For Scott Westerfeld

Reading on Scott Westerfeld’s wife’s Justine Larbelestier’s blog that poor Scott has been deemed “not pretty at all” in a journalistic attempt to play on the titles of his YA Uglies series, I feel compelled to remind all of us of the serious nature of beauty evaluation, and how damaging it can be. Allow me to present T-boz, Left Eye and Chilli, far more articulate representatives than I. And Scott, don’t listen. Take deep breaths and do yoga exercises like Left Eye. Or do some karate like Chilli. You’re a looker in my book. 😉

The house on Outlook

The house passed its inspection with mostly flying colors today. There are some little things we’ll have to do, but mostly just routine maintenance stuff that had gone undone as the house had been empty for a good part of the past year. So it looks like I’m a homeowner for sure now. It looks like a storybook house to me. I can’t wait to move in.  I’m going to make the room above the front door into my office.  And you might not be able to see it, but there’s a really cute old fashioned mail slot beside the door where the mail will be delivered into the house itself.  All the windows are leaded glass.  It’s the sort of house that, when I was a little kid, always made me think of the gingerbread house in Hansel and Gretel for some reason.


The Love We Share Without Knowing

I mentioned in a post the other day that I had more good news to share, and today it was announced.  My second novel will be coming out from Bantam Dell again.  Very excited, and very very happy that I’m working once again with Juliet Ulman, the editor who worked with me on One for Sorrow.

From Publisher’s Marketplace:

ONE FOR SORROW author Christopher Barzak’s THE LOVE WE SHARE WITHOUT KNOWING, pitched as Murakami meets Dan Chaon, set in Japan, in which the lives of several strangers — including a Japanese suicide club survivor, an American teacher of English whose lover was killed in 9/11, and a man mysteriously struck blind — are gently linked and interwoven by love and loss and fate, to Juliet Ulman at Bantam Dell, by Chris Schelling at Ralph M. Vicinanza (NA).

Which way do you spin?

I just did this right brain/left brain test and am so weirded out.  It’s a test to see which hemisphere of the brain you use more.  Initially I saw the image of the dancer going clockwise, the right brain way of seeing it.   And I watched it and watched it and couldn’t see it the left brain way until I decided to focus on her shadow, and when I looked back up she was spinning counter clockwise.  Then I couldn’t see her going any direction but counter clockwise.  I thought for a while maybe this was timed and messing with me maybe?  So I focused on her shadow again and when I looked back up at her she was going clockwise again.  Then I didn’t even have to focus on the shadow but could focus a little while watching her spin and she’d switch directions right before my eyes.  I am probably freaked out by this more than I should be.  Our brains and eyes and their relationship is so odd, though, isn’t it?

Tell me if I’m flipping out or if this happens to you too.

Take the test by clicking here.

Quote of the Day

A really awesome quote from Equus, forwarded to me by Neal, one of the students in my workshop group at Imagination in Cleveland this summer. I love it. Thanks for sending it, Neal!

“I wish there was one person in my life I could show. One instinctive, absolutely unbrisk person I could take to Greece, and stand in front of certain shrines and sacred streams and say, ‘Look! Life is only comprehensible through a thousand local Gods.’ And not just old dead ones with names like Zeus – no, but living Geniuses of Place and Person! And not just Greece but modern England! Spirits of certain trees, certain curves of brick wall, certain chip shops, if you like, and slate roofs – just as of certain frowns in people and slouches … I’d say to them – ‘Worship as many as you can see, and more will appear!’”


As of today my online journal Meditations in an Emergency is five years old.  Wow, how time really does fly, as they say.  One of the things I like about journals is looking back once enough time has passed to trace the outlines of where I’ve been and where I’m going.  Five years ago I was in graduate school and apparently clubbing it up every, ohhh, other day of the week. Four years ago I was graduating from graduate school and not really sure what I wanted to do next.  Three years ago I hopped an airplane to Japan and had two of the best years of my life relearning how to be a human being.  A little over a year ago I came home again with my first novel sold to Bantam Books.  I spent the past year or so settling back into home here in Ohio, and there are more good things on the horizon.  I am about to become a homeowner, believe it or not, in what for me is my total dream house–a brick Tudor in the historic district here in Youngstown, complete with ivy growing up one wall and leaded glass windows and a beautiful keystone design around the entryway and a little wrought iron accoutrement here and there.  The house is on Outlook Avenue, which feels just right to me at the moment also, as I look forward to the next few years and what they’ll bring.  More on that real soon.  But mainly I want to say that despite not everything in life being exactly perfect, you can still make a pretty happy life for yourself if you know who you are and what it is that you want your life to be.  The view from where I’m at right now looks pretty decent, though I’m sure there’ll be lots to contend with along the way.  It’s been five years of ups and downs and turnabouts that were completely unexpected.  I suppose that’s life in general.  And stories in general.  At least the good ones.  Here’s to looking forward to the next five years, which I’ll most likely be jotting down here from time to time as usual.  Cheers.


I found this video on YouTube tonight. It’s made by a young woman named Megan in a nearby city. She read One for Sorrow and has taken photos as well as quotes from the book and set them to music by The Bravery. The song totally rocks. Megan says in the beginning of the slide show (and in her summary on YouTube itself) that these photos and this song remind her of the book, and that the book echoes for her. Megan, if you read this, I just want to say that this montage you’ve made echoes for me, too. I love it. Thank you.