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Monday, June 21, 2010

First Day of Summer -- so much to celebrate

I've been thinking about all the ways adults try to "protect" kids and teens --from warnings about "dangerous" books to preventing best-friendships

... and while the part of me that fully remembers how it feels to be a kid/teen shakes my head in wonder and disgust, the parent part of me understands the (misdirected) urge. Even on some ordinary, uneventful days -- like the day I've had today, for one example -- the worry that goes with being a parent sometimes feels like a punch in the heart. Maybe there's somebody in addition to our kids we are trying to protect?

On the other hand, I have benefitted tremendously from your comments on the last
post, about trying to stop the TO DO list noise. Inspired by you all, I was able to be very mindful of appreciating the long days, this past week -- kicking back in the playground, the park, and various cafes around town with my family and friends. Isn't it odd, how hard it is to unclench? Doesn't it seem like that would be easy?

Easy... hmmm... another concept I've been thinking about. At the end of one of the basketball games last week (such great games, even though I was ultimately sad Boston didn't prevail) one of the players was asked if it was hard. I can't even remember what the specific area of difficulty being asked about was, to be honest -- maybe to play away games, or with an injury, or in the NBA finals; I was only half-listening until I heard his answer, which was so wise:

"Yeah," he said. "It's hard. But that's okay. It's supposed to be hard."

I keep thinking about that. It's okay; it's supposed to be hard. I have been telling myself that, since I heard that statement, whenever I feel stressed: Yes, it's hard, but that's okay; it's supposed to be hard. I told myself that today when I was struggling
with a scene in my new book, and then again later when dealing with camp stress with my kids. And reminding myself that it's supposed to be hard didn't crunch me up at all inside -- in fact, it gave me the room to cope, because I wasn't busy internally protesting WAIT! NO! This is HARD!

It goes along with the very sane "Keep calm and carry on" advice I keep seeing lately, which sounds like it must be a quote from Queen Elizabeth. Is it? Free signed bookplate to whoever finds the source for that one first...

Meanwhile, two other things: one is --another great review for BRILLIANT!

This one is from Bulletin:

"LUCKY featured young Phoebe Avery, GORGEOUS her older sister Allison; now the focus is on oldest sister Quinn. The solid and reliable daughter, Quinn rolls with the punches as her family's life begins to disintigrate after her mother gets fired from her lucrative job as a hedge-fund manager, but she's beginning to question her eternally accepting role. Vail has done a superb job of moving through the trajectory of connecting the backstory even as she gives each Avery girl full center-stage attention.... [spoilers omitted here]... The book also offers some neat craftsmanship in its external characterizations of Phoebe and Allison, whom readers have seen from the inside in previous titles, with the triangulated portrayals giving a fuller picture than either point of view on its own. Readers who pick this title up will definitely want to backtrack to the earlier titles to fill in the picture, and those who've heard Phoebe's and Allison's takes won't want to miss Quinn's."

And not to be left out, here's JUSTIN, with new friends Judy and Janine at my local Barnes & Noble...

Finally, happy first day of summer... and Happy Birthday to
my friend Lauren, with whom, despite all my Zen relaxation intentions, I have not gotten to celebrate yet. Soon, grasshopper, soon, I keep telling myself (okay, free bookplates for the source of that one, too!)

Don't forget to share your thoughts on any of this, or anything else, in the comments below...

Rachel Vail

PS: coming very soon -- an Avery Girl quiz!!!

PPS: Dare I ask: what exactly are we being warned is ahead here, at the Stamford CT train station???

1 comment:

  1. Yay! I now have a new quote to add to my collection of faves :D "Yes, it's hard, but that's okay; it's supposed to be hard". Don't you just love it when someone says something that's so simple it's profound?

    I am very glad you've found the time to relax! True to my word, I've relaxed and enjoyed the first official day of summer and, boy, was it well worth it. I, too, find it very hilarious that relaxing comes less easy to those who search for it, than to those who live by it. Lord; if only, in this world, could we reach our goals, exceed our expectations, and shine brightly without having to actually DO the work leading up to it.

    Hooray for Brilliant and Justin Case! I am very honored to hear that they are both doing well on a first-hand account! Though I have not read either, my sister is an avid fan of "If We Kiss" and is extremely excited to go out and find "Lucky" so that she can begin her own personal journey with the Avery sisters. According to her, your writing is simply brilliant (no pun intended)and I have no doubt that the praise is undeserved.

    Happy first day of summer! And here's the history behind "Keep Calm; Carry on"!