Tuesday, January 13, 2015

aging with (fucking) grace, a rambling and curse-filled post.

me


I'm trying.

Really. (Sort of).

I'm trying to be (fucking) graceful about this aging bullshit.

After all, I admire so many people who are.

In fact, when I think of the people my age and older who I admire, they are the ones who are aging with (fucking) grace.

They don't complain (at least not to me),
they embrace.

Embrace grace. How fucking Seussical.

My whole growing up, I felt judged by my family (sorry family, I love you, but there you have it) for being shallow about superficial things. Like my looks. My body. My hair.

No crease could be left unflattened in my Jordache jeans when I left the house in the mornings;

the alarm got set an hour early so I could work on my perfectly-feathered hair.

And, yes, I kept a calendar of what I wore each school day so as not to commit the offense of repeating a single outfit in a given week (so sue me. . . and did I really think anyone of value was actually paying attention to such a thing?)

So, then, I guess in some ways, I was. Shallow, about that shit, I mean.

It was hard to be a teen girl, then and now. Same as it is hard to be a grown woman, then and now. Maybe moreso, a woman over 40.

50. *coughs*

Right or wrong, so much of our identity as a gender is still tied to how we look. If you think it isn't, you're kidding yourselves. In some ways, I think this is awful. In other ways -- and I guess some would view this as anti-feminist of me -- but I actually think it's normal and okay. Or at least unavoidable as a society as we are. It's simply, how it is.

At times, I truly enjoy our gender differences, and admire good looks, admire someone who takes care of their physical body. I also admire physically many people who aren't typically handsome or beautiful, know seriously overweight people who I think are stunningly beautiful.

Maybe it's wrong of me, but I loved watching the beautiful faces and bodies parade on and off the stage at the Golden Globes . . . and, though a bit of a brouhaha apparently erupted on twitter over Jeremy Renner's rather obvious comment to JLo about her Golden Globes, what else was JLo wanting, actively seeking, but to invite admiration of her female assets by wearing that dress? Am I missing something here?

With perfect hair and my usual HS scowl,
 pre-nose job, 1982.

So, yeah, my looks have always mattered to me, which was hard since I haven't always been a fan of how I looked. After all, by the time I hit puberty, I wore glasses and braces and was diagnosed with scoliosis which was going to require me to wear a large plastic brace on my back -- not the best fashion accessory for a teenage girl.

Moreover, by puberty, my previously-cute button nose had taken on a strong hereditary Semitic bump (and low dip) that both my boys now have, which is wearable and even handsome (IMHO) on a boy, but not so much on a girl.

As I was already being badly bullied in high school, it was unbearable to not at least feel pretty when I left the house on a given day.  Maybe a less superficial person could have hacked it.

At any rate, hate me or love me for it, my looks were always an integral part of who I was, how I viewed myself, and, yes, sometimes, I think, were tied to how I succeeded at certain things. Certainly, post nose-job, I could walk into a room feeling like I'd make a positive first impression. I wanted to look good, I wanted to feel pretty, and I wanted others to think the same of me.

Having said all that, I personally don't think I was shallow or superficial. You may disagree. Really what I wanted most in the world, was what we all want: to feel good about myself, to feel loved and admired, to have friends, and to feel confident in my life. I also cared WAY more deeply about who I was on the inside, and how I treated others, and the good things I did, and so I'm not sure why that so often got lost in the translation.

At any rate, I struggled then, and still do now as so many others do, when I look in a mirror and don't love what I see.

Don't love my body -- the too-full figure, the cellulite on the thighs.


Then, in my early forties (!!!) something sort of miraculous happened: I was in the best shape of my life AND I liked the way I looked!

I think three things coincided to make this happen,

one bad (I went through a period of midlife crisis depression and literally couldn't eat much and lost every ounce of body fat I'd ever had)

and two good: I began swimming religiously -- often several miles a week by my mid-forties--  and my body, for the first time post-baby was lean and mean, and I finally got a book deal and was, for the first time, really doing something in my life I had fought hard for and only dreamed of for a long while.

At any rate. It was fun. It was exhilarating, especially since so many other good and fun things were going on.

Alas, fast forward to 2015.

My forties are somehow, unfathomably, gone.

Late into them, an age spot appeared on my hand. I kid you not, it mocks me daily. Once in a while, I take out a pen and draw a smiley face inside of it. I'd like to tell you that helps.

Late into my forties, the also-hereditary prominent eye bags started really appearing under my eyes. My flat stomach lost shape and the skin got looser around my mid-section.

And my hands. Oh dear lord, my fucking hands.

With my mother on my 50th birthday.
And, yes, I am wearing a tiara.
I have this particular recollection from when I was in my early twenties I think, of my beautiful mother lamenting how old her hands had become.

She must have been in her late forties, then.

We were in her bedroom, I, lazing on her bed, she getting ready for some function.

I told her she was being silly, and she walked over and she pinched the skin on the top of her hand, and showed me how inelastic it had become, and, thus, how long it took it to resettle. I gave her the typical eye roll and she showed me on my hand, the difference, pinched the skin on mine which immediately shot back down.

My hands have become her hands back then. I'm sure she doesn't want to talk about her hands now.

This morning, I sat on the floor playing with the dog, and bottoms of my feet. . . so cracked and dry. . .well, I don't even want to talk about that. . .

And don't get me started on my thighs in downward dog.

No one over fifty should ever go into downward dog. Well, at least without long pants on.

So, I'm trying. I really am. To embrace my own aging with grace. I'm really fucking wanting to be graceful.

My gorgeous, fucking kickass, goddess writer friend Amy Ferris wrote this the other day:

courAGE.
i've decided today that's my new age.
it looks just like 60, but with a little extra OOOOOMPH.



I'm trying to emulate her. Be brave. Be kickass. Embrace this fifty bullshit with grace.

Embrace the changing body, the thinning hair that's lost all its luster . . .

the aching back, sore hips and knees and shoulder (okay, that last one probably more a hazard of all the miles swum than my age, but still. . .).

I'm trying to remind myself I swam a fucking 10K last summer.

I'm trying to hold on to the truth that the numbers are arbitrary and just numbers.

I'm always grateful. I promise. Please don't tell me in the comments to be grateful, because I swear I am. And don't tell me I look good, because what most of you see is photoshopped anyway.

Besides, it's really NOT the point.

And, yes, I see so many others struggling with real health problems and I kiss the ground for this body -- this very one! -- that has done its work so beautifully, so strongly, without too many major disruptions, kept healthy for me, and keeps carrying me along. I swear, I am not without the right priorities and gratitude. In fact, I'm usually overwhelmed by an aching sense of gratitude toward my random dumb luck in this hard, hard world.

But I am also my physical body. At least for now. And I am struggling to view it with grace.

Fucking grace. It keeps on eluding me.

- gae

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 into 2015: Shifting (and Settling) Sands (Renew, Resolve, and Relinquish Redux)

Study in blue. . . 

I shouldn't be blogging as I am steeped in revisions on a deadline, if mostly a self-imposed one.

Still, old habits die hard, and if I don't blog, this New Year is going to roll in in utter silence from me... with the saddest little whimper on record.

Well. it appears it's likely going to do so anyway.

The sands of my life they are a shifting. Starting with New Years Eve.

For the first time in seventeen years, I will be ringing in this new year's eve quietly.

Without either of my children at home.

Without their friends or mine.

Without the food, and festivities, and the noisemakers,



New Years Eve 2010-11 Photo credit: Rick Kopstein



without the party guests,


and the glow sticks and the confetti in the air.

2011-12 photo credit: Rick Kopstein


2012-13. . . and so on... photo credit: Rick Kopstein

The writing has been on the wall.

Each year for the past four, a group of kids has aged out, gone off to college, stopped by on their way to and from other plans.

The girls whose faces I painted,

who made wearable art jewelry with me,

whose New Year's Eve henna tattoos lasted for weeks after they'd all gone home.

And the boys,

who eagerly arrived to dinosaur scavenger hunts before retiring to the basement for video games and pizza.

Who fought over glow sticks, who trashed my floor with spilled sodas and scarred my ceiling with exploding caps from holiday "crackers," which half made me cringe, but more made me smile, at the sheer fact of it.

Of the fact that we all were here.

For seventeen years, on this one night, we were all here.

Somehow, I thought I had more time.

This year, most of the adults bowed out, their children off on their own adventures, they too have decided to make new plans. In the city for fancier dinners. For theater or concerts,

off to celebrate with their grown children.


glow sticks headband in the aftermath. . . 
Other plans.

My youngest son feels the weight of it too -- "I looked forward to it every year, Mom. It was magic," but he too, is ready to move on.

Needs to move on.

Like sand in the hour glass. . .

But, oh, how that sand rushes through.


So, I'm trying to be big about it.

Accepting.

But I'm a creature of habit, especially when the habit is having my children.

Yet, I have to accept. Let the sand settle down all around me.

Accepting, I think, is the buzz word of our fifties.

But how to accept without atrophying?

This post is a mess. I apologize.

I meant to be witty, make lists. I mean to resolve, and I will. Yes, that's what I meant to do.

I like to resolve and many of them I actually keep, even some of the bigger ones. Take these from 2010: http://gpolisner.blogspot.com/2010/12/three-rs-of-2011-renew-resolve.html

although the burpees may have fallen by the wayside. . .

But it is nice to go back, reflect on some of the things I've accomplished. I know I feel like I have less energy and resolve than I had in 2010, so it gives me incentive to make new goals, to set them in (virtual) stone, and give myself less of a chance to just settle here.

So in echo of 2010 into '11, here are my 2014 into '15 R&R's:

Renew: see, e.g. 2010, yes even the burpees, if more of a yogic burpee... (http://gpolisner.blogspot.com/2010/12/three-rs-of-2011-renew-resolve.html);

Resolve:

yoga me, circa 2012...

more yoga, less sitting. 50-year old bodies need both the flexibility and balance of a yoga practice. I don't love yoga, but I'm convinced of this in my (very achy joints and) bones;

more writing in new genres. I have always wanted to write a picture book, a play, and am suddenly interested in writing short stories, which never appealed to me before, so that's cool). I have a collaborative project about to go out on submission, and I also have started to explore new publishing options for some of my unpublished work, at least the work that has garnered the approval of at least one reputable NYC literary agent (if not two or three, which some of them have!) and one reputable editor, but never made it through "acquisitions" for whatever various marketplace reasons.

Try something brave and brand new. Stay tuned. I don't know what this is. It could be a longer swim (which means longer than a 10K which could be hard!) or a swim in a brand new environment. It could be the new publishing endeavors (see above) or it could be something brand new and exciting all together.

This I know, I have to do something. It's the new things, the brave things, that keep us from feeling irrelevant.

Relinquish.

Social media. Not altogether, no. But it has to give. It has to make room for more permanent successes. This one is hard for me. To find the balance. And, equally, to find the discipline.

My view of myself and my physical body. I need to stay in shape because it's healthy and invigorating. But one glance at my legs in downward dog makes it clear there is no holding on to that body.






My children as they were,


embracing all that I can hold on to:



the wonderful young men that they are now.




This is a process. I'm figuring out how to let go.

It helps when I hear them sing and play guitar.

https://soundcloud.com/samuelgraymiller/that-western-skyline-cover

https://soundcloud.com/holden-miller-1

But, man, what an unfathomably short time we get to borrow them. . .

Relinquish: so many things. Let go.

Move forward, rather than stew. After all, 2014 has been good. It's seen the release of my new book, seen me complete a 10K in the open water. Seen Son One really find his place socially, have success with his music, know he's good. See Son Two make the varsity basketball team, himself become a really good musician.

For all of us, it's been full of successes and struggles, accolades and "rejection."

But more than anything, we're lucky. It's been good.



And so, if I ring it in quietly with my husband and our dog, and a list of things I still need to do -- want to do -- what can be blue?

How can I be anything but grateful?

Charlie at the edge of shifting sands... photo credit: Laurie Capobianco

Wishing you all a peaceful, healthy New Year full of hope and love.

xox gae


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Things I've done. Things I want to do...

me, a few days ago or so...

I turned fifty in July.

Fif-tee.

I keep saying (and typing) the word, because i don't really believe it. Otherwise, I'd probably be less quick to admit it.

Fifty.

I think 50, and I think: that is simply UNFATHOMABLE.

Then the line from Princess Bride pops in my head:

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

So, here I am. Fifty. Well, actually, more than three months in.

I've done a lot in the past ten years I never thought in a million years I might do. Actually succeed at. I didn't even imagine a few...

Like,


  • Swam a 10K plus (7+ miles) in the open water (probably clocking close to 200 miles of open water swimming each season for the past several years);
  • Swam in waters as cold as 37 degrees;
  • Secured three agents, two book deals, and have written eight manuscripts;

Still, there are many days I feel like an utter slacker. Like I'm wasting time and I'm going to have a thousand regrets... Like the clock is ticking and there's so much I want to do. . . 

Like,

  • get another (effing) YA ms published (for Pete's sake);
  • Publish my second piece of unpublished women's fiction, THE SWIMMING SEASON, if I can't get a traditional publisher to take it by year's end, with a hybrid or curated press... big brave move I'm not sure I'm ready for...
  • write a picture book;
  • write a play;
  • do more yoga;
  • read more;
  • teach creative writing;  
    Finishing the 10K+ with Annmarie this past summer!
  • swim from Long Island to Connecticut (oh, come on, Annmarie, you know you want to); 

  • and
  • contribute more charitably/be involved/try to make a difference in our world.
Some days, I'm full of productivity. Other's I'm a total slug. I do a lot of starting and stopping, too much starting and stopping these days. The writing, especially, is hard. So much easier to veg out in front of The Voice, or facebook when the going gets tough, and the words aren't flowing, and the water is freaking cold.

But I'm fifty. And I have a whole lot I still want to do.

-gae




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. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Longing, falling, rambling, striving. . . routine...

a recent photo of me...

I'm on a lot of social media these days for my writing "career," and I feel this constant need to update my photos.

You might think it's vanity, but it's not exactly.

Rather, it's this odd combination of social media ennui and the fear that someone will see me at a book signing who has just seen a stale photo of me online and say, MY GOD, I barely recognized you.

This is me. Sort of. Almost. 

This is me, aging. I can picmonkey and photoshop it out all I want, but we know the truth: the computer, my cellphone camera, and me.

I see it everywhere: in the skin around my eyes, on my legs, on the looser paunch around my middle. I feel it everywhere, in my constantly-corrected posture, in my shoulders and my hips. Sure I can photo shop it out for you, but I am stuck with the crueler truth.

This blog post is a ramble. I haven't been here -- to this blog -- in a long time. I'm afraid to look to see how long, for fear it will remind me just how fast time flies.

Of just how little I accomplish compared to what I mean to.

I don't need reminders.
Two good boys. I love them at this age, but it's all loss
and leaving... so crazy hard to bear.


Dropped my son off to college again two days ago. He's a lovely young man.

But, how did the boy go? 

How did this round of goodbyes come so soon again? 

The other one starts his junior year in less than two weeks. Another amazing boy who keeps leaving.

I don't want comfort or platitudes. I just need to purge.

I know how to navigate it for now.

I'll do the routine. Write. Swim. Do laundry.

Some of it pleasure, some necessity, all of it staving things off.

Things that cannot be staved off.

It's nearly September. The month of longing, before the months of cold and hard-to-bear. In it daily, I promise I'm not this morbid and scared. But sitting here, quietly, for a moment, staring it down...

I feel like I'm falling, and I'm so very afraid of the fall.


Me, this summer, about to swim...
oh thank god for the swimming.

Last month I turned fifty.

50.

I swam two 10K's this summer, one actually at least a mile longer than a 10K. 

I turned in my next manuscript to my agent, and am waiting to hear news from my editor.

I did things. I made almost the most of it.

And yet, the questions pound frantic in my chest, the answers almost never really enough:

What next? 

What do I want to still do?

How do I accept it all with grace?

How do I plow forward with bravado, when the days will grow shorter and darker and colder, and each step is just a step closer to leaving,
wanting,
falling,
longing, and
letting go.

- gae

Sunday, June 8, 2014

In loving memory of my extraordinary editor, Frances Foster


Last night, the world lost an extraordinary editor and human being, the loving and beautiful Frances Foster.

I was only lucky enough to work with Frances on one book, THE PULL OF GRAVITY (though as Frances and I discussed, I am equally and incredibly lucky to be in the hands of my new editor, Elise Howard). But, Frances was the first person, after years of rejection, to take one of my manuscripts on and champion it, and believe in me. We had a few lunches, many phone calls, and, I like to think, an immediate and extraordinary connection. I will never forget getting out of the elevator in the flatiron building on my first visit to discuss my new book deal, to find her greeting me in the hall.


Frances teased that I won the award for her authors who most clearly labeled
their manuscript versions submitted, this one "The Last Best Version."

To me, Frances was the epitome of warmth, wisdom, humility and grace. I can hear her voice on my answering machine, the way she said my name, and from that, whether she was calling with good news, or to comfort me about some silly snag with the book.



This note came after she asked if I might take a stab at writing jacket copy
for THE PULL OF GRAVITY. 


I will always strive to write stories that might make Frances proud of me. I'm sad, in our many in-person moments to not have taken a single "selfie" with Frances - she always seemed too regal and important to bother with such a trifle. Lord, I miss having that trifle now.


The tribute I wrote for Frances when she was honored by the Eric Carle Museum shortly before her stroke.

Frances has suffered greatly in the past 18 months. I hope she is at well-earned peace. A bunch of her authors lit candles for her Saturday night, all around the country, and she went peacefully, I think, guided surely by that light. 

Seems fitting since she guided us by such sure light.

With love to, and kinship with, her friends, family, and extraordinary authors. In that regard, I still marvel at the company I keep.

gae

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Book Stuff: Promotion, Reading and Reviews (and please don't be sick of me...)


  
Book jacket author photo,
THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO,
credit: Rick Kopstein



This book business is a funny thing.

When I thought of writing a book, only dreamed of getting it published, I never thought about the business side of things.

By trade, I'm a lawyer. While I was doing all of that writing and dreaming on the side, it was purely creative. My outlet. When I was thinking business, it was my current day to day work.

Oh, the things I know now. . . if only I'd known them then. . .

But this isn't about that, I'm not telling you those things here today (sorry), but suffice it to say, some of it has been way harder and lonelier than you would think, and some of it has been way more wonderful and inclusive than I could ever imagine.

But, I will tell you this: if you're not JK Rowling or Stephen King, there's a LOT self-promotion required. It's just how it is, and it's a delicate art, one many of us fail at on a daily basis.


For example, today is the one-month mark till the official publication release date of THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO, yet I feel many of my most loyal readers must be sick of hearing about it already, that I've been talking about it for years (I have!). It took me years (again!) to get the book deal after THE PULL OF GRAVITY, and another two years (!) for the book to be coming out. And, because of my involvement at last year's NCTE (I have a lot of wonderful teacher/librarian followers of my fist book), we got the ARCs(fn 1) out early and far and wide. So, hard not to be a little sick of it, right?(fn2)

At any rate, as the book comes out, and I (try to) steel myself for the reviews, I've been thinking a lot about myself as a reader, and trying to remind myself of the many different ways which we -- I -- read a book. The individuality and subjectivity of it all (fn3), if you will.

What I mean is this: There are books I love, that others don't feel the same connection to. Conversely, there are books people love, absolutely rave about, and I do not love them. Can't (or won't) even bring myself to finish them.

As my reviews roll in, this is (or, ahem, should be) helpful to me, especially when I see a reader voice that they haven't connected to my book.(fn4)

So, I was thinking today what it means to be a reader. How many different kinds of readers there are, and, maybe moreso, how many different ways there are to read (and love) a book.


This was one of those MUST books for me
in the past two years... 
so much so that I sought the author out
personally via email and we are now friendly.



















For example, there are about five or six books I am either actively reading or still in the middle of (or, let's face it, personally done with (did not finish)), and it occurs to me that even though some of these books are taking me forever, it's not because they're not (IMHO) worthy (that goes for the "dnf"s as well!), but rather due to other circumstances (everything from time constraints and distractions to actual physical placement [I left it in the car and forgot about it for weeks, or, it's in the other bathroom ;)). I will say, however, that there is, of course, the rare book that none of those tangents or interferences will stop me from reading, the MUST books, and, I suppose, as writers we strive to be that MUST book for at least a few of our readers.

But this morning, I was thinking about some of those "not MUST" books, and how, in their own way, they really are MUSTs.

For example, I have been reading, WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (fn5) for well over a year now. There are a few reasons why it's been taking me so long. One is easily "technical" or logistical (is that word? It seems to be...): the print is dense and small. These days I often need reading glasses, but I forget I need reading glasses or don't know where they are. So, when I first started reading it, I often had to put it back down. Thus, I had no traction in it. Yet, every time (EVERY time) I pick it up, I am completely engrossed in it, and marvel that it's truly one of the most staggeringly well-written books I've ever read. And when I put it down (most often because there are other books I "need" to read or get to in the YA realm to feel like I am keeping up with the business side of my work as a YA writer), I can't wait to get back to it. All of this is reminding me that a really good book, one that holds your attention, can still take one forever to read.

There are the books where the writing is absolutely brilliant, but I don't personally connect to the characters, or where the characters and the writing are brilliant, but the story is too (insert whatever here: political, supernatural, dystopian, gory, etc.) for what I love to read. Whatever the case, the truth is, reading is such a subjective and personal thing.

So, as I head into my release and the inevitable less-than-glowing or "dnf" reviews, I remind myself of this. It's one reader. Good or bad, it's only one person's view. 


Charlie prefers to eat a book slowly, rather than read it.

Would love you to share in the comments what kind of reader you are and your MUST books.

And, stay tuned over the next few days for the special launch feature for THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO.

xox gae

footnotes:

1. Advance Reader Copies a/k/a Galley copies

2. please don't be sick of it, and if you read the ARC, please do consider buying the hard copy. It has been twice edited from the ARC and has beautiful shiny perks that the softcover ARC didn't have...

3. FYI, for example, those all-important (or at least very important) critical reviews from places like Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly, most of us don't realize that is just ONE
reader, often merely contracted out by the publication (ie, not even a staff writer) who reads the book and voices his/her opinion. That ONE opinion then carries a heck of a lot of weight, if not always with readers, then at least with gatekeepers, to wit: booksellers and librarians.

4. People often ask me how I deal with bad reviews, and my quick answer is that, for me, the bad reviews validate the good ones. If all I ever received were 5-star reviews, my mind would quickly discount them as people "just being nice." But when I am forced to see that people will, in fact, be readily (*coughs*) less than nice about their feelings, it allows me to accept the positives better, and, to some extent, to remind myself not to "own" either. Does that make sense? It is, however, always hard to deal with really mean reviews. Those are another story altogether. Luckily, there's a really fun series by authorMarc T. Nobleman where we authors get a chance to read our mean reviews loud and proudly (I'm somewhere in episodes 4 -6) which helps us to blow off some steam. ;)

5. I hear it was made into not-such-a-great movie. Don't let this sway you! The writing is simply brilliant!