Did you know April 22-28 is National Princess Week? Of course you did!
(If you’re like me, you assumed every week was Princess Week and were surprised to learn this isn’t true.)
But according to Disney and Target, they only “officially” recognized Princess Week is this week. That’s when they will be promoting all princess-themed books and toys and movies in their stores, under the Julie Andrews Collection.
This collection includes Julie Andrews’ own books (yes! She wrote some! So did her daughter. They’re really cute), The Princess Diaries books and movies, and a lot of other great princess books, like Shannon Hale’s fabulous Princess Academy.
This is awesome in many ways. Who’s a better spokeswoman for princesses than Julie Andrews? (Some of you might be saying “Princess Mia Thermopolis,” but she was not available due to a “scheduling conflict.”)
It seems fitting to me that Princess Week should come in between Earth Week and the release of Underworld (May 8), since every truly empowered woman recognizes how important it is that we keep our planet safe, and Pierce, the heroine of Underworld, finds herself trapped in a royal palace beneath the earth (as you know if you’ve read the sneak peek opening chapters of the book), of which she may become queen (or blow up, depending on how things work out with her new boyfriend, ruler of the dead).
In a little less than three weeks, Underworld will be in stores (and available on ereaders) …
… but someone at Scholastic snuck me a special advanced copy!
Even though I’ve had over fifty books published, I still get really excited when I find a padded envelope in the mail addressed to me and I open it to discover a BEAUTIFUL BOOK inside that someone made from a bunch of words I wrote (and then actually paid me for)!
When this happens, I get really excited and dance around the house and show the book to whoever is around, usually the UPS delivery guy or the exterminator, neither of whom is ever impressed, though they politely fake interest.
It would be nice if getting your published book in the mail was as exciting in real life as it is often portrayed in movies. In the 90s so-bad-it’s-good cult classic, Aspen Extreme, for example, in which TJ Burke and his friend Dexter move to Aspen in hopes of finding themselves (and true love) on the slopes, TJ writes a tender article about his love for skiing and his wish that his good friend Dexter had not become a crackhead and (spoiler alert) been crushed to death in an avalanche, and sends the article off to Ski Magazine.
A soulful montage ensues that includes a hot air balloon floating in the distance over the mountains (as often happens to us writers when we send stories off and are waiting to hear if they will be published).
Less than a minute later, TJ goes out to his mailbox, and what does he find inside? An envelope containing a copy of Ski Magazine with his name and the title of his story on the cover!
TJ is understandably very proud, especially since never in history of printed material has it taken such a short amount of time for a story to get published (although TJ seems weirdly unconcerned that he was never notified by the magazine that they were publishing his story, or that he never signed a contract or received financial compensation for it. If I were TJ, I would have immediately gone inside and called Ski Magazine and gone, “Did you mistake me for Dexter? He was the crackhead, not me,” but that was not the direction in which the screenwriters chose to go).
My other favorite opening-the-envelope-to-find-your-book scene is in the Wynona Ryder version of Little Women. Wynona plays Jo March. I hope it will not be a spoiler to you if I reveal that at the end of this movie (and also the book), a major character dies. I won’t say who, but in the movie this character is played by an actress who cruelly misjudged Damian Lewis last season on the Showtime original series Homeland. So now when I watch this version of Little Women, I’m quite eager to see her character die.
Anyway, Jo/Wynona is acting very sad about this character dying when suddenly she is called to the kitchen because someone (hint: it’s Professor Baer, played by hot Gabriel Byrne, pre-In Treatment but I think post-divorce from Ellen Barkin, who then went on to marry Ronald Perelman and then divorce him and get a $40 million settlement) left a package for her. Jo/Wynona opens this package and is surprised to find page proofs of her book, Little Women (meta)!
This is especially surprising since Jo/Wynona never sent a copy of this book to a publisher. Professor Baer/Gabriel Byrne did so in the hopes of getting Jo/Wynona to forgive him for saying that the last book of hers that she let him read was total crap (I would never have let any guy who said something like that about one of my books read anything of mine again, but Jo is clearly more forgiving in many ways than most of us. She even forgives Amy for that other thing).
I always thought it would have been even better if sitting on top of the page proofs was a sizeable check in Jo’s name, but I suppose it all turned out for the best since Wynona Ryder went on to star as Mr. Spock’s mom in the Star Trek remake. I think she was even a Vulcan princess, unless I’m mistaking her with the character she played in Black Swan opposite Natalie Portman, who was Princess Leia’s mom.
Did you see how I brought it back around to princesses? Because everything gets back to princesses eventually.
This is why when princess-haters pop up in the media to insist that loving princess is detrimental to the developmental growth and maturation of young girls (and boys), I always point out that it was my admiration for princesses that helped me through the most difficult times in my life, since I strived to be like them: hard-working ladies who followed their dreams, didn’t listen when mean people bossed them around (such as Nazis or Dark Lords of the Sith), knew when to accept help from friends (or fairy godmothers or wookies), and never, ever quit, especially when the going got tough.
That’s why I’m excited about Princess Week, though every week is Princess Week as far as I’m concerned.