I sing the body electric

Sometimes, when the writing life gets a little too isolating and I start channeling Jack Nicholson in “The Shining”, I seek out others of my tribe. So, I’ve been having writing dates with the fabulous, funny, and very cool Rachel “Don’t Call Me Rach” Cohn. (If you have not read Gingerbread–one of my avorite YA novels of all time featuring the awesome Cyd Charisse–well, you just need to stop reading this post RIGHT NOW and get thee to a bookstore. Just saying.)

Anyway, Rachel came over bearing these completely addictive espresso malted milk balls. It’s like she lit the crack pipe and put it in my hand. Chocolate and coffee! Together! Where is the Nobel Prize when you need one! However, I’m guessing that when they invented these at Oren’s Daily Roast, they thought of them as sort of like after-dinner mints. You eat one or two and call it a night. How quaint.

I’m not that kind of chocolate consumer. No. I tend to think of chocolate as my extreme sport, and I am the Bode Miller of it. If you put that bag down and leave it open, it’s like declaring open season. I will grab a handful and saunter back to the couch. I’ll grab two on my way to the bathroom. I’ll take two more if I need to get up to change the CD. I will eat them. Until. You take. The bag. Away. I’m not sure how many I ate but I swear that within an hour I was VIBRATING. I was sweaty and jittery and talking Rachel’s ear off about weird, weird stuff, and it is a testament to how cool she is that she didn’t grab her laptop and run screaming from my apartment.

But during our caffeine-fueled time together, Rachel filled me in on “High School Musical” which she loves beyond reason. I am told it has the worst acting. Cheesy basketball numbers. And the kind of bubblegum pop numbers that etch their initials into your gray matter. I must see it.

When I heard there was dancing on cafeteria tables, well, let’s just say that short of getting a foot massage from Ewan McGregor while Rufus Wainwright sings to me, it was the best thing I could imagine. It immediately made me think of “Fame”–a movie I think I saw about 4,875 times. I wanted to be Irene Cara so bad! I wanted to live in a world where people broke out into song and dance in the lunchroom. I begged, BEGGED my mother to send me to the High School of Performing Arts in NYC. She gave me the appropriate “You must have confused me with someone who has money” look and told me to go listen to the soundtrack in my room. And oh, oh I did. I put on my Danskin leotard and matching tights and it was Jazz Hands, Baby! in my room all winter long. I think there was some kind of dance move that involved throwing my arms into the air while simultaneously dropping to the floor in a crouch like the guys in West Side Story and I’m pretty sure I busted my lip on my bedpost doing it. I understood that the manufactured, I’m-hot-yet-so-so-lonely ballad “Out Here On My Own” DEMANDED that I lip synch mournfully into my bathroom mirror. (This post is starting to remind me of those espresso balls…I know I should stop but I can’t seem to do it.) Note to self: Put “Fame” on Netflix list. And I guess I’ll have to break down and watch “HSM” but not until I finish this book. By God, if that doesn’t get me motivated, nothing will.

Oh no. Espresso…balls…still…left…Spock…must…resist…must…oh the hell with it. Maybe I can get my laundry done at midnight.

150 thoughts on “I sing the body electric

  1. I love High School Musical! It’s just that kind of horrible movie that you can’t help but love and watch repeatedly no matter how much your older brothers tease you. Yes, it’s the Disney Channel but there is a major human drama going on, social barriers are being broken down!

    I’ve never seen Fame. I’ll definitely rent it, though. If it’s anything close to High School Musical amazing-ness than I’m sure that I will love it.


    p.s. How great was that number at the end of HSM? Too great, that’s how great.

  2. Re: nm

    I’ve always imagined him with a wierd chin. I think that if she does something, that he will protect her in an…unfortunate manner.

  3. Re: nm

    Haha! Well… I don’t really understand what you mean by unfortunate manner… but whatever. I just like to think they fall madly in love with no abuse.

  4. me myself & chocolate

    lol its like your talking about myself and my wonderful realationship with chocolate, i eat it until its gone and i have to pretend someone stole it lol

  5. me myself & chocolate

    lol its like your talking about myself and my wonderful realationship with chocolate, i eat it until its gone and i have to pretend someone stole it lol

  6. .::..::Gingerbread::..::..

    OMG! I love that book. She is an awesome writer, but not half as much as you. Lol. I love that book because it is so deep and talks about stuff that other writters wouldn’t even dare to write about. Like how it says about her getting an abortion and stuff… yeah

  7. I am absolutely obsessed with your books!!!

    Dear Mrs. Bray,

    I cant wait until your third book comes out!!!! I dont know if ill be able to wait until ’07 but I will try my very best! When “A great and terrible beauty” came out I read it within 24 hours and I did the same with “Rebel Angels”. You are my favorite author and your two books are my all time favorites(and ive read alot of books). I keep rereading them over and over again and im about to do a book report on them for school. I just have one question….. how do you pernounce Circe? LOL) My sister thinks im insane cause im so crazy about your books but Its only a matter of time before I get her hooked on them too! Thanks for your work and im trying but not succeding in patiently awaiting your 3rd book.


  8. High School Musical

    If you want the ultimate cheese factor, you must watch the dance along version. Oh yes, there most definatley is a dance along version.

  9. your next book

    Hey! i just LOVED your first two books. i cant wait for the next one to come out. when do you think it will?

  10. I’m quite positive that it’s pronounced “Jem-uh” like, ya know, the word “gem”? It’s like in “Rebel Angels” Simon sent her a card with a necklace saying “Gems for our Gemma.”

  11. I agree with you one hundred percent! Uh oh, I think my office tile floor is growing hazardous from all the excess saliva… lol

  12. OH my…..you did NOT say High school musical and chocolate in one post

    It took all I had not to burst out laughing at the mention of “High School Musical” and then even more not to burst into tears from the guilty knowledge, that i did, in fact, sit down two days in a row and watch it on the Family Channel. I swear, it said musical, so i watched, indulged, and could not get the darn “Soaring…Flying” song out of my head that was sung by two very icky icky teenybopper actors with too much hair products…in their hair, funny enough. Atleast I had my ice-cream to keep me company as i google the “tv Disney Film” on the internet…which now i am tres ashamed to admit to….quick….SHOOT ME!
    or give all the chocolate in the world to Kristy Allen! becuase god knows that reading your post about chocolate made me twitchy, itchy, and really wanting some co-co-lato.
    AS for the film FAME…i share your want in that catagory, i am stuck my final year of High School in a Catholic School with very sterotypical Catholic School “dirrty” girls (notice the double R dirrty), i want to do ridiculous dance moves in mid-air and sing down the halls without people giving me those really werid looks.
    I am jealous of FOOTLOOSE too…i wanna cut damn footloose and kick off my sunday shoes!
    oh well, can’t have everything
    *eyes gleam at Espresso* that would help me finish my English “akward sentancing” Essay.
    oh well, keep at the fantabulastic work! it is truly, a work of a genius with good junk-food taste
    kudos to you!

    livejournal user : Whisperkind (darn thing won’t let me post while logged in…*seettthhhheee*

  13. Re: OH my…..you did NOT say High school musical and chocolate in one post

    nevermind…i am not too computer bright..have to verify my e-mail APPERANTALY 😛 bwhahaha i am not long “anomynous”! I have a name and a slight resemblance to an indentiy…woot

  14. thank you!

    Hi libba,
    Just wanted to say hello and that I think your books are marvelous. They have led me to stay awake much too late because I couldn’t stop reading until the end, and miss my stop on the bus. And my mother, who is very responsible and also a big fan, once had me drive her to the library to pick up “rebel angels” even though it meant we would be late for something else. (you have to know her to appreciate what a big deal this is!)
    I’m from denton and had your mother as an English teacher but now I’m happily living and working in dc, or the belly of the beast as we like to call it. And am your person to call if you ever find yourself here and in need of free tickets to the symphony or free tickets to punk shows or delicious vegan baked goods.
    Thank you so much for your wonderful books and characters!

  15. Writing

    I have a question about your writing? Are you going to make a trilogy with Pippa being the bad guy or is this it. If you do awesome if you dont well my life will be filled with questions that will never be answered!! JOKE as you said you’re busy with your son but if you have time please write.

  16. Ohmygosh I love Rachel Cohn. Her books kick ass. Dude, those High School Musical songs get stuck in your head for hours and hours and hours, which often leads to me singing in history instead of learning about whatever we’re supposed to be learning about. Well until the girl next to me said “woah you sound JUST LIKE that chick” yeah that pretty much stopped the singing… Sadly, I actually have danced on the cafateria tables before, because I’m that big of a dork.

  17. This comment will likely have nothing whatsoever to do with your post (other than saying that Ewan MacGregor + foot massage = HEAVEN). Instead, I’m taking this moment to regress a dozen years or so and be a squealing fangirl. Ready? Here I go.

    I just finished Rebel Angels last night. Devoured it. Devoured A Great and Terrible Beauty immediately before it. I now count myself among the number anxiously awaiting your new book.

    My excitement for your novels, however, was nothing comparied to my giddy glee when a friend told me about your blog. I friended you instantly (I love when random words become verbs). I’ve only read two and a half entries, but I’m completely hooked. You’re hysterical. And fun. And you almost make me want to watch “High School Musical.” (Look! I tied the comment back into your post!)

    And I just want to thank you for taking the time to have this blog. I think it’s very cool that you’re this accessible (and I’m not at all certain I spelled that correctly, but I’m also too lazy to look it up).

    I’m an editorial assistant with a Random House imprint, and my life goal is to edit and/or write young adult fiction. I’m in the process of revising my first novel, and I look forward to any scraps of insight into the mad, mad world of YA publishing that I can glean from your posts.

    Though mostly I’ll just be reading them to giggle.

  18. hello!

    Hi! I absolutley adore A Great and Terrible Beauty and Rebel Angels! I hope you are thinking about writing a third! Well just wanted to tell you that your books are fantastic! Bye

  19. HSM

    Ok so i dont know why HSM is o addicting but it is. No matter whats on and thats on i must leave the TV set to it. I own the soundtrack and its not the best singing in the world but its pretty good. The dancing i think is amazing not to mention the one guy is hott…lol

  20. Too funny for words!

    I have to reply. MUST REPLY! You had me at the chocolate single-word-mantra stuff, to paraphrase Tom Cruise (who I think is a loser, but there you are)…but when you started channeling Fame, I was done. Did you ever watch the t.v. show? I LITERALLY (and yes, I realize what a loser I sound typing this, and you don’t know me, which is even worse…) danced around my kitchen each and every Sunday night while doing dishes and watching it. I did NOT have a Danskin, but if I did, I would have been wearing it. I think I lost actual weight watching that show. I was positive there was some happy vibe that uplifted me and came right through the lyrics…like audio-uppers or something…and like you, I was sure I was meant to go to that school. Since I, however, lived in small-town Ontario, Canada, the look on my mother’s face was likely even more entertaining than the one on yours. Man, you made me laugh. Long live Leroy! Coco! Doris! Leo! (the newer cast sucked, so we won’t even go there!)

    Martha Martin

  21. Caffine

    Good luck with the writing I am a huge fan of your work, I am an offshore medic and find the world you have created very much involving and interesting I am looking forward to the next installment, you have inspired me to continue writing a short…… two pages really, story I begin a long time ago. Try not to rattle out of your skin with those things.

  22. my little sister loves HSM it was cute like the first 2 times then it got recorded and the repete button was found 😦
    i could so use a espresso ball ummmmmmmmmmmm .o my editor says i need the interview by may 21 2006 thanks

  23. Our lyrics were more fun…

    I seem to recall our duet of, how do I say it, um, our special AMENDED rendition of Out Here on my Own on a tabletop at Hole in the Wall circa 1985. If you can remember our lyrics, I’ll send you some esspresso balls.

    Hang in there sweetie. You’re the most brilliant writer I know and you always doubt yourself.


  24. Stuff Stuff

    I love when you have little “writing dates” me and a friend who likes to write get together to write all the time. But, mostly we end up listening to music and talking. As for High School Musical, I personally hate it. Everyone at my school goes around singing “Gotta gotta get my head in the game!!!” Its super annoying, but thats just my opnion.When I watched it on tv i only liked one song about a fairy tale or how she make-believed that that guy liked her.
    Really excited for your next book, I heart Gingerbread plus the cover totally rocks!


  25. Any other sequels?

    Ms. Libba Bray-
    I have read “A Great and Terrible Beauty” and “Rebel Angels” and i was so fascinated with both. I read “Rebel Angels” in 2 days, because there was no possible way to stop. After I finished “Rebel Angels” I really wanted to read another book like those. I was hoping you would make a sequel to the life of Gemma Doyle, so I could find out if Pippa does become a dark spirit, or if the new order will work out. If you did write a continuation, I’d probably be the first in lines to buy it! Both books were absolutely wonderful!!

  26. not high school musical!

    No no no no no no!! i can’t stand that movie!! i saw it the first time it was out and thought the whole IDEA was stupid… but the choreography is rly cool…

    yet my siblings watch it over and over and over and the music is always playing in my house and i am surprised i’m still living!!

    n i LOVE chocolate!!! chocolate is my life!!! but i can even put down chocolate to read your books!!

    so if hs musical helps u write then i’m all for it (even if i can’t stand it myself) 😉

  27. OMG!!

    I’ve read Gingerbread!! thats a really good book. but my fav is a great and terrible beauty! ive read it like a million times!!

  28. i love the espresso balls too heres a questions just for you

    so i loved your two books and was wondering if you were writing a third? if so, when im dieing to read it i want despretly to read about what gemma does in the realms next and if she takes kartik into the realms to the caves of sighs oooh that would be so romantic! sorry im sorta writting your eyes off but i loved your books so much that i bought both of them almost emidiatly! please please do write another.

    yours truly,
    heather elam of modesto cali.

  29. another question

    can you tell us anything about the book to come, i mean about what’ll be in it that kind of stuff?

  30. Procrastination is like masterbation…in the end, you’re only screwing yourself.

    I can hear the angry fans knashing their teeth as we speak. They can’t wait, and frankly, neither can I. I mean, how long are we supposed to go without hot visuals of Kartik running though our teenage minds…

    Seriously, though, we can only tolerate Serena and Nathan for so long. Even Georgia Nicolson got a bit boring, and that was truly dissapointing.

  31. I absolutely LOVE your books. I can’t believe it took me so many months to finally read Rebel Angels! My Harry Potter obsession got taken a tad too far. Not reading anything from June-December that wasn’t a Harry Potter book is pretty pathetic.

    I hope you come to Arizona some time. Getting you to come to Arizona, though is probably just as impossible as J.K. Rowling. No one comes here. And now I’m complaining.

    I can’t wait until the third book comes out!


  32. Good morning.
    I’ve just finished reading your fabulous book Rebel Angels and I was curious to find out more about the author that stole hours of my precious weekend time while I sat indoors hunched over a book instead of enjoying the first warm weather of the season. After perusing your website, I decided to check out the link to your LJ. I must say, you seem very clever and down-to-earth. I find it refreshing that you, a busy writer, would want to share your daily life with LJ-users far and wide. Would you mind if I added you as a friend? I’m sure you get this request often, but I always prefer to ask before I “friend” anyone on LJ.

    Happy writing,

  33. your books

    i love your books they are my favorites. i wish i could write like you. i want to be a writer, your books are absolutely wonderful i cant even put it into words. how many books about Gemma will you be writing? she is my favorite character.

  34. Hmm

    I never read Gingerbread because my friend recommended it and I try to avoid every book she recommends. After all, it is her fault I am scarred. But now that you’ve recommended it, I’ll have to go to Barnes and Nobles soon and purchase it.

    I don’t think I’ve ever commented on your blog even though I’ve visited often (my life is my computer). Just wanted to say I loved both Beauty and Rebel Angels. What can I say? I go crazy with anything old and British. And provate schools. I’m a sucker for private schools.

    Anyway, my friend recently got addicted to HSM. She’s been singing some songs in the gym locker room when changing, and though I’ve threatened to stuff her head into one of the tiny lockers, she won’t seem to listen to me. Maybe there is something addicting to it. Even though it looks like it sucks.

    “I’m not sure how many I ate but I swear that within an hour I was VIBRATING” You sound like me when I drink Starbucks’ Vanilla Bean Frapuccino.

    Well, I’ll be going now. (By the way, I think it’s so cool you live in NYC. You make my hometown sound cool again)

  35. Just thought that I’d comment to say, as a wanna-be YA author, you’re an inspiration. 🙂 Oh, and that I’ve read Rebel Angels 30 times now. Yep, that’s it 🙂

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