Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thursday Randutiae

Okay, I should never have said that thing about how the next thing I blog is going to be the girl superhero post. All it's doing is preventing me from blogging anything at all. When in fact, I have some mighty complaints, like, for example, why in the name of all that is reasonable is the fabulous Jeremy Jordan not going to be starring in Finding Neverland now that it's moving to Broadway? Jeremy Jordan was SO SO SO SO wonderful as J.M. Barrie in that show. He has so much talent and charisma, his voice is beautiful, he is beautiful. AARGHHH! Thank goodness I had the chance to see him originating the role at the A.R.T. this summer/fall.
 

Also, big cats like boxes, too; baby elephants have, like, no control over their legs whatsoever; and there are some really great moments in this video of (domestic) cats freaking out. Oh my goodness, the kitten and the lizard.

Also, a conversation with a writer friend recently about the distinction between young adult and middle grade books led me to a conversation with children's lit colleagues about how difficult these categorizations can be sometimes, and how problematic. One of my colleagues linked me to an interesting mention of the lawsuit currently arising around the question of Maurice Sendak's will, all related to the category problem. "The suit argues that the [Sendak] estate doesn't intend to transfer to the [Beatrix] Potter books because 'they are children's books, not rare books,' the Inquirer writes. 'The Rosenbach [Museum and Library, to which Sendak left his rare book collection] calls that reasoning not only faulty but rife with irony: Sendak argued that divisions between adult and children's literature were invalid — in his work as well as that of others.'"

If it's any comfort to those of you who are wondering when on earth I'm ever going to publish another book, the reason I'm not getting to the girl superheroes post is because it's a big project, and the only big project I have the mental space for right now is this revision that I'm working really, really hard on. I hope that before too long, I will have some news about my next book. Thank you so, so much for being patient, everyone. Godspeed to all writers, especially during NaNoWriMo! And by the way, if the idea behind NaNoWriMo (write 50,000 words during the month of November) paralyzes and depresses you, remember that it's not actually about word count; the fastest I've ever written 50,000 words is probably eight months and I do this full time. Just be writing. That's all that matters if you are a writer: that you are writing.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Fall in Mount Auburn Cemetery

The next thing I do on this blog will be my post about superhero girls and women, so help me God.  I just looked it up and I've been promising to do that since July! Eeek! But for now, here's a little bit of autumn in New England for those of you who don't get to see this kind of thing.


View from the cemetery tower.



You might notice that there's a (fatalistic) turkey
(given that it's the cemetery in November) in this picture.





Sunday, October 26, 2014

We Need Diverse Books!


We Need Diverse Books from Undercurrent on Vimeo.

Everybody, please go check out the We Need Diverse Books fund-raising campaign. Lots of good information over there about WNDB, which is dedicated to advocating and supporting non-majority narratives in children's literature. If you can, contribute; if you can't, consider passing on the news to someone else. Some of the prizes for contributing are pretty nifty: for writers, "Bypass the Query Queue" -- one pass to jump to the front line of an agent's inbox for a PB, MG, or YA manuscript. Another one for writers: an agent critique (MG and YA). For art lovers: original art by Cindy Pon, and let me tell you, I would be jumping on that. Go check it out!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Wonderful Article, Wonderful Song

I love Elizabeth Minkel's article in the New Statesman, "Read whatever the hell you want: why we need a new way of talking about young adult literature." It soothes my heartsore parts that are so tired of the condescension. Thank you, Elizabeth Minkel. Also, thanks for making me laugh when you said, "(I saw the piece somewhat misleadingly shared with the burning question, “What would Henry James think of YA?” and for the love of God, if there is a single person whose opinion on YA I care less about…)" HA HA HA HEE hoo, seriously, yes.

Also, I could listen to Ryan Keberle on trombone, Michael Rodriguez on trumpet, Jorge Roeder on bass, Eric Doob on drums and Camila Meza's vocals performing Sufjan Stevens' "Sister" over and over and over again. Check out these gorgeous lyrics and press play. "Sister" takes up the first 5:25 or so of the video. (You can download the mp3 for free here; click on "download audio".) (And if you can't see the video, go to that link or to my Blog Actual.)

"Sister"

What the water wants is hurricanes
And sailboats to ride on its back
What the water wants is sun kiss
And land to run into and back

I have a fish stone burning my elbow
Reminding me to know that I'm glad
That I have a bottle filled with my old teeth
They fell out like a tear in the bag

And I have a sister somewhere in Detroit
She has black hair and small hands
And I have a kettledrum
I'll hit the earth with you

And I will crochet you a hat
And I have a red kite
I'll put you right in it
I'll show you the sky


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Peaceful Country Living

[Trigger warning for deadly weapons and also dog attacks.]

[But aside from that, it's a funny post! I swear!]

So. As it says in my bio, "I grew up in the countryside of northeastern Pennsylvania in a village with cows and barns and beautiful views from the top of the hill and all that good stuff." This is true. It was beautiful, peaceful, and I miss it terribly. But… you know how distance provides perspective?

On a recent evening, one of my sisters texted me and another of my sisters to let us know that she was going back to our hometown for a night. She wanted advice on a place in the village where she and her friend might camp overnight without bothering anyone. I thought to myself, Oh, how lovely! I want to do that!… And then I tried to answer her question.

Shortly thereafter, I started taking screencaps.

Sharing them here, particularly for those of you who may have an idealized notion of country living in the USA. My contributions are in green on the right, my sisters' in gray on the left. The conversation is not continuous; I didn't take screencaps of our tangents, or of my sisters helping me remember directions.



To clarify: By "demented people," she means people who might threaten her with loaded guns.


To clarify: Yes. Our grandmothers, visiting together once from out of town, went out on a peaceful country walk and were charged by a bull. (They got away.)


I apologize for my language. You'd understand if you'd ever stood on the other side of a tiny, shaky little fence from that bull.


Silly Darren.


I was chased by a rooster once, too. If that doesn't sound scary to you, you have never been chased by a rooster.


... That vivid image seems like a good place to stop. 

Have a great camping trip, sis!

(proof that we survived)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Books I'm Currently Dying to Read

It's causing me pain that I am not reading all of these books this very moment. Also, I need to vacuum my rug.


The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater
The Jewel-Hinged Jaw, essays on science fiction by Samuel R. Delany
Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell
Out of Left Field, by Liza Ketchum
Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature, by Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, and Peter D. Sieruta
The Dispossessed, by Ursula Le Guin
Birthmarked, by Caragh M. O'Brien
Window on the Square, "a novel of suspense" (according to the cover) by Phyllis A. Whitney
The Other Side of Silence, by Margaret Mahy (how is there a Margaret Mahy novel I haven't read yet?)
A reduced bound manuscript I'm reading for blurbing that it now occurs to me I haven't gotten the okay to blog about. Sorry, I'm not being mysterious on purpose, I just don't have the time to retake the picture :o)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Events, Williamstown, MA and Manchester, VT

Yesterday morning I drove into Arlington, then continued onward with a friend to the Middlesex Fells. The trees are starting to change! So beautiful. And it reminded me that I've neglected to announce my plans for later this week in the Berkshires, where we are going to see such beautiful trees…

I'll be at Williams College, then at Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, VT, with three other Williams grads who write YA, Dayna Lorentz, Caragh O'Brien, and Tui Sutherland. Come join us.

October 2, 2014 (Thursday) at 8:00pm – Goodrich Hall, Williams College, Williamstown, MA
Writing for Young People: a Panel of Alumni Young Adult Authors with Dayna Lorentz, Caragh O’Brien, and Tui T. Sutherland

October 3, 2014 (Friday) at 4:00pmNorthshire Bookstore, Manchester, VT
Panel Conversation and Signing with Dayna Lorentz, Caragh O’Brien, and Tui T. Sutherland