Giving Thanks (in France this year)

November 16th, 2016

Well! I don’t know about yours, but quite a lot has gone on in my life since we last chatted:

  • I had a new book come out (The Boy is Back).
  • Ironically (considering it’s a story told entirely by characters using electronic devices) said book’s electronic version had some problems.
  • The publisher has since fixed those problems.
  • But if you bought a copy of the e-book and haven’t gotten the new, fixed version, please go here!
  • I went on a book tour for said book and got to see a bunch of you (although during the Oklahoma portion of that book tour, there was a massive statewide manhunt for a guy who murdered his aunt and uncle and shot two policemen, causing me to write a book in my head wherein I personally apprehended said murderer using only my computer cord, and became Oklahoma’s greatest visiting author EVER OF ALL TIME).
  • Then we got a new president.
  • Then the cat died.*

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RIP Gem

*Events above did not necessarily occur in order listed.

Yeah, so I’m just going to say it: Except for a few bright moments (the Olympics; getting to hang out with you guys; Stranger Things; Crazy Ex Girlfriend; that awesome burger I had at Louie’s in OKC), 2016 hasn’t been so great.

I know some people are happy about the outcome of the election. But more than half of the nation’s voters are not (a fact a lot of people, particularly the media, seem to be forgetting).

And some of those people are more than just unhappy: They’re really worried and scared.

For them I have no real words of comfort, because none of us know what’s going to happen (although I have some suspicions).

I do have some experience with this kind of thing though. I marched on Washington in the 80s for women’s health care rights, and I’m prepared to do it again if I have to.

In the meantime, the one thing I keep thinking about is my friend Sophia.

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Sophia and her son Finn.

When my friend Sophia became unhappy about the way things were going politically where she lived, she volunteered her time for causes that mattered to her, until she ended up being elected TWICE as a county councilwoman – the first Finnish-Korean American county councilwoman in Bloomington, Indiana history.

Sophia wasn’t any different than you or me (well, maybe she was. When I first met her, she was working as a waitress in our small town’s most popular deli. I only lasted four days in food service).

But Sophia realized, way before any of the rest of us did, that the way to make change globally was to act locally.

The problem is, Sophia passed away. Now the rest of us have to step up to continue her important work.

We can all do this by volunteering (community organizations are always looking for volunteers), or simply by making our voices heard at the state, town, and even school level.

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With that in mind, I’m going to France next week to further spread the gospel of Mia Thermopolis (and of course her sister Olivia; Mediator Suze Simon; 4th grader Allie Finkle – known as Allie Punchie in France, where she is spending Christmas in her latest book, which sadly is available in French only – and all the other characters I’ve created over the years, many of whom have a sprinkle of Sophia in them). I’ll be making my voice heard in schools as well as book stores, book festivals, and private events.

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Here’s where I’ll be, in the hope that some of us can meet up:

NOVEMBER FRIDAY 25th
PARIS/ ST MAUR DES FOSSES
Librairie La Griffe Noire
4 -6 pm: Signing

 

NOVEMBER SATURDAY 26th
RENNES
Librairie Le Failler
3:00 – 5:00 pm :  Signing
NOVEMBER MONDAY 28th
METZ
Librairie Hisler-Even
4:00 – 6:00 pm: Signing

 

NOVEMBER WEDNESDAY 30th
LE MANS
Librairie Doucet
3:00 – 5:00 pm: Signing

 

DECEMBER THURSDAY 2nd
AMIENS
Librairie Martelle
4:30 -6:00 pm: Signing

 

DECEMBER SATURDAY 3rd
TOULON
Librairie Charlemagne
2 :00 – 3 :00 : meeting
3:00 – 4:30 pm: signing

 

DECEMBER SUNDAY 4th
PARIS – MONTREUIL BOOK FAIR
11 :00 -12 :00 am : meeting
3:00 -5:00: signing at Hachette Romans’ kiosk ( G25)

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Some people have said to me, “Meg, you should just stay in France. You don’t even have a cat anymore.  Why come back to America?”

What??? Of course I’m coming back! Not that I don’t love France – who wouldn’t, with their beautiful language, their trans fat free food, and amazingly illustrated children’s books?

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(Martine was the first series I ever read and is still one of my favorites)

But my Irish and Italian ancestors came to this country to flee actual oppression (which, as a white heterosexual woman, I am obviously not experiencing) and to make a better life for themselves (one of them changing his name to Cabot in the process, because of what he perceived as anti-Italian prejudiced and because Cabot sounded “ritzier.” I thank the goddess daily that he did not choose Rockefeller).

It would be ludicrous for me to leave this country just because I might have to march on Washington again (although to be honest I really don’t have the shoes for it this time. But I swear I’ll be there if we have to do it again, my sisters).

And where would Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia and the rest of the Rebel Alliance have been if Han Solo hadn’t come back in the Millennium Falcon to help them battle the Death Star? You can’t just take your reward and fly off to France!  You have to stay and fight for what you believe in!

Besides which, after dealing with the agony of the death of the cat, who turned out to have a brain tumor (which is so not how I expected her to go: I expected her to run off with a rock band at the very least, since she so enjoyed sitting on the laps of strange men), word has reached us of many new cats in need.

Well, not actually new cats. Old cats in need of new homes.

So I simply must return to make sure they are all taken care of, possibly by me.

I will post photos – both of my trip to France and any new old cats that come my way – on my various social media soon. But in the meantime:

  • See you in France next week! Come to see me at the places above!
  • Or if not, see you when I get back from France. Because like Han, I WILL be back (well, Han in the first movie, anyway).
  • Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!
  • And remember that we all have a LOT to be thankful for, including:
  1. Our ability to make real change
  2. New cats (who were someone else’s old cat, but it feels good to give a nice old cat a new home)
  3. Good books
  4. Good food
  5. And of course each other!

Bisous! XOXOX

More later.

Much love,

Meg