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  • I read a lot, and I have a lot of opinions, so I can't believe I haven't made a list like this before. If you are even a little bit like me or you want to get a peek into my psyche (you probs don't), these are the books to read.

Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Play therapy

Posted on February 14th, 2011 by annakjarzab

So as you know, I finished my most recent draft of The Opposite of Hallelujah a week ago and sent it to my agent. It’s at this point, when you’re a writer, that you end up sitting in your pajamas on a Saturday morning wondering, “What do I do NOW?” That’s if, like, you’re single and childless–I’m sure authors who are also parents have plenty to do with the time they usually spend writing. Anyway, I don’t have children and I’m all caught up on my TV, so I did two things this weekend: I read, and I wrote.

First I finally finished Brother/Sister, which is this CRAZY mystery told from alternating perspectives. Is it really a mystery? I’m not too sure about what to call it. It’s certainly a thriller, perhaps a psychological thriller? Anyway, it has these two narrators who are both unreliable in their own ways, the writing is really great and the suspense is really well done and subtle. And then–AND THEN–the end of the book turns everything that you think you know about what happened completely on its head! I was out singing karaoke on Saturday for my friend Monica’s birthday and I didn’t get home until 4 AM, but if you don’t think I stayed up even later to finish Brother/Sister then you don’t know me very well. I also read a really great manuscript for a book we’re publishing in Fall 2011 and it was ALSO awesome and totally scary. I’m shocked I didn’t have nightmares last night.

I also started working on a book that I’ve been thinking about writing for a while. It’s basically a sci-fi thriller and I am LOVING writing it. The best part about writing it is that I don’t have to ever show it to a single person (except maybe Alex, who might kill me if I don’t let her read it after all the talking we’ve been doing about it). It’s mine. I don’t owe to anyone, and I don’t have to worry about other people liking it. Of course at some point I probably will worry about those things, and I’m not saying that every time I see a deal on PM or PW I don’t jump out of my skin a little, but that’s only natural. In those moments I just keep reminding myself, this is your book. You’re writing it for you, not for anyone else. Enjoy it.

And I am enjoying it. I don’t think I’ve had so much fun writing a book in years; it’s a nice change of pace from what the last year or so has been like, writing-wise, for me, which is extraordinarily difficult and not nearly as rewarding as it once was. But this book is cool. Alex once said to me that she tries to write books that her brother would read, and for once I’m trying to do that, too. I’ve only got 60 pages of this book (let’s call it Book 3 for tagging purposes) and so far there has been a 2-on-3 physical fight and a car chase, and I plan for there to be escapes and imprisonments and espionage and betrayal and love and heartbreak and double-crossing and science! All in one book! One hopefully not 800 pages long book (I don’t think it will be that long, but Hallelujah is, inexplicably, like 400 manuscript pages, which is almost 100 pages longer than AUT and I do not know how that happened).

ALSO: Jeopardy! Man vs. Machine* starts tonight! I may or may not have made this clear in my last blog post, but I DVR Jeopardy! every night. Sometimes I watch them nightly, but most of the time I let them build up and watch them all in a row on the weekends. Right now I’m a little behind, but I’m going to be sure to watch tonight’s IMMEDIATELY. I love Jeopardy! I even violated my own very strict “no paying for iPhone apps” rule to download the $4.99 Jeopardy! app.

So that’s my life right now. Reading (I also plucked a copy of Diana Mosely: Mitford Beauty, British Fascist, Hitler’s Angel from my shelf; I’ve had it for a while, bought it for $5 at the Strand, because as you may or may not know I love anything having to do with the Mitfords and hope someday to read everything there is by or about them, but Diana is not my fave so I hadn’t actually ever started this biography of her), writing, and Jeopardy! You would think that would give me plenty of time to update this blog, but apparently that’s not true, although you might be interested to know that I do update my Tumblr way more often and recently I posted a bunch of songs over there that reminded me of The Opposite of Hallelujah, so you might want to head over there and have a listen.

*I don’t think that the Jeopardy! people are calling it this, that’s just what I’m calling it.

Peace off 2010!

Posted on January 3rd, 2011 by annakjarzab

Now that I’m back in New York (and what an odyssey that has been! But at least I missed the blizzard), I’m going through my Google Reader and taking a look at the “year in review” posts all the authors I follow have written and feel a bit compelled to write my own, especially since it’s my debut year.

Not to be a huge Debbie Downer, because that’s not how I’m feeling, but 2010 was a pretty difficult year for me. All Unquiet Things was released, which was a wonderful thing. Despite the way I’ve been feeling a bit lately after reading a few negative reviews (NOTE TO AUTHORS: DO NOT READ REVIEWS!), I’m extremely proud of that book. Off and on this year I’ve wondered if it was the right time for me to publish for the first time, but it’s like, I did it, it’s done, moving forward. There are pros and cons, but no matter what, I do love AUT and am happy that people have read and liked it so much! I appreciate all emails from fans and I try to respond to as many as I can–if you’ve written me and I haven’t responded, please write me again! It might just have gotten buried in my Gmail account under about a million discount newsletters.

There were two things that made this year hard for me. One was the very, very sad passing of my grandmother, who I love so much and miss every day. I got an email from my grandmother’s niece, who was very close with my grandmother, after she read AUT; she said that I captured the experience of grief in a very true way. I’m so glad she feels that way, and I hope that other people feel similarly because I was very much trying to show how people process grief differently, but I’m not sure I quite understood what it felt like to grieve for the death of a loved one until this year, and part of me wishes I had the opportunity to go back and re-edit AUT to reflect that, but obviously that’s impossible, and anyway I’m not sure I know what that experience is like from the other side yet so writing about it would be premature and futile.

The other thing that made the year hard was the disasterscript of book two (formerly known as MB). I was entirely lost throughout the five month process of editing it at the beginning of 2010, and then having to accept that it was just not going to get better (and was, in fact, getting WORSE) was a hard pill to swallow. But luckily I had another manuscript up my sleeve, which is receiving a favorable response from my readers and which I’m currently revising, but which is already in pretty good shape. I’m a bit nervous about moving on from here, because my contract will be over when I turn in Hallelujah and I’m interested in writing a bunch of different stuff but not sure exactly what to focus on or what is a good idea for a book and what is just an interesting idea in general. I have a feeling that, in addition to going through the publishing process with Hallelujah this year, the biggest focus for me in my writing career is figuring out where to go from here. Perhaps that’s why I didn’t get as much editing done over the break as I expected; maybe I have a bit of a mental block because I’m afraid to move on, but also anxious to move on, and not sure where that’s going to take me. I used to have a list of books in my head and the order in which I was planning to write them was pretty mcuh set; now that’s completely destroyed and I have to start mostly from scratch. Fun! But also: terrifying.

But a lot of great things happened in 2010, too! Alex Bracken and I became such close friends, and not only has she been a real support through these twelve long months, but also she’s given me the opportunity, through her AMAZING book BLACK IS THE COLOR, to read and contribute to something I really think is going to blow people away. I’m a neverending advocate for that book and cannot WAIT for someone to publish it. I know who I’m hoping the book goes to, but it’s not my decision and really I’ll relish any opportunity to walk into a bookstore and buy a zillion copies, one for every person I know.

I also got into the rhythm of my job; it’s honestly the best job I’ve ever had, and I work with some of the smartest, coolest, funniest people around. I feel blessed to work there and hope to have a really long career there.

So, 2010…a bit of an up and down year. But I’m hoping 2011 will be the beginning of a great period of time in my life and I’m looking forward to each new day. Thank you to everyone who bought, read, reviewed (even negatively), emailed me about, and worked on AUT. I can’t wait for you all to read Hallelujah! I really hope you like it. 🙂


Posted on December 16th, 2010 by annakjarzab

I don’t remember the last time I talked in depth about what’s going on in the writing realm of my life these days, and I’m too lazy to go through the archives to figure it out, so let’s just say it’s been a while? This does not mean, however, that I haven’t been working! In August/September/October, I was busy writing The Opposite of Hallelujah, or rather rewriting it, and then rewriting it again, since I wrote most of the novel last fall while I was waiting on editorial feedback on The Disasterscript Of Which We No Longer Speak. Was that dramatic enough for you? I might be having a dramatic writer day.

Anyway! I got notes from Joanna and Danielle a week ago or so on OoH (or, as we’re calling it in our emails, Hallelujah, because “Ooh!” is sort of a weird acronym), and I plan to really dive into them this weekend, once all the holiday partying and dining and gift buying is over and I have time to really think about how I’m going to dive into this revision. Thankfully, J & D were very positive about this manuscript, and think that all it needs is some fine tuning, mostly having to do with deepening some characters and adding crucial details to the back story. I also have this annoying habit of preferring to let dialogue stand on its own without too much explication from the character about what they’re saying, which I actually do think is important, sometimes, letting the reader interpret things as they will. But my editorial notes usually have a bit about providing more explication for certain things that are said, which I also think is important, but which I nearly always have to go back and add in later. It’s a tic of mine, writing straight dialogue. Maybe I should look into a sideline in script writing/play writing. Just kidding! I don’t need more jobs.

In a way, this is good news; it means the plot is solid and so is the writing, which I think is the main challenge for a lot of writers, and can be a big challenge for me, too. I was lucky in that the plot for this book fell together quite easily in comparison to books that have come before it, and books that are threatening to come after it, all of which were/are huge messy disasterscripts that gave/give me nightmares. But this one emerged pretty organically, which I totally appreciate! But deepening can be it’s own kind of difficult. It’s not just about adding more detail, it’s about adding the right amount and kind of detail to make a character really sing. J & D gave me a great place to start, and more than once I was like, “That’s such a great idea, I never thought of that!” I’m excited to write those parts. But there are parts on which I disagree about certain things, or not absolutely disagree but am not finding the solution to the problem to be particularly easy, and am having a real block. I keep turning little things over in my mind and thinking, how can I do this so that it works for everybody, including myself? In this way, you can agonize over a single scene or paragraph or line of dialogue or sentence or word, even, for days. Fine tuning can sometimes be a lot more work than reworking a narrative, if only because the changes are “smaller” so it’s easier to obsess over them.

Which is why I’m glad I have so much time ahead of me in California to just work. I love going to Chicago for Christmas, and I’m sad not to be doing that this year, but also when I’m Chicago I have a lot of stuff to do, lots of family and friends to visit, lots of activities. In California, I only have a few friends I keep in touch with, like Shannel, who reads this blog (p.s. I’m really excited to see you over the holidays)! And I have no family outside of my immediate family. As you know, all of my hometown close friends all live in New York, so I see them a lot as it is and anyways only Kim is going to be home for Christmas. So there’ll be a lot more breathing room. I actually can spend days hunkered down in my room, or at the kitchen table, with a red pen and a can of Diet Coke, and work diligently without distraction or feeling cramped and crowded, as I usually do in my own apartment.

I’m really looking forward to revising Hallelujah, actually. I do love this book a lot and I’m proud of the way it came together. I can’t wait to tell you guys more about it (like, um, what it’s about), but for some reason I’m becoming more and more superstitious in my old age and I don’t want to say anything about it until my editor gives it the thumbs up. So hopefully that will happen in January and then I can post some kind of synopsis!

The world’s greatest thing (and I mean it)

Posted on November 30th, 2010 by annakjarzab

This Harry Potter fan vid. It’s seriously amazing:

I’ve been watching it over and over and over again. It’s pretty much perfect, and very impressive–it amazes me sometimes what people are capable of, and what they’ll do just because, not for money or fame or whatever else people do things for these days (iPads!).

Relatedly, I read this book last night called Ignore Everybody by Hugh MacLeod, the man behind Gaping Void, and while everything in it is common sense, it was also a really great reminder of all the things we neurotic writers tell our neurotic writer friends but cannot for some reason believe or remember when we need them ourselves. Not that I’m in the business of recommending books for people to buy other people as gifts (minefield!), but if there’s anybody in your life who’s struggling with creativity (and I don’t mean just writers; as I was reading Ignore Everybody–it’s pretty short–I could think of several people to lend it to off the top of my head, and among that number was a friend who’s an engineer, a friend who’s a stand up comedian, a friend who works in advertising, and a friend who works in fashion, my sister who’s a film student, and my cousin who sells fire hydrants and stuff, so…) this might be a good purchase. Also MacLeod is really funny and there are a bunch of his signature cartoons scattered throughout.

If you’re asking yourself, “Gee, did Anna go to the Charmin Bathrooms this year?” I’m here to tell you that I did, but that will be a separate blog post. Suspense!


Posted on November 17th, 2010 by annakjarzab

You guys, I think you might be able to download Beatles music on iTunes now. I just have a feeling…


Yeesh, iTunes, give it a rest. We get it, you’re very excited.

In other news, the book I’m writing might actually be killing me. Every day I decide to shut it down at some point, and then either later that day or the next day I decide I’m going to give it a shot even though it’s currently in a particular state of awful I can’t even adequately describe to you, and then twelve hours later I’m like, “WHY DID I EVER THINK THIS COULD WORK? I AM THE WORST EVER.” Ask Alex. She gets to experience it live and in person on G-chat every damn day! Lucky girl.

(Note: This is not OoH, or “Hallelujah” as I’ve decided to call it for short because…well, obviously “Ooh!” is a weird shorthand for a book title. I’m waiting for a Hallelujah editorial letter from my agents, which I’ll hopefully have before Thanksgiving. This is a completely different disasterscript.)

I seriously think this book is rotting my brain. It feels utterly unoriginal, yet too weird and different, at the same time. 90 percent of the time, when I even think about working on it I get this feeling in my shoulders like I’m being squeezed to death by a professional wrestler. The characters are all underdeveloped, the plot is ridiculous and full of holes so big you could drive a semi through them, and I still don’t have any faith in my ability to pull of the mechanics of the story. The mechanics. THE STUFF THAT MAKES THE STORY GO VROOM! And even though the quality of the actual writing should be, at this point, the least of my problems, I’m stressing out about that, too.

Basically, I’m a whole ball of anxiety about everything having to do with writing and publishing and being myself in the world these days. I’m afraid I’ve run out of ideas. I’m afraid I can’t put together a decent sentence anymore, let alone an entire novel that doesn’t totally suck. I’m afraid I don’t have the right body armor to be on the writing side of this business. I’m afraid of the mere idea of doing anything else. It’s really quite the idiotic predicament, because honestly, sack up, Jarzab! These are first world problems! And yet they bear down on me all the same. Awesome.

So I have come to this conclusion: I need a vacation. New York is getting to me, and so is this book. I’m looking forward to working on Hallelujah again because, as spooked as I am after the Great Book 2 Debacle of this summer, and as low as my confidence level is, I think I can handle Hallelujah. It’s not a wild, sprawling octopus of a book that I need to wrestle into submission; it’s more of an overgrown garden in need of weeding and pruning and maybe a little bit of Miracle Grow. And thus it has become my anchor, something I’m looking forward to working on, which I need because damn. And I get to go home for Christmas for twelve straight days, which is another anchor. I can’t wait to be out of this crowded, stinking city. Maybe this time I’ll remember to bring a coat.

(Funny story: Two years ago I spent Christmas in California–as I’m doing this year–and because I live in New York, where the winters are very cold, and I’m a moron, I was all, “It’s California! I don’t need a coat!” Guess what? You need a coat in December practically everywhere. Okay, that’s not true, but you need one in Northern California. Not, like, a sleeping bag snow parka, but something to take the edge off the wind. Anyway, I didn’t bring a coat to California for Christmas two years ago and I had to wear my high school letterman’s jacket, the only coat I had at my parents house, around town for two weeks. I looked pretty cool. Just kidding, I looked hella dumb. Lesson learned!)

So…yeah. That’s me! The upside is that my friend Mary, she of the fabulous AUT blurbs you can find somewhere on this blog (sorry, too lazy right now to link), is coming to visit on Thursday, and on Friday I get to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows after some chicken and a giant margarita at Dallas BBQ. And then next week is Thanksgiving! I’m making the pies.

And, one last piece of news if you made it this far–I got my first royalty statement! From the looks of it, AUT sales are much healthier than I expected (erm…I think, as I do not actually understand the statement at all). A little birdie has been feeding me BookScan numbers since pub and it looks like the real sales were about twice as much as BookScan shows, which is kind of insane. BookScan only covers about 70% point of sale, but the channels it doesn’t cover (box stores, Walmart, etc.) are ones AUT wasn’t even distributed in. But I’m not knocking it; it was a nice piece of news to dull the pain of my realizing today was only Tuesday. Somehow, it felt like Thursday.

Sometimes writing is weird

Posted on November 14th, 2010 by annakjarzab

I wish I kept a running list of the things I look up when I’m writing a novel. For instance, today I:

  • Called my mom for help in figuring out where rich people would live in Chicago in the late 1800s (she suggested somewhere on Prairie Ave)
  • Googled, in essence, “that bigger pole on the end of a staircase railing”. The Internet reminded me that a railing is actually called a banister (or, you know, a railing, whatevs), the thing I was actually looking for a word for is the “newel” (which, when you read it in this novel, if I ever publish it, will stand out as something I probably Googled because no real person knows what that thing is called), and the carved wooden embellishments on the tops of the newels are called “finials”. The more you know!

Writing is an excercise in me realizing how much I don’t know about what things are called or what places are like. What did people do before the Internet? Probably called their moms.

Back to basics

Posted on November 1st, 2010 by annakjarzab

Oh man. I swear to God, I really mean to update this thing like twice a week, and then here we are, weeks after my last post, and I’m just now getting around to it. Yikes. The thing is, I’m super busy and stressed out right now. This is one of the totally insane things about living in New York and having so many friends here and having a job and writing and all that. It’s always something. I never get a weekend to relax; it’s always, like, I’m traveling or so-and-so is in town, or it’s Halloween, or it’s someone’s birthday. All of those things are great and important and fun (Halloween this year was especially fun, given that I’m known to despise Halloween and try not to go out if I can help it), and I love my friends and everything, but MAN, it is EXHAUSTING. And my job is great, but stressful, and writing is important but difficult, and everything just doesn’t seem to be flowing the way I would like it to. And so, this blog suffers.

On the writing front, I’m trying to go back to basics. I finished a manuscript at the beginning of October and now it’s with my agent. I’m not working on revisions right now, and don’t know when I will be, so now is the perfect time to not write and just rest. Except I don’t really work like that. Already I feel like I’m behind working on my next thing, but my next thing is giving me some problems. Maybe it’s just that I’m thinking about it in too big of a way. I’m planning it out as a three book trilogy (yeah, yeah, I know, who isn’t writing a trilogy these days?), and maybe I’m just getting way ahead of myself with the plotting. I basically have the whole second book plotted out and have not finished writing the first one! Which seems dumb. Then again, I have no idea how anyone else does trilogies–maybe there are other people just as OCD as I am about this stuff?

The other thing I’ve been doing with my new book is, um, starting over like eight bazillion times. Right now I have about five documents open for the same project on my computer–and that’s just in Word! It doesn’t count the document I have open in Scrivener, which I finally downloaded the full version of last week. Speaking of Scrivener, I know it gets rave reviews from a lot of authors, but I feel myself being so resistant to it. Which isn’t really surprising, since the only reason I downloaded it is because I know it’s not for the kind of writer that I myself am. I like to write my books in a linear fashion–beginning to end, just as they’re read. The idea of writing things out of order and then stitching it all back together gives me hives, and I’m not joking. That’s really the kind of writer who will get the most out of Scrivener, though–the out-of-order writer, which, again, is emphatically not me. But my way isn’t really working for this book, for whatever reason, at least not right now. So I’m going to force myself to try writing out of order and see if that loosens me up a little. I feel so locked in to my ideas, even though I know they’re not all fitting together properly (though I’m getting there).

For instance, this book had, like, a huge cast of characters. 13 to be precise, and that’s just the human characters! Alex and I had a come-to-Jesus moment about it where she was like, “You need to cut some of these people.” And she’s totally right–a lot of them were serving only one superficial function, and I was able to pare down the human cast of characters to seven. Which is still a ton! But I do need them all. Seven is the compromise I made with myself.

I also had my own come-to-Jesus moment with myself. I often say that simple is always better. No need to have a complicated plot or event or explanation when a simple one will do just fine. The reason things sometimes feel contrived in novels is because they’re too complicated. I’m paraphrasing John Green when I joke that writing is just lying, except that’s not a joke. Lies are always better when they’re simple, and they need only one or two key details to be convincing. Lots of times, writers say things in three paragraphs that could have been said in three sentences, and they create elaborate plots that end up looking like Swiss cheese when you actually think about them, and that’s not because they’re bad writers! It’s just that they actually think too hard about things, create doubts and problems for themselves, and then overcompensate with disastrous results.

And to be honest, that’s kind of what my current project is suffering from right now. I’m so afraid of being criticized for being unrealistic and silly that I’m being unrealistic and silly. So, I’ve got to simplify. Those are my two goals for now; break the mold, and simplify. I need to diversify the ways in which I approach my work in order to jump start my creativity, and I need to start paring the story down to its essential elements or risk losing the whole point of the thing in the pursuit of the right flourishes.

To that end, I’m experimenting with writing tools, and I also think I’m going to do NaNo, but not with the project I’ve just been talking about. I wrote OoH last fall just for myself, and that’s why I think it was so fun and easy to write, relatively speaking. I’d like to have that experience again. I love my current project, and I’m really dedicated to it, and I’m not going to stop working on it right now, but I think I need to loosen up and just play around with words and characters and plot again, without all of my insane pressures, both internal and external.

So my NaNo project is going to be this little YA romance. The main character’s name is Collins, and she’s this brainy overachiever, kind of snarky and sharp. She lives in this small Midwestern town that’s only famous because five years ago a Hanson-esque band of three teenaged brothers shot to the top of the pop charts with their first album, but now after the failure of their second album they’re moving home. The youngest boy, Logan, who has previously only been home schooled, enrolls at the town high school for his senior year. Of course, Collins and Logan collide in some rather unfortunate ways at first, but then it’s just a romance between them. I like the idea of taking two different sorts of overachievers, one who is on the rise (in her own head at least) and one who is at a career low and forcing them to learn things from each other. Also, it gives me a chance to talk about creativity and pressure and saying what you need to say in the way you need to say it, all of which I LOVE to do. But who knows, I might literally write only twenty pages all November. Part of this is about not putting pressure on myself, so the deadlines fall into that category as well. My username is annakjarzab if you’d like to follow me or friend me or whatever it’s called on NaNo.

More soon! Also, remember that the comment tool requires me to approve all comments, so if yours doesn’t show up don’t worry, I got it.

Done…for now

Posted on October 11th, 2010 by annakjarzab

Last night (October 9), sometime around midnight, I wrote this on Twitter:


That link led to this picture:


That is my revised novel, The Opposite of Hallelujah (I was considering the title Impossible Objects, but ultimately rejected it, as people almost unanimously preferred the first title, which was also the “original” title, although the actual original title for this book, back when I conceived of it sometime during my senior year of college, was Do Geese See God?, a title I still like but can you imagine trying to sneak that past agents, editors, and sensible people the world over?). On Tuesday, I will be emailing it to my agent. It is, at final count, (I was wrong about this on Twitter, forgive me) 380 pages and 99,958 words long.

Hallelujah was pretty painless to write and revise, as these things go, which is why I am, of course, nervous now. Shouldn’t this be harder? It certainly has been for me in the past. What if there’s some huge problem with the novel that I’m just not seeing? And all kinds of angsty stuff like that. But for the most part, I’m saying, “It’s good, it’s clean, it’s ready to send into the world insofar as ‘the world’ means my agents,” and that’s that. Now I’m going to take a nap.

Unfinished business

Posted on October 7th, 2010 by annakjarzab

So there’s this thing that keeps happening. About twice a week, I’ll open up a new blog entry and start writing it, get almost to the end and, because I’m tired of talking by then, have no idea how to wrap it up, so I’ll save it for later and then it never gets posted. I just want to let you know, I intend to blog about two to three times more than I actually do blog, and there’s a whole graveyard full of abandoned blog posts just sitting in my drafts queue to prove it. Whoops!

I thought I’d use this post to wrap up some loose ends from my various recently deceased but (I’m sure) incredibly interesting blog posts. Let’s get started:

  • I saw The Social Network with my roommate last weekend. It was really good, especially the writing, which I guess is expected due to the Aaron Sorkin factor. I recommend that people see it, but I will say that I don’t think that these people are necessarily wrong when they say that the movie is A.) not an accurate representation of Mark Zuckerberg as a person, and B.) not a movie that’s overly concerned with exploring the import and impact of Facebook. They call Facebook a MacGuffin, and they’re right; the characters of Mark and Eduardo in The Social Network could really have created anything and the dramatic tensions and character arcs in The Social Network would have been the same. So if you’re looking to see a movie about Facebook, The Social Network is not it; if you’re looking to watch a well-written, well-acted movie about flawed characters betraying and retaliating against each other, by all means go see this one.
    • Eesha went in to the theater to grab us seats while I got popcorn and soda. I ordered two Diet Cokes, but after we’d been sitting down a while, we started to suspect that they were actually real Cokes. Eesha was like, “Well, we’re already drinking them…” and I said, “I just like to think of this sort of thing as God’s little hello.”
  • I also cooked a really great chili last weekend. My mom bought me a slow cooker for Christmas last year, and so far all I’ve made in it are batches of chili, mostly turkey chili, in varying degrees of delicious. But this batch of turkey chili was especially delicious–probably the best I’ve made so far–and it fed me for four days, lunch and dinner! I’m the sort of person who can eat the same thing over and over again and not get sick of it, so the slow cooker is the single most wonderful gift I’ve gotten in my adult life.
  • I’m sick now. My dad and sister were sick at the wedding last week and warned me, to which I said, “Oh, I never get sick.” And of course my immune system was like, O RLY? And now I’ve got a cold, too. The universe is a cruel, cruel prankster sometimes.
  • Last Thursday, I left my duck umbrella at my friends’ house. I woke up on Friday and couldn’t find it anywhere, so I assumed I’d left it in the cab, but then I got this text on Sunday: Somebody misses you. It had this picture attached to it:


That would be my duck umbrella (her name is Quackityite–because she’s white) hanging out with Cambria’s creepy 3D kittens. You can’t tell that they’re 3D from the picture, but if you saw them in person you would realize that their heads are actually sticking out from the background. I actually bought them for Cambria, so I guess I’m just getting what I deserve here.

  • I’m in the thick of revising my manuscript. Hopefully, this book will be my second book in my deal with Random House. I’m doing this new thing where I separated all the chapters out and stacked them, and am going through them one at a time, marking them up with red pen, then inputting the changes before moving on to the next chapter. It’s working out quite nicely so far; I’ve got 21 chapters completely finished, and I’ve marked up chapter 22 but haven’t inputted the changes yet, and I have eight chapters to go (if you’re a math whiz like me, you know that the book has 30 chapters). Right now, the book is at 375 pages and around 97,000 words, which surprises me every time I see those numbers. To me, it just doesn’t seem that long. That’s longer than AUT by a lot, and yet, it just seems to read very fast. I think that’s because so much of it is dialogue. Which I fear will be a problem for people, but I like it that way.


  • Oh, and just a fun story for my boring life: on Tuesday, I went home sick from work around 1:30, and guess what I came home to? This:


That’s right! When I got home, we had no water. According to my roommate, we’d had no water since 10:00 AM, so what this “1:30-??” business is is anyone’s guess, really. The water didn’t come back on until 6:30 PM–I had to go to the bar to use the bathroom! It was very rude. Wah.

Anyway, that’s what’s going on in my universe. Oh, and also my friend Leila‘s book went on sale on Tuesday! It’s called Mostly Good Girls and it’s HILARIOUS! So, so clever and full of life. If you’re looking for a contemporary story about friendship and prep school, this is the ideal book to pick up. I got my copy last night at the Union Square B&N after dinner with Alex, and because I’m lucky and Leila lives here, it was signed! Although, she works down the hall from me, so probably I could have a signed copy if I wanted, anyway. But still.


Oh, and I read Alex’s new book, and it is awesome. I can’t wait for other people to read it SO I CAN TALK TO SOMEONE ABOUT IT FOR GOD’S SAKE!

The last days of summer

Posted on September 3rd, 2010 by annakjarzab

So on Wednesday, it became September. And can I get an AMEN on that?! This summer could not come to a close any faster, in my personal opinion. Here are the things I like about summer:

1. Summer fridays
2. Avocados

Yup, that’s it. I tried to think of more things, but I couldn’t, because I don’t like summer at all. It’s my least favorite season. It’s been this way for a long time. I attribute this to my general Bad Attitude towards the sun. People always give me a hard time about this, because, like, who hates the sun? Its warmth makes life on this planet possible! It helps the body create Vitamin D, which is important for some reasons I don’t even know about because I’m not a doctor! Its harmful cell-damaging UV rays allow the cast of Jersey Shore to GTL all over Seaside! THESE ARE WONDERFUL THINGS. Yeah, I know. And I do like to be alive, and I’m sure Vitamin D is very important for my immune system and fighting cancer, and I would also cry tears of neverending sorrow if Paulie D and The Situation didn’t get look like traffic cones with hair. (No I wouldn’t, I don’t even watch that show; ALSO, I’m not lying about that.) But the sun makes me burn and makes it necessary to wear sunscreen, which I hate, and makes me hot and sweaty and I hate that. I like a nice fall day. Heaven for me is a nice fall day. If Heaven is a physical place, it will always be fall there. So, as you can probably imagine, I’m excited for fall.

So excited, in fact, that I’m getting out of here tomorrow and going to Long Island to visit my friend Kim. I like to think of Kim’s apartment as my summer home, where I escape like a Richie Rich “to the Hamptons” even though she doesn’t live in the Hamptons. But my summer home is more fun because Kim’s there and also she has a car and can drive us around so it’s almost like having a chauffeur. She’s reading this right now and writing me an email saying YOU’RE UNINVITED! Just kidding, she’s not. But she’s probably rolling her eyes.

Anyway, here’s the main problem with going to Long Island this weekend: Hurricane Earl. Or, it was the problem a few days ago–now, Kim assures me, it probably won’t hit LI at all (you’re welcome, New Englanders), and even if there’s some residual rain it’ll happen tonight and I’m not going until tomorrow. Which is great, because I just want to chillax this weekend. I finished my Book 2 manuscript on Monday night, and then started rereading it on Tuesday which is such bad mojo. I emailed Alex crazy things like, “IT’S SO TERRIBLE!” over and over again, until we had a come to Jesus moment where she was like, “WILL YOU PLEASE STOP WORKING ON THIS NOW? GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK.” So I’m taking a break. Since I’m signing off for the weekend, I want to leave you with this song that my friend Mardie just sent me; this song is so awesome I can’t even tell you.