Tomorrow night is the eve of Rosh Hashanah, and we'll turn the calendar away from that pretty darn good year 5773 over to the very promising year of 5774 (clearly an Olympic year, because it ends in a 4).
Coincidentally, Thursday, the first full day of 5774, is my mother's birthday, and she'll turn the calendar from the year of being 101 to the unexpected year of being 102.
Everyone I know thinks that is very old. I think so too.
I like making Rosh Hashanah resolutions, so yesterday while I was stuck in the plane, which was being forbidden to land at Newark Airport (you want to know how stuck we were? We had to land in Harrisburg, PA, because we were running out of fuel from circling around), I tried making a few. The problem was I made excellent resolutions, but they were all about being healthier, and none of them was about being a better person. I truly know I could stand some improvement, but I guess I was too fixated on the screaming baby in the row behind me and the very nice gentleman sitting next to me who didn't quite understand that my right leg wasn't really interested in cuddling with his left, not to mention my It Might As Well Be Yom Kippur Since Two Little Bags Of Pretzels Is Practically The Same As Fasting (there's a country song in there somewhere) situation to be able to focus on what I need to do to be nicer or kindlier or all around better.
Scooter has just informed me that all I need to do to be a better person to is to be at his beck and call and never leave him and pet him whenever he thinks of it. His needs are simple, his demands endless.
I was flying back, of course, from the Decatur Book Festival. I had a very good time there. It's extremely well organized and all the volunteers were both nice and knowledgeable, and I was quite impressed with the whole event.
But I had one of those semi-epiphany moments while I was there. I was told to get to the Teen Stage about 15 minutes before I was due to speak, and I did. Only it turned out that because of a rainstorm, the program before mine ran late. So I sat down and watched until it ended.
There were three writers on the stage, and one of them mentioned that she had completed the 14th book in her series and was contracted to write books 15 and 16. It was obvious she loved it, and her series is clearly very successful.
But inside my sweet little ready to retire brain, I thought (with something of a shudder) I never ever want to write 14 books in a series. No matter how much fun it is (or how well it pays), you don't own your characters after 14 books. They own you.
Now, my publisher is never going to want 14 moon books. It's been a struggle to get them to admit they want as many as 4. And I just remembered I've actually written a 15 book series (Portraits Of Little Women, but those books are short). But 4 moon books are enough, unless my publisher asks for a 5th one, which they won't, so I don't have to worry about it.
And a good thing too, since Scooter is demanding I pet him again.
Meanwhile, if you want to say farewell to 5773 or hello to 5774 by reading a new interview with me, I'm happy to offer one to you. Oddly enough, it's all about how I came to write 4 moon books, and there isn't a single mention of how I don't want to write 14 of them.
What I do want to do is wish all of you a happy and healthy new year. May you do better with your resolutions than I'm doing with mine!