Thursday, May 8, 2008

Novel update, MFA, and Behind the Book. And cookies.

All right. In the interest of avoiding having the most boring blog EVER in the history of blogging, I'm going to try to post more often. Like, a lot more often. Like, at least once a week. If not more than that. I have no idea what I'll have to say, but I'm hoping things will come to me. Sort of like that other kind of writing, where half the battle is to actually show up, and then sometimes you suddenly find yourself working on a story.

I'm also going to pretend that at the very least, I have some friends and family members out there who are looking at this thing occasionally (hi mom!) and so I won't feel like I'm posting into the abyss. As always, comments are very welcome, just so I'll know you guys are out there, occasionally checking in.

So, update. Right now I'm working on reviewing copyedits on my middle-grade fantasy novel, which is currently scheduled for a February 2009 release and which still does not have a title. Title selection has been proving extraordinarily difficult, and we are running out of time. Also, this copyediting stage is my last chance to make text changes with abandon, so it's kind of a high-pressure experience.

In other news, I've been accepted into the Vermont College MFA program in writing for children and young adults, which I am very excited about. The first residency is in July, and there is lots of preparation going on and plenty of stress and positive anticipation in about equal measure. It is going to be a LOT of work, but it will all be good work—writing the kinds of things I want to be writing more of, critical work on topics that relate to my writing, and reading other students' work and books by members of the faculty and more great children's literature and books on craft and other things.

In other other news, I had a fabulous school visit yesterday with a great class at P.S. 274 in Brooklyn. This visit was through the Behind the Book organization, which is a literary arts nonprofit group that does wonderful things in schools. If you'd like to help support them, please visit their website to volunteer or make a donation. The students I met with are working on creating their own books, and next week I get to go back and hear their first drafts and help them with revising! I can't wait; all of their ideas sounded very exciting and I know they are going to come up with some wonderful stories.

One last thing: I was up in Ithaca last weekend to visit some very dear friends, and I was shocked to discover that the Ithaca Bakery has stopped making my favorite cookies (chocolate chip walnut). They now only make regular chocolate chip, no nuts. This may not seem like a big deal to some people, but those cookies are one of the things I really look forward to on my Ithaca visits, and I am greatly saddened to think that they are gone forever. If you live in Ithaca, please add your voice to mine in asking them to bring the walnuts back! I don't see why they can't make both kinds—with walnuts and without—and thereby keep all their devoted customers happy.


  1. Well, if you want comments, I will just have to oblige.

    Congrats again on the MFA program! And I agree--I've never had that particular bakery's chocolate chip walnut cookies, but I do love walnuts in chocolate chip cookies, so you are surely right. :)

  2. Thanks, Anne Marie! For the comment and the congrats and the cookie support. :)

  3. Frankly, I still think you're deranged for wanting walnuts in your chocolate chip cookies, but the heart wants what the heart wants, so I will wholeheartedly support your campaign. In any event, at least I know you're not so deranged that you don't enjoy a good slice of pie now and again.

    In other news, I will (quite modestly) say that I've always been exceptionally good at coming up with marvelous titles - often even before the stories are written. So if you were willing to let me read the current draft, I might be able to make some suggestions.

  4. Jeff - you are very nice to offer to read the current draft (you do realize it's 300 pages?) but actually I *think* we may have finally settled on a title. As soon as I'm sure it's final I'll post it up here.

    As for the walnuts... I'll resist starting a discussion here of deranged hearts' desires. We'll just have to agree to eat different cookies. But yes - we can absolutely agree on delicious pie! :)

  5. I'm in the middle of "The Executioner's Song," which weighs in at nearly 1,100 pages, so you don't scare me, Missy. :-) But I'm glad to hear you may have found a title that works. If not, well, you know where to find me (and my pies).

  6. Hi Mikki. I plan to stop by Ithaca Bakery this afternoon so I will check on the status of the walnut choc chip cookies. I make something similar: banana choc chip walnut cookies. They are superb! Congratulations on making it into the MFA program and good luck.

  7. Congrats on the MFA program!
    I too feel your cookie pain. Ever since I was a little child, I would visit the Tottenville Bakery to take part in one of life's most simple pleasures "The Big Chocolate Chip Cookie". I know many of you think you are aware of this cookie from other bakeries, but being the cookie connoisseur that I am, I can tell you you are not. No one created this masterpiece better than the Tottenville Bakery. Over the years I have made my pilgrimage (traveling from foreign lands) just for a taste of that simple pleasure. On my last visit (December of 07) I walked into the bakery, looked at the glassed enclosure and noticed that my cookie looked different. I looked behind the counter and the beautiful cookie girls were gone too (they always had very attractive women working there). This was turning out to be cookie nightmare! Driven by my tastebuds and determined to complete my journey, I ordered the not-so-familiar looking cookie and of course a chocolate milk. With much anticipation and a little confusion, I bit into the cookie... In disbelief I took a swig of chocolate milk and tried again thinking the new look and surroundings has affected my tastebuds; another bite. My initial suspicion was realized on the second bite. This was not my cookie. What happened to my old friend? Will I ever experience that delectable treat again? I've since searched and come up short. So not to take the attention away from you Michelle or your blog and to share my point, I understand your traumatic cookie debacle. I hope your get your walnuts back my cookie sister.