I hate reality on rainy Mondays

*caution – sighing and pouting ahead*

The weekend was a blast. We laughed, we ate, we made fun of each other, we walked the dog – perfect family get-together. The only problem was that it ended. Stef went back to college last night. BH and the CWF have to leave today. I’m on my way to New Jersey to sign books at the wholesalers’ warehouses. Tomorrow morning I get back on an airplane for Prom Tour, Pt. 2.

I really wish this could have been an eight-day weekend. I don’t like it when everybody has to leave.

If any of you live in North Carolina, come out and play tomorrow. Here’s the schedule:

3pm Regulator Bookshop, 720 9th Street, Durham, NC 919-286-2700

7:00 – 9:00 PM Quail Ridge Books, 3522 Wade Ave, Raleigh, NC, 919-828-1588

Wednesday is Connecticut.

What else? It’s raining. Oh – Michigan St. played an amazing game and beat Kentucky last night.

And for the third year in a row, I forgot where I hid all the Easter eggs. I’m not too worried. I’m moving out of here in four months. It will turn up when we’re packing.

Family Day

Aaahh, the bickering, the squabbles, the minor, constant, petty irritations. And the fangs. Stef and Mer are home at the same time.

But don’t worry, the fangs belong to the dog, not the daughters.

It’s actually really nice to have almost everyone here (the other two kids are up in New York) – loud and wonderful nice. And soon we’re going to color eggs, which I secretly love doing. So this is a really short post.

Before I go, I promised pictures of Kezzie, aka the Creature With Fangs, and Scot, my Beloved Husband.

Image hosted by TinyPic.com Honest, they were having fun.

Image hosted by TinyPic.com Awwwww…….

Mail Call – long post

Sleep is a great thing. I got 11 hours of it last night and I feel superhuman. I woke up a couple times during the night and didn’t know where I was. I have five more weeks of travel ahead. By the end of this spring I’m going to have to get my name and home address tattooed on my arm so when I wake up – confused – at night, I’ll know who I am and where I belong.

OK, let’s dump the mail on the floor and sort through it.

A teacher named Kristi writes: My drama students think Speak would make a great play. (I haven’t had the chance to read it yet, but I think I’ll agree with them.) Is there a script, and if so who is the publisher? If not, would the rights to produce a stage adaptation be for sale, and if so, how much?

As far as I know the stage play right to Speak have not been acquired yet. The publisher of the hardback, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, holds them. Ask for the subsidiary rights person in their children’s division, she’ll be able to help you. I have no clue what they might cost.

Alicia from Hannibal wrote with 10 questions about Speak.
1. Did you write Speak based on yours, or someone you knows life experience?

It’s about 10% my experience, the rest is made up.

2. Why did you write Speak?
I had a strong sense of the character and I wanted to write about her.

3. If you were Melinda, what would you have done in her situations?
Probably acted out and gotten in trouble.

4. You use many symbols to describe Melinda, do any of these symobls fit
you?

I love this question. I think the image system of someone struggling to find their voice perfectly matches my ongoing challenge as a writer. And I’d like to think I’m always growing, so the whole tree thing fits, too. I don’t have the issues with mirrors that I used to have. I like the way I look now, and don’t give a rat’s behind about what anyone else thinks.

5. Are you like Melinda in any way?
The way she is confused and filled with doubts (and occasionally self-loathing) is a part of who I was at 14.

6. Speak takes place in the Syracuse area, did you attend school there, or
grow up in the neighborhood?

I lived in and around Syracuse from the time I was 5 until I left for Washington, DC at 19.

7. How long did it take you to write Speak?
One year, seven drafts.

8. If you could pick one character in Speak to be most like you, who would
it be?

I’d like to think I have the integrity to be like Mr. Freeman.

9. Can you express the importance of speaking up?
Another great question. Speaking up about the pain you are in, or when a bad thing has happened to you, is the hardest thing for any teen or kid to do. (It’s hard for adults, too!) Here is what I know about pain: pain doesn’t go away until you deal with it. Pain is like a bad smell. You can try to cover it up, but it keeps coming back until you find the source and remove it. You have to choose – do I control the pain by dealing with it, or do I ignore it, and let the pain control me?

Kids who don’t speak up and who let their pain control them wind up making things worse for themselves. They are the kids who are cutting, starving, overeating, drinking, drugging, being violent, suicidal, and/or having dangerous sexual encounters. Something has gone wrong in their lives, and they won’t talk about it (or don’t know who to talk to), so they drown the pain in those sad behaviors. Which make things worse – way worse.

If you are in pain, you have to speak up about it. Speaking up is a brave thing to do and it will change your life. If the first person (or the second) is a jerk about what you tell them, then find someone else – preferably a loving, trustworthy adult who knows a few things about the world and can help you.

For all of you teenagers who are reading this – I love you. Lots of adults love you. You guys are the most important thing we have – our children, the next generation. It kills us to watch you being hurt, and hurting yourselves. We really want to help if you need it. Please, please speak up.

OK, end of lecture *steps off of soapbox*

10. What advice can you give to someone who has been raped?
Go to RAINN, best website I know for dealing with sexual assault. Then find someone to tell. Your generation is going to sharply reduce the amount of rape that happens in America, because you are strong and brave enough to speak up.

Kimberly writes: … Did you always want to be a writer?
I have always written for fun. I didn’t get serious about wanting to be a published author until I was 31.

Note to Tatiana (also called Anna): Thanks for your lovely note about Fever 1793. Keep writing your short stories!

Happiness is an empty mailbox. I’m off to clean and shop and await the arrival of the family. I should have Creature With Fangs photos tomorrow.

And away it goes!

*dancing in glee around living room*

It’s off!!! The historical picture book manuscript I’ve been working on for the last two years is in (what I hope) is its final form and is now winging its way to my editor. I know I’ll have to revise it again – that’s a given. I will also be anxiously awaiting the feedback from the professional historians who will review it for accuracy. But for right now, I feel like a mountain just came off my shoulders.

(I’m not supposed to give details of the content yet. I’ll let you know what it’s about as soon as The Powers That Be give me the nod.)

Meredith is on break today and was sweet enough to make me a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup for lunch, so right now I’m feeling like Queen of the Universe. (No scary dreams last night, that helped, too.) Thank you, Mer-Mer!!!

My BH and the Creature With Fangs and daughter Stef will all be here this weekend for Easter. Mer and I are going shopping for the dog right now. Don’t want the CWF to think the couch is a chew toy.

*more dancing*

Did I mention how unfreakinbelievably happy I am that this draft is done??

Can I go back to bed?

Icky, scary dream last night. A cancer nightmare. Makes me want to go back to sleep so I stop thinking about it. But if I go back to sleep, I might wind up stuck in it again. I hate this.

Going to take Mer to school, then buy a gallon of coffee at Wawa. It’s raining. Maybe I should buy two gallons.

Feeling random, due to lack of coffee. Has anyone figured out the relative price of gas compared to milk and coffee? Gas vs. orange juice? Diet Coke?

On another random note – I’ve been receiving more homework help requests. Last night a reader asked for a list of similes and metaphors from one of my books. She needed it immediately so she could use it to study for this morning’s test. (But she was polite, which was nice.)

I did not send her a list. Instead, I rewrote the homework policy on writerlady.com. Here it is.

Note to teachers and students – Laurie will not do your homework. Sorry. She has done enough homework in her life. One of the advantages of being middle-aged is No Homework. Old people like Laurie have to pay taxes. That’s bad enough.

Is this too harsh? Comments anyone?