if he gets up, we'll all get up; it'll be anarchy!

June 26, 2013

good things happened today.

i finished two of the six remaining scenes in need of rewrites.

the supreme court batted down two laws prohibiting same sex marriage--doma and prop eight.

texas state senator wendy davis conducted a successful filibuster, effectively squashing governor rick perry's attempt to make illegal abortions performed after the twentieth week.

and i was so proud of democracy today.

not necessarily because of what was accomplished. but because of how it was accomplished.

so many women rallied in my state's capitol to voice their overwhelming dissent to sb five.

davis almost failed. because seven hours in, senator williams representing the woodlands tried to say she'd been in violation of the filibuster rules (and i'm probably not gonna vote for you in the future, good sir. just so you know. in case you somehow managed to come across this here post). apparently another senator had tried to give her support. literally. senator ellis, representing houston, tried to put a back brace on senator davis. OH NO! we can't have that!

this is gonna seem totally unrelated... but i've had breakfast club on the brain today.

i gotta tell you, after watching this clip, i kind of feel like some of my state legislators are right up there with vernon on the vile scale.

like senator williams.

and governor perry.

mr. perry's a graduate of the fine institution known as texas a&m university. 

the more i see this man in action, the less i like him. and the more i think he makes that school look bad.

yall've heard the aggie jokes, haven't you? well, there's a pretty good crop of'm here if you haven't.

you've heard of some of the monumentally ridiculous things the great state of texas' governor has said, haven't you? well, there's a really good crop of'm here if you haven't.

you know what happened after the senate was unsuccessful in passing bill number five? my governor--a man who just the other day signed some bill about how you could say merry christmas in school--he goes and calls a second special session to order. and congress will reconvene on the first of july to try again.

and this, among other things, is what he said about that:

through their duly elected representatives, the citizens of our state have made crystal clear their priorities for our great state.

yeah. that's why all these people showed up.

and it's not like our lieutenant governor, mr. dewhurst, is any better:

i am furious about the outcome of the final day of this special session, when an unruly, screaming mob using 'occupy wall street' tactics derailed legislation intended to protect the health of texas women and their babies.
a bunch of good ole boys with their bibles and their rifles are doing their damnedest to screw up this fine state of mine.

that man up there, the one wearing a damned burnt orange tie? he calls himself an aggie.

you keep using that word. i do not think it means what you think it means.

i've also had the princess bride on the brain today.

we need more people like john bender and dread pirate roberts in our congress. and fewer people like vernon and vizzini.

more people like wendy davis. and fewer people like rick perry.

five. songs that bring back memories

June 25, 2013

one. bette midler's the rose. i sang this all the time. on the bus. on walks around my neighborhood. in my house. and when i couldn't sing it because i was in a class or something, i was writing down the lyrics. again and again and again... it was sort of like a security blanket. i tried to sing it in my fourth grade class' talent show, but i was too shy to even stand up in front of a dozen kids and do it, even though i knew i could sing it well.

two. u2's with or without you. i never get tired of hearing this song. i can recall sitting on the porch of my college dorm in the wee wee hours of the morning--i couldn't sleep--with my discman and my cigarettes and that song.

three. metallica's enter sandman. my freshman year in college, my suitemates made me go to pittsburgh, kansas, to the rockin' k. and we took over the dance floor, made a big circle and headbanged. i'm pretty sure that's the only time i've done that, but i like remembering it.

four. p.j. harvey's one line. a boy made me a cd for my birthday. it was the first time i'd received a mix from a guy. it was a weird mix, with a lot of bands i'd not heard of before. but it, like the boy, grew on me. and it, like the boy, got tossed.

five. third eye blind's god of wine. the day my brother died. this was on repeat as i made the trek home.
Life. Love.Lauren

random quarter: the characters edition

June 24, 2013

one. lizzie hexam. our mutual friend by charles dickens.
the brave, devoted daughter of jesse hexam (p. xxv).

two. eugene wrayburn. our mutual friend.
a briefless barrister, of a gloomy, indolent, unambitious nature (p. xxv).

eugene to his friend, mortimer, regarding lizzie: that lonely girl with the dark hair runs in my head. it was little more than a glimpse we had of her that last time, and yet i almost see her waiting by the fire to-night. do you feel like a dark combination of traitor and pickpocket when you think of that girl? (p. 162).

three. clare abshire. the time traveler's wife by audrey niffenegger.
an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course (back cover).

four. henry detamble. the time traveler's wife. 
a dashing, adventuresome librarian who involuntarily travels through time (back cover).

henry, upon meeting clare for the first time: this astoundingly beautiful amber-haired tall slim girl turns around and looks at me as though i am her personal jesus. my stomach lurches. obviously she knows me, and i don't know her. lord only knows what i have said, done or promised to this luminous creature...  i realize that a massive winning lottery ticket chunk of my future has somehow found me here in the present, and i start to laugh... i see clare running across washington square, jumping and whooping, and i am near tears and i don't know why (pp. 5-6).

five. rosie dunne. love rosie by cecelia ahern. (THEY'RE MAKING A MOVIE!!! maybe it'll be better than time traveler's wife's movie was.)

to alex, you are invited to my seventh birthday party on tuesday the eighth of april in my house. we are having a magician and you can come to my house at two o'clock. it is over  at five o'clock. i hope you will come. from your best friend, rosie (p. 3).

six. alex stewart. love rosie.
to rosie, yes i will come to your brithday party on wensday. form alex (p. 3).

seven. liza weiler. right before your eyes by ellen shanman.
outspoken playwright... too close to the spector of failure (back cover).

eight. george doren. right before your eyes.
suspiciously gallant wall street prince (back cover).

liza, upon meeting george for the first time: george, the unfortunately handsome jackass with whom we'd first make contact at dinner, had perceived in me an admirable foe and was attempting to ply me with liquor while we verbally stabbed each other (p. 1).

nine. victoria jones. the language of flowers by vanessa diffenbaugh.

ten. grant hastings. the language of flowers.

victoria, upon meeting grant for what she believes is the first time. he withdrew a single tiger lily from a bucket. 

"take one," he said, handing it to me.

"no," i said. "i don't like lilies." and i'm no queen, i thought. 

"you should," he said. "they suit you."

"how do you know what suits me?" without thinking, i snapped the head of the lily he held. six pointed petals fell, the flower's face examining the hard floor (pp. 35-36).

eleven. augustus waters. the fault in our stars.

augustus, attending a support group with his friend isaac, who is about to lose his sight to cancer. when asked about his fears, he replies: "i fear oblivion." he said without a moment's pause. "i fear it like the proverbial blind man who's afraid of the dark."

"too soon," isaac said, cracking a smile.

"was that insensitive?" august asked. "i can be blind to other people's feelings" (pp. 11-12).

twelve. remus lupin. the harry potter series by j.k. rowling.

thirteen. severus snape. the harry potter series.

fourteen. james potter. the harry potter series.

fifteen. sirius black. the harry potter series.

the marauder's map: "mr. moony presents his compliments to professor snape, and begs him to keep his abnormally large nose out of other people's business."

snape froze. harry stared, dumbstruck, at the message. but the map didn't stop there. more writing was appearing beneath the first. 

"mr. prongs agrees with mr. moony, and would like to add that professor snape is an ugly git."

it would've been very funny if the situation hadn't been so serious. and there was more...

"mr. padfoot would like to register his astonishment that an idiot like that ever became a professor" (harry potter and the prisoner of azkaban--p. 287).

sixteen. katherine powell. lovers and dreamers (nora roberts' dream trilogy--daring to dream, holding the dream, finding the dream).

seventeen. byron dewitt. lovers and dreamers.

byron, regarding kate: katherine powell was not his type. 

skinny, abrasive women with more attitude than charm didn't appeal to him. he liked them soft, and smart, and sexy. he admired them simply for being women, and delighted in the bonuses of quiet conversation, hardheaded debate, outrageous laughter, and hot, mindless sex... he wasn't remotely attracted to kate (lovers and dreamers--p. 286).

eighteen. margo sullivan. lovers and dreamers. 

nineteen. joshua templeton. lovers and dreamers.

twenty. brenna o'toole. tears of the moon by nora roberts.

shaun gallagher, on brenna: she had little hands, shawn thought. a man might think of them as delicate if he didn't know what they were capable of doing. he'd watched her swing a hammer, grip a drill, haul lumber, cinch pipes. more often than not, those little fairy hands of hers were nicked and scratched or  bruised around the knuckles...

she did, after all, have a trim and tidy little body. the sort a man could scoop up one-handed if he had a mind to. and if a man tried, shawn imagined brenna o'toole would lay him out flat. 

the idea made him grin. 

still, he'd rather look at her face any day (p. 9).

twenty-one. cameron quinn. seaswept by nora roberts.

anna spinelli talks to cameron about a young boy  named seth: "my concern is seth, mr. quinn. now we can discuss this, or i can simply move forward with the procedure for his removal from this home and into approved foster care."

"it'd be a mistake to try that, miz spinelli. seth isn't going anywhere."

her back went up at the way he drawled out her name. "seth delauter is a minor. the private adoption your father was implementing wasn't finalized, and there is some question about its validity. at this point, mr. quinn, you have no legal connection to him."

"you don't want me to tell you what you can do with your legal connection, do you, miz spinelli?" with some satisfaction he watched those big, dark eyes flash. "i didn't think so. i can resist. seth's my brother." the saying of it left him shaken. with a jerk of his shoulder, he turned. "i need a beer."

twenty-two. brianna concannon. born in ice by nora roberts.

twenty-three. grayson thane. born in ice.

when brianna meets grayson: he'd been expecting a nice homey woman with graying hair tucked in a bun. "i woke you," he said foolishly.

"we usually sleep here in the middle of the night. come in by the fire." she walked to the parlor, switching on the lights. after setting the candle aside, blowing it out, she turned to take his wet coat. "it's a terrible night for traveling."

he wasn't shapeless under the mac. though he wasn't as tall as brianna's uneasy imagination had made him, he was lean and wiry. like a boxer, she thought, then smiled at herself. poet, pirate, boxer. the man was a writer and a guest (p. 15).

twenty-four. maggie concannon. born in fire by nora roberts.

twenty-five. rogan sweeney. born in fire.

when maggie meets rogan: he knocked and, though he received no answer, shoved the door open. he had a moment to register the blast of heat, the sharp smells and the small woman seated in a big wooden chair, a long pipe in her hands.

he thought of faeries and magic spells.

"close the door, damn you, there's a draft."

he obeyed automatically, bristling under the sharp fury of the order. "your windows are open."

"ventilation. draft. idiot" (p. 41).

miles to go

June 20, 2013

so i need about fourteen pages or so. that's the bare minimum. i have six scenes i need to rewrite, and i'll be finished. that i will feel confident enough in my work that i can devote more serious efforts to shopping it. and when i say more serious efforts, i mean like scouring my literary agents guide and firing off query after query.

maybe that's one of the reasons why i've taken SO long to finish this story... because finishing it meant i'd have to sell it to someone. to sell myself. and i'm pretty sure i've mentioned before (like a million times) how much i hate doing that.

i'm starting to think of all the reasons it'll be rejected--and i'm well aware it will be rejected a shit ton of times. so far, i've heard that so-and-so doesn't represent my kind of work. doesn't like my style of writing. my characters are too weak.

this morning, i worried that i don't show enough. that i tell too much.

but my greatest fear is that i can't tell it convincingly.

one of the girls who's read it--the only one who's done so cover to cover--has said that i do better with the tragedy.

but, of course. i don't have too many instances to rely upon for happy.

one of the scenes i tried to polish off today was the conclusion of the first date. the first time reese kisses isabel, it doesn't go very well. the second time, then, needs to be awesome. but at the moment, i can't even get them to dinner. i spent my afternoon--six hours or so of it--trying to figure out where they go. i'd forgotten that my plan was that they grab sandwiches and then hem and haw over what's showing at the theaters and then they go back to his place. or maybe i was just gonna use that idea as a crutch of sorts. so... i'm picking the bar staff's brains. where should they go? where would you go? this or that?

their suggestions? mcdonald's. taco bell. international house of pancakes. chili's. cheesecake factory. tommy bahamas, kirby's.

i did a lot of bashing of the first three of those choices.

and then i remembered that one of the best dates i'd ever gone on... a first date... ihop and mcdonald's.

so i debated tinkering with that a bit.

and then it occurred to me that my readers probably wouldn't like thinking reese could be so cheap. so... back to the proverbial drawing board.

the thing is, i didn't mind the cheapness of that date. because it was rich in other ways. or so i thought at the time. granted, it was a first date. but still...

i feel foolish today. and my head is too crowded by my past.

and maybe the reason i'm having trouble writing some of these scenes is that i'm having to recall things i'd be better off forgetting.

like the way a man can stand behind you, and not physically touch you, and your whole body is alive, knowing he's just right there. right. there. all you have to do is lean back an inch. at most. but you can't. because if you do, you'll give too much of yourself away.

i'm tired of telling this story. i just want to finish these last few damned pages so i can think of other things.

six. favorite products... also known as writing tools (mostly)

June 19, 2013

one. apple macbook pro.

two. season tickets to kyle field. especially when they were affordable. especially from three years ago when the aggies beat texas tech, oklahoma and nebraska all in a pretty whopping row.

three. tops docket gold legal pads.

four.  tul black seven millimeter pens.

five. dr. pepper. because a girl can't drink coca-cola all the time.

six. pottery barn kids' large darth vader backpack.

Life. Love.Lauren


June 17, 2013

why i wanted to read it: because i loved the author's other book, eleanor and park.

what i liked: two journalists, beth and jennifer, are using their office computers to send personal emails to each other, which goes against company policy. lincoln is supposed to warn them when they're in violation. but he kind of likes reading what they write. and he kind of likes beth.

jennifer to beth: have you heard her sigh? it's like a balloon dying (p. 64).

so i hung up on her, and mitch--who had wandered into the room, but didn't know what we were fighting about--said, "i wish you wouldn't talk to her like that. she's your mother."

and i couldn't tell him, "but she thinks you're going to leave me, and she's already taking your side in the divorce" (p. 65).

beth to jennifer: he always sat in the corner. and i always sat one row across from him, three seats down... he never looked at me--or anyone else, to my relief--and he never took off his headphones... the week before finals, i showed up at the union at my usual time and found chris sitting in my seat. his headphones were around his neck, and he watched me walk toward him... he said, "hey."

and i said, "hi."

and he said, "look..." his eyes were green. he kind of squinted when he talked. "i've got a ten-thirty class next semester, so... we should probably make other arrangements."

i was struck numb.

i said, "are you mocking me?"

"no," he said. "i'm asking you out."

"then i'm saying yes."

"good... we could have dinner. you could still sit across from me. it would be just like a tuesday morning. but with breadsticks."

"now you're mocking me."

"yes." he was still smiling. "now i am."

the first year was strange. i felt like a butterfly had landed on me. if i moved or even breathed, i thought he would float away... i never knew when i would see him or when he would call. a week might go by and i wouldn't talk to him. then i'd find a note slid under my door. or a leaf. or song lyrics written in a matchbook (pp. 67-70).

jennifer: so, what's tomorrow's indian hills story about?

beth: there isn't one.

there better be. you're on the morning budget for fifteen inches (p. 94).

beth: i don't know if i even believe in that anymore. the right guy. the perfect guy. the one. i've lost faith in "the."

jennifer: how do you feel about "a" and "an"?


so you're considering a life without articles?

and true love (p. 157).

jennifer: he just asked danielle if she blacks out all the dirty words in her harlequin romances (p. 247).

jennifer: remember when my midwife told me to talk to the baby, that it could feel my emotions and intent? ... the baby could feel what i wanted... and for the first six or seven weeks, the message i was sending was, "go away." go away, go away, go away. and it did (p. 261).

what sucked: it's good. but it didn't draw me in quite so well as her other story. and lincoln's character never really felt realistic to me. (notice there're no quotes from him).

having said all that: i liked the girls. they made the story fun. it was cute. fairly quick to read.

for father's day

June 16, 2013

when i was a kid, i really only saw my father on the weekends. usually sundays. i would sometimes hear him talking in the morning with my mother before he left for work, before she'd come in to get us up for school. maybe, maybe he was home for dinner at night. maybe i saw him on saturday. if he was here, he was in his office, usually with the door closed. on sundays, he'd get my brothers and i out in the yard under the guise of quality father-children time. he'd get us started raking and sweeping and then he'd go inside, situate himself on his maroon leather recliner with his bag of popcorn or his half gallon of blue bell or his mixing bowl filled with cereal and his diet coke and watch television. and if it were fall, it was football, but only if the cowboys were playing. otherwise he'd flip through the channels until he found a film that was just starting.

and we'd bitch and moan about how he said he was gonna do yardwork with us, and then left us there to do it ourselves.

it never occurred to me, then, how taxing my father's job was. how that one day was his respite from all the bullshit with which he had to deal.

he wouldn't like that i called it bullshit.

partly because he wouldn't see it that way, but more because he hates it when i cuss.

i used to hate being the daughter of a school superintendent. probably as much as he hates my foul mouth. maybe more.

"hey jenny! tell your dad that we shouldn't have school tomorrow!"

twelve years of public school. roughly one hundred eighty school days in the year. six periods in a day. i heard that crap in almost every class. my teachers looked to me to be some stellar student because my father was their boss.

i tried to skip class. once. one time i wanted to be that girl who said screw this shit. i'm not sitting through boring driver's education. (i was that anomaly that didn't want to drive a car.)

so i didn't go.

and my teacher called my father wanting to know where i was.

my father had driven me to school that day.

i had driver's ed first period. so he'd practically just dropped me off.

i got spanked for that. for ditching. for lying about it.

when i left my books in my locker because i didn't care to complete an assignment and i was failing the class (which my father knew because my teachers would tell him so), he'd haul my butt to school, unlock the doors, shut off the alarm and make me get my shit. and then my mother would practically stand over my shoulder to make sure that i got it done.

i got caught shoplifting. the manager gave me two choices: she could call the cops or she could call my mom. and headlines flashed before my eyes: superintendent's daughter caught stealing. uh, you can call my mom. thanks.

i think i got spanked for that, too. for being stupid.

it sucked having a super for a dad.

or so i thought.

there's another superman film in theaters again. another reboot. with another actor trying to prove his worth. i don't need to see that. i live with superman.

gratitude: a second helping

June 12, 2013

because i've to counterbalance that crap from yesterday. so... things from the past twenty-four hours or so for which i am grateful:
blanca, our housekeeper

They met Cate at a sushi bar. For once, Cate had gotten there before either of them.

"I don't eat sushi, Gus," Isabel muttered as they approached the entrance.

"We're not here for fish. We're here for vodka. And these people know how to mix a martini better than anyone in town." She looked at Cate. "You didn't get us a table?"

"I thought we'd sit at the bar. Quicker service--drinks don't have so far to go."

August thought about it, glanced at Isabel. "She might want the privacy of a booth."

"Bar's fine," Isabel said. "I'm exhausted. I'd rather not stay too long."

"You'll stay 'til you're done with the details," they said in unison as they ushered her inside.

"Fantastic. Ain't much to tell. He tried to kiss me. I stood there like a damned ice sculpture. And then I bailed."

"That's the Hemingway version. Try for Faulkner instead."

August smiled at Cate's cleverness. "Dickens, at least."

fried chicken
hard rock cafe t-shirts
jelly of the raspberry-flavored variety
king of queens
merchandise credits
shower gel of the gardenia-scented variety
wrigley's doublemint gum
xerox machines
ziplock bags

love and other perishable items

June 11, 2013

why i wanted to read it: my first gig was at a grocery store as a cashier. i was twenty or so. i wore a gray and navy apron over a short-sleeved, white button down and navy slacks. and a maroon tie. one of those scarfy things that tries to look like a bow tie but fails because it's got too much material. it didn't even tie. it was on a strap that fastened at the back of your neck, beneath your collar.

my coworkers and i commented quite frequently on the fineness of our clientele: the three-hundred-pound women donned in halter tops and skimpy knit shorts debating whether to purchase the lays or the ruffles potato chips, torn between coke and pepsi products, uncertain of how many of each to buy; the young mothers with their two carts crammed full of food for feeding their eight children, all of whom seemed to be under the age of five, hardened women who paid for their purchases with stacks of w.i.c. cards, and yet they had cash for cigarettes; the good ole boys coming in on sunday mornings who magically appeared at the cash registers two minutes before noon with their twelve packs of coors or bud light, eager to load up their coolers and get on the lake; tired, handsome men in white shirts and black slacks who just wanted to get home from their work day but whose wives added one more thing to their honey-do lists.

they're all the same in the line. they watch the screen to make sure they're charged ninety-seven cents for that can of green beans instead of ninety-eight.

we'd go out to our cars on our lunch breaks and smoke our cigarettes and drink our colas and complain about you. sometimes we did this at the taco cabana across the lot. for an hour. every day.

one the off-chance we got tired of talking about you, we talked about each other.

the first sentence of this story, which is about fifteen year-old amelia and twenty-one year-old chris, goes like this: "i'm writing a play," says chris, leaning over the counter of my cash register. "it's called death of a customer. needless to say, it's set here" (p. 2)

what i liked: it looked as though he was going to walk out without saying goodbye or merry christmas or anything.

at the last moment he paused at my checkout, threw the flowers down on the counter and muttered, "those are you for you, youngster. merry christmas."

...they had a coles staff purchases seal on them and a sticker that said reduced for quick sale.

after work i walked home hugging my flowers with a queer fluttery excitement in my chest (pp. 12-13).

"fishing off the company pier," as i have overheard chris refer to it, is a common practice among the part-time staff at coles. bianca, for example, is twenty-three and has been going out with andy from canned goods, age eighteen, for some months... i imagine he just does what he is told. they must both get something of the relationship--i just have no idea what it is.

"sex," says chris when i ask him. "they both get sex" (p. 16).

he refers to his long-standing crush as the kathy virus, as it seems to take a relapsing-remitting course... kathy is dark, pretty, small--elfin even--and completely uninterested in chris. except, strangely, when the kathy virus is in remission. then she bombards him with a campaign of arm-touching... bow-tie adjusting... and leaning over his register giving him her undivided, head-cocked-to-one-side attention. an immediate relapse of the kathy virus invariably follows.

that kathy needs a can of reduced-for-quick-sale spam pegged at the back of her head (p. 17).

i imagine him at university... talking to girls. grown up girls at university. girls who can go drinking with him after class. girls his own age who he could confidently introduce to his family and friends. girls who know how to dress and wear make-up. girls who have had sex. girls who study the same texts as him. girls who stand a chance in hell (p. 20).

"do you think, youngster, do you think that's anyway to behave when you are a guest at someone else's house? ...didn't your parents teach you any manners? ...i should call them and tell them how out of control their daughter is. drunk and disorderly at fifteen! ...look out, world, here she is, ready to polish all your dining room tables with her back... he wears baseball caps backward! and you let him put his tongue in you!" (p. 70)

and to add insult to serious narcisstic injury, young amelia went and hooked up with that mid-teen power tool jeremy horan. i had her billed as the antidote to daisy from the great gatsby. i thought she represented the ultimate triumph of good over evil... all he had to do was pour her a few generous glasses of wine and put in an hour of conversation... if someone like amelia goes for someone like jeremy horan, we may as well all pack up and go home... amelia is going to rue the day she let that boy's tongue anywhere near her (pp. 117-118).

what sucked: ultimately, it lacked. i liked amelia well enough. i liked chris... in the beginning. toward the end, i was kind of tired of'm both.

but then, i should probably be reading big girl books as opposed to those written for adolescents. i wanted something fast, which it was. i wanted something cool, which it wasn't. not completely.

having said all that: the parts that were entertaining did so well enough. it wasn't awful. but i wanted it to be so much better than it was.

seven. things about my job

June 10, 2013

the one that pays:

one. i am an associate at pottery barn kids.

two. it takes approximately seven minutes to get to work. it usually takes twice that amount of time to find a place to park.

three. i get some pretty nifty discounts at all williams sonoma brand stores.

four. my store manager is one of the best people for whom i have ever worked. she, ultimately, is the reason i quit working at target (originally my primary source of income and my health insurance means). she knows how to treat her people well. and when i say her people i mean the ones who are there because they genuinely love to work for her and aren't just using her and the company for that nifty discount.

five. darth vader backpacks. star wars sheets sets. death star canvas led wall art. these are a few of my favorite things.

six. i rarely work more than twenty hours a week, which kind of makes my checking account balance pretty sad.

seven. but this means i can devote so much more time to my characters, which, eventually, god willing, will make my checking account balance much happier.

the one that doesn't (yet):

one. the first time i worked on a scene involving one of my characters was in april, seventeen (?) years ago (HOLY CRAP), in a denny's booth prior to cramming for a final.

two. isabel was originally named blake. i'm not sure why i thought that suited her. she's the most tomboyish of my girls, but having a name that could just as easily fit a boy didn't seem right. i wanted something softer for her. because underneath it all, she's pretty soft.

three. august has always been august. people've tried to get me to change her name. i like that she's the most feminine of my girls and has a traditionally male name. i love that isabel calls her gus. love that august likes it. and august just sounds like it belongs to a girl with class, and she's got an abundance of that.

four. cate was originally kate, short for something. i hadn't decided what. and then i was revisiting character names last year and found catriona. and i loved it. it just clicked. it's fiery, like she is. it's a good combination of french and irish, also like she is. and i love spelling cate with a c.

five. the greatest number of pages i've written in one sitting is seventeen. that happened once. seventeen years or so ago. the day before the short story (which was, at one point, twenty-three pages long) was due. and of course, i killed every one of them when i realized cate's story wasn't going to play out that way at all. which is, of course, how isabel and august and reese and matthew, and eventually, seth and piper came to be. because i killed a minor character and re-envisioned cate's relationship with kyle.

six. writing a novel is a gigantic pain in the ass. i don't recommend attempting it. unless of course, you've got a group of people in your head who will not shut up.

seven. this is the only thing i do well. the gang's all here. see for yourself.

Life. Love.Lauren

eleanor and park

June 5, 2013

why i wanted to read it:  funny, hopeful, foulmouthed, sexy, and tear-jerking (kirkus reviews). sounds like my kind of book. seriously. who wouldn't want to read that?

if that wasn't enough to pique my interest, there's the first page...

what i liked: he'd stopped trying to bring her back.

she only came back when she felt like it, in dreams and lies and broken-down deja-vu.

like, he'd be driving to work, and he'd see a girl with red hair standing on the corner--and he'd swear, for half a choking moment, that it was her.

then he'd see that the girl's hair was more blond than red.

and that she was holding a cigarette... and wearing a sex pistols t-shirt.

eleanor hated the sex pistols.


standing beside him until he turned his head. lying next to him just before he woke up. making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough.

eleanor ruined everything (p. 1).

when eleanor was a little girl, she'd thought her mom looked like a queen... all her bones seemed more purposeful than other people's. like they weren't just there to hold her up; they were there to make a point...

eleanor looked a lot like her.

but not enough.

eleanor looked like her mother through a fish tank. rounder and softer. slurred. where her mother was statuesque, eleanor was heavy. where her mother was finely drawn, eleanor was smudged (p. 18)

that must be eleanor's mom, park thought, she looked just like her. but sharper and with more shadows. like eleanor, but taller. like eleanor, but tired. like eleanor, after the fall (p. 188).

holding eleanor's hand was like holding a butterfly (p. 71).

"well, she is kind of weird, isn't she?"

park didn't have the energy to be angry. he sighed and let his head fall back on the chair.

his dad kept talking. "isn't that why you like her?" (p. 144)

"why do you even like me?"

"i don't like you," he said. "i need you... i think it's got as much to do with your hair being red and your hands being soft... and the fact that you smell like homemade birthday cake" (pp. 109-110).

"i don't like you. park," she said, sounding for a second like she actually meant it. "i... think i live for you."

he closed his eyes and pressed his head back into the pillow.

"i don't think i even breathe when we're not together," she whispered. "which means, when i see you on monday morning, it's been like sixty hours since i've taken a breath. that's probably why i'm so crabby, and why i snap at you. all i do when we're apart is think about you, and all i do when we're together is panic. because every second feels so important. and because i'm so out of control, i can't help myself. i'm not even mine anymore. i'm yours, and what if you decide that you don't want me? how could you want me like i want you?"

he was quiet. he wanted everything she'd just said to be the last thing he heard. he wanted to fall asleep with i want you in his ears (p. 111).

"nothing, really. i just want to be alone with you for a minute."

he pulled her to the back of the driveway, where they were almost completely hidden by a line of trees and the rv and the garage.

"seriously?" she said. "that was so lame."

"i know," he said, turning to her. "next time, i'll just say, 'eleanor, follow me down this dark alley, i want to kiss you" (p. 166).

what sucked: that it ended. i wasn't ready to leave them yet.

having said all that: best book i've read this year. hands down. solid storytelling through and through.