Archive for April, 2011

it starts off small…

April 29, 2011

with a comment like THIS.

and a reply like THIS.

and before i know it, i’m having a conversation with an agent of awesomesauce and an editor from a big name publisher. both who work with kids books. which is what i happen to write.

sure, the conversation is lighthearted and about things unrelated to books, but this is the thing (all you Twitter naysayers out there): it’s all about networking. and no, that’s not the sole reason i’m on Twitter. i’m on there with the intention of education and sure, for a bit of procrastination. networking just happens to be a happy side effect since the publishing community is so active on Twitter.

and maybe now when my query comes in with the masses of other query letters, it won’t get smushed at the bottom of the electronic pile. maybe it’ll get moved to the top because, hmm, my name is familiar. and maybe when i’m agented and my MSS is being submitted, it too will go to the head of the class instead of being ignored because, hey, i “know” that girl from twitter and i liked what i saw.

let’s take a moment to savor that dream.

you know what though? even if this is just a big game of what if and none of it comes to fruition, for this tiny moment today, i feel important. people (of influence) were talking about me without any original input from me. that’s plain lovely.

score one more for Twitter.

superstitions

April 26, 2011

i expected to be writing a different post. one filled with springtime temperatures and babies and family and easter egg hunts as my family spent easter weekend up here with me. however, baby mac got sick and then got her mom sick, so sister J and family had to leave boston, which meant it was the parents, sister E and i left to weather the storms mother nature set upon us.

we were a bit soggy and chilly, but the more surprising thing is what happened after they left. i was busy packing up my room and was shifting from one task (shoes) to another (pulling down pictures) to this (spackling nail holes) to that (the mini bookshelf) to here (the top of the shelf) to there (cleaning the mirror) and back again. i’m usually very focused, but i guess a move of this magnitude brings out the A.D.D. in me.

i had finally finished up the shoes and was lugging the rather large box out of my room. a second after i stepped through the doorway, i heard a loud noise. i’m holding an awkwardly sized and not light box, so i continued onward with that and when i returned to my room, i saw this:

that loud noise i had heard? it was my full length mirror crashing to the ground and was now shattered. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO ME? seven years bad luck? a chance to buy a new one? a dangerous mess to clean up? a portal to another world that i should jump through? i suppose it’s really all in how you deal with superstitions, but aside from it being a really difficult word for me to spell, i am nervous about this.

wikipedia tells me superstitions aren’t based on reason or knowledge so i guess like most things in life, it’s all about what you decide to focus on. i could get stuck on the fact that i found out last night (mere minutes after said mirror broke) that i’m now saddled with a full sized refrigerator because my landlord is not from this planet and has no clue that it’s so much easier for him to buy this (only 7 year old) fridge off me than for him to buy a brand new one OR i could fixate on the fact that my coworker just left three chocolate eggs on my desk.

even if these two things don’t carry quite the same weight, i’m going to concentrate on the charming, delicious nature of the latter, BUT just in case, i’m going to keep this around my neck for awhile longer.

eureka!

April 22, 2011

excuse me while i’m working on one of the two revelations i just had.

BOOK HUNGRY: the sky is everywhere

April 21, 2011

who says you have to be crowded into the living room, kitchen, and/or dining room to hold a book club? we are ladies of the 21st century. we don’t need no stinkin’ couches. so pull up a blog and join in the conversation.

the members of the BOOK HUNGRY are (alphabetically): patty blount, kelly breakey, karla nellenbach, vanessa noble, alyson peterson, cynthia reese, elizabeth ryann, and myself. here’s the deal. we pick a book to read. we discuss via email. we post a review on our individual blogs on the same day (3rd thursday of the month). we link to each other. done. i know, genius. click on each one of their names (above) and it’ll take you to their review. browse. enjoy.

this month’s BOOK HUNGRY selection is:

THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by jandy nelson

what it’s about from amazon: When her older sister dies from an arrhythmia, 17-year-old Lennie finds that people are awkward around her, including her best friend. While dealing with her conflicted feelings toward her sister’s boyfriend, her anguish over Bailey’s unexpected death, and her sudden curiosity about sex, Lennie must also cope with her unresolved feelings about her mother, who left when Lennie was an infant. Debut author Nelson expertly and movingly chronicles the myriad, roller-coaster emotions that follow a tragedy, including Lennie’s reluctance to box up her sister’s belongings and her guilt over bursts of happiness. The portrayal of the teen’s state of mind is believable, as are the romanticizing of her absent mother and the brief scenes of underage drinking and sexual exploration. Chapters are typically anchored by brief snippets of Lennie’s writings. This is a heartfelt and appealing tale. Girls who gobble up romantic and/or weep-over fiction will undoubtedly flock to this realistic, sometimes funny, and heartbreaking story.

my opinion:

*KERPLUNK* that’s the sound of my jaw hitting the floor.

this book? oh my, this book. it is one of the MOST GORGEOUS books i’ve ever read. ever. ever. the prose is luscious, the poems are divine, the images are vivid, and throughout it all, the emotions, the love, the anger, the betrayal, the giddiness, the pain, the love! but most especially the grief, are tangible. plain and simple, the story and the characters are flat out orange.*

jandy doesn’t use big words. she doesn’t try to show off her intelligence or confuse you with deeper meanings. she simply picks the very best word for the story at hand and lets it radiate, and let me tell you, you’re going to need sunglasses. she is a master of both prose and poetry. it’s not fair really, i mean, there are these bits of poetry at the beginning of some chapters and OMG! if they’re not the most stunning poems i’ve ever read. they make emotion accessible. in fact, the poems wring out so much emotion, the pages drip with it and you’re doused with the excess. AND YOU WILL LIKE IT.

i haven’t even mentioned any of the relationships or specific characters because my words are pale and meager and, you guys, seriously, just pick up this book and read it. proceed with caution, but PROCEED. and quickly! you can thank me (and jandy) later.

* “orange is…the color of extraordinary.” pg.32

p.s. as an added bonus, HERE’S an interview (done by gayle forman) with jandy nelson. the authors of my two favorite books that were released in 2010. so much goodness is going on in there!

//

spring cleaning

April 19, 2011

due to an upcoming change of apartments, i’m finally joining the millions (thousands? hundreds? few?) who partake in a yearly spring clean. before having the gargantuan task of moving put upon me, usually i’d just tidy up a bit. i’m a neat, organized person, but dusting and scrubbing and throwing things out? forget about it.

but now? when faced with the option of having to lug all these things down three flights of stairs, into a moving van and back up another flight of stairs, i am suddenly objective and unburdened and can throw things out. this is a huge step for me because if there’s one time in my life that i procrastinate, it’s when throwing things out. “i may need that in june.” “i may need that if it rains.” “i should keep this for when, if, it snows in august.” “i’m going to read that. someday. i’ll keep it.” the excuses i used to make are now as big as the piles i’ve trashed.*pats self on back.*

and, in addition to dust bunnies that are bigger than the easter bunny, it’s amazing what i’ve found after not having looking at the bottom shelf of my bookcase or under that table or in my nightstand. i found a bunch of old college papers, poetry final exams, and my papers from my first and second creative writing classes. honestly, they’re cringe worthy, which is exactly why they landed in the “keep” pile. as much as i despair about the state of my writing now, HOLY COW, it’s miles different from where it started all those years ago.

one of the things i was excited to find was a comment from my very first (and scariest) creative writing professor. the comment that often rattles around in my brain because she managed to articulate what i never could about myself:

“…I think you might be the kind of student who makes great leaps between semesters as a result of study. Just a hunch.”

— LC

it’s not the most sparkling thing i’ve ever heard about myself, but it is the truth. my mind works at the speed of molasses. i can know something, but it takes time for it to sink through the layers to reach the part where i can be productive. it’s so freeing to know this because it’s a grand thing to know how my mind works. it’s also troublesome because it means i have to work overtime to understand the intricacies and be as productive as someone whose brain processes faster… but i’m always game for a little competition. it keeps things interesting.

who knew that spring cleaning would not only lighten the load, but dispense advice as well? it looks like i’ve got some wise dust bunnies. perhaps i should keep them around?