Blog Category: Meg’s Diary


Princess Diaries 20th Anniversary Edition

By meggin,

Let’s face it: 2020 has been the worst.

 

But there is one bright spot in a year that has otherwise officially sucked: 2020 marks the 20thanniversary of the release of The Princess Diaries Volume I!

 

And to celebrate, Harper Collins is re-issuing the first three volumes in the series with all new covers, stepbacks, and edits by me!

 

 

But don’t worry: Mia and her friends still live in New York City in the late 90s/early 2000s, with only dial-up access to the Internet and no knowledge of things like Uber (or Covid-19). Mia’s biggest worries are still passing Algebra, her mother dating her teacher, and what to wear to the Cultural Diversity Dance (oh, and preparing to rule a country someday).

 

A lot has happened since then. But through it all, we’ve stuck together.

 

That’s why I hope you’ll help me celebrate this momentous occasion by spreading the word about Harper’s new re-release of The Princess Diaries, a story which I feel is more timely than ever. Because in a world that lately seems lacking in civility, I think stories about royals are exactly what we need – not the spoiled “My daddy has money so do what I say” kind, but “The fighting for the underdog” kind – like Mia does when she defends her friend Tina Hakim Baba against a bully, or the “Loving our wayward family members even when they do things that drive us nuts” kind, like Mia does every single day when it comes to her grandmother.

 

Because that’s what being a true role model is all about: Using your hidden strengths and talents to do the right thing, even when the odds against you seem insurmountable.

 

And the more people willing to use their inner royal powers for good, the better the world will be.  To me, that would be the happiest ending of all.

 

I feel like stories like The Princess Diaries are more important now than they’ve ever been before, because they offer something we’ve been running dangerously short of lately:

 

Hope.

 

That’s why I want to thank you so much in advance for helping me celebrate The Princess Diaries 20thanniversary by introducing this new middle grade repackaging of the books to the next generation! I feel hopeful it’s going to make a difference.

 

And as her official royal biographer, I just know Mia Thermopolis would approve.

 

You can pre-order copies of the newly made over Princess Diaries wherever books are sold, or try here. They will be on sale everywhere October 27. THANK YOU!

 

More later.

 

Much love,

 

Meg

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Mediator Movie News

By meggin,

For years many of you have asked “When is there going to be a movie (or TV series) about The Mediator?”

Well, I can finally answer: SOON.

The Mediator series has been in and out of option many times with many studios. One reason things never got very far is because of YOU, the fans. I knew it was vital that the script closely match the books or I’d be letting you down.

I’ve published a lot of books (I think close to 100 now!) but no fan base is as devoted to any of them as you are to The Mediator. The Princess Diaries may be my most well-known books, but passion-wise, The Mediator fans:

  • write me the most (and longest) letters/emails/DMs
  • come to signings dressed as the characters. It’s so easy to spot you Suze/Jesse fans in a crowd!
  • are just generally the most vocal about their love for the books

I love that!

So I knew from Day 1 that if The Mediator ever became a movie, it had better be super faithful to the books, or you’d be so disappointed!

 

Unfortunately, for years many of the studios/producers who wanted to get in on The Mediator action to didn’t seem to understand how important this was. You’d think after all the backlash from fans we’ve seen over so many books-to-films, they’d get it, but many of them didn’t.

After optioning the rights to one studio only to see that the production was going in a direction that would have caused all of you to simultaneously throw up and commit murder, I had to pull the option (yes, you can do this up until a certain point).

That was such an unsettling experience, I told my agent that The Mediator was off limits – I didn’t want to option it to anyone. I needed a break.

So for years The Mediator film rights sat with me, and I was very happy about that.

 

But then streaming came along. So many books were being made into great movies and TV shows, I thought it might be OK to go ahead and hear some pitches from producers who were interested in The Mediator . . . .

And that’s how I ended up on a call with an Australian writer/director named Sarah Spillane. She had not only read all the books, she wanted to keep the story as close as possible to how it was in the series.

Sarah had some great casting ideas for The Mediator that I loved (sorry, secret for now and of course everything will probably be different due to Covid. Please do not ask me about casting, that’s fortunately not my call).

Sarah is also a genuinely caring person who works with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America among other things. Even better, she eventually teamed up with Debra Martin Chase, the producer who worked with Whitney Houston to bring The Princess Diaries to the big screen.

I’ve already read Sarah’s first draft for Shadowland, and I LOVED it.

Best of all, Netflix, who Sarah shopped it to, loved it as well, and has snatched it up with the intention of making seven 1-1/2 hour movies, one for each of The Mediator books (fingers crossed this actually happens, but it is the plan for now. Remember, all of this can change!).*

*Edited to add: The plan is to keep the scripts as close to possible to the books, but as you know, some of these books were written 20 years ago, and times have changed. Sarah and I have spent hours talking (sometimes with Netflix) about how to keep the tone of the books the same while being sensitive to the fact that some things from the books need a little updating for today’s audiences, mainly some of the mysteries Suze encounters. Jesse and Suze themselves are fine.

Filming of the first book has been delayed due to Covid (the plan was to film it on location in Northern California so we could actually use a real mission as the setting for The Mission School that Suze attends. But alas, the stupid virus has ruined that).

So for now Sarah is working on location in Australia on another film. Here’s the Australian outlet that spilled the news!

So please, if you want to see The Mediator soon, WEAR YOUR MASK and socially distance, and encourage others to do so as well, so we can have a little something to look forward to: Jesse and Suze onscreen one day soon!

And thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for all your love and support. It means so much to me, especially as I’m sitting here struggling to make the deadline on my next book and needing something fun to look forward to as well!

More later.

Much love,

Meg

 

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9/11 2020 edition

By meggin,

 

This year is the nineteenth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and United Airlines Flight 93.

Every year on this day I post an essay about my experience living in Manhattan a few dozen blocks from the World Trade Center on 9/11 (my husband was working in a building across the street from the Twin Towers when the planes hit).

I wondered if I should even post it this year, given how challenging 2020 has been, not just for our country, but for the world. Globally, a million lives have been lost so far to the Covid-19 pandemic. Millions more face an uncertain economic future.

There is no possible way to compare what happened in the US on 9/11/01 to what is happening in the world today. What’s happening today is way, way worse – it’s just happening in slow motion, and there a lot of people being idiots about it, seemingly on purpose.

That’s why I changed my mind and decided to post this. It’s important to remember the brave acts of so many ordinary men and women on that morning nineteen years ago. They were what enabled so many other ordinary people to make it home that night. Just like our essential workers right now, those people back then showed us how to face adversity, not just with bravery but with grace and dignity, even while risking their own lives.

However, given a lot of people’s anxiety level right now, I can understand why reading about a terrorist attack on our country nineteen years ago might not be the most comforting thing. So please don’t read this if you think it will stress you out. Instead, read The Corona Princess Diaries or watch the nice movie at the end of this essay. I promise you’ll like both!

But if you have a few extra minutes in your day and want to read about some extraordinarily brave people (NOT ME), please read on. And if you like what you read, please share it with a friend!

Because now, more than ever, our lives depend not only on remembering the past, but on understanding what it means to truly love one another, behave like human adults, and do the right thing instead of the selfish, easy thing.

Meg’s 9/11 Diary

9/11/01 started out as one of those super nice fall days where the sky was cloudlessly blue and it was just warm enough, but not hot. My LA friends call that “earthquake weather.”

So we probably should have known something awful was going to happen, but most of us didn’t.

My husband had woken up early to go jogging before leaving for work at his job as a financial writer at One Liberty Plaza, which was across the street from the World Trade Center.

He has never been jogging again.

Not being a morning person, I was still asleep in my apartment on 12th Street and 4th Avenue, a few dozen blocks from the Trade Center, when the first plane hit. Our windows were closed and the air conditioning was on. I didn’t hear a thing until my friend Jen called.

Jen: “Look out your window.”

That is when I saw the smoke for the first time.

Me: “What’s happening?”

Jen: “They’re saying a plane hit the Trade Center.”

Me: “But how could the pilot not see it?”

Jen: “I don’t know. Isn’t that near where your husband works?”

It was. I couldn’t see his building from our apartment, but I could see the World Trade Center. The black smoke billowing from it had to be going right into my husband’s busy investment office on the 60th or so floor.

“I better call him to see if he’s okay,” I said, and hung up.

There was no answer at my husband’s office, however, which was crazy, because over a hundred people worked there.

Were they all right? I didn’t know. I couldn’t get through to anyone anywhere. I couldn’t make any outgoing calls from either of my phones. For some reason, people could call me, but I couldn’t call anyone else.

It turned out this was due to the massive volume of calls going on in my part of the city that day, both on cell and land lines.

But I didn’t know that then.

Sirens blared. It was the engine from the firehouse directly across the street from my apartment building. It was a very small firehouse, but it was always bustling with activity. All the young, handsome guys used to sit outside it on folding chairs on nice days like the one on 9/11, joking with the neighbors who were walking their dogs, with my doormen, with the neighborhood kids. The old ladies on my street always brought them cookies.The firemen, in turn, always had treats for the old ladies’ dogs.

Now all the firemen from the station across from my apartment building were hurrying to the fire downtown, throwing on their gear and urgently blaring the horn on their truck.

Every last one of those young, brave boys would be dead in exactly one hour. Their truck would be crushed beyond recognition. That firehouse would sit empty and draped in black bunting for months. No one would be able to look at it without crying.

Of course none of us knew that then.

I turned on New York 1, the local news channel for New York City. Pat Kiernan, my favorite newscaster, was saying that a plane had hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center.

Weird, I thought. Was the pilot drunk? How could someone not see a building that big, and run into it with a plane?

It was right then that Luz, my housekeeper, showed up. I’d forgotten it was Tuesday, the day she comes to clean. When she saw what I was watching, she looked worried.

“I just dropped my son off at his college,” she said. “It’s right next to the World Trade Center.”

“My husband works across the street from the World Trade Center,” I said.

“Is he all right?” Luz wanted to know. “What’s happening down there?”

“I don’t know,” I said. “I can’t reach him.”

Luz tried to call her son on his cell phone. She, too, could not get through.

We didn’t know then that our cell servers used towers that were located on top of the World Trade Center, and they all had stopped working due to the intensity of the flames shooting up the building.

We both stood there staring at the TV, not really knowing what to do. It was as we were watching that something weird happened on the TV, right before our eyes:

The OTHER tower at the World Trade Center — the one that hadn’t been hit — suddenly exploded.

I thought maybe one of the helicopters that was filming the disaster had gotten too close.

But Luz said, “No. A plane hit it. I saw it. That was a plane.”

I hadn’t seen a plane. I said, “No. How could that be? There can’t be TWO drunk pilots.”

“You don’t understand,” Luz said. “They’re doing this on purpose.”

“No,” I said. “Of course they aren’t. Who would do that?”

That’s when Pat Kiernan, on the TV, said, “Oh, my God.”

It’s weird to hear a newscaster say, “Oh, my God.” Especially Pat. He is always very professional.

Also, Pat’s voice cracked when he said it. Like he was about to cry.

But newscasters don’t cry.

“Another plane has hit the World Trade Center,” Pat said. “It looks as if another plane — a commercial jet — has hit the World Trade Center. And we are getting reports that a plane has just hit the Pentagon.”

That’s when I grabbed Luz. And Luz grabbed me. We both started to cry. We sat on the couch in my living room, hugging each other, and crying as we watched what was happening on TV, which was what was happening a dozen blocks from where we sat, where both the people we loved were.

We could see things flying out of the burning buildings. Pat said that those things were people. People were choosing to jump from their offices in the World Trade Center rather than burn to death. They couldn’t escape the flames, and rescuers couldn’t reach them.

But their offices were sixty to ninety floors from the ground. Some of them were holding hands with their colleagues as they jumped. Many of them were women. You could tell by the way their skirts ballooned out behind them as they raced towards the pavement below.

Luz and I sobbed. We didn’t want to watch, but we couldn’t stop. This was happening in our city, just down the street, to people we saw every day. Who would do this? Who would do something like this to New Yorkers?

That’s when my phone rang. I grabbed it, but it wasn’t my husband. It was his mother. Where was he? she wanted to know. Was he all right?

I said I didn’t know. I said I was trying to keep the line clear, in case he called. She said she understood but to call her as soon as I heard anything, and hung up.

Then the phone rang again. It was my husband’s sister-in-law. Then it rang again. It was MY mother.

The phone rang all morning. It was never my husband. It was always family or friends, wondering if he was all right.

“I don’t know,” I kept telling them. “I don’t know.”

Luz went up to the roof of my building to see if she could see anything more from there than what they were showing on New York 1. While she was gone, I went into my bedroom to get dressed (I was still wearing my pajamas).

All I could think, as I looked into my closet, trying to figure out what to wear, was that my husband was probably dead. I didn’t see how anybody could be down in that part of Manhattan and still be alive. All I could see were things falling —and people jumping — out of those buildings. Anyone on the streets down below would have to be killed by all of that. The jumping people couldn’t choose where they landed.

I remember exactly what I put on that day: olive green capris and a black T-shirt, with my black Steve Madden slides. I remember thinking, “This will be my Identifying My Dead Husband’s Body outfit. I will never, ever wear it again after this day.”

I knew this because when I worked at the dorm at NYU, a few students had killed themselves. Every time a body was discovered, it was so horrible. All the first responders involved in the discovery could never wear the same clothes we wore that day again, because of the memory.

Luz came back down from the roof, very excited. No, she hadn’t seen if the buildings in which my husband and her son were in were all right. But she’d seen thousands — THOUSANDS — of people coming down 4th Avenue, the busy street I lived on at the time. 4th Avenue is always heavily trafficked with honking cars, buses, taxis, bike messengers, and scooters.

Not today. Today all the cars and buses were gone, and the entire avenue was crowded with people.

“Walking,” Luz said. “They’re WALKING DOWN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET.”

I ran to look out the window. Luz was right. Instead of the constant stream of cars I’d gotten used to seeing outside our living room window, I saw wall to wall people. They had taken over the street. They were coming from the Battery, where the Trade Center is located, shoulder to shoulder, ten deep in the middle of the road, like a parade or a rally. There were tens of thousands of them.

There were men in business suits, and some in khakis. There were women in skirts and dresses, walking barefoot or in shredded pantyhose, holding their shoes because their high heels hurt too much and they hadn’t had time to grab their commuter running shoes. I saw the ladies who worked in the manicure shop across the street from my building running outside with the flip flops they put on their customers’ feet when they’ve had a pedicure (the flip flops the staff always make sure they get back before you leave).

But today, the staff was giving the flip flops to the women who were barefoot. They were giving away the flip flops.

That’s when I got REALLY freaked out.

The manicurists weren’t the only ones trying to help. The men who worked in the deli on the corner were running outside with bottles of water to give to the hot, thirsty marchers. New York City deli owners, GIVING water away. Usually they charged $2.

It was like the world had turned upside down.

“They have to be in there,” Luz said, about her son and my husband, pointing to the crowd. “They’re walking with them, and that’s what’s taking them so long to get here.”

“I hope you’re right,” I said. But I wasn’t sure I shared her faith.

Then Luz ran downstairs to see if anyone in the crowd was coming from the same college her son went to, to ask if anyone might have seen him.

I was afraid to leave my apartment, though, because I thought my husband might try to call the landline. Not knowing what else to do, I logged onto the computer. My email was still working, even if the cellphones weren’t. I emailed my husband: WHERE ARE YOU?

No reply.

A friend from Indiana had emailed to ask if there was anything she could do. At the time, the only thing I could think of was, Give blood.

My friend, and everyone she knew, gave blood that day. So many people gave blood that there were lines around the corner to give it.

After a month, a lot of that surplus blood had to be destroyed, because they didn’t have room to store it all. And there turned out to be no use for it, anyway. There were few survivors to give blood to.

My friend Jen, the one who’d woken me up, e’d me from her job at NYU. Fred (out of respect for their desire for anonymity, I have changed the names of some people in this piece), then one of Jen’s employees, and also a volunteer EMT, had jumped on his bike and headed downtown to see if there was anything he could do to help.

Jen herself was organizing a massive effort to set up shelter for students who didn’t live on campus, since all the subways and commuter trains had stopped running, and the kids who commuted to school had no way of getting home that night. Every single bridge and tunnel into and out of the city had been shut down, and no traffic was being allowed in or out of the city. Jen was trying to arrange for cots to be set up in the gym for the kids.

She ended up staying in the city too that night. She had no way to get back to her house in Connecticut.

Another co-worker from NYU, my friend Jack, did manage to reach his spouse, who worked in the Trade Center, that day. Jack used to train the RAs. He would ask me to “interrupt” his training with a fake administrative temper tantrum — “Why are you in this room?” I would demand. “You never reserved it!”— and then he and I would “fight” about it, and then after I left Jack would ask the RAs what would have been a better way to handle the situation . . . and by the way, did any of them remember what I was wearing? After they’d tell him, he’d have me come back into the room, and point out that every single of them was wrong about what I’d had on. This was to show how unreliable witness testimony can be.

Jack’s wife had just walked eighty floors down one of the Towers to reach the ground safely since the elevators weren’t working due to the flames, only to realize the guys in her IT department were still up there, backing up data for the company. Once she reached the ground, and saw how bad things really were, she tried calling them to tell them to forget backing up and just COME DOWN, but of course she couldn’t get hold of them because no phones were working.

So she went back up to MAKE THEM come down, because who doesn’t love their IT guys?

“Why did you go back up?” Jack asked her, when he finally reached her. By that time she, along with the IT guys, had become trapped in the fire and smoke, and couldn’t make their way down again.

“It seemed like the right thing to do,” she said.

Of course it did. She was married to Jack. Jack would have done the same thing. She told Jack to say good bye to their twins toddlers for her. That was the last time they spoke.

I can never think of this, or of Jack’s happy, cheerful greeting every time I saw him, or the stunned looks on the RAs faces when they realized we’d pulled one over on them, without wanting to cry. It seems so unfair that those twins have had to grow up not knowing their mother. And for what reason?

Another friend, a pilot who had access to air traffic control radar, e’d me to say all the planes in the U.S. were being grounded — that what had happened had been the result of highjackings. That it was a commercial jet that had hit the Pentagon, where my friend’s father-in-law worked (they eventually found him, safe and sound. He’d been stuck in traffic on his way to the Pentagon when the plane hit. Many people that day were rewarded for tardiness).

But another friend – a girl I’d worked with when I’d been a receptionist in my husband’s office, a girl whom I’d helped pick out a wedding dress, and who, since the big day, had quit her job to raise the four kids she’d had – wasn’t so lucky. She never saw her husband, who worked at the Trade Center, again.

Then, behind me, I heard Pat Kiernan on the TV say, “Oh, my God,” again.

And this time he really WAS crying. Because one of the towers was collapsing.

I watched, not believing my eyes. Since having moved to New York City in 1989, I had become accustomed to using the Twin Towers as my own personal compass point for the direction “South,” since they’re on the southern tip of the island, and visible from dozens of blocks away. Wherever you were in the maze of streets that made up the Village, all you had to do to orient yourself was find the Twin Towers, and you knew which direction to go.

(If you ever watched closely during the movie “When Harry Met Sally,” you can see the towers beneath the Washington Square arch in the scene where Sally drops Harry off when they first arrive in New York.)

And now one of those towers was coming down.

I don’t remember anything else about that moment except that, as I watched the TV in horror, the front door to my apartment opened, and, assuming it was Luz back from the street, I turned to tell her, “It’s falling down! It’s FALLING DOWN!”

Only it wasn’t Luz. It was my husband.

He said, “What’s falling down? Why are you crying?”

Because HE HAD NO IDEA WHAT WAS GOING ON.

Because my husband, being my husband, had picked up his briefcase after the first plane hit and said, “Let’s go,” to everyone in his department, took the elevators downstairs, and insisted everyone start walking for our apartment, because it was the closest place to where they were that seemed unlikely to be hit by an airplane.

(He told me later he’d worried “they” were going to try for the Stock Exchange, or the federal buildings you always see on Law and Order, and so had made everyone take small side streets home around those buildings, which is why it took them so long to get there).

They had to dodge the bodies of the people who jumped from the burning towers because they couldn’t stand the heat anymore. They saw the desk chairs and PCs that had been blown out of the offices so high above littering the street like tickertape from a parade. They saw the second plane hit while they were on the street, and ducked into a cell phone store until the rubble from the explosion settled. A piece of plane, nearly twenty feet long, flew past them, and landed in a parking lot, just missing St. Nicholas Church.

And they kept walking.

I don’t know what people normally do when someone they love, who they were convinced was dead, suddenly walks through the door. All I know is how I reacted: I flung my arms around him. And then I started yelling, “WHY DIDN’T YOU CALL ME?”

“I tried, I couldn’t get through,” he said. “What’s falling down?”

Because they had no idea. All they knew was that the city was under attack (which they had surmised by all the airplanes).

So my husband and his colleagues gathered in our living room—hot, thirsty, but alive, the ones who lived in New Jersey wondering how (and if) they were going to get home. Eventually, that night, they managed to catch boat rides – see the film below.

Meanwhile, Luz, not wanting to go home until she’d heard from her son, who was supposed to meet her after class in my building, cleaned.

I told her not to, but she said it helped keep her mind off what was happening.

So she vacuumed, while eleven people sat in my two room apartment and watched the Twin Towers fall.

It wasn’t long after the second tower came down that our friends David and Susan from Indiana, who lived in a beautiful condo near the Twin Towers with their two young children, showed up at our door, their kids and half the employees from their office (which was also in our neighborhood) behind them.

They had been some of the people shown on the news escaping from the massive dust cloud that erupted when the towers fell. They’d abandoned their daughter’s stroller and run for it, while shop owners tossed water on their backs as they passed by, to keep their clothes from catching on fire.

In their typical way, however, they had stopped on their way to our place to pick up some bagels.

For all they knew, their apartment was burning down, or being buried under ten feet of rubble. But they’d stopped for bagels, because they’d been worried people might be hungry. Or maybe people just do things in times like that to try to be normal. I don’t know. They didn’t forget the cream cheese, either.

I took the kids into my bedroom, where there was a second TV, because I didn’t think they should see what everyone was watching in the living room, which was footage of what they had just escaped from.

I set up my Playstation for Jake, who was seven or so at the time, to use, while Shai, just turning 4, and I did a puzzle on my floor. Both kids were worried about Mr. Fluff, their pet rabbit, whom they’d been forced to leave behind in their apartment, because there’d been no time to get him (their parents had run from work and grabbed both kids from school).

“Do you think he’s all right?” Jake wanted to know.

At the time, I didn’t see how anything south of Canal Street could be alive, but I told Jake I was sure Mr. Fluff was fine.

This was when Shai and I had the following conversation:

“Are planes going to fly into THIS building?” Shai wanted to know. She was crying as she looked out the windows of my thirteenth floor apartment.

Me: “No. No planes are going to fly into this building.”

Shai: “How do you know?”

Me: “Because all the planes are grounded. No more planes are allowed in the air.”

Shai: “Ever?”

Me: “No. Just until the bad guys who did this get caught.”

Shai: “Who’s going to catch the bad guys?”

Me: “The police will catch them.”

Shai: “No, they won’t. All the police are dead. I saw them going into the building that just fell down.”

Me (trying not to cry): “Shai. Not all the police are dead.”

Shai (crying harder): “Yes, they ARE. I SAW THEM.”

Me (showing Shai a picture from my family photo album of a policeman in his uniform): “Shai, this is my brother, Matt. He’s a policeman. And he’s not dead, I promise. And he, and other policemen like him, and probably even the Army, will catch the bad guys.”

Shai (no longer crying): “Okay.”

And she went back to her puzzle.

Watching from my living room window, we saw the crowds of people streaming out from what was soon to be called Ground Zero, thin to a trickle, then stop altogether. That was when 4th Avenue became crowded with vehicular traffic again. But not taxis or bike messengers.

Soon, our building was shaking from the wheels of hundreds of Humvees and Army trucks, as the National Guard moved in. The Village was blockaded from 14th Street down. You couldn’t come in or out of the neighborhood without showing proof that you lived there (a piece of mail with your name and address on it, along with a photo ID).

The next day, after having spent the night on our fold-out couch in the living room, Shai’s parents snuck back to their apartment (they had to sneak, because the National Guard wasn’t letting anyone at all, even with proof that they lived there, into the area. For weeks afterwards, on every corner from 14th Street down, stood a National Guardsman, armed with an assault rifle. For days, you couldn’t get milk, bread, or a newspaper below Union Square because they weren’t allowing any delivery trucks — or any vehicles at all, except Army vehicles — into the area), and found Mr. Fluff alive and well.

They snuck him back out, so that later that day, we were able to put the entire family on a bus to the Hamptons, where they lived for the rest of the year.

As my husband and I were walking back to our apartment from the bus stop where we’d seen off our friends, we saw a familiar face standing on the corner of 4th Avenue and 12th Street, where we lived:

Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea Clinton, asking people in our neighborhood if we were all right, and if there was anything they could do to help.

I didn’t go up to shake the ex-President’s hand, because I was too shy.

But I stood there watching him and Chelsea, and something about seeing them, so genuinely concerned and kind, made me burst into tears, after having held them in the whole time Shai had been in my apartment, since I didn’t want to upset her.

But you couldn’t NOT cry. It was impossible. Everyone was doing it …so much so that the deli across the street put a sign in its window: “No Crying, Please.” Our doormen were crying. Even Rudy Giuliani, New York City’s mayor (whom I will admit up until this crisis I had not particularly liked, and am not particularly fond of now), kept crying.

But he also kept showing up on New York 1, no matter what time you turned it on, even at two in the morning, there he was, like he never slept, always crying but also telling us, “It’s going to be all right.”

The same day we put Shai and her family on a bus to the Hamptons, September 12 — which also happened to be poor Shai’s birthday — companies (even RIVAL companies) all over Manhattan offered up their conference rooms and spare offices to all the businesses in the Trade Center and One Liberty Plaza that had lost theirs, including my husband’s company, so that they would be able to remain solvent, another act of kindness that never gets mentioned anywhere, but should.

Since he was the only person in the company who lived downtown, my husband was elected for the duty of removing all the sensitive data from their now mostly destroyed office, which meant he had to pass through the Brooks Brothers in his building’s foyer, from which he had bought so many of his business shirts and ties. The Brooks Brothers at One Liberty Plaza was now serving as Ground Zero’s morgue.

While under escort of the National Guard, he and guardsmen – the first to enter his floor since the event – found a body in an emergency stairwell. It was determined to be the body of someone from another office, who had probably suffered a heart attack while trying to evacuate One Liberty. The body was removed and taken to the morgue while my husband watched. (He threw away the clothes he wore that day.)

For the next week in Lower Manhattan, even if you wanted to forget, for a minute, what had happened on that cloudless Tuesday morning, you couldn’t. The front window of my apartment building filled with Missing Person posters of loved ones that had been lost in the Trade Center. The outside walls of St. Vincent’s Hospital were papered with them as well, and Union Square, at 14th Street, became an impromptu memorial to the dead, filled with candles and flowers. So did the front doors of every local fire station, including the one across the street from my building. The old ladies who used to bring cookies there stood in front of it and cried.

You couldn’t go outside during that week — until it finally rained Friday night, four days later – without smelling the acrid smoke from Ground Zero … and, in fact, you were encouraged to wear surgical masks outdoors. An eerie grey fog covered everything. Some of us tried to brave it by not wearing masks — like Londoners during the Blitz — meeting for lunch like nothing had happened, but the smoke made your eyes burn. I have no idea how the rescue workers at Ground Zero could bear it, and I’m not surprised so many of them now have respiratory diseases and cancer. I have no doubt that for some, the horrors of 9/11 will continue to be felt years.

It wasn’t until employees from a barbecue restaurant drove all the way to Manhattan from Memphis, and stationed their tanker-sized smokers right next to Ground Zero, and then started giving away free barbecue to all the rescue workers there for weeks on end, that the smell changed to something other than death. Everyone loved those guys. It was just barbecue.

Except it wasn’t just barbecue. It was a sign that, as the mayor kept assuring us, things were going to be all right.

But of course, for a lot of New Yorkers that day, things were never going to be all right again. While I was celebrating the fact that my husband had come home, Fred – Jen’s employee, the volunteer EMT who had ridden his bike downtown to see if there was anything he could do – couldn’t find his crew. This was before the buildings fell, before anyone had any idea those buildings COULD fall, when the police and firemen were still streaming into them, confident they could get people out.

The crew that Fred normally volunteered with were inside one of those buildings, helping people down the stairs. Fred couldn’t find them, because all the cell towers were down, and communication was so sketchy. Someone told Fred to drive a bus they’d found, to help evacuate people out of the World Trade Center area.

Fred didn’t want to be outside driving a bus. He wanted to be inside with his crew, saving people.

But since he couldn’t find his crew, he agreed to drive the bus.

Then the buildings came down. Later, Fred found out that the crew he normally volunteered with had been one of the many rescue squads buried under the rubble.

Like a lot of the rescue workers who lost coworkers in the attack, Fred seemed to feel guilty about having survived, while his friends had not. Even when all his NYU co-workers pitched in and bought him a new bike (after his old one got buried beneath rubble at Ground Zero), Fred couldn’t seem to shake his sadness. It was like he didn’t believe he’d done any good that day.

“All I did,” he said, “was drive a stupid bus.”

But that’s not all he did. Because remember Luz’s son?

Well, he showed up at my apartment not long after Jake and Shai and their parents did. Luz grabbed him and kissed him and shook him and cried, and when she finally let go of him, he told his story:

He had been heading towards — not away from – the towers, because he’d wanted to help, he said. A lot like Fred.

But suddenly, from out of nowhere, someone grabbed him from behind, and threw him onto a stupid bus.

“But I want to stay and help!” Luz’s son yelled at the guy who’d grabbed him.

“Not today,” Fred said.

And he drove Luz’s son, and all the other students from that community college to safety, just before the towers fell.

Nineteen years has passed since 9/11. A year or two after finding that body, and the company he worked for got back on its feet, my husband decided financial writing wasn’t for him. He decided to follow a lifelong dream: he enrolled in the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan. He got to work with chefs like Jacques Pepin. At his graduation, Michael Lamonaco – who ran Windows on the World, the restaurant at the top of the Twin Towers. Michael is another person who happened to be late to work on 9/11 – offered my husband a job in his new restaurant.

My husband declined, however, because we were moving to Key West, where the pace of life is a little bit slower. Michael said he completely understood.

Luz and her family are doing fine. Fred is now married with two children, and is head of his own division at NYU. Mr. Fluff did eventually die, but of natural causes. Jake just graduated from law school, and Shai has her first job out of college.

I would just like to remind everyone to please stay safe, socially distance, wear a mask, and VOTE.

And keep in mind that while bad guys still exist, there are way more people in this world who want help others than there are who want to hurt. Here’s a film to prove it:

  Filed under: Meg's Diary
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Bookstore Romance Day! Plus, A New Book

By meggin,

Hi! I’m interrupting my regularly schedule Corona Princess Diaries (don’t worry, new updates from Genovia will be back shortly) to bring you this important announcement:

I, yes, I, Meg Cabot, have been named 2020’s Bookstore Romance Day Ambassador!

What does that mean?

Well, it means that it’s my job to let you know that August 15 is officially Bookstore Romance Day!

What is Bookstore Romance Day, you ask?

Bookstore Romance Day was created in 2019 as a way to match Independent Bookstores with readers in the Romance community.  Have you ever gone into a bookstore and asked, “Do you have the latest (Name of Your Favorite Romance Author)?” and had the snooty person who works behind the counter go, “Ew, no, we don’t carry THOSE kind of books.”

I have. So I know just how awful that can be.

In an effort to change this, we’re matching romance readers with Indie bookstores who LOVE and RESPECT romance. On August 15, check bookstoreromanceday.com and support the Indie bookstores that love romance and romance readers, and appreciate that the romance genre is a BILLION DOLLAR a year industry!

And since I know you, like me, love romance, because Romance means Hope, and we all need a little Hope right now, I know you’ll be looking for some romances to buy on August 15.

So I, your official Romance Ambassador, have made the video below with some suggestions of some books you might want to try. (Please excuse my hair as I live in Florida, a Covid hotspot, and have not seen the inside of a salon [or restaurant, or gym] in months.)

I would be remiss if I did not mention here that in addition to the many WONDERFUL books recommended above, there are tons of other people’s books that I will be discussing at the MANY events I’ll be having this week in celebration of Bookstore Romance Day as well as the publication of NO OFFENSE, the new book in my Little Bridge Island series (although NO OFFENSE is a stand alone novel. You don’t have to have read BRIDAL BOOT CAMP or NO JUDGMENTS to enjoy NO OFFENSE. Although of course you can if you want to. No judgments).

NO OFFENSE is out NOW in both print AND ebook from AND from Audible.com as an audio book, narrated by the amazing Piper Goodeve!

Click below to see if any of my VIRTUAL EVENTS fit into YOUR schedule! I’m betting at least one of them will. And then please stop by. There will be so many amazing other authors there. And all of us have new books out that I personally have read and can guarantee are full of HOPE (and romance).

 

Meet Meg (and others) –

Virtual “NO OFFENSE” Book Tour

Please note these events aren’t final. More may be added! Check back.

TUESDAY, AUGUST 11
2 PM EDT
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY / FB LIVE WATCH PARTY
Event Link
In conversation with Entertainment Weekly’s Maureen Lenker

7 PM EDT
BOOKS & BOOKS / CROWDCASTin conversation with bestselling author Emily Henry
Event Link; Crowdcast Registration Link
*Registration Required

THURSDAY, AUGUST 13
12 NOON-2PM EDT Reddit R/Books Ask Meg Anything
https://www.reddit.com/r/books/

7:00 PM ET
SCHULER BOOKS & MUSIC / ZOOM
Event Link; Eventbrite Registration Link
In Conversation with bestselling author Jasmine Guillory & moderator Ineye Komonibo/R29
*Registration Required

SATURDAY, AUGUST 15 – BOOKSTORE ROMANCE DAY! TIME TO BUY A ROMANCE!
NO OFFENSE by MEG CABOT
TAKE A HINT, DANI BROWN by TALIA HIBBERT
YOU HAD ME AT HOLA by ALEXIS DARIA
2:00 PM ET
BOOKSTORE ROMANCE DAY / CROWDCAST
Event Link; Eventbrite Registration Link
Moderated by Maureen Lenker, Entertainment Weekly
*Registration Required

SUNDAY, AUGUST 16
PRINCESS DIARIES MOVIE WATCH PARTY
7PM EDT
Bookstore Romance Day
Watch The Princess Diaries With Meg Cabot commenting on Facebook Live If Meg Can Figure out How It Works

MONDAY, AUGUST 17
NO OFFENSE by MEG CABOT
7 PM EDT
CUYAHOGA LIBRARY + MACKS BACK BOOKS / SKYPE ® FACEBOOK
Event Link; Facebook Link
With funny bestselling author Tessa Bailey

THURSDAY, AUGUST 20
NO JUDGMENTS by MEG CABOT
9:15 PM EDT
CREATING CONVERSATIONS / ZOOM
Event Link
Romance Book Club
*Registration Required

 

 

All of these events are going to be thrilling for me because in addition to getting to chat with all of you and these brilliant authors and moderators, there is the added excitement of not knowing whether I will be technically savvy enough to be able to connect to them.

Plus, living in the Florida Keys, there could be a power or Internet outage due to a storm or just a puff of wind or a pelican crashing into a transformer or whatever at ANY TIME!

So I do hope you will join me, and also of course BUY MY NEW BOOK (because it would make my agent and publisher very happy), especially since NO OFFENSE was a LibraryReads and also PopSugar Pick for August, and was called “winsome” and “charming” by Publishers Weekly.

WINSOME PANDEMIC HAIR

And of course, as ever, click HERE to win a FREE copy of one of my copies – this month it’s NO OFFENSE!

But whatever you do at least buy SOME KIND OF book with love in it on August 15 to show that you support romance!

Because romance = hope, and hope is what we need more of right now!

And to prove that romance is still alive and well, even in the age of Covid, here is a TRUE love story that has been going on recently in my neighborhood right here in the Florida Keys.

OK, see you soon ONLINE!

More later.

Much love,

Meg

  Filed under: Meg's Diary
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Corona Princess Diaries Day 100

By meggin,

Hello. I hope you’re all still staying safe and healthy.

Entries from Princess Mia Thermopolis of Genovia’s diary* have fallen into my hands, and as the princess’s royal biographer, it’s my duty to share them with you.

*Please keep in mind that as with any diary, the princess is only recording her thoughts at the given moment. These entries have had no copy editing and the corona situation is fluid and changing daily.

I would like to thank health care workers, first responders, and everyone else out there working to keep us healthy, safe, and fed right now.  If you’d like to help people who are in need during this pandemic, I suggest supporting your local food bank. Find one here.

And if you like to read, please support your local indie bookstore (many will deliver books to your home) by ordering them here at BookStoreLink.

I hope you enjoy this FREE installment of The Princess Diaries – Quarantine Edition.

– Royal Bedroom –

 

I don’t even know how long it’s been since I last wrote in this diary. All the days seem to be blending into one another.

 

I think the last time I wrote was right before I gave my commencement address to the Royal Genovian Academy’s Class of 2020.

 

And look how THAT turned out:

 

“The future is in your hands,” I said. “We’re counting on you. What happens next is up to you!”

 

God. What a stupid thing to say. What was I even thinking?

 

Why are adults always telling young people that the future is up to them when adults are the ones who messed up their future to begin with? It’s like in A Wrinkle of Time (which I watched the other day with Rocky and Olivia because we finally got Disney Plus to work here at the palace), when Mrs. Whatsit or whoever was telling those kids that it’s up to them to destroy the evil that’s slowly been eating away at the universe.

 

I remember reading that book when I was little and loving it so much.

 

But now, as the adult ruler of a principality, I was like, “WHAT?”

 

(And also, what was Mrs. Whatsit thinking, letting those children fly around on the back of a centaur or whatever it was without wearing seatbelts? That is extremely dangerous.)

 

Anyway, sending kids off to save the universe from evil is WAY TOO MUCH RESPONSIBILITY to put on a child. And also not fair: The children didn’t create the evil. Adults did!

 

Why are we depending on children to clean up the gigantic messes we’ve left behind? Adults should clean up their OWN messes and fight the evil themselves!

 

That’s why what I ought to have done in my commencement speech is apologize. I ought to have said, “I’m sorry, kids, for leaving you this great big pile of sh*t to deal with.” And then I should have assured them that SOME world leaders (such as myself) are definitely trying to fix things.

 

Although right now it certainly doesn’t look as if I am. Especially since the Prime Minister called me the other morning and said, “Your Highness, I’m afraid in light of the lawsuits brought about by the Paninis and the Genovian Hotel and Restaurant Association, we really do have to re-open.”

 

Me: “What? No!”

 

Prime Minister: “It only makes sense, Your Highness, since in the entire country of Genovia, there have been no deaths from Covid, and only a single positive case.”

 

Me: “But the reason we’ve only had one case is BECAUSE we closed the borders and all of the hotels and restaurants!”

 

Prime Minister: “I know. And no one is prouder of our accomplishment than I am. But we simply don’t have an excuse anymore not to begin a phased re-opening. The economy is suffering, Your Highness.”

 

Me: “I realize that, but think of all the lives we’ve saved!”

 

Prime Minister: “I know. But re-opening is a good thing, Your Highness. We’ve won! We beat the virus!”

 

Had we, though?

 

I would like to state right now—in writing—that I disagreed. I was against re-opening from the start. I know that 41% of Genovia’s economy is derived from tourism (the rest of course is from exportation of our delicious pears and olive oil).

 

But, I said, even in phases, it wasn’t a good idea to re-open so soon. As soon as we lift the roadblocks at the borders, I said, we were going to see a surge of new cases.

 

And what we were going to see wouldn’t be a “second wave,” I said, but a continuation of the first wave.

 

I said this to everyone, including Michael, who replied, “Mia, I get it. You said it five times during this episode of The Mandalorian alone, and I’ve agreed with you every time. It’s too soon to re-open. Now please can we unpause it to see if the Mandalorian saves that adorable alien baby?”

 

But did anyone listen to me? (Except of course for my darling Michael.)

 

No. Of course not!

 

“You’re not a doctor,” Grandmere said (because of course she wanted to re-open right away, in order to have her ridiculously large wedding to her ridiculously young fiancé, who has spent the entirety of this lockdown here in the palace with us, playing soccer with Rocky and Scattegories with Olivia).

 

“You’re just a privileged princess,” my cousin Ivan said (over the phone, because of course I don’t allow him into the palace). “What do you even know about these things?”

 

They’re both right. I’m not a doctor, and I am a princess. I have more privilege than anyone!

 

But I have seen every pandemic movie ever made. I’ve read (almost) every pandemic book ever written. I’m on WebMD all day long looking up diseases that I (or Michael and the twins) might possibly have.

 

I know how these things work.

 

And, perhaps more importantly, I know Genovia.

 

OF COURSE if you’ve been stuck in Italy or Germany or especially landlocked Lichtenstein during this difficult time, you’re going to make a beeline for Genovia as soon as it opens its borders. Why wouldn’t you? Because of our beautiful beaches, amazing food, gorgeous gardens, entertaining lounge acts, and of course plentiful liquor, Genovia is the ideal place to unwind after months of lockdown. We really do have everything!

 

So OF COURSE the second we opened, our hotels and Air BnBs and even our parking lots (yes. People rode here in RVs) went from zero percent occupancy to one hundred percent occupancy.

 

So right now our bars, restaurants, and beaches are PACKED with foreigners, most of whom refuse to wear masks because:

 

  1. they insist they don’t have to because their “immune systems are healthy”
  2. they don’t want their “rights to be infringed upon”
  3. “masks are uncomfortable”

 

Even someone who hasn’t watched the movie Contagion starring Matt Damon 14 times like I have could have predicted what happened next:

 

And what happened next was that suddenly bartenders, croupiers, Jet Ski tour operators, and servers at bars, casinos, hotels, and restaurants all around Genovia began experiencing symptoms of, then testing positive for, Covid-19.

 

Within just a few weeks, our numbers went from recovered case to 102 positive and rising.  We had 15 positive cases in a single bar just today!

 

And despite what SOME people might think, I am NOT happy that the bar happened to be Crazy Ivan’s, the one belonging to my cousin Ivan Renaldo, the person who sued to me to re-open.

 

I’m definitely not happy that Ivan himself is one of the people who tested positive. I would NEVER be happy to hear that anyone has contracted a potentially fatal illness! (His symptoms are apparently mild so far.)

 

Nor was I happy when one of my best friends, Tina, who is currently in residency at a New York City hospital phoned me urgently to say, “Mia, I saw on the news what’s happening in Genovia! You need to declare a state of emergency at once and close down again. And I hope you and Michael and the children are in lockdown at the palace!”

 

(We are, of course. Now that we have Disney Plus, we’ve watched all of The Mandalorian and every single Toy Story and are about halfway through all movies in the Marvel Universe – only Michael and Rocky and Olivia and I, of course, the twins aren’t watching those – and just about everything else on there, and are of course looking forward to Hamilton on July 3.)

 

When a doctor calls you from NEW YORK CITY because they are concerned about the lack of social distancing and mask wearing in your place of residence, you know the merde really has hit the fan.

 

“We have to shut down again,” I said to the Prime Minister just now when I called her.

 

“But American Independence Day weekend is right around the corner!” the Prime Minister cried. “That is when many of our businesses make so much of their money from US residents traveling abroad!”

 

Me: “US residents are banned from coming to Europe for the foreseeable future due to their president caring more about statues and the economy than actual human lives.”

 

Prime Minister: “Oh, of course. Silly me, I’d forgotten.”

 

Me: “So we have no choice. The young people of Genovia are depending on us.”

 

Prime Minister: “But we can’t close the borders again because we’ve exhausted all the overtime for the Gendarmerie!”

 

The Gendarmerie are our local police force. We do not have the same problems here with our police as the US has had with some of theirs because we give our police ample training and pay, and also don’t depend on them to do the kind of work that ought properly to be done by social workers, mental health experts, and jobs and community outreach programs.

 

“That’s fine,” I said. “The borders can stay open. I have another idea.”

 

“What are you going to do, Princess?” The Prime Minister sounded uneasy.

 

“You’ll see.”

 

Then I issued the following proclamation:

 

 


From Her Royal Highness
Princess Amelia Mignonette Renaldo of Genovia

In view of the recent rapid increase of COVID-19 cases, the Genovian government in conjunction with the Royal Palace has decided to

prohibit all sales/consumption of alcohol in bars, nightclubs, and casinos. 

In addition, the wearing of masks is now mandatory in all public areas

(indoors as well as outdoors).

Failure to wear a mask in Genovia will result in a 500 Euro fine and/or a minimum of three (3) days in jail.

***

“What if I have a healthy immune system? Must I wear a mask?”

Yes. The purpose of masks is to protect others who might have a more vulnerable immune system than you do. If you do not care about the health of others, you are not welcome in Genovia. Please leave.

 

“But aren’t my rights being infringed upon?”

No. When you do not wear a mask in public, you are infringing upon the rights of others. If you do not want to wear a mask, stay in your own home or leave Genovia.

 

“My doctor says I don’t have to wear a mask/I have a note from my doctor saying I do not have to wear a mask.”

Notes from doctors saying you do not have to wear a mask in public are not valid in Genovia. There is no proven scientific evidence that wearing a mask causes health risks. There is, however, copious evidence that wearing a mask protects individuals from harm.

 

If doctors and nurses are able to breathe in masks for twelve hours a day during shifts treating Covid patients, surely you can breathe in yours for the few minutes it takes to consult with your sommelier over the type of wine you’re ordering with your meal/walk down the street to get to your limo/try on clothes at Prada.

If you cannot follow the rules above, go somewhere that isn’t Genovia.

We do not want you here.

If you need a mask, please contact the Royal Genovian Guard.

They are distributing them for free.

If you feel that you are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19, contact your physician. Do not go to the Royal Genovian Hospital or call emergency services, which are currently overwhelmed. Your doctor will direct you how to proceed.

Thank you for your cooperation

— Her Royal Highness, The Princess of Genovia

 

 

Oh, I have to go, Grandmere is banging on the door. She seems very upset. I can’t imagine what’s bothering her now.

___________________________________________

Check back soon for more entries in The Corona Princess Diaries

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Corona Princess Diaries Day 16

By meggin,

Hello. I hope you’re all still staying safe and healthy during these unsettling times.

Entries from Princess Mia Thermopolis of Genovia’s diary* have fallen into my hands, and as the princess’s royal biographer, it’s my duty to share them with you.

*Please keep in mind that as with any diary, the princess is only recording her thoughts at the given moment, and has had no copy editing

I would like to thank health care workers, first responders, and everyone else out there working to keep us healthy, safe, and fed right now.  If you’d like to help people who are in need during this pandemic, I suggest supporting your local food bank. Find one here.

And if you like to read, please support your local indie bookstore (many will deliver books to your home) by ordering them here at BookStoreLink.

I hope you enjoy this sixteenth FREE installment of The Princess Diaries – Quarantine Edition.

– Royal Bedroom –

 

The prime minister called. “I have good news and bad news,” she said.

 

“Of course you do,” I said. “Well, let’s get it over with. What’s the bad news?”

 

“You’re being sued.”

 

“I already know that,” I said with a snort. “The Genovian Hotel and Restaurant Association is suing me for shutting down all of their businesses due to the virus – even though of course we’re giving them full financial support.” I looked at my fingernails, which, since I haven’t seen Paolo in so long, had returned to their normal unsightly state. “What else is new?”

 

“No, this isn’t about that lawsuit,” the Prime Minister surprised me by replying. “This is a new one. This one is from a small, family-run Genovian bakery.”

 

“A bakery?” I was shocked. “But why would a bakery sue me? Bakeries are considered essential businesses. They’ve all been allowed to stay open!” And if anyone else has been eating bread the way I have lately, their sales have probably been brisk.

 

“That isn’t why they’re suing you. They’re suing you because they say your closing the country to tourists, including cruise ships, is adversely affecting their business. They say that last year at this time, when the ports and roads to Genovia were open, they were making 1,600% more in sales of croissants and éclairs than they are now.”

 

“Well, how can they blame me for that?” I exploded, startling Michael and the twins, who were building a pillow fort nearby. “I didn’t cause Covid-19! I’m trying to protect Genovia from it! And pardon me if Covid-19 has a nasty habit of being extremely contagious on cruise ships! You’d think these bakers would show a little gratitude to me for FORBIDDING cruise ships from coming here and bringing it to all of us!”

 

“Yes, well, that does not seem to be the attitude of the Paninis.”

 

“Wait a minute.” I could not believe what I was hearing. “These people own a bakery and their last name is Panini?”

 

“It appears so.”

 

“This has to be a joke.” Paninis are basically my favorite kind of sandwich. I love paninis of every kind – mozzarella, brie, chocolate, eggplant, even chicken and ham now that I’ve given up vegetarianism – I could go on forever. “This lawsuit is some sort of cruel prank by the paparazzi just to torment me!”

 

“It does not seem to be. Monsieur Panini says his family has owned a bakery here in Genovia for over six centuries, and it is only since you shut down the country that his business has suffered irreparable financial harm—”

 

“It’s only since I shut down the country that Covid has existed!” I thundered. “And anyway, what about the Spanish flu? You can’t tell me his business wasn’t affected by that! Let’s find my grandmother, she was probably around then, I bet she remembers this Monsieur Panini and his alleged bakery, she can probably tell us. Or maybe the Bubonic Plague years. How well were his croissants selling then? Let’s consult the royal tax ledgers! Did his ancestors sue my ancestors for shutting down the country during the plague?”

 

“Well, Genovia didn’t have cruise ships during the plague,” the Prime Minister was saying. “Do you still want to hear the good news?”

 

“What possible good news could there be?” I asked, as Michael got up from all the pillows the twins had buried him under and came to rub my shoulders, since he could tell I was having a very stressful day. But not even his strong, manly fingers could rub away my anxiety over the panini situation. “The people of my country are suing to get me to open up again to cruise ships and tourists, the exact things that will bring more cases of the virus here, and you think there’s good news?”

 

“Yes,” the Prime Minister said. “The Royal Genovian Academy’s graduating Class of 2020 would like you to give their commencement address. Of course they’re only having a cyber commencement due to the virus, but they’d be honored if—”

 

I stood up, inadvertently flinging away Michael’s hands. “I’ll do it!”

 

“Oh.” The Prime Minister sounded surprised. “You will? To be quite honest, I thought you’d say no, since you already have so much on your plate. And I do think you should know that apparently you were not their first choice. They asked Harry Styles first, and then some American individuals I’ve never heard of called Desus Nice and the Kid Mero. But apparently they were all unavailable.”

 

“Of course. Still, I’m happy to do it.”

 

“How wonderful. I’m sure the students will be pleased.”

 

“Thanks. And do get back to me about the baker if there are any developments.” Perhaps the Paninis made paninis. It would be nice to have some paninis for lunch for a change. Maybe if I ordered paninis for the entire palace staff, it would make the Paninis so happy, they would drop their lawsuit.

 

“I will,” said the Prime Minister. “Of course.” Then we said our goodbyes and hung up.

 

“What is it?” Michael asked. “What’s going on?”

 

“Mommy, mommy,” cried the twins. “Help us build our fort!”

 

“Not now, darlings,” I said. “Mommy has something very important to do for the good of the country. I’m writing a commencement speech,” I told Michael. “The Royal Genovian Academy’s graduating class of 2020 has asked me!”

 

“Oh,” he said. “Well, that’s great. Have you ever written a commencement speech before?”

 

“Not that I can remember. I’ve been asked, of course, many times, but I’ve always been so busy attending UN sessions and opening hospital wings and whatnot, I’ve never had a chance actually to give one.”

 

But we live on a different planet now.  The UN is open only to virtual sessions and while many new hospitals are opening up, they aren’t wasting time with royal grand openings. They’re too busy getting to work saving patients straight away.

 

So what can I possibly say to the young people of 2020, heading out into such a vastly different world than it was a mere two months ago, much less than when I graduated, so many many years ago? The world seems to be on fire – in some places literally. What can I say to these graduates to give them hope and inspiration for the future when I can sometimes barely summon any for myself, and I’m a princess who lives in a palace in absolute privilege and luxury?

 

“Amelia!” Grandmere is pounding on the door to my bedroom. “Amelia, I need to speak to you. It’s about my wedding to Derek. It’s IMPORTANT! Stop avoiding me, young lady. You’re going to have to come out and talk to me about this sometime. Now, we’ve whittled down the guest list to merely two hundred in deference to social distancing. But we absolutely refuse to wear masks. It’s unseemly! Whoever heard of a bride in a mask? And we absolutely MUST have Elton John as our live entertainment during the reception, but if he’s not available, Derek says he’ll settle for Drake.”

 

And how am I even supposed to think while stuck inside with all this joyful toddler prattle, a newly bearded prince consort, and a love-crazed dowager princess, distracting me?

 

Think. I’ve got to think!

______________________________

Come back soon for more entries in The Corona Princess Diaries!

  Filed under: Meg's Diary
  Comments: None


Corona Princess Diaries Day 15

By meggin,

Hello, everybody! I hope you’re all still staying safe and healthy!

Entries from Princess Mia Thermopolis of Genovia’s diary* have fallen into my hands, and as the princess’s royal biographer, it’s my duty to share them with you!

*Please keep in mind that as with any diary, the princess is only recording her thoughts at the given moment, and has had no copy editing. Also, both the princess and I are aware that this is a serious and increasingly complicated crisis. 

I would like to thank health care workers, first responders, and everyone else out there working to keep us healthy, safe, and fed right now.  If you’d like to help people who are in need during this pandemic, I suggest supporting your local food bank. Find one here.

And if you like to read, please support your local indie bookstore (many will deliver books to your home) by ordering them here at BookStoreLink.

I hope you enjoy this fifteenth FREE installment of The Princess Diaries – Quarantine Edition.

– Royal Bedroom –

All I wanted was twenty-four hours. Just twenty-four hours alone with my husband without the country I rule falling apart. Was that too much to ask?

 

Apparently it was.

 

Because despite my best efforts (and those of the prime minister. I can’t take full credit for the amazing job Genovia has done thus far, keeping our cases at a minimum), today we had protestors—protestors!—at the palace gates.

 

I was so angry when I found out—especially since I had just had my only time off in weeks from dealing with this pandemic: the loveliest twenty-four hours ever, enjoying the company of my husband, who’d been locked in self-isolation for two weeks. For two weeks, I’d not been able to hold or be held by Michael Moscovitz!

 

Then finally he’d been declared Covid-free by the royal physician, and we rushed into each other’s arms (well, all right – we rushed into our bed, where we spent a very pleasant day and night. Thank God for Mom and Olivia agreeing to watch the twins, since the nanny quit).

 

And what do I emerge from my lovely time off with my royal consort to find?

 

People screaming and yelling outside the palace gates—not even wearing masks, let alone socially distancing from one another—holding the most annoying signs, with slogans that said, among other things:

 

We Demand Haircuts

 

Let My People Golf

 

Don’t Cancel My Yachting Season!

 

Be Like Lichtenstein

 

We Have The Right To Play Baccarat

 

We Want Wine

 

 

What is wrong with my citizens? We’ve had one—one case of the virus!—thanks to my restrictions.

 

And this is how they show their thanks?

 

And neither I nor the Prime Minister has ever deprived anyone of wine. As if! The people of Genovia can get all the wine they want! Wine shops are considered an essential business, and are all open.

 

Everyone simply has to stay home to drink their wine. Is that so much to ask of anyone?

 

Same with haircuts and baccarat. People can get all the haircuts and play all the baccarat they want—at home.

 

And honestly, what does it even matter anymore how anyone’s hair looks? I went on national television with my gray roots showing and split ends everywhere. Nobody cared (with the possible exception of Paolo).

 

THIS IS A DEADLY PANDEMIC. GET OVER YOUR HAIR.

 

And I never forbade yachting. People can yacht to their heart’s delight. They simply have to keep their yachts fifty feet apart from other people’s yachts while at sea—no lashing yachts together and having giant yacht parties. And they can’t dock in a Genovian marina unless they can prove Genovian citizenship.

 

What is so unreasonable about that?

 

And don’t even get me started on the golf thing. Obviously everyone will be able to play golf again when the golf course figures out how to fix the little cup hole thingies so people don’t need to stick their entire hands in there to retrieve their balls and infect one another. That’s on the golf course, NOT ME.

 

And Lichtenstein? Lichtenstein?  Please don’t act like Lichtenstein is any better than we are. They have at least 50 more cases than we do!

 

And fine, so Lichtenstein didn’t close its borders, and has less restrictions. Do you know what Lichtenstein also doesn’t have?

 

BEACHES. Lichtenstein is a LAND LOCKED COUNTRY. Lichtenstein doesn’t have pure white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and an extremely low rate of virus (only one case so far here in Genovia, remember, and no fatalities), making everyone in all of Europe want to go there, unlike GENOVIA!

 

But I’m sorry, our hospital is extremely small, so if everyone DID come here, and then got sick (which is going to happen if we re-open), we wouldn’t have enough ICU beds or ventilators for them, let alone enough PPE, face masks, or hand sanitizer for our health care workers!

 

I did the absolute right thing by closing our borders! THE RIGHT THING!

 

OMG, if they like Lichtenstein so much, WHY DON’T THEY JUST MOVE THERE?????

 

At first I was completely furious (and a little bit hurt) that my people were turning against me. So much so that Lars, my bodyguard, noticed, and was moved to say, “The Royal Genovian Guard just received a large shipment of Kalashnikovs, Your Highness, in case a neighboring country decides to invade us and steal our toilet paper. Do you want us to use them instead on that riff-raff out there?”

 

“God, Lars, no!” I was horrified. “I don’t want you to strafe my citizens with automatic rifle fire. They have a constitutionally protected right to protest.”

 

Lars looked disappointed.

 

But then Lilly, peering out the windows of the Great Hall, said, “It’s not actually all that many people, Mia. One of them has a megaphone. It’s so quiet around here, with the lockdown, even a few people sounds like a lot.”

 

Derek, my grandmother’s nineteen-year-old fiancé (Lord, please give me strength) said, “If you’d like, Mia, I can turn on the palace sound system and play something really loud to drown them out. Harry Styles has that new song out – Watermelon Sugar. It’s really great. Want me to play that?”

 

“No, Derek,” I said from between gritted teeth. “I do not want the protesters blasted in any way, either by bullets or with Watermelon Sugar by Harry Styles. Besides, that would be rewarding them.” Am I the only sane person in my family?

 

Then Michael, who’d immediately gone online to do some fact checking, said, “Mia, those protestors are being paid.”

 

What?” I couldn’t believe it. “What do you mean, paid? Paid by who?”

 

“Whom,” Grandmere swanned in to say. “And of course they are. You don’t honestly think Genovians would stand outside their palace for hours on end holding signs when they could be inside, drinking homemade pear schnapps and watching re-runs of the Genovian Grand Prix?”

 

“The protesters are being paid by your cousin Ivan, Mia,” Michael said.

 

Then he showed me his phone, on which he’d pulled up a tweet from an account belonging to Crazy Ivan’s, the bar and restaurant chain belonging to my cousin, Count Ivan Renaldo.

 

IMPORTANT

 

Count Ivan Renaldo is arranging a protest for tomorrow morning in front of the palace gates to demand that Princess Mia and the Prime Minister take down the road blocks into Genovia and allow bars, restaurants, beaches, and hotels to open back up. We need our tourists!

 

The count will provide pre-made protest signs and free beer to every person who shows up. RSVP below if you’re coming so we can make sure to have a sign for you, and also enough beer.

 

Please wear facemasks and maintain good social distancing at all times during this protest. This virus is deadly.

 

Thank you!

 

“Oh my God!” I cried. “So Ivan knows how contagious this virus is. He just doesn’t care, and wants me to open the borders anyway!”

 

“Right, because it’s going to help him make more money, so he can buy another yacht.” Michael took his phone from me and began scrolling through the comments beneath the post. “Looks like only about twenty people signed up. They seem very excited about the free beer.”

 

“The Genovian government is paying everyone more than enough in unemployment and Covid-stimulus money to buy all the beer they want,” I cried.

 

“I hate to say it,” Grandmere began.

 

“But I’m sure you’re going to say it anyway,” I muttered. I was right:

 

“But none of this would be happening if Derek and I were having the royal wedding I suggested to you the other day, Amelia. The hospitality workers would all be too busy preparing for my big day to protest our closed beaches and lack of tourism. And of course Genovian citizens would definitely prefer free champagne and wedding cake to free beer. And a wedding is such a glorious thing! It offers people something to hope for! It represents romance and a dream for the future!”

 

“Yeah, no,” I snapped. “That is not going to happen. We are not having a royal wedding during a pandemic, and particularly not the royal wedding of the ninety-something dowager princess of Genovia to a nineteen year old student from the University of Florida.”

 

“Do you see?” Grandmere asked Michael. “Do you see how hardened and bitter your wife has become? I was hoping she might sweeten up a little once you got out of quarantine, Michael, but apparently this is her personality now.”

 

Michael gave Grandmere a deadly stare, which I felt looked all the more devastating since he now has a beard and mustache, along with quite unreasonably large sideburns, and resembles some of the sixteenth century Genovian princes from the paintings in the Hall of Portraits.

 

“My wife is doing fine,” he said. “She has almost single-handedly saved this country from a deadly pandemic. So I suggest you speak to her with a little more respect, Clarisse.”

 

OMG! He’s even sexier now than he was before he went into quarantine!

 

And Grandmere did seem suitably cowed—at least for her. She waved at him dismissively with her left hand – but probably only so we’d all notice her engagement ring (Derek had purchased a tastefully small diamond for her, which was all he could afford on a student budget and was perfectly fine, but Grandmere immediately sold some of her Van Cleef and Arpels and upgraded for a gigantic one that made her look like Thanos from the Avengers movie) and flounced from the room.

 

“Well,” she said. “I can see where I’m not wanted! Come along, Derek, let’s go see who won the Grand Prix from 1957! I appear to have forgotten.”

 

Derek frowned and said, “Sorry, bro,” to Michael, and left with Grandmere.

 

“He really isn’t that bad,” Michael said after they were gone, “except for his inexplicable attraction to your grandmother.”

 

“Are you serious?” I felt as if my head was splitting in two from all the cries of Be Like Lichtenstein coming from the gates.  “They’re both the worst!”

 

But of course Derek isn’t really the worst. And he and Grandmere are the least of my problems now.

 

What am I going to do about Ivan and his beer-swilling cronies?

 

UGH remember when life was normal and the only thing I had to worry about was what I was going to wear to this or that charity ball?

_______________________

Stay tuned for more entries from Mia’s Corona Princess Diaries, COMING SOON

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Filed under: Meg's Diary
  Comments: None


Corona Princess Diaries Day 14

By meggin,

Hello, everybody! Sorry for the slight delay in posting the latest installment of Princess Mia’s diary. I received the page-proofs of No Offense, my new adult book that will be out in August, as well as the draft of a script for a film based on one of my books (sorry! Nothing official to announce yet, and of course because of Covid, filming is a long way off. But it’s a great script!), so I had to read them. That put me a little behind deciphering Princess Mia’s very bad hand writing. Her diaries are a mess!

But Corona Princess Diaries Day 14 is here now. Please enjoy below!

And remember, as with any diary, the princess is only recording her thoughts at the given moment. Her diary has had no copy editing. Also, both the princess and I are aware that this is a serious and rapidly developing crisis.

I would like to thank health care workers, first responders, and everyone else out there working to keep us healthy, safe, and fed right now.  If you’d like to help people who are in need during this crisis, I suggest supporting your local food bank. Find one here.

And if you like to read, please support your local indie bookstore (many will deliver books to your home) by ordering them here at BookStoreLink.

I hope you enjoy this fourteenth FREE installment of The Princess Diaries – Quarantine Edition.

 

Corona Princess Diaries Day 14

 

-Royal Bedroom-

 

Today it finally happened:

 

Michael was released from self-isolation!

 

And thanks to my incredible skills in diplomacy (but mainly because I’m a female leader of a constitutional monarchy, and in this world crisis, female leaders have so far shown the best responses, banding together like lionesses to keep our pride countries safe and healthy), I acquired eleven hundred rapid coronavirus test kits from the chancellor of Germany.

 

So Dr. Khan gave Michael one, and . . . he passed! He has been declared officially virus free!

 

“Oh, Michael!” I cried, after he’d given the twins hugs and kisses, then walked into our bedroom, where I was finally able to throw my arms around him and inhale his fresh Michael smell. Instantly, I felt better than I had in days—fourteen days, to be exact.

 

I’ll talk to him later about the beard he appears to be growing. And I don’t understand what is going on with his sideburns. But those are small, superficial things that don’t matter. Michael is back in my arms!

 

“You won’t even believe what happened while you were gone, Michael,” I cried. “The Genovian Restaurant and Hotel Association is suing me for shutting down all the bars and casinos! And Lana tried to come visit for Easter! And Fat Louie has hyperthyroidism! And Rocky got into fight with a swan! And Grandmere is engaged to a nineteen year old music history major from the University of Florida, and fully intends to marry him, despite their seventy year or more age difference. And she accused me of being ageist!”

 

“Mia,” Michael said, as he untied my sweat pants. Really I should have dressed up a little for his return, but I’ve stress eaten so much cheese that none of my regular clothes fit anymore. “I already know all that. I was in a guest room down the hall, not Siberia. You and I saw each other across the balcony every day, remember?”

 

“Oh, right.” I believe I’m suffering from quarantine-induced amnesia. I can’t remember what day it is or even what month. “Well, what are we going to do?”

 

“Maybe we could wait a day or two to figure it out.” Michael pulled off my comfy knee-length quarantine cardigan and also the I Heart GenoviaT-shirt I’ve been wearing for several days straight beneath it. I would have changed, but it’s my only shirt that fits. “Hmmm, what’s going on here—no bra?”

 

“Michael,” I scoffed. “It’s a pandemic. No one wears a bra anymore. Not unless they’re jogging or giving a press brief—“

 

I didn’t get to finish, however. That’s because he’d thrown me across the bed, where we spent a very pleasant half hour or so ravaging each other’s bodies.

 

His body hadn’t changed so much since I’d last seen it (except for the beard and sideburns, which I honestly don’t understand since he had to have had a razor in there. Unlike me, who has had no access to Paolo or hair dye, so I’m growing a white stripe down the part in my hair that looks exactly like the one the mom grew in the original Poltergeist movie after she entered the gate to the other dimension to rescue her daughter Carol-Anne. Ruling a country during Covid is a lot like entering a gate to another dimension, just without the ectoplasm).

 

Of course, Michael wasn’t left alone to cope with twin toddlers, a demented senior, and an entire country that’s demanding to re-open even though there is no scientific data to indicate that this would be safe, so all that happened to him was that his facial hair got longer.

 

But when you’re in love, looks don’t matter, as we know from Beauty and the Beast. Even something as hideous as a beard and sideburns like a confederate general from the Civil War can still be sexy . . . or at least politely ignored for the time being.

 

Afterwards, when we were still snuggling together in the after glow of amazing reunion sex, Michael said, “Would you care to tell me why there’s a wine refrigerator next to the bed?”

 

“Oh,” I said, raising my head from his chest. “Because it’s more convenient to have it here than in the closet, where it used to be.”

 

“I think what I meant was, why is there a wine refrigerator in our bedroom at all?”

 

“Oh, well, because it was getting so inconvenient to keep asking the major domo to have bottles sent to my room. This way, all I have to do is lean down and grab one. I’ve gotten fast enough now that I can reach down and open a new bottle in the 15 seconds between episodes of shows on Netflix without even missing the intro. Speaking of which, where are my manners? Would you like a glass? I have a very nice pinot gris from a case sent to me by the prime minister of New Zealand.”

 

“Mia, it is eleven o’clock in the morning.”

 

“Michael, this is Europe. People drink wine at lunch all the time.”

 

“Since when is eleven o’clock lunch?”

 

“Michael, a lot of things have happened since you went into self-isolation, and I’m not just talking about my grandmother getting engaged to someone who isn’t even old enough to remember Myspace. The world is different. We wear facemasks and stand six feet away from one another—or at least we’re supposed to. There are lunatics out there who insist that their civil rights are being violated by being asked to do so. Everyone else is trying to make the best of it, doing the socially responsible thing like staying home and helping their kids with distance learning, which is basically horrible for both the parents and the kids, and when this is over, I’m giving teachers huge raises. So we have all started drinking wine to cope, and no one judges anyone else for it.”

 

Michael spread his hands wide. “I’m not judging! Obviously, you’ve been working hard and deserve as much wine as you want. I was just surprised to see a wine refrigerator where the night table used to be, that’s all.”

 

“Well, the nice thing about wine fridges is that they work perfectly well as night tables. You see now nicely the lamp fits on there? And my box of tissues and moisturizer? It’s essential to keep moisturizer around these days because your hands get so chapped due to having to wash them all the time. I’ve had to stop wearing the engagement ring you got me because I got a rash under it from all the hand sanitizer I’ve been using . . . and also it doesn’t fit my finger anymore due to my cheese consumption.”

 

Michael lifted my hand to his lips. “I noticed. I thought you weren’t wearing it because you’d forgotten me.”

 

“What?” I was shocked. “Never!”

 

He smiled. “That’s good to know. All that moisturizing has left your hands are nice and soft.”

 

“You like that, do you?” I asked with a knowing smile.

 

His smile was just as knowing. “I like it a lot.”

 

“Would like me to do some more stuff to you with my nice, soft hands?”

 

“Your hands, and other things. Maybe you’d like me to do the same to do you?”

 

“Yes, please.”

 

****

Stay tuned for more entries from The Corona Princess Diaries coming very soon!

 

  Filed under: Meg's Diary, Uncategorized
  Comments: None


Corona Princess Diaries Day 13

By meggin,

Hello, everybody! I hope you’re all still staying safe and healthy during this difficult time.

Entries from Princess Mia Thermopolis of Genovia’s diary* have fallen into my hands, and as the princess’s royal biographer, it’s my duty to share them with you!

*Please keep in mind that as with any diary, the princess is only recording her thoughts at the given moment, and has had no copy editing. Also, both the princess and I are aware that this is a serious and rapidly developing crisis. 

I would like to thank health care workers, first responders, and everyone else out there working to keep us healthy, safe, and fed right now.  If you’d like to help people who are in need during this crisis, I suggest supporting your local food bank. Find one here.

And if you like to read, please support your local indie bookstore (many will deliver books to your home) by ordering them here at BookStoreLink.

I hope you enjoy this thirteenth FREE installment of The Princess Diaries – Quarantine Edition.

 

– Royal Bedroom –

 

This morning I was in my office on the phone with the chancellor of Germany, trying to get some corona test strips (we cannot re-open the country until we’ve tested everyone, like my role model country, Iceland, who also has 100% literacy) when Grandmere appeared in front of my desk with Derek, the student from the University of Florida whom we are sheltering here at the palace until the airport re-opens and I can send him home.

 

I should have known something was up. Both Derek and my grandmother were smiling broadly.

 

Never in a million years, however, could I have guessed what was making them so happy.

 

“May I help you?” I asked, when I finished my call.

 

“Be the first to congratulate me,” Grandmere said, and held out her hand.

 

On her left ring finger glittered the smallest diamond imaginable.

 

I’m sorry to say that my reaction was not at all princessy.

 

What?” I cried, nearly falling out of my chair.

 

“That’s right.” Grandmere looked smug as she withdrew her hand to curl it around Derek’s ample bicep—which was bare, by the way, because he was wearing board shorts and a tank top with the number 24 on it. “We’re getting married. Sooner rather than later. I feel that the Genovian people need something to celebrate right now, don’t you? And after a birth, a marriage is the most joyous celebration of all.”

 

“The people need something to celebrate, all right,” I said. “But it most definitely is not going to be your marriage to—” I stared at Derek. “Forgive me, but what is your last name?”

 

“Oh, no worries, it’s cool,” said Derek. “Zagorski. Derek Zagorski.”

 

“Thank you. Well, one thing the people of Genovia most definitely do not need right now, Grandmere, is to celebrate your marriage to Derek Zagorski.”

 

“Oh?” Grandmere raised her drawn-on eyebrows to their limits. “And why is that, pray?”

 

“Because you’ve only known one another for two weeks!”

 

Three weeks!” Grandmere cried, rolling the r in three as she is wont to do when being particularly dramatic about something.

 

“Fine, three weeks. How many marriages do you know of that worked out well after a mere three weeks of acquaintance?”

 

“Lyle Lovett and Julia Roberts!”

 

“I don’t think that’s the best example.” I looked at Derek. “Do you even know who Lyle Lovett and Julia Roberts are?”

 

Derek shook his shaggy head. I don’t know if he wore his hair shoulder length on purpose or because all the barber shops in Europe had been closed for so long. That couldn’t possibly explain the beard, though. Surely someone must have taught him how to shave.

 

“No,” he said, happily. “Well, Lyle, bro, for sure. His music’s real sweet. As for the Julie chick – no. But it’s all good.”

 

Of course it was ‘all good’ . . . for Derek! He was a penniless student currently engaged to a dowager princess worth hundreds of millions of dollars (mostly in real estate and jewels, but still). Things were more than ‘all good’ for Derek!

 

“Grandmere,” I said, from between gritted teeth. “May I have a word with you in private?”

 

Grandmere bristled. “No, you may not—not if you’re going to attempt to talk me out of marrying Derek. Because I won’t be talked out of it, Amelia. I think it’s a perfectly splendid idea. We’ve all been cooped up inside for months—”

 

Me: “Two weeks.”

 

Grandmere: “—and a wedding is exactly what we all need to feel alive again! It’s past time to re-open the country and allow the people to go back to their normal lives—most especially to plan for my royal wedding to Derek. People love planning for a festive occasion, and what is more festive than a wedding? I’ve already phoned Sebastiano to make up my gown—”

 

Me: “Sebastiano is in quarantine in the Hamptons. How is he going to make a wedding gown for you when he is 4,000 miles away?”

 

Grandmere: “Love always finds a way! Let the Royal Genovian Guard know that the beaches and parks are to be opened again so that the people can experience the freedom I feel in my heart—”

 

Me: “Nope. Not happening.”

 

Grandmere: “And of course all the shops and boutiques must re-open immediately so that the people can begin their wedding gift shopping—”

 

Me: “Absolutely not.”

 

Grandmere: “And what’s a wedding without music? You must fly that what-his-name over to perform a live concert on the beach in honor of my engagement – ”

 

Me: “Boris P?”

 

Grandmere: “Yes. Him. The people deserve it, don’t you think? And Derek will of course be creating a spectacular playlist to go with the fireworks display that you will be setting off in my honor on the eve of our nuptials—”

 

Me: “That will be happening over my dead body. And yours, too.”

 

Grandmere: “Of course we can have the groomsmen bring out the royal coach—“

 

Me: “The groomsmen have all been sent home to be with their families until the crisis is over.”

 

Grandmere: “Well, the stable hands, then. And of course the casinos must be re-opened. Can you believe that Derek has never played baccarat?”

 

Me: “I can believe that, and no, I won’t be re-opening the casinos anytime soon.”

 

Grandmere: “Oh, and we must have wedding cake, Amelia. Something simple like the one you had at your wedding will suffice. I’ve always admired your self-effacing ways. Mine is a second marriage, anyway, so I wouldn’t want to look as if I’m putting on airs. Just make sure that it’s large enough to serve five hundred, because that’s how many people I intend to invite to the reception.”

 

Me: “Oh, really? That’s all?”

 

Grandmere: “Well, I don’t want to overdo it.  People are suffering, you know. It would be boorish to appear too ostentatious in light of current world events. Oh, and make sure they bring out all the best champagne from the royal wine cellar. It’s the perfect way to say, ‘The emergency is over, everyone! Come out, come out, and celebrate with us!’”

 

Me: “Sure, sure. But you do understand that the emergency is not over, right? There’s still no cure or vaccine. We don’t even know whether people like Chad, Derek’s friend, who’ve had the virus, can catch it again. I presume you’ll want Chad to attend?” I directed this inquiry to Derek.

 

“Damn straight,” he said. “Chad’s my bro!”

 

“Yes,” I said. “I’m sure he is your, er, bro. Well, you see, that might pose a problem considering he’s still in the hospital.”

 

“We can wait until he’s out,” Grandmere said, with a dismissive wave of her hand. “I’m certain it will only be for a few more days. That will give us time to register for our gifts. And of course to make arrangements for all of Derek’s family to be flown in from Dayton.”

 

“Daytona,” Derek corrected her.

 

“My mistake. Daytona.”

 

“Well,” I said. “That might be a problem, as well, given that the airport is still closed to both domestic and international flights.”

 

“Well, you must open it, Amelia! What are you thinking? It’s for the good of the people!”

 

“Yes, I will take that under consideration,” I said. “Can I just ask a personal question first, though?”

 

“Of course.”

 

“Why him?” I smiled apologetically at the groom-to-be, who was stroking his beard while checking his text messages. “No offense, Derek.”

 

“Oh, yo, no worries,” he said, amiably.

 

“Thanks. I won’t worry.” To my grandmother I said, “Seriously, though. What is it about Mr. Zagorski that makes him Dowager Prince Consort material?”

 

She blinked at me as if I were the crazy one. “How can you not see it, Amelia? He is me, in male form. He is my soulmate.”

 

I’m sorry to say I snorted. I couldn’t help it.

 

“Your soulmate? And what, precisely, do you and Derek, a nineteen year old student from the University of Florida, have in common?”

 

“Music,” Grandmere said. “Derek and I share the deepest of loves for the language of song.”

 

This was such complete and utter baloney. My grandmother had never in her life expressed a great love for music. Except for when she’d been in school and played Yum Yum in The Mikado—a fact she would never let any of us forget, particularly by singing ‘Three Little Maids From School Are We’ every morning before coming to the breakfast table, until my father established a “No Singing Before Breakfast” rule—she has never cared one jot for music.

 

Until now.

 

“Yeah,” Derek said, finally looking up from his phone. “Your grandma has a dope record collection.”

 

Oh, dear God.

 

“Yes,” I said. “I’m sure she does.” Some of Grandmere’s records are, in fact, 78s, of which she takes abysmal care, even though they’re quite rare. “But is that enough on which to build a foundation for a life long relationship?” Although in Grandmere’s case it might be, because who knows how many years she’s got left?

 

Then again, she smokes and drinks so much, she is basically pickled.

 

“Royals who have far less in common with their chosen spouses seem to have done fairly well in their marriages,” Grandmere shot back. “Look at Prince Harry.”

 

It was my turn to bristle. “How dare you!” She knows how I feel about my darling Harry and Meghan.

 

“Or you and Michael,” she added, savagely.

 

I actually gasped. “Michael and I have tons in common!”

 

“Do you?” Her smile was venomous. “A celebrated robotic engineer and a . . . princess?”

 

I’m sorry to say I lost my temper then. “Stop it! You know what I’m talking about! Derek is nineteen and you’re ninety, at least!”

 

Grandmere sucked in her breath as sharply as if I’d slapped her. Derek, however, merely shrugged. “Hey,” he said. “I don’t care about age. It’s only a number.”

 

Grandmere, however, had saved her final, most brutal barb for last: “You are being ageist, Amelia,” she said. “I never would have expected it from you, of all people. But there it is.”

 

Ageist! I was not being ageist . . . was I? It didn’t matter to me what age Derek was – or Grandmere either, for that matter. I would be against her marrying ANYONE she’d known for only three weeks.

 

And certainly suspicious of her motives, because she is not, in the words of Robert Browning, a woman whose heart is too soon made glad.

 

“But after all,” Grandmere cried, taking Derek in her arms. “Love is love is love, is it not, my sweet?

 

“Damn straight,” Derek said, and then the two of them – ugh, I can hardly write it here – kissed.

 

Right in front of me!

 

“Okay,” I said. “Fine.”

 

Grandmere pried her lips off her groom-to-be long enough to ask, “Does that mean you’re giving us your blessing, Amelia?”

 

Fortunately, I kept my cool. I said, in my most princessy tone, “Absolutely. Allow me to be the first to congratulate you on your forthcoming nuptials. As legal adults, you can apply for a marriage license at any time.”

 

Grandmere and Derek both gasped with excitement, and hugged one another, and kissed some more. But I wasn’t finished.

 

“But there isn’t going to be any sort of wedding like the one you’re describing . . . at least, not anytime soon. If your love is really as strong as you say, then you should be happy to wait for your five hundred person reception until it’s safe for the country to re-open. In the meantime, if you can’t wait, Derek’s family can certainly be present at your nuptials via Zoom, and all of your family will be there for you, too, Grandmere . . . wearing face masks and seated six feet apart in the palace chapel where you two can be married at once by an online justice of the peace.”

 

“But,” Grandmere sputtered. “But . . . the only point was for us . . .to re-open the country – for the good of the people, of course – !”

 

“Exactly. And believe me, I’m doing this for the good of the people,” I said. “And my own sanity. Have a lovely day.”

 

Then I left—even though it was my own office—and went down to the palace kitchen and ate half a dozen chocolate chip cookies Chef Bernard had just baked for dessert for the children’s lunch, washed down with several glasses of wine.

 

Only one more day until Michael is out of self-isolation!

***

Come back very soon for more entries from THE CORONA PRINCESS DIARIES!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Filed under: Meg's Diary
  Comments: None


Corona Princess Diaries Day 12

By meggin,

Hello, everybody! I hope you’re all still staying safe and healthy during this difficult time.

Entries from Princess Mia Thermopolis of Genovia’s diary* have fallen into my hands, and as the princess’s royal biographer, it’s my duty to share them with you!

*Please keep in mind that as with any diary, the princess is only recording her thoughts at the given moment, and has had no copy editing. Also, both the princess and I are aware that this is a serious and rapidly developing crisis. 

I would like to thank health care workers, first responders, and everyone else out there working to keep us healthy, safe, and fed right now.  If you’d like to help people who are in need during this crisis, I suggest supporting your local food bank. Find one here.

And if you like to read, please support your local indie bookstore (many will deliver books to your home) by ordering them here at BookStoreLink.

I hope you enjoy this twelfth FREE installment of The Princess Diaries – Quarantine Edition.

 

– Royal Bedroom –

 

Something good at last! We appear to have got into some kind of a routine here at the palace (at least most of us).

 

–Michael is working remotely from self-isolation with a team that is trying to come up with a rapid antibody test. That way we’ll know if people have already had the virus, and could be immune!

 

–The school finally got the “Distance Learning” program underway, and Olivia and Rocky have been at their computers all day, attending “class.” Once we got all the snags worked out – and there were a LOT. I never thought I would have to use the FOIL method again, but here it is, only they don’t call it that anymore, at least not in Genovia – it has been blessed silence ever since! For now.

 

–Mom’s teaching the twins to fingerpaint. “They really are quite talented, Mia,” she told me this afternoon. “Especially Frank. He might be another Banksy!” (Note to self: Not sure this is a good thing.)

 

–Even Dad has found a meaningful way to spend his time: he is over at the summer palace, supervising the construction crew there. Construction is considered an essential service, and residents are allowed to leave their homes for purposes of work if they wear a mask. I’m counting supervision of a home renovation as work, even if the home is a castle. Interesting that all it took was a pandemic and being trapped at home all day with his extended family and no nannies or housekeepers to get Dad motivated to finish construction on his home.

 

–Lilly is working on the case that’s been filed against me by the Genovian Hotel and Restaurant Association for shutting down the country. She says I’m a lock to win. I really want to believe her.

 

–Grandmere is self-isolating on a lounge chair on the far side of the pool, closest to where Derek is living. She’s wearing nothing but a maillot and working through her second case of wine. It’s not MY wine though and I can’t hear her, so I don’t care.

 

All this has left me free to finally get back to work!

 

Today I decided to tackle my mail, since I’ve ordered my personal assistant to work from home for her own safety.

 

But she can’t very well open my mail from home.

 

After cracking open a bottle of pinot (one should never approach the mail these days sober), I carefully donned rubber gloves, then wiped down each envelope with Clorox wipes before slitting it open with my healing quartz encrusted letter opener (a wedding gift from Gwyneth Paltrow).

 

Then, still using my gloves and wearing my face mask (an Hermes scarf because of course we don’t have any real face masks—they’ve all gone to the hospital for the doctors and nurses to use while examining patients complaining of Covid symptoms), I began to read:

 

To Her Royal Highness, Princess Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo:

 

My parents were intending to throw me a graduation party at the Royal Genovian Yacht Club in May. Do you know if Genovia will still be shut down in May? If not, could you please open the country back up by May 19 so that I can have my graduation party?

 

If not, will you make sure that my parents receive a full refund of their $500 deposit?  I would like to use it on beauty products.

 

Yours very sincerely,

 

Ashley (Last name withheld for security reasons)

 

 

Ha! Why, no, Ashley, Genovia will not in any way be affected by COVID-19 in May.  Just because Italy, the country next door to us, was the epicenter of the pandemic in Europe, is no reason to think that there’s any possibility that your graduation party should be affected.

 

I can understand her disappointment, but what are people thinking? I’m only a princess, not a fortune teller! Not even epidemiologists who have been working in this field for years and years know when this pandemic is going to end.

 

But I will have my assistant write Ashley a polite reply informing her that a refund will be issued to her in the event that her party has to be cancelled, and also send her a pear and olive oil gift basket as a token of my regret for her unfortunate circumstances.

 

 

Next:

 

Dear Cousin Mia,

 

It is I, Ivan, wondering if it is not time to put all of this silliness behind us. Yes, I know you are angry with me because I kept my many profitable bars open in secret after your lockdown order.

 

But I am a businessman. This is what I do! It is why I am so successful.

 

And as a businessman, I feel that it is my duty to inform you that NOW is the time to re-open the country. We have had only one positive case of the virus! Obviously we have beaten this terrible disease! It is a miracle.

 

Now do the right thing for all of Genovia, and RE-OPEN THE COUNTRY.

 

Yours truly,

 

Count Ivan Renaldo

 

 

Ha. HA HA HA HA!

 

I have to laugh, because if I don’t, I’ll cry. Also, I had to open another bottle of wine because Olivia just came in here and asked me to explain the Pythagorean theorem, so everything seems particular hilarious.

 

A miracle! HA! It isn’t a MIRACLE that we’ve only had one case of the virus. IT’S BECAUSE OF THE LOCKDOWN and everyone staying home and out of his “many profitable bars!”

 

Oh God.

 

I’m having my assistant craft a brief response, simply saying “No.”

 

And he is NOT getting a gift basket.

 

Finally, this:

 

Dear Princess Mia,

 

Hello. You do not know me. We have never met. I am a mother who lives in America.

 

But I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the kindness that you have shown my son, Chad (name withheld for reasons of security). He is the Covid patient currently hospitalized in your country.

 

I don’t know how to express my gratitude for the care you and the people of Genovia, particularly the doctors, nurses, and other hospital workers there, have shown him.

 

Mostly, it has made me think that the term “social distancing” is so grossly inaccurate. Even though we are so very far away from each other, I have never known such social warmth!

 

I think that many of us in the last month have experienced incredible “social” connection like we’ve never had before. From Zoom business and social meetings to people just picking up the phone and reaching out to someone they haven’t spoken to in a very long time to people like you, who have shown such kindness to a person you don’t even know, who isn’t even a citizen of your country—strangers simply being generous and supportive to one another in a time of great personal need.

 

Maybe the phrase shouldn’t be “social distancing” at all, but “physical distancing,” because that seems more accurate to me.  We are more “social” than ever, while keeping “physically” distant.

 

Words are important, and so are people. ONE WORD, just like ONE PERSON, can change the world . . . and you have changed ours for the better forever. Thank you, thank you, thank you for physically distancing while not social distancing!

 

Sincerely,

 

Linda (Last Name Withheld For Reasons of Security)

 

Aw! Chad’s mom, Linda! I love her! I really do! It’s not the wine, either – I truly love her!

 

I’m going to have my assistant send Linda TEN gift baskets (although it might be difficult to get them through Customs).

 

Maybe I should make her a duchess, instead? Duchess Linda has a nice ring to it!

 

Because she’s right: “Physical distancing” sounds much better—and is more accurate—than “social distancing.” It’s what we’re all doing, while staying “socially” closer than ever.

 

I’m going to have my media team implement it immediately into all of Genovia’s Corona messaging!

 

Oh—I hear the babies crying. Fingerpaint time must be over. More wine – I mean, more later!

 

Two days until Michael is out!

 

***

 

More entries from The Corona Princess Diaries coming as soon as Meg can decipher Mia’s handwriting!

  Filed under: Meg's Diary
  Comments: None


Corona Princess Diaries Day 11

By meggin,

Hello, everybody! I hope you’re all still staying safe and healthy during this difficult time.

Entries from Princess Mia Thermopolis of Genovia’s diary* have fallen into my hands, and as the princess’s royal biographer, it’s my duty to share them with you!

*Please keep in mind that as with any diary, the princess is only recording her thoughts at the given moment, and has had no copy editing. Also, both the princess and I are aware that this is a serious and rapidly developing crisis. 

I would like to thank health care workers, first responders, and everyone else out there working to keep us healthy, safe, and fed right now.  If you’d like to help people who are in need during this crisis, I suggest supporting your local food bank. Find one here.

And if you like to read, please support your local indie bookstore (many will deliver books to your home) by ordering them here at BookStoreLink.

I hope you enjoy this eleventh FREE installment of The Princess Diaries – Quarantine Edition.

 

– Royal Bedroom-

Lilly just told me I’m working too hard.

 

“Come have some popcorn with me,” she said, “and watch Tiger King.”

 

Me: “Lilly, I know you’re trying to take care of me, but I don’t have time to watch a documentary. I have too much work to do. And if I did have time to watch a documentary about people who make extremely poor choices in life and then end up in jail, it would obviously be any of the many documentaries about the Fyre Festival, my favorite fraud of all time involving influencers.”

 

Lilly: “Fine. Then let’s watch Outbreak.”

 

Me: “Again, I have no time to watch movies, and if I did, it certainly wouldn’t be Outbreak.”

 

Lilly: “Oh, really? Why not?”

 

Me: “Because obviously, Night of the Comet starring Catherine Mary Stewart and Kelli Maroney as teen survivors of a worldwide apocalyptic event that has turned almost everyone else on earth into either zombies or dust is a far superior disaster movie.”

 

Then Lilly started arguing that I had no taste in apocalyptic films, so we made the following list (during which Tina Hakim Baba FaceTimed and added her own opinions):

 

Lilly, Mia, and Tina Hakim Baba’s List of Favorite Movies/Shows To Watch During a Pandemic or Really Any Time:

 

Lilly: Obviously War of the Worlds – both the Tom Cruise version, because he runs a lot and it’s always fun to see Tom Cruise running, and the new series on the Epix channel starring Elizabeth McGovern, because it’s hilarious to see Lady Cora from Downton Abby shooting guns during an alien invasion.

 

Mia: Wrong. Obviously the best disaster movie to watch right now is The Crazies starring Timothy Oliphant because a) zombies in a small town, and b) Timothy Oliphant is the sheriff of that small town. Although the ending is not my favorite.

 

Tina: Wouldn’t you rather watch something gentle and soothing, like Enchanted, in which a princess falls from her fairy tale world into ours and possibly falls in love with a commoner instead of her handsome prince, and there are cute kids and animals and a totally happy ending?

 

Lilly: Ugh, no. Let’s watch Armageddon, in which a giant meteor is hurtling towards the earth and NASA has to hire a rag tag band of oil drillers to land on the asteroid and split it apart and save the planet.

 

Mia: First of all, nothing that happens in that movie is realistic. I mean, I get it, that’s part of what’s fun about it – I too enjoy Owen Wilson, not to mention Bruce Willis, in just about everything. But if you want to watch a realistic disaster movie about an asteroid hitting the earth, obviously you should watch Deep Impact, which premiered the same summer as Armageddon, but was a much more accurate portrayal about such a crisis, plus starred Tea Leoni, the amazing actress from one of the best shows of all time, Madam Secretary, which we should all be watching right now instead of having this conversation.

 

Tina: Speaking of shows we should all be watching now, do you watch The Good Place? That’s a really great show about a woman who thinks she’s in heaven but actually—well, I won’t spoil it for you, but you should really watch it, the love story is so—

 

Lilly: Um, no, Tina, because I’d prefer to see Contagion, in which Gwyneth Paltrow is one of the first victims of a deadly virus and Kate Winslet a fearless epidemiologist determined to save lives! Plus Matt Damon has to battle food shortages and a teenaged daughter who doesn’t want to social distance. It’s basically the life we’re living now, only if we weren’t in a palace and the government was actually organized and semi-competent. Obviously I don’t mean YOUR government, Mia.

 

Mia: Thank you. But that is why I’d prefer to watch Anna and the Apocalypse – a much funnier version of almost the exact same story but with zombies AND it’s a musical AND it takes place at Christmas time.

 

Tina: Oh, that sounds fun.  But if we’re talking musicals, I think I’d rather see Sing Street, that movie about the teenaged boy in Ireland who starts a band to impress a girl? It’s so sweet and funny . . . and since I’ve been watching the hilarious Derry Girls on Netflix, it sort of fits that same vibe.

 

Lilly: No, thanks. What about Carriers? How can you resist a hyper-realistic zombie road movie starring Piper Perabo from the ever-fabulous Coyote Ugly and Chris Pine who played your boyfriend in the second unauthorized bio-pic of your life, Mia?

 

Mia: Um, very easily, because instead I would watch Ozark starring Laura Linney and Jason Bateman, both of whom are great in everything. Jason Bateman was fantastic as a possible child-killer in The Outsider, too. And I love Laura Linney every time she introduces anything on Masterpiece Classic.

 

Tina: You know what else would be great for us to watch together? Cheer, the uplifting documentary about the struggles and successes of a college cheerleading team on their way to the big cheer competition in Daytona, Florida. You guys, I cried so many times while I was watching it . . . with joy.

 

Lilly: You know what would make me cry with joy? If we watched The Andromeda Strain, in which a deadly extraterrestrial microorganism falls to earth and begins killing everyone who comes into contact with it and a team of scientists have to figure out how to destroy it before it kills everyone on the planet. There’s a book, an extremely bad TV mini series, and a movie version!

 

Mia: Or we could just watch Attack the Block, in which the same thing happens but it’s actual aliens who begin attacking all the residents of a South London apartment complex, but only a young John Boyega (of Star Wars fame) and Jodie Whittaker (Dr. Who) know about it and try to stop them. It’s only one of my favorite movies of all time, but that’s okay.

 

Tina: Oh, you know what movie everyone enjoys that’s just like that? ET! How long has it been since you watched ET? In ET, a young alien falls to earth and some kids find him, and Mia, do you think the twins are too young to watch ET? I know Rocky and Olivia would like it.

 

Lilly:  Oh, so we’re on movies that kids would like now? Then definitely Train to Busan where a guy takes his young daughter to visit her mom on her birthday, but there’s a zombie attack, so everyone on the train is getting killed, and the guy and his daughter have to battle zombies to stay alive.

 

Mia: That movie sounds totally inappropriate for young children! But if you like movies that take place on trains, then there is nothing better in the entire world than Bodyguard on Netflix, which starts out on a train. A British soldier with PTSD (SPOILER ALERT) saves everyone on the train and then becomes the VERY HOT bodyguard of the beautiful Home Secretary and then –

 

Tina: Oh, my God, I saw that one! I will agree with you about Bodyguard, Mia. That was literally the best series. I wish they’d make Bodyguard 2 starring me as the girl that that guy has to bodyguard.

 

Mia: Me, too! I mean – not really, I love my husband.

 

Tina: And I love my boyfriend! But that bodyguard –

 

Lilly: Would you two stop? What about Omega Man, about the last man (or is he?) left on earth after a zombie plague ravages the world? The original was so much better than the re-make, I am Legend, but only because—

 

Mia: Don’t even say it, we all know what happens to the dog, which is why I never saw it because I can’t stand it when bad things happen to animals in movies. EXCEPT of course for the movie John Wick. A terrible thing happens to the adorable puppy that John Wick’s wife gives to him, which is not a spoiler because it happens in the first few minutes of the film and is what propels John’s actions throughout the entire movie and the sequels that follow as well, but it’s okay because he —

 

Tina: This is why I always consult Doesthedogdie.com before watching any movie. And also why I love Crazy Rich Asians. I could watch that movie every single day, because no dogs die in it. Well, and other reasons, too. All the parts with Awkwafina? Those just soothe my heart.

 

Lilly: You know a movie where a lot of animals—but mostly people—die? Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Also Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. There are some really good performances in those, too, for people pretending to be apes.

 

Mia: That reminds me of another great documentary everyone should watch about people who blindly follow a charismatic leader, Wild Wild Country. If you’re the kind of person who wonders, “How does anyone get involved with a cult, anyway?” like I always do, this is exactly the documentary for you. It’s crazy what people will do just because they’re obsessed with a charismatic leader!

 

Tina: Um, not that I’m obsessed, but a good movie about someone charismatic is anything starring Ryan Gosling.  Like Lars and the Real Girl which is my absolute favorite underrated sweetly sensitive romance, or Crazy, Stupid, Love? Where Ryan Gosling plays a lothario but really he’s just looking for the right girl and then suddenly Emma Stone comes along? But pretty much anything he’s in is good except of course for La La Land. I do not like the ending of that movie at all.

 

Lilly:  You’re right. La La Land is probably the most frightening movie of all. Aside from Children of Men, based on the dystopian PD James novel about life after humans become infertile, in which Clive Owen has to smuggle a refugee out of the UK for mysterious reasons.

 

Mia: Oh, really? You think that’s more frightening than Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, in which women become literal slaves because of their reproductive ability?

 

Tina: My favorite show about women and their reproductive ability these days is Call the Midwife! I love watching BBC period dramas, and those midwives from the 1950s and 60s wear the best clothes . . . plus all the babies are so cute! And there are tons of sweet romances. And diphtheria, of course.

 

Lilly: Okay, fine, but can we all just agree that the best show on television right now is Westworld? It’s no Watchmen, of course, but then what is?

 

Mia: I want to agree with you, but I just can’t get that excited about fighting robots. I’m watching Homeland right now because it’s the series finale and I really want to find out what happens to Cry Face Carrie Mathison after all these years of making poor romantic and career choices.

 

Tina: What I’m really enjoying watching right now besides Call the Midwives is Pamela Adlon’s Better Things on FX channel. It’s so gentle and calming and I cried at the sweetness of it during the wedding scene last week when she went to New Orleans . . . partly because Randy Rainbow was guest starring, of course. But also because of what’s happening in New Orleans, with the virus. It was handled so well. I want that show to be watched by everyone and win all the prizes.

 

Mia: Okay, Tina, your list wins.

 

Lilly: I’m a big enough person to say it does.

 

Tina: Oh thank you! Let’s all watch the new Emma together on pay per view when we get a chance.

 

Lilly: Or the new Invisible Man!

 

Mia: Done.

 

Three more days until Michael is out of self-isolation!

***

Come back for more entries in The Corona Princess Diaries soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Filed under: Meg's Diary
  Comments: None


Corona Princess Diaries Day 10

By meggin,

Greetings, everybody! I hope you’re all still staying safe and healthy during this difficult time.

Entries from Princess Mia Thermopolis of Genovia’s diary* have fallen into my hands, and as the princess’s royal biographer, it’s my duty to share them with you!

*Please keep in mind that as with any diary, the princess is only recording her thoughts at the given moment, and has had no copy editing. Also, both the princess and I are aware that this is a serious and rapidly developing crisis. 

I would like to thank health care workers, first responders, and everyone else out there working to keep us healthy, safe, and fed right now.  If you’d like to help people who are in need during this crisis, I suggest supporting your local food bank. Find one here.

And if you like to read, please support your local indie bookstore (many will deliver books to your home) by ordering them here at BookStoreLink.

I hope you enjoy this tenth FREE installment of The Princess Diaries – Quarantine Edition.

 

 

– Royal Bedroom –

Despite some news reports to the contrary, Genovia is still holding steady at only one (1) Covid-19 patient (a Spring Breaker from Gainesville, Florida). Chad (last name withheld for reasons of privacy) is in stable condition at the Genovia Hospital, resting comfortably and in good spirits. The hospital has been inundated with gift baskets of pears and olive oil for him from well-meaning Genovians.

 

People seemed determined, however, to push up our numbers. We’ve had to close the airports and marinas and establish checkpoints on all roads leading into Genovia, and ask car owners to present proof of residency before they can enter – that’s how many people are trying to get in!

 

I’ve always known, of course, that Genovia is popular. It’s certainly where I would want to be during any sort of international crisis. The beaches are lovely (though they’re all closed now) and the weather can’t be beat, and of course we serve every flavor of gelato that you can imagine (when the shops are open).

 

But you would think people would take into account that our hospital is quite small. We barely have enough beds for our permanent residents, let alone visitors!

 

Chad has only been allowed to stay because he was here before the lockdown occurred, and because he’s ill. Chad’s roommate Derek, meanwhile, had to be tracked down by the Royal Genovian Guard. He was finally caught inside Crazy Ivan’s (currently acting only as a liquor store and not a bar, and so has permission to be open as an essential business. Genovians love their liquor) and is currently being well taken care of by . . . .

 

Me.

 

That’s right. We have a University of Florida student living with us here at the palace, because my grandmother says the only way she’ll stay in self-isolation is if we “look after poor Derek,” whom she met while partying during Spring Break on the Royal Yacht.

 

Obviously, I’ve stuck him in the little guest apartment above the pool house (like Ryan Atwood on The OC, but let me tell you, Derek does not look like Ryan – or perhaps I’ve been married too long to an actual man to appreciate the looks of nineteen year old boys, who now resemble hairless newts to me), because it’s the room furthest away from our quarters. Not to be mean, but I do not even know this boy.

 

And although he’s tested negative for Covid, who knows what other diseases Derek could have? I saw the way Grandmere, also known as the inFLUENZer, was grinding on him in that video someone posted of the two of them “dancing” together.

 

But even though I’ve put him as far away as humanly possible from the rest of us, I still have to hear him all the time, because he’s already managed to figure out how to work the outdoor sound system over there.

 

“What is that?” I asked Michael this evening while we were enjoying our nightly cocktail on our respective balconies (only FOUR more days until he’s out of self-isolation!).

 

“I believe that’s Baby, I Love You by Aretha Franklin,” Michael replied.

 

“But why?” I was shocked. “Why is he playing that now, outside? And so loudly?”

 

“I’m guessing because he’s a college student,” Michael said, not looking nearly as aggravated as I felt. “And because he likes it. And because he’s getting to live for free in a beautiful apartment above a swimming pool in a palace in Genovia, with all the free food and booze he wants. So he’s showing his appreciation.”

 

“Well, I don’t appreciate it. I’m putting a stop to it right now!” I jumped to my feet.

 

“Why?” Michael asked.

 

“Because the whole town is going to hear that!”

 

“So what? The whole town is in lockdown, unable to go out. They might enjoy hearing the Queen of Soul coming from the palace.”

 

“But – but – he might wake the babies!”

 

“Who cares?” Michael was laughing. “There’s a beautiful sunset, nice music, and we’re together—at least as together as we can be right now. Why don’t you just relax?”

 

I stared at him in disbelief.

 

Here is the problem: I love my husband, but I hate being told to relax. I can and will relax, but only when I’m good and ready. Don’t tell me to relax.

 

And especially don’t tell me to relax when there’s a global pandemic and thousands of people are trying to enter my country, but I can’t let them in (which I feel very guilty and conflicted over), I have twin toddlers, a psychotic grandmother, a cat with hyperthyroidism, a principality to rule, and some random college student living in my pool house, playing VERY loud music during the only time I’m able to enjoy the company of my self-isolating husband.

 

I was about to tell Michael how very much I hate being told to relax (which he knows) when something strange happened:

 

Derek—who obviously fancies himself some kind of DJ—put on his next song for our alleged enjoyment: Stevie Wonder’s For Once In My Life.

 

And I felt myself  . . . relaxing.

 

I was ACTUALLY relaxing. During a pandemic!

 

I don’t know how.  Or why.

 

It was all so strange, because I’d just been talking to my friend Tina Hakim Baba on the phone – poor Tina is in New York City, where they are having a terrible outbreak of the virus. Tina is a resident in a hospital there, so she is bravely working night and day to combat it – and she had JUST been saying to me that in addition to our physical health, we need to look out for our mental health during this stressful time as well, in whatever way we can, whether by:

 

  • Finding some kind of hobby or project we enjoy (Ha! Yeah! Right!)
  • Exercising (seriously?)
  • Meditating (please)
  • Watching a movie or television show (who has time for this? Though Tina does, apparently – she is re-watching Glee on Netflix for the thirtieth time in between shifts, and I am thankful to Netflix for broadcasting Glee to help those like Tina who are out there on the battle lines)
  • Reading (honestly this one I get. Especially for people like Tina, lover of all things romance. I myself am reading a book about a pandemic, specifically the Spanish Influenza, because there might be valuable clues in it that could help our current situation. But I can’t say I’m enjoying it.)
  • Whatever else helps that is not illegal or harmful to ourselves or others

 

I assured Tina that I’m journaling every day (well, almost), but as a busy working mother—even with a lot of help (although the nanny quit)—I barely have time to care for my physical health, let alone my mental health.

 

But I’m not even the person doing the worst in my family right now, mental health wise. You would think that prize would go to my father or possibly my grandmother (although her mental health is so bad that she thinks she is the sanest person in the family). No. Oh, no. Today I found out that that prize goes to my half-brother Rocky. Because today I found out that Rocky got into a fight.

 

With a swan.

 

One of the swans from the moat.

 

A LIVE SWAN. My little brother got into a fight with a SWAN.

 

I can’t imagine what people who live in a regular sized house or apartment are going through if they, like me, are sheltering-in-place with young children. It’s difficult enough in a palace.

 

In any case, the swan appears to have won, since Rocky has a black eye, and I saw the swan a little while ago, strutting around and waving his wings like Creed after a prize fight.

 

Mom was busy helping out with the twins and Dad of course was yelling into his phone about his investments, so I was the one who was forced to sit down and have the following talk with my little brother:

 

“Rocky,” I said. “Can you please not beat up the swans from the moat? They’re only birds. You’re a human boy, and much smarter than they are.”

 

Rocky: “But he started it!”

 

Me: “Yes, well, he may have started it, but it’s up to you to put an end to it.”

 

Rocky: “I tried to! But then he hissed at me, and hit me in the eye with his beak!”

 

Me: “I know. But he’s only a swan. He didn’t know any better. HE IS A BIRD.”

 

Rocky (sullen): “None of this would be happening if it weren’t for this stupid virus. I was supposed to be playing in the Genovian Youth Soccer National Championship this week, and instead I’m cooped up in this stupid palace with these stupid swans!”

 

Suddenly, everything became much clearer. I have no idea why the Royal Genovian Academy is taking so long setting up online classes. But there hasn’t been a peep out of them yet except to say “We will be contacting you soon!” and meanwhile, the kids are running around wild, beating up swans because their minds aren’t being actively engaged and their mental health is literally going to the birds.

 

Although I have a feeling things are going to get worse when they DO set up the online classes.

 

Me: “All right, listen, Rocky, I understand. There are a lot of things I’d rather be doing this week, too. But the Genovian Youth Soccer National Championship is going to get rescheduled. I promise. In the meantime, if you could just try to get along with the swans, I’ll give you—well, I’ll give you anything you want.”

 

Rocky (considering this): “Really? Anything I want?”

 

Me (realizing I was making a huge mistake but thinking, How bad could it be?): “Sure.”

 

Rocky: “Great. I’d like my own sword, please.”

 

Me (I should have seen this coming): “No. You cannot have a sword.”

 

Rocky: “Then can I have my own flame thrower?”

 

Me:“No. No, you cannot have your own flame thrower. Ask for something reasonable that is not a weapon with which you can hurt swans or people.”

 

Rocky: “Fine. Then can I just play soccer with that new guy who moved in above the pool house? He said he’d play with me if you said it was okay. I promise I won’t touch the ball with my hands. Please?”

 

Me: “….”

 

Rocky: “PLEASE???? You said anything.  I saw him dancing with Grandmere in a video, so it’s not like we’re not friends with him. He’s cool, he likes soccer and video games. He says he’s studying music history at the best college in the USA, University of Florida, so that he can be a DJ one day.”

 

Me (….): “Fine. Yes, you can play soccer with him if you don’t touch the ball. Or him. Stay six feet away from him at all times.”

 

Rocky: “THANKS! I will!”

 

I wish I could go back to the days when playing soccer with someone was all it took to make me happy. Actually, those days never existed for me.

 

Suddenly the music shifted, and Derek began to play Take Me to the River by the Talking Heads.

 

“See?” Michael said, tapping his fingers along the stone balustrade. “Isn’t this nice? Aren’t you glad you gave it a chance?”

 

“Okay.” I had to admit Derek had taste. “But if this goes on past Rocky’s bedtime, I’m shutting it down.”

 

Sometimes being the princess of Genovia isn’t so bad after all.

****

Come back soon for another entry of The Corona Princess Diaries

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