fat already.Written by comedian and father of five, Jim Gaffigan, this book of parenting essays, if you have kids, will make you pee your pants. I haven't read a book that was so clean, lighthearted and genuinely funny in a long time. Some books deserve their best seller status and this is one of them. I thought it was really sweet, silly and dear lord, so so true. Pretty much every scenario he discusses I have lived through in some shape or form with my daughter. This is a quick read that will absolutely put you in a great mood and I think it would also make a perfect gift for any parents you might know. I'm going to get a few copies to have on hand for baby showers, etc. because I think it's better than the old, tired What to Expect books and what new mom doesn't need a big laugh? As a matter of fact, I'm going to go order a copy for my sister right now. She just had a C section last week and has a three year old waiting at home. She needs this book and so do you. Because a toddler "eating a taco is no different than throwing a taco on the floor." Truer words, Jim Gaffigan.

Fans of The Glass Castle (and there are many) will appreciate my next pick Mother Daughter Me: A Memoir by Katie Hafner, a long time New York Times reporter. Hafner, a widow with a teenaged daughter, moves in with her aging mother for a year. At first they have idealistic notions of how it will turn out, but soon there is friction between the three generations as each of the women have very different personalities and baggage to sort through from their pasts. Turns out that Hafner's mother hadn't been the greatest parent, which is an understatement and there's a lot of healing to be done. The flashback scenes to Hafner's childhood are difficult and enraging, but also enlightening. I so appreciated the grace and wisdom with which Hafner, who is an excellent writer and does and expert job at crafting the story, presented these moments of terrible emotional turmoil. She was kind and forgiving. She was fair and I have to be honest, there were some big lessons for me to learn. Although my childhood wasn't exactly like Hafner's, a lot of my issues are similar and I really saw myself in the way she reacted to stress and how she behaved in her relationships, so I needed this book. It was a beautifully written, redemptive story, filled with hope and a sincere, realistic message of healing. I loved it and so did Oprah. I bet you will too. A must read for children of divorce, as well.

That's all for now. I'm about to waste a significant amount of time watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix, although I'm finding they changed a lot that I loved about the book.

I'm also going back to yoga, oh my god I am so sore, and trying to do a detox diet, because lord knows I need it after my summer.

Be good, everyone.


kerry said...

Welcome home!

Caelaeno said...

I would be really interested in hearing your comments on Orange is the New Black show vs the book. I couldn't decide whether or not I liked the series until I decided that the series was the same story (kind of) only with different people. Then I enjoyed it a lot more.

Jmm said...

I'm laid up with a broken ankle & appreciate the book recommendations. I just got a new library card to borrow ebooks. Fun! I read in the middle of the night when I can't sleep. Am also watching Orange on Netflix. I loved your book. Keep it up!

JoeinVegas said...

A frog orgy? Everybody in Florida does things differently.

mcgrim said...

Looking forward to the new book. But two books a year? You crazy, girl.

Lisa Horten said...

I also would love ur take on the Netflix version of O.I.N.B. In my neck of the swamp it's the lizards either displaying their large necks or having orgies or even dragonflies. Too funny how they fly and F. Sorry to be crude but when I read ur blog it brings all my memories to the surface which is what being a great author should do to their readers. Anyways welcome home and have fun at school to little L. As alwaysI cant wait to read more.......

Melanie said...

If you received a sign about what your next book should be, and if it just came gushing out, fully formed, I would venture to guess that you need to write that story, and write it right now! But that's just my humble opinion!

I'm glad you had such a refreshing break, and I'm also glad that you'll have a lot more time to write this fall when Baby Lawns goes to school. I wish you tons and tons of success with the new book! And of course, I hope your first book continues to fly off the shelves :)

Katie said...

Greetings from Katie Hafner, the author of Mother Daughter Me (thanks so much for the wonderful review, by the way. How incredibly generous of you!)

I totally agree with Melanie! If a sign comes to you, go for it. That, by the way, is how Mother Daughter Me came into existence! I too worried about needing distance and perspective, but writing it more in the moment turned out to be just the right thing to do.

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