Guest Post: “On Loneliness” by Corey Ann Haydu (Author of OCD LOVE STORY & LIFE BY COMMITTEE)

Good Afternoon, Readers! I hope you’re enjoying you day 🙂 Today I have the author of OCD Love Story and the recently published Life by Committee, Corey Ann Haydu who is sharing her thoughts on loneliness, one of the themes of Life by Committee.  Just as a preface, this post actually made me tear up and is a HUGE reason why I bought the book I can relate 100% to Tabitha and the experiences Corey describes in this post (small schools can really suck). I hope it speaks to you as much as it did me! -Patrice

life by commmittee

On Loneliness

I wrote a book about loneliness.

I wrote a book about loneliness at a time in my life when I was very lonely about a time when I was very lonely.

Writing can be really lonely anyway, but I wrote LIFE BY COMMITTEE while I was going through a big break up so it was written in an extra-lonely moment. We get a little used to loneliness, being writers, and sometimes it’s even sort of nice. My apartment is big and with no one else in it I could eat a lot of cheese and watch a lot of Gilmore Girls. Sometimes I’d be out with friends who were working hard to distract me from my loneliness, and I’d leave early thinking, no. I’d rather be lonely. LBC is a book that matters to me partly for that reason. I felt very cuddled up with Tabitha, both of us in our lonely little moments, supporting each other from a far. We understood each other, her and I.

But being lonely at 28 is easier than being lonely at 16. Or it was for me. Being lonely at 28 meant I tried to learn how to use a slow cooker and I abused my Netflix account and I started being more interested in what red wine was the perfect red wine for this type of pasta or this type of chicken or this type of sadness. Being lonely at 28 was satisfying. I had earned it. I could tolerate it. I had a therapist, after all.

More than that, I could complain about it to friends. Which maybe meant I wasn’t so, so lonely after all.

It was not, ultimately, the loneliest I have ever been.

The loneliest I have was in high school. Like Tabitha I had really great friends. Like Tabitha they stopped being my friends because I’d changed. Like Tabitha, I didn’t really feel like I’d changed.

That kind of loneliness was worse. It wasn’t satisfying. I didn’t feel like I’d earned it. I didn’t know where it had come from. I didn’t choose it or feel that it would be short-lived. I didn’t have a slow cooker or red wine or Netflix.

I had the aching sensation that I was unprepared to do it by myself. I had a not great boyfriend who everyone loved and no friends. I couldn’t hide in a room with my loneliness and cheese and coffee and Gilmore Girls. In high school, you have to walk around with it all the time. In hallways. In dress code khakis and the wrong shoes. You have survive with it in this constant way.

There comes a point, at a small school, where you’re not even wishing X or Y or Z person would be your friend. You’re not motivated to make some Herculean effort to change things. You know all the people, you know their friends, and you know that’s not going to happen. You know you’re stuck and that you won’t be unstuck until high school is over.

Or, if you’re me, you become a foreign exchange student and go to a country with a language you’ve never spoken before and live with a family who speaks that language and go to a school that operates in that language, and you do loneliness there. And it feels a little different because there’s risotto for lunch and centuries old cathedrals and girls in track suits and boys with shiny black hair and there are white stone roads and marble statues and the promise of Venice only an hour away.

But it’s still loneliness. And there’s still the expectation that you shouldn’t be feeling loneliness. Because you are in Italy and there is gelato on every corner. And your failure makes you lonelier still.

And these aren’t happy memories or even hopeful ones. I went all the way to Italy and I couldn’t shake the loneliness. I fell in love and couldn’t shake it. I wrote a book of vignettes and took self portraits and was Ophelia in Hamlet and Laura in the Glass Menagerie and Oliver in Oliver and I couldn’t shake it, except for those moments on stage, where I was being someone else, or those moments writing the vignettes, where at least I was being me.

I intended this to be a post about the loneliness of being a writer, and maybe it is. Writing helped, in the sense that I at least had myself, and when I wrote, I felt connected to at least that person.

And I’m lonely sometimes now, even though the break-up is over and life is pretty good. There is a loneliness that comes with full-time writing. You are by yourself, and in it alone and stuck with your thoughts and sometimes there are breakups and family tragedies and fights with friends and feeling misunderstood. But there’s the work. And there are tiny things you are in control of. Coffee, wine, cheese, Netflix, the color of your bedspread and how soft it is.

And there is the loveliness of sadness. And the relief—great and huge and overwhelming and heartbreaking—that you are not in high school anymore.

About the Author

corey ann haydu

Corey Ann Haydu is a young adult novelist currently living in Brooklyn, NY. Her first novel, OCD LOVE STORY, is coming out July 2013 from Simon Pulse. Her second novel, LIFE BY COMMITTEE will be out in Summer 2014 from Katherine Tegen Books at Harper Collins.

Corey grew up outside Boston, Massachusetts where she learned a deep love for books, cheese, cobblestone streets, cold weather and The Gilmore Girls. She has been living in New York City since 2001, where she has now developed new affections for New Yorky things like downtown bookstores, Brooklyn brownstones, writing in coffee shops, the Modern Love column in the Sunday Times, pilates, leggings, and even fancier cheeses.

Corey graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she got her BFA in Theatre. After college, Corey worked as an actress and playwright (and waitress and telemarketer and real estate broker and nanny and personal assistant) She also spent a lot of time in Starbucks writing short stories.

After working in children’s publishing for a few years, and falling in love with YA literature, Corey received her MFA from The New School in Writing for Children. During graduate school Corey rounded out her list of interests with mochas, evening writing workshops, post-it notes, bi-weekly cheeseburgers, blazers, and board games.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

About the Book

life by commmitteeLife by Committee

Tabitha might be the only girl in the history of the world who actually gets less popular when she gets hot. But her so-called friends say she’s changed, and they’ve dropped her flat.

Now Tab has no one to tell about the best and worst thing that has ever happened to her: Joe, who spills his most intimate secrets to her in their nightly online chats. Joe, whose touch is so electric, it makes Tab wonder if she could survive an actual kiss. Joe, who has Tabitha brimming with the restless energy of falling in love. Joe, who is someone else’s boyfriend.

Just when Tab is afraid she’ll burst from keeping the secret of Joe inside, she finds Life by Committee. The rules of LBC are simple: tell a secret, receive an assignment. Complete the assignment to keep your secret safe. Tab likes it that the assignments push her to her limits, empowering her to live boldly and go further than she’d ever go on her own. But in the name of truth and bravery, how far is too far to go?

Here I am with my copy:
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Add to your Goodreads to-reads! or buy it today! 

Buy Links: IndieBound | B&N | Amazon

 

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

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THE DREAM THIEVES Blog Tour: Guest Post

Hello Everyone!  It’s a very rainy, New England day over here which doesn’t help to improve my Monday spirits.  However as a plus, well…as a major plus, I have the honor of participating in Maggie Stiefvater’s “mini” blog tour for THE DREAM THIEVES (The Raven Cycle, #2)!!!

Oh, and be sure to read the amazing guest post (the perfect post for a lifelong mythology buff/nerd like myself)…on the mythology in the book!

 

 

The second installment in the all-new series from the masterful, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after….

Guest Post

“The mythology behind the ley lines and mystical, sleeping, dead Welsh Kings”

by Maggie Stiefvater

When I was a small and dark child, a sort of junior Wednesday Addams, I used to check out collections of mythology and folklore from the library. While other children were doing . . . whatever it was that other children did (play catch? Is that a child activity? Something about a little red wagon? Sing songs?) . . . I had my nose buried in big encyclopedias of magical and mysticial and rumored things. One of my favorite things was to catch sly references to mythology in the novels that I read, too. I already knew, in a rather folkloric and certain way, that I, too, was going to be a writer, and I was determined to do the same thing in my own novels.

So when people ask me how much mythology research I did for my books, I suppose the truthful answer is: “a lot. Long ago.” I will often reread my favorite books on it, but it doesn’t really count as research if you’ve already seen it.

But then, for the Raven Cycle, I found I needed something more. I needed to throw myself into researching the ley lines, and that was something completely different. For starters, stuff about the ley lines wasn’t found in the mythology/folk lore section. It was found in the New Age section.

In I plunged, expecting to find more of the same. A modern sort of mythology, really.

Here is the thing about mythology and folklore. It is not real, but it is true. It reflects the culture and mores of the people who invented it. It captures for all time a moment of collective longing or fear or pride. Every hero represents a historical ideal, even if he doesn’t represent a historical figure.

Really, it is history with all of the facts taken out and magic put in instead.

But reading about the leylines wasn’t like that at all. The books about them didn’t feature any mythology or folklore: they were fairly new creations. The ley lines in the UK throbbed very faintly with a cultural desire to reconnect with their history, but by the time the ley line stuff got imported to the States, it was all feeling quite airy-fairy and ungrounded.

I was presented with an entirely new challenge: make this fairly new creation feel not only like it had been around forever, but like it was organic. I wanted the readers to believe in Gansey’s quest, and to do that, his belief in the ley lines had to feel quixotic but not absolutely unfounded. It meant that even though my research started in the New Age section, it then ranged through geology books and history books and back to yet more mythology books. It is hard work to make something look like it’s always been there, but I’ve always enjoyed a good bit of forgery (is this a childlike activity? If so, go back and add it to the list up at the top).

When you’re reading the Raven Cycle though, I hope all of my work will be invisible. I hope that the new bits and the old bits are indistinguishable. And I hope that, most of all, it makes you feel like Gansey: curious. How it would please my black heart to know that I was creating more people who eschew red wagons (and . . . jump rope? Children still do that, right?) to get lost in the mythology section of their library.

Buy Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the Author

maggieAll of Maggie Stiefvater’s life decisions have been based around her inability to be gainfully employed. Talking to yourself, staring into space, and coming to work in your pajamas are frowned upon when you’re a waitress, calligraphy instructor, or technical editor (all of which she’s tried), but are highly prized traits in novelists and artists. She’s made her living as one or the other since she was 22. She now lives an eccentric life in the middle of nowhere, Virginia with her charmingly straight-laced husband, two kids, two neurotic dogs, and a 1973 Camaro named Loki.

Author Links:

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Courtesy of Maggie Stiefvater and Scholastic Inc. in conjunction with the Maggie Stiefvater Blog Contest. © Maggie Stiefvater 2013.

Also…a huge thank you to Maggie Stiefvater, Krista Kucheman, and the rest of the Scholastic, Inc. team for the chance to participate in this tour & for these awesome goodies!  

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Though I do love the signed copy of THE DREAM THIEVES (review to come!), I’m especially in love with the custom model Mitsubishi (my little brother would be so jealous!) 🙂

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

Stalked by Death Blog Tour: Day 1 (Guest Post)

Hi-Ya Everyone!  I’m so glad you’re here for the first day of Spencer Hill Press’s STALKED BY DEATH Blog Tour in honor of the soon to be released (July 23rd) YA Paranormal novel STALKED BY DEATH by Kelly Hashway!!

Stalked by Death (Touch of Death, #2)

Book Blurb

Jodi knows that any slip-ups made by the Ophi–a special group of necromancers born under the 13th sign of the zodiac–will fall on her shoulders… and that Hades is just waiting for them to screw up so he can wipe out the Ophi line.

Unfortunately, Jodi has only convinced one Ophi to join her school: A hot guy named Chase who jeopardizes her relationship with Alex. Jodi loves Alex, but Chase can enhance her powers with just a touch—making her stronger than any Ophi has ever been.

Her mixed emotions send her powers surging out of control, and the dead start rising without her conscious summoning—exactly what Hades doesn’t want! If she chooses Alex over Chase, she may lose the battle to Hades, leading the Ophi race to extinction. If she chooses Chase, she might be able to stop Hades for good… but lose everything else.

Jodi needs to figure things out fast–because death is stalking her at every turn.

The Guest Post

Joining us in this leg of of tour is the wonderful Jodi Marshall, yes THE Jodi (from the Touch of Death series).  After much nudging and eventual help from her biographer, Kelly Hashway, I was able to get her to pen some words of wisdom for all you buttkicking girls out there.  

Jodi Marshall on Being an Ophi and Advice to Other Teen Girls Who Have to Save the World

             That was a mouthful, wasn’t it? Well, that’s because being an Ophi and having to save my own kind from perishing at the hands of Hades feels like more than a mouthful on a daily basis. I know a lot of people—especially some Ophi I know (Chase, I’m looking at you)—think having power is nothing short of awesome, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Not to quote from Spiderman, but with power comes responsibility. Who wants to be the girl who has to answer to Hades? Not me, and I volunteered for the job.

            Yes, I can do incredible things like bring people back to life and even get to see my dead father again. But in the end, I’m deadly. I’m dangerous to be around. And that part just plain sucks. So if I’ve learned one thing from my experience being an Ophi, it’s that there’s good and evil in everything. (Unless you’re Hades, because he’s just evil. Hot, but evil.) Even the hero or heroine of every story has evil inside him/herself. And let’s face it; sometimes being evil is the easier option. But when you have people depending on you, easy can’t be part of the equation.

            So my advice to any girl who finds herself in a position where she has to save the world is to find the good inside yourself and hold on to that. Because it’s easy to lose yourself in your power, and if you let that happen, there’ll be no “you” left. And then who will save the world?

So there you have it folks, advice from one of my favorite Ophi…take heed 🙂

My review of STALKED BY DEATH is to come later this week.  If you haven’t read the first book and still need further encouragement, read my review of TOUCH OF DEATH AND check out my interview from earlier this year with the author, Kelly Hashway!

What kind of advice would your characters give?

Whimsically Yours,

PnC