Friday, June 18, 2010

Random Thoughts on a Friday

I'm no Luddite but...I think it's a bad sign that my Bluetooth software doesn't recognize my voice when I'm sick. What if it dials "pizza" in an emergency instead of "police"?

I'm no rocket scientist but...I think they should be able to invent a new plastic bag for cereal boxes so it won't explode when you open it. It never rips along the right seam and then little bits of cereal get stuck outside the bag and get stale.

I'm no activist but...I think those whalers who are skirting international law by fishing for whales in the Antarctic by claiming to be doing "research" on them when really they are selling the meat commercially in Japan should be brought up on charges. It's a shameful action.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

In case you were wondering...

I got a Google alert not long ago that my name/book title/website were mentioned/linked/taken in vain and it turned out to be a book review blog called "Slightly Bookish." The blogger, a girl named Maddz, posted a super nice review of LOVE, MEG (thank you very much!) on her blog along with a photo of the title page with some scribbles on it.

Click here to see the photo.

She wanted to know what it said. So I wrote to her and I told her that was my signature. Somehow she had gotten a signed copy of my book at Books-A-Million. Now, when you're an author and you have a book in stores, you visit a lot of them and you sign stock if they have yours there so they can slap the "Signed Copy!" stickers on them and place them in a prominent location (you hope). I certainly did when my books came out - more so when MEG came out than when VEE did.

But here's the weird thing: I've never been in a Books-A-Million so I have *no* idea where Maddz' store got that copy. Any thoughts from anyone?

So there you go...a lesson for all of us: keep an eye out for signed copies of books even in chain stores. You just never know!

And if you're reading this, Maddz, thanks for that awesome review of my book. That was such a wonderful thing to read. It really lifted my spirits!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Reading while writing

I would venture to say most writers will acknowledge that they don't read when they are in the midst of a project. That is, they won't read something similar to what they're working on or in the same genre. But it seems like we are always in the middle of a project, aren't we? And when we aren't, we may be in a lull for another reason, like perhaps we're choreographing the ballet, "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" so we don't even have the brainpower or time to get a book from the library or store.

When I recently returned to my WIP, a dystopian YA, it had been months since I'd read a book. I was consciously avoiding anything similar, which is incredibly hard because dystopian novels are ones I am particularly drawn to read. Some of my very favorites are Susan Beth Pfeffer's "Life As We Knew It" and Suzanne Collins' "The Hunger Games." Both of those books have sequels I'm dying to read but as I am in the middle of this book, I can't distract myself (or depress myself because, let's face it, those books are wonderful and if I can't get mine in shape like that, I'll be really unhappy) . But neither do I want to read any happy-go-lucky sunshine-y books. First of all, those books are not my cup of tea but second of all, I don't want to be taken out of a mood that might help me write.

So I guess I need to stay depressed.

Who else to turn to but Stephen King? In his book "On Writing," King reminds us that if we want to write, we must read. MUST. That's like, rule number one: Writers Must Read. You should never trust a writer who says he never reads. Bad writer, bad, bad writer. So I gave myself permission to read. In a used bookstore, I picked up a copy of "Duma Key," a novel of King's from a couple years back. I have on my home bookshelf some other unread King novels but "Duma Key" called to me from the store shelf and it was only a quarter.

It sat on my table for a week before I picked it up. And of course I couldn't put it down. King is a master storyteller, that goes without saying, and this book drew me in from the first page. Within a day or two I was already past the halfway mark. But beyond the enjoyment of the novel as a story, I was surprised to find the book had resonance in my writing. Not because it influenced my writing per se but it made me passionate about my story again. I had taken some time away from the manuscript for various reasons, not the least of which was the show I was working on, but also because I had started to lose my thread. I was wandering around picking at a sentence here and there but I couldn't fall back into it - and that's exactly what I wanted to do, what I needed to do.

I was stalled and King's book started the engine. This has been revelatory to me because I had steadfastly refused to read other people's work while writing my own - now I realize I can read to reignite my own passion.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Birthdays and milestones

But I don't want to grow up yet!

Recently, two items surfaced that are making me question my own concept of adulthood: my friend Rachel blogged today about milestones and a CNN article listed 10 things that mark you as having become an adult.

I glibly commented to Rachel that I hadn't grown up yet because I wasn't a parent, nor did I own a home or an IRA. As for that CNN article, I certainly haven't yet "made peace with my body" nor have I "learned how to handle the tough times." Really? Does mastery of those 2 things seriously identify us as grownups?

Last week was my birthday and I pushed aside any celebration of it because I was too busy with a new teaching schedule and a show I was producing but now that's over and I have time to think about it. It was kind of a big birthday or could be considered one, I suppose, but I don't know how or if I will celebrate it. I'm a big fan of Disneyland which isn't far from me but does an adult with no kids celebrate that way? How should grownups celebrate birthdays? Or should they at all?

I believe the definition of being an adult needs to be more fluid. For those of us who do not have traditional 9-5 jobs or traditional families or lifestyles, we need our own way to mark passages, or milestones, as Rachel says. We need a more flexible accounting of our achievements so we don't feel like we are still kids.