Thursday, August 14, 2014

'Three Day Summer' Peace, Love & Music Giveaway!

Tomorrow marks the 45th anniversary of the Woodstock Music Festival! Now, do you want to take a gander as to where my upcoming book, Three Day Summer, takes place? If you said "Woodstock Music Festival," virtual love beads to you, my friend!

IN FACT...take a look at the very first page of Three Day Summer:

Does that date look familiar?!

Although my book won't be out until next year, I couldn't let this momentous anniversary pass by without doing something to mark the groovy occasion. So I present to you: the Three Day Summer Peace, Love, & Music Giveaway!

The Prizes:

Peace: This lovely sterling silver dove necklace, on a 16" chain, represents peace and the iconic emblem of the festival.

Love: Not just love, but summer love, courtesy of the wonderful The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy by Jenny Han published by none other than Three Day Summer publishers Simon & Schuster BFYR. This is the paperback boxed set of all three books.

Music: $25 iTunes Gift Card. For purchasing whatever music makes you feel young, free, and happy (whether that's Hendrix, Creedence, 5 Seconds of Summer...)

How to Enter:

Everyone gets one free entry (because how else would you celebrate the mother of all free concerts?). Other entries can be gained by following me on Twitter, Facebook, or this blog; leaving a comment on this blog telling me which three bands (past or present) you'd most like to see in a live festival; or tweeting out a link to the giveaway from the Rafflecopter form below (2 entries per day for that one).

Check out the form below for all the details! The giveaway runs from today through to Monday, August 18th (the last day of the festival).

Good luck! And, can I just say, I'm pretty excited to see what sort of amazing virtual festivals you come up with.

*U.S. entries only please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

On Depression

I actually wrote this post in March and waffled a lot about whether to post it. In the end, I chose not to. But then now--this week--it seemed like maybe it was time to post it anyway. Robin Williams, I am thinking of you and your family, and wishing things were different...

I've been thinking about Ned Vizzini a lot lately.

I never met him, but we had many things in common. Ned was the same age as me. He grew up in the neighborhood I now live in and I would see his name on workshop posters at my local Barnes & Noble a lot. We had friends in common. We both wrote MG and YA books (though he did it a lot more successfully and prolifically).

Something else we had in common: suffering from clinical depression. I unfortunately have to use the past tense here not because I no longer suffer from depression, but because Ned lost his battle with his in December. He died just a few blocks away from where I live.

Somehow, all the clichés you hear about depression are true. Though, I guess, that tends to be the thing about clichés, doesn't it? That it's like a fog. That it's like drowning. It's not sadness, not really. Everyone experience sadness, grief, bad feelings. But those things usually have a source; they are feelings that can be linked to events. Long-term depression is like churning magma, always there, just waiting to be prodded into roaring life by sometimes the slightest disturbance. It's not terribly logical. It lurks like a thief, in the unexpected corners of your mind, popping up when you're not looking and pilfering away your joy slowly. So that you don't even notice it ebbing away until suddenly you feel completely hollow. By then, sometimes it's too late.

The way J.K. Rowling wrote about it, disguising it as how dementors make you feel, I always thought was entirely accurate. Two of my favorite (and, incidentally, funniest) pieces of writing on it come from the immensely talented Allie Brosh and can be found here and here. There are so many talented people who have written so eloquently about it, actually. I don't think it's much of a coincidence that a lot of writers, and creative people in general, suffer from it. I think the same neurons that nurture imagination and creativity, that have one foot in a made-up world, are the ones that are most inclined to turn on you in this way.

I've never written publicly about my depression before. In fact, I rarely ever talk about it. I can probably count on one hand the number of people who even know, empirically, that I've been diagnosed with it. I can list the reasons I've been so quiet about it, even though it's been a through-line of much of my life: I've been embarrassed and ashamed. I didn't want to be perceived as weak. I didn't want it to define me. It didn't really seem like anybody's business... I can list lots of reasons, actually. And very few to be writing this blog post.

Except, I think of people like Ned and like L'Wren Scott...and now Robin. Also people like David Foster Wallace, Kurt Cobain, Sylvia Plath, John Kennedy Toole, Nick Drake...such a long list of people who have battled and, just one day, were not able to win. Countless more whose names I don't know but who suffered just as much. And I think...maybe it's time we talk about it more. Maybe it's time I talk about it more, as a real illness, not as a weakness or a character defect.

So there it is. Me, coming clean. I know I'm not alone. And if you, reading this, suffer from depression too, I just want you to know that you aren't either.