Monday, March 14, 2011

Donating help to Japan

Today, I went swimming and my imagination scared the wits out of me. I thought of the people run over by the tsunami (fittingly, we use the Japanese word here), and what it would have been like to be sucked into the water. That was scary enough, but then when I got out of the water, I thought of the families who are still alive, but have been without electricity, clean water, or anything else for four days now, in freezing temperatures. Not only are they devastated and in shock, but they are starving and dehydrated beyond what I want to imagine.

I took a warm shower, dried my hair, and went back to my child who was safe and happily playing with his friend. Fortunate to be in New York, even where there is snow still on the ground in March.

As some of you know, I grew up (partially) in Japan and have a strong connection with the people on the islands. None of my friends have been hurt, but one of my friends there now (Emi Yamada) works for the UN and used to work for an NGO called JEN, which provides aid in Japan and elsewhere. She said that her old HQ at JEN is scrambling around trying to find bottles of water, sanitary napkins, diapers, etc. to hand out to people but are having an awfully hard time finding anything available. Personally, I feel helpless. I want to help, but I don't have much to offer and don't have the funds to go over there and help in person. So I'm doing what I can by emailing you and hoping that at least one of you will be able to donate to JEN or the Red Cross or someone else who is helping out.

Here is a link to the donation site for JEN.

I know that here in Syracuse many people are sympathetic but still say, "Well, it's Japan. They can take care of themselves just fine. Look at how they bounced back after WWII and Kobe." It's true. They did bounce back. But they didn't do it alone. No island, no group of people, no matter their history or their religion, should have to overcome an earthquake, a tsunami, a volcanic eruption, and a pending nuclear meltdown by themselves. Japan is suffering.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


All I can say today is that my heart is torn apart for Japan. My thoughts are there, my heart is there, and I wish to God I could be there to help. (Not that I'd be much help. But still.) Thank goodness my personal friends are safe.

Here's a good link to see the before/after of the Tsunami: HERE

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


I've waited a week to write this post, just to see how my emotions would look like at this point. And they're the same, for the most part.

You see, I finished my book.

And it's a little depressing. Or disappointing. And such a wonderful relief. At any rate, when you write The End, you expect some sort of fanfare from the Angels or whoever has been watching over your shoulder. But instead, you quietly smile around the cafe you've been writing in and see that all is as it has been. The man with the stack of textbooks about Ancient Rome is still typing away at his dissertation. The scruffy man with headphones the size of dessert plates is still tapping away at his computer, and the gaggle of college undergrads, with their Clique-esque straight blonde hair, skinny jeans, and designer boots are still sipping at their lattes and talking about whatever those kinds of girls talk about. (I wouldn't know.)

No fanfare. No trumpets. Not even a kazoo. Instead, you close your laptop and smile a bit wider, to yourself. Because, really, does it matter to anyone more than it does to yourself? That book you've just finished----in all honesty, you wrote it for yourself. Not for your future fans. Not for your family. Not even for that English teacher who raised an eyebrow when you said you'd write novels one day. You wrote it Just. For. Yourself.

And so you should be the one pulling out the French Horn right in the Barnes & Noble cafe. (If you were brave and knew how to play such an instrument, which I do not.) Or you can pack up and wander the YA Fantasy shelves, spotting books written by friends/acquaintances/people you follow on twitter. And find your spot, just where this book that you've finished will fit.

Then you take a month off and do something completely different. I, for instance, got invited to participate in an art show at the local art museum. Can you believe it? Just when I finish my book and must take a month off, I am invited to sell my scarves among real artists and their wares. And I conveniently have time to make the scarves!

Also, I've been making myself a lot of chai, to deal with the chill in the house.

(Hmmm...My son isn't napping and is currently crying about something....*goes back upstairs* Well. He wanted his space rocket in his crib AND wanted to go ride on an airplane. A real one. Those aren't great for naps, and so he's crying again. Hopefully, he'll go to sleep. I've got scarves to make...)

So, back to finishing books... the world hasn't changed. It's the same as it was when the book was yet unfinished. And yet, inside myself, something's changed. Something's warmer, and more certain of itself.

There's lots more work to be done on this book, including a complete revision and some critiques to get from newer readers. Then another revision, and if I think it's as good as I can get it, I'll send it to my agent. And then....and then....the Future.

For now, I'll continue to daydream that I get whisked away by Dr. Who while I make stuff and play with my kids. And maybe try to clean the house a bit. And wish for Spring because I am really, really getting tired of having to swipe the snow off the car nearly every morning while trying to get the kids in, before 9 a.m., when all they want is to run off from me and get into the really deep snow in the middle of the yard. Or eat the gray icicles off the car (blech!).

So here's my late-Winter/Spring-better-come-soon plan:
March----make many, beautiful nuno-felted scarves that people will be desperate to buy at the Everson Museum of Art Greenhouse Art Show (there's a real name, but I've forgotten at the moment). And somehow manage this while the kids are home during their school break and hubby is in L.A. for a week-long conference, the lucky man.
April----REVISE the jinn book, which is in need of a title. (Incidentally, what do you think of The Jinn Bride???)
May----Give copies to readers, get critiques back, REVISE AGAIN. Make the book as perfect as can be. Then give to Super (and Very Patient) Agent.
June----Try not to fall completely apart. And start planning for new book (which I am so so so giddy about, you have no idea).

And finally, here's a little video of the best parts in life: