The past few days one of my best friends, B, has been in town visiting, and this morning we were discussing birthdays: how now that we’re in our 30s we sometimes forget exactly how old we are, and have to stop and think about it for a moment or two before we can land on the correct age.

In grad school, I remember being incredulous when the same thing happened to a classmate—a gentle, interesting, and generally alert human being who one day wandered into our TA office to announce that he’d been accidentally lying to us about his age the whole time we’d known him, estimating up by a year. Apparently the day before he’d been on the phone with his mom, and when he casually mentioned his Reality+1 age, she’d listened, paused, and then said: “…No?” He tried to argue the point for a moment or two, but she insisted that giving birth was not the sort of thing one tends to forget.

Of course, you’d think that being born or becoming alive is not the sort of thing you’d forget either, but that’s obviously not true, infant brains being as they are a rich stew of sensory overload and inchoate memories of The Abyss.

Anyway, it’s my birthday month. (April 29th!!) I’m a Taurus, and the second of four children, so I cannot contain my excitement about my own birthday, no matter how many people (fairly) roll their eyes at me. My niece’s birthday is the week before mine, which I feel gives me a new dispensation to treat this as a festival month, which I will cling to tenaciously until she, a current 7-year-old, someday announces that she’s over it. I’m 33 now, almost 34, and I keep estimating up in my head, so although I laughed at my grad school friend for a good twenty minutes, I now can see how a person might trick themselves into believing they were older than they really were. It happens through small cuts. It happens because you have other things on your mind.

Other things: my novel Invitation to a Bonfire was reviewed by both Kirkus Reviews and Publisher’s Weekly this week, and they both had amazing thing to say!

PW called the book “an incendiary and provocative novel about obsession.”

&

Kirkus said that it’s “Trembling with atmosphere…An ominous snowball of a novel …with a slow-burning first half and a second half that hurtles toward inevitable catastrophe…Rich and moody.”

We are definitely hurtling towards (the hopefully not catastrophic) publication day, so please consider pre-ordering! Eeee.

Finally, an update on the sad neighbor dog: still somewhat sad, but we think a little bit less? He seems to be learning some self-soothing techniques, and for this we are immensely grateful.