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

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Poem for Changing

First, I continue to find designer Inka Mathew's Tiny PMS Match, in which she matches small, everyday objects to their Pantone colors, super soothing.

Second, I love this poem, by Gwynn O'Gara, found in my 2014 Women Artists Datebook.


Rhythm

Late afternoon the dog comes to my study
and rubs her softness against me.
Now, say her eyes.

Even the patient know urgency,
the dreamy wake to appetite.

Among the trees she greets old friends,
exults in the warmth of a new hand.
At home I fill her bowl.

So the heart finds where we hide
among strangers or preoccupations
and tells us it is time.

Feed what is hungry.
Air what is stale.

Pick up pen or phone
and pronounce the words 
practiced so long in silence.

Or lie down in the sun with the grass.
Neither bless nor curse,
simply change.


Gwynn O'Gara

Friday, September 26, 2014

Responses to Graham, Scott, Beha

In response to Ruth Graham's piece in Salon about YA, A.O. Scott's piece in the New York Times (partly) about YA, and Christopher Beha's piece in the New Yorker about YA, Sarah Hamburg wrote the very funny "How to Tell If You're in an Essay about Adulthood". It won't make sense without the context of the other articles, especially Scott's, so read them first, if you can bear it.

Also in response, Anne Ursu wrote the strong, thoughtful, and complete "On Poisoned Apples, The 'Great YA Debate,' and The Death of the Patriarchy", which can be read without all the context, and is a great example of why I wish the people who actually knew what they were talking about were the ones raking in the big internet audiences. Please boost the signal.

One of the most amazing and depressing things about this continual "adults shouldn't read YA" crap (and there are so many amazing and depressing things) is the unquestioned assumption that adults should be above the concerns of young people, that we have nothing to gain from the concerns of young people (other than nostalgic memories of our own innocence).  That if it's for young people, it can't be sophisticated enough for adults; it can't be art; it must be less. Yes, the debate devalues women; it devalues fine authors and their work. But most infuriating is the devaluation of girls and boys. Read the Ursu article. It has so many good parts. And please, please pass it on.

ETA: So sorry for the earlier version of this post, which named Heather Graham as the author of that appalling article, rather than Ruth Graham. Dictation slip. Sorry, Heather Graham! And thank you, JD, for noticing and telling me.

Sunday, September 21, 2014