Monday, December 1, 2014

Stuff and Things, Including Holiday Gifts and Sex Ed in Our Schools (Unrelated ^_^)

[Warning for those afraid of heights and also my mother: trapeze photos below!]

A quick note to anyone who's considering buying signed/inscribed copies of my books from Harvard Book Store as we approach the holidays: I will be out of town, hence unable to sign things, from December 11 to December 19, then again at Christmas Actual. Please time your purchases accordingly so that we can get things to you in time!  Instructions for buying signed copies are behind the link above.

Also, I recommend the article "Sex education in the US is screwing our kids," at Salon, by Alanna Schubach for Dame, which, among other things, links the failure to educate our kids about sex to the prevalence of sexual assault on our college campuses and pretty much everywhere. Excerpt: "Any given student’s experience of sexual education, then—if she receives it at all—is subject to a staggering range of forces: congressional budgeting, state policy, school compliance, community climate, instructor competence. Often forgotten amid the clamor is an adolescent’s right to an understanding of, and ability to make decisions about, his own health. Advocates for comprehensive sex ed see a clear line between curricula riddled with misinformation, and early pregnancy, STI rates, sexual assault, and substance abuse and depression among LGBTQ youth."

Finally, I have been remiss in reporting that TSNY Beantown, the marvelous flying trapeze school, has a new location in the heart of Boston, right next door to North Station and the TD Garden, at 35 Lomasney Way.  If you go there, you, you yourself, may learn to do this:


Or experience this:


 Or, alternately, spend a lot of time falling into the net, which is also fun.


It's great. And it gives you an excuse to walk around town wearing strange socks with chalk all over your pants. TSNY Beantown, folks. They also have classes in silks, static trapeze, trampoline, lyra (aerial hoop), and Spanish web.  Their classes are suitable for all levels of ability; I had certainly never been on a trapeze when I went the first time.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Jacqueline Woodson's Response

Jacqueline Woodson, divinely wonderful writer and winner of the National Book Award for Young People's Literature for Brown Girl Dreaming, has responded to Daniel Handler's watermelon joke in the New York Times. Here's a link to her piece, called "The Pain of the Watermelon Joke." It's in the printed paper today, too. (Thanks, Sarah, for all these links!)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

All My "All" Songs

Occasionally, when I'm not feeling picky about what I want to listen to, I'll open up my songlist, choose a place to start, and listen alphabetically. It can create some interesting sorting results, especially when you get to a word that frequently starts song titles (like "Close/r," "Don't," "Long," "Love," and "You," for example...). Just now, I've somehow ended up in the middle of all the "All" songs. The links below take you to the songs on youtube (though I haven't watched all the videos). Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the music :o). (And by the way, this is an open invitation for any friends who read my blog to tell me about any "All" songs they're appalled not to find in my library.)

All About That Bass -- Meghan Trainor
All Along the Watchtower (by Bob Dylan, but this is the Bear McCreary Battlestar Galactica version)
All Four Seasons -- Sting
All I Need -- Radiohead
All I Really Want -- Alanis Morissette
All I Want -- Joni Mitchell
All Imperfect Things -- Michael Nyman (from The Piano soundtrack)
All Messed Up -- Pierce Turner
All That Heaven Will Allow -- Bruce Springsteen
All the Pigs, All Lined Up -- Nine Inch Nails (It's kind of incomprehensible, so it's hard to tell, but, being NIN, there's a good chance it's not safe for work.)
All The Time -- We're About 9 (You need to click on the correct track -- it's worth the trouble, such a pretty song!)
All the Trees of the Field Will Clap Their Hands -- Sufjan Stevens
All These Things That I've Done -- The Killers
All You Need Is Love -- The Beatles
Alles Neu -- Peter Fox

Monday, November 24, 2014

In the Wake of the National Book Award Ceremony...

I'm getting a lot out of the discussion in the comments of Roger Sutton's blog post in response to Daniel Handler's racist watermelon joke at the National Book Award ceremony last week.  I haven't read every comment yet, but there's a lot here, a lot of people making astute observations and criticisms and explaining muddy things with great clarity. For example, I like the way some commenters are eviscerating Roger's criticisms of poet Nikky Finney's response to Handler's comments. (That link is to only one of the comments on this topic -- keep reading.)

Also, this seems like a good segue to reminding people that the We Need Diverse Books campaign is still going strong. Help the organization reach its stretch goals!

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!