Then I went to hear her read from her debut novel, Into the Wild. I was a) blown away and b) sad that it wasn't coming out for seven months.
That night, I went to a party thrown by an entity whose parties were supposed to be legendary. I expected music, games, wild abandon.
No music. No games. No abandon, wild or domesticated. Basically, the party consisted of people sitting around quietly drinking or standing around a large table looking at very old cover flats. (???)
But not for me, because Sarah was there, and we chatted for hours about all sorts of writing and life stuff (but not about cover flats, because the party had that, uh, covered). To this day, she is still one of my favorite people to hang out with, anywhere, any time.
Her new novel, Ice, comes out today! So give her a big, not-so-chilly welcome to Blogtoberfest.
EDITED TO ADD: When you have a minute, go read Sarah's blog post on how this book came to be. I am in awe.
Jeri gave me the choice about writing about Halloween, homecoming, or home.
Halloween was way too traumatic a topic for me to touch. (Seriously, one of the best things about being a grown-up—next to not having to ask permission to eat pizza for breakfast—is not having to dress up for Halloween. That holiday used to stress me out months in advance. Inevitably, I'd choke and end up gluing construction paper on a giant cardboard box and call it a day. But I digress.)
Homecoming was out for me too because my high school was too small to have a traditional Homecoming with football games and Homecoming queens and so forth. (This isn't a complaint. I loved my school. I was a shy kid, and if I’d gone to a large school, I probably would have squeezed myself into a locker and hid there the entire time.) But the upshot is that I know nothing about Homecomings beyond TV and movie cliches.
Probably as much a loaded word as "love." Or "disco."
My new novel ICE is about home. It's about the time when you leave the place you've always thought of as home and you find a new home. (It's also about polar bears and true love and an impossible quest across the Arctic.)
I think there are a lot of ways to define "home"—the place you live, the place you're from, the place you spent/spend the most time, the place that holds the people you love.
But I think that home is really the place that shapes who you are and how you see yourself. It's the place that, for good or bad, defines you.
This includes your role (daughter, mother, sister, son, brother), your tastes (the blue bedspread you love and the pink flower wallpaper you hate), and your passions (the stacks of books and the drawers full of poems and stories).
At its best, home is the place that fits the shape that you are, all your edges and bumps and quirks.
I feel really lucky to have a home like that. My home has my million mementoes (I am a total packrat—seriously, I still have dried roses from my high school prom corsage, plus ticket stubs from every play I've ever seen) and my thousand books (I've never counted, but I have a LOT). But more importantly, it has my family, who not only tolerates but loves my silliness, who cheers me on no matter what, and who buys me fudge for no particular reason.
Really, I think that’s what home is or should be: a place with your memories, with your passions, and with people who love you. And also with fudge. Raspberry chocolate fudge...
Author photo by Adam Durst
To enter to win Ice, leave a comment below. For complete rules, read the introductory post.
Deadline for entry: Tuesday, October 13, 11:59pm Eastern. THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED TO ENTRIES. THANKS!!
Other open Blogtoberfest giveaways:
Rosemary Clement-Moore and The Splendor Falls
Shannon Reinbold-Gee and 13 to Life
Saundra Mitchell and Shadowed Summer
Thanks again to Sarah for always making parties better!