The C Word

April 14th, 2008

I won’t lie to you. I’m a little depressed.

And it’s not because I keep getting emails from people who are angry with me because they ran out to buy my new books and it turns out they’ve already read them….

To those people, I just want to say, I’m very pleased you enjoyed my book Pants on Fire so much that you rushed right out to purchase Tommy Sullivan is a Freak, assuming it was a sequel. I’m sorry to have to tell you it is the same book under a different title (the title I originally gave it, only my US publisher changed it).

These are the same book….

Naturally you want your money back. I quite agree you should have it back!

But that is an issue you are going to have to take up with my UK publisher or with the bookseller–not with me, who has no control at all over these things! I’ll probably only get about four cents of your sale (if that much), so I actually can’t write you a check for however much it was you spent on my book.

Please take your book back to the shop where you bought it (or send it back to the online retailer from whom you purchased it) and explain the situation. I’m positive they’ll understand. If they don’t, my publisher will, I’m sure, so take it up with them.

I’m also not depressed, for those of you who’ve been asking, because Princess Mia in the Vietnamese edition of Princess in Love is depicted as a fairy (or faerie as many people have taken to spelling it) on the cover.

I know she is shown with wings on that edition, but I can assure you that Princess Mia does not go to live with fairy folk in any version of the books, Vietnamese or otherwise.

Although Michael does look kind of hot on the back cover….

It’s true it’s the day before taxes are due here in the US, a day when anyone might naturally be depressed. When you’re self-employed, the government doesn’t take the taxes out of any of your paychecks, so you have to write the IRS a personal check yourself.

And that’s always much more painful than having the money taken out a little bit at a time…especially when you don’t happen to approve of many of the things the government is doing with the money you send them.

Although I do approve of our tax dollars being spent on this, obviously. I think it was the right thing for those girls to be removed from that compound. Honestly I don’t think they should be returned until their mothers can prove they aren’t going to put their daughters in danger of being married to any more fifty year pedophile polygamists. Ick. Can you imagine?

Oh, and I’m really mad at Dr. Phil. These girls have shown no remorse for beating their victim (though they are very sorry they were caught), and while it’s true they’re the victims of bad parenting themselves (their parents seem to think the Internet is to blame for their actions), surely they knew six against one was wrong. Dr. Phil, since it’s pretty certain these girls won’t do any jail time for what they did, I want YOU to serve in their place. Seriously, why isn’t he doing a show to help VICTIMS of this kind of thing? Why aren’t his producers giving HER money? Hate.


And then some UK readers wrote in to tell me that the Season Two BBC America version of Robin Hood has a horrible ending. I won’t tell you what they said but if you want to know you can read about it here (there is some hope, but at this point it all seems to be conjecture).

But wait: THERE ARE SOME HAPPY THINGS GOING ON, TOO, I PROMISE. Such as:

Badass feminist fantasy writer Justine Larbalestier got a new author photo that is to die for, and I am SO JEALOUS of her handmade (and self-designed boots) that show her family crest. I WANT THESE (I wish I had a family crest but Cabot, alas, means mutt, and a scruffy dog would hardly look the same on a pair of boots as a crossbow. And Cabot is pronounced, for those who keep asking, to rhyme with rabbit).

And there’s a new installment of Alexander McCall Smith’s Precious Ramotswe’s books due out tomorrow, just in time for tax day!

I truly adore these books. They transport you to another world, a world where bad things happen, but, just like in the real world (I believe) something a little bit sweet always happens to counteract the bad–you just have to know where to look. They’ve made a TV show of the first book in this series (the first episode already aired in the UK—I hope you all liked it!), and my friend Beth and I can’t WAIT to see it here in the US.

The sad thing is, the director died, and we’re worried there won’t be anymore (it was supposed to be a series). Check out the cast:

Look how fantastic they look! EXACTLY (except maybe a LITTLE younger) how I pictured them. For more on the TV series, click here.

Anyway, I’ll tell you what’s depressing me, if you really want to know. My blood tests have started coming back from all the doctors I saw during my “rest cure.”

The phone rang last Friday night during an episode of What Not To Wear. He Who Shall Not Be Named In This Blog was making a big pot of my favorite pasta, Spaghetti Due (pasta, olive oil, garlic, and hot pepper flakes). After I hung up from speaking to the doctor, I was so upset at first, I couldn’t even tell HWSNBNITB what the endocrinologist had said. I just sat there, watching Stacy and Clinton.

“What’s the matter?” HWSNBNITB kept asking from the kitchen.

“Nothing,” I said. “Are we having garlic bread with that?”

“Yes. Who was that on the phone?”

Me: “No one. Just the doctor. That pasta smells good.”

HWSNBNITB: “What did he say?”

Me: “Nothing. I just have this weird thing. It’s giving me thyroid disease. Hashimoto’s Thyroidosis. I have a tiny goiter. But a pill will clear it up. Well, the thyroid disease, anyway. Let’s eat now.”

HWSNBNITB: “What’s the weird thing that’s giving you thyroid disease, though?”

Me: “Oh, nothing. Just some weird thing called celiac disease where I’m not supposed to eat wheat anymore because my numbers are through the stratosphere and I could get diabetes or cancer and die if I don’t go gluten-free right away. That smells good! Let’s eat! I’m starved!”

HWSNBNITB (looking astonished): “There’s wheat in pasta. It’s made from flour. Also in garlic bread. There’s wheat in everything you eat. You’re a…a…wheat-a-holic!”

Me: “I’ll start my wheat-free diet tomorrow. I swear! Just let me have wheat one last night! JUST ONE LAST NIGHT!”

That’s when he tossed the pasta down the garbage disposal. Along with the garlic bread. We had to just have salad for dinner, the only non-wheat thing in the house.

Yes. It turns out I’ve got celiac disease, which means I’m allergic to wheat-gluten.

Which is kind of funny, considering ALL I EAT IS CARBS.

So I’ve had to give up my steady diet of bread, cookies, pasta, bagels, breadsticks dipped in nacho cheese sauce, taquitos, cinnamon toast, pizza (PIZZA), fried chicken, cake, pie, beer, soy sauce (I bet you didn’t know there was wheat in soy sauce did you?), Kit Kat bars, and malted milk balls, and am now only eating healthy meats, fish (YUCK), fruits, vegetables (DOUBLE YUCK), dairy, eggs, and rice.

Yes. I am trying to put a positive spin on it. I know it’s healthier and I’ll feel much better (eventually–the truth is, I HAVE been feeling kind of crappy lately). Plus there are a lot of great websites and cookbooks out there to help people with gluten-free lifestyles.

But I still have lots of questions. Like…HOW DO I ORDER FOOD IN A RESTAURANT? Am I going to have to ask the waiter how everything is prepared? That is going to be excruciating.

But tons of people do it. One out of 133 people in the United States is affected with celiac disease. A simple blood test can tell you if you have it. If you have it, it is likely that a family member does as well. The cause of Celiac Disease, also known as celiac sprue, or gluten sensitive enteropathy (GSE), is unknown.

Many people who have it are asymptomatic (like me–well except for my goiter, which I also never knew I had until the endocrinologist noticed it, and the part where I feel just generally crappy). Undiagnosed, celiac disease can cause longterm medical conditions such as diabetes, GI cancers, liver diseases, osteoporosis, anemia, and as we already know…thyroid disease. People who were totally fine with wheat all their life can become allergic to it after childbirth (this happened my friend Mellie when she had her twins) or a traumatic event such as an injury or major surgery (such as removal of an ovary).

So, this is all Lefty’s fault.

ALL YOU HAVE TO DO TO GET BETTER IS STOP EATING WHEAT, RYE, AND BARLEY…forever.

Which is easier said than done because let me tell you, that stuff is hidden everywhere.

Anyway, He Who Shall Not Be Named In This Blog is looking forward to the challenge of cooking gluten-free. He has already made me throw out my secret stash of Oreos and all the Biscoff cookies I ordered from Airplane Road. I have consumed a whole pint of vanilla Swiss almond Haagen Daz in in retaliation, so losing weight won’t be a problem.

And this will not turn into a blog about being gluten-free, I promise. There are already plenty of those out there, so I will leave that to the experts.

Although I am looking forward to planning my next birthday party at the American Girl store, which offers a gluten-free birthday menu.

Okay, maybe I’m not so depressed anymore. Thanks for reading.

More later.

Much love,

Meg