Hello there!

It’s beginning to feel a bit fall-ish finally here in Vermont, and I have some awesome fall events coming up soon!

I’m coming to Connecticut next weekend! I’ll spend a day talking Dogs of the Drowned City with the sixth graders at the amazing Foote School. And then, on Saturday 9/25 from 1-4pm, I’ll be working with some awesome writers on creating young adult novels in the first person present point of view! If you are in the Hartford area and want to join in the shenanigans, sign up at The Mark Twain House today!

I also have my TWENTY YEAR (ohmygoodnesshowisthispossibleicannotbelieveitsbeensolong) high school reunion coming up in October. Not that this is a public event, or even an event related at all to my Author Life, but it is in many ways related to my writing because (a) I write for young adults about young adult characters and (b) much of this material is mined from my previous incarnation as a young adult.

Do we ever really grow out of our high school selves? I know mine still lives inside me, with her long, Howard-Stern-esque brown curls and flannel-shirt-and-cut-offs-over-tights-with-corderoy-converse-sneakers outfits. More than her physical traits, though, I carry how vulnerable she was, how everything was about her, usually in the worst way possible. I feel these intense highs–I loved dancing like a maniac, lots of bouncing around, flailing; I loved my friends–and these sucking lows. Much of this feeds various aspects of my characters, and I love that I get to live through this stuff, and do it better or so much worse than I did in my own life, or even just do something I never got to do, or dreamed of doing as my characters. These are such amazing intense years–of my life, of everyone’s.

And yet, I am not that teenaged girl, afraid of everything, excited about everything, living life from one exclamation point to the next. I’m mostly a mom, and a wife, and a friend–I think (I hope) a better friend than I ever was when I was that teenager. I’m a dog owner and a home owner and I’ve worked lots of jobs and had real heartbreak, times when I managed to get out of my head and be blown apart by feeling, a feat which for me was ridiculously difficult and endlessly enlightening. I still love the music of the late 80s, early 90s, but I’m also groovin’ to new tunes.

But a reunion–this is where you return to the herd. Not your chosen herd, the herd you’ve made over the years through adulthood, but the herd you were born into, for better and for worse. I’m going back to hang out with people who knew a very different me than I am now. And I’m sure they are very different in many ways from who they were then, but I’m sure they also carry that teenaged self somewhere inside. I’m curious to see which of them shows up at the reunion. I’m curious to see which of me shows up…

In other news, it is National Book Award season, and so I begin my usual quest to read all the nominees. In case you missed it, yesterday, they announced the Young Adult Literature long list and on it was one of my very favorite reads from this past year: Laura Ruby’s Bone Gap. If you haven’t read this one, go out and give yourself the pleasure of doing so. You will not regret it. I look forward to reading them all, especially M.T. Anderson’s Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad. What are you reading?

artdogLastly, the sad news–I lost my dearest best friend Peter the Pugston at the beginning of August. He was old and it was for the best, but god I miss him. He was such a good buddy. And also, for you readers, the inspiration for many of my characters in Dogs of the Drowned City, but especially Frizzle. Rest in peace, dear Peetles…

Hope to see some of you in Hartford! And if not, best wishes until next time!

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