Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Sigh


My friend Moira Greto took this photo of Ben. 



Oh, my friends. You know how this is for me. These first low, low back-to-school days. I believe I have mentioned them before, yes? The wild grapes just starting to perfume the air, the sunlight gone sharp and cool, the street dotted with bright maple leaves. Things I love! And yet. "I think the cats are depressed about the kids being gone," I say to Michael, and he smiles at me, nods. "Do you think I have Epstein-Barr?" I ask him. "I'm so tired." "Probably," he says, and I laugh. The house is echoing. I bake a plum cake to kill time. I blitz half a watermelon in the blender with the juice of a lime, drink the entire thing and feel a little better. The cats lick my face.


And of course: Hurricane Harvey. I mean, my god. I remind myself of. . . myself. Once, during a terrible El Nino storm in Santa Cruz, I went to the SPCA to borrow some Hav-a-Heart traps. "Missing pets?" they fretted, and I said, "Oh, no. Just mice in the attic." They suggested, gently, that I waited until the disaster had passed to attend to my miniature, insulation-chewing concerns. Which seemed fair, if entirely mortifying. So yes, I will remember not to call the Coast Guard about my children having returned to school. I am sending love to you, my brave, beloved Texas people.


And, in the meantime, this middle-grade novel is about to be published! In a week. September 5th. Please order it! Please review it on Amazon and Goodreads! Please ask your local library and bookstore to order it! I will be so, so grateful. Kirkus even wrote something nice about it, concluding: "Readers will revel in Frankie and Walter’s cathartic romp and learn much about grief, family, and friendship along the way." The same Kirkus who once described a book of mine as so dull that it made you wish you were Captain Hook just so you could claw your own eyes out more efficiently. That was, at least, the gist of the review, I felt. Anyhoo. If you know anyone who writes book reviews or is a children's librarian or a bookshop owner, and you wanted to put me in touch with them, I'd be thrilled! Thank you so much, as always, for your help.


p.s. Speaking of help, and how I'm always asking for it: will you please send me questions for my parenting-teens advice column? Thank you! 

38 comments:

  1. So excited to see your new book coming out! It looks like a great Christmas gift for my two nieces. I'm also excited to see that Catastrophic Happiness is in paperback and in stock at my local bookstore. I think it's going to be my long weekend read. (Or at least one of them.)

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    1. Thank you, dear Solitary Diner! xo

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  2. I was on Amazon a few days ago, and to cheer myself up, checked the release dates of your books. I was indeed cheered -- happy and excited on your behalf, and my behalf, too, because I get to enjoy the books!
    xo
    mb

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    1. Ah, mb, you're the best. Thank you so much. xo

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  3. ooooooh, I pre-bought on amazon months ago, so will have a happy (sorta) surprise next week. We read the Basil Frankweiler book earlier this summer to prepare. :D

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    1. Ryann, I love that! Thank you for ordering. And for preparing! : )

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  4. Anonymous9:44 PM

    I was googling a particularly troubling question regarding my 17 year old and the first, best and most useful response was yours from that advice column. Thank you for being the voice of calm sanity always.

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    1. Hey, thank you for saying that! That's so nice to hear. xo

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  5. I'm a children's librarian and pre-ordered One Mixed-Up Night ... I'm SO excited it's almost out! And I can't wait to share it with my kiddos, after *I* read it first!!

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    1. YAY! Thank you so much, Carrie. That's my favorite kind of thing to hear! : )

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  7. Over at the parenting teens advice column, your answer to the lady who didn't want her 17 year old to have sex was the BEST THING EVER. I want to hand it out to friends -- and to strangers on street corners. And to all the people who thought my parents were crazy for taking your approach way back in the ancient days of the 80s and 90s. :-)

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    1. Thank you, dear Hanna. I love that you loved that. xo

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  8. I suggested it to Learning Ally, so maybe they will record a copy of your book for Dyslexic students and the vision impaired!

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    1. How great would that be? Fingers crossed--and thank you! xo

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  9. Love this. Love how you write about the angst of the empty, echoing house with awareness of all that's going on in Harvey's path but honesty about what you're feeling, too. I find that balance so hard to find, which is why I sometimes stay away from my blog when I am buying mousetraps. Your book - will order, read, review and recommend as much as possible (even though more than a teensy bit jealous).

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    1. "buying mousetraps" should be our code for lameness. Thank you, dear Rachel.

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  12. Anonymous5:46 PM

    Just read your recent columns at she knows. Excellent and useful as usual. And 14 and 17's input regarding teen sex was so perfect. Grateful they & their astute and sensitive cohorts are our future. I have to believe that they will be able to make the world a better place - they do a great job of it right now.

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    1. Thank you, dear Anonymous! That's so nice to hear. xo

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  13. I am enjoying your parenting column, and have brought it to the parents discussion group which meets in our tiny town's church, sort of as a jumping off point (also, apparently because being the only liberal Jew wasn't enough to single myself out...anyhoo) I cannot sign in over there,and wanted to share the tale of an ex who ate in his room...yes, he wound up super picky and has questionable table manners, but it saved him from the misery that was the table. A sister on drugs, parents unable to help or unknowing...it was pretty terrible. There could be more to the story of the mom who just wants her boy at the table,and he wants to eat elsewhere.

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    1. Anonymous1:23 PM

      Hmm... what story of a mom who wants her boy to eat at the table? I don't see anything in this post that mentions it, and I don't understand the comment (although, oddly, I do understand what it means to be the only liberal Jew in a tiny town, since I once was one!) :)

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    2. That was in the parenting column over at the SheKnows site. Thank you for saying this, ssm. It's so true that we only ever know part of the story! I will try to remember that. So important. xo

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    3. Oh, gotcha. Just found it, thanks!

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  15. Children's Librarian here (Somerville, MA -- West Branch). Your book will be in my next order! And oh, maybe I'll have my middle-grade book group read it! Thanks, as always, for all the different things you write. (Side note: Jennifer Rosner is coming to speak here -- I believe you recommended her book once upon a time, and I read it and loved it, and now we're building programming around our SomervilleReads selection, Cece Bell's "El Deafo", and I immediately thought of Jennifer's book -- so you can take credit for her author talk here in Somerville!)

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    1. I love everything about this comment! Thank you, Alison, for all of these things. Also, you will love Jennifer! She is the greatest.

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  16. Just got notice that the book was delivered! Can’t wait!

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    1. Yay! Thank you so much!

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  17. Only thing I like better than the IKEA catalog is "One Mixed Up Night." Link posted to blog :)

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  18. I received my copy of "One Mixed-Up Night" today!! (But where was the love letter from Catherine Newman?) I am so excited! I am reading it tonight!

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  19. Anonymous6:42 PM

    I ccan't bring myself to sign in on the site with the column, but I do love it--I have a 17yo who is much like the cell phone kid. He still doesn't have one and has been perfectly fine with his ipod until this summer, when his friends got androids and couldn't easily include him. He still doesn't want a phone, and it is alright for now. Really doesn't want a smartphone b/c he thinks it will be a problem for him. (Being so aware of himself is probably why he is okay being probably the only sr w/o a phone.)

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  20. How much do I love that advice column?! The answers to the question about the 17-yo lying about sex were perfection, and that transparent, accommodating approach is the one my husband and I have taken with our 15-yo daughter and her boyfriend.

    I've always believed that more information and the willingness to share it (as well as to listen) go a long way to creating a positive relationship with our kids.

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  21. Life has kept me from the pleasures of Internet leisure for many months, so I have many belated reactions now that I have stopped in on your wonderful world of family and creativity. I'm excited to share your middle grade book with my seven year old. And I'm so happy to see you that you have a teen advice column! I have already sent it on to my parent-of-teen friends. Exactly on time. Also, Catherine, I'm so terribly sorry that the your late and beloved friend's brother lost his wife. That's just horrific. My condolences. And the reason this omnibus comment on your last few posts is here is because I was so struck by your friend Moira's photo of Ben -- impossible. I remember his tiny face from your nauseated pregnant camping trip photo. How is he nearly an adult? In five minutes, I guess, my own 7 year old will be 17, because there's no way it's been more than a decade of my own life since I started reading you. Your family is lovely, and you bring me hope, as always, that heartbreak and joy can possibly be in balance in this life.

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