Events. Media. Cute Animals. A Poll.

  • Next Kidlit Drink Night! We'll gather at the Blue Owl on Monday, March 30th, about 6 p.m. All the cool kids will be there -- except, of course, in kidlit, the cool kids are all just happy dorks. So you become a cool kid by just loving the subject and showing up to discuss it. Hope to see you there!
  • Francisco Stork, author of Marcelo in the Real World, was featured in a SLJ interview here.
  • Lisa Yee is interviewed by Readergirlz in a video for Absolutely Maybe here
  • A terrific review of Heartsinger here. I'm going to be on a USBBY panel for this book at Midsummer ALA, along with the author (Karlijn Stoffels) and translator (Laura Watkinson) and Arthur. That will also be the first time, or very close to it, that I meet either the author or translator, or even hear their voices, even though we went through an exhaustive and ultimately entirely mutually satisfying translation and editing process together -- all done over e-mail and in Microsoft Word Track Changes. We hope to show some of these original e-mails and documents during our panel, so if you're at all interested in children's literature in translation or the editorial process, it ought to be a fascinating event.
  • Greg Pincus has a very cool plan for National Poetry Month in April.
  • An awesome word: schwerpunkt. I'm thinking of using this in place of the word "point" in all my talks, because it means more or less the same thing but it's so much more pungent and schwerpunkty. Find an excuse to use it today!
  • If you love Zadie Smith but haven't yet seen her wonderful essay on Obama, "Pygmalion," and her own upbringing, "Speaking in Tongues" -- you can click that link.
  • But in order to click the next link, you must (1) enjoy pictures of cute animals, (2) find insulting them for no reason potentially hilarious, and (3) not mind bad language. All good? Okay. (My favorite entry: The Tibetan Fox Thinks He's Better Than You.)
  • Best adult book I've read recently: The Beautiful Struggle by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I became a fan of Mr. Coates's writing after he replaced Matthew Yglesias as the liberal blogger at the Atlantic website, and this is his memoir of growing up in Baltimore in the 1980s, the next-to-youngest son of a former Black Panther, and learning what it meant to him to be a black male. I clearly am a very whitebread white woman, and reading this reminded me strongly of reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao: the same constant flow of references I didn't get, but also the same wondrous use of language, particularly that very flow; the same fascinating characters and setting; and the same wonder and appreciation for getting such a full view of a life so different from my own. It is indeed beautiful.
  • The fine print on the challenge below: To qualify for the $1 donation, you must send me a digital picture of you at the end of your run (walks also qualify). All pictures must be received at chavela_que at yahoo dot com by the date of the Race to Deliver in November. Melissa has accepted the challenge, but there's still no word from John . . . If you know him, harass him.
Finally, a poll. Last weekend I gave three talks at the Missouri SCBWI retreat. Two were revised and expanded versions of speeches I've given earlier: a talk on character from the Missouri SCBWI conference in November 2007 and New Jersey in June 2008, and a talk on plot from Illinois last November. The third talk, on voice, was entirely new. None of these, you will have noticed, are on my website, and this is because it makes my life EVER SO MUCH EASIER when I don't have to write a new talk for a conference. I actually do like writing talks; I always learn something myself in the writing, and these three were no exceptions. But when I don't have to write one, I can spend more time concentrating on critiques and editing my books and having a life (particularly on weekends), which is all quite lovely. And it is nice feeling like I'm not saying things people already have heard or know . . .

So I'm wondering: On a scale of 1 to 5, if you came to an SCBWI conference, how bothered would you be to hear me give a talk you might have already read online? 1 is "Hooray! A Talk I Can Read Immediately!"; 5 is "You Are Dead to Me." The poll is in the sidebar at right. Please be honest, as the results have a bearing on the future content of both my website and my weekends. Many thanks!