the other writer in the family

November 18th, 2011

There are lots of fucked-up things about living in New York City.

Aside from the exorbitant costs and the weather (tho, hello, November, you’ve been soo pretty) and the 1 percent  and the double joy of the rising subway fares and cut service and the sudden ubiquitousness of the artisanal hotdog, and the snooty people, there is the bass-akward way things go if you ever want to move. You cannot simultaneously sell and buy a new place like you can apparently elsewhere in the country. You sell, which is its own brand of headache (meet your building’s board). Then you pray. Or move into a rental. And try to buy.  And pray some more. Which is what we are doing. Which is why I’ve been, as one friend puts it, the Mayor of Crazy Town.

It was traumatic for all. My daughter Willa has written a book about it. I’m the redhead. She’s the brunette. We are both crying. The book is nonfiction.



But, there is a sliver of redemption at the end of this story. And this too is true. A week after the first move, we’re in a large one-room studio, all four of us, and it’s okay. I’m sleeping through the night for the first time in months (for this, I would like to bless the white-noise app on the iPad. I LOVE you, gentle rain sounds). I’m closing in on a first draft of my novel and hope to have it done by the end of the month, almost like a NaNoWriMo draft. Willa nailed her book in one go. Here’s how it ends.







  1. Ha ha ha! I’m so with your daughter on that. My new motto regarding moving is: “Move often or move never,” with us coming down firmly on the “Never again” side. Night. Mare. We still have boxes everywhere, from moving in May! I *just* brought some much needed order to my writing room this week, and my brain has a tiny calm area in it now that just want to look at the one neat corner :-)

  2. Willa you are so sweet and smart. I love your stories and the pictures and especially how good you are to your Mommy. You are a special granddaughter. Give Mommy, Daddy and Denbele a big kiss from me!

    Love, Hugs and lots of XXXXXXXX’s


  3. Sarah Helms
    1 December 2011

    Hey Gayle(: I am a junior in high school. In my Honors English III class, I have been assigned a research paper on any American literature. You can probably guess who I chose as my author(: You, of course! It was an easy choice. I had been carrying around a copy of If I Stay for the past couple of weeks before the paper was assigned. The first paper I was assigned to write was required to be all about the author (that means you!). I am having a really great time learning more about you. I have been reading your blogs, your biography, the Author Q & A and doing all sorts of research. You are more popular than you think you are(: I love your writing style. I love books in general but something special in your book called my name. My authors paper is due tomorrow morning. I can send you the final copy of my paper if you would like. You can tell me what you thought of it. I cited everything. Absolutely no plagiarism. Thank you, Gayle, for your beautifully crafted works of intelligence and the ability to have a positive effect on people’s lives, especially mine(:

    Love, Sarah(:

  4. Gayle, enjoyed your talk on Friday 12/2/11 for the Pittsburgh Arts & Lecture series. Hope you enjoyed your visit to the Burgh, lots of energetic readers and writers in our town! Posted a write-up for those who missed you on our blog,

  5. How did I miss this? This is my favorite book!

  6. Also, she spelled “all right” all right! Doubly impressed!

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