I was going to have a launch party for An Elf’s Equations. It was a private party to celebrate friends and family and fellow writers who helped me produce the toughest novel I’ve ever written. I was planning a reading and games and, of course, pie for Pi Day.
But I live in Cambridge, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Massachusetts. We started getting reports of people infected, people self-quarantining because they worked in the same building. I realized that, as much as I wanted to celebrate my third novel and thank all the people who helped me create it, I didn’t want to put them at risk. And the whole prospect was causing me and my family undue stress. So I cancelled the party, about the same time that the NBA was cancelling the season, and Harvard was telling students not to come back after spring break.
I thought, Fine, I’ll have a Facebook party instead. With the help of a self-quarantined friend over Skype, I came up with a schedule for all the fun things I’d do. And then all the public schools started closing, including the ones my children attend. Today was their last day of class for the next two weeks at least. My teenager reports that none of her teachers came to school today, so she came home early. Now, I’m scrambling to plan out what to do with them for the next two weeks so that we don’t all go completely stir-crazy.
Ah! I thought. Other parents are in the same boat. So rather than concentrating all my activities tomorrow, I think I’ll try to post a new activity every day, something fun and interesting connected to An Elf’s Equations that kids can do while stuck at home. I won’t promise to keep to a daily schedule because who knows what will happen? But I’ll do a live reading around 2pm tomorrow, March 14, 2020, and starting Monday, I’ll do my best to post something every day around 11am. Stay tuned here and on Facebook for whatever surprises I can come up with.
Honestly, when I was twelve, being stuck at home for two weeks would have meant a paradise of reading and rereading all my books, over and over. Of course, there was no Internet, no livestreaming, no cell phones, no VCR even! We had six or seven measly TV channels and a bunch of classic board games, and books. Lots of books. Y’know what? I think they’re just as good today. I hope that those of you who’ve bought An Elf’s Equations enjoy it as we drift down the surreal river of social distancing. And if you haven’t bought it yet, this is the perfect time to acquire a new book.
Be well, stay safe, and read.