Thursday, February 25, 2010
Suzie Townsend is my agent extraordinaire. Hmmm... You are thinking why is that name so oddly familiar? Is it because she is an amazing agent attached to some of the biggest YA deals of 2009 and 10? Is it because she has a wonderful reputation far and wide for her savvy, taste, and love of lilac? Yes! AND It is also because Sue Townsend is also the very same name of the author of one of the most amazing YA books of all time: The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, aged 13 3/4. This may seem like a coincidence but the universe is paying very close attention. I think it is this book that subconsciously convinced me that it was OK to marry a Scotsman and now that I look at the whole thing, it had a major impact on my perception of YA, my love of teenager-dom, and the diary- all which inform so much of BELL JAR SUMMER. An orange soda toast, then to Suzie (and Sue) Townsend! CHEERS~!
This week I finally met the agent that plucked BELL JAR SUMMER from the slush pile and made me a millionaire. Not quite millionaire but he did rescue me from an un-published life which, for me, would have been a fate worse than death. He is not my agent now... he is a fancy editor with an office in the fabled Flatiron Building which is were I met him. Dear reader, it was like visiting Oz. Creepy security, elaborate elevators with hot shot editors chatting about book covers inside of them. So I get to his office and this is what is on his fucking wall. I KNOW!! So we hit it off and ate lunch and laughed a lot, about what I don't really remember, and I'm so grateful to the universe for introducing us. My new agent is a sparkly wonder and I will share more about her another time... All's I'm saying is thank you Brendan Deneen for everything. xx
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
All this blogging nonsense is just until I get the edits for my forthcoming novel BELL JAR SUMMER. Oh, I have lots to do and I'm very anxious about what they (the EDITORS) have to say. It's all throat clearing, really. Maybe I'd blog about the whole writing/editing process if I had more to say. All I know is that when I see clutches of gothy teens skulking around 59th street I shiver in my boots thinking about them reading BELL JAR SUMMER. Especially the really cool, smart looking ones... they are the ones that will surely judge me... and send me to the punk rock gallows.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Last week I made a bed for my kid's lizards out of fake Tiffany's box, a piece of dishcloth and an old pillowcase.
Because he wanted to sleep with the lizards and I didn't think that was such a good idea. Because I thought if the lizards had a place to take a nap, he would feel better about taking a nap himself. Because I have an MFA from Columbia University and knew I could whip up a lizard bed in three minutes and was up to the fucking challenge! Word to your mother. In the same spirit I made heart-shaped pancakes on Valentine's day- freeform. If there's a problem, yo- I'll solve it. Check out the hook while my DJ revolves it.
I have a hardcover book (yes, it's Going Bovine, yes I am loving it) that is about 800 pages long. I take it on the subway. I put it in my purse. I lug it from bedroom to living room to laundry room only to read 10 pages at a go. It's like take your brick to work week and I've had about enough. Oh, it's good. I love the cover. I love that I was so excited to read it I simply could not wait for the paperback edition that was sure to follow the hardcover release. I love how I feel like a 10 year old girl reading the library's copy of Little Women. But seriously. It's become my albatross and I'm itching to finish it, just to give my triceps a break. Oh, the kids today are all about the paperbacks, slide a copy into the back pocket of your dungarees on your way to the drag race or sock-hop and as a modern girl how can I blame them? I also seem to remember getting hardcovers from the library and they often had tiny paper-colored mites on them that you were never quite sure were real until you lightly smashed one with an index finger. And that they smelled like vanilla and the desert. Oh dear readers (all 3 of you), what was the last hardcover YOU read? I'm dying to know...
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
There is a bakery in my neighborhood called Gideon's that has gotten into the coffee biz. Lest you forget, there are RULES for drinking coffee in the Heights.
- MILK is kept in the REFRIGERATOR, PLEASE PUT IT BACK when FINISHED. THANK YOU
- Do NOT pour any type of liquid into the garbage. Thank you for your assistance.
- ATTENTION! NO REFILLS
- NOBODY, BUT THE EMPLOYEES OF GIDEON'S, CAN TOUCH THE COFFEE MACHINE. ~THANK YOU
I have dreams about what went down there with the senior citizen clientele that warranted such excessive, yet oddly polite, signage. I'm thinking Barfly-esque, ear-ripping brawls over creamer, decaf, and inappropriate touching of the coffee machine. The punctuation, emphatic capitalization, and overall tone help transcend their function to art. Behold! ~THANK YOU~
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Tomorrow they are having a Valentine's Day party at my kid's school even though it is only February 12. I'm making mini red-velvet cupcakes for him to bring. Red velvet makes me think of blood soaked earth, like someone took the soil from beneath the Roman Coliseum and made a cake out of it. But it's festive and full of cancer-causing red dye so, what's not to love? And I also think, what better way to celebrate love than with dangerous bloody cakes? And Spiderman Valentines? And a glass of wine in the tub while my husband makes a frozen pizza? Tomorrow will probably the very last time my son will distribute love notes to all his friends- girls and boys alike- without shame. I myself am full of love today- for snow, for my kids, my man, my friends, for beautiful words on a page. For the whole bloody adventure of it.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
A one-sided conversation with my super February 4, 2010:
"What the hell is texting?"
"Why wouldn't you just call the person?"
"When is typing easier than talking?"
"That's all the kids do now, typing on a phone when they should be eating dinner."
"I just don't get it."
Digital divide indeed.
Koala bear is code for I love you.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
There. I said it. Oh- I respect her word-smithing, her plotting, and etc. but I'd rather argue with my insurance company over medical charges than curl up with Pride and Prejudice. In grad school I tried to write a paper comparing Jane Austen's books to Victorian pornographic novels and got a resounding "shame on you!" from none other than Lore Segal.
I also wrote a paper on Harriet the Spy for a Children's Literature seminar with Richard Howard. It was all about feminism and the power of the gaze- how Harriet becomes all children navigating through challenging times- blah blah blah. I thought it was pretty good. He didn't. He asked me why I would choose to concentrate on a second rate children's book when I could have written about Rudyard Kipling! Which, if you've ever met Richard Howard, is hilarious.
I guess what I'm getting at is that I don't love the things I'm supposed to and love the things I'm supposed to not. How punk rock.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
We bought the cheapo $3.99 French Roast in a bag coffee from Trader Joe's last week instead of the $6.99 Fair Trade Bolivian Blend in the can and, dear reader, learn from my cautionary tale. It's like drinking toasted gasoline and because we only have skim milk in the house I can take no refuge from its bitterness in butterfat. (One of the only things that the dwarf Roloff mom on TLC's Little people, Big World and I have in common is our loathing of skim milk.) I'm trying to get in the mood here to like, write, for Christ's sake and the coffee just isn't doing it for me. All I can think of is half and half and dwarves and laundry. And all the people I know who have published books. And Prince. And the low battery in my mouse. And what to make for dinner. You see? This is what the coffee situation has reduced me to.
Monday, February 1, 2010
As an official YA writer I am contractually obligated to discuss the passing of JD Salinger: genius, creep, possible Howard Hughes-esque own urine drinker. When I was 13, I read the Catcher in the Rye in one day. Could. Not. Stop. Reading. The velocity of the voice and the obsessive adoration of each and every word from Holden's mouth was no doubt, the inspiration for a zillion writers. But it is this very -OMG I can't put it down because [insert main character's name] is so totally me!- feeling that I aspire to in my own work, YA or otherwise.
Move me. And make it quick. Amuse and depress me simultaneously. Speak clearly and confuse me. And of course, what made Catcher in the Rye so amazing to me was that my mother: HATED IT. Wha? I know! I don't understand the loathing either. I think she just didn't get it. And then there was the whole murdering of John Lennon connection and that was it. Salinger will forever have a line through his name in my mother's book. As for me, I say a million thank yous, and adieu.