Friday, January 23, 2015

An Impromptu Friday Feedback: 59 Reasons to Write and then some. . .

59 Reasons to Write by Kate Messner
featuring a parade of TW! contributor

Five short years ago, I was still just a writer aspiring to be published.

Two critically-acclaimed, traditionally published books later, I hate to tell you, but I am merely the same thing.

Out on submission as we speak, trying to find not only the right editor for my current manuscript, but the whole publishing team that is needed these days to rally behind same, and this single, particular work of writing.

It aint easy. In fact, if I had the energy, knowing what I know now, I'd add a whole slew of chutes to THIS POST. 

The good news? I'd also add a whole slew of ladders.

Like the tween & teen readers I've met, who have been inspired to read or write (!) by my stories!

A reader named Francesca who was waiting for
her namesake book to come out. <3 b="">

Like the astoundingly caring educators I've met who spend their days AND NIGHTS wracking their brains for new ways to inspire students to read.

Like the Teachers Write! campers I've met, whose manuscripts I've started to read, many of whom I believe will be in the next crop of published MG & YA writers. . . or the crop after that. 

The beauty of writing, I remind myself, is there is no age limit or time cutoff. We have all the time we have.

At any rate, Teachers Write has been an incredible and inspiring part of MY writing life and now I am part of this beautiful book that Kate Messner made happen, and it's one of the great honors of my life.
59 Reasons to Write. Out this week!!!
And, this morning, I noticed on twitter that there's a whole #59Reasons hashtag developing, so I thought, why not jump on the bandwagon! So here, in honor of #59Reasons, is an impromptu Friday Feedback giving you yet a 60th reason to write. If you've been here before, YOU KNOW THE RULES. If not, please click on that link and read em. I will read and provide feedback on any excerpts received through Sunday morning.

Now, for something not usually seen here, I'm posting two of the possible openings for my piece of women's fiction most often referred to as SWIM BACK TO ME. I have a third, but am not posting it here now. You'll notice the first is more prologuey (yes, I made up that adjective) and the second right into the story. . .

So, does one hook you more? Make you want to keep reading? What works? What doesn't? You know the drill. And, if you're working on a piece and struggling with the same questions, I invite you to do the same. Although, I warn you (and myself!) that exercises like this usually invite an equal amount of writers arguing for each version. We shall see! 

p.s. I'm including the opening quote because I love it so much.

Sometimes God calms the storm. At other times, He calms the sailor.
And sometimes He makes us swim."

-Author Unknown

Choice One:
            The air is brisk, the sky, of an Ansel Adams photograph. Charcoal bestrewn with gray clouds, backlit by an ivory moon. Leaves rustle in the silhouetted tree branches above.  
            Below this moody sky I drift, on my back in a maroon one-piece, irradiated by the hot-white pool light which reflects the artificial turquoise of the liner. A mist of illuminated steam swirls at the water’s surface.
            Here I am, floating. 
Here I am, serene and breathing, soaking in the calm, relative-perfection of my life. 
            Here I am, content and grateful. 
This is me, in August. An expert at this ritual, at this state of being. After fifteen years of marriage and motherhood, this is my rote, my order, my routine.
And, if I knew better, I would stay here. I wouldn’t move a muscle. I would not get out.  Because, in a few short weeks, everything will be different.
Everything will be undone. 


Choice Two.

The phone is ringing, Richard is in the shower, and I have mayonnaise on my hands.
I can’t ask Cassie to answer it because she’s already running late which is ridiculous since it’s the first day of school. Of course, I’m not ready either, am still laying fake turkey slices between bread slices, a water bottle squeezed under my arm, a veggie chip snack bag gripped in my teeth. So, I let it ring.
            “Cassie,” I yell, dropping the chips to the counter and shoving the whole mess into her lunch bag, “Let’s go!”
            She appears, flying down the hall in a Little Miss Grumpy t-shirt, a pair of frayed jeans, and her new Steve Madden lace ups adorning her sleek, 5-foot-6-inch frame. She has make-up on, a new privilege permitted by us now that she’s in tenth grade. She’s done a good job – a hint of green eye shadow, some smoky eyeliner, and a pale blush gloss on her lips. Her long, corn-silk hair is just-brushed, splays about her shoulders, errant strands lit by filtering sunshine and static-charged rise around her head. She’s a lovely girl, my daughter, if difficult and moody at times, and, as always, the moment I see her, my morning’s anger and frustration melt away, and I want to hug her and tell her how beautiful she is. Of course, I wouldn’t dare.
“No meat, right?” She snatches the bag from my hand and kisses my cheek which actually takes me by surprise. She seems to scowl at me way more than anything these days.
“Right,” I say as if I could forget. She’s reminded me at least a hundred times in the past few weeks.
“Great! Thanks. I’m likely staying after. I’ll text you,” she says, and is gone.
            The front door slams and reverberates leaving this memory: Cassie's first day of kindergarten, her grip on my hand on the way to the bus stop, the only thing that belies her confident pace, her pigtails bobbing above her favorite yellow sundress with the white daisies and big blue bow in back. The bus arrives, and she suddenly buries her head so forcefully between my thighs, she nearly knocks me over, given I’m not anticipating. How Richard laughs and comments, captured on video forever, that, if she could have, she’d have jammed herself right back up into my womb. “So, fearless Cassie’s not so fearless after all,” he says, moving the camera to settle on my frazzled face after I’ve finally pried her away and hustled her sniffling up the steps of the bus.
The recollection fills me with a momentary, overwhelming, sense of loss. It’s one of the last times I remember her being anything but arms’ length with me. 


Monday, January 19, 2015

Words, wise and clear

Extraordinary pen & oil pastel by Lori Landau Art.
click HERE to visit her site.

"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word."

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

I had, and still have, many flaws as a parent. 

One of the best things I think I did right as a parent -- which I got from my mom who did the same -- was to pay attention to Martin Luther King day and all it stands for with my boys. 

When they were really little, I would sit them in my lap and we'd listen to his speech on the computer -- or at least parts of it -- and talk about him and what it means to be tolerant and what it means to stand up for one another. 

Now they are bigger, but I still email them a link to the speech every year and remind them why we are home and not at school or work on this day. I'm proud that they fondly remember the year we got a washable paint roller and wrote some of the words to MLK's speech on our front window at home. . . as many as we could fit. . . then watched as people stopped to read them and take them in. 

There is a reason many of us are home today. Make sure your kids know why. 

And, too, that they know how much work there is still left to do.

To listen to his speech, click on the link above or go here:

gae heart emoticon

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Happy New Year! A few good bookish things, a lot of revising and some vagueness and waiting.

lying in confetti... what else does one do on January 1?


Happy 2015.

Been so busy, hard to find my way here.

Mostly busy revising my manuscript called THE MEMORY OF THINGS.

I have my reasons and some self-imposed deadlines... we shall soon see if they amount to anything. . .

In the meantime, I have a ton of goals for the New Year, some you'll find HERE  if you want... others, well, I'll let you know how I do.

You? Any new goals for 2015?

There's a "thing" that goes around in the amazing teacher/educator circles I'm now lucky to run in called OLW (maybe it's not just limited to them?) which stands for One Little Word. You're supposed to pick a word to be the focus of your year: some choose grace, or writing or inspiration or some other magical word. Those are all good, but I'm actually thinking of choosing the word "focus" for my focus... for the very same reason I'm here. The revising got hard, and I went, "ooh, blog! Different easier shiny thing!" I need to stop getting distracted by the shiny things. . .

Speaking of shiny things: a few lovely year-end notes for THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO: It won a Nerdy Book Club Award HERE (did you click there?)

This means a lot to me. The NBC members are VORACIOUS readers. I've never met a group as a whole who cover more Children's Lit reading in one year. So to make their list... well it's a very good thing. Oh, and FYI, I'm a two-time recipient, SEE, HERE, so I think with a third I should at least get a tiara and a sash. . .win a new car. . . (*spits so as not to jinx anything. . .*)

THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO also appeared on a few other wonderful Year-End favorites lists that I know of:

Those are always wonderful to see!

And, last but not least,

you all know how I feel about my involvement with Teachers Write! and the extraordinary Kate Messner, right?!?

Well Kate's book, 59 REASONS TO WRITEMini-Lessons, Prompts, and Inspiration for Teachersbased on the TW! program, in which I am a contributor (see?!):

Comes out this month on the 13th, from Stenhouse.

Kate's lovely acknowledgment. . .

I have a whole section on my Friday Feedback portion of the program, as well as appear in several of the "The Best of Q & A" sections. It's very cool and exciting to be included in a book that may be used to help inspire teachers around the country!!

Tiny snippet sneak peek.
If you know teachers who teach writing, teachers who want to write themselves, please share this beautiful new resource with them.

So that's it. I have a bunch of appearance-y things coming up. Will update the sidebar with those this week! In the meantime, I'm off to focus again. Hopefully some fun new book news may appear in the coming weeks... cross your fingers for me.

Happy New Year!

xox gae

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Feedback: First delirious sentences before the brick wall...

Hello, brick wall, my old nemesis. . . 

Friends, campers, writermen, lend me your ears,

I come to burrow in words, not to flail in the haze of them. . .

Hmmm. Yeah, no. Sorry about that. Don't mind me.

Hey, so long time no see!

But I know that for many of you, it's Nanowrimo month and you're nearly half way through...

I have been, uh, writing, if not exactly Nano'ing...

I wrote a mess of a 3,500+ word short story (adult, not YA) which was a huge accomplishment for me as I am terrified of them (been reading some Cheever and Carver and trying to unravel the mystery of what a short story is -- and is not). It was a cool exercise. The opening looks like this:

I hope to go back to it one day soon and reorganize, revise and flesh out. There were things I really liked about it.

Then, I started a new YA novel. . . the opening few paragraphs/pages were sheer writerly glory - writing with abandon, lost in the moment of a mood and image I wanted to convey . . and then I hit the brick wall. Way sooner than I had hoped. The brick wall that looks sort of like this:


It's a wall of shrieking loud words and self-doubt and confusion and frustration that I'm all too familiar with, and yet it shakes me to my knees every time.

How about you? You been Nano'ing? How's it going? Are you happy or pulling out your hair?

At any rate, it's a bonus off-the-cuff Friday Feedback (and if you're a teacher with students who are Nano'ing, I invite them -- and you -- to post in the comments both this Friday and NEXT Friday (November 21st). I will be away both Saturdays following this post, but will be back on each Sunday (plus throughout the day Friday) to comment. 

You know THE RULES:

What works for you?

What doesn't? (and why...?)

If it's an opening, does it hook your or compel you to keep reading?

And, remember: Regardless of how much *I* post (it's my blog, you know?)  please do not post more than THREE paragraphs if long, and FIVE if short. If lots of dialogue, use your discretion. And, if you're here from a particular teacher's class, please say so! 

Meep sticker designed by David Lanham.
Oh, and one more thing (as much a reminder to me as to you...): don't waste too much time editing or making beginnings of vomit drafts pretty. More often than not, they're not really you're beginning anyway, which means editing or revising them is only wasting time and stopping you from forward momentum.

So, without further ado, here's the ridiculously rough vomited opening to a thingy I am working on that will most definitely change over time:

The girl
The girl arrived in the middle of the night, and for days no one even knew she existed here.
The house where she was brought was three doors down from ours on the cul de sac, high up on a hill, and belonged to Dr. Betsy Mikkleson. It used to belong to Dr. Mikkleson and her husband, also a doctor, but the male Dr. Mikkelson had left in a great public flourish of animosity the winter before.
The Mickkelson property was pristine, the house itself a brick colonial with white, ionic columns offsetting an ornate, mahogany front door, the upper floor bedroom windows replete with added faux balconies, not that you could tell that much from the street.

The house was set far back on the hillside and a long circular driveway led up to it. Back in the days when old Mr. Andersen lived there with his emphysemic wife, Joan, all us neighborhood kids used to go up there, or at the very least, used to ride our bikes around and around that driveway, huffing and puffing at the top before flying precariously down and around again, using the pendulum momentum to get us back up the first half of the incline. 
The Andersens were a warm and friendly couple who would invite you in for tea with honey and Social Tea Biscuits, which, of course, no kid in their right mind actually enjoyed. The house was cluttered and dark, full of chintz curtains, old shag rugs, and broken and reglued tchotchkes on every counter and shelf. I remember when old Mrs. Andersen died in the middle of the night – and I was only about ten back then – how the sirens woke us and brought us all out to our lawns, but you couldn’t see the ambulance up there at the top of their hill, only watch its glowing red lights bouncing through the tree leaves like spooky red specters in dark.
She had lived there all my life, and then she was gone. Old Mr. Andersen went soon after, and the house stood empty for a year or two (infighting among their grown children, I think) before the property was sold to the Mikkelsons. 
See you all in the comments!
xox gae

p.s. for those of you who are new to this blog, my first novel for young adults, THE PULL OF GRAVITY, was a PSLA Top 40, a Bank Street College Best of 2012 and a Nerdy Book Club Winner for YA, and my second novel THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO has received glowing reviews from VOYA, SLJ and Kirkus as well as The New York Times, and is a Scholastic Book Order selection for teens. It is also available in audiobook. If you like what you see here, please check out my books, and, when possible, notwithstanding the Amazon links, buy from independent booksellers.  If you carry a select number of copies of my book(s) in your classroom or school library, I will Skype visit for free, and if you use my book(s) in your bookclub of five or more members, I will also Skype for free. Please feel free to email me for more information at 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ahem, five years, and a fu**ton of gratitude

this is me a few months ago...
i may not look quite this cheerful today...



This is me.


This is me, out on submission.

This is me, feeling somewhat like crap for the past month+ compounded by the writerly fear that I will never be (traditionally) published again.

This is me,





disillusioned (how can it be THIS hard the (effing) third time around?! WTF?!?!).

This is me,

looking less like her up there (*points up*)

and more like my favorite facebook sticker Mobile Girl, MiM:

And yet.

And yet.

And yet.

Today is five years since the sale of THE PULL OF GRAVITY to the extraordinary Frances Foster.

Five years ago today...

Five years since I officially became a to-be published author, fancy PW announcement and all.

There are others who work faster, get more deals, have more sales.

So be it. They are there.

I am here.

This is what you must know: there's not a moment of it I take for granted.

Not one moment I'm not

so fucking* grateful:

for the two books that sit on my piano in my living room,

why yes, I did leave my 10K swim plaque
up there for all of you to see...

for the agents who have believed in me, but really and most especially my current (and hopefully forever) agent, Jim McCarthy, who not only believes in me but who is smart, skilled and level-headed and has proved he can also get the job done,

 for the editors who have taken my stories on so far, believed in them and nurtured them,

the awesome Elise Howard...

for the teachers, librarians and booksellers who have invited me in to their classrooms, libraries and stores, giving me the chance to connect with my readers, which is EVERYTHING.

and, mostly for the readers, who seek out my stories, or read them because they have to but fall in love with them anyway, and who take the time to put up reviews or send me notes, which mean the world to me.

Seriously, is this not the best?!

okay, okay, wait! This one!!! ;) 

So, if I am frustrated and doubtful and angsty, I am also endlessly permanently lucky and grateful, and just wanted to take a moment of blog time to say so.

As always, thanks for stopping here and taking the time to read.

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled programming, and the internet glut of content that is late 2014.

xox gae

*sorry, sometimes you just have to.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Falling, Failing, and Chutes & Ladders Redux (with essential footnotes that should be read contemporaneously with the piece)

Me, trying to accept the fall...

One of the most interesting things about being a parent is trying to take your own advice. Or at least the advice of others you dispense to your own kids freely. Like this awesome advice from Kelly Corrigan about failing that I've been dispensing to my college son for weeks:

Great advice from Kelly Corrigan, from this terrific speech,
that I've been dispensing to my kids freely.

I mean, I love that.

I love that so, so much.

A few weeks ago, I handed in my next young adult manuscript -- one called THE MEMORY OF THINGS, which I think may be my favorite ever  -- to my amazing, smart, wonderful, cherished editor at Algonquin Young Readers, who unceremoniously fn1 turned it down.

If you don't know the stinging-sharp, kick-in-the-gut pain of rejection, made ten-fold worse by being rejected by someone you know and love, whose approval you deeply seek and desire, then you might as well not bother to keep reading.

But if you do, then follow along with me, here.

This has been my writing life. Most writers' writing life. This constant rejection, coupled with self-doubt, that only gets compounded by more rejection. fn2

I wrote about the path-- my path -- of trying to get my books published maybe best here, in one of my most popular blog posts ever called My Writing Life: Chutes & Ladders. So, when my current editor turned down my current manuscript, I had to remind myself of this: that my prior editor had turned down the manuscript that my current editor loved and nurtured and bought. This is the subjective nature of writing, of making, or trying to make, art.

And, so. Now I set out to find that new editor, the perfect-fit one who will help spin this new, worthy manuscript into gold. . .

The write-up for THE MEMORY OF THINGS in my agent's October newsletter

To do that, I slide down more chutes. I climb more ladders. I find new edges to bounce back from.

I'm ready and excited to bounce back.

Within hours of my agent's newsletter going out, we had five requests to read the manuscript. In fact, THE MEMORY OF THINGS had the honor of garnering, within ten minutes, the first request.

I'll take this as a good sign.

And, while we're waiting, I'll rake leaves. One foot up on the next rung.

And, now, for your reading pleasure: some Beta Reader feedback fn3  on THE MEMORY OF THINGS... (you may click on the photos to enlarge them.)

High School Librarian . . . 

Teen reader I enlisted through an English teacher in Indiana. . . 

President and co-founder of Books are Magic. . . 

Elementary Reading Teacher and avid reader. . . 
- gae

p.s. I also have a piece of women's fiction called THE SWIMMING SEASON out on submission. Love me from this post and want to get more of me? Ask my agent about that one. And about my other dark & edgy YA called JACK KEROUAC IS DEAD TO ME. Go on. Go on. fn4.

Essential footnotes:

fn 1. I mean, perhaps there was a ceremony and I just wasn't privy to it, what do I know? Perhaps she made a voodoo doll of me at my laptop, placed it in the center of the manuscript, and burnt the whole thing down. Perhaps there was cake involved, which would have been lovely too.

fn 2. Of course, the bruised and battered ego is buoyed, thank goodness, by manuscripts selling and books coming out in between, that garner awards and good reviews, and bring letters from teen -- and other -- readers who love them. We call this keeping us out of the ditch. Okay, fine. I just made that up and called it that. 

fn3. Yes, yes, we writers learn quickly that we are supposed to take our BETA readers feedback with a grain of salt... well, so far, my BETA readers have ultimately been correct. So, salt and all, I'm sticking by them. Especially my teen beta reader's feedback. ;) 

fn 4. In fact, what are you waiting for? Here's his phone number. 212 627 9100   You're welcome. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Friday Feedback: How to Keep Going When Your Inner Critic Chimes In, A Few Words About Querying, and a Standing Offer.

my kids hate these sunglasses.

Whoa! Hold on one minute!!!

No one, but NO one, said summer could go this fast.


I mean, seriously, like mind-blowingly fast.

Alas, it has, and, thus, it is somehow our last official day -- and our last official Friday Feedback -- of the 2014 Teachers Write! summer.

*cue tears* Because, trust me, we are all as sad as you are.

Yet, all we can do is make the most of it. Go out with a bang! So, this modgepodge post will contain:

1. some hopefully valuable information on how to keep going when your inner critic chimes in, from Sarah Darer Littman (& a few others);

2. my now-usual parting gift (you'll see in a moment if you're new here...);

3. the name of the winner of the belated-but-not-forgotten drawing for an Advance Review Copy of Amy Fellner Dominy's A MATTER OF HEART which comes out next spring!

and, of course,

4. Some last-gasp Friday Feedback sharing of any excerpt of your choosing!

It's a long, long post, so apologies, but there's lots I wanted to cover. So, without further ado, here's Sarah, with:

#1. How to keep going when your inner critic chimes in...
Sarah is the author of the forthcoming BACKLASH,
WANT TO GO PRIVATE? and several other amazing
YA novels. Click the link and read all about her!

The Inner Crazy Lady:

After reading some campers' feedback to Gae’s question on the Teachers Write Facebook page the other day about how we might improve consistent participation in Teacher’s Write throughout the summer,  I started to recognize a familiar friend – or, more accurately, a familiar “Frenemy" -- showing up in your comments.

I call mine, “The Inner Crazy Lady.” You might call yours “The Inner Crazy Guy” or “The internalized voice of my hyper critical parents/friends/relatives” or, simply, "Bob."

What this particular "friend" does is sabotage your writing process – inhibiting the free flow of creativity, making you afraid to put another word on the page, preventing you from finishing what you started.

Sarah's ICL probably tried to stop Backlash
from being written. I'll say Beyotch!
*meanwhile, if you're reading captions,
write "I read captions" in your comment to
be entered to win an ARC of Sarah's Backlash!
Winner announced next week
on the TW! facebook page! 
How does The Inner Crazy Lady (or Bob) do this?  By telling you it sucks. That this is THE WORST THING EVER WRITTEN IN THE HISTORY OF EVER. By saying that you’re not a writer, you’re a fraud. My ICL still says tells me this even though my fifth book comes out next March, I’ve written many other work-for-hire books, and I have been paid to write political opinion columns since 2003. Put simply, she is a total beyotch.

As soon as I hear one of my students apologizing for their work before they’ve even read it, I give them “The Inner Crazy Lady” talk. I tell them how I’ve learned to trick the ICL by writing my first drafts as fast as I can, so that hopefully I’m finished by the time she wakes up and starts harassing me. If she does start up, thanks to Anne Lamott I have an answer for her: “Girl, this is just a sh*tty first draft. I’m just getting words on the page. I CAN FIX IT (“it” being whatever her complaint is at the moment) IN REVISION.”

Why do I call her a frenemy rather than simply an enemy? Because the Inner Crazy Lady is also responsible for my driven almost to the point of insanity work ethic, and for how I try to learn from the experience of writing each book (including the criticism) so that I can do better on the next one.  It’s okay that she hangs around -just not while I’m writing the first draft.

Find the strategies you need to keep your Inner Crazy Lady (or Bob) in check. And don’t think you’re alone! Every author has one.


Amy Fellner Dominy, author of OyMG, Audition & Subtraction,
and the forthcoming A Matter of Heart on her inner critic...

and, Charlotte Bennardo, co-author of the Sirenz Series & Blonde Ops

and, me, author of The Pull of Gravity & The Summer of Letting Go

#2. a parting gift... So last year, and maybe the year before, I made a so-far standing offer to any TW! camper who regularly participated on Friday Feedback to review your query letter for any of your WIP's when ready. This summer, I hereby extend this offer. I know this gift only really helps those of you who are working on your own fiction, but, hey, camp is free, and at least it's a little something. BEFORE you send my your queries, I beg of you, please do your research on how to write a query letter and read this post: Friday Feedback: KISS those Queries! While the advice in there is harsh and limiting, I stand by it. Though I have seen the rare query that violates these rules and still gets requests, you'd better believe it was because the manuscript described was exactly what that agent was looking (or, hoping) for. If you find yourself ready to query, feel free to contact me at my email or through my facebook author page;

#3. The winner of an ARC of Amy's Fellner Dominy's of A MATTER OF HEART,

as determined in a purely random drawing involving only me, your names on folded paper, and my son's green golf hat, 

but carefully supervised by the accounting firm of My Son's Dog, Charlie. . . 

is Linda Mitchell!!!! Linda, email me at and I'll put you in touch with Amy for mailing information!

and, last, but not least, 

4. Friday Feedback. You know the RULES! Since it's just you and me today, I'll share a passage from the very middle of my WIP I'm turning in to my agent as we speak! Wish me luck! The story takes place near NYC on the day of, and in the few immediate days after, 9/11. The MC Kyle brings home a girl who has amnesia (and some other weird things) and he hasn't exactly figured out how to tell his cop dad, whose been busy down at the site, that he's brought her there... fyi, we don't know the girl's name, and Kerri is Kyle's sister. . .  So, what works for you? What doesn't? Does it compel you to keep on reading? 

See you in the comments!

Kerri’s door is still shut.
            I knock as quietly as I can, then open it a crack without waiting. So she doesn't call out, to tell me it’s okay to come in.
            Except I don’t need to worry about that.
Because she’s not in the room anymore.
            Kerri’s bed is empty. Made up. My plaid pajama pants folded neatly on the pillow.
            I run down the hall to the bathroom even though it’s clear she’s not there. The door is wide open, the toothbrush I gave her gone from the sink.
            My heart races. Why did she leave without telling me?
            I close the door and sit on the toilet to think, then figure, screw it. If she’s gone, she’s gone. What am I going to do about it? 
            It’s her problem, right? Not mine.
I close my eyes and lean back against the cold tank, shake my head against the thoughts that creep in.
The girl on the bridge in those wings.
At the edge.
Leaning way out over the water. . .
            I try to think back to my sister’s room. Did she take the wings with her? I don't remember seeing them on the chair.
I look helplessly around the bathroom wondering if I said something to bother or upset her? Wondering if she left me some clue.
My eyes pause on the magazine basket. It’s out of place a little, maybe. Rifled through. Jutting from the base of the cabinet.
On top is a June issue of the New York Insider magazine with a photo of Washington Square Park on the cover. Stone archway, pink trees in massive bloom. In an inset, a photo of those three asshole prep school boys who they say raped that exchange student this past summer.
Was that just a few weeks ago?
It was such a huge story back then.
I shove the basket back with my foot, and stand up. Why can’t I be an uncaring asshole like they are?
I mean, really. Why do I care about the girl?
It's great news that she’s gone!
Now, she’s not my problem anymore.
I'm relieved!
I should be relieved.
So why do I feel so crappy?

See you all next summer! Or maybe for a few periodic FF's between now and then?! 
xox gae

p.s. please continue to buy, share, tweet and review the titles of all the Friday Feedback guest authors. Word of mouth is everything to most of us!