Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

Giving my mother something to brag about

Today’s post is mostly intended for my seventh grade English teacher, Mary Krause Fowler, she who first encouraged me to write almost 22 years ago, a teacher I have thought about often when sitting down to tell a story. Today my hardcover book hits shelves:

This book is the culmination of several years worth of work, plus the blood and sweat of a tireless agent, an incredibly forgiving editor, a publicist who is probably right this second sending me changes to my schedule as she drinks her morning coffee, and the most loving, long-suffering husband who somehow managed to tolerate me through the whole damn thing. People ask me all the time if I’m going to write another book, and the truth is I don’t know if my marriage could survive it.

I’m sitting in a hotel room in New York City as I write this, preparing for a busy day that will end with a book signing at 7 PM at the Barnes & Noble on 97 Warren Street (Thursday night I’ll be in Oak Brook, IL at the Borders on 1500 16th Street, Suite D at 7:30 PM). Last night I settled into an unsteady sleep made fretful by an acidic combination of total exhaustion and adrenaline, only to dream that a team of investigative reporters here in New York discovered that this whole Heather B. Armstrong thing, this whole dooce.com online Internet website, it was just an elaborate ruse and alter ego of High School Musical’s Zac Efron.

Somehow they managed to get him to admit on camera that he had made the whole thing up, that instead of a normal hobby like skiing or chess he preferred to spend his free time writing a fake mommy blog. When asked why he did it, why he lied to so many thousands of readers, why go through the trouble of creating a fake husband and a fake child and two fake dogs, he said it was either do this or take up cross-dressing.

And the whole time I’m dreaming this I’m realizing HOLY SHIT! I’M JUST A FIGMENT OF ZAC EFRON’S IMAGINATION.

HOW COOL IS THAT.

A few weeks ago when my publisher sent me several copies of my book in its final incarnation, I opened the box very slowly while Leta sat on a stool at the counter next to me. She was terribly excited because she thought it was a present from Santa Claus, and I assured her it was EVEN BETTER THAN THAT. Because look! It was a book I had written about her! Called It Sucked and then I Cried! HA HA! GET IT? GET IT? YOUR THERAPIST IS GOING TO LOVE ME!

She promptly grabbed a copy out of my hands, flipped to the 16-page photo spread in the middle and began reading the captions I had written underneath each photograph. Running her fingers along each word, she took in each sentence silently. Finally she got to the photo of her first Halloween where we dressed her up as a frog. The caption reads: “First Halloween and Mommy is no longer throwing things at Daddy!” She sat there for a second, blinked a couple of times, and then turned to me and said flatly, “You’re funny, Mom.”

I’ll take that as a thumbs up.

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