For most of my life, the Barnes & Noble Upper West Side on 82nd & Broadway has been a special place. My mom used to take me there and we would search through books for hours. She probably mostly just needed a break from me, but it was definitely a win-win situation.
It’s also where, when TRL was at the height of its popularity, Emily and I saw Carson Daly, and because she did not grow up with cable, didn’t realize he wasn’t someone we really needed to say hi too. But we did, and the result was one of the most awkward conversations we’ve ever had. (Spoiler alert: he doesn’t read bath books, but he did read the Hardy Boys. No, it doesn’t make more sense if you were there in person.)
ANYWAY, that Barnes and Noble was also where I found Martha Beck’s book in 2011 and decided I could trust her because I loved her writing. Clear, and funny, it was like talking to a friend who knew what she was doing. It was also the spark that led me down the (super responsible) path of quitting my job with no back-up plan and starting to work for myself. Seven years later, here we are.
Writing a book was a fairly serendipitous process. About a week before turning 34, I had a panic attack about not doing anything with my life, and decided the only thing that would prove otherwise was writing a book. Two days later, I had a deal with a publisher. I started writing a book on July 5th, and 18 months later, that book is in Barnes and Noble. (#whatisthislife)
My only goal with this book was to write something that was fun. Like talking to a older, sassy Southern woman with perfectly coiffed hair and red nails and lips, who would draw on a cigarette, hand you a lemonade, and remind you that the fun in life is the stories. The interesting parts are actually the parts that that didn’t go great, or turn out how you expected, and you can now laugh about them with your friends. The same parts you can also now use as leverage for what’s next - the next adventure or the next spectacular failure. My thinking was that if the book was at least somewhat entertaining, it might hold someone's attention long enough for them to get something out of it.
All that is to say: Today, "Just Tell Me What I Want" is available at the Barnes and Noble on 82nd & Broadway - an institution of my childhood and a nod to my 33 year-old self that at least we have something to put on the tombstone.
Also, a reminder that connecting with people is what gets us through the day. That applies double when you do super irresponsible things, like quit your job or write a book. So, consider this a PSA to connect with your friends, connect with the people who support you, and do stupid things so you, too, can write a book.
Thank you so much for everyone who made this possible, especially Angela, Maggie, David L. Hancock (thank you for the amazing VM this morning), and Morgan James Publishing. Thank you for all your hard work, your brilliant insight, your time, and for letting me put flamingoes on the cover of my book.
Thank you to everyone who wrote reviews, who celebrated with me, who made the book better, and who was excited for me when I downplayed this whole process. I am very grateful for all of you.
Now, go hug your friends and do something brave so I can read your book in 18 months.