Friday, December 03, 2010

Decoded Premiere

Thanks to everyone who watched the Decoded premiere last night on History Channel. And the love you've been sending means so so much. Can't even tell you how many times it's made bring the tears. The one thing I have to share is the experience of watching it with my family last night, all of us gathered around the screen:


Without question, my oldest son now hates -- HATES -- Harry Truman. In order of hate, it goes:



  1. Truman
  2. Nixon

Daughter watched for 15 minutes, then, bored, whispered to me, "When're you coming back on screen?" And walked away.


And youngest son spent ENTIRE episode playing new gift: a drum set. Yes. Drums. Nice quiet beautiful perfect night (with lots of hate for that bastard Harry Truman).


Love you much.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Ordinary Heroes

I get fun mail. And hate mail. And sad mail. But this is the best mail -- and the entire reason I wrote Heroes For My Son. Never forget the heroes you see every day.



Dear Mr. Meltzer,


Two months ago, this past week, my thirty-six year old sister, Renee, was diagnosed with GlioBlastoma Stage 4 brain cancer. It has taken its toll, not only on my sister, as I'm sure you could imagine, but on my entire family; my parents, my sisters two children 6 and 7, and her husband, Scott, my wife, Megan and me. Throughout the course of these two horrific months, my sister has undergone and finished her radiation treatments and continues to receive chemo. She has been in and out of Stony Brook University Hospital as well as Sloan in NYC. She initially went to a local hospital, because she had headaches. Who would have thought this? In the course of Renee’s first four weeks with this illness, the two tumors that were found doubled in size. The tumors are lying on a part of the brain that effects her emotions, personality and short term memory. Because of this, they were and still are unoperable. When asked about her prognosis, the doctors said she would have two to four weeks without treatments. My mom, dad and I, have aged, so it seems, ten years in these two months.


Only three months ago, my sister was planning to go back to teaching for her 14th year, driving her boys to their baseball and swimming events and doing everything a parent could do with their children. All of this was taken away that Sunday when she went into the hospital. Prior to her diagnosis – two weeks before, the eight of us, and my one year old son, Matthew, were fortunate enough to take a family trip to Aruba. Will this be the last family trip? Who knows? We are hoping, no, praying for a miracle. Renee recently met with her doctor from Sloan and he was amazed at how well she looked and sounded since he last saw her a few weeks back. After so many negative outcomes, could this be the break we are looking for? (As if there is such a thing.)


On September 11th, just two weeks after my sister Renee’s diagnosis, my sister-in-law, Kaitlin, went into Stony Brook University Hospital after feeling numbness in her tongue, legs and feet. Within one day, she lost the use of her lower half of her body, and within two days, she was paralyzed from the neck down. After the third day, she was put on a respirator and sent to ICU. She was diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome, a rare disease where the immune system attacks the nervous system. Basically, your blood turns bad. With this disease, 90% of patients diagnosed will recover. However, once the first symptoms appear, it gets worse for three weeks before it gets better. I am happy to say that Kaitlin is on the slow road to recovery, and is able to walk, with crutches and a walker. She still needs intense occupational and physical therapy, as she cannot open a soda bottle by herself. The one thing that never strayed, was Kaitlin’s mind. She did question her will to live, and go on.


Through these two separate experiences within my own family, I have learned a ton – especially about everyday heroes, and more importantly,who I am. I can talk about my brother-in-law, Scott- Renee’s husband, and how he has found an inner strength to take care of my sister and his two children. I have learned to be a better dad and husband because of him. I look at my parents, my mom and dad, and how they offer their help, guidance and support to their daughter and her family. I feel as if I have become a better son because of them. I look at their neighbors who have cooked food on a regular basis for the past two months. They even held a fall festival on my sister’s driveway so she could celebrate Halloween with her children and their friends. Perhaps one day, I’ll be that neighbor that can lend that hand. I commend my colleagues and the community that I work for, and where my sister lives, that created fundraisers on my sister’s behalf, sent and continue to send gift cards. I look at my wife, who has been the strength for me, despite what she is going through. I look at her family and see what they have done for Kaitlin. Then I look at Matthew, my son, perhaps the true hero at age 17 months. He is the one who can get me to smile at any moments notice. Sure, he probably senses what going on, but he makes us laugh regardless.


Then there is Renee. My sister. A teacher. A friend. The person who helped me find my way in this world. It’s pretty basic quite honestly. At some point in time we have to face reality and have to make simple decisions that will effect us tomorrow. Fifteen years ago, my sister invited me into her classroom to help her set it up. I was hanging up a bulletin board behind her desk. At that moment, I turned around and had an epiphany. I saw a classroom of students looking at me, instead of empty desks waiting anxiously for those children. I knew then that teaching was for me. I had found my tomorrow, because of my sister. Besides her classroom ways, she taught me to love my child more than anything, and to appreciate my parents. She taught me to set time aside to watch your children play and live. My sister, my hero. Now I look at her, and I see that she is in the fight for her life. I have told her many times how she inspired and continues to inspire me. I can only hope she gets through this, not only for me, but for her own children and family, for my son too, and my mom and dad.


I don't know why, but I feel compelled to write you. You wrote about heroes; those that defied the odds and did things that noone could think possible, especially when others turned their backs. I truly appreciated what you wrote and how simple you made these heroes sound. I cannot wait to share these stories with my son when he is old enough. I have been sharing these stories with the 5th grade students whom I teach, since I bought this books less than two weeks ago. My fifth graders are now turning my questions about what you wrote into writing assignments – if that’s okay with you. Through all of these experiences that you write, it seems like you hit upon- story after story- of what you learned. For that I am grateful and perhaps that’s why I write.


Thank you for allowing me to write my story to you. Everyone of us has a hero within us. At times we lose that sense, especially with all the negativity in the world. Perhaps that’s why you wrote this book too. It’s these trying moments that define who we are as people. Please continue to show and talk to your children about these heroes, yet continue to show them that there are heroes within all of us, and you don’t have to look to far to see that. Besides, I’m sure they already look at you that way!


Respectfully,


Mark Yashowitz


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

RIP Stephen J. Cannell

Yes, Stephen Cannell was responsible for my childhood. But he was also one of the nicest guys around. So nice, in fact, that when we wanted to use the Greatest American Hero theme on the soundtrack for The Book of Lies, I called him to ask who owned the rights.


Sony told me Warner Brothers owned them.


"Warners doesn't own them," Stephen told me in his beautifully insistent and wise-by-time tone.


"Then who does?" I asked.


"I do," he replied.


"Uh," I stuttered. "Can we have them?"


And that's all it took. He gave them to us -- free -- just one novelist helping another. (And yes, for those who didn't know, Stephen spent the rest of his career as a novelist -- a dyslexic one -- struggling to put the words down, but never letting it stop him. Go buy his books). I loved him for that persistence. And for teaching me about ownership. And for giving me the A-Team, the Greatest American Hero, and those end credits with him pulling the paper from the typewriter. As I said, my childhood.


Rest well, Mr. H.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

David Thompson

Just now heard about the death of David Thompson, who ran Houston's premiere mystery bookstore, Murder By The Book. David hosted one of my first signings ever when The Tenth Justice was FIRST published. For the first hour, nobody showed. Not one person. Then, two friends showed up (a law school pal and her Mom). That was the grand total: two customers and one was her Mom. I know we were supposed to look at that signing as a disaster, but David and I never did. We went out to the movies after and laughed our asses off watching South Park. I remember thanking him so much for taking a chance on an unknown like me. At the time, the bookstore around the corner from my parents' apartment wouldn't invite me to sign there -- but David said, "No. We need to support the first time authors. Come to Houston."


That was his great gift. I owe him forever for that.


In fact, for the past few books, my publisher had stopped sending me to Houston (media was too sparse there) -- but David and I conspired when The Book of Lies was published. I was going back. The day before I got there, the hurricane hit Houston, shutting the entire city down. I still tried to get in. And when one friend in Houston told me her living room was knee-deep in water, I called David and he was in the store, all set for business. Man, we should all love books like that.


For me, the highway from Austin to Houston was shut down, so no Murder By The Book for me. But David and I were still determined, and months ago, we rebooked my return visit for The Inner Circle this January.


I'll be there. David won't. And I don't care if there's another hurricane -- or only two more people join us -- we'll be raising a glass in his honor.


Miss you , pal. And thank you.


- b

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Comicon Report

Just now back from taking my son to Comicon for the first time for the full indoctrination. And while so much of the fun of Comicon these days is bitching about how good Comicon used to be in the old days, lemme just say, it's still a wet dream for me. I did one panel, but avoided all meetings, all interviews -- and just spent days talking comics with my boy and taking him to see Iron Man armor, Cap's shield, dead Green Lantern bodies, and even HR Puff n Stuff (to make me feel young). Puff n Stuff! Plus lots of time at Legoland and the San Diego zoo.



Special thanks to all those who came to the panel with myself, Paul Feig, Chip Kidd, Whitney Matheson and Michael Uslan. Was convinced that -- being up against Green Lantern and Harry Potter -- it might just be the five of us there, but you saved us and made our collective months.



Also, super thanks to the marketing guy who let my son in to see the Tron arcade even though it was officially closed. I didn't ask for any special favors. I didn't play the "I work in comics" card. And unlike the reporter guy who snuck in behind me, who was insisting that he works at a "huge site," and hinting that he'd get them free press or crush them below his heel, I just stood there and told the truth: "My boy just digs Tron." So thanks for that. You brainwashed him the best way of all: with kindness.



I know, I know, collective awwww. But still, Tron! Plus, HR Puff n Stuff!






Thursday, July 22, 2010

Meltzer's Greatest Dance Mix

Last night was my wife's 40th -- and in honor of it, I spent the afternoon reassembling the original greatest dance mix known to humankind -- the mix that was used in every single college party I was at: Please Meltz Don't Hurt Em.


Admittedly, it was missing a few of the songs from the seminal mixes -- Meltz E. Fresh -- and the controversial Meltz E. Soul (c'mon, iTunes, like I'm gonna buy the whole De La Soul album to get one song. I forever boycott such dickishness).


But with this, you will be able to recapture your youth. Special thanks to the Notorious W.E.I.S.S for helping recreate it (it was like building Frankenstein -- with lighting and thunder and extra Miami beats). Enjoy the weekend. And notice how I slowed it down in the end...just for you...




Please Meltz Don't Hurt Em - Greatest Dance Mix to Humankind by Brad Meltzer:



  • Apache, The Sugarhill Gang
  • Supersonic, J.J. Fad
  • Bust a move
  • IT takes two
  • Baby got back
  • Ice Ice Baby, Vanilla Ice
  • Peter Piper, Run-DMC
  • Joy and Pain
  • Party Up, DMX
  • Big Pimpin', Jay-Z
  • It's Tricky, Run-DMC
  • Work It, Missy Elliott
  • Poison, Bell Biv DeVoe
  • Mercy (feat. The Game)vDuffy
  • Let Me Clear My Throat, DJ Kool
  • Throw the 'D', 2 Live Crew
  • Give It to Me (feat. Justin Timberlake & Nelly Furtado), Timbaland
  • The Show, Doug E. Fresh
  • Kiss, Prince And The Revolution
  • O.P.P.
  • Creep
  • Shoop
  • Tootsie Roll, Boyz
  • Just a Friend, Biz Markie
  • Keep On Movin', Soul II Soul
  • Double Dutch Bus, Frankie Smith
  • Going Back to Cali, LL Cool J
  • Rapper's Delight, The Sugarhill Gang

Thursday, July 15, 2010

San Diego Schedule

Here's my San Diego schedule this year. I'm taking my son for the first time and doing no signings, no anything. Just a short panel and enjoying the rest of it as a fan. So here's the one appearance:



Saturday at San Diego Comicon 2010:

12:30-1:30 Comics Across all Media

Paul Feig (creator of Freaks and Geeks), Chip Kidd (Shazam!: The Golden Age of the World's Mightiest Mortal), Whitney Matheson (USA Today's Pop Candy blog), Brad Meltzer (The Inner Circle), and Michael E. Uslan (The Dark Knight) are five superstars who make headlines in television, the graphic arts, journalism, novels, and film. But they all have comics in common. As they reunite for another visit, join them for a discussion of all things nerd. It'll be like a 21st century Breakfast Club -- but with even better references. Moderated by audiobook star Scott Brick (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant). Room 24ABC


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Vook

I know it looks like a typo, but a vook is a video book, and the nice people who made the vook for Heroes For My Son gave me three free videos to share. So let's share. I must say, when I first heard of the concept, I was, like...why? (kinda like when I predicted that email would never catch on.) But then I saw the real video and imagined showing my kids that. Seeing the real thing. So enjoy...


Here's the Vook for Jesse Owens. And I'll post two more in the next few days...


b




Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Why I Love Kodak

Okay, now that the tour has calmed and my family recognizes me again, I finally got a chance to upload all the photos from the Heroes For My Son book tour to our regular Brad Meltzer Facebook page.


The gallery contains pics of tons of readers, my very first girlfriend, my first best friend ...in Florida, and even the family of a high school friend who died too young. It just reminds me how lucky we are every day. And how many beautiful readers and friends I'm so lucky to be surrounded by. You are the real heroes.


Anyway, special thanks to Kodak for the use of the amazing M530 Easy Share camera. Gave me my true Kodak moments.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bestseller List

I'm breaking one of my rules. I never go out there and yell from the rooftops when we get on the bestseller list. And y'know why? Because being on a stupid list doesn't mean anything. It doesn't make me a smarter, nicer, or better person. It just means my family bought a lot of books.



But.



Sometimes you need to say thank you. And I need to say thank you for this: When Heroes For My Son launched, it was seen as a small idealistic book. It didn't have crazy orders. It was always the underdog. And the entire advertising budget for the book was...zero.



Zero dollars.



Not a single ad was bought. Not a single TV or radio or print ad ran. In fact, in the weeks before the launch, the entire imprint that bought the book was shut down. It was an orphan book.



But, as it was launched, it had one thing going for it: you. Yes, you -- our family and friends and beloved readers who supported this little dream of a book. You came out, and supported it, and bought copies for Dads and Grandparents, and kids and new babies. And Kodak came in and believed in that dream. And so did all our friends in the media and in publishing, who have looked out for us since page one. And so did the people at Harper, who took it over.



And that was how the book with zero advertising dollars just made the number two spot on the New York Times bestseller list (which I just got the call about).



So as I finish the tour tonight in Michigan, thank you for believing in this little book -- and in me. It is your love and support of the thrillers that let me do this book for my boys. And it's why it was launched with so much love. And that love is the only damn way to explain anything in this world.



Love on all of you.



b


PS - Right after we got the news, look what we passed. No kidding.


Marshalls

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Heroes For My Son - Dallas Signing

This is how you welcome someone to Dallas. Never have I seen a bigger balder head on a stadium.


This is how you welcome someone to Dallas. Never have I seen a bigger balder head on a stadium.


I'll be at Borders tonight at 7:00 PM



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Monday, May 10, 2010

One More Day

This post is also on Heroes For My Son.


It's now less than twenty-four hours until Heroes For My Son is released into our wild cruel world. So in this quiet little moment, let me tell you the most important thing of all: thank you. Thank you for what you've always done for all of us. If it weren't for you buying the other stuff, I don't get to do this one. And this one is just so personal to me.


As I've said before and will say again, this isn't a book to me. It's a dream. More important, it's my dream for my son -- and it's something I thought up on the very first night Jonas was born eight years ago. Is that schmaltzy? You better believe it is. But I want my son to learn that too. And I hope that whoever you give it to -- Dad, Grandparents, Mom, teacher, or child -- I hope they get the joy that I had building it.


In fact, to show you what I'm talking about, take a look at this, which answers the real question my son asked me (and also gives you the first peek at some of the heroes inside).


Link to YouTube


Tuesday, May 04, 2010

My Mom

With less than a week to go until the release of Heroes For My Son, things are getting crazy here. But even with all that's going on, nothing in my professional life has hit me as hard as putting together this video. Anyone with a mother will understand.


We usually go through a few drafts when we do a video. Here, we went through dozens of edits, tweaks, etc. This one had to be perfect. It's for my Mom.


So yes, she's in the book along with Jim Henson, Rosa Parks and Mr. Rogers.


Of course, feel free to forward to your own Mom. And happy Mother's Day to all.


Call Your Mother - Brad Meltzer's Mom (YouTube)




Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Calling All Members!

Okay, we're officially 3 weeks away from the launch of Heroes For My Son.


As we do with every book, just want to know who wants to help by being part of our oh-so-glamorous Invisible Army (who every book saves our tushies like nobody's business). If you're up for it, please email me here or at bradmeltzer44 AT gmail.com with the message: "I'm in." We'll do the rest.


Love you like Milano cookies.


-b

Friday, April 02, 2010

April Fool

Holy jeez. Never, in all my years of having an April first birthday, have I ever had a prank this good played on me (though when I used to sell classified ads and all my clients canceled their ads on the same day, leaving me broke, that was close).


So thanks to my wife Cori -- and all my fellow creative pals -- and all the sites that helped post it. Every damn one of them is a place (and person) I love to read. My wife knows me well -- and it was nice to know that if she wanted to cheat on me, I clearly would have no idea.


Also, best part? My film agent who called and said, "I believed it.". Thanks for the faith. To see the full prank:



But most of all, thanks to all the family and friends who sent love. You know I don't have "readers." I have family and friends. Always have. That's the ONLY reason I get to still do this and on a day like my birthday -- when I usually get all sappy and sad -- thanks for making me feel so blessed. I never ever forget you're there. Ever.


If I could buy each of you something expensive -- like a first-class Bar Mitzvah -- I would.


xoxo


B

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Don't Tell Me The Odds

This post is also on Heroes For My Son.



I just love this story about the one person out of four million who picked the perfect bracket. It's so simple. So perfect. And it just defies the odds.


There is no impossible (don't tell my son that -- he's still pissed he got a few wrong).


From ESPN.Com



Autistic teen picks perfect bracket
By Eamonn Brennan


ESPN's Tournament Challenge is currently hosting 4.78 million -- yes, million -- 2010 NCAA tournament bracket entries. After two rounds, not a single one of them is perfect . But the feat has, miraculously enough, been accomplished.


Who did it? His name is Alex Herrman, and he's a 17-year-old student at Glenbrook South High School in Glenview, Ill., one of Chicago's north suburbs. Herrmann, who is autistic, picked all the wild upsets you and I didn't see happening. UNI over Kansas. Ohio over Georgetown. Cornell over Wisconsin. Your bracket may have survived. Your bracket might be good. Herrmann's bracket is 100 percent perfect.



"It's amazing," Hermann said. "I'm good at math. I'm kind of good at math and at stats I see on TV during the game."


Alex entered the bracket on CBSsports.com's bracket challenge. CBS did not return several phone calls to confirm entries into its game. His 24-year-old brother Andrew, who helped him enter his picks into CBS' bracket manager, also entered the contest -- and ranks behind 500,000 other people.


“My bracket is totally shot,” his 24-year-old brother Andrew said. “So is everyone else I know.”



Us too, Andrew. Us too.


In case you needed the visual proof, NBC Chicago has the PDF right here . Another fun fact: According to Book Of Odds , the chances of picking the first two rounds of this NCAA tournament are one in 13,460,000, which means you have a better chance of winning the lottery twice over.


Two rounds is incredibly impressive, obviously, but the next step is seeing if Alex's picks can go the distance. Can he complete the holy grail? Can he seal the perfect bracket? Herrmann's Final Four is a bit dubious -- he has Tennessee coming out of the Midwest and Purdue overcoming the Robbie Hummel injury to make it out of the South -- not to mention the fact that the odds of attaining a perfect bracket are 1 in 35,360,000,000. (Or, according to Book Of Odds, "almost 18 times worse than your odds of being killed by a waterspout in a year [1 in 1,988,000,000]." So, um, yeah.) But doubting Alex now means doubting the one person who managed to get the entire bracket correct. In other words, I'm not going to do it.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

My First Love

Today is my 15th wedding anniversary. But more insane, it's been 25 years since I met her in junior high. And so, in honor of my love Cori, I love pulling out this old story...



My First Lady
By Brad Meltzer


Our story starts like this: She was the captain of the cheerleaders; I had just moved to Florida from Brooklyn. She was wavy hair, green eyes, and a red scrunchie; I was in puberty. She was popular; I was unknown. She was beautiful; I was entranced. She liked to laugh; I was (somewhat) funny. In time, we met. I was fifteen.


Like most of us at that age, I really didn't think I would marry the person I was taking to my junior high school prom. I was far more concerned with the pressing questions of that now-gone time: Can I afford this limo? Does my hair have enough mousse in it? And if I pin the corsage on her chest, does that mean I got to second base? Even though the answer to all these questions was yes, I still didn't think we were going to get married. Why? Because of the most obvious assumption that currently exists about high school sweethearts: They never get married.


Scoff if you must, but the assumption is real. To prove it, I conducted my own independent survey. Randomly dialing seven-digit phone numbers, I called five people and said to them: "I married my high school sweetheart. What's your reaction?" The responses were as follows:


FIRST PERSON: "Who cares?"


SECOND PERSON: "Who is this?"


THIRD PERSON: "I'm not answering that."


FOURTH PERSON: "Who is this?"


FIFTH PERSON: "What are you doing a survey for?"


Clearly, not a single person believed I had married my high school sweetheart. But quite honestly, I don't care.


When I first met her, Cori was fourteen. Today, she's twenty-six. We've been dating the entire time. Corny? Yes. For real? Absolutely. Make you sick? Perhaps. But whenever I tell people we're high school sweethearts, the reactions are surprisingly similar. They go something like this:


FEMALE STRANGER: "Oh, that is so wonderful. I love hearing stories like that."


SELFISH MALE STRANGER: "I hate to say it, but that's pretty cool." (Subtext: "I wish you were dead.")


NORMAL MALE STRANGER: "Wow, that's great. That's really great." (Subtext: "I wish you were dead.")


The questions people ask me about our relationship also tend to be similar. Roughly generalized, they are usually one (if not all) of the following: (1) When did you know she was "the one"? (2) Don't you feel like you missed out? And (3) How did it happen?


And now, so you don't actually have to find someone who married his high school sweetheart, here are the answers.


QUESTION 1: When did you know she was "the one"?


ANSWER: The moment I saw her. When she walked past my history class, I was immediately smitten. But did I know at that exact moment that she would be my wife? Did I imagine the wedding and the reception and the four unreturnable Crock-Pots? Of course not. All I knew was that I wanted to know her. I wanted to be near her. I wanted her to know me. And that's how it is for many couples today: Whether they've known each other for twelve years, twelve minutes, or twelve seconds, first contact was more visceral than cerebral. When I first saw Cori, I wanted to meet the cheerleader. It wasn't until I graduated from college that I knew I wanted to be with her forever.


QUESTION 2: Don't you feel like you missed out?


ANSWER: Nope. In college, (I went to Michigan; she went to Harvard), we put our relationship to the real test and decided to see other people ­ to make sure we knew what we were missing. If we were going to get married, the last thing we wanted to do was look back at our college years and say, "Damn, why didn't we take advantage of that?" Like most living, breathing human beings, we wanted to lick the lollipop of life. So we did.


It wasn't easy. Although we never broke up, I didn't visit her when she was dating someone else, and she didn't visit me when there was someone I was seeing. Without question, it was the hardest and worst part of our relationship. If I called her room on a Saturday night and no one answered, she got the interrogation on Sunday morning. If she couldn't reach me, I got the same.


When I look back on it, it was a twisted game—a sort of self-inflicted agony that was endured for an unguaranteed future opportunity. But what an opportunity. And when our four years were over, the experiment complete, I had my answers: Other women were always fun, and usually attractive, and sometimes wild, but none of them made me laugh like Cori. None of them made me as angry as Cori. None of them made me as happy as Cori. They may've been nice and cute and pretty and all the other positive adjectives, but none of them could ever touch me, down to my core, like Cori.


QUESTION 3: How did it happen?


ANSWER: To me, this question is the most interesting of the three. Not just because of what it asks, but how it's asked. When people ask Question 1, their tone is one of natural curiosity. When they ask Question 2, their tone expresses disbelief—as if they can't accept the fact that anything can ever be that perfect. But Question 3 is usually asked with a heaping dose of delighted—and sometimes envious—amazement.


In today's world of fractured and hard-to-find relationships, people seem genuinely excited by the idea that a couple could last through the awkward and mercurial stage of life known as teenagedom. As if somehow the existence of high school sweethearts means that stability and commitment and true love are indeed possible for all of us. And that society's quest for simpler ideas and times will finally, joyfully, be achieved. In this third question, people aren't just asking, "How did you do it?" They're also asking, "How can I do it, too?"


So how did we do it? Like most relationships, ours took time to progress. There was no single, magical, warm, mushy, fuzzy-bunny, Hollywoodized moment. Slowly, over time, we stepped forward together. I knew I loved Cori's laugh, and the way she completes my sentences, and the way she looks when she wakes up in the morning, and the way she picks a fight when she disagrees with someone. But is that what makes a good relationship? Of course not. True love is more than a few trite examples.


Eventually, I simply realized that no matter how many women I dated—no matter how interesting, no matter how pretty, no matter how new and exciting they were—none of them could offer me what my high school girlfriend offered me. Unlike my college flings, Cori knew me in a way no one else ever could. She knew my history. This history, however, can't adequately be explained in a mushy narrative. It takes an anecdotal narrative to do it justice. So here goes:



  • My wife and I were driven to our first date by my parents.
  • She knew (personally) all of my high school friends.
  • She knew me when I wore parachute pants.
  • She knew (personally) all the people I didn't like in high school.
  • She knew me when I liked Journey.
  • I saw The Breakfast Club with her (in the theater, smart guy).
  • I was there the day she got her license.
  • We studied for the SAT together.
  • She helped me paint signs when I ran for student government president.
  • She was in the car when I got my first speeding ticket (the cop called my parents—it was a laugh riot).
  • I knew her when she was into that Flashdance look.
  • We celebrated together the day I was accepted to college.
  • She knew my dad when he had hair.
  • She was there when the captain of the football team wanted to beat me up.
  • She was there when my grandfather died.
  • We went to the senior prom together.
  • I was her first; she was mine.

Years ago, when I graduated from college, my roommate and I loaded up a U-Haul and drove our belongings to Boston. On the way, we stopped by his parents' house in Dix Hills, New York. I had known him for four years. He was my best friend from college. I knew most of his fears, hopes, and dreams. Without question, I knew who he was. But it wasn't until I walked into his house and saw the room where he grew up that I finally understood where he came from.


Not only did I experience the smell and texture and reality of his childhood—I also saw the pieces of his earlier years: the dozens of trophies he'd won on the track team (he gave up running when he left for college), the clothes he used to wear (lots of suspenders), even the Knight Rider poster that still hung on his wall (hey, we all had a freaky stage). For all of us, the minutiae of our childhoods are the building blocks of our current identities.


For my wife and me, and for most high school sweethearts, the results are the same. Since we met at such a young age, our identities are intertwined. We've spent most of our years together and internalized the word "we." Indeed, our wedding was perhaps the best allegory for our relationship. When we were married, no one asked, "Bride's side or groom's side?" There were no "sides." Because we'd been together so long (twelve years, for those keeping score), there wasn't a person there who didn't know us as a couple.


Does it mean we're more in love? No. Do we understand each other better than most couples? Not necessarily. Do we have better sex? Maybe (think cheerleading skirt). Do we have a better relationship than every other couple on the planet? Doubtfully. In truth, marrying your high school sweetheart is kind of like spending the day with a longtime friend. You have multitudes of shared experiences. So if you pick the right person, you're going to have more to laugh about; if you pick the wrong person, your day is going to suck. Period.


Whenever I meet someone new, I love asking about his or her childhood: where they grew up, where they went to school, what their first job was, what their parents were like. We're not all just the sum of our individual experiences. But if you find out that your girlfriend used to dig the Smurfs, you're probably going to be standing in line at a few too many Disney movies.


As for me and my wife, our twenty-year high school reunion was last year. Neither of us dreaded it. I didn't need to give her the lowdown on everyone; she didn't have to introduce me to everyone she encountered. With my wife, I share my unwritten history. And because of that, she already knows I used to dig the Smurfs.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Send This One To Your Grandmother

This blog is also posted on Heroes For My Son.


When I was little, my Grandmother used to take me to the library. She's the one who introduced me to all those books. Her and all those librarians.


So here's a new hero that someone sent me over the weekend... Boy, I feel like Casey Kasem doing a long distance dedication. But I used to love those dedications, so...this one goes out to Seth.



From: Seth Moore


My Hero: My grandma


For as long as I've been able to remember (though not my entire life), by grandpa has been restricted to a wheelchair. There was no great accident that made him this way, but rather a rare, incurable disease called attaxia. Attaxia eats away at the region of the brain controlling motor functions, slowly causing the victim to become paralyzed, be incapable of speech, and eventually leads to choking to death.


As of today, he is losing his awareness, though whether that is from the disease or just aging, I'm not sure. He sleeps nearly 20 hours a day, and eats very little. I suppose he is a little more "manageable" now than he used to be, but my grandma has never thought of him in that light.


I am 20 years old. I have never once heard her say a negative comment toward him. She worships him, always praising him for what a wonderful man he is, for his integrity, for how much he loves for her given the limited means he has for expressing it. She considers her task of caring for him to be the greatest calling God could give her.


She prays with him daily. She reads the Bible to him because he is no longer able to hold a book steady or turn the pages. He is always the most lucid with her. He is never a burden.


If all of this were not enough, my aunt has the same disease. While she is obviously younger, it progressed in her much more quickly and at a younger age. Sadly, her husband does not consider caring for her to be the joy that my grandmother finds. After years of emotional abuse and neglect, my aunt finally separated from him to live with my grandparents. Grandma cares for both her husband and her daughter.


It was about a year ago that my grandparents and my aunt moved from their lifelong home an hour from my family to a new home twelve hours north. Another daughter/sister lives up there with her family, and she is an RN. They now live in the best assisted living complex I have ever seen, and life is so much easier. My uncle comes over every morning to sit my grandpa up, strap him to a machine to move him to his wheelchair, help bathe him, dress him, take him to the restroom. But in the end, it all comes back to my grandma and her almost stubborn loyalty to this man.


Grandmother


Friday, February 12, 2010

Lunch with 41

Had lunch with George HW Bush and Barbara, whose first words to me were "You took off your hair!"


Thursday, February 04, 2010

Percy Jackson's First Kiss

My pals on @eitmonline asked Percy Jackson star Logan Lerman about the fact that I helped write his first kiss on Jack & Bobby. I still love Logan. And was as nervous as he was on set. Okay, he was more nervous. A hundred of us were watching.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Buffy!

My first issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is out today. Has my most nerd moment ever. Yep. That's sayin something.


And for those afraid of comic stores (and you shouldn't be), you can go here (Atomic Comics)

Thursday, January 07, 2010

We Want To See Your Child!

Did you videotape your child being born (I don't mean the gorey parts, or parts with nudity -- I mean the part where the baby is handed to Mom/Dad for the very first time. The nice for TV part)? You did? Great. Can you...er...send it to us for free? I mean it. With Heroes For My Son approaching, we're again looking for help from the Invisible Army (read: all of you amazing people out there who over and over again help us). Thusly, as we make the first video for the book, we're looking for the following footage (especially that delivery room moment):



  1. any hospital footage of newborn babies and fathers/mothers being handed/holding the baby for the first time
  2. a boy (elementary or kindergarten) playing with an airplane toy
  3. a boy with a video camera
  4. a boy performing a magic trick
  5. a boy playing with toy doctor’s tools
  6. a boy writing letters or doing “writing” school work
  7. an elementary school boy playing a musical instrument or a toddler banging on or playing with one, or singing with a real or toy microphone, or at a concert/pageant
  8. a boy in a grade school play
  9. a boy in cap and gown at elementary or high school graduation
  10. a junior high or high school boy giving a speech

If you have such footage, please shoot me an email and I'll tell you where to send it. As always, I'm at bradmeltzer27 [at] gmail.com. Or through facebook or twitter or anywhere else we pimp.


Much love and thanks for doing this. And yes, we're gonna try and make your little one a star. But in a good way.


b

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Dad's Surgery

Didn't want to post this until I knew the outcome, but just wanted to let you know that while everyone else was spending their holidays trapped in airports, we spent ours in the hospital, as my Dad had some open heart surgery. Was scary for a bit -- especially when his kidneys decided to stop working and he went into renal failure -- but thankfully, he bounced back and is now home and starting the real recovery.


I will say, it really did put the year into perspective. There's nothing like six days watching someone you love in the intensive care unit to make you thankful for what you have. And I count you as one of those people that I'm thankful for.


So yes, feel free to stop by his facebook page to post good thoughts and whatever other juvenile humor you know he likes best.


Otherwise, here's to a far healthier new year for all with far less hospital visits.