FAQ, Fun Stuff, Depressing Stuff, and Chickens

  • I'm adding a FAQ over on Talking Books with all the questions people commonly ask at writers' conferences regarding submissions, the children's book market, my personal tastes, etc. Questions already on the list include "Why are editors prejudiced against rhyme?", "Why does it take you so long to respond to my manuscript?" (eegh), and the old standby "What are you looking for?", and I'm collecting more. So if there's Anything You've Always Wanted to Know from an Editor (But Were Afraid to Ask), please leave your question in the comments or send it via e-mail to chavela_que at yahoo dot com.
  • I have an avatar! (And yes, that's a bridge behind her):

Created with http://illustmaker.abi-station.com/index_en.shtml

  • For Marilyn the Toymaker, pictures of my MetroCard butterflies:

These dragonflies are really my favorite to make: 1. Cut off the black strip at the bottom of the card. 2. Round off the ends and cut curves into its sides to form a thorax. 3. Fold the top part of the card in half and cut out the wings. 4. Roll a piece of tape into a long cylinder, sticky-side out, and press it into the fold. 5. Press the thorax onto the piece of tape. Done! They make lovely package decorations as well.

  • Titles for The Great American Zombie Novel, Part One and Part Two.
  • Ride Space Mountain!
  • Pottercasters, you found me out: I am Hot Cheryl. But you know John really only likes me because my name sounds like Chipotle . . .
  • I'm now reading The Magician's Nephew, which I'm liking quite a lot, thanks to the comedy of Jadis flailing away in London and the stoutness of Digory's heart. And my friend Ted and I just finished a dual read of The Brothers Karamazov and are going on to The Iliad next.
  • NPR just reminded me that today is the anniversary of the Challenger explosion -- the Kennedy assassination moment of my generation, that is, the moment we can all remember where we were when it happened. I was eight years old, missing school because I had the flu, standing next to the receptionist's window in my doctor's office in Belton, Missouri; and my parents were both teachers, so we took Christa McAuliffe's death pretty hard.
  • Fred Phelps, who never ceases to give Kansas and Baptists a bad name, is protesting the funerals of the West Virginia miners according to the ludicrous logic "Phelps preaches God's Word -> he went to West Virginia to protest a gay funeral according to God's Word -> some West Virginians protested his protest -> God hates West Virginia." (This news from Jeremiah.) Thankfully Phelps is insane enough to be irrelevant, but it's still horrifying people can act like this (especially in the name of Christ). For an opposing view, see God Hates Westboro Baptist Church or The Book of Everything.
  • Samuel Alito is, sadly, sane, relevant, and our next Supreme Court justice.
  • To end on an up note: My wall calendar at home this year is Extraordinary Chickens. This month's chicken glares at me every morning, accusing me of lingering too long in bed or not moving quickly enough toward the day; but the moral force of that gimlet eye is undercut by the Warholian feather duster that's exploded atop its head. . . . I love chickens (and dachsunds too) because they maintain such strict and endearing dignity in the face of their utter physical ridiculousness.