The Second Thing


Well . . .

Well, it’s been quite awhile since I sat down and wrote a good solid blog post. What was the hold-up, you might ask?

Here is the short version: I turned in the latest revision of Book 2, then fell into a sleep resembling something out of a fairy tale only my hair didn’t look as good and I was wearing mismatched socks. After a week or so, I woke back up, made the bed, did the laundry, and now things are starting to return to normal.

There’s still work to do, of course. Next will be line-edits and copyedits, and hopefully a cover reveal pretty soon here, but things are definitely moving along. Also, I put this on the calendar weeks ago and then when it actually rolled around, I completely spaced it—but The Replacement came out in the UK yesterday! It has a British book-birthday! I’d somehow gotten used to the idea that it would be released there in the future and then failed to grasp that the future is now the present. This is an example of how I am very bad with time.

Here is another: literally months ago, I said I was going to talk about how I stopped being completely passive—specifically these three defining things that happened in close succession. I’m going to talk about the second thing now, but since it turns out that the posts themselves are not remotely in close succession, you have to imagine these events taking place within days of each other.

The second thing that happened did not happen to me. (Not that Dweezil getting yelled at happened to me—it just happened near me. But, you know.)

First though, to set the stage for my next mini-revelation, we have to go back in time.

A few weeks before the second thing, the Hobgoblin pulled me out of the lunch line one day and told me he was worried about me. I assumed that he must be confused, misled by my timid demeanor or my silence or the fact that I was standing in the lunch line alone waiting to buy two slices of terrible pizza—all of which could be construed as very worrying things. I hastened to assure him that I was fine. I was spectacular. I was fan-freaking-tastic. Really.

He regarded me gravely, then told me that I needed to stop hanging out with Irish.

I was immediately gripped by crushing despair. Or, what passes for it in Adolescent-Brenna World. So, moderate perturbation.

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The Curtis Brothers

Being almost-friends with Irish meant inside jokes and laughing all the time and singing harmony to “Yellow Submarine” and getting written up for stupid things like how many times we sharpened our pencils, and feeling like I actually existed. But it also meant spending a fair number of mornings sitting alone next to an empty chair because he was hungover or missed the bus or just didn’t feel like showing up to class.

I missed him on the days he didn’t come, but I wasn’t one to take his absences personally. I considered them to be the result of a kind of social impasse. He was not the kind of boy who felt obligated to attend Geometry on a consistent basis just to see a sometimes-friend, and no matter how many times he invited me to come with him, I was not the kind of girl who ditched class.

I started to notice the times I spent alone, though. It’s a strange phenomenon, but when you are used to being alone, the outside world starts to blur into the background. Alone means no intrusions, no distractions, and the page in front of you is the realest thing.

But when you are sometimes not alone, it gets hard to slip back into the trance you inhabited before, staring at the board while everyone else is giving each other French manicures with Wite-Out and flicking paper footballs. The sense of isolation was still there, but it had stopped being comfortable. It was with great reluctance that I came to a realization: I needed some more almost-friends.

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