Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Do You Believe in Love at First Sight?: Laughing Yoga Frog Q & A

(From AMH2020 Webclass Spring 2015)

Is the laughing yoga frog real? Do you actually have it in your office?
Ask me again when you read the end of the book ;-) 
Kidding.   Not Kidding. 
OK, Kidding. Yes the frog is completely real. The frog lives with Alex. Literally. In his room.  I have other frogs in my life now.

I enjoyed hearing about the Laughing Yoga Frog’s life with you. Would you have written this story even if the situation had not happened with Alex? 
I wrote the first 2/3 of the book to give to my Mom for Christmas because I hate shopping (hate) (hate) and then I shared it with Alex and his Mom for Christmas too, and that’s when Alex’s Mom asked me if I had the picture with Reggie and the Frog.  Then the rest of the story happened and I finished writing the book and added the subtitle and added Alex as my co-author because this story belongs to both of us.
I can tell you were really inspired by Alex, do you still have a relationship with him?
I haven’t seen him since he left Tallahassee about 18 months ago. His Mom tells me but he lives in a great new place. I plan on talking to him in the next week.

 Did Alex ever get to follow his dream of doing theatre at Florida State?
Not yet. And I don’t want to speak for him, but I ‘m 99.99999% sure he would love if someone could make a play or shoot a small film out of this book
Why did the professor not want Bugger it in the first place? Why was she so against it?

Sometimes you just don’t like something. I’m far along enough in my journey to recognize what I like and don’t like, and I didn’t like that frog.
If the Prayer of the Yoga Frog meant so much to you, why didn’t you purchase it the first time you saw it?
I wasn’t looking for a new frog in my life.   

I like how this story is from your perspective, but in third person, it gives the book a fun fairy tale/story book quality, what made you decide to write it this way?
Yayyy! I like that you liked it. My first book, Marvin’s Book, was about a student who passed away, and I wrote every page with tears in my eyes. This book jumped out of me this way, froggy and all.

How do feel about the silver frog that was given to you by your family? You weren't feeling it at all when you first got it, but implied toward the end of the book that those thoughts may be changing.....just curious if the existing one will ever be as magnetic and magical to you as you described the yoga frog as being.
That frog lasted one semester. I brought it with me to tell the students the yoga frog story and how the frog was now with Alex, then we took pictures with Bugger but OOOOPS I kept dropping Bugger.  So my students and I took giggling pictures with broken Bugger. Then I threw him away.
How is Bugger doing? Has he helped you jump forward in life?
Dead and no.

Is "Bugger" the new frog you take pictures with now?

Does Alex know how much his book inspires all types of people after reading this book?
That’s a question for Alex to answer, I’ll pass that on to him ;-)

What happened between Reggie and Alex? Why did Alex have a hard time forgiving Reggie?
I only know this pieces that I know, so I will write a little then pass this on to Alex for his response, OK? From my understanding, over the past year Reggie was convicted on multiple counts and paid full restitution.

Do you believe at love at first sight?
Yes. I believe that even if you walk away once or twice, love will still find a way.  

If you gave the frog away, so you believe that the meaning of the frog will find its way to as many people as you have shared it with?
Yes. I sent the frog out to the universe to live a bigger life than it could live if I held it down and tried to keep it with me.

How long did you have this Frog before deciding to pass it on?
Clarification: For the record, I didn’t "decide to pass him on" -  I was semi-frog-jacked. I had the frog about 5 years.
Was the purpose of the Laughing Yoga Frog intended to give Alex hope after the incident?
A tiny bit of it yes, but the main reason I write stories is because I love writing, and because Alex and I had such a good time. 
Have you ever thought about getting a real pet frog to keep in your office? ;)
No. I have plants that I love very much and play music for. Also, last year I read over 100 books my students assigned me, and in the middle of book #50 I went to the pound and adopted a puppy. But no, I never thought about keeping a live frog hostage in my office. That would make me sad, I would want it to hop out and make friends. 
Did Reggie put Alex in the wheelchair or was he already in one?

Alex was born with cerebral palsy.

What did you family and friends think about your book, Prayer of a Laughing Yoga Frog?
This story sums it up. I got the email saying my book published while I was at Outback Steakhouse. The waiter was an ex-student who had taken a picture with the Yoga Frog. I start getting all excited and teary eyed and my waiter is jumping for joy and my kids are like "that's nice" and asked for more honey butter. The hardest part of writing this book, of any book, is probably letting it go, being done and making room in your heart to move on to the next story. I wiped my tears of joy and ate what little honey butter the kids left me and then went to Target and bought toilet paper because I’m the mom.  

Do you still have the tradition of giving the rocks out after the final?

Were you ever really able to forgive Reggie’s actions?
Yes. Entirely and absolutely. That’s how I roll. I really hope to see Reggie one day and wish him well on his path. I hope he moves forward in grace and wisdom and uses his life to help other people. Maybe one day he will end up with the Yoga Frog, live a blessed life and laugh at it all. That would be a truly happy ending.

Do you always do things the way your heart speaks to you to do them?
Yes. I’m crazy like that.