We’re thrilled to announce that MESSY is now available in paperback –with a bright, shiny new cover, which we love! — wherever books are sold! Check it out, if you haven’t yet read it.
Get it at your local bookstore!
What is Max’s biggest pet peeve, in a world populated with them? What was Brooke’s favorite Halloween costume? What song is stuck in their heads? Now you can find out, thanks to a survey we did for the Poppy Web site.
Here’s a teaser:
What song is stuck in your head right now?
MAX: “Please, Please, Please (Let Me Get What I Want)” by The Smiths, and “Love (You)(Yes, You)(Come On, You Knew Who I Meant)” by Mental Hygienist. Although yesterday, for reasons I do not want to discuss, it was a Taylor Swift song… and, come on, girl, get over it. YOU HAVE TERRIBLE TASTE IN MEN. WE GET IT. TAKE A BREAK.
BROOKE: Moxie Stilts just put out a new song about Nancy Drew called “Detection Is Nine-Tenths Of The Law,” so I hear it all the time — but let’s be honest, it’s awful. It sounds like someone is kicking a pirate. The rest of the time I usually am humming something really important and classical. Also Britney.
The awesome folks at Macy’s in Union Square approached us about doing an event at their store, in the new Bar III clothing department. It’s a little unusual, but it also sounds like a kick-ass time: There is a purchase requirement of $50 to get the free signed book and the personal meet-and-greet, but there will also be free polish changes into our handpicked OPI colors — one pink, one blue, and one killer red — and cocktails, and of course the potential to shop with booze in your hand without involving your laptop, and… just generally a lot of girly goodness. So join us if you dare, on June 16, from 6-8 p.m. Maybe we’ll even tell you what we think of what you’re wearing.
For those of you who are further flung from San Francisco, we’ll be at Kepler’s in Menlo Park the next night, June 17, at 7 p.m. And we are thrilled about it. I’ve never been to that area — I’ve only ever been to San Francisco once — and fully plan to leave my heart there so that I can annoy everyone on the plane home with a song.
Apparently the takeaway from this is that I make a LOT of mistakes.
Just the other day I was thinking fondly of my previous Gateway, which I finally replaced because I had — through excessive typing, presumably — rubbed the letter decals off several of the keys, and even CARVED PIECES OUT OF some of them just from whacking them with my ring finger, which is the only one that really ever grows a nail of any significant length. Jessica and I really abuse our computers. We’re on them five days a week, for ages, typing countless words — I wish the cosmos would add it up for me, because I’m curious — for the blog and for NY Mag and for our beloved books. The keyboards take a beating. (And take pieces of our lunches. Seriously, the crumb graveyard under this thing could probably bread a chicken.)
So of course, the second I note to myself how nicely this Gateway has held up to this rampant abuse, the Backspace key went ahead and snapped off. And won’t snap back on. I’ve tried just pushing the little button, but I miss it. I’ve tried balancing it on there, but nine times out of ten I have to hit it several times just to get a deletion to register. So I’m doing some work-arounds until my dad’s computer, which I’m inheriting, arrives to me via UPS. I’ve decided this is a sign from my father from the Great Beyond (there have been a few): His computer, a red Dell, has a strip of red leather on it, and everyone decided I should get it because, and I quote, “A Fug Girl really should have a red-leather laptop.” A sentiment my father used to tease me with all the time. So really, the death of my Backspace key was really just Dad making sure that I hastened the arrival of the fancy Dell.
Good thing it broke the day AFTER we turned in our second draft of Messy.
I am a weird mix of patient and toe-tappingly jittery. As a child, I never once tried to find my Christmas presents, never wanted to trick anyone into telling me what they’d be, never even minded waiting to do our stockings until right before dinner (a stroke of maternal genius-qua-blackmail that ensured my mom could get us up off our duffs and presentable for the big meal). And yet, on Christmas morning, I was a bundle of energy, tumbling down the stairs to get to everything under the tree. I could not WAIT. Except, of course, I had been, and I’d been loving it. Anticipation can be delicious. It’s emotional chocolate. To this day, per our tradition, I never open a birthday present until the end of the day, because I love having the ramp-up period of knowing everything will end in one big explosion of awesome.
Of course, then there are times when things don’t live up to the way you want them to be, like the fourth Harry Potter movie (Goblet of Fire was a great book that isn’t done justice by that adaptation), or pretty much any show NBC tries to make that resurrects a beloved character from our youths. That’s a bit what it was like when I received my box of Spoiled advance reading copies. It was the first time I’d be seeing our baby in print, bound, a tangible book that looked like it would fit on airport shelves or in Target or at Barnes and Noble. A real thing. Something we’d actually done. I could hear the dramatic movie-music swelling in the background.
And then I opened the box.
Cue the Tyra Banks sound from that one Top Model episode: “Wah-waaaaah.” Three or four of my copies had gotten water damaged. The covers were matted, torn, blurred, or or pulpy, and the copies themselves were dirty and swollen with water (isn’t it curious to see that they bloat just like people do? It’s like in Jasper Fforde’s books — THEY’RE ALIVE).
Fortunately, there were plenty of other untouched and beautiful books in the box with them, and I did get misty-eyed and I may have cuddled one for about fifteen minutes. But it reminded me of my tendency to put undue pressure on something that may never live up to the trumpets-and-hallelujahs I’m ascribing to it in my head. Case in point: my wedding day.
That is misleading. My wedding day was fantastic, a great party, one of the best days of my life and something I relive in my mind every day. But my husband and I had put off seeing each other until I walked down the aisle, because we wanted — okay, I wanted; he probably didn’t mind either way — that Big Moment of first eye contact. That heart-stopping “There he is”/”There she is” connection, that time where your hearts swell with hope and happiness and love. And there I pranced up the aisle, beaming on my father’s arm toward my beloved groom, thinking everything was going according to plan. Then later, I found out that the entire time, Kevin’s only thought was, “Is my fly down?” Because the church’s designated wedding coordinator started the wedding WITHOUT TELLING HIM. He was in the bathroom. By the time he washed his hands and ran out there, two groomsmen were already in place.
And yet, my marriage is amazing. And our book? I’m biased, but I think our book is amazing, too. So while sometimes it’s great to prize The Moment, life is more than just the sum of a bunch of Pows and the BOOMs and the fireworks. It’s all the in-between, and it’s the day-to-day, and the lasting magic rather than a brief, bright flash in the sky. So, yes, I was bummed that my first view of Spoiled had mildew in it, and that my husband was thinking about his zipper. (For the record, it was not open. Ours was a G-rated wedding.) But now they’re things I laugh about, stories I have more fun telling than I would in rehashing some And Then Angels Came Down From On High With Bagels And Cream Cheese And Sang Celine Dion At Us moment. It’s like in Spoiled itself — the best stuff comes from what happens when your life veers into improv.
For the longest time, Spoiled existed for us in our heads and on Microsoft Word — page after white page, sometimes single-spaced, eventually double-spaced, Times New Roman 12-point font. (Confession: I am a nerd, and therefore in order to like what I’m typing, I have to like the font in which I’m typing. So I’d click around and write in different ones, although I always came back to Times New Roman. I was a font adulteress, and it was my cuckolded typeface, probably aware of my actions but willing to ignore them as long as I came home to it at night.)
We had a hard time imagining how Spoiled would look once it was, you know, real. it’s our first book, so the transition from a digital document to a tangible one felt so foreign to us. How many Word pages equal one book page? What would the font be? How would it feel to see the words we knew so well, almost to the point of fatigue, printed and spaced and aligned differently than we’d ever seen them before?
Then we got the official copy-edited proofs, tied up neatly by two rubber bands, printed on single-sided pages. More than 300 of them — and in the end, it worked out to be roughly 1-to-1 in terms of Word pages to book pages, which I didn’t expect. A Word page seems to much more vast and glaring and hard to fill. The book pages seem compact, pert, efficient. Like a SmartCar, but less dopey-looking.
And faster. Some days, proofing this thing felt infinite, as if scrolling down every page was a workout for my mouse finger. I can’t count the number of times we read, re-read, noodled, and tinkered with chapter one. Since it’s by definition the first one, it always got us at our freshest, our most committed, and also our most finicky. That poor chapter. Its life was a very twisty Big Brother episode. Just as the words finally got comfortable sitting next to each other, we’d evict one of them and replace it with a new contestant.
Seeing everything printed out felt big, and not just because the stack was the size of at least one full ream of paper. No, it just made Spoiled’s existence that much less theoretical. The font is crisp, clean, pretty. The style of the chapter headings evokes Gossip Girl a bit (which makes sense; we share a publisher). My name, and Jess’s, are right there on the paper cover. Holding the actual hardback book in my hands is going to be pretty emotional — we poured a lot of ourselves into this, our first novel — but this messy doorstop holds a special place in my heart as being the first time I really felt like, wow, this thing we’ve been typing, these 81,000 words we wrote in six months… they will be read. And I smiled.
Right before I got nauseated. Because, oh my God, they will be read.