Sunday, December 29, 2013

Year-end Roundup, Stolen from my "other" blog. Hey, sue me.

From my "Other" blog.

Kissing goodbye another year.

I know, I know, I've been MIA from this blog.

The loudest complainer? My mother.

Okay, fine. The only complainer. But still. Nice to know someone is reading.

Something happened to me around September of this year: I ran out of words. Okay, fine. Not exactly ran out, but they weren't coming, here, there anywhere, and I wasn't about to force them.

Sure, I've written some, and done writing-related stuff (first and second pass pages for THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO were in there, I think, and I'm muddling through a new manuscript, still). But the words felt stuck. They still do.

I blame the confluence of a few things for taking my words away, both physically and emotionally:

1. My oldest son leaving for college;

2. my younger son having escalating heart issues which have gratefully been resolved (thank you Dr. Levchuch, Dr. Hoch and St. Francis Heart Hospital);

3. my editor rejecting not one but two manuscripts (I'm not gonna lie, sometimes the No's do get hard) and,

4. first and foremost, this:

This is Charlie. He's a jackapoo. And a handful.
We got that for my younger son at eight weeks. See #1 and #2 above.

At any rate, I've felt totally bereft of both time and words, or at least good, descriptive, evocative words that are worth sharing, and I figured no one here would really miss me.

That's my dad, sister and mom with me a few nights
ago. My cheeks are pink from martini. Oh well.
Alas, my mother does, and to tell you the truth, that's enough for me.

The words still don't feel "here," but I'm going to force them, and in doing so, this is going to end up feeling like one of those rambling Christmas chain letters (sorry, people who send them, you know who you are. . .)

Anyway, with blame (and thanks) to my mom, here's a year-end round up since last I posted:

My older son is doing well up at college. He's a talented musician and, most importantly to me, he's coming out of his shell -- this boy who wouldn't play his music for anyone in the comfort of his own home, let alone get up on stage, is actually playing open mic nights and singing in his quaint little college town.

a favorite shot of Son One.
Here's the thing, though: I don't know how he already got to be a college kid. I know, I know, this is a refrain from mothers everywhere, and until it happens to you, there is simply no way to explain how it feels. How your home both feels remarkably empty, and yet, somehow, almost cruelly, the air and space fill in. We adjust, I guess. But there's a price. Tiny holes in our heart, that never exactly repair. The years we have our children at home are way too fleeting. But then, so are, just, all the years.

Speaking of holes in one's heart, Son Two, as I mentioned, had some heart issues. To be specific, he had a super ventricular tachycardia (SVT) that required an ablation to fix it.

He's amazingly all better now, but scariest few days of my life. Let those be the worst of them. From your lips to blah, blah, blah. . .

Son Two with the dog, the week he came home with us.
Does a picture speak a thousand words? I dunno.
The crazy thing is, my next book -- THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO -- that comes out in March, has a boy with a heart issue in it. Son Two did NOT have a known heart issue when I wrote it. Second time I've written a manuscript where something has come true soon after. Life imitating art or coincidence? Don't know, but I'm not giving my teen characters any more health issues. I'll leave those to someone else.

As for the rest of us? My husband, David, sang a lot this year. He and his friend/guitarist David, performed their first paid gigs as David & David. These were some of the very best nights I had this year:

This right here is the number one thing that keeps me
drawn to him. The guy can sing. Note to marrieds:
pursue the things that bring you joy. Don't stop striving.

And me?

With my friend Annmarie, and the few stragglers of the West Neck Pod we've dubbed the Polar Pod, we swam in the open water through mid-November when the plummeting air and water temps and my son's medical stuff derailed us long enough to lose acclimation. With water temps down in the low thirties, fear we are totally done for the season.

Last year, the coldest I swam was around 37 degrees, this year did 35 degrees, so at least there was that.

Now, I'm back in the pool for the winter, anxiously waiting for spring.

As for writing stuff, as mentioned, am mid-way through a YA manuscript. Trudging is the best word I can find for that.

THE PULL OF GRAVITY movie continues to be both Pie-In-the Skyand in motion. A few things have made the pie seem more reachable, the fork extended, if you will. A week ago, I had lunch in the city with the director. If anyone can make this happen, he will. Crossing my fingers for the New Year.

And, THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO is out in advance copy and getting some really amazing early reader reviews.

It comes out in March. If you're local to Long Island, I'll be doing a launch party and reading here, at Book Revue in Huntington on the evening of March 25th. It's hard to compete with the likes of Cameron Diaz and Snookie (both appearing at Book Revue soon), so, if you're around, I'd love for you to come.

* forgot to add that the audio rights for SUMMER have sold. Will be available from Highbridge Audio in March, too! So excited!

And that's it, Mom. There you have it. What I've been up to since I posted last.

What's that you say? Tell you something you don't already know?

Meh. Make up something new and interesting yourself. Feel free to come post it here. As between the two of us, you are the far better storyteller. My books would be lost without you.

But truly, thanks for reading, and thanks for wanting to read more.

To anyone else who is reading -- to all of you: have a very happy, peaceful, healthy New Year.

I leave you with this link which is, IMHO, this week's imperative reading.

The world is a'changing. Some good, some bad. Never stop using your voice.

See you all in 2014.

- gae


  1. Having kids leave for college is such an emotional experience! On the one hand, we're thrilled and excited for our baby; on the other hand, our baby is leaving! I watched cooking shows compulsively and gained ten pounds when my son left for college! Glad to hear he's settled in AND that son #2 is doing well. So scary!
    I'm sure the words will come. Anyone who can swim in 35 degree water can conquer anything! Wishing you a happy, healthy, & productive 2014!

  2. Thanks so many loads for sharing, Gae. Been in those shoes: kid leaving for college, leaving a hole, and (same) kid getting really really sick all of a sudden was our life a couple of years ago... every heart-wrenching thing is just that, and hard in its own way for each of us. But I feel it, as you've told it. Plus, I'll just say that getting a puppy is like having a baby all over again, and no wonder the words are kinda stuck.
    I don't think you can possibly realize how much your input and cheerleading and prodding have helped me personally as a writer, looking for my voice. You've kept me on the path to find it. Just so you know.

  3. I think the words have and will find you again, and so will your son. I just said goodbye to my 3 daughters. Yesterday the house was full. Today it's just me and my own Charlie, a schnoodle.
    I am proud of all your book news. I have heard good things about Summer of Letting Go. All my best for you in 2014!

  4. Glad you're back.
    Time is a beautiful precious thing and we do need to give it our full attention when it warrants.
    I am looking forward to your Friday shares in 2014 - I may just jump in this time!
    My very best wishes to you and your family in this new year.

  5. In all the sharing you forgot about all the work you did last summer to encourage teacher writers. You have had a busy year! Glad to hear family is on the mend and you may have some time just to be.
    The words will follow the quiet time! Getting ready to ready Summer of Letting Go this week- excited!

  6. thanks for the comments, for reading, and for caring. Happy New Year to you all. <3