Monthly Archives: October 2011

To Be Four

(c) la luz photography 2011

She plays with her brother like they’re puppies, jumping and hiding, then pouncing and rolling. Her toys are his and she’s willing to share almost anything to make him happy. She dresses herself in the morning and prefers to wear all one color – purple, green, blue, pink. When she’s done eating, she asks to be ‘misused.’ She thinks the ‘pider that lives in her bathroom is cute. She has two imaginary friends/sisters both named Jada.

You have to ask her 10 or 15 times to take her shoes off or put them on. You can’t get her to use her fork or stay at the dinner table. She flits about the living room, all greasy-fingered and ferile while the rest of the family eats. She’d like you to think that she can’t hear you or control her body or listen to what you are saying. But when you ask her what she wants for her 4th birthday, she snaps to attention right at your feet. You squat and she looks right into your eyes and says, very clearly, without any hesitation – a doll house, a princess doll and a remote controlled car – like she’s been thinking about this for years.

Then, just like that was a dream, that girl is gone, and she is once again dancing and rubbing her greasy fingers all over the couch because she’s in a different world occupied by Jadas and spiders wearing monochromatic clothes and she can’t possibly hear you telling her to stop.

Happy 4th birthday to my favorite baby girl.

How We’re Doing

Well, awesome. The readings at Elliott Bay Book Company, Village Books and Nordstrom all had strong attendance and book sales. The Bellevue Square Nordstrom is now selling the book in their lingerie department. I guess it’s kind of like buying a CD at Starbucks. Rumor is that the distributor is upping their order quantity and the publisher is burning through their stock. Thank you for buying copies, recommending it to your friends and spreading the word.

We’ve seen some great reviews and a little love from the online world. Here’s a recap:

Shelf Awareness for Readers, Featured, Starred Review – October 14, 2011

Shelf Awareness Book Brahmin Author Interview – October 12, 2011

The Next Family Blog Post – October 6, 2011

Coffee Jitters Blog Book Review – September 29, 2011

I’ve enjoyed getting your Who in This Room love notes on Facebook and in email. It’s been the best part of this whole experience. Some of you have asked how you can help. If you want to take these love notes and post them to your favorite book-review site, I’d promise to love you and care for you forever.

Since I’m asking for things… In the midst of all this book madness, Hysterical Mommy Network, Who in This Room’s neglected pet fish, is up for a Red Tricycle Totally Awesome Award. You can vote here. I’m late to this party and the contest ends the end of this month!

While you’re at the Red Tricycle site, you can pop over and vote for Josie and Little K in the Red Tricycle Spooktakular Pumpkin Photo Contest. We’re finalists!

Thank you! Love. Forever. You.


My Life at Stack ‘n Stuff

I’m in this weird place right now. I’m kind of on maternity leave, I’m kind of a stay-at-home mom, but I also have this book thing. The official launch date of Who in This Room: The Realities of Cancer, Fish, and Demolition was October 11th and every day that goes by, my prime book promotion window closes a tiny bit, and every day that goes by, my kids get one day older. There’s a lot I’d like to do on the book promotion front, but it all requires travel or time at my desk, which my 15-month-old will not allow. It’s an age-old parenting story. Like many parents, I want to be all things at all times. I want to be out promoting the book, but I want to be here with the kids. What’s a frustrated, driven, over-achieving mother to do?

Well, here’s one thing I do have plenty of…. Time with a toddler. I have lots of that. What can one do with a toddler? Well, one can organize her junk drawer. Then perhaps she’ll feel so satisfied she can design and install her daughter’s closet with the help of her toddler wobbling around with hammer in hand. Then she can move the spice drawer and re-organize her kitchen utensil drawer. Well, then, there’s only two more drawers in the kitchen that need help and, well, maybe she can do those the next day because it’s supposed to rain and she has this coupon and they’ll go to story time in the morning, but after nap they’ll need something to do, and there’s a playground nearby and it’s covered so the slide will be dry and so that would be just perfect. It’s just the thing!

This happens to be our routine. Morning, play around the house, naptime where I spend a few minutes at my desk, trying to get some shit done. Then afternoon snack and we head to the mall. We go to the playground first so K can blow off steam, and then to Storables so that I can. He has his fun then I have mine. The result: I’m in that store pretty much every day. I should wear a sign that says “Hi, I’m an over-achiever mother who should not be staying at home but is staying at home. Please excuse me (get out of my way before I run you down) K THX BYE! J” But, then I think, why would I need a sign? Is this not self-evident?

At the store, they greet K and me with a friendly smile and a wave. They notice and comment on his cute haircut. I load up on containers and baskets; then I go home and start getting dinner ready. When Paul opens a drawer in the kitchen, he raises his eyebrows and asks how everyone is doing at “stack ‘n stuff” today. We both know that he knows it’s called Storables but I correct him anyway. Everyone at Storables is fine, I say. Thanks for asking.

Then while Josie stands in her cape on the armrest of the couch and jumps to the floor, while K reaches up to the counter to grab whatever breakable or sharp item he can find, I reach into my supremely-organized utensil drawer and let out a contented exhale as I retrieve the forks and knives for the table, because while I may not be able to control my superhero, my counter-reaching monster, or the trajectory of book sales, I can most definitely, control the contents of my kitchen drawers.

Books and Babies

2011 has been a big year for us. Legendary. We met little K in June. Five months later Who in This Room: The Realities of Cancer, Fish, and Demolition is being published.

Perhaps one could say that in 2011 I was expecting two babies. But there are some very distinct differences. For example, Little K is much cuter than the book. And the book doesn’t ask me to rub its head while I drive. The book doesn’t pee through its diapers at night and occasionally scream out with night terrors. The book doesn’t throw peas on the floor then burst into giant tears when you tell it to stop. The book doesn’t shriek like a baby pterodactyl when it’s tired. And, more notably, the book doesn’t pull up my shirt and try to give me zerberts on the stomach.

Conversely, Little K doesn’t sit quietly on my desk or in a box on my floor. He is rarely misplaced and never forgotten (although I can’t say the same for his shoes). He doesn’t have 139 neatly formatted pages and, so far, he doesn’t have nearly as many words, but I know he will someday.

Really, there is only one baby.

But there are some similarities. Both feel like once in a lifetime events. Both are epic creations. Both bring me joy. I am so lucky, fortunate and grateful that they both exist.

Since becoming a parent, my goals for my children have changed. No longer do they need to be the leaders of the free world. After watching them speak with bits of food falling from their mouths, throw tantrums over already-chewed pieces of gum, and dress themselves in brown polka dotted leg warmers and yellow striped socks, I’ve learned that they are who they are. What will be will be.

Now, I simply hope my children will find things – subjects, sports, activities, hobbies – they like and that they’re good at. I hope they can earn money in an endeavor related to this interest or some other career they enjoy. In short: I hope my children find their place in the world and people that make them happy.

My hopes for the book are similar. WITR had to be written. During and after treatment I was obsessed and consumed by those stories. I thought about them 24×7. I was working it all out, creating art from grief. It had to be done and now that it is done, I hope people discover its strengths and that people connect with it. In short: I hope it finds its place in the world and the people who love it.

That is all.

Who in This Room: The Realities of Cancer, Fish, and Demolition is out! You can buy it anywhere good books are sold.