Elle Cosimano

The Convict Who Came To Dinner

I’m not a religious woman. I appreciate the symbolism of my culture – the nuance and metaphor – over the literal translations of the traditions we pass from generation to generation. One of my favorite traditions happens during Passover, when we open our doors for the prophet Elijah.

During the sedar, a meal commemorating freedom and redemption, a place setting is left vacant at the table, and a glass of wine poured for Elijah. A child is asked to open the door for his spirit, so that he may enter the hearts of those who celebrate, fill us with assurances of freedom, instill us with hope, and inspire us to build a better world.

There are many literal interpretations of this ritual found in the writings of the Talmud. But for me, the symbolic gesture – opening the door and leaving it ajar throughout the Passover meal – is an expression of trust. We are safe. We are free to dine and worship without fear. The seat remains empty each year, and the wine remains in that symbolic cup until the end of the night when someone always drinks it. Silly to let it go to waste. After all, it’s a celebration. A night when we luxuriate in the pleasures of free men.

I think of Elijah during Thanksgiving, when two seemingly non-related meals collide in one foggy childhood memory.

The night James came to Thanksgiving dinner.

My father brought James home from work and introduced him to our extended family. James was a quiet man with a warm smile. Like my father, he was a decorated war veteran, except James walked with the aid of a cane. And though I was only eight years old at the time, I recall his polite and genuine appreciation for the meal, and for my family’s hospitality. Sad, I thought, that he didn’t have his own family close by. Generous, I thought, of my family to share a seat at our table with this lonely man.

As polite conversation turned toward James, my Uncle asked him, “So you work together?” We kept eating, shoveling in rounded forkfuls of turkey and stuffing. Chasing it with sweet potato casserole and wine. My father was a prison warden. Surely, James was a fellow administrator, a counselor, or a guard. None of us looked up when my Uncle asked, “What exactly do you do at the prison, James?”

A quiet beat passed while James wiped the corner of his mouth with a fine cloth napkin. “Twenty to life,” he said over the clinking of silver on china. “For Murder One.”

Knives poised over plates and forks fell silent while we all waited for a punch line that never came.

When I looked up from my plate, James didn’t look any different. He was still a gracious guest with a gentle face. He still limped from wounds suffered in defense of our country. He was a good man who’d made an angry choice that had cost him twenty years of his life, and taken another.

It’s been more than thirty years since James came to dinner. But I never forgot that Thanksgiving. Or his grateful smile when James thanked my mother, and my father drove him back to prison. How in the blink of five courses, he made me think differently about people. About good and bad. And about what hope, freedom and redemption really mean.

 

Note: this is a re-post of an original post which can be found here at Ink & Angst. James’s name has been changed in this story.

Nov

19, 2012 |

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A Matter of Perspective

I took art class in 9th grade.  I don’t remember the name of the class or even the name of the teacher.  I just remember this one project.

The medium was pencil and the assignment was to illustrate perspective using a horizon line. Those were the only guidelines I recall.  I came up with a sort of contemporary fantasy — a dolphin jumping out of an ocean composed of Tron-like lines.  There were ripples in the grid where the dolphin breached the surface and mountains in the background. (Don’t ask why my dolphin was surfing the Rockies in outer space… I don’t have an answer.)

I spent weeks on the damn thing.  I agonized over the contours of the dolphin.  Was he precise in size, shape, and shadow?  Were my lines technically accurate as far as measurement and proportion?  I kept my pencil lines to a whisper, so I could fix mistakes without anyone knowing I’d made them.  When I turned it in, I was sure it was perfect.

The teacher didn’t agree.  I got a B minus.

I was crushed. (Yeah, I was one of those kids.  Total Type A Brian Johnson “…and when you pull the trunk the light was s’posed to go on. My light didn’t go on…” kind of kid. Doesn’t ring a bell?  Google it.)

When I asked my teacher why my project wasn’t good enough for an A, he told me my drawing was too light.  That I didn’t push hard enough with my pencil, and while it was technically accurate, my picture felt flat.  He pointed to it and said, “What you’ve drawn is a dolphin jumping on paper, but your assignment was to make him leap off the page.”

I walked away from the conversation never really understanding what he meant.

Fast forward twenty-three years.  I’m revising my manuscript for DEAD BLUE for the third time when Brian’s damn elephant light comes on!  I get it now.

See, when I was drawing that dolphin scene, I kept my pencil tip dull.  At the time, I told myself it was intentional.  That my light hand gave the picture a gauzy mysterious feel.  But in hindsight — this post is about perspective after all — I wasn’t being honest with myself.

I wasn’t pushing that pencil hard enough because I was too chicken-shit to take the risk. Deep dark marks are hard to erase.  They reveal mistakes, and I didn’t trust myself enough to sharpen the damn pencil and really cut in.  No part of my picture really scratched below the surface.  It lacked depth and contrast.  My teacher was right.  It wasn’t airy and mood-driven. It was flat.

And I think that’s what’s been missing in all these words on the cutting room floor.  Trust.  And maybe a little fearlessness.

It’s round three and I’ve got my chewed up pencil.  My eraser’s worn down to the metal and I finally sharpened the tip.  No matter which way I hold it, it’ll cut deep.

So thanks, Brian and your elephant trunk light.

What Makes You Tic? — Part I

Yesterday marked the beginning of Tourette Syndrome Awareness month.

I was sad to see James Durbin leave American Idol last week. His talent has opened so many eyes to Tourette’s, but I’m optimistic that he’s peaked some curiosity out there, and that his fans will take a step deeper into his world by learning more and spreading awareness.

If you know me, or you’ve followed my blog, then you know Tourette’s awareness has a special place in my heart.  I thought long and hard about the kind of contribution I could make toward TS education.  Book recommendations seemed like the obvious choice.

So this month, I’ll share a few of my favorites books featuring characters who suffer from Tourette’s (Children’s, MG, and YA), as well as links to organizations that provide resources for families, teachers, and friends of children suffering from tic disorders.

(Click on the blue banner below to learn more about the Tourette Syndrome Association.)

What Makes You Tic?

 

My first recommendation this month is an outstanding fictional novel for young adult (and adult) readers.

Jerk California

JERK, CALIFORNIA by Jonathan Friesen– Available from Penguin/Speak

Winner, ALA 2009 Schneider Family Book Award~”Best Book for Teens”

 

“Sam Carrier is one confused kid. The high-school senior has Tourette’s Syndrome messing with his body, Naomi Archer messing with his heart, and a dead dad messing with his mind.

Sam takes off on a road-trip to California looking for some peace. Each stop brings Sam and Naomi (yep, she comes along) closer to a truth Sam doesn’t want to face, but can’t run from anymore. It’s the adventure of a lifetime, and his last chance to find out whose he really is.”  — http://www.jonathanfriesen.com/


I’m not going to spoil the book by revealing too much of the plot, except to say that the author takes his character on a remarkable and inspiring journey of self-discovery.  Sam Carrier’s cross-country search to uncover his family history mirrors an internal journey as he grapples to understand and come to terms with his Tourette’s.

There are two reasons I love this book. First, Sam’s symptoms are woven into a broader plot arc. His tics (and all the baggage that come with them) are part of him, as they are part of the story.  But they are neither all of him, nor all of his story.  There is a greater overarching story than a boy overcoming the challenges of his TS. It’s about families and love, secrets and acceptance. Sam’s character and his journey are layered deeper than you might expect.  The same is true of people with TS.

Which brings me to the second reason I love this book.  Sam’s voice is compelling and believable. The author drew me straight into his character’s mind and heart.  Too often, people recognize Tourette Syndrome by what we see on the outside.  But so much of TS happens on the inside.  Friesen takes us, through stunning prose and poignant memorable scenes, into Sam’s head — his obsessive thoughts, reactions, frustrations, and shame.  Not just the physical pain, but the battles inside as he struggles to find happiness and sense of belonging. Through them, we discover a bright, courageous and likable young man… who happens to have Tourette Syndrome.

Jerk, California is high on  my list of favorite YA novels. It’s thoughtfully crafted, emotionally evocative, and tells a beautiful story.


Tale of a Reluctant Reader

My 8 year old son was a reluctant reader. A VERY reluctant reader. But he also has some VERY unique challenges.

My son has Tourette Syndrome, which causes his body to experience frequent motor and verbal tics. He is unable to control or stop the blinking, facial grimaces, eye rolling, loud and persistent sniffing, shoulder shrugs, leg squats, hand motions, toe curls, and abdominal crunches. Nor is he able to silence the constant repetitive counting and intrusive thoughts inside his head.

Given all that, could you really blame him for not wanting to sit still over even the best of books?

I was beginning to wonder if he would ever enjoy reading. If he would ever curl up in a sunny window with a favorite book and escape for hours into his imagination, as I often do. Or if he would always dread it as though it were some torturous punishment he was forced to endure. The very thought of all he’d be missing broke my heart.

One day, on a whim, I picked up the first three books of The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne. The chapters were short, the print was large, and the subjects were fascinating and diverse. The covers promised intriguing tales of mummies, dinosaurs, and knights. Magic and mystery all woven into simple stories with likable heroes. He read the first one — reluctant and slow — and actually came back for more… on his own!

Eureka! I’d found books he liked enough, even for all his discomfort, to READ!

As luck would have it, he’d just been assigned his very first book report. He chose to do his report about The Knight At Dawn (Book 2 of the Magic Tree House series). My mother spent hours laboring over his book report with him. We made him color-coded flashcards, and colorful props, and listened while he practiced in front of our family. Speaking in front of a group (as you can imagine) is no small challenge, but he was proud of his book report and tackled the presentation with a knight’s poise and a hero’s courage.

Bag and Props

And he still wanted to READ!

I decided to strike while the iron was hot. I googled the author, the series, and even fanned them on Facebook. We found the tour dates for The Magic Tree House Passport to Adventure. It was coming soon to our state! So I did what any overzealous Type A mother would do… I scheduled a field trip.

It was a long journey to the big city where Jack and Annie, the main characters in the series, were scheduled to appear. In preparation, we downloaded four of the Audiobooks so we could listen together in the car. And we drove two hours to Fairfax, VA, to meet Jack and Annie in person!

Jack and Annie

Connor and his Book

The actors performed a few musical numbers for the kids, and talked with them about the joys and benefits of reading. The children were told they could all take a Secret Oath, committing to do three simple things in order to become Reading Ambassadors:

  1. Read 5 books in the next 30 days
  2. Carry their reading passports with them and record the books they’ve read
  3. And help someone else learn to read

 

Great lessons, even for adults. What I heard was:

  1. Set a goal for yourself
  2. Measure and keep track of your progress toward that goal
  3. And help others along the way

 

Suddenly, reading was full of texture and color and sound and movement. It was meaningful! There were real faces he could associate with the story, and they were standing close enough to touch him!

At the event, I purchased my son the newest release in the series, a beautiful hardback book with a colorful jacket. The actors signed his book, presented him his passport, and allowed us to photograph him with them. He was so thrilled (and not just because he thought Annie was beautiful or because he thought Jack was actually Daniel Radcliffe!)

Signing

My son has since informed me that he plans to read the entire series… all 45+ books… himself. And I couldn’t be happier about it.

He loves to READ!

There is hope for even the most reluctant reader. And I am eternally thankful to the children’s authors whose creativity makes reading an enchanting experience for my kids. Extra special thanks to Mary Pope Osborne, Jack and Annie, and the bookstores who support events like the Passport Adventure! You truly put the magic in the Tree House stories!

On Selflessness and Sacrifice

It was a blistering cold day, that Valentine’s in 2006.  But I was shivering with excitement. Not from the weather. I’d spent days planning it. Coordinating and negotiating it to the smallest detail.

I’d bought a car.

And not just any car.

I’d ordered the ultimate “I Love You” present. I’d secretly purchased my husband the 2006 World Car of the Year — the BMW 330xi — brand new in sparkling graphite metallic finish, with every imaginable option. Did I mention it was new?

BMW

Per my instructions, it was waiting for him on the dealer lot, dressed with an obnoxious (and none-too-masculine) red ribbon and a sign in the windshield that said “SOLD to Cosimano.”

I’ll never forget the look on his face.

The scared-shitless one, when he turned to me and whispered “What the hell did you do?”

You see, I’d just gone back to work after four years of Stay-Home-Motherhood. I’d dieted my way back into my executive clothes, and clawed my way through 12 hour work days while juggling day care and bedtime. Because I wanted to. Because I needed to.

And he’d supported me, without hesitation or question or judgement. When I’d wanted to be home with them, he’d said we’d make it work. And now that I was ready to go back, his response was the same. He diapered and changed, bathed and fed, medicated and cuddled our children without once complaining that I should be home doing it. He gave me the freedom to climb my way back up the ladder. And climb I did.

And when I wanted to show him how much I loved him for it — in a grossly indulgent over-expression of my gratitude and admiration — I did.

He’s been driving his dream car for five years.

Until last night… when he waved good bye to that car without hesitation or question or judgement, so that we can afford to pursue my dream — my dream — for one more year.

Sometimes our love isn’t measured by what we give to each other, but rather by what we’re willing to give up.

Mar

31, 2011 |

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Angry Airplane Lady

Today’s post is about accountability.

And airplane bathrooms. But mostly about accountability.

On a recent flight, my five year old son tugged on my sleeve and told me he had to go to the bathroom. I glanced down the aisle. It was empty of passengers awaiting the “necessary” so I said, sure. No problem.

I followed Little Man to the front of the plane. Then made him wait while I checked the “Vacant” sign. Yep, the sign said the bathroom was empty, so I let him reach for the handle.

Whoooopps!

There was Angry Airplane Lady, still doing her business, and not very happy with my son. Little Man was very polite and immediately shut the door. He turned as red as she did, and I assured him he’d done nothing wrong. Angry Airplane Lady had simply forgotten to lock the door.

Hey. It happens.

Eventually, Angry Airplane Lady emerged, and she glared daggers at my little boy. She mumbled something at him under her breath and proceeded to huff and puff and glower at him through the rest of the flight. (She happened to have the seat right behind us… just our luck.)

As much as I tried, she wouldn’t look me in the eyes, because I am old enough to know and she is old enough to know — despite her behavior suggesting the contrary — who was actually responsible for the bathroom door debacle. It wasn’t the five year old’s fault. So why lay the blame on him?

We all make mistakes sometimes. If it hadn’t been my son, it would have been the next person to barge in on her business. And yet, she made it a point to show everyone, through her behavior, that she was not woman enough to take responsibility for her own embarrassing oversight.

I’m not sure where I was going with this post. But I guess my message is, remember to lock the door. And don’t point fingers at someone else who is smaller and incapable of defending himself if you know in your heart the mistake was your own.

And if you happen to walk in on Angry Airplane Lady, on a flight to or from Dulles International or Cancun, send her my warmest regards and a copy of my post.

Writing Like Real Estate

In my previous life, I sold houses. Lots of them. I guess you could say I was pretty good at it. The more time I spend immersed in the writing world, the more parallels I find between selling a book and selling a house. It’s just a different kind of property.

Lindsey For Sale Sign

This month, I’ve worked closely with my agent to determine the new direction for my book. As we explore new tones, new themes, new characters, and new plotlines, we’ve come to the decision that the book will be… well… entirely new.

I’ve survived the emotional loss and mourning process after the burial of my first completed draft. I am starting my novel again… nearly from scratch… knowing it will be stronger, tighter, and more gripping for the changes.

As I’ve shared this news with friends and family, people have asked questions, like why didn’t you just choose an agent that likes your book the way it is? Or why not just ask your agent to submit it in “as is” condition? Maybe it will sell?

I didn’t even have to think about the answer; it came as easy as breathing. Because if I think of my book in terms of real estate — it’s my property, and it’s extremely valuable to me, so it’s a reasonable analogy — my answer is no.

Here’s why…

Let’s say you have a house, and you want to sell it. You want to list it for the best possible asking price, and you want it to show well. Not only that, but you want the listing agent to be savvy, aggressive, and honest in their counsel. You want more than just a lop-sided “for sale” sign in the yard and a half-assed ad in the Sunday paper. You want the best possible contract with the best possible terms. So you interview and hire the most professional agent to list your home.

That über-agent will walk through your home, show you the comps, present a comprehensive marketing plan, and tell you what you need to do to make your home show-ready. If they’re good at what they do, they’ll be honest with their feedback. If the house really sparkles, then it will demand a higher asking price from the market, and maybe even yield multiple offers.

In my case, my agent told me the house has incredible potential, but it needs work. We can make it better… and this will involve a few pretty significant repairs. I had a choice. I could go with an agent who might be willing to slap a for sale sign on it and throw it out into the market without much due diligence. It would be a numbers game, a gamble on the possibility of a sale. Or I could choose the savvy agent (who’s going to expect some elbow grease from me) to make sure the property sells for the best possible price.

No contest. I chose Agent #2.

So this is me… stripping ugly wallpaper and threadbare carpeting, remodeling kitchens and baths, giving my story a stronger foundation with crisp decor and a shiny coat of paint. This story is a reflection of me and my choices. So, this is me… working harder, putting my best foot forward, even if it means taking a step back. Because anything worth having is worth working for.

 

Mar

18, 2011 |

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Secret Superpower

In recent years, the YA market introduced readers to a broad spectrum of young people with super-human powers. I admit, some of these powers are pretty snazzy and would probably come in handy in a war-plagued dystopian universe. Like reading minds, or talking to dead people, never missing a target, manipulating the weather, or shooting laser beams from your fingertips.

All very cool.

All worthy of great tales of heroism.

A little known fact about me? I also wield a great superpower. It’s probably not worthy of a best-selling YA novel. And it would only come in handy in a post-apocalyptic world involving way too much water and Kevin Costner at the helm of an ark.

But it is a gift. And I am proud of it. So I will share my secret power with you.

Little Elle Fishing

I can catch fish.

Lots of them.

Anywhere.

And I don’t need an expensive reel to do it. (Sorry, I had an Allison Reynolds/Breakfast Club moment. Picture me digging a shiny Penn reel, a bag of frozen squid, and a package of double bottom rigs from my overstuffed handbag…)

I don’t know the meaning of the word skunk. And I’m no girlie-girl. I bait my own hook.

Ask my father or my sons. They’ve watched with wonder and amazement as all species of sea life found themselves snagged by my infallible hook (insert evil laughter sound clip here). True story of a mother’s love… I once caught a tropical fish in the shallows of a tidal pool using a tiny plastic sand bucket and a PB&J sandwich for bait. How could I say no when he looked at me with those big watery eyes and said, “Please, Mommy. You’re the only one who can catch him for me!”

And that’s no fish tale.

I like to think it would be an advantageous power to have if I suddenly found myself struggling to survive in Panem’s District 4.

I’m a believer that everyone has something they do really well.

So I’m curious. What’s yours?

Mar

07, 2011 |

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I promise you won't go blind…

(Disclaimer: This post is about masturbation. All those too chicken to talk about it may abort now. I promise you won’t go blind. But you may stay ignorant. I can’t help you with that.)

So here we go…

I have a Facebook page with a small clan of loyal followers (mostly friends, family, and old colleagues). My “Average Daily Users” hover in the neighborhood of five. One of them is usually my mother.

It’s cool. I get it. I’m not very important.

This morning, just because I was curious, I checked out my Insights Report, neat functionality that allows me to see a snapshot of activity (or lack of) on my page.

Here’s what I saw…

Active Facebook Users Feb 7 Daily Post Views

My “Average Daily Users” and my “Average Post Views” shot up to 85 on February 7th.

From 5 to 85 in one day! WTF?

What did I post on my page on February 7th? So I went back to my Wall and looked.

This huge spike in traffic occurred the day I posted a link to “Sticky The Movie” — a documentary about masturbation. I can’t embed the trailer, but here’s a link. If you haven’t watched it, go ahead and check it out now, and then come back… I’ll wait.

So I crunched a few numbers with a calculator (cut me some slack… I failed Basic College Math 101 all three times) and then I threw the calculator out the window. But here’s my best estimate:

Video link + masturbation theme = a big freaking increase in traffic in one day… for one post.

And yet, not one “Like” or one Comment. And not one person shared the link. Hmmm…

Obviously, everyone is very interested in the subject of masturbation. And we all know everyone’s done it. (Any brownie points you think you earn by denying it are wasted. You just wipe them out by lying about it.) Is it possible, that in this modern day of progressive and liberal thinkers, we are still too afraid to talk about masturbating? Seriously?

So, you might say “Elle, your followers are all teens who are probably just too embarrassed to talk about “it” [giggle into your hand and insert creative euphemism of choice here].”

But you would be wrong.

The vast majority of my followers are not teens. And I’ll prove it…

Facebook Page Gender and Age chart

So now you say, “Big deal. We’re grown ups and we don’t have to talk about it.”

To which I respectfully call bullshit.

Those of you in the big, fat column marked “Ages 25-44” are also probably parents. Many of you are parents of teenagers, or will be very soon. My guess is most of you have not, and will not, talk about masturbation with your kids. Most don’t. And we can’t rely on MTV or American Pie (as awesome as that movie is) to do the job for us. These are just vague references, watered down in bathroom humor and flashy lyrics. (Most of my adolescent friends and I thought Cyndi Lauper’s “She Bop” actually was a dance move or a day-glow plastic o-ring bracelet, and The Divinyls “I Touch Myself” didn’t come on the scene until I was college-bound.)

So my point is, no one is really talking about it.

And here’s a true story about that.

When I was a freshman, one of my best guy-friends from high school called me. (For those of you who’ve known me that long, no, I will not share his name, so don’t ask.) For today’s story, we’ll call him Fred. Fred was a little late to bloom and struggled a bit in the cruel and sadistic middle school/high school social mix. He was distraught and crying on the phone (yes, guys sometimes cry).

Fred told me he thought there was something wrong with him and he wanted to kill himself. So I asked him why. He told me he’d touched himself. I asked him if it felt good, and did he make a big mess. He said yes. I assured him his plumbing was fine. There was nothing wrong with him, and not to forget to wear a condom if he had any plans to do it with anyone else.

That’s the problem, he said. Fred assumed his desire to touch his own penis (yes, I said it… go ahead and get your giggles out now. We’ll probably say it again… penis, penis, penis…) must be an indication of sexual preference. He assumed it meant he was gay. And he was devastated by the sudden and frightening implications of what he’d just done to himself.

So I asked him, Fred, what were you thinking about when you got excited? He told me he’d pilfered his Dad’s Playboy (back then, porn came delivered to your house in conspicuously inconspicuous paper sacks) and he was thinking about the centerfold, a blonde with particularly large breasts.

Scary dilemma #2 was solved. No, Fred, you’re probably not gay, I said. And touching yourself when you think of naked ladies is normal. And even if you were fantasizing about boy parts and hot guys, there would still be nothing wrong with you!

But it’s a penis, he argued. He didn’t like penises. Why did he want to touch one? And if it was normal, and all the other guys were doing it, why wasn’t anybody talking about it?

Fred raises a great question. Why isn’t anybody talking about it. Not joking or giggling or making up dance moves about it. Really talking about it. I couldn’t answer that question then. I still can’t. But here’s what still bugs me about this…

1- Fred was scared to death because he touched himself, and he felt dirty and guilty and wrong for doing it.

2- Fred wanted to kill himself because he thought he might be gay.

Now here’s the real eye opener…

3- What if Fred was your teenager? What would you say to him if you could? What if you never got the chance?

Three really good discussion points. Who volunteers to go first?

I know we can’t expect the schools to tackle this subject in Health Ed. And frankly, there are a few teachers I can think of who might be the exception to the “everyone is doing it” theory. Or maybe it’s just been too long since they’ve tried. Not sure how effective that class lecture might be, and a little afraid to think about it.

So where do we begin having some intelligent adult conversations?

Here’s a start. If you’re curious (don’t lie, we all know you are) here’s where you can watch the trailer, “Like” the trailer, and/or share the trailer. “But Elle,” you whine, “people will see I liked it on my Wall. What will they think?” Who cares what they think! You’re a progressive individual with an open mind, and you’ve got backbone!

And most importantly talk to your kids. If you need ideas, here’s where I plan to start with my boys once they’re old enough to hear it. I’m starting with two Health Ed lessons too often forgetten.

#1 – It’s okay to love yourself, both physically and emotionally.

#2 – You’re okay, and I will love, respect and support you, no matter who you love.

Feb

24, 2011 |

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Good Things Come…

To those of you patiently awaiting more “Welcome Back Kotter” clips, I extend my apologies. It’s been a very busy week.

I am giddy. I am exhausted. I have an agent.

Thanks to the power of The Query Letter, I am now represented by the extraordinary Sarah Davies of The Greenhouse Literary Agency, and officially promoted from struggling, starving writer to squealing, starving author.

Nearly’s finally found a home. She needs a little work (I’m not gonna lie) and I will be buried for the next several months under a mountain of revision notes. In the spirit of Daniel Day Lewis, I’ll stay alive no matter what occurs, but promise to come find me. And bring me Swedish Fish. All writer survival kits should come properly equipped.

For those following and waiting, Nearly’s book will also undergo a name change. Apropos (for those who already know her story). But fear not, no hotties will be killed in the re-making of the story.

All good things.

So thanks for being here. For helping me heft my bucket. I couldn’t have realized this dream without you.