Big News! More Books! For you! From me!
Unleash the exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I made a road trip detour in Virginia City to see the second most haunted building in Nevada, the Old Washoe Club (although the first most haunted is not presently accessible to visitors, so really I saw the first most haunted & accessible building in Nevada). It was probably the seventh, nah eighth most haunted place I’ve experienced, which was sorta off-brand considering the whole Ghost Town! pitch. Anyway, the real wonder happened on the outskirts of town, with this row of knick-knacky parking spots next to a mine with zero public access. The whole set up made no sense.
And then there was the TARDIS.
I tried to explain the wonder and curiosity of it all to my nine-year-old, but she’s never known the Doctor and really wanted to stop at the barrel of candy shop. Blessedly, the inevitable conversation swirled around this question: “If you could travel in a Tardis, why would you go?”
Why would you elect to take a pic next to the thing without even bothering to open the door? Why does another time or place warrant your attention?
My daughter and I agreed we wouldn’t. Go. We liked the now that we experienced that day, with a bag of candy and miles and miles to chat. But I keep thinking about that Tardis. About the reason WHY we need to get away, especially kids. How sometimes that travel happens in a story, even if it’s just a flash, a blip, a breath. And that’s the Why I’m taking to the page today, as I try to sort through the nonsense and injustice of the world. We need to provide emotional TARDIS for kids, or at the very least trap doors.
On Friday night, over a salmon dinner, I told my dad I’ve been accepted into the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. A tear rolled down Dad’s cheek, which happens a lot because his Bell’s Palsy causes rebellious tear ducts. When more tears came, I realized this was a legit cry, which is weird because I didn’t think he’d consider graduate school a big deal. Three of my siblings have pursued post-secondary degrees (my brother, Brett, has more degrees than I have kids). And I’m going to school for a job that I sorta already have.
Then he said he’s beyond proud that his daughter is furthering her education, and that my Great-Grandma Dotson would be so proud too. Grandma Dotson was the daughter of a second polygamist wife. Her father was decades older than her mother, and the first wife wasn’t too keen on husband sharing, especially with a young bride. As a result, Grandma Dotson had a rough childhood, and eventually left home at the age of 12 to attend a girl’s boarding school in Beaver, UT. She went on to have 9 kids, only 3 of which survived into adulthood. She valued education, especially for women, and told her grandkids to learn and learn and learn. Her son, my grandpa, went on to do a bunch of jobs, largely in education, and married a woman who worked hard for her degree and worked hard in general. Of course, I’d never heard this story (and I’m sure my angel/ghost great grandma is plenty proud already, what with my female Harris cousins at med school or earning teacher of the year or graduating from Columbia). And there, sitting next to me was my mom, a teacher, the daughter of an immigrant garbage man, the first college graduate in her family. Wow. My lady ancestors have bestowed upon me a fierce legacy.
So I squeezed my dad’s hand and we cried happy/sad tears together. I had some catalyst moments these last few months that drove me to enroll after dreaming about this program for 12 flipping years. Even so, it’s been a HARD couple of weeks. My PTSD is maxed, my anxiety off the charts, and my faith in humanity bruised. But when I look back and look forward, I *still* have hope. The greatest responsibility I have as a mother is to hand over a kinder, wider, more-inclusive world to my daughters. My Oma was an orphan in Nazi Germany–she barely survived, forget gaining an education or voice. These last few weeks I’ve seen brave women like Dr. Christine Ford gain their voice. I’m still finding mine. But meanwhile, I’m not looking away or shutting up. I’m going to keep learning. I have stories I need to tell and things I need to say. My Great-Grandma Dotson already got woke when she was 12. Come January ’19, it’s my turn.
Today heralds the release of MOUSE RUSHMORE, Commander in Cheese Super Special #1. Why is it so super special for me to publish a super special (and yes, I’ll answer what the heck a super special is in just a moment)?
When I was in junior high, I was preeeeeetttttyyy obsessed with the Baby-Sitters Club, which led to a rather ironic and viscous cycle.
- Lindsey babysits
- Lindsey uses babysitting money to buy Baby-Sitters Club Books
- Babysitter’s Club gives Lindsey advice on life, love, and of course, babysitting
- Lindsey babysits some more.
I didn’t buy or read all the Baby-Sitters Club books, but the ones I was most excited about were the SUPER SPECIALS. These books were longer and had white covers. The girls usually went on huge trips together, which as a mom sounds like a logistical nightmare, but as a 12-year-old was my dream vacation. Like a cruise! (I’m pretty sure one of the girls finds a cruise boyfriend, also a childhood day dream of mine. Also: all-you-can eat lobster).
And now, here I am, 25 years later, with my own Super Special Book! Dreams do come true, kids. In Mount Rushmore, the Squeakerton mice take a break from the White House (hallelujah!) and jet off to Mount Rushmore to solve their first mystery. There’s a mouse roller coaster, an ice cream shop, mysterious gold and adventure (but no cruise ship. Ann M. Martin already wrote that book). There’s also more fun facts and cool tidbits in the back of the book, including art tips from AG Ford.
I’m also doing a giveaway until Friday over on my instagram–you can win the entire COMMANDER IN CHEESE series along with some other fun goodies.
I really love writing this series, mostly because I really love meeting with readers of this series. It’s an extraordinary experience to write the first book a child reads, or write the gateway that gets a reader into history books. Happy Reading!