Over the weekend, I was invited to present my book to 100 Emmy nominees. (Tune in Sunday, September 18 to see who wins.) Believe me, I was both excited and honored to share what I’d written. The day was spent meeting young actors, bands, and recording artists who have been tapped to pick up an Emmy.
A familiar face appeared before me, and I realized it was Sloane Morgan Siegel, the uber-talented young actor who played Gortimer on Amazon’s Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street. My heart filled with the kind of happiness you feel when a kid you love graduates and you realize how impressed you are with the young person he or she has become.
I am on the author appearance circuit with my adult novel, but I’m especially proud to have recently completed my first Middle Grade novel, How I Learned To Play Guitar, after two years of writing and revision. It’s no coincidence that my children also entered middle grade over the course of writing my new book. But I owe tremendous gratitude to the writers of Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street. The mix of magic realism, authentic relationships, humor, and thoughtful approaches to real-life family issues was hugely inspirational for me.
An excellent TV show is as transcendent and emotionally powerful as a beautifully written book. Siegel’s Middle-Grade show marked their transition from “little kid” stories to wrestling with bigger questions about friendships, family, and school. While my boys liked the mysteries and laugh-out-loud humor, I couldn’t make it through a Normal Street episode without crying. The show depicts what growing up is all about, and often the lessons are bittersweet. Sloane’s portrayal of Gortimer, and the adventures and conflicts explored by the trio of main characters, including Ranger (Drew Justice) and Mel (Ashley Boettcher), riveted us. As I chatted with the cast, I thought, “I wish my boys were here. They would FREAK.”
I wish the cast, creator David Anaxagoras, and crew every success.