Monday, February 28, 2011

Tired of Looking for the Best Story Idea Ever? For the low low price of millions, this could be yours...

Howdy, y'all. 


I learned today that I took the ignorant road to getting published. I wrote a book (by myself) and then found an agent who found me an editor who paid me for my book. (Okay, that sentence is hilarious in how short it makes the process sound. Please know that spliced in there are years and years of rejection and pain and fingernails being ripped out. I took the extremely torturous road.)


Well, prepare to have your mind blown. 


Yesterday Sam and I ran across this ad in eBay. For sale: "a STORY to topple Star Wars, Harry potter investment."




Here is the description of the "Story Idea" and what you would be purchasing. I have to admit, it got me thinking. And to include y'all, I've added my thoughts in red.




am selling my story that I have been creating for 10+ years. (not constantly writing, but of piecing everything together in a cohesive manner) It can be compared to stories like Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Matrix, Indiana Jones and other titles in those categories. [Why didn't I think to pitch my book as: "It's Star Wars meets Harry Potter, sprinkled with Lord of the Rings and a dash of Matrix. And when they all spent a night in a hotel together, nine months later Indiana Jones was born."] This is a really great story I have. [Pinky swear]. This story needs to be completed by a professional writer or Ghost Writer. I am by no means a writer. [I beg to differ. This stuff's great.]

I would rather not sell it at all and just find investors to help hire a celebrity Ghost Writer, which would cost 250,000. [Hence the 3 million dollar starting bid.] The company that hires these writers out, guarantee the book to be a New York best seller. [I didn't get such a guarantee. I want my money back. Oh wait... I didn't give them money.] From my understanding, a celebrity ghost writer [=a celebrity who prefers to write books anonymously. This species is very rare.] is someone who has written many books for others that have become "best sellers" and are at a point in their writing career to produce these best sellers often.

But for me, finding an investor seems impossible, it takes money to make money. [Someone should write that down].

If George Lucas offered to sell his idea of Star Wars, would you have bought it? [Yes. For 3 million dollars exactly.]

This is a serious auction, I'm not looking to rip anyone off. [Of course not. Why would we think that?] If you win this auction and decide you don't like the story, then you don't have to pay, and you will be refunded fully. [As long as you have the receipt within thirty days. Otherwise, how will he know you bought the story at his store, and not his competitor's?]

I would like to meet in person so that I can pass my works on. [This sounds very appropriate.]

I will share my story with someone in person only and not over the internet. [Like any good STD]. My story is too valuable to be spread publicly and will give a lot of new ideas for movies and book series that should belong to the buyer.

ebay requires a physical object to be purchased. This is a CD with my story, as well as printed material, as well as verbal information from me. This will be exchanged person to person. [3 mil will get you a used CD, used paper, and words. This is a very good price. I saw this previously on RealDeals for 4 mil.]

This story will bring in endless fame and money to anyone who takes it.[Along with a monkey's paw, and this new designer outfit that only looks invisible, but really is made with the finest thread, fit for an emperor.] I do not have money to hire a Ghost Writer and I do not want to die with this story untold.

And for the people reading this post who think I'm crazy for asking this amount of money for it; this kind of money is a drop in the bucket for large corporations. If it sounds like too much money then you are not the kind of buyer I'm looking for.[Thus excluding everyone except Donald Trump.]


I am not making fun, because in this crazy world, this man could very well get his millions, and the rest of us will be left kicking ourselves at the missed opportunity. 


So, what do y'all think? Do you have any ideas on what his story is about? Would you have bought Star Wars? Do you think this seller has a google alert and will track down my blog and commit acts of violence "in person"? 


Can you top this tagline: "It's Harry Potter meets Star Wars"?


I was thinking: "It's the Greatest Story Ever Told meets Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus."


What are yours?

Friday, February 25, 2011

LK Madigan, and the Question of Why

A brief timeout from regular programming: 


If you are tuned in to the YA twitter scene at all, you may have heard that the YA world lost an author a couple of days ago. She was 47 years old.


The YA writer community is uniquely small. I didn't know LK Madigan (Lisa Wolfson) personally, but I know her books, Flash Burnout and the Mermaid's Chair. And I know her dear friends. My heart is aching for them right now.  


And I know her disease. Last month, Lisa announced on her blog her diagnosis of Pancreatic Cancer, the same disease my dad is fighting right now. 


The question everyone seems to ask, and never get an answer to, is, why? 


Why her? Why my dad? Why so young? 


Does everything really happen for a reason? Are we supposed to learn some greater lesson? 


I can't think like that. I can't believe there is some higher being up in the sky, ruthlessly moving us around the earth as if we were pawns in some chess game, strategizing the fallout of each decision, waiting for the moment of checkmate. Will we be the Checkmator, or the checkmated? It's a toss-up. I can't think that we are dominoes, set up only to take a fall, in the hopes that with our bruises we will "learn lessons".


I don't believe those brave warriors who share space with my family in the infusion room week after week are there because someone flipped a coin, pronounced a verdict and sentenced them in the name of gaining wisdom. 


No. If there is a God (and I believe there is), I prefer to think he is watching over us as perils of this world take their course. 


And when we fight the things that threaten our mortality, he fights with us.


And when we lose, he feels that loss.


And when we cry, he cries for us. 


There is no Why.


I don't write this post as someone who was in Lisa's circle of friends, or someone who could presume to speak for any of them. 


I'm writing it because these thoughts have been occupying my mind, and I couldn't write about anything else today, even though I tried. I had a post about bowling with Kid C all ready, but the darn thing refused to be written. Sometimes being a writer is about writing the things that demand to be written.


So, in honor of an author who I admired but didn't know, and in honor of all the books she didn't get the chance to write, let's follow Lisa's own instructions:

“The main thing is to WRITE. Some days it might be 2000 words. Some days you might tinker with two sentences until you get them just right. Both days belong in the writing life. Some days you may watch a ‘Doctor Who’ marathon or become immersed a book that is so good you can’t stop reading. Some days you may be in love or in mourning. Those days belong in the writing life, too. Live them without guilt.” (via Colleen Lindsey)

Her family has set up a trust fund for her son's college education. You can find out more about it here.

Let's hug our loved ones, pray for Lisa's family and friends, and focus on living life. Buy a book. Buy Lisa's book. Write a page. Take a breath. For me, I think a Dr. Who Marathon sounds great right about now. Who's with me?

Don't leave me hanging in the comments. I feel nervous enough putting this post out there. Tell me what all y'all are doing this weekend. And if you're new to the blog (I've gotten a bunch of new followers lately) please stop by and say hi and introduce yourself! 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sam's Big Lie, and the Worst Example of a Good Samaritan Ever

Housekeeping: I know that some of you (patients and friends and family) are specifically looking for updates on my dad. My mom is posting again on her blog here: www.ashtonclot.blogspot.com. Any and all are welcome to check in there. Her posts are usually very entertaining. Because cancer is fun. 


On to the post! 


So, the other day, Sam loses his phone. At Costco. 


He takes the kids back to the store and scours the aisles. No luck.
Like finding a needle in a Costco.


He checks with the front. No phone turned in. 


He calls AT&T, and the guy says he can shut down Sam's phone, but he can't locate it. But he does tell Sam that somebody made a call from that phone mere minutes ago. 


What?! 


It was not lost. It was stolen! 


So, Sam uses his mad tech skillz to track down the number that his lost phone called. (Okay, he really just looked at his account). 


And here's where Sam is completely different than me.


He calls that number (the one his stolen phone called). 


Sam: "Hi, I'm calling because I lost my phone, and the person who now has my phone called you."


Guy (groggily): "Huh?"


Sam: "Someone called you at 12:47. That person has my phone."


Stoner guy: "I don't know what you're talking about, dude."


*Repeat above conversation 12 times*


Finally, Sam pulls out the biggest lie he can think of.


Sam: "I hate to tell you this, but I'm kind of important."


Stoner guy: "Yeah?"


Sam: "Yeah. I'm kind of a big shot. And I need my phone. The phone company is tracking it right now, not to mention the police. So I just wanted to let you know that if I have your number, so do they, and they will be contacting you in the next little while, asking you the same questions."


Stoner guy: "Why? I don't know anything!"


Sam: "I'm sure you had nothing to do with it. But they will be checking here, since you're their only lead. So you have to ask yourself one question. Do you feel lucky? Punk?"


Okay, I embellished the last sentence. But, miraculously, an hour later, the AT&T store in American Fork called to say Sam's phone had been turned in. The guy who brought it in said he found it in a chair at Costco.


When I picked it up, the guy at the AT&T store is all, "Wow. We love customers who are honest and turn in lost phones. Like the Good Samaritan. We should send this guy an email, thanking him." Then he gave me a look that said, Maybe you should give him a reward.


me: "Sure you do that. Thank the guy for finding it in a chair at a Costco in Salt Lake City, and instead of turning it in at the Costco, he drives 45 minutes south, to American Fork, to turn it in at an AT&T store, five hours later."
The right, and convenient thing to do.
me: "So, yeah, if the "good samaritan" is the story of a samaritan who beat a guy up, left him in the street to die, and only when he realized there were witnesses did he turn around and help the guy to the hospital, then yeah, he's totally a good samaritan." 


AT&T guy: "Oh. So, you're saying he only turned it in because he got caught?"


me: Ding Ding Ding Ding!


Because the last thing the guy who stole Sam's phone needs is a thank you note! and Money!


What I find the funniest is that Sam's phone is sort of crappy. I mean, it's an iPhone, but it's four years old, beat up, and cracked. And apparently, that's the phone of someone who is "kind of important." 
This is Bill Gates' phone. He's sort of a big shot.
What do you guys think? Do you believe the guy found it at a Costco and drove it all the way to American Fork five hours later to turn it in? Or do you think he got scared that he'd get caught?

Monday, February 21, 2011

LTUE Conference, and my Biggest Pet Peeve in Movies

Hey y'all.


So, I don't know if you noticed, but I forgot to blog on Friday. It's not really that I forgot, it's that I drove to Provo for the LTUE (Life, the Universe, and Everything) writing conference, and I didn't get to my hotel room until 11:30.


And then I forgot.


I went to the conference on and off, because the main reason I was there was to be with my writer's group.
Emily Wing Smith and Bree Despain, 2/6 of the SIX.
Numbers 2 and 3 Crazy, respectively. 


We hadn't seen each other in over a month, and as everyone knows, every month that goes by where we don't see each other, a part of us just shrivels up and dies.


It's random which parts this affects. For me, it was my upper left ear lobe. Emily wasn't so lucky. It was her right eye. Bree lost her writing hand. For Sara, the part that shriveled up and fell off happened to be a baby.
Little Emmi Bolton. Who knew that's how babies were made?
I have to admit, my cup has been runneth-ing under a little bit lately, so it was nice to be with these gals and get a refill.


Other Happenings at the Conference:


*James Dashner displays extraordinary honesty in his keynote address:
Just Kidding. He rocked the house. And only made a couple babies cry.
*Mette Ivie Harrison and Bree were on a panel teaching us about the problems we face when writing sequels, and how to solve those problems.
Mette and Bree: Experts on Sequels


*The next day, Bree promptly forgot everything she ever knew about writing sequels, and had a meltdown about her own upcoming sequel.


*I got to meet up with old friends and meet some new friends. *Waves to everyone*


*We saw I am Number Four.
Alex Pettyfer. He doesn't care the world is blowing up around him.
Now that Alex is in Number four, and they want him for Hunger Games, and the Mortal Instruments series, we're convinced a Young Adult novel cannot be adapted for the big screen unless his name is attached. 

Please, someone out there produce another hot, blond teenage actor. Otherwise, none of our books stands a chance. 

AS FOR MY PET PEEVE:

Also in the movie, my favorite cliche, where the character sets an explosive in a building and then walks away in slow motion, and when the building blows up behind her, she can't be bothered to notice. 
Please say one of those 2X4's whacks her in the head. Please.

What the what? I'm sorry, I don't care how many buildings you've blown up. If something is exploding mere feet behind you... you look! Everyone would look! If you don't look, all I can think is, "She must be deaf from all the buildings she's blown up."

Even then, there is no excuse. It can't be that old. I see fireworks every Fourth of July, and there's no way I would just walk away in slow motion while the show went on behind me. It never gets old! Look! Pretty fire! 

Just once, I want that scene to happen, and then one of the sparks lights her hair on fire. 

Then we can be all, "Yeah, you shoulda looked."

Anyone else see it? What did you think? 

p.s. Update on my dad: He's completed his first round of chemo, and is doing well. Yay! Thanks for all of your prayers and well-wishes. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Book is now in Orbit... And how a Bookstore is making me Cry

Hey y'all.


My editor informed me that yesterday Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins launched their 2012 winter list. (And for those of you who don't know, Everneath is on that list!)


This is very exciting, although I don't know exactly what it means. The word "launch" has certain connotations, so I can only assume it means the Balzer+Bray team gathered in the parking lot (because it's Manhattan, and every building has an outdoor parking lot), carrying their little rockets made of balsa wood, each rocket with the name of a book on it.  


Then they all count to three and light the fuses, and the rockets are sent into orbit around the earth. 
My book is somewhere over Nantucket. Watch for it in the skies!


Or the launch might mean my editor presented my book to sales and marketing teams, a bunch of whom I met on my trip to New York. (Hi, Sales and Marketing team! *waves frantically*) They were such an enthusiastic group, I know my book is in good hands. 


In other news, my Borders is on the list of stores that will close. I call it my Borders, because it's where my critique group meets most Thursdays to write, chat, vent, gossip, and write some more. And eat. 


The cafe had outlets, the wi-fi came fast and easy (just like the dames), and everyone there really did know our names. Sure, it was annoying during the holiday season, when the Christmas songs drenched the place in syrup, but mostly it was a little corner of heaven. 


Okay, maybe I'm a tad emotional these days. But why do things have to change? Why can't everything just stay put? Where's Mammi when I need someone to rub buttermilk on my shoulders and say it jes ain't fittin'? Please tell me someone knows somethin' about birthin' babies!


Well, I think I've blogged myself into a corner. I don't know where to go from here. Is anyone else shedding tears over a Borders? 


This weekend, I'm going to the LTUE writer's conference, which stands for Life, the Universe, and Everything conference, where a bunch of writers who are geeks get together and discuss the latest geeky things. (I think they describe it as a conference about Fantasy and Speculative Fiction, but we all know what it really is). 


I don't want to stick out, so I'm going dressed as Frodo dressed as a storm trooper.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Questions with the Question-Maker: My New Computer and My Latest Revisions

It's been a while since we've had a visit from the snarky question maker, so I've invited him here today. 


Since he lives in the void between rainbows and shooting stars, it was difficult to get him a message, but I managed to secure myself an owl with the head of a unicorn, and as everyone knows, the owlcorn can fly to the edge of the void and then use his spiky horn to break through. 


No, I haven't been sleeping much. Why do you ask?


Anyway, moving on to the Q&A transcript.


Question-Maker: Hey, Bro. It's good to be back. 


me: Good to have you back.


QM: Lemme go over my notes here... see what I've missed... whoa wait. It says here you got a new fish?


me: Yes.
Shadow: little does he know he's almost dead.
QM: Why do you hate fish so much? 


me: This time it will be different! How hard can it be to keep a Betta Fish alive?


QM: That's what you said five fish ago. 


me: It's Sam's fault. Moving on.


QM: Let's see... You got a new computer?


me: Yes. Her name is Pink. Here's her baby picture.
Pink. Yes, my study is always that messy.


QM: How do you know your computer's a girl?


me: Because when she was lost, she asked for directions. (snicker snicker)


QM: You're still cracking yourself up, I see. Did you know you're like the 6 billionth person to tell that joke?


me: There are only six billion people on the planet.


QM: Exactly. Moving on. You just finished your 4th round of revisions. Isn't that, like, a lot? 


me: I don't know. I've never done this before. But it's okay, because there's just one more line revision, and then it's off to copyedits!


QM: And then it will be done?


me: Um, no. Then there are the first pass pages. 


QM: And THEN it's done?


me: Um, I don't know. I think there might be second pass pages.


QM (pauses): Are you making up this whole "publishing dream" thing? I mean, next year are you going to be telling us you're on the 92nd pass pages?


me: No! It will one day be a book. I swear! Just ask the Germans. They recently had an auction for my book! 


QM: Ah. Herzlichen Gl├╝ckwunsch!


me: Hals- und Beinbruch! 


QM: Did you just tell me to go break my arm and my leg? 

me: *crickets*

QM: Try to acquire a little German before you offend a nation.

me: I once acquired a little German. He was awesome.

QM: Where's my unicowl? I think I'm ready to leave.

me: He prefers owlcorn, just so you know...

Ah, it's always a treat (and a blow to the ego) to have the question-maker. So, what did y'all do over the weekend? Anyone have fun Valentine's plans? Anyone have questions to add to the question-maker? 

One last thing... Happy Valentine's Day! Will you (yes, you) be my Valentine?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Thing #1 and Thing #1: The Battle is Afoot, and How Kid C really views his Grandpa

It's time for... 


Thing #1 and Thing #1!


Thing #1


My dad started his chemo yesterday. 
My dad, my mom, and my sister. And Jerry Sloan retiring on the television.
And Mr. McDrippy Drip in my Dad's arm. 
Unfortunately, I had popped out for a diet coke when the juice actually started flowing. I was so bummed I didn't get to bellow: "Unleash Hell!"


My dad reassured me that he gave the battle cry, but I'm not sure I believe him. Nobody else in the infusion room was giving us strange looks, and strange looks are a sure sign of spontaneous battle cries.


Oh well. There's always next week. 


Did I mention that one of his chemo drugs is named "5 F-U"? Awesome. 


As a side note, we've been trying to limit our f-bomb usage. We figured people who are asking for miracles shouldn't be spouting the f-bomb right and left. But our replacement name for the tumor- the "Mother Yucker"- lacks a certain panache.    


Thing #1


We were driving in the car the other day, when Kid C says, "Hey! It's Grandpa! Is that Grandpa's store?"


We craned our necks to see what he was referring to. It was this:

I asked Kid C why he thought Colonel Sanders was Grandpa. His response: "He's got white hair... he's got glasses... he has a beard."


I guess I can see it.

So, what are y'all doing this weekend? I turned my latest revisions in yesterday, and pretty soon the book is going to copyedits. We're one step closer! In the hundred step process to getting a book published.

I'm also thinking of going to the Breathless Reads book tour at the SLC Library tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.  Five awesome YA authors in one place? Sign me up! Anyone else going?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Fighting Spirit

My family's moved from total grief mode to total fight mode. And it looks a little like this.


That's how the French Revolution really looked. Eventually, they were all, "Instead of singing so much, we should've learned how to fire these rifle thingees."
Because as we all know, it was their obsession with theatrics that quashed the rebellion.
 
Any time we're sitting around for a length of time, we can't help climbing on top of whatever object is near us- a chair, a table, the chandelier- and we wave our latest CAT scan and say something like:


"Never give up! Never surrender!"


"They may take our lungs, but they will never take... our other organs!"


We were all at the hospital yesterday because my dad was getting a port surgically implanted. (It's like a picc line, but under the skin, near the clavicle). It will be easy access for the chemo infusions.


While he was in surgery, my mom and I were in the waiting room. She was reading a book about survivors, and I was working on my revisions. (They're due tomorrow.)


About every other minute, one of us would interrupt the other (okay, it was mostly her interrupting me) to share an inspiring story of victory in the face of incredible odds. 


And then the fighting spirit really took over and every word out of our mouths sounded like a battle cry, so much so that when the nurse came to speak to us, we answered by bellowing... "NO! Our bellies cannot stand idly by drying out... we WILL have another CRANBERRY JUICE! Tell me, do you hear the people sing? They are asking for that special crunchy ice only hospitals have! Now... MAKE... IT... SO!"


No, they were not relieved when we left. Why do you ask?


My dad is home again now, recovering and hopped up on pain meds. In fact, that's the best part. To see this quiet, serious physician all loopy on Loritab. 


For example, on my latest revisions, the main goal is to delete pages. This morning, my dad asked me how many pages I'd "delinquished." 


me: "Huh?"


Him: "How many pages have you delinquished... I mean, diminished..."


Me: smiling as he tries to search for the word "deleted". It was awesome. 


I admit, I'm loopy too. I kept telling the doctors: "When are we going to surgically implant a woman in his port?"


and then when they'd look at me questioningly, I'd say, "Isn't it customary to have a woman in every port?" And then I'd laugh maniacally and slap the doctor's shoulder. I looked like this:




Nobody ever laughed with me. But I say it's better to face these things with a loopy brain.


Anyway, tomorrow we are at the infusion center to start the chemotherapy. I can't wait for the nurse to insert the IV so that I can bellow: "On my command... UNLEASH HELL!"

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Blog Post I didn't want to Write.

My dad's cancer is back.


I hesitated to blog about this, because believe it or not, there are some aspects of my life that I prefer to keep private.


But to blog three times a week, pretending like this isn't going on, would be pointless. So rather than quitting my blog entirely, I have to blog about it. There are only so many times Sam can fill in by saying, "Brodi's attending to family business" without people getting suspicious something is wrong, or assuming I've run off with the Italian mob. 


Over three years ago, my dad was diagnosed with pancreas cancer, even though he had none of the risk factors. He was/is a young, healthy, non-smoker, non-drinker. At the time, he wasn't even eligible for Medicare.


We were told there is only one chance for cure with this disease. To cut it out. And with that, you get only one shot to cut it out. There are no do-overs.


Then, all you can do is live life, and hope it doesn't come back. We cut my dad's cancer out, and for three years, it didn't come back.


Three years is just enough time for a person to become comfortable in the idea that maybe, he will dodge this bullet. Three years is long enough for my dad to become a practicing pediatrician again. Three years is just long enough for the chance of recurrence to drop below 50%. Three years is a "miracle".


But sometimes, even miracles hit road blocks. Last week, they found some spots in his lungs. They said it would be incredibly rare if the pancreas cancer returned in the lungs first. It was normal for it to come back in the abdomen, the liver, the pancreas, the colon... but not the lungs.


Of course, my dad lives to be rare! On Wednesday, we got the news it was cancer. And not lung cancer, which would've been better news, but metastatic pancreas cancer.


They have no idea where those little pancreas cells were hiding out, and for so long, but hide they did.


I admit the news dealt a blow to me and my little family. My sister, my mom, my dad and I have always been a tight foursome. We live within 2 miles of each other. We are frequent lodgers in each others houses. We pass around the grandkids like they belong to all of us.


When my dad was first diagnosed, we joked about how close we'd become. We travelled to each doctor's appointment together. We likened ourselves to a blood clot, because we stuck together. And now we're here again. Clotting up. 


I hope you will put up with me during this time. I'm warning you now, I've already become a little crazy.


For instance: Sometimes when doctors say, "To be honest, this treatment would be for the good of science only," I want to punch these doctors.


Sometimes when acquaintances say, "Oh well, we're at that age where we lose our parents," I want to say, "You may be at that age, but I'm not." My dad lost his own mom only three years ago. My dad is at that age. I'm not.


Sometimes I envy friends who are estranged from their dads. Sometimes I'm sure life would be so much easier if we could love each other a little less.


Sometimes, I watch the news, and I'm surprised when the anchor does not mention my dad, and this strange new crack that has suddenly appeared in the earth.


Sometimes, I wonder why a total internal organ transplant is not a viable option. Sometimes I want to punch the people who tell me it's not. But then I laugh, because sometimes I love to disprove the theory that there are no stupid questions. 


Sometimes my urge for violence surprises even me.


Sometimes, I see old people, and I wonder, "What did they do that we aren't doing? Why is growing old so easy for them?"


Sometimes, I see strangers on the street, and I can't help wishing it was their dad who would have to go through this, and not mine.


Yes, I'm that angry and crazy.


But it's the crazy people who make the best fighters, and I'll tell you it doesn't come any crazier than my family. We're going to fight. 


It's rare to find an effective chemotherapy regimen for pancreas cancer. But then again, my dad lives to be rare. (see above).  We're going to shed the naysayers like dead cancer cells. We're going to fight the tumors with everything we've got, and when the cancer adapts and mutates to become resistant, we'll find something else to throw at it, even if it's the kitchen sink. I always hated my kitchen sink. I am not afraid to throw it.


And we're going to party.


Who's with me?
Erin, my dad and me at the Huntsman Cancer Institute
p.s. Thank you to all of you who have dropped me notes, texts, random plates of cookies, phone messages... I know I haven't gotten back to any of you, but please know that I appreciate your love and support. 


Sometimes, even when I think I'm okay, I go to talk to someone and that person says something nice and I start crying and then it's like five hours later and I'm still crying. I'm a little thermonuclear right now, but I want you to know the kindness is very much appreciated.