Happiness Writes a Blog Post?

Another fun day on the last day of the tour, the highlight meeting ALL of you fabulous teens—including gorgeous girls Sabrina and Katie, who told me about the in-suh-hayyyne YSL exhibit at the DeYoung, which, unfortch, I will miss since my flight leaves pronto. But I think me and la famille will have to take a little trip back to SF to see it. And just so I can enjoy all these cities I’ve visited at a slower pace and actually get to shop and eat somewhere other than room service. (You know how when you’re a kid room service was this SPECIAL treat, although really, my parents weren’t the type like the Simpsons who didn’t let you touch ANYTHING because it might cost money, I remember they would order us room service on the nights they went OUT in the cities we were visiting in Europe. “Ta, ta, kids, Pop and Mom are off to see Rome…you guys have fun ordering pasta with Grandma!”) Anyway, when you grow up, room service is still a special treat, until, well, you kind of get sick of it and miss being at home. Or eating in a real restaurant that doesn’t serve the usual good-but-somewhat-bland chicken.

I have to say though: I’m staying at the Four Seasons on Market Street and it is noooicceee. I love me some Four Seasons Hotel. That almost makes up for having to order room service nightly. Nice hotels are really one of the wonderful things in life, aren’t they?

Last night I had the honor of doing a panel at the venerable Books Inc’s Not Yo’ Mama’s Book Club with the awesome Ellen Hopkins, author of Crank, Glass, and the new Identical, and a debut author, Christina Meldrum, whose novel Madapple sounds SO intriguing. Jen, the head mama of the book club, was so wonderful and brought us all cupcakes, and I got to meet the famous Walter the Giant Storyteller, a Bay Area YA icon. It was really interesting to hear Ellen and Christina talk about their work. Ellen writes free-verse ‘problem’ novels, and read from her newest, Tricks, about teen prostitution. Ellen is a spitfire and a really cool chick, and I want to read one of her books soonest. I’m not a big problem-novel person. I tend to stay away from those because I don’t really like to “go there” as a writer or a reader. But now I really want to read them after hearing Ellen talk about her books. And Christina’s book is about pre-Christ mythology which sounded fascinating, and also dealt with some heavy issues tied to parental abuse.

I realize all the time how blessed I have been to have had a really happy childhood—a childhood marred by being disappointed there were only twenty and not twenty-one presents at Christmas, or you know, parents uprooting us to a different country, but usually problems that were so infinitesimally small when I think about it now I marvel at how I managed to concoct teen angst from it (really: how bratty! how much like Dudley I was back then. Definitely a Veruka at least!) and even the immigration thing, I mean—these were problems OUTSIDE the home, with trying to fit in, blah blah blah.

At the core of my life has always been a really supportive, really functional family. I still remember my dad charging up to our private school to accost my sister’s English teacher because Mr. Sweeney (oh yeah: hi Mr. Sweeney! His real name) had the AUDACITY to accuse my sister of plagiarism because he thought her essay was too well-written and suspected sis copied it from an encyclopedia. My dad explained to Mr. Sweeney that plagiarism is a SERIOUS charge and not one to be thrown about lightly, and that my sister wrote the essay herself, of course, I mean, it was not even in our imagination to do something like that. We were absolute follow-the-rules kids. We did not COPY. Anyway, when you bring up Mr. Sweeney to my dad today, he’ll still get angry (a little) but he’ll also laugh because Mr. Sweeney was pretty taken aback that a parent would take it so seriously.

But isn’t that what it’s all about? Taking everything your kid does pretty seriously? And making sure that other people can’t hurt your kids? Even casually, even inadvertently? I always remember that David Sedaris essay, where he moves next door to a pretty manipulative kid, a kid who was totally neglected by her parents, and bugged David for company and treats, until it was too much and David had to stop the acquaintance, at which point, his mother (David’s mother) comes and helps him move out of his apartment because his mom didn’t want the trashy people next door to even think about *hurting* her son—I remember the last lines of the essay so well: his mom packing up the boxes, telling him in no uncertain terms that he was moving out, because who knows what the neighbors next door would do next—accuse him of child abuse maybe? Because he was gay? It was a realistic concern, given the vituperative things the people had said in the days leading up to that. So. She was getting him out before they could even think along those lines and make life hard for her son. And David’s essay says, “I wonder (if the kid next door) even recognized what this was: a mother.” Because the kid did not have anyone looking out for them in the same way.

A really wonderful story, and why Sedaris, of course, is one of my favorite writers.

Anyway. I guess I just miss MY kid right now too. I didn’t mean to let this post be so serious!! Oy! Ellen: see what you’ve done! LOL!