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Please welcome Katherine Center to the book club. Katherine is the author of six bittersweet comic novels--including her newest, How to Walk Away and The Lost Husband that was recently optioned for a movie. Katherine holds degrees from Vassar College and the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program, and she lives in Texas with her husband and two sweet children.
Katherine loves to hear from readers. You can reach her at: Katherine@katherinecenter.com
When you say hello, she will also enter you in her giveaway. She had three copies of How to Walk Away for book club readers.
When my daughter was in the second grade, she had a bad day. I think a kid pushed her down in gym class, though the details of what happened, exactly, have faded for me. What I do remember is that my husband, who was a teacher at the same school, heard about it through the teacher grapevine, and sent an email to warn me before carpool.
"Rough day for our little critter," he wrote. "Maybe bring a treat to carpool?"
So I did. I brought her a mini-cupcake with pink icing and sprinkles. "There are mean kids in the world," I intended to say to her when I picked up my weeping child in the carpool line, "but there are also cupcakes."
But I never got a chance to say that. When I got to carpool, she wasn't weeping. She came skipping out of her classroom, cheery as ever.
Driving home, I asked her about it. I said, "I heard from Dad that you had a bad day."
Her mouth was full of cupcake. She frowned for a second like she'd forgotten. Then she remembered and nodded. "Oh. Yeah."
"Are you okay?" I asked.
She nodded again.
"You seem fine about it," I said, marveling.
One last nod, and then she finished off the cupcake.
"It's great that you're fine," I said. It was almost time to drop the subject. If she was okay now, I didn't want to make her un-okay. I decided to give her one more shot to talk about it if she needed to, and then let it go. "I just think if I'd had a day like that," I said, "I might be upset."
That's when she took a deep, wise, older-than- her-years breath, met my eyes in the rearview mirror and spoke words that I will never forget. She said, "Life is going to knock you down over and over. And the best thing you can do is learn to get back up."
Out of the mouths of babes.
I wound up stealing that entire quote and putting it in the novel I was writing at the time. And then I realized it was the theme of the novel. And then I realized it might even possibly be the theme of my entire life.
Because that really is what I write about--and what I've been writing about all along: How we get back up. How we put ourselves back together. How we struggle, and cope, and find ways to savor the joys in life, even despite all the hardship. How we crack jokes, even when our hearts are breaking. How the bad things make the good things that much more important.
Because there are mean people, yes, always.
But there really are also cupcakes.
Win a copy of "How to Walk Away." Email Katherine to be entered in the drawing: Katherine@katherinecenter.com
Thanks for reading with me. It's so good to read with friends.
KIDS BUZZ: How do these blocks stack up? Gentle math concepts go down easy in CRASH! BOOM!: A MATH TALE, a fun and accessible story about math concepts as well as the ups and downs of creating something new and celebrating the joy and pride of success. For kids ages 2-5 by bestselling and award-winning Robie H. Harris. For a chance to win a free copy and learn more, see KIDSBUZZ.
* ICE, by Anna Kavan, is this month's Penguin Classics book. Enjoy a great Classics book and enter-to-win a Penguin tote bag. Click here to start reading.