Megan Crane (doesn't she have great hair?) is on the GCC with me, and more importantly she's the author of a hilarious and romantic grad-school comedy, English as a Second Language, plus a new novel, Everyone Else's Girl, which promises to be just as thoughtful and funny as the first.
It's a smart and sassy story about going home to live with your parents.
"I wrote the bulk of EVERYONE ELSE'S GIRL while involved in what I like to call an "extended move" from York, England to Los Angeles, which really means I spent six months hidden away in my parents' attic finishing up my dissertation, something I felt I was unlikely to do once I escaped west.
What, I thought at the time, was more likely to make a grown women revert to her absolute worst than an extended stay right smack in the middle of her adolescence? I knew what that was like, after all. I spent most of my twenties living in short term housing in random cities (four months in Hoboken, NJ, I'm looking at you), student housing (as detailed in my first novel, English As A Second Language - that communal kitchen cured me of being a slob where years of my mother's tutelage never could), or crammed into my childhood bedroom on the second floor of my parents' house. Complete with twin beds, rules concerning the use and placement of towels, and all those surround-sound memories of my hideous teen years. And that was just in the bedroom."
Everyone Else's Girl is in stores now now, and Meg Cabot says this about it: "Megan Crane rules! Cancel your evening plans. You won't want to stop reading until you've devoured every delicious word."
Oh yeah -- Megan and I went to the same college! And studied the same thing in graduate school!
Though sadly we do not have the same hair.
But if you want to read a long, literary type conversation Megan and I had last year on the website Beatrice, you can. Note: Beatrice prints the last part of the conversation first, because it's a blog. So you really should scroll to the bottom, read that bit, and then read on up.
Anyway, I heartily recommend Megan's books, and she wrote us a vair vair amusing boyfriend list that has an interesting lesson at the end of it.
THE EPIC CRUSH LIST
by Megan Crane
I would like to write a boyfriend list, mostly because I would like to have a boyfriend list. Unfortunately, there are only three men in the world who ever admitted publicly to being my boyfriend, and one of them lives with me. This is, obviously, a pathetic tally.
So let me present the true guiding force in my life: The Epic Crush. An Epic Crush requires dedication. Pining. Patience to last whole years in between sightings, and the ability to live for long stretches of time with a Wound That Will Never Heal-- that wound being, generally speaking, said Epic Crush's usually equally epic disinterest.
MY FIRST EPIC CRUSH started in the sixth grade. M. was tall and sweet, and I think he had blue eyes. M. dated the one Popular Girl I was actually friends with, a friendship which ended when I felt she treated M. poorly. Naturally, I made speeches concerning her general selfishness but I was really just feeling righteous on M.'s behalf. M. was the first to inspire Epic Poetry, the less said about which, the better. (Many years later, I would be extremely drunk at my high school reunion, where M. would ask me why I wasn't yet published, I would confess my crush of years' past, and the resulting humiliation would force me to vow never to attend another reunion as long as I live.)
THEN THERE WAS J2, for whom I wrote whole books. No less than fourteen black and white notebooks, filled with the riveting tale of the pudgy girl who underwent a miraculous transformation one summer, thereafter winning widespread popularity and--more important-- the heart of one thinly-veiled J2. Much was made of J2's beautiful silver eyes. My obsession with eyes, often commented on by my agent, started here. So did my tendency to create entire fantasy personalities for boys I liked. My feelings for J2 raged on for years, until the dark day I met up with him outside a local brewery to discover that a) he didn't remember me, which was crushing but, more to the point, b) he was gay.
WHICH BRINGS ME TO S. Oh, S. I still feel a little pang when I think about S., who I met at my second summer camp and just adored, from the age of seventeen until twenty-two. (The pang I feel now is not so much love lost, mind you, but severe shame for my atrocious behavior, but I'm getting ahead of myself.) I remember with perfect clarity the first time I saw him: he walked into a crowded party my first night in Maine, I looked up, and just like that I loved him. Of all the Epic Crushes I'd had, S. was the worst because I actually got to know him. I spoke with him. At some points we were sort of friends. So my poor heart had to contend with the knowledge that he really was as smart and funny and cool as my imagination wanted him to be. S. was how I discovered the dark side of the Epic Crush: Psychotic Stalker Behavior. Oh yes. I went there. No one needs to know that they can act so crazy, for so long, that they will eventually inspire the object of their affection to shield his new girlfriend with his own body, to protect her from you. I wish I was kidding. (I also wish I could tell you that this was an overreaction on S.'s part, but I can't. I was literally driven mad by my feelings for this guy. For years.) I'm ashamed just thinking about it. There's no clever ending to this tale, either. I heard he became a doctor.
MY FINAL EPIC CRUSH occurred in graduate school. I met R. within days of arriving in England, and I was captivated. He looked the way that guy had always looked in my head. He sounded like Mr. Darcy. He could talk about philosophy and religion and books and dreams. R. was the first Epic Crush who I actually had some form of romantic interaction with-- which is probably why he is my last Epic Crush. He was the man I'd always dreamed of meeting someday, perfect in every respect, except for one, small thing: he didn't like me enough. I don't have any idea what went on in his life in between those endless, breathless times I was near him. I do know that the situations I agonized and wept over, the ones that meant so much to me and came to nothing, wrung the last of the Epic Crush Feelings right out of me. I guess R. kind of broke me.
But see, that's a good thing, because when the Real Thing came along, all these Epic Crushes taught me how to recognize it. He's everything they weren't: accessible, enthusiastic, and (here's the kicker) interested in me from the start. He's Real.
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Epic Crushes, as a kind of Relationship Boot Camp. Be careful, though. Between the weeping and the bad poetry, they tend to stick with you for a long, long time.
P.S. Megan keeps a blog! --E