Buongiorno (or buona sera, if you’re reading this at night)
That's good day or good evening in Italian. I just got back from Marches, this region of Italy no one has ever heard of. When the customs guy at the airport in Rome asked me where I was going, and I said Marches, he made a face! He said no one goes there.
Well, if they don't, they should. Marches is a gorgeous region of Italy, filled with castles on top of beautiful rolling hills. One of these castles, Castelfidardo, is the accordion making capital of the world, or something. And even though I am not an accordionist, I was there. I saw the world's biggest accordion. Well, okay, my friends saw it, because I couldn't be bothered to get up from the side of the pool to go look at it. But I was only like 5 kilometers from it.
Anyway, enough about my trip to Italy. I want to talk a little bit about this one thing that everyone keeps asking me. The truth is, it's sort of bumming me out. It's about my hobby. And the reason I feel inadequate about it is this:
I don't have one.
Seriously. Writing used to be my hobby, but now I get paid for it, so I guess it can't be my hobby anymore. I read a lot, of course, but is reading really a hobby? No one but me seems to think so.
People always seem so shocked and disapproving to find out I don't have a hobby. They usually go, in an astonished voice, “Don't you journal?”
But the truth is, since I started writing fiction, I don't keep a journal. Unless you count this one. I mean, I write all day. Do I really want to write in my free time, too? Not so much.
Usually the journaling question is followed by, “Well, do you scrapbook?” Apparently, this is when you take a bunch of stuff and glue it in books or something. I don't do that, either. Although it seems better than doing what I do with stuff I want to save, which is throw it in a drawer, where I can usually never find it again later.
So then people are usually all, “Well, don't you go thrifting or antiquing?” The answer to both of these questions is no. If I don't even have the patience to glue stuff that means something to me into a book, I am not going to have the patience to look through a bunch of stuff that doesn't even belong to me.
This world is very hobby-centric, and to those of us who don't have one, it can be downright cruel! I WANT a hobby. I really do. But none of the ones I've tried (ballet; painting; the Bedazzler; Bandicoot on Playstation 2) have really worked out for me. I even went out and bought a bass guitar with the intention of learning to play it. I bought a how-to video and everything.
But it turns out I kind of suck at playing the bass. Although it does look pretty, leaning against the wall in my office.
Thankfully today, when I was getting really depressed about having no hobby, my friend Michele reminded me that I do have one:
She's right. I do spend HOURS Tivoing stuff. And Tivoing is the most excellent, most fulfilling hobby in the world. I'll fill you in on some of the things I've Tivoed lately, and you tell me whether or not you agree:
–Every episode of 1800 Missing (of course)
–Every episode of The OC (duh. Who doesn't love Seth?)
–Every episode of Forever Summer with Nigella Lawson (only for some reason I Tivoed that wrong and got a lot of Spongebob Squarepants episodes instead. Which is fine, but not exactly what I meant. Tivo and I are working it out though)
–The season premiere of Charmed (how many of you noticed that when Piper got on that motorcycle they played the Flight of the Valkyries? Good stuff)
–The movie Supertroopers (Evil shenanigans)
–The movie Teen Witch (it's a musical!!!!)
–A lot of episodes of Jake 2.0 that I haven't watched yet but I fully intend to.
Not that I am encouraging TV watching as a hobby. Please! I realize those of you with REAL hobbies, like sailing or gymnastics or whatever, are better than I am. I am just saying that if, when you're done with all your homework or book writing or whatever, and you've already exercised and visited with your loved ones and fed your cat and you want to relax, selective TV watching CAN be rewarding. And fun.
And, yes, should even count as a hobby.
OK. So now that I've proved that I do have a hobby, I would just like to add that I have THREE book signings this month that are going to keep me from writing as well as from Tivoing, but that's OK. It would be great if some of you could make it to one or more of these signings, so I'm going to put the dates and times etc here, but you should probably call the bookstore to confirm before you leave, because authors (well, okay, me, anyway) can't be trusted to get stuff like schedules right. Here goes:
On Saturday, October 11 at 1PM I will be signing books at the Columbus Indiana Viewpoint Bookstore in honor of the store's 30th Birthday (I used to work at the Viewpoint in Bloomington which is now, I understand, sadly closed).
On Saturday, October 18th, at 4PM I will be signing at Bank Street Books (Broadway and 112th Street) here in New York City. This will be a joint signing with cool authors like James Howe, Carolyn Mackler, and Rachel Vail for the anthology Thirteen.
On Thursday, October 23rd at 7PM I will be signing at the Barnes and Noble by Lincoln Center (1972 Broadway) again with James Howe and company.
OK? I hope to see some of you there. I'll see the rest of you on my US tours this January for Boy Meets Girl and then again this coming April for Princess in Pink and Perfect Princess…and who knows, maybe even next June, for Teen Idol!
And for all of you out there who don't have a hobby: Don't feel bad. Your hobby could be something you don't even KNOW is a hobby. Believe me, if I found one, you can, too.
Che la forza sia con te