Is it me or are people vacationing more than they used to? When I was a kid,we spent a week at a beach somewhere and we were lucky, lucky dogs, super privileged to be able to do that. Maybe it's the Facebook effect -- other people' vacations are not just mentioned in passing ala 1982 but hyper-documented -- all the minutia photographed and shared -- with every photo fomenting toxic envy. Maybe it's the fact that I live in a fancier neighborhood than my parents did when I was a kid, so my neighbors rally are taking off for two months at a time. Whatever the reason, it feels like everyone i know is spending all summer frolicking in dazzling turquoise oceans or jumping into serene lakes or eating ice cream in front of the Eiffel Tower/ Leaning Tower/ London Tower.
All of which is to say, I am experiencing a higher-than-usual dose of vacation envy. It doesn't help that at the start of this week, Brooklyn was approximately five hundred degrees, in the shade. I started to understand why people in the 80s used to wear sweatbands. What a helpful accessory.
It is summer in the city and it is hot and muggy and all the not-hot, not-muggy places are so incredibly unthinkably, nauseatingly overcrowded - Pier 6, anyone? Feel like having a nervous collapse today?
All the non-hot, not-muggy places which are NOT crowded are expensive, too expensive, as in "If I could afford this, I'd be ON VACATION AND NOT IN THIS CITY"
It gets a girl cranky. Clearly.
And then yesterday evening, at about 6pm, we were waiting for David to get home from work at my grandmother's house -- she'd made spaghetti ala carbonara for dinner -- and I said to Seconda, "I'll take you to shoot some hoops." We're not a hoop-shooting or ball-batting or goal-getting sort, as you may have gleaned but she likes to dribble and it was a lovely evening so why not?
Ten seconds after she started dribbling, a little girl named Charity who we didn't know came i to the courts with her dad and stepmom. The dad introduced himself and asked if Seconda wanted someone to play with. She sure did. So Charity and Seconda played b ball (the onus falling on Charity to do so, Seconda being mainly clueless) and the dad was rebound guy (which is, apparently a thing one does). I leaned on the fence and talked to Charity's stepmom, and we watched the dad give them shooting tips and the girls give each other high fives and we talked about having kids and living in New York and not having kids and living in Atlanta. The breeze was perfect and the sound of the ball hitting the pavement was a delightful metronome not the migraine-inducing cacophany it usually is. Then my grandmother called and said: "YOU BETTA GET HERE RIGHT NOW 'CAUSE DA PASTA'S GETTIN' COLD!" and I laughed and said, "OK"
As we walked back to my grandmother's apartment, I looked at my beautiful golden-haired kid in the beautiful golden light and I thought, "Summer in the city really isn't so bad."
"Huh," you are thinking. "Haven't I heard about this damn book like four hundred times already, so much so that I have wondering if I am being punished for something I did in a past lifetime? WHY IS SHE TELLING ME THIS?"
Well, there are several scenarios in which one might be interested in my paperback release. Here they are:
1. You haven't gotten your very own copy yet, which means now is the perfect time. Maybe you've been deterred by the ponderous weight of the hardcover, or maybe it didn't fit into your favorite purse which, let's face it, is a dealbreaker. Now you can enjoy the same self-deprecating, tragicomic goodness in a lighter version! Perfect for the subway, beach or underground bunker!
2. You already have a copy, but you have a good friend/ mother/ co-worker/ evil twin -- or all of above! -- that would enjoy the book as a gift. Studies show evil twins love Now I See You.
3. You're in a book club, or you know someone who is in a book club, or you overheard someone on the bus mentioning that they are in a book club. Now I See You is PERFECT for book clubs, proof of which is this book club discussion guide. Also, did you know I do Skype visits with book clubs? And that Now I See You was voted #1, nationwide, in Book Club Picks by IMadeThatUp.com?
4. You had a copy but you lent it your mother-in-law/ best friend/ dog and they kept it (or, in the case of the dog, ate it). And you want a copy on your bookshelf because that red! It's gorgeous! It pops!
5. You already have 10 copies clogging your shelf and frankly, they annoy you but you love me and my children and you fear they will not get a college education if you don't buy 10 more copies.
If any of these scenarios fit, go buy a copy and tell everyone you know on Facebook and Twitter to do the same. If none of these scenarios fit, forgive me for the intrusion. Close this window and forget this ever happened. We will never speak of it again.
If you are on the fence, maybe you'll be swayed by this praise in the press (because the press never lies, as everyone knows).
“A frightening diagnosis is only start of the story…Now I See You is a funny, sassy, yet poignant story.” --The New York Times
“Hilariously inspiring…Kear’s book is a showstopper.” --People
“A young mother going blind is no laughing matter, except, incredibly so, it is in Nicole C. Kear’s courageous, relatable and, yes, truly funny Now I See You.” --Family Circle
“We’re here to tell you that Kear’s memoir, about finding out that she’s slowly going blind and what that means for the rest of her life, is one of 2014’s best books and one that will have you alternating between laughing and crying from page to page.” --Parade
"Nicole C. Kear's hilarious and poignant tale of her ever-dimming world sparkles with a winning wit and wisdom gained as much from seizing the day as from falling down." “[Nicole’s] story is spunky and full of a zest for life that will open the eyes of readers to the little joys of the world. A tender memoir about love, life and going blind.” --Kirkus Reviews
I'm on a John Green kick -- reading Paper Towns now, and just finished An Abundance of Katherines. As a memoirist, this passage, from the end of the book, absolutely slayed me. It's just brimming with the kind of hope a writer needs to keep writing:
"Maybe stories don't just make us matter to each other; maybe they are also the only way to the infinite mattering he'd been after for so long ... Telling it changes other people just the slightest little bit, just as living the story changes me -- an infinitesimal change -- and that infinitesimal change ripples outward, ever smaller but everlasting. I will get forgotten but the stories will last. And so we all matter, maybe less than a lot but always more than none."
I have discovered that my toddler has a highly marketable skill, though only if the market in question is Ikea.
Terza can name Ikea furniture lines.
Now, I know full well that Ikea furniture has Swedish names, and most likely, the names are Swedish words that mean something in Swedish and, in that respect, she's got nothing. However, were Ikea to run out of Swedish words, and find themselves in need of words that just sound vaguely Swedish, or more to the point, Ikea-ish, my daughter will be just the one they are looking for.
Whenever we play with her dolls or animals or figures, and I ask what the name of the character is, she invariably begins with: "Cala." It used to be that all the character would bear the same name - Cala -- which made pretend play very confusing, a little like when I go to family functions of my best friend from high school who is Greek, because there are always 20 Georges.
But now that she's a bit older, she's diversified her name collection. It now includes:
(Ikea will just have to forgive her the last one. Nobody's perfect).
I have some exciting news that I am thrilled to share. Macmillan Kids' Imprint will be publishing the first six books in a new series for children, written by me! The series is called The Fix-It-Friends, for kids in grades K-3 and it will be released in 2017. It stars an inventive, exuberant, totally unforgettable second-grader who leads a group that help other kids with social issues. My kids (aka test readers) give it two thumbs up and assure me it's funny. Here's a viideo about the newly-launched imprint, aptly named Imprint. featuring me and some other authors! So, save a spot on your kids' bookshelves, if you please . . .
Terza is three, which is the age at which, I've noticed, children tend to develop a short-lived phobia of feces. Don't ask me why this happens. I know it has something to do with what they call "body integrity" which is also why, at about this age, they also develop a blood phobia. All of which is to say, I will definitely not be showing the kid any birth videos any time soon. Could you imagine what the implications of that would be on someone concerned about body integrity?
Because it's not my first time at the rodeo, I was prepared for the poop problem. When Terza has to go, I hang out with her in the bathroom and just chat with her and tell her stories so she does not have a full-on nervous breakdown about her imminent BM. While doing that a few days ago, I was reminding her of the fact that there's nothing to worry about. And she, in a moment of clarity and reason, agreed.
Then she expounded on the subject:
"A poop is not a lion or a tiger," she observed. "A poop can't eat you. So you don't have to be scared."
Nicole is a parenting writer who contributes essays and articles for magazines like Parenting, Parents, American Baby and Babble. She lives in Brooklyn with three children, one husband and a morbidly obese goldfish.