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Saturday, March 24, 2007


I got something yesterday that stopped my clock completely. It’s possible that this is the best thing that has ever happened to me—even better than my free monkey riding up with my new Vespa. I am going to share it with you.

Before we get to the exciting bit, though, I have to mention something while I am still up here at the top of the page, and not seventy feet down it. Do you see this little white box over here to the right? Slap your e-mail in there and you will be signed up for my SUPER SECRET MAILINGLISTACULAR! Go on! Sign up now!

Okay. Let me tell you about the shiny thing.

So, yesterday, I was writing with Scott Westerfeld and Justine Labalestier. We worked at Westerestier HQ, a secure, carefully wired compound, high above the streets of Manhattan.

Scott is very busy writing Extras, the fourth book of Uglies/Pretties/Specials. His fingers barely stopped typing the whole day, except when he did his hand jives to figure out how hoverboards fly. More importantly, yesterday was the release of Justine’s 3rd book in the Magic or Madness trilogy.

Naturally, when the day was over, we had to celebrate this momentous occasion. We paraded around, drinking some champagne and having three course desserts, and generally made merry in the way that you have to when the third book of the Magic or Madness trilogy comes out. When we returned, I checked my e-mail. There were several messages waiting.

First, we found out that writing partner John Green had been hospitalized for his incredibly bad pink eye.

And then, there was the shiny thing.

It came in the form of a link to this WORD FOR WORD recreation of my blog entry on how to write a book. Additionally, it incorporates material from another entry on what writers do all day, and my trip to IKEA with Daphne Unfeasible.

I can’t describe it any further. It really just has to be watched.

Note the three girls in this image.

Scott and I were blown away by many parts of this—not the least of which was the astonishingly accurate recreation of a group of us at work. When Justine re-emerged in her pajamas (Justine likes pajamas) she watched it and identified the artists behind it as some excellent readers she met white signing in Texas.

“I like that John is being played by a girl,” Scott said, when he had shaken off his initial amazement.

I sent it over to John Green, who was in his hospital bed, typing with one hand and reading with one eye. The first thing he said (after happily noting the Brotherhood 2.0 appearance) was, “I like that I am being played by a girl.”

E. Lockhart, the other person represented in the café scene, also loved it.

“I liked the fact that John was played by a girl,” she said, after making many positive comments on the use of Kenny Loggins in the final dancing scene.

It’s a good thing I have this, as it completely eliminates the need for me to write 200 pages of blog today. Which is very good, as I have to run off now, as this afternoon is the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age 2007 exhibition. I am happy to announce that Devilish is on that list, along with books by Scott, Justine, E. and many other fine people. Last year, I watched the Leo NYPL lion (or a librarian dressed as Leo) secretly paw a can of Coke! Even fake lions get thirsty, you know.

So, please, sign up, watch the video, and praise its makers. I’ll be back tomorrow or the next day with an unnecessarily long report on what I saw and heard.

I leave you with this question . . . and I want you to be honest with me. Seriously. When I came back from England, this is what my rubber plant looked like. Do you guys think my plant is dead?

Can you spot Free Monkey hiding in the foliage?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah...I think your plant is dead. Way dead. The monkey gives it life, though! ;) I went looking for Justine's new book yesterday and failed miserably. It made me very sad. But on a higher note, while looking for Justine's book I bought Devilish and Scott's The Last Days!!! This makes me happy.

8:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the laugh, Maureen.

However, I have a bone to pick with you. Did you know that, because of your fabulous book, [i]Devilish[/i], I missed out on a trip to IKEA today? Yes, it is true. I so desperately wanted to go, but I also desperately wanted to finish your book, and your book prevailed. You need to stop writing such good books.

9:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arg. The HTML didn't work, because I used brackets instead of the weird sideways V-things. But you know that I meant: Devilish, not [i]Devilish[/i]. Now that that's been settled, I'm off to Starbucks.

9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think it's dead. I think it's dormant. Like the way the mold-covered sundews with blackish edged leaves on my dresser are dormant. It's a perfectly natural phenomenon--definitely not a result of my laziness.

I went to the library today, but they didn't have ANY of your books! Not one! What an outrage! I was tempted to walk right up the check-out lady and demand them to carry Maureen Johnson books, but the lady was drinking out of a cup of unidentifiable liquid and smiling eerily. I feared for my health.

1:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was staring so hard at the obviously-dead rubber plant muttering 'But it's a rubber plant, how can it be dead? It is dead though. That's one dead plant' that I didn't notice the Free Monkey until I read your hint. *facepalm* What a fool I am!

That video clip is awesome. When I watched it I got really confused for a moment, wondering where John was, and then I realised he was a girl. Oh how I chuckled.

12:37 PM  
Blogger Tobias said...

sorry to disappoint you Maureen, but that plant is definitely dead! but I'm glad I found somebody who's actually worse than me in keeping things alive (although I'm probably better in killing electronics).

that video came at a somewhat unpleasant time for me. I have to hand in a text for my Dutch-class tomorrow (well, I should have already turned it in Friday)and I haven't done much exactly. ooh well, I guess I'll go sit outside with my good ol' laptop Sophia and hope I'll be able to come up with something about some dead scientist *yay*

3:33 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Lynn Barnes said...

That video is easily one of the most awesome things I've ever seen (says the writer currently on deadline). And I like the fact that John Green was played by a girl...

6:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Woh. This window looks all weird when it's maximized. It sort of resembles me the day after Thanksgiving, you know, all stretched out and out of proportion.

I'm commenting again right now instead of writing, because I'm stuck in a rut, and hopefully commenting will help the creative juices to flow.

It isn't working.

Your rubber plant is most definitely dead. You should bury it, or cremate it, or do whatever you do to dead things in whatever religion you practice. And then you and your monkey can go into mourning, and... I don't know. Whatever one does when one is mourning a rubber plant.

I think it's obvious how bored I am.

7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I once had a fake plant, buy it died because I forgot to pretend to water it."*

Sadly I cannot see the video because my brother so cruelly stole the computer speakers so i cannot hear it. I could still watch it, but it just wouldn't be the same.

12:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS: That star after the quote was supposed refer to the fact that that quote is not mine, but Mitch Hedberg's (I think). I hope he does not come back to haunt me from the grave.

12:33 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I firmly believe that the plant is very much alive; the problem is that Free Monkey is so vibrant and awesome that anything would look dead next to him (her?).

4:49 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Hmm. Well, the plant could be dormant.... maybe. Okay, probably not. But it might be. ;P

Well. John could have been played by the guy, but, ya know, wouldn't have been the same. :D ;)

8:34 AM  
Blogger ElsKushner said...

That video gives me hope for the future of our nation.

No, seriously.

Or at least hope that in my old age I'll have some great movies to watch when I hand over my $50 or so for the ticket.

11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey..I like that John Green is played by a girl.


8:53 AM  
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