Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Present for My Readers

Breaking my blogging fast to give you a present: perspective.



Thanks to my pal, secret codename: SBPWK, for the link.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

And All Through the House, Not a Blogger Was Stirring

Some wise friends of mine have convinced me to take an internet break until January. Therefore, this will be my last scheduled post until the new year. I wish you all a peaceful, thoughtful, and joyful December.

For anyone wanting bloggy reading while I'm gone, I've compiled a Best of the Blog list, randomly chosen by yours truly. Many of these are posts I wrote a long time ago, before my blog was getting so much traffic -- which means that they might be new to you. It's kinda long, the list, but... well, it's only for you to read if you want, so ignore it at will!


Be well, beautiful people!

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Brand New Addition to the Gallery of My Favorite Objects


I was thinking the other day that it'd be nice to live on the planet where the kingdoms of Attolia, Sounis, and Eddis are. After all, that planet has Gen, Irene, Helen, Sophos, Costis, the magus, and some chill-inducing gods, which makes it a damn awesome planet.

At the end of my deliberations, though, I decided I like our own planet best, and here's why: we have Megan Whalen Turner.

Take that, Sounis! *thbbbbttt*

You are not going to be disappointed by this book.

(For the uninitiated: read The Thief first. And for those in need of gifts for a book lover: A Conspiracy of Kings doesn't come out until April 2010, but The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, and The King of Attolia are all out in paperback.)

(Also -- I don't know if any of my readers will have read A Conspiracy of Kings already, but just in case any have, here's a warning for others to tread carefully through the comments to this post, because there may be Attolia spoilers. Commenters, please be kind and use spoiler warnings!)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Housekeeping. Also, Which Muppet Are You?

A reminder to people curious about book news: I now put stuff like that behind my News link. A reminder to people with general, factual questions (for example, how to purchase signed copies of the books): you'll almost certainly find your answers, and more, on my Contacts, Info, and Credits page or in my FAQs. I have a few other links, too, where you can probably find the info you're looking for -- see my home page.

I'm still reading through the wonderful comments from Monday. Thank you, everyone, for taking the time to introduce yourselves! Reading it all is so much fun. :o)

Here's my question for you today: Which Muppet are you, and why?

(h/t to R for the question!)

Take us out, Gonzo.



(h/t to M for the video ^_^)

Monday, November 30, 2009

"Have we met?"

Here's a moment from the first time Buffy's mother, Joyce, officially meets Buffy's vampire nemesis, Spike:

Joyce [pleasantly]: Have we met?
Spike: Um, you hit me with an axe one time.
[Joyce looks confused]
Spike: Remember? [helpfully brandishes imaginary axe] "Get the hell away from my daughter! Rawr!!!"

So, now and then I like to ask my readers to take a minute to introduce themselves. I expect I have a lot of regular readers who don't comment; I'm sure I have readers who're just passing through for the day; doubtless I have readers who got here by accident, having misspelled "Kristin Chenowith," and wish they'd never ended up here at all. :o)

Anyway, no pressure. But today I extend an invitation to all of you -- even the lurkers and the shy -- to tell me a little bit about yourself in a comment. You don't have to tell me your real name. But maybe you'd like to tell me where you are? What you do? What you feel like eating today? What TV show you like to watch? If you could be magically transported anywhere this moment, where would you choose?

Everyone is welcome! (Um, except for spammers.) Two friendly reminders. First, please be kind to other readers -- NO PLOT SPOILERS! Second, I'll only see your comment if you post it on my Blog Actual; I do not see comments posted on LJ, Amazon, etc.

The floor is yours!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A FAQ; A Holiday Question; Stuff; In Addition to Which: Things

The extremely silly gentleman to the right (click to make him bigger. Really. You want to see him bigger) is my friend and fellow writer Will Ludwigsen, who was flabbergasted to find Graceling in the dumps at his local Barnes & Noble. Check out his strange, sad, and lovely story "Remembrance is Something Like a House" in Interfictions 2: An Anthology of Interstitial Writing, just released by Small Beer Press. My sister, secret codename: Cordelia, and I had the pleasure of listening to Will read this story around the campfire a couple Halloweens ago. Cordelia was dressed up as Randolph the Orange-Nosed Reindeer and I was dressed up as a Leprechaun for Change. (This was right before the 2008 election. Beyond that, don't ask. ^_^)

So, I promised that I'd let you know if I stumbled across any gems in my reading. I have. The Magician's Elephant, by Kate DiCamillo, is a book about magic, love, and longing, and it is fabulous.

A FAQ.

Can you tell me when your book(s) will be released in my language/my country?
Unfortunately, probably not. If the information isn't on my Contacts, Info, and Credits page, it's because I don't know. Ask your local bookstore -- they might know better than I do. If this sounds weird to you, I understand; it was a surprise to me, too, that writers are often not in contact with their foreign publishers. I have met a few of mine, actually, but that's only because I was lucky enough to go to the Bologna Children's Book Fair last spring. Often, the only way I know a book has been released is that it arrives on my doorstep!

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And now, a question for you. Do you like December? Do you like Christmas carols? How do you feel about the holiday season? Do you celebrate a holiday? What do you do? How do you stay peaceful in what is -- let's face it -- a supremely unpeaceful time?

Anyway. The time is nigh. I tend to counteract the suffocating Christmas-carol barrage by listening to moody, atmospheric, melancholy holiday/winter/Christmas music. For example: Christ Child's Lullaby, performed by Sheena Wellington; God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, performed by Loreena McKennitt; Greensleeves, performed by the King's Singers. Joni Mitchell's "River," which isn't anywhere on youtube. Some other songs that aren't about the Christmas tradition that I also can't find, argh! What about you? Do you, like some people (*cough Cordelia*), love corny holiday music and own the Elvis Christmas album? Or do you, like me, find yourself wanting to impale yourself on a fir tree (or perhaps on some other pointy object with less inherent Christian symbolism)?

*looks at the calendar* In the meantime, happy Thanksgiving to my American readers. :o)

Monday, November 23, 2009

8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1... Blast Off (Plus, Umbrellas!!)

8. Warm hellos to everyone coming to my blog from NaNoWriMo. Welcome! The comments you've written here and there in various posts have brought tears to my eyes. Thank you! I really do know what it's like, and I really do hope you'll keep writing despite how hard it is, and despite all the voices that tell you not to. (To any of my regular readers who have no idea what I'm talking about, I wrote a pep talk for National Novel Writing Month, which you can read here.) To all those writing novels/short stories/fan fic/WHATEVER this November: good luck. Don't forget to be kind to yourself and KEEP THE FAITH.

7. For those of my blog readers who are Megan Whalen Turner fans -- and I know there are a lot of you -- check out her interview last week at Hip Writer Mama.

6. Next, remember the other day when I mentioned Tu Publishing, a small, independent multicultural SFF press that needs funding to get off the ground? Well, now there's a new, fun way to help: the Kickstart Tu Publishing LiveJournal Auction. You can participate by donating and/or bidding on items. Head on over; take a look; consider bidding; consider donating.

5. At the store the other day, there were samples of mead. At first I walked right on by... but then I stopped. What self-respecting fantasy author with a tendency to tipple would turn down a taste? I asked myself, alliteratively. It was good! The mead dude told me the only ingredients were honey, water, and yeast.

4. For those of you who hoped you'd seen a merciful end to the Gallery of My Favorite Objects: BWA-HA-HA-HA! No such luck. Today I present a small selection of:

My Umbrellas.


As you can see, the taking of this picture required talent and grace.

So, I'm an umbrella junkie. Here we have my green umbrella shaped like a leaf, so that when you carry it in a rain shower, you feel like a woodland fairy; my clear dome umbrella, excellent for good visibility during a vertical downpour; and my MoMA blue sky umbrella, which is black on top, sunny underneath, and was a gift from my outlaw brother-in-law, secret codename: Joe.

3. My icon picture above is the Fall 2009 cover of The ALAN Review. Click on it to see it bigger. Isn't it fun? Can you recognize all the books represented? I'll leave it open for people to guess/identify, but if it's too small and people are stumped, I'll identify everything in the comments.

2. I know a lot of people were just at NCTE/ALAN -- hope it was a lovely weekend!

1. Finally! To those of you in the Boston area, I'll be reading from Fire, blathering, answering questions, and signing books tomorrow (Tuesday, November 24) at the Harvard Book Store (1256 Mass Ave in Harvard Square) at 7pm. Come out to say hi :o)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Hello, hello, hello, hello. Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, goodbye. That's all there is...."

(from Simon & Garfunkel's "Leaves That Are Green")

Goodbye to my darling Super Conquerant 80-sheet hardback spiral notebook made in Spain by Enri. For years, we've had something special, you and I... but now my trusty neighborhood stationer, Bob Slate, tells me that you've been discontinued, probably by the importer. Alas! No more will I fold you over my knee and cover you with a thousand sweet scribbles. No more will you travel with me everywhere I go, simply because I cannot bear to let you out of my sight. No more... *sniff*... will I tuck you in to sleep at night in the fireproof, waterproof safe! Oh, my darling! *weeps; rends clothing*

*.....*

So, I'm not so precious about my writing process that I'm going to try to figure out how to get my exact brand of notebook from Europe. Actually, I'm slightly that precious, but it'd be a lot healthier to just accept that the notebook is no longer available, don't you think? So this means I'm in the market for a new hardback, spiral-bound, college-ruled (those are my three priorities, from most important to least) notebook. Happily, I have 2 more of my notebooks in the supply closet, so there's plenty of time to do this search. This is something I need to do in person, not online, so if you have any recommendations for stationery stores in the greater Boston area or in New York City, please let me know! I actually had some luck with Kate's Paperie in New York last week -- found a real possibility, also made in Spain -- but I like stationers, so any excuse to poke around looking at fine paper is always welcome. :o)

Are you picky about anything the way I'm picky about my notebooks? I'm also this picky about tea, oatmeal, umbrellas, Italian pastries, and... most of my favorite things, really. ^_^

Finally, if you're enjoying the music, I'll leave you with one more Simon & Garfunkel tune, particularly suitable for a weathery day. Art, your voice is the prettiest.

Monday, November 16, 2009

"It was my candle to St. Jude"

Announcement: I ♥ librarians. Why? Because librarians love information, know how to find it, know how to use it, and know how to help other people find and use it; and because librarians love, care for, and offer us BOOKS. And school librarians, in particular, share their awesomeness with young people without condescension. Thanks so much to the New Jersey Association of School Librarians for inviting me to their fall conference this past weekend. You guys are inspiring.

Housekeeping: I got a great suggestion the other day from an audiobooker who wished she could see the maps of the kingdoms while listening. Please see my new link to the left, Maps of My Book World, which shows both the maps so far, both drawn by Jeffery C. Mathison. Click on the maps to make them bigger.

In other news, in case anyone's wondering, Spike is still beating Beethoven in the highly scientific Spike Versus Beethoven: You Decide! poll -- but Beethoven is holding his own! I'm proud. I thought old Ludwig Van was gonna get creamed.

Moving on. After my 96-book post the other day, a few people asked for some recommendations. Well, I'm always mentioning the books I'm reading, so do go back through posts and see what you find; and stay tuned, because if I trip over any gems, I'll be sure to mention them here. You could also search my blog for the tag "books" (either type "books" in the search box at the top or simply click on the tag "books" in this particular post). Also, I'm finally putting together a list of middle grade recommendations to go with the YA recommendations I posted some time ago. That should post before too long.

In the meantime, all the recent dance talk got me wanting to recommend one of my all-time favorite books: A Candle for St. Jude, by Rumer Godden. Her writing style is distinct -- you might not like it -- but I find it gorgeous and mind-opening, so much so that I've gone on to read China Court and In This House of Brede, the latter of which is a 650-page novel about nuns in an abbey, which I'll admit isn't for everyone, but I found it fascinating. Anyway. A Candle for St. Jude takes place in a dance school and is about art and power and talent and attraction, being young, being old, and growing into your own. In case this is relevant to you, there are no nuns and it's not bizarrely long :o). It's out of print; try your library; I've also bought a couple of used copies through Amazon.

While I'm at it, here are some other absolute favorites from my shelves. I'm terrible at writing reviews, so check out Amazon if you want more specific information. These were published for a range of markets: adult, young adult, middle grade. I don't have a lot of patience for the distinctions. (I would not make a very effective librarian!!) They're all really good works of art.
  • Contact, by Carl Sagan. The SF movie with Jody Foster was based on this book. This never happens, but I loved both the book and the movie, despite significant differences.
  • The Tricksters, by Margaret Mahy. Have you read this yet? My blog is named after it, and I'm going to keep blabbing about it until you do. Magical realism.
  • The Catch Trap, by Marion Zimmer Bradley. An unconventional circus tale about love and relationships. I read the whole book, finished the last page, turned back to the beginning and read the whole thing again.
  • Heat and Other Stories, by Joyce Carol Oates. If you've never read any Joyce Carol Oates, give this a try. Small Avalanches is another of my favorite story collections of hers. BTW, I say this as a person who is not a short story fan.
  • Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier. Then re-read Jane Eyre, then read Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart. They make a great trio! (Intertextuality!)
  • The Mouse and His Child, by Russell Hoban. You might think you don't want to read a book about wind-up mouse toys. You would be wrong.
  • My Heartbeat, by Garret Freymann-Weyr, who has three names, none of which I can spell without looking. A book about love, sex, friendship, and family that takes place in upper-middle-class Manhattan.
  • A Piece of Justice, by Jill Paton Walsh. A short, well-designed, and, in my opinion, LOVELY English mystery novel.
There, see? I didn't say a word about Lord Peter Wimsey, Kristin Lavransdatter, the essays of E.B. White, The Satanic Verses, or Ramona Quimby. (Age 8.)

(Also all favorites. ^_^)

What are some favorites from your shelves?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Randutiae, and Give Yourself a Treat Today

If you happened to see me at Books of Wonder on Tuesday covering my ears, singing "la la la la la la!", and seriously invading Scott Westerfeld's space, I swear, it was only because I was trying to avoid hearing the Liar spoilers happening on my other side! Justine Larbalestier was being an absolute champ trying to protect me from her conversations with her readers, but really, there's only so much an author can do! :o) Anyway, I got through unspoilered, and clearly, I need to read Liar ASAP. Oh, and the event was super. Thanks to everyone who came!

If you're a book blogger who wants to sign up for the Book Blogger Holiday Swap -- basically a Secret Santa among book bloggers world-wide -- today is the last day.

I'm having a busy week of train-riding and events -- I'm home again now, but tomorrow I'm off to New Jersey. Cross your fingers for me tomorrow evening, when I'll be giving a speech at the fall conference of the New Jersey Association of School Librarians.

A question recently batted around by my friends: How is it that Connecticut can be such a pleasure to train through but such hell to drive through?

Here's an old favorite. If you have 4 minutes, 30 seconds today, give yourself a treat and watch this again -- or for the first time. (Once it starts, I recommend clicking on the little HD.) What are your favorite locations? Mine are Gurgaon, India, just 'cuz it's beautiful, and Nellis Airspace, Nevada, because, well... I love all things outerspace. :o)


Monday, November 9, 2009

My assignment was to memorize the names of the stars."

"Which stars?"

"All of them."

"You mean all the stars, in all the galaxies?"

"Yes. If he calls for one of them, someone has to know which one he means. Anyhow, they like it; there aren't many who know them all by name, and if your name isn't known, then it's a very lonely feeling."

-A conversation between Meg and Proginoskes in A Wind in the Door, by Madeleine L'Engle

I wonder if my characters feel lonely until I've named them? How patient the characters must be whose names I keep changing! Sometimes I forget how much they depend on me, for everything.

Proginoskes and Meg are both Namers. Here's something else Proginoskes says: "When I was memorizing the names of the stars, part of the purpose was to help them each to be more particularly the particular star each one was supposed to be. That's basically a Namer's job."

Here's a FAQ about Fire. (In case you're completely spoiler-phobic: since I'm talking about the reasons for characters' names, I do refer to the general natures of some of my characters. Proceed at your own peril!)

How did you come up with the names in Fire?
Hm. Well, ever since rereading Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence, I've wanted to name a tall, handsome man Archer. I think Archer may have grown from his name, actually; his name (which is a nickname) is how I realized he was so good at archery. My sister, secret codename: Cordelia, has always despised the name Nash for various reasons, but I've always kind of liked it, so I decided to reclaim it and prove to her that it was worthwhile. Nax seemed like the perfect variation for Nash's no good father. Cansrel... a dear aunt was dying of cancer around the time I started writing Fire. The similarity between the two words is not a coincidence.

Musa was a dancer on So You Think You Can Dance whose name I liked. Mila was my dear friends' dog. Larch converted well to the thing I needed it to convert to ;). Brocker, Roen, Tess, Gentian, Neel -- they just felt right. Mydogg and Murgda... well, don't they just sound unpleasant? The horses... again, the names just felt right.

Clara, Garan, Hanna, and Brigan. I loved the way these names sounded when extended to their full royal titles: Claradell, Garandell, Hannadell, Brigandell. I particularly liked the way Claradell sounded like Clarabelle, but wasn't, and the way Hannadell sounded like Annabel, but wasn't. And Brigan's name was always Brigan (just like Archer's was always Archer's), because it sounds like brigand, and that's how I thought of him in his early appearances in the book.

I don't remember thinking up Fire's name. I think I must have always known it.

Here's a question for YOU: Do you like your own name? What would you name yourself if you could choose?

(To hear me and other authors talking about our own names, go here. ^_^)

(Oh! And to see me, Suzanne Collins, Justine Larbalestier, Libba Bray, Scott Westerfeld, and Michael Grant, go to Books of Wonder tomorrow, November 10, from 6-8pm, at 18 West 18th Street in Manhattan!)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Reminder: I love Finland. (And SYTYCD, too!)

It's been a while since I've shown you a brand new cover for Graceling. Behold!


This is the Finnish cover. What do you think? I love it to pieces, and nothing you say will stop me from loving it to pieces, so do your worst. In particular, I love finally seeing a short-haired Katsa, and -- the mountains and castles in the background -- *flops* -- ! Maria Lyytinen, who is the translator, tells me that the back cover shows a scene of mountains at sunset/sunrise. She also explained that the word "Syntymälahja" encapsulates the idea of a gift received at birth.

Reminder: I love Finland. Dear sister, secret codename: Apocalyptica the Flimflammer: I cannot wait to give you a copy of Syntymälahja!

In other news... who saw this week's So You Think You Can Dance? How about that Bollywood number? I almost cried at the end when Mollee gives Nathan back his sword. My favorite was the Stacey Tookey "fear" dance with Kathryn and Legacy. I also enjoyed the Wade Robson Van Gogh thing. (And didn't really understand why the judges thought it was controversial. Can anyone enlighten me? Did they mean it was tacky because of Van Gogh's history of mental illness?) Cat's "I'm crying but I'm going to smile anyway" expression is so endearing. The choreographed kisses between Jakob and Ashleigh were, IMO, Fox's deliberate and stoopid attempt to create drama, since Ashleigh is married to Ryan, another contestant. Fox, stop being stoopid! Finally, could you BELIEVE it when Ellenore danced practically that entire Argentine tango with her heel stuck in the hem of her dress? Wowza. She deserved that standing O from the judges!

One more thing: thank you, choreographers, for fewer "woman=victim/loser/nutcase" dances so far this season. (It doesn't usually bother me when I look at particular cases. Dancing mirrors life; bad crap happens in life; and a beautiful dance is a beautiful dance. The creepy addict dance last season, for example, was powerful and gorgeous. But... I've said before that when I look at SYTYCD as a whole, I feel like it's uneven sometimes. And when every dance is danced by one man and one woman, and when most of the dances are about the way the man and the woman relate, there have to be just as many representations of other situations, too, including the opposing situation [in which the man plays the part of the victim/loser/nutcase], or the show starts to put out an icky message. Ya know? Hey everyone, man=strong and woman=weak. Which is a message that does NOT mirror real life -- it distorts it. Anyway. *steps off soapbox* The dances this week made me happy. ^_^)

For a taste of Stacey Tookey's choreography, check out the video she posted on her facebook of Karla and Jonathan's beautiful dance last season. (The dance starts at 2:15.)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tu Publishing; Stuff and Things; and, Our Books Are Watching Us Jealously

Via Deborah: Stacy Whitman, freelance editor and Simmons Center for the Study of Children's Literature grad, is trying to start a new publishing company. Tu Publishing will be "a small, independent multicultural SFF press for children and YA." A small press devoted to multicultural fantasy/SF -- good idea! But -- it will only get off the ground if it gets enough funding. Care to help? There are benefits to pledging, and you'll only pay your pledge amount if the project actually launches. Go here for more info. You can give as little as $5, and you can do it using your Amazon account, if you have one. If Tu Publishing can raise $10,000 by December 14th, they'll start accepting manuscripts in January.

******
I know that some of you will have fun trying to recognizing books without their dust jackets on the blog of Sarah Miller, author of the marvelous Miss Spitfire. (Who knew so many books had such cool undercover decorations?)

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To those who've been wondering: the Kindle edition of Fire is now available.

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Over the weekend, I found myself having a small freakout about my To Be Read pile. (Well, it used to be a pile; recently it's evolved into a series of shelves.) At first I thought it must be because the pile was full of books that I didn't actually want to read, pressuring me. "Read me, read me, even though I suck!" But then I went through all the books and realized that that wasn't it; they're all books I'm excited about; the problem is, very simply, volume. I counted them: 96. Now, everyone has different TBR methods, so I'm sure that's a perfectly normal number of unread books for some people to have sitting on their shelves, watching jealously with beady book-eyes as their humans wander around doing non-reading things like watch TV or water the plants... but for me, that's a LOT of unread books. These days, if I read one book a week, I'm doing fabulously well, and -- 96 books! HELP! That's enough books to last me until I'm 35!

*.....*

Hang on.

Guys? Suddenly I find myself seeing this from a different angle.

I have enough books to last me until I'm 35!

*is happy*

:o)

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To those embarking on National Novel Writing Month: Godspeed. Breathe. And DON'T FREAK OUT!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Spike versus Beethoven: a Poll

This is a long post. Don't feel pressure to read everything. But at the very least, I encourage you to listen, watch, and vote!

My FAQ post the other day lent itself to some Buffy discussion in the comments -- Spike quote-sharing, favorite and least favorite characters, etc. -- if you've seen Buffy, feel free to contribute. And I've started Season 5 and couldn't be happier. I'm thinking way too much about it, really, and want to talk about this show more here someday. And maybe particularly about Spike, because while I continue to love his humor, his insight, his large yet despicable heart, his twisted approach to relationships, and his reliably terrible decisions... I KNOW there must be some Spike dissenters out there who'd like to express themselves. HOWEVER. Now isn't the time to get into it, because I'm only on Season 5, so I don't have all the data yet. So. Maybe we could talk about Buffy more sometime in the future? :)

(NOTE: please feel free to comment now as much as you like! I know the plot of Buffy in general and Spike in particular all the way through Season 7, and I don't mind Buffy spoilers. [It's the only thing I don't mind spoilers for, actually!] All I mean to say here is that I don't feel qualified to contribute to the discussion myself yet. Knowing what happens is different from watching how it plays out. For example, I know the facts of what happens with Buffy and Spike in Season 6, and let me tell you, I'm prepared for the possibility that it's going to be fabulous OR the most horrible, creepy thing ever. -- Feel free to tell me what you thought.)

Now, stand back, because I'm about to geek out about Beethoven. (Again.)

Behind this link is one of the most beautiful movements of a piano sonata ever written, IMO: the second movement of Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 23, Opus 57 (the "Appassionata"). (If you want to hear the whole sonata, just click on the first movement and it will carry you all the way through.) What I love about the second movement is its simplicity. It presents a single melody, plays it through once, and then repeats it, faithfully, four more times, but in four beautiful variations. Listen for yourself. The melody is played through the first time in the first 1:40. You'll notice that it itself contains repetition: a simple melody; repeat; a second simple melody; repeat. Then, at 1:41, we start the whole thing over, with minor variations, and play it all the way through. The version that makes me want to die of happiness is the third go-through, which starts at 3:05. The fourth go-through starts at 4:18, and the final, which very much recalls the original, starts at 5:28.

Much of music is about repetition and variations on a theme... but, well, I guess I love how simply it's all played out in this lovely little movement. Plus, for me, with Beethoven, it isn't just the way he repeats and plays with his melodies and themes. I love the way he repeats notes within his melodies and themes. Have you ever hummed or whistled a melody and suddenly realized you've been humming/whistling the same note over and over again? This happens a lot with Beethoven; it's a thing you might notice now and then in the Appassionata. He is so good at repeating the same note over and over again and making it beautiful!

Oh my goodness. I just went off to find a youtube of the second movement of his Seventh Symphony, intending to try to explain what I mean in words -- so guess how excited I am that I found THIS?



Press play and watch along; it shows just what I mean about Beethoven repeating the same note over and over, while using other instruments to weave all around the repeating notes. It's characteristic of much of the movement, but the most glaring example is probably from 6:00 to 6:22 -- note the places where a single color remains stuck in a horizontal pattern, a straight or dotted line. Gorgeousness and gorgeosity made flesh! The Fifth Symphony has some other good examples. Especially go to 3:28 or 3:55 or 6:51 here.

Okay. Some of you have been very patient today, humoring me and the Beethoven squee. Others have decided to drop me from your blog readers. Regardless, it's now time for a highly scientific poll. In the interest of fairness, since I've stuck so much Beethoven in your faces, I need to stick some Spike in your faces before asking you to vote, especially for those of you who've never met him. Context: Buffy has just found Spike lurking behind a tree outside her house, and has punched him in the face.



And if you care to see the next part of the conversation:



And now, please vote! (If you can't see the poll, click here!)



Have a nice weekend, everyone :o). Coming next week: short posts!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thing 1 and Thing 2; or, Photos from the Tour

At Sirens, in Vail, Colorado, I learned how to wear chain mail and intimidate people. AARRRR! I WILL CRUSH YOU!!!


Thanks to Artemis for the photo :o)

Moving on, at stop three in the tour -- Seattle -- my dear friend, secret codename: T. Lovely R., took me to meet the Troll Who Lives Under the Bridge.


A tip to anyone going on tour: It will boost your morale if around stop nine you can arrange to wake up to the following:


And then it helps to bring thousands of family members to your bookstore events. Here are secret codename: Cordelia, secret codename: Apocalyptica, me, our mother, our father, and Cordelia's daughters, secret codenames: Phoenix and Isis! Joe, sorry you couldn't be there, but hope you enjoyed the brief man-cation. This photo was taken at The Bookmark in Atlantic Beach, Florida -- thanks, Rona!


Here's one more photo. Just in case I haven't gotten my point across.


I'm trying to exercise restraint on the blog when it comes to photos of the twins. Really. Have you looked at this post recently?

:o)

So. Just a few images from my trip. It's lovely to be home.

What are you reading these days? I've embarked on a spate of rereading, starting with A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, and A Swiftly Tilting Planet. I might move on to The Princess Bride next, and Beauty by Robin McKinley. I've got my eye on Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset (the Tiina Nunnally translation), but at 1400 pages, that's going to take some commitment. Anyone out there doing any good rereading?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fill in the Blank, and a Promise

I don't _______________ enough anymore.

Fill in the blank. And here's a suggestion: whatever the thing is -- if it's possible -- make a plan to do it sometime soon.

My answer: I don't bake bread enough anymore, which makes me sad, because I love to bake bread from scratch, do all that kneading, and have the house smelling yummy all day. But I promise to try to make time for it sometime in the next few weeks.

You?

(A friendly reminder that I don't see comments on LiveJournal, Amazon, etc.... I only see comments made on my Blog Actual.)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Some FAQs for a Chilly Monday

Hi everyone! As I write this, it's Sunday night, it's snowing (yAt!), I'm curled up drinking hot cider, and I'm writing a dramatic scene in which two people are screaming at each other. (double yAt!)

Some answers to some questions.

1. I missed your signings. How can I get signed copies of your books?
Good timing -- I've just set up an arrangement with my local indie. To purchase signed/personalized books, please place an online order at Harvard Book Store. Before you finish your order, a Comments box will appear. Please specify in the Comments box that you'd like the book signed, and to whom you'd like it personalized, if anyone. Kindly use the online ordering system rather than trying to order over the phone -- this will eliminate confusion at the store! All orders are pre-paid and non-returnable. These instructions are also available on my Contacts, Info, and Credits page.

(Note: Please DO NOT try to mail me books or bookplates to sign! I regret that I am unable to accommodate such requests, and I would hate for your books to get lost in the process!)

2. Will there be a Fire ebook?
The UK ebook is available at Waterstones. I suspect there'll be an American ebook too, and will update my Contacts, Info, and Credits page if I hear anything.

ETA 10/21/09: My publisher assures me that the Fire ebook is in production and will be distributed to ebook retailers shortly.

ETA 11/15/09: The ebook is now available; check Amazon, bn.com, or anywhere ebooks are sold.

3. What is your favorite Fire-themed widget?
Okay, no one has actually asked me this. But I just wanted to show you this cute movie widget Penguin has created. In anticipation of the question, no, I do not have a movie deal for Fire -- this is just for fun. So, have fun with it! (And vote for Gael García Bernal! ^_^) Here it is:



4. How old are you?

33.

5. Are you afraid of heights?
Actually, I LOVE heights. If the sun comes out sometime this week, I'm climbing a nearby tower to check out the fall foliage from way up high. But it's funny you ask, because you know who is afraid of heights? Bitterblue.

6. What's the best book you've recently read?
Zel, by Donna Jo Napoli.

7. Who's your favorite character on Buffy the Vampire Slayer?
Well, I'm just now wrapping up Season 4, and I love Willow in Season 4. However. Is it possible to love ANYONE more than I love Spike?

Have any answers of your own? Feel free to leave them in the comments!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

In Which the Writer Returns Home

Yesterday morning I set out for the Mall in Washington DC, planning to walk the whole thing, end up at the Library of Congress or the Folger Shakespeare Library, and sit there soaking up the booky goodness. But then, just past the White House, I got distracted by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, which was intriguing not only because workpeople were laying a new coppery roof but because they had an exhibit running called "Sargent and the Sea." I happen to love John Singer Sargent. So I went inside and ended up spending the day looking at paintings and writing in the cafe.

Here's the thing about John Singer Sargent: He did extensive sketches, even full oil paintings at times, in preparation for his larger works. So, you'll see a whole wall full of small paintings of individuals, and then you look at the next wall, and there's a large painting containing all the individuals together in a scene. When I first realized this, I thought to myself, gah, how boring and tedious for him -- he must have been the most patient man alive. But then I remembered that in my own writing, I'll write and rewrite the same scene over and over and over again, trying to get it to the right place, and no, it's not always fun, and yes, sometimes it's aggravating, but it's rarely boring. It's something I want to do, and need to do, and boring doesn't enter into it. Most of the time I'm writing something that is a path to the final product, rather than the final product itself.

Seeing his process was inspiring. May the gods grant me the patience, the uninterrupted time, and the focus I need to get to the place I'm trying to get to with Bitterblue. If you're working on something hard, may the gods grant you all those things, too.

Guess whose bed I'm sleeping in tonight? Before you get any funny ideas, it's my own ^_^. I'm home! And I know I announced recently that all news was going behind my News link, but I hope you'll excuse me for saying that Fire has hit the New York Times bestseller list for the week ending October 10. Graceling has also popped back on the lists. I wish I could thank everyone individually who helped make this happen. THANK YOU. You make me happy and proud!

(Finally, if you're interested in interviews, check out the five questions Roger Sutton asked me in this month's Notes from the Horn Book.)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Not Dead Yet

So, am I insane if after traveling from Vail to Denver to Seattle to Palo Alto to San Jose to Austin to Houston to Miami to Jacksonville all in one week and doing lots of events and not getting enough sleep, I'm ecstatic that today I'll be spending the day in a very small house with my sisters (secret codenames: Cordelia and Apocalyptica), my brother-in-law (scn: Joe), my newborn twin nieces (scn: Phoenix and Isis), my mother, my father, two cats, and one flying squirrel?

In other words, it is Monday; I am in Jacksonville; my parents are here from New Jersey; Apocalyptica is bringing her flying squirrel all the way from Massachusetts; and I remember my pride. And tonight everyone will (tentatively) be at my event! BEST DAY OF THE TOUR.

:o)

In other news: I love the way Jay Smooth thinks, and I love the way he talks. This time, his subject is Roman Polanski.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Singing My Way Across the Country

Here are some song lyrics a friend emailed me on the day my tour began:

I never wanted to be a star, I never wanted to travel far
I only wanted a little bit of love
So I could put a little love in my heart
I never wanted to be la-de-da, go to parties avec le bourgeois
I only wanted to sing my song well,
So I could ring a small bell in your heart.

- from "I Never Wanted" by Cat Stevens

I've been carrying that around in the copy of Fire I read from. I like being reminded of the little love and the small bells. :o)

All's going well! And I'm even getting to do some sightseeing. Monday I was in Denver; Tuesday, Seattle; Wednesday, Palo Alto; and today I fly to Austin. I have no idea what's going on in the news (Cordelia had to explain the David Letterman thing to me via text message) and my email is out of hand... but things are going well.

If you're going to be in the Houston, Miami, Jacksonville, or DC areas in the next few days, please check my Appearance Schedule, because I'm doing bookstore events in those places. (Jacksonville! That means I get to see the twins!)

Happy Thursday, all.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Happy Birthday to Fire

Fire, welcome to the big wide world!

Sirens was a wonderful time with wonderful people. I took a self-defense class that perhaps got overly enthusiastic (it's fun to defend yourself from someone trying to choke you), tried on mail (I may have pictures to share of this at some point), and hung out with great folk. *waves to the folk*

I understand that Sirens will happen again next fall, and I highly recommend it -- and any conferences produced by Narrate Conferences! Those ladies are AWESOME.

The tour for Fire's release starts today. My stomach is in knots, but hopefully I'll ease into it. Because my brain is jangly nervous jelly, I'm going to post something funny rather than trying to say anything intelligent. (Thanks, Jess, for the link ^_^)


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Roman Polanski and WTF

If my subject heading doesn't make it clear, this post and its link are potentially triggery.

So, I'm in Vail, and the Sirens conference is about to start, and I know I'm supposed to be writing a post about how beautiful it is here, but there's only one thing I find myself able to blog about today, because of how deeply it pisses me off. It pisses me off so deeply that... *speechlessness* ...I can barely type.

Since the news broke on Sunday of Roman Polanski's arrest for a rape he committed 32 years ago, I have grown more and more stupefied by the public's response. Yes, I agree it was a while ago. Yes, I agree it's strange that they apprehended him now, after all this time. But it's not strange because they shouldn't have apprehended him. It's strange because they should have apprehended him a long time ago.

The man made some fantastic movies and clearly he's loved by many people. Newsflash: lots of people who do criminal, awful things also happen to be talented, charming, likable, lovable. In what galaxy does anything about Roman Polanski's personal qualities remove his liability for raping someone? In what galaxy does the passage of time change what happened? The reason so much time has passed is because 32 years ago, after he pleaded guilty to rape, HE RAN AWAY, and no one followed. And to those who insist that he's served his time because he's suffered... the mind boggles. First, find me someone who hasn't suffered, and after that, I invite you to notice that he hasn't served any time. That's the whole point.

Thank you to Kate Harding for this reminder that Roman Polanski raped a girl. She was 13 years old, below the age of consent, and by the way, SHE DIDN'T CONSENT. She repeatedly asked him to stop. He didn't stop. And nothing changes that.
******

ETA 10/2 11:32am: I have been informed that Roman Polanski did serve some small time before he fled. I apologize for the misinformation. My point still holds. He did not serve hard time, and at the heart of my anger is how lightly everyone seems to be treating rape.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Authors, Appearances, Anxiety, and Dropping One's Pants

I'm annoyed that my voice recognition software recognizes Ludwig Wittgenstein on the first try but doesn't recognize Miss Marple. Humph. (To be fair, it doesn't recognize Lord Peter Wimsey, either. But nor does it recognize Luce Irigaray. But it recognizes Jo March. But not Gilbert Blythe. AARGHHH!)

(Incidentally, my favorite VRS kerfuffle recently was when I dictated, "He dropped his pen suddenly and stood with eyes closed, massaging his hand," and my computer wrote, "He dropped his pants suddenly and stood with eyes closed, massaging his hand.")

So, I leave for Vail on Wednesday, followed by many cities in a short amount of time, and since I've never done a tour before, I'm not sure how much blogging time I'll have. Don't be surprised if you don't hear from me regularly for the next few weeks. (The tour ends October 15.)

There's an FAQ about being an introvert and dealing with appearance anxiety that I've been wanting to answer for some time. The thing is, I understand the question completely. I'm a tried and true scaredy-cat. But... I don't think I have anything profound to say. I have adjusted -- like crazy -- to a new way of living. This time last year I could not have done this conference followed by this tour. I simply couldn't have done it; I was too overwhelmed and frightened. Now, here I am, I leave in two days, and sure, I'm stressed out (I have a lot of laundry to do and I can't decide how many pairs of shoes to bring and I can't decide if one of my orchids needs a south-facing window while I'm gone and I think one of my speeches might be dumb), but I feel okay. I mean, what can I do? I'm prepared; I'll do my best; it'll be fine.

I think my answer to the "how does one deal with appearance anxiety" question is this: (1) When appropriate, prepare, prepare, PREPARE. (2) Do things, even though they're terrifying, and over time, you'll probably find that they get a lot less terrifying. And in the process, you'll learn which things you like to do and which things you don't; you'll learn how to say, No, I don't want to do that particular thing; and you'll decide what kind of author you want to be. You'll get to know yourself as an author, and even better, you'll come to trust yourself... and (*cue violin*) you'll learn that it's okay to just be yourself. :o) Roll your eyes, but it's true. And really, truly, it'll be okay. You can do this.

Here is a wise thing my editor said to me once: "Don't let fear make your decisions."

Here is a wise thing a dear friend wrote to me once: "Throw pleasing everyone out the window. Throw pleasing anyone out the window. Just do things for yourself. Just be you. There is no way on earth that just being you is not enough -- just being you is galaxies more than enough."

And here are a few lines I love from the movie Three Kings:

Archie: You're scared, right?
Conrad: Maybe.
Archie: The way it works is, you do the thing you're scared shitless of, and you get the courage after you do it, not before you do it.
Conrad: That's a dumbass way to work. It should be the other way around.
Archie: I know. That's the way it works.

:o)

Be well, everyone. Have a good few weeks -- I'll write when I can. And we'll see just how adjusted and courageous I'm feeling on Friday at noon, when I'm about to give a keynote speech ^_^. Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rethinking the Blog

So, the blog posts I like to write are the ones that don't have anything to do with news. They're the posts about random thoughts, the poetry or poll posts, the posts in which I answer FAQs or talk about writing and life. They are NOT the posts in which I say, guys, here's what's happening to my books in the world. And recently I've felt overwhelmed by news in my own posts.... and that's why I've decided to make a link on the left for news, and put all news there. If anything spectacular happens, of course I'll mention it in a blog post (I'll let you know if I win the Nobel Prize in physics, make the Olympic figure skating team, or sprout an extra head, all of which are equally likely), but from now on, any news will be recorded behind my News link, and not here. Make sense? We'll see how it works.

This leaves me free to talk about the three most recent books I've read and loved!


So, I'm really terrible at writing book reviews, and I also happen to find it torturous, so instead I'm just going to blather.

Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith (YA fantasy)
Crown Duel takes place in a medieval fantasy world of relative gender equality! *flops* It's a damn good read and it did the thing I love fantasy novels to do most, which is to help me rethink, and get re-excited about, the book I'm writing. My copy of Crown Duel is now packed with post-it flags and notes to myself about things to think about regarding Bitterblue -- things like how castles and governments work, how to convey emotion, and how to write a beautiful sentence.

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork (YA realism)
At the beginning of this book, I wanted one thing for Marcelo, but by the end, what I wanted for him had changed completely -- because Marcelo grew SO MUCH. What a beautiful coming of age story this is, and how I came to love Marcelo. I also felt like he was teaching me how to process my own stuff in my own life; this book was therapeutic for me ^_^. And beautifully written, and gentle, and the title and the cover are also perfect. One of my favorite 2009 books so far, if not my favorite.

Black Stars in a White Night Sky by JonArno Lawson (poetry)
Some of these poems are silly, some are just plain beautiful, and all of them play games with language. Why don't I just share a couple to give you an idea?

Bigger and Better

I'm going to do something bigger and better,
bigger and better
and bolder, but first,
I'm going to do something
smaller and worse.


Are You Worried?

Are you worried you're not
like everyone else?
Your worries will only worsen
when you find
that the path to conformity
is different for each person.


What are you reading these days?

Monday, September 21, 2009

In Which Schmetterling Is My New Favorite Word

The discussion of favorite and least favorite words has been delightful. I've learned that Schmetterling is the German word for butterfly -- isn't it beautiful?

So, do you ever feel like you need a good cry -- not necessarily because anything terrible has happened, but just because you need to clear out your system and process things? What do you do in times like that? I do things like listen to sad music (like Barber's Adagio for Strings -- here's a gorgeous choral version), or meditate, or watch the My So-Called Life episode where Sharon's dad is in the hospital (that one gets me weeping every time!). My sister, secret codename: Cordelia, used to be very accommodating when I needed a cry and couldn't seem to get started -- she would offer to give me a good kick or something. (Cordelia is a therapist. Real good with that emotions stuff. ^_^.)

I've been a little overwhelmed lately, and I haven't had time to arrange for a good cry. But in the meantime, here's one thing I've been able to process: one of my orchids is white, but the backs of the petals have some pink in them, so when sunlight shines through the petals, the petals glow pink. Oh my goodness, I love it. Here's something else I can process: I will get to see the babies for a day on my tour!

What little things do you love?

Happy (late) Rosh Hashanah to any of my readers celebrating the New Year :o)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

In Which the Author Is So Grateful She Falls Over. Also, Here's What to Do if You Have a Few Minutes

Today I'm starting with a thank you to my readers. THANK YOU for making Graceling a bestseller in Germany, and THANK YOU for putting the American paperback of Graceling on next week's (Sep 27) New York Times bestseller list! I am overwhelmed. I am staring blankly like a slow loris. And giggling.

*flops*

So, how much time do you have?
  • If you have an hour today, listen to last week's This American Life, on the subject of frenemies. Here's the description from the website: "This week we bring you stories about friends. Or wait, enemies? How about both? Tales of estranged sisters, BFFs breaking up and making up and breaking up, and how reality stars walk the fine line between making friends and making a name for themselves." I LOVED this episode. Why do we continue relationships with frenemies? David Rakoff's poem, just past the halfway point, pretty much summed it up for me.
  • If you have 20 seconds today, watch the beautiful and lovely Roger Federer make a SICK shot in the semi-finals of the US Open. If you have 2 minutes, watch it in replay a couple times. (h/t, colorwheel, for the link ^_^)
  • If you don't have time (or the connectivity) for any of that, check this out: the cover for Volume 2 of the Danish Graceling. Click to make it bigger; I used the Volume 1 cover above in case you want to compare. (I also posted about the Volume 1 cover back in April.) My lovely editor at Tellerup says that "Bedrageren" means "the imposter." Thanks to artist Bent Holm for another beautiful cover! What do you all think?


Thanks again, everyone. Happy Thursday :o)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Two Reminders and a Question

Hi everyone! I'm sneaking in a Wednesday post just to remind y'all about my live chat at readergirlz this evening at 9pm Eastern/6pm Pacific. The chat will take place here and last an hour; feel free to stop by!

Also, the blog tour has begun; the schedule is here if you're interested in following along.

And now, the question. First, some context: I'm preparing for the Sirens conference in Vail in October, and am thinking a lot about language and identity. Do you have a favorite word or words? If so, will you share it/them with me in the comments, and explain why you love that word or words? And if it's appropriate, may I incorporate your comment into the speech I'm writing? I will, of course, cite you. ^_^

ETA: What about least favorite words? Please feel free to share/explain them, too!

Please remember that I only see comments posted at my Blog Actual. (Although I'm not sure this even matters at the moment, because livejournal feed syndication seems to be broken, so no one on lj is getting my posts this week anyway! AAARGH!)

*ahem*

Thanks! Tomorrow I'll return to my normal M/Th blogging schedule.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Poll About True Love. (And Slow Lorises ^_^)

Everyone, please feel free to vote in today's important poll of importance! (If you're reading this post somewhere other than my Blog Actual and cannot see the poll, please click here.)



Never seen a slow loris being tickled? Well, here you go:



Happy Monday, everyone.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Blog Tour News

Hi everyone!

So, next week I start a three-week blog tour. The theme of the tour is "Getting to Know the Characters of Fire," which means that at each stop on the tour, I'll introduce a character (or characters) from Fire. My character intros have been carefully screened by a team of experts (read: my patient and generous friends Deborah, Sam, and JD -- thanks, guys) to ensure that they're accurate (*ahem* for example, Sam pointed out that I was calling a character by the wrong name) AND not too spoilery. Each of my host bloggers will be giving away a signed finished copy. So -- if you're curious about Fire -- or interested in checking out a bunch of cool book blogs -- or if you'd like 15 chances to win a signed copy -- check it out. The schedule is below.

I'll close by sending a big thank you to my host bloggers. Thanks to each of you for letting me visit! I'd also like to thank Jillian Laks, the wizard at Penguin who organized the tour!

The schedule:

1. Monday, 9/14 - The Compulsive Reader
2. Tuesday, 9/15 - Pop Culture Junkie
3. Wednesday, 9/16 - Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf
4. Thursday, 9/17 - The Page Flipper
5. Friday, 9/18 - Reading Keeps You Sane

6. Monday, 9/21 - Presenting Lenore
7. Tuesday, 9/22 - In Bed With Books
8. Wednesday, 9/23 - Melissa's Bookshelf
9. Thursday, 9/24 - Shaken & Stirred
10. Friday, 9/25 - The Frenetic Reader

11. Monday, 9/28 - SciFiGuy.ca
12. Tuesday, 9/29 - The Book Smugglers
13. Wednesday, 9/30 - Fantasy Book Critic
14. Thursday, 10/1 - Hope's Bookshelf
15. Friday, 10/2 - The Story Siren

I'll be blogging here, as usual, during the blog tour. I'm hoping to cover a few more FAQs... plus, I have a poll taking form in my mind. It's about desert islands and slow lorises. (And true love. ^_^)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Welcome, September

It's been a while since I've lived in a place where September marks a true change in season, so the weather in Massachusetts lately has been making me beside myself with happiness. In Florida, the weather didn't dip below the 80s (I mean, even at night) until maybe November. In my excitement, I've been dressing too warmly. Autumn, you are welcome!

Those of you who've been reading my blog for a while know I used to walk along the St. Johns River almost every day. Well, now I walk along the Charles River... no pelicans, but there are geese, and crew teams in long, graceful boats. It's lovely. And one of the windows in my new home faces the rising moon :o).

Anyway... September. So, Bitterblue is, by nature, a slow write.... and the last few months have been full of distractions (moving, beautiful babies, you name it).... and the next few months are going to be even more distracting (the tour, other work-related travel). But right now I have September. September is going to be a month free of travel and relatively free of distractions, and I am going to write a whole lot. TRY TO STOP ME AT YOUR OWN PERIL.

So far, it's going well. ^_^

A teeny bit of business:
  • I now have an Indonesian publisher, Gramedia, and a Swedish publisher, Semic. yAt! Thanks to my new publishers for taking on my books.
  • Have you checked out readergirlz this month? Among other things, you can listen to the playlist I assembled for Graceling, which, I admit, was not an easy thing to do. Graceling will be discussed at the readergirlz blog all month -- I'll be there commenting -- and feel free to join the live chat with me on September 16th, at 9pm Eastern/6pm Pacific... where I assume everyone will learn what a terrible typist I am?
  • Go vote for your favorite fantasies at 101 of the Best Fantasy Books. Graceling is on the ballot, as are hundreds of other books. Voting closes on September 14. Note that there's a box at the bottom for write-ins.
Happy September, everyone.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Letter to My Readers

Dear Readers,

Last week, I flew to Florida to meet two new friends.










































We had lots of fun! We did some eating....

















We did some writing....


















We hung out.






























































We also had dance parties.


















Do you realize how many songs lyrics are secretly about babies? For example, "I want a girl with a short diaper and a LOOOOOOOOOONG blanket." Or, "If I had a boat, I'd go out on the ocean, and if I had a baby, I'd bring her on my boat."










Also, sometimes we howled.














And then, maybe later, we felt a little better.


















Despite appearances...


















...my new friends don't sleep that much. Frankly, the rest of us are a bit boggled by their stamina.













































































Seriously. Everyone is boggled.





























Now I'm back in Massachusetts. It's quiet here, far away from my new friends.














Quiet and lonely.

*sniff*

How was your week?

Fondly,
Kristin