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Friday, August 11, 2006

PLANES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES, and an exciting interlude

The last few days have been a nearly endless succession of planes, trains, automobiles . . . with the occasional coach and ferry stuck in there. I have been in more lines and departure lounges in the last four days alone than I think I’ve been in in the last six months.

I woke up this morning thinking, “Okay, I need to put that post up today.” And when I got to my computer was greeted by the news that all airline traffic in and out of Heathrow Airport in London is absolutely snarled, due to a massive operation to stop an impending terrorist attack. The target? Flights out of the UK going to the US. Basically, my route.

I was in Heathrow about 24 hours ago. I squeezed out of the UK just in time. I would have been in one of those painful lines, putting my passport in a plastic bag. Actually, since they’re not letting anyone carry laptop computers on board, I probably would have just thrown up my hands in defeat and stayed in England. I don’t go anywhere without Gilda. (Gilda being the name of my Apple PowerBook.)

Not that I would have put up a fuss. Like I’ve said before, I don’t make trouble for the nice airline people. If I can’t carry my laptop for safety reasons, I’m all for it. I just won’t go. I would have called Oscar Gingersnort and headed back to the London Office. That is how devoted I am. Or, rather, that’s how much I need her. Gilda is where my books live, and I don’t really like the idea of her being thrown like a Frisbee into a cargo hold. I stood watching bags come down a conveyor in London the other day. (I was coming back from Italy—that’s not just something I do in my free time.) Something went wrong, and a large piece of metal came off the belt and started stabbing the bags. Like an angry, insane fencer. “Ha! I stab you! And you! I stab you and you and you!” I won’t have that for Gilda.

In any case, I’m back in New York, still slightly baffled by my long absence, but recovering.

I was, as I last wrote, very briefly in Italy. Very briefly. One of the great things about being in England is that you can get to Europe very quickly, something that blows my mind every single time. My brain cannot seem to accept that France could only be an hour or two away, and that you can just pick up and hop on a train and go there anytime you want.

I was in Sorrento, which is an insanely beautiful place along the coast, just south of Naples. Sorrento is built on the very edge of the land—and I do mean the very edge. There are buildings which have back walls that line up exactly with the edge of cliffs. Considering that this is a place of considerable seismic activity, the Italians seem to be daring nature to throw another earthquake at them. And nature does, and the Italians just rebuild and dare nature again. Here’s what I mean:

You do what you have to to live in a place that looks like that, and has desserts that look like this:

Oh yes. There comes a point where you really have to stop eating, and I have found that point. Remember, I do this for you! All for you! Why? Because I was there researching for Girl At Sea, which is entering its final draft stage. And Sorrento and the surrounding area is where it is largely set—with scenes in the Island of Capri, Pompeii, and various towns up the Italian coastline.


As I was writing this, an e-mail came in. You will never guess what was in it. No, you will not. So I’ll just tell you. It was a blurb (a blurb being a quote that goes on your book jacket or elsewhere) from Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s TARA! Yes, Amber Benson! Willow’s girlfriend! The victim of Warren’s outrageous shooting! THAT Tara!

Amber is a prolific author in her own right, and I TOTALLY LOVE HER!


(*tries not to spaz on the blog, as this will ruin perception of cool that she has worked so long to build*)

(*realizes what a joke that last statement is*)

Tara likes Devilish! Look!

“I adored Maureen Johnson's book Devilish. I read it in one sitting and immediately wanted more. It's the cleverest take on selling your soul that I've read in a long time.”
-Amber Benson

This is Amber.

I am so excited by this that I am going to spontaneously write a song for Tara, I mean Amber, right now. Feel free to make up the tune.

You are so awesome
I’m sorry Warren shot you
Causing Willow to go crazy
And try to blow the world up
Until Xander stopped her
Not that I know this
Obviously I had to look it all up on Wikipedia
There’s no way I just pulled this off the top of my head
(Okay, I knew it.)

Thanks for liking my book
You are so clever
I’ll bet you have lots of pencils
Because you are always writing
Because you’re so clever
And that lots of people call you
Because you’re awesome
You probably use a headset
Because you get so tired of holding up the phone
You can get wrist-weariness that way

I mean, Amber
You are the best
And we all like you
And (*hyperventilates and has to breathe into paper bag*)

Okay, but really. No, really. She’s that cool. So, hey, Amber likes Devilish. That can’t be bad.

I’m just going to rest for a moment now. I have . . . jetlag. Yeah. That’s it. Jetlag.


Anonymous Hazel said...

I’m really surprised no one’s commented on this because it was one of the funniest blog entries I have read mainly because I totally understand. Thanks to your reaction to Amber Benson’s commendation, I read The Bermudez Triangle. Well, I am way beyond my teenage years and married with a son but I thought it was fantastic: it was perceptive, sweet, clever and, above all, very funny. Take it as a compliment when I say the dialogue was Buffyesque: “You’re getting all tough and mastermindy.” “I know,” Mel said, flushing with pride. “I think I’m a butch.”

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Chelsea said...

Hahaha omg. I was laughing way hard during the song.

You're so funny.

8:53 AM  
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