May 31, 2012

Ode

Almost three years ago, I said something weirdly prophetic to Charles.  

You know, I said. If I had my own computer, I'd write a book.

I think I meant it. Almost. Really. I had grand plans, but with no computer of my own, forced to bum Charles's rundown laptop whenever I wanted to do anything computer-oriented, I was dead in the water. 

A few months later, on Christmas, I opened a box which contained a small, pink netbook. I squealed. A computer! And it's piiiiiink!!!

Really. I did.

I told everyone I spoke to that day about my new, pink computer. It was my first ever computer of my very own. I loved it. 

When Charles told me he paid extra for the pink, I fussed at him. He said, All day long, you've squealed about your PINK computer. That's why I paid extra. 

Besides, he continued. All the pink ones include a donation to breast cancer research.

My eyes teared when he said that. That fall my mother had undergone a double-mastectomy, and I'd been with her through her recovery from breast cancer.  That...meant a lot.

To say the least.

Still. I didn't expect to become an actual, real writer.

I started slowly, blogging for Charles and then starting my own with a friend. I loved it, all of it, and then one day I realized I loved writing books, too.

My little pink netbook has seen me through a lot. Happy posts, sad posts, silly posts. Scary scenes, loving scenes, ridiculous scenes that get cut the next day. It's covered in stickers (although Snow White recently fell off, victim to a curious cat). Zoe has typed emails and "stories" on it.

And I've written almost three books on that little pink netbook.  

Sounds silly, but it's almost become a part of me. 

***********

But time passes, and it's showing its age. The battery doesn't last as long. The processor has slowed immensely. It freezes, then sometimes shuts down on its own.

Charles has seen me struggle with my little pink netbook that I love so much. He's teased me, since he got a MacBook two years ago and has never looked back to PC Land.

Today I came home to find a shiny new MacBook Air on our dining room table. If you've seen one, you know - these things are works of art. It's gorgeous. It's fast. It boots in seconds.

You've been busting your ass, he said today.  You deserve this.

Thank you, I said, and I meant it. Wholeheartedly.

So far I've just browsed the internets on my new little MacBook. I am writing this post on it. Once I'm done, I'll boot up my little pink netbook and email myself some files, to get them moved over here. 

Then tomorrow I'll dig through work emails to remember how I purchased Word for the little pink netbook (we get a discount through our company). I'll load Word. I'll pull over more files.

Tomorrow I'll get back to work on my latest book.

Tomorrow I'll start to make new memories on my new little MacBook. Maybe I'll put a sticker on it. Maybe I'll splurge and buy it a pretty case. 

But tonight, I can't help but stare a little lovingly at the little pink netbook.

I can't help it. We've been through a lot together.

May 29, 2012

In which I become "Zombie Girl"

It started about a month ago, back when I started talking more about my upcoming book, How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse.

Suddenly, people started sending me...zombie stuff!!

Well, maybe not stuff, per se, but links, photos and various stories about all things zombie.

At first, I wasn't sure what to do with it all. I mean, I write zombies. I'm not an actual zombie.

Then my husband bought me a new action figure. It was a Walking Dead Rick Grimes Blood Spattered Variant. (I kid you not. I can't make this up.) And then he ordered a zombie bobble head for me. Both now live in my cubicle at the office.

I wondered, at first. Will people think I'm weird? Being Zombie Girl isn't normal, right?

And then I realized I didn't care. I love it. Zombies give me the creeps. They give me nightmares. They also give me a way to explore some of the darker corners of humanity...the tendency to lose moral grounding, to kill, to give up those things we all hold dear.

It's a great nightmare to explore, no?


So now, let me say, with much enthusiasm and affection: I AM ZOMBIE GIRL.

Hear me...growl?

Here's a quick roundup of things that I'm following today that are zombie-related, just for your reading pleasure:

  • If anyone is NOT following this story about one man eating another man's face, they're crazy. Is this a sign of the impending Zombie Apocalypse? Will I sleep with my baseball bat close to my bed tonight? Maybe, and YES.
  • There was a Zombie Walk! In Brooklyn! If anything's gonna get me to abandon my newly placed Southern roots, this will! I so want to see what I'd look like as a zombie!
  • And finally...a scholar debates the implications of a zombie apocalypse on taxes. Since nothing in life is certain but death and taxes...when you throw one on its heel, how will the other have to change? It's a great question!

Thanks to all who've sent me links and photos so far. Keep 'em coming - I'm having a great time with them all!

May 27, 2012

A date night not wasted

Last night was date night.  My mom took Zoe for a few hours, and Charles and I had a gift card to Cinebarre burning a hole in my pocket.

Dinner and a movie? In one fell swoop? Sure!

The next question was...what to see? What to see? The Hunger Games was playing at distinctly inopportune times; Chernobyl Diaries was getting panned. We narrowed it down to two choices: Men in Black III, or Dark Shadows.

Much as I love Will Smith and Josh Brolin, I had to go with the Amazing Duo: Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. They rarely steer me wrong.

Oh, man, was I wrong this time! Seriously. We went into the theater hoping to love the movie; we left before it ended, but after both Charles and I dozed off for a little while.

Seriously. 

It was flat. I didn't find it funny. Burton relied too heavily on wide-eyed actresses delivering one-dimensional lines. 

I thought it may be that I never saw the original TV show; Charles thought it was just un-good, all around.

So was it a total waste of a perfectly good date night?

***********

The cool thing about Cinebarre is that, well, it's also a bar. Like, with drinks and food and pinball and pool tables.  We got there early. I got a glass of wine; Charles got a beer. We decided to play a game of pool...badly.

After our first game, we played against a couple of students from the nearby Naval school. They were young (early 20s) and very kind. They were both learning to be nuclear mechanics, which blows my mind completely. I learned women still cannot be stationed on submarines, which was interesting.

We had a great time playing pool with these kids.

They reminded me of...

A long time ago, I lived with my then-boyfriend, who was in the Air Force. He hadn't invited me to leave school for a year to live with him in Biloxi, Mississippi, but I did it anyway. I was a burden to him, but I was too young to realize that wasn't normal.

I made some good friends that year.

There were three Air Force cops in particular. They were kind of like my brothers, after a while. We took care of each other. When none of them could leave for Christmas that year, I made them all a turkey dinner before I, myself, headed home to New Jersey. 

There was Jon. He was the male version of me, which was weird, but awesome. If I liked something, so did he. He drove an electric blue Corvette, and he let me drive it sometimes, too. We took that Corvette from Biloxi to New Orleans on Mardi Gras that year, but traffic was so bad we never made it off the main highway. 

Then there was John. Not at all confusing, right? He was from Bakersfield, California, and he talked like it, too. Red hair, freckles, he was the real gentleman in the group. He opened every door, was soft-spoken and calm. You felt safe around John.

And last came Simon. The firecracker. The temper. The utter hilarity. He was a Texan, and he loved animals so much he eventually joined the K9 troops. I've rarely in my life had anyone make me laugh the way Simon could. He just had that way about him.

This was a pre-9/11 world. No one was actually worried about their security. They were likely going to spend their military careers stateside, guarding bases, keeping kids in line.

Since then, all three have gone overseas...multiple times. We lost touch long ago, but last I heard all three were still alive. I can't tell you how much I hope that's still true.

***************

Now that I think about it, it seems right to remember them right now, considering it's Memorial Day weekend. They are faces, to me, for the faceless "military" entity. When I think about soldiers, I think about those boys. And I wish them, and all soldiers, the best, always and every day. 

So if it took a game of pool before a really bad movie to make me remember my friends this Memorial Day weekend, well, then that's a date night well spent. Don't you think?


May 24, 2012

Chuck Wendig's Blackbirds

I was finally dozing off last night. 

Sometimes I have a hard time falling asleep after I've finished a good book. I rehash plot points and characters in my head, feeling like it's too soon to let them go quite yet. I think about parts I liked, parts I didn't, and generally just brood.

Last night was one such night. 

But I was finally dozing off, when suddenly a phrase popped into my head. And I started to giggle. And then I was wide awake again.

The phrase? "Carpet noodle." 

Admit it. You're giggling.

Blackbirds
Chuck Wendig
Angry Robot Books
384 pages
Those are the terribly muffled, seriously nonsensical last words of one of the bad guys in Chuck Wendig's novel, Blackbirds. That was the book I'd just finished, and those were the words that kept me awake, giggling.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say: I bought this book fully expecting, and intending, to love it. I follow Chuck on the Twitters and think he's a cool guy with lots of helpful info for writers on his blog, Terrible Minds.  I read his novel Double Dead, and found it a fun, classic horror tale of zombies and a bad-ass vampire.  

And the concept of Blackbirds was pretty fun and fresh: an urban fantasy in which the main character, Miriam Black, can do one special thing: if she touches you, she will see how you die. It sounded engaging.

So let me tell you. It is engaging, but it did take me a little while to really get into it. I'm always a little nervous to read a male writer narrating through the eyes of a woman (call me a hypocrite if you must: one of my own narrators is definitely a dude).  I always worry: Will he get our tone right? Our voice? Because, you know, we women? We're clearly all the same, all like me.  (Busted! Yes, I have my own stereotypes!)

Wendig's Miriam Black is crude. She is crass. She is definitely tougher than I could ever hope to be, and for that, I had a hard time believing in her...at first. But as the book and story progressed, the facade of her hard shell began to fade, and by the end Wendig had done a fabulous job of showing us a woman who was every bit as well-rounded as any girl could hope to be. Miriam has feelings; she has a past that's hard to escape; she falls in love. And, most importantly, she rages against the powers of fate, and soon learns that she can change the future...but only at a brutal, violent cost.

Blackirds also happened to have one of my favorite horrifying images of the past few years: a hairless man,walking away from the scene of a crime, holding another man's severed foot in a large Ziplock baggie.  I can hear the squish and the squelch even now.

Blackbirds is the start of a trilogy. Miriam Black has a lot more to say and to do, and I, for one, can't wait to find out what's next for our sudden heroine.

And believe me...if you pick up Blackbirds, you won't be able to wait, too!

May 21, 2012

My first attempt at writerly advice

Last night I sat at my computer, like normal. I hacked away at the keyboard, fighting with getting some wording just right in the chapter on which I worked. I was a little tired, maybe a little frustrated.

I hit the Save button, and thought about shutting down for the night.

It would have been a rough end to the day.

Instead, I started browsing some of my files. 

Know what I found?

  • Two novels written, one heavily edited, one in rough form. 
  • One novel in progress, possibly to be completed in rough form by the end of June.
  • Numerous short stories.
  • Several versions of a query letter, synopsis, author bio, etc.
  • Almost a hundred blog posts, some on writing, some on life, but all written.
  • Dozens of rejection letters, but one very important acceptance letter.
  • Lots of correspondences with fellow-writers, people from whom I've gained more knowledge than I ever knew I needed but now value above much else.
  • A handful of new friends.

Not a bad haul, considering I only started writing in earnest less than two years ago.

So, I decided to share my one piece of writerly advice. It's a good piece. It came to me by way of a great teacher.

If you want to be a writer, write. 

I get fatigued by the phrase "aspiring writer."  

If you're a writer, you write. 

Do you write? You're a writer.  Dammit.  Just do it.

Because the only way to be a writer is to write.

Do it.

May 18, 2012

On equality and the "easy" setting

John Scalzi, author of sci-fi books and beloved to his fans, wrote a piece on his blog recently called Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is. In it, he used a video game metaphor to describe life in the western world for a straight, white male: it's the easiest setting there is.  Being a straight, white male comes with certain benefits unheard of to those of a minority race, or gender, or sexual orientation.

And the internets went wild.  He shut off comments on the piece once they reached 800, and he policed those comments for useless, nasty vitriol.  He didn't delete someone for disagreeing with him; rather, he deleted the jerks.

I'm sure this piece has been linked to hundreds of times already, but reading it, and his follow-up here, made me want to throw my opinion out there as well.

So...I pretty much agree with Scalzi. In so many ways in this Western world, what you are can define how you are perceived, and thus the way you are treated.

Look, I'm a straight, white female. On the hierarchy of ease, I'd say that puts me in something like second or third place for the easy life. But even so, I've faced my share of doors...not necessarily closing, but certainly being harder to open. I work in technology. I used to take support calls where IT guys would ignore whatever I'd tell them, only to respond well to the exact same advice given to them when I put a male member of my team on the phone.

I'm also a chick who writes sci-fi/horror, and don't think I haven't realized my journey to publication might be a bit easier if I'd written as Liam instead of Leah. I get that. Chicks write YA romances and, well, chick lit. Not sci-fi/horror. (Unless you're Ursula Le Guin...and she has the benefit of the Coolest Name Ever on her side.) And there's nothing wrong with YA romance or chick lit. I have many friends who've gone that route. For me, though? It's just not where I feel comfortable.

Now, I get it. These are choices I've made, and they're also not exactly life or death, right? I have a job; I can write whatever the hell I want.

But again, like I said, I'm second or third in that hierarchy. I have it pretty easy.

There are people in the world who don't get to choose. There are people who have dark skin in a world which rewards light skin. There are people who love someone of the same gender as themselves, and they can't change that because that's who they are. Not what they chose. I firmly believe that.

So they immediately have a little bit of a harder life than I do. They face judgments I will never receive.  They face discrimination I will never see.

I guess what I'm trying to say is...Scalzi is right. If you disagree, that's your prerogative.

It doesn't change the fact that he's right.

May 15, 2012

On characters, voices, and maybe even acting

A curious thing happened last night.

I sat down to write upstairs. 

That, in and of itself, is not curious. Often if Charles is watching something that I find distracting but don't care to watch, I'll head upstairs to work while he stays downstairs. Sometimes the quiet of upstairs (even despite the constant meowing of Fluffy Cat Owen) helps me to focus more on the task at hand.

Last night, I got into my jammies (I have a four-year-old - they are jammies.), took out my contacts, piled my messy hair up on top of my head in a silly ponytail, and threw on my glasses. I balanced my computer atop an owl-pillow on my bed, and I began to work on a chapter narrated by Lola. 

It's easy for me to write in the voice of Jenna, my first narrator who started out as a younger-me, and Sam, the college boy who reminds me of all my old friends.  But Lola? She's...tricky. Difficult. She's a mess, battered both literally and figuratively. A Southern belle gone terribly awry. Full of self-loathing, embarrassment, anger, and confusion.

I often work harder on Lola's chapters than on any others, and still, I never feel like I get her voice completely right.

But last night was different. Better.

I don't know if it was the quiet, the solitude, of working in my bedroom with the distant strains of George Winston flowing out from Zoe's room.  I don't know if I was more alert than usual, or more sleepy. Maybe it was the ponytail and the glasses.

I don't know.

But I do know that suddenly Lola's voice came easily. I didn't just see her side of things; I was in her side of things. Thinking in her terms, understanding her better than I ever have before.

I felt like I imagine a method actor feels when totally immersed in their craft.

The writing flowed, and in an hour I'd finished the chapter with which I'd wrestled the night before, which I expected to take three more days at least.  2200 words and an hour's worth of work, and it was done.

And it was good.

I mean, I'll still go back and tweak, edit. I'm still a better editor than I am a writer. But I don't think this chapter will require the extensive rewriting I'm used to for Lola's chapters.

So I'm pretty excited. I finally found her voice. I finally, truly found Lola.

What's great about this is I'll be diving back into Book 1 with my editor in the next few weeks. And now? Now I can make Lola's scenes even cooler than before.

May 12, 2012

Catching up

I started this post at 6:30 this morning. Had I finished it then, it would have looked entirely different from how it will look now that I'm re-starting at 10:07 p.m.  But it's been a long day and I literally haven't been near a computer since I popped this one closed to the sound of thumping footsteps on my stairs this morning.

So this post now? Probably one long digression after another. 

I'm ok with that. Any post on a Saturday night isn't likely to generate many hits to my blog. That's cool. I don't really write to get more hits, nor tweet to get more followers. I just...write. And if you like me, great, hi, stick around. If not, no worries. I don't mind.

But I digress.

Anyway, here are some updates from the week, in no particular order:

Update #1: After the sadness and anger of Tuesday (NC Amendment 1 passing with flying colors), I never came back and tried to encapsulate the happiness of Wednesday (President Obama coming out of the closet in support of gay marriage). It's probably because Andrew Sullivan, my all-time favorite conservative, said it all better than I ever could in his piece called Letting Go Of Fear.  The vitriol all over the internet (Obama only said it because he was pressured by Biden....too little, too late...this doesn't translate into anything tangible) was so well-balanced, in my mind, by Andrew's poignancy, his presence, his grace...I didn't feel like I had anything helpful to add to the conversation. But please know...what he said, I believe.

Update #2: I did my first ever author interview this week! My friend Andrea writes for a site called Geekcentricity, and she thought it would be fun to do an interview together. I love what she wrote about me, and us, and I hope you love it, too. 

Update #3: I'm chugging along with the sequel to Zombie Apocalypse, and am about 46,000 words in. I'd wager I have about 50,000 more to go, so I'm nearing the halfway point. I think. We'll see how it progresses. But it's progress - when I picked it back up in late April, I was only about 30,000 words in, and about 10,000 of that had to be rewritten almost entirely. So...progress. 

Update #4: Today was Zoe's fourth birthday, and I am literally overwhelmed by the love and friendship shown to her today. We held a party for her at our local chapter of The Little Gym, and it was fabulous. The children played, the grown-ups sat and chatted (except my dad, who read a book on his phone), and I think everyone had a good time. But it's always funny, the night of Zoe's birthday. I know it's cliche, but it's near impossible not to sit here and remember this night, four years ago. I was in the hospital, recovering from a c-section. She was a tiny, wiggly, squirmy thing who already liked to yell. That first night was so scary, so intimidating. I had no idea what I was doing, trying to keep this little baby alive. But...success! Four years' worth, anyway.  Charles and I are incredibly lucky, and Zoe's a pretty incredible girl. This morning, while listening to Nirvana and wearing a bright pink superhero cape, she played with an equally pink ferris wheel toy and a talking Captain America. She's...unique. And I love her.

Update #5: And finally, after the drama of a birthday, Charles and I collapsed on the couch and caught the tail-end of the final-final Harry Potter movie. It's hard, as a writer, not to feel puny when faced with the Potter world. I mean, I hadn't thought of Harry Potter in ages (ooh - a digression - that's a lie! I thought of Harry Potter yesterday when I saw a 7-year-old girl reading Deathly Hallows. Incredible! So young, reading such a heavy (in so many ways) book!) (Oh, man, I just did a parenthesis inside a parenthesis...that means it's time to wrap things up!!).  But within minutes, I had a lump in my throat and I watched in transfixed silence while the final battle scenes rolled on. How can I ever expect write something that...engaging? But the good news is that I know writing's a skill like any other, and the more I do it, the more able I'll be to capture my own epic battle scenes in my own crazy worlds. So...maybe there's hope yet.

I'll end there. With hope. I think we can all, always, use a little more hope.

May 8, 2012

You gotta fight for your right to let the wild rumpus start!

It's been a sad few days.

First, we lost Adam Yauch, aka MCA of the Beastie Boys. Those of us who grew up in the 80s and 90s heaved a collective sigh, and shook our fists towards the sky in a silent "F-you" to the cancer which killed him.

Then, we lost Maurice Sendak, the beloved author and illustrator of (among others) one of my favorite children's stories, Where the Wild Things Are. Those of us who grew up at any point since its publication in the 60s heaved a collective sigh, and shook our fists towards the sky at the loss of a literary icon.

They were so different, these two.  

One was famous for raunchy, biting rhymes that opened up the hip-hop world to suburban white kids like me. He helped dirty up the music world and Suburbia.

The other? He's famous for his creepy, ugly beasts who terrified but ultimately became beloved to generations of children.  He dirtied up the world of children's literature.

Both of them did these things in magnificent, flamboyant ways. 

Ok, maybe they're not so different then?

Both were Jewish boys from New York. Both broke boundaries in their collective fields.

Both were activists, in their own ways.

Both used words to change the world, reshape it in a slightly better image.

And both died within the last seven days.

And the world will mourn.

It seems almost blasphemous, then, that while we're mourning, a state within our country is voting to change the world for the worse. North Carolina, my neighbor to the north, home to a lot of people I love, is most likely voting to restrict civil rights. They're going a step beyond defining marriage as between a man and a woman; they're actually removing rights for same-sex couples.

It's heartbreaking, to me. 

It's infuriating, to me.

And I have to think, it would be to them. Sendak was gay, a fact he had to hide through much of his life. Yauch was an outspoken activist, fighting for civil rights around the world.

Can we not honor these men by supporting one another? By voting FOR rights, instead of against them?

Maybe not today, but I'll continue to fight. We all need to fight for our rights. 

So now? Please? Let the wild rumpus start!

May 3, 2012

Zoe's Secret Garden

Zoe turns four next weekend.

Seriously. Four! I, like most moms I'm sure, am struggling with that. I mean, she was a baby, not so long ago! Completely dependent on me for EVERYTHING. 

And now she's a kid! A messy, crazy, hilarious, intelligent, mischievous, semi-independent kid!

It's sad sometimes - I did love when she was a baby.

But then...in some ways...it's so amazing.  

My favorite thing right now is that her attention span has improved dramatically in the last six months or so. Where a full Dr. Seuss book used to have her climbing the walls, suddenly she's willing to sit for almost anything that I read.

So we've left baby books behind, and last week we started one of my all-time favorite children's books.  The Secret Garden. If I go upstairs right now, I know I'll find my original paperback edition, purchased with my own money from Walden Books when I was a kid. It's tattered, dog-eared, and I love it.

Zoe's version is one I think my mother bought for her when she was a baby. It's a hard-cover, with illustrations scattered throughout.  

When Zoe picked it out of her closet last week, I told her it was one of my favorites. I think that added to her willingness to listen, in the beginning anyway.

Of course, I glossed over some parts. Mary Lennox, the protagonist, "loses" her parents - they don't die. I'm so not willing to have that conversation right now. 

But she's already entranced by the idea of a garden, locked away with no key. She's enthralled by the descriptions of a robin redbreast, and a boy named Dickon, and a house with a hundred rooms, all locked up.

It sort of proves: some books are just amazing. Doesn't matter how much time passes, how the world changes. Some books have the power to make the rest of the world disappear, to transport you, to transcend.

I miss my baby sometimes, but the girl who stands in her place is pretty amazing. I look forward to the wide-open world of literature that awaits us.  Soon, in this book, she'll meet Colin, and Archibald Craven, and the round, rosy Susan Sowerby. After that? Who knows! Peter Pan? The Wind in the Willows? The Cricket in Times Square and Anne of Green Gables?

I will read to Zoe every day, every night, if it means I get to relive all my old favorites through her eyes.

And I will love every minute of it.

May 1, 2012

Some thoughts on Girls and girls

There's been a ton of internet chatter about the new HBO show, Girls. Lots of positives, lots of negatives. I think my favorite quote overall came from Frank Bruni at the New York Times. "Gloria Steinem went to the barricades for this?"

This refers to the dismal sex scenes peppered throughout the first few episodes of the show, in which the main character is frequently humiliated by her "boyfriend" while in bed.  (Boyfriend's in quotes because I doubt anyone would really consider them a couple, even on the show's effed up relationship scale.)

To this I say...meh! I'd say it could be argued that Gloria Steinem went to the barricades for a woman's right to have whatever kind of sex she wants, be it enlightened or degrading. 

I don't really care about the sexual politics of the show. I say, to each his/her own, so long as nobody gets hurt.

What I care more about, with a new show, is: does something about it ring true? And does it make me want to watch more?

After the first episode, which made me giggle, I'd have said, "Sure!"

After the second, though, it would've been a no. I felt like their handling of abortion issues was sub-par, almost immature...and while that may have been the point, I, personally, found it off-putting.

But last night Charles queued it up on the DVR (God, I love that thing!), and even though I was trying to focus on writing, I kept looking up. I kept smiling. I even, gasp, kept laughing.

In the last scene, two of the main girls danced with reckless abandon to some cheesy club music piped through the tinny speakers of a battered laptop. They'd both had rough days; a dance which started close to tears ended up in laughter.

Charles turned to me as he flipped off the TV.  "Do girls really do that?"

I smiled, then realized that yes, yes, we do. And that's why I enjoyed the third episode so much. Because the girls? They were just being girls.

Because in my last year of high school, one of my best girlfriends lived with my parents and me.  Our bedrooms were connected by a wall-less, door-less closet.  One night I lay in bed, boo-hooing over a teenage heartbreak. She had a boyfriend over, and even though they were otherwise occupied at the time, they stopped everything and came crashing through the closet.  The girl jumped on my bed and started bouncing, poking, laughing, anything to get me to smile. The guy just stood and scratched his head at our antics.  And soon we were all in hysterics.

Because in college, my roommates and I could tell each others' moods based on the music blasting through our stereos. Sarah MacLachlan meant we were feeling a little down. Ani DiFranco meant we were super-pissed. Indigo Girls or Dave Matthews generally meant we were ok. But you can be damn sure that if one of us came home and another was listening to some Sarah or some Ani, it was soon switched off by the other one. Giggling, laughing and antics would ensue, and soon we'd both be in hysterics.

Because even now, if I'm having a rough day, a few girls can be counted on to help me out, to make me smile. 

And if Girls can be reliably counted on to portray the sweet side of friendships as often as they portray the ugly side of them, I can be reliably counted on to tune in.