About Me

I'm an author and arts administrator living in New England with my family and pugs. I'm also a caffeine addict and voracious reader. My latest middle grade fantasy novel, THE STAR SHEPHERD, is available now from Sourcebooks Young Readers!

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Next Event

all-day CCIRA Conference 2020 @ Denver Marriott Tech Center
CCIRA Conference 2020 @ Denver Marriott Tech Center
Feb 7 all-day
I’ll be presenting a session at the CCIRA conference on Leveraging Children’s Books to Teach Creative Writing, and will also be doing a signing (details TBA).

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Adventures in Commuting #2: Just Call Me MapQuest

I must look like a very friendly or at least very knowledgeable person because people constantly approach me and ask me for directions when I’m in Boston. And only in Boston.  Anywhere else, no one bothers.

Granted, I spend a large amount of my time there, but I’M FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE.

It’s not that I don’t like helping people—I do—but I’m probably one of the worst people to ask for directions, even in Nashua, and I’ve lived there for over 23 years!

Besides, when I’m in Boston, I’m not out gallivanting around the city noting each and every landmark and T-stop just so I can impart the information in my presumably photographic memory to the next passerby who’s just as lost as I am.  I’m either in a basement level meatlocker (er, office) or in a classroom.  I’m quite stationary.

I know three directions in Boston: Symphony Hall to BU, Symphony Hall to North Station, and Symphony Hall to Alewife.

That’s it.

If you’re not looking for something along one of those routes, I’m afraid I cannot help you!

Now, don’t get me wrong, if I’m the only one around, I cannot fault any poor lost person for asking me for directions (lord help them though if they actually follow them!). I get lost in Boston all the time, so I certainly do understand.

However, that said, there was obviously no need for today’s brief commuting adventure to have ever even happened in the first place.

I was standing in the North Station waiting area minding my own business as I listened to my iPod and watched The Garden security attempt to corral Celtics fans waiting to go to a game (there’s a story all on it’s own!), when a girl comes up to me and asks me where Track 8 is.  Sounds innocent enough, right?

Well, of course not!

Let me explain all the things that were wrong with this situation:

1. All the tracks are VERY clearly marked on the doors.  All she had to do was look up.

2. No trains were boarding on that particular track at that time nor the 10 minutes before and after this incident (Romantic rendezvous, perhaps?? Track 8 isn’t exactly an exotic locale, but hey, who knows!).

3. I was clearly wearing headphones (gleaming white wires against a black coat is anything but subtle) and I was surrounded by a large number of people who were not.  In fact, I was the only one in that area who was.

Yet she still chose me.  She came right up, stood directly in front of me, and said:

“Wah, weh, wah, weh wah wah wah?”

Or at least that’s how it sounded over the music blaring into my ears (The Cure also isn’t subtle).  Then she looked over her shoulder and looked back at me expectantly.  Since she clearly wasn’t going away, I took out my earphones and said “I’m sorry, what did you say?”

She then huffily demanded “Where is Track 8!?”

I simply responded “Over there.” and pointed to Track 8.

Which of course was right behind her.

I think what irritates me most about this is not the fact that she asked me for directions to Track 8 or even her rudeness when I asked her what she had said, but that this is not the first time a person has come up to me while I’m in commuter-mode (Headphones on, book in hand, no eye contact) to ask me a question, despite plenty of other non-headphone wearing people standing around.  It happens ALL the time.  I’ve had people ask me such ridiculous things as:

Them: “What train did they just announce?”
Me: “Uh, Lowell.  It’s the one they just put up on the screen.”

Them: “Where are we?”
Me: “Did you miss the huge North Station sign outside and the one you’re standing next to?”
(OK, I admit I didn’t really say that, but I wish I had. I thought it, if you can count that.)

Them: “Do you know where the Lowell train stops?”
Me: “At all the stations listed on that map conveniently located right by the doors.”

And that’s just naming the recent few I can remember off the top of my head.  What are people thinking?  What on earth would possess a person to decide to approach someone who clearly isn’t going to be able to hear a word they say over someone else standing right beside them who is headphone-free?  And why does this happen to me on a regular basis?  Is it just me or does this happen to other people too?

It just seems terribly rude and I really don’t enjoy it.

Adventures in Commuting #1: Throw Marcy from the Train

Grace is not a word often used to describe me.  And with lots of good reasons.  Here’s one of them:

Yesterday, I fell off the train.

Wearing 4-inch heel knee high boots.

And a skirt.

I was on my way to work and as I stepped off the E-line, I some how managed to lose my balance and down I went!  In front of a rush hour train full of people.  Brilliant, right?  I’m nearly certain I didn’t flash anyone, but I think either way, I’m definitely much happier being blissfully ignorant.

Now my ankle is a little sore, but I’ve managed to hobble my way to and from work the past couple days, so the only thing really hurt here is my pride.  Yesterday was pretty miserable at work though – all I had to wear for shoes were those same deadly boots!

And of course, I now have a scrape/bruise on my left knee which perfectly matches the scar on my right knee from a few weeks ago when I decided it would be a good idea to shave at 2AM (Note to self: NEVER, EVER, do that again!).

But the best part is, this morning, as I was getting off the same E-line train, a woman who just moments earlier was saying to her friend how she volunteers for the BSO, almost pushed me off the train!  I was clearly limping as I tried to exit and she just shoved right by me! Don’t people know you shouldn’t push the lame and injured?  It’s just plain old rude!  And that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy about the volunteer work force at my organization.

Copley Scare

The following story actually took place this summer, but since it’s Halloween, it seemed appropriate to post it now.A couple months ago, in an effort to expand my lunch-hour horizons, I decided it would be nice to eat lunch in Copley Square on the steps of the Boston Public Library since it was warm and sunny. However, my first attempt at this would also be my last.

It seemed to be a normal day with plenty of nice normal people walking around. I found a pleasantly sunny spot on the library steps, took out my book and the left over pizza that was my lunch, and settled in.

For all of 2 minutes anyway.

I was seated by the corner of the Library when, out of nowhere, a man comes around the corner and stops, looks around, and sees me.

“I just have to tell you, you are beautiful!”

“Uh…thank you…” I said politely. Unfortunately, he took my politeness as an invitation to sit down and chat. Normally, a nice man complimenting me and chatting me up wouldn’t be unfortunate, but this man wasn’t exactly nice and was anything but dashing! He was a middle-aged black man with blood shot eyes and ill-fitting clothing. He smelled vaguely of cabbage. He sat down next to me and would Not. Stop. Talking. He launched into what appeared to be a half internal monologue, half attempt at conversation about how he always compliments the ladies, “you gotta compliment the ladies and I always tell my children to compliment the ladies.” Then he seemed to get confused and began repeating “You always gotta compliment the children.”

While this was going on, I was trying to eat my lunch and focus on my book. But not very successfully.

“You, you are beautiful, you are like Wonderwoman! That’s what you are, wonderwoman! Weeeeehoooo!”

(Ok, I admit, I had to laugh at that.)

“You must workout. Do you go to the gym? I bet you do! I go to the gym. Underneath these clothes, I look just like Arnold Schwarzenegger! Have you seen Arnold Schwarzenegger’s body?”

At this point, the strange man began rolling around on the library steps howling and tugging at his shirt. “I’m Arnold Schwarzenegger, Weeeehooo!”

(For the record, I have to say, I’m extremely disappointed in every single person, who walked by me and refused to look me in the eye at that moment! I was praying someone I knew would come by and rescue me, but no, no one would. Bastards, all of them!)

Suddenly, he jumps up, sits back down, and asks me “Who’s your favorite body builder?”

“Uh…hmm….I don’t really have one. I don’t really like bodybuilding”

(Despite his crazy antics, I was still foolishly trying to be polite and hoping he’d leave because I couldn’t think of anyway to extricate myself from the situation without being rude.)

“Well, what do you like?”

He asked me this as I was mid-bite and I almost choked as he suddenly scooted right up next to me and said “Let me try one of them things!” and reached for my lunch!

When a strange man who may be drunk, high, or just plain old crazy tries to steal my lunch, well, that is definitely my cue to leave! I closed up my lunch box, grabbed my bag, and said “Thank you for the compliment, but I have to go now.”

As I left, he was rolling around on the steps again, shouting, “Are you afraid of me? Afraid of me?”

And you’d think it would end there, right?

Of course not.

One week later, after dinner with friends at the Pru, we were all walking back to the Copley T station when we had another unfortunate encounter. Oddly enough, I was wearing exactly the same outfit as the last time and I literally had just told my friends the above story about 10 minutes before in the restaurant.

We were walking along and chatting, minding our own business, when we realized that someone was shouting something unintelligible behind us and following us down the street. This time, it was not a sunny day; it was a dark night and we were being tailed by a howling stranger down the street. My friends and I exchanged several meaningful looks and picked up the pace. One friend looked back and then turned to me and whispered “Is that the same guy you were telling us about, MarcyKate?” Of course, I didn’t think that could be possible—seriously, what are the odds of that happening? There’s more than enough crazy people in Boston! But his voice kept getting louder and closer and now we could make out that he was yelling something about “ladies” and “asses” that was definitely directed at our party.

We were moving quickly now, but he was faster. He caught up to us and came right up beside me, cackling “Give me a smile! Come on, give me a smile!”

Fortunately, my friend’s boyfriend jumped in and asked the man to leave us alone. I can’t recall exactly what his response was (something along the lines of “I was just talking to the beautiful ladies” I believe), but the sole guy in our group said to him “I don’t think any of the beautiful ladies in Boston want you howling at them while walking down the street in the middle of the night.”

But that didn’t quite shut him up. “Ooooooh, you’re Superman now, alright! Superman! Weeehoo!” And then he backed away into the Copley T station.

Which I was just about to go into myself.

By this time, I was more than a little creeped out and getting on the train at that particular stop was now the last thing in the world I wanted to do. To make a long story short (well, not really), I walked all the way down to the next T station alone and almost missed my train home.

Needless to say, my lunch excursions now end at the Pru and I don’t venture into Copley Square alone anymore.