I’ve been on the book tour road all month, so I never got to feel the “first day of autumn.” It was a scorching 104-degrees when I left El Paso. Since then, I’ve been bouncing between airplane terminals, Uber cars, and air-conditioned event venues. It could’ve been freezing or smoldering outdoors, but I hardly had a minute to register the state I was in (California? Tennessee?), never mind the temperature.
Fall and spring are my two favorite seasons—the tweeners when hot and cold helix into a strange fusion predicated on cloud shifts and shadow breezes. Change, vividly bestowed on all the senses. It makes me giddy. I want to open all the windows in my house, let in the happy ghosts, watch To Kill a Mockingbird, and light pumpkin spice candles. But I wasn’t able to do any of that this year. To completely miss fall? Well, it bummed me out.
By the time I’m home again, it’ll be the holiday season. All white wonderlands and wintry delights. So either I flew around the country with a witch’s scowl for missing Charlie Brown jack-o’-lanterns, baking apple pies, and handing out candy corn or I brought the merry trick-or-treat spirit with me. I decided on the latter and concocted a game to play with dear authors who met me on the book tour road.
I call it #ScareCareShare. Akin to trick-or-treat, truth-or-dare, or any of the make-a-choice diversions we used to play with school friends on crisp harvest nights.
Here are the super simple rules. The authors were asked to each pick one:
❖ SCARE (something that they’re afraid of)
❖ CARE (something that they’re passionate about—excluding books)
❖ SHARE (some sage piece of writerly advice)
I carried the #ScareCareShare journal with me to every city and passed it around fancy tearooms to candlelit, writer barbecues. It ended up being much more fun—and heartfelt— than I ever initially imagined. I cherish the handwritten entries of each of these wonderful authors. I must thank them for playing along and for embracing me with all the warmth of the season. Who needs Great Pumpkins when you have great friends like these…
Amanda Eyre Ward, author of The Same Sky
SHARE: Have faith. Wear pajamas. Read.
Christina Baker Kline, author of The Orphan Train
SHARE: Finish the damn thing. If you don’t finish a draft, you can’t revise it. And if you can’t revise it, you can’t finish and publish it. It’s not simple—but it’s kinda simple. “It’s the writing, stupid.”
Sarah Bird, author of Above the East China Sea
SHARE: I’ve always thought of being a writer as having a bad boyfriend. If you have a bad boyfriend, you’ve got to have two or three other boyfriends to go to when he hurts. And he’s always gonna hurt you. So I write screenplays, essays, and articles when my main love, novels, is hurting me.
Greer Macallister, author of The Magician’s Lie
SCARE: I think the biggest fear I have as a writer is running out of ideas! It hasn’t happened yet—far from it—but it’s always sort of lurking out there in the distance. And maybe there’s hope in that fear. That after the next idea and the next and the next and the one after that, that readers will still be waiting for the next.
Liz Fenton, co-author of The Status of All Things
CARE: I love animals and care about helping them. The way they provide love unconditionally is amazing! I have four dogs, three chickens and three fish!
Sue Meissner, author of Secrets of a Charmed Life
SCARE: When I was little I was scared of everything. The Michelin Man, Mr. Bubble, Mr. Peanut, blimps, carousel horses, bird of paradises, the robot on Lost in Space, and escalators, just to name a few. My very vivid imagination (which comes in handy now as a novelist) always got the better of me and I was always sure that my life was in peril if I was near any of those things. I’ve outgrown most of these fears, but I still have to take a deep breath when I step on an escalator!
Michelle Gable, author of A Paris Apartment
SHARE: Sometimes the only way to get a book written is in the margins—15 minutes here, 15 minutes there. No time is too short! And if you stop in the middle of something that is going well—it makes it that much easier to pick back up. All about momentum.
Jennifer Coburn, author of We’ll Always Have Paris
CARE: I care about experiencing life and detaching from my natural neurotic tendencies. It’s very hard because I can find worries just about anywhere, but I find traveling and getting out of myself, my head, and my everyday life helps.
Margaret Dilloway, author of Sisters of Heart and Snow
SHARE: Write what you want, what moves you. Have a vision for your career and move forward with it.
Sarah McCoy, author of The Mapmaker’s Children
(It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t play #ScareCareShare too, right?)
CARE: Care about each other! It’s so important for writers to rally around one another in genuine support and friendship. There’s nothing like seeing a friendly face waiting with open arms. It allows you that moment of rest—a sanctuary in their embrace. And reminds you that no matter how far from home you may be or how the seasons may change, your book family has roots spread strong and wide.
Come play with us in the comments section below: #ScareCareShare, friends?
Now, thanks to tinyCoffee and PayPal, you can!