Sunday, June 30, 2013

Everything I Learned About Book Readings I Learned... At My First Book Reading

So, guys. I did my first book reading on Friday! That sounds fancy, right? But here's how you know you're a novice author: When you Google "how to do a book reading." And then Google's like, You mean... how to read a book? And you're all, NO, how to read MY book. In front of people. And Google just gives you the side-eye, like, Honey, please, do I look like I have time for this? Between Edward Snowden, Paula Deen, and people asking me to spell out the lyrics to "Blinded By the Light," I have my virtual hands full. Why don't you run and go see if Bing has the time for this shit?

I totally practiced my Professional Author voice in the car on the way up. It was a little dicey at first, because A) it has been documented that I make Muppet faces while performing; and B) the main pop culture references I have for live readings are Carrie Bradshaw and Mike Myers from So I Married An Axe Murderer....

Harrietsweet Harri-et, so knowing, so trusting, so love... ed.
.... but Jeff helped steer me clear of any unnecessarily dramatic ellipses.

I arrived at the lovely venue, R.J. Julia in Madison, CT, five minutes late, because apparently leaving four and a half hours to drive 99 miles isn't quite enough on a Friday. And also because being late to your first-ever reading is also a huge mark of professionalism. Right, self?


But I got there, and I got to sit on a panel with the amazingly talented Susane Colasanti, Huntley Fitzpatrick, and Leila Howland. It was lively and intimate and people laughed at the right parts during my reading. I only slurred a few words from nervousness, and I'm pretty sure no one knew I changed clothes in the car while Jeff did 80 on the highway... although the pictures don't lie.

Hair by Max A/C, wrinkled blouse by Duane Reade bag, crotch accessory by Apple Inc.
I met dozens of wonderful strangers, but there were also a few familiar faces to cheer me on. Thank you, Team Gauvin/Shrader/Phelps!

Cousins!
Thank you also to my mother-in-law, who drove down from Boston to keep Jeff and Sam company while I talked about my still-burning rage at Louisa May Alcott for letting that little bitch Amy get Jo March's man; and who filled us with soft-serve ice-cream after the reading and also didn't judge me for the fifth of Smirnoff stashed in my purse.

Next up is August 22 at the new Word bookstore in Jersey City, NJ, so please save the date if you live nearby.

And--I haven't done a shameless book plug in awhile, so indulge me--you can still buy Five Summers at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, or Target. Every single sale will help, and I cannot thank those of you who have already bought copies enough. 

P.S. Props to the commenter who said my new font was hard to read. I effed with the blog design AGAIN this weekend because apparently that takes precedence over editing my second manuscript, remembering to shave both legs, and finally learning how to fold a pizza box so it fits in the recycling bag and doesn't shoot back into my face like a cruel, greasy jack-in-the-box. Anyway, let me know if you guys still can't read this. Or, better yet, Google "how to read a blog." I am confident it will steer you on the path of righteousness.
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Monday, June 24, 2013

Excerpts From Holden Caulfield's "Cinderella"

So this is a real thing I did for a 9th grade English class. It surfaced in one of the many boxes my mother recently dragged up from her basement, which is being renovated.

Right off the bat, this is educational. We learn that:
  • Concave text art was--and remains!--the bomb
  • J.D. Salinger's Cinderella was also a Bratz Doll 
  • I was brazen enough to submit an English paper missing a possessive apostrophe right on the front cover (I think it's pretty clear I hoped my not-at-all last-minute pencil drawing of Rachel Zoe dressed as a homeless witch would save me...)
Anyway, I clearly had a blast imitating Holden's bitchy inner monologue:

I guess I should start by saying that my name is Cinderella. I got it from my old bag of a stepmother, who my lousy father married before he had this hemorrhage that killed him. She thought she was this very big deal and all. She said she picked that particular name because I spent all day in the fireplace sweeping up the goddamn cinders. Ha-ha. Cinderella, for Christ's sake! Every time I say it I could puke. I really could.

Cinderella was not a fan of her trademark footwear...

The glass slippers hurt my feet like hell, but I kept my mouth shut. I'm kind of yellow that way.

...and had some preconceived notions about the prince....

I let the footman in and he made this huge production of reading this proclamation about the prince searching for some lady love. Very big deal. Probably a prostitute, is what I was thinking.

Of course, she gets her happy ending. Not that she's pleased.

The thing of it is, the goddamn castle is so big that to get to the lousy bathroom I have to run way the hell over to the other side of town, practically. 

I'll admit, I'm charmed by my 9th grade self (and Holderella), but I'm a little disturbed that I actually turned this artifact in as a homework assignment. Not as disturbed as I am by the bin of dessicated Troll dolls my mom asked me if I wanted to take home...

Ask Santa effusively, and ye shall receive...
...but almost.

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Dear NSA: Brief Explanations of Recent, Questionable Google Searches

1. Funny gif of someone crying

Not a sociopath, just needed it for a blog post. Chill.

2. Girl with Down Syndrome posing with Barbie

Okay, okay, look, I know this one sounds fucked up, but I just needed to confirm my sister's assertion that a photo of me was the first image result.

Which... is true.


3. Chris Messina naked

[Record screech sound effect] HOLD UP, Obama. Is a lady suddenly NOT allowed to get drunk watching The Mindy Project at 3am on a random Thursday? WHATEVER, FASCISTS. (Kidding, Barry; I love you. And Chris, I'm sorry for exploiting you. Your face just looks like your ass is cute, and I had to check. Surely you understand.)

4. How can I buy gun in bulk online

Ahhhhh, Jesus, GUM. How can I buy GUM in bulk online. Did I mention I never learned to type? Look, if you don't believe me, just look at my teeth. I could floss with caution tape. Case closed.

5. Baby penis question

Yikes, this one is the worst, and I could see how you thought I might be a pedophile, or someone who doesn't speak English as a first language. But no, I just own a baby and he has a penis, and sometimes I don't know what it's supposed to be doing or how to clean/care for it properly.

I hope we're square now, feds. Have a great weekend. And let me know how I can get that photo out of the Down Syndrome search. It's, frankly, disrespectful.

That is Tropical Miko, not Barbie.
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Friday, June 7, 2013

A Dream, Perchance, To Sleep

So I had a whole post written and ready to go about how Sam was finallyfinallyfinallyJesusHWaffle-LovingChristfinally sleeping through the night, and even posted a Facebook update to that effect, when  I experienced firsthand the karmic retribution for public parenting humblebragging. Because HAHA JUST KIDDING, IN YOUR FACE, SELF. Sleep sux 4eva and you suck for falling victim to one of the classic blunders, the most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia," but only slightly less well-known is this: never go in against a toddler when your last shred of sanity and will to live are on the line!

Before I continue: I realize that by writing a post about baby sleep, I am opening myself up to a world of crazy. Believe me, I’ve read dozens if not hundreds of articles and blog posts about getting kids to sleep through the night and every single goddamn time, it devolves into a comment bloodbath, with one side arguing that crying is the only way to teach kids to self-soothe and that co-sleeping and/or overly responsive parents [raises hand] are just total hippie pussies whose kids will be nursing until they’re 8 and the other arguing that letting babies cry alone is cruel and abusive and will break the parent-child bond and scar the kid for life, Dahmer-style.

I’m hoping we can avoid that here, and I think we can, because I want to say up front that I don’t think either of these stereotypes is true. And amazingly, no one has done a study on the childhood sleep habits of convicted felons! So we’re at an impasse.

[P.S. If you don’t have kids--or maybe even if you do and are just more laid-back than I am--I know you could give a shit about baby sleep, and for that I apologize. Listening to someone else’s theories on the subject is about as thrilling as listening to someone recollect their completely nonsensical dream that involves cameos by people you don’t know, or watching a slideshow of someone’s totally mediocre photos of famous monuments from that European capital they just visited. Look, kids, Big Ben! Parliament! Just ignore me.]

Anyway, as you might have guessed from my previous writings and tendency to do things like put breast milk in my eye as some kind of faith healing Hail Mary, I fall on the more liberal side of the parenting spectrum. A lot of this is due to my own upbringing. My parents were deeply committed to attachment parenting and co-slept with me for many years. I nursed way longer than that poor kid on the cover of Time magazine. According to my mother, I didn’t sleep through the night, not really, until I was six (and that was probably due to my sister’s arrival, which forced me into my own room). So it won’t surprise you to learn that at 20 months old, Sam continues to breastfeed and has slept in our bed for most of his life.

Some of you might be side-eyeing me HARD right now for my choices, but I stand by them. For a while, co-sleeping really seemed to work for us. Sam has always been a fussy and brief sleeper, and when he was an infant, having him in bed was the only way I could get any kind of rest, since all I had to do when he stirred every 90 minutes or so was pop a boob back in his mouth. But then, he got bigger. And he was still tossing and turning and waking every few hours, only now he could kick us in the temple and take up ¾ of our queen-sized mattress. Jeff and I, who pre-baby would spoon in our sleep, experienced the physical equivalent of continental drift.

By the time he was a year old (eight months ago, for those of you with excellent math skills), I had the nagging feeling that despite how fantastic his little head smelled nestled in beneath my chin, and no matter how much I loved feeling him breathing beside me, I wanted my bed back. Not only was my sleep suffering, but I really missed having time in bed with Jeff. And shut up. I’m not even talking about sex, I just missed doing the crossword next to each other like old-timers in our PJs.

Our problem was that for reasons we couldn't pinpoint, we simply could not effectively sleep train our kid. We’ve never felt comfortable letting him cry (again, no judgment, just not our bag), and all “gentle” methods failed us, mostly because we just couldn’t be consistent. Part of it was Jeff’s work schedule, which keeps him away from home some nights, part of it was the fact that we are both hopeless good cops, trapped in some kind of farcical buddy comedy of parenting, but most of it was just fear. We were afraid to try to to change anything and risk robbing ourselves of even more sleep. We couldn’t work up the effort to try anymore because we were just too tired. And that is why, after eight months of hemming and hawing and making Jeff have lots of “talks” about our “sleep plan,” which naturally thrilled him to no end, I decided to get myself the Mother’s Day gift of hiring a sleep coach.

Yes, I know how that sounds. And believe me, if I thought we could do it ourselves, I would have saved that money for my iTunes season pass to The Rachel Zoe Project... for the next 30 years. But I finally had to accept that Jeff and I could not bring ourselves to make a change without help, and I was afraid that if we didn’t get help, we’d be co-sleeping with Sam until kindergarten (and again, no judgment, just not my ideal). 

And YOU GUYS. The first night he slept all the way through. This was me when I woke up and realized the sun was up and he hadn't been kidnapped and/or hogtied:



Cue humblebragging across social media platforms. But then, I guess, Sam was like, Been there, done that, now I want to see what's up at 3 am. Is there a Blue's Clues: After Dark? 

Now this is me every morning:


I know we can make it. We're just starting out, after all. And look, if Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifah could foil a bank heist in a taxi, two lazy assholes can get ONE toddler to sleep, right?

On second thought, don't answer that. Just pass the wine.

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