Cards and Characters

This has not been a very good week -- I lost my keys and wallet somewhere in Brooklyn, I've had a touch of post-Harry depression, and work is neverending, even though it's August. So: no posts. However, I had a great dinner at Sorrel on Thursday and an excellent coffee with author Francisco Stork yesterday, and I saw "The Simpsons Movie," so things are looking up.

  • I just accepted an invitation to speak at the New Jersey SCBWI conference June 6-7, 2008, in Princeton. I have no idea what I will be talking about as yet, so suggestions are welcome.
  • But I'll be speaking about character and possibly voice on November 10 at the Missouri SCBWI conference in St. Louis. My working question for this is "What makes a great character?" which leads me to my question for you all: When I say "a great character," who springs to mind for you? My immediate answers are Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin; Severus Snape; Elizabeth Bennet; Rose Casson; Harriet Welsch; Rupert Campbell-Black; Lyra Belacqua (in The Golden Compass); Anne Shirley (in Anne of Green Gables) . . . Your nominations?
  • On this same topic, from Living the Romantic Comedy: A great post on authentic characters.
  • I will also be speaking at my church -- giving a lay sermon, actually -- at the service on August 26, talking about the Word and the word. I'm really looking forward to thinking about this and writing this.
  • Here's an interview with Philip Pullman on something of those same topics (via Educating Alice).
  • And also on Educating Alice, an interesting discussion of race in HP.
  • I keep remembering random things stuck in my wallet: my video-rental card; a photo of my family; a gift card to UNIQLO; a Maneki Neko card from Katy, which I carried for good luck; a partially filled Subway sandwich card; the key to a file cabinet at work . . . All these things still out there in the world, waiting patiently in someone else's bag or at the bottom of a grate or trash can, much of it meaningless without me.
  • But I've been forced to realize or remember how dependent I am upon electronic networks: no credit cards, no driver's license (and you need a credit card to order a new one online), only a temporary ATM card to keep me afloat (and I'm enormously grateful for that). We are all identity-theft movies waiting to happen.
  • Tomorrow is the New York City Half-Marathon, so if you're out and about in Manhattan very early tomorrow morning, wave hello as I run by!
  • And this leads me to my favorite Internet application this year: The Google Maps pedometer, which tells you the distance and even possibly the calories burned of any route you map out. It's terrific.
  • Anyone seen "Becoming Jane" yet? I want to both gag AND hiss every time I pass a poster.
  • Finally, from the Onion, the last word in Harry Potter spoilers.