Sunday, January 31, 2010

Random Photo of the Month

This afternoon I happened across this very fun photo of me, Lev Grossman, and Maura Madden at a Word Bookstore event this past December. AMAZINGLY, we just happen to be standing in a row reading one another's books. What are the odds? ;)

It was a nice reminder of a lovely afternoon at the store, meeting great authors and enjoying the hospitality of the wonderful folks at Word. For more photos from this and other events, see Word Brooklyn's Photostream on Flickr.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Newbery Blueberry!

How cool is this? The students of Solomon Schechter Day School in New Milford picked The Dragon of Trelian as their "Newbery Blueberry" mock-Newbery award winner!

Students Pick Own Winning Books

Thank you, student voters! :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

January 2010 Reentry

Got back Wednesday from the winter residency at VCFA, and it was as expected—awesome and inspiring and exhausting and happy and sad and wonderful. Ten days of lectures, workshops, readings, and events, with dear old friends and many new friends and brilliant writers and teachers. There was a moving memorial for Norma Fox Mazer, which I was honored to have the chance to attend. There were fabulous conversations over meals and hilarious late-night games of Exquisite Corpse (or Picture Telephone, as most of us called it) and also a kick-ass party thrown by my class (the Thunder Badgers) for the graduating class (the Sweet Dreams and Flying Machines) which involved a Wild West theme and much dancing and fun and cowboy hats.

My cowgirl attire (note the awesome belt, borrowed from Nice Boyfriend):

There were also fun cowboy-themed items:

And cowboy-themed foods:

Also there was dancing and game-playing and a piñata shaped like a boot. Much fun was had by all!

During the rez we were also assigned our advisors for the next semester, and I am SO EXCITED to be working with the fabulous Margaret Bechard. This will be my final semester, which makes me more than a little sad, although at the end I will have an MFA, which will (I hope) help alleviate some of the pain of VCFA withdrawal. And of course, the VCFA community embraces alumni and keeps them involved, and so I know I won't really be saying good-bye to VCFA, just moving on to a new relationship with it. But still, I will miss being a student and going to residencies and all the rest. But it's too early for all that, really! Fourth semester is only just starting, and I have another six months before I have to think about graduating. So I will not think about that just now at all.

Another fun thing happened at rez, which is that I finished my first knitting project! It was a scarf. I am very proud. Many thanks to Madeleine, who got me started over New Year's and donated yarn and knitting needles and taught me how to knit and purl, and to the nice knitter/writers (like Sarah and Linden) at VCFA who helped me when I got stuck, and to knitter/writer/awesome VCFA faculty member Rita Williams-Garcia, who showed me how to cast off at the airport while we were waiting for our flight back to NYC. I am excited to start a new project, although I will have to figure out how to knit in the presence of my cat, who will no doubt want to involve herself with the yarn in highly disruptive ways.

And that is all for now. I have ridiculous amounts of things to do, writing and otherwise, and should get to work. Wednesday was all about getting home and seeing my boyfriend and my cat, and yesterday was all about cleaning up my apartment and trying to get oriented, and now I need to be all about the writing for a while. And then hopefully maybe soon I can think about some other things, like my apartment-fixing-up plans. I was briefly daydreaming today about hiring an interior designer to help me make the most of the space I've got and give me painting and decorating advice. This will probably not happen, as I imagine interior designers are expensive and so are new furnishings and as you may remember I was hoping to NOT spend money like a crazy person this year. But it's fun to think about anyway.

OH! Almost forgot to say I am SO HAPPY for my friend Rebecca Stead who WON THE NEWBERY!!!! Congratulations to her and to all the other award winners. YAY! :)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

2010 is going to be OK

Just finished my second cup of coffee, which means it is time to get up from the computer and go do things. Mostly today's things will be about packing and getting ready for rez and getting my cat ready to spend ten days at my boyfriend's apartment while I am gone. There are things I wanted to get done before I go that will not get done, and I am deciding to be ok about this.

I think I want to make Deciding to Be Ok about Things my goal for 2010. I spend way too much time worrying about everything (and I mean seriously, EVERYTHING), and while there are some small number of things actually worth worrying about (e.g., health and well-being of friends and family), many of the things I worry about are just not worth it. Some things can just be ok. For example, it is ok that I didn't get all the reading done that I would have liked to do for the residency. It is ok that my apartment is a mess, and that my friend Kristin will see it this way when she comes over to water my plants next week. It is ok that I do not have my whole life figured out, and that I have big questions about lots of significant life things, and that I do not have a five-year plan or a fully updated checkbook register or a functional exercise regimen.

Which is not to say I'm not going to set goals for the coming year or anything like that. Actually the whole point is to direct my energy toward what matters, instead of wasting it on things that don't. I'm going to finish my Trelian sequel by March 1, which is my new deadline and which CANNOT be missed if I want the book to come out when it's supposed to. I'm going to finish the first draft of another novel that I'm working on, hopefully by July. I'm going to fix up my apartment, and paint and get curtains, and I'm going to cook more and try not to spend money like a crazy person. I'm going to exercise more, but it's going to be ok if that takes the form of long walks listening to audiobooks instead of my former ideal of going for runs and rejoining the gym.

I read David Small's Stitches last night (some of the reading for rez that I *did* finish) and by the end I was feeling pretty silly about some of the things in my life that upset me. Seriously, my life is pretty ok, more than ok, and some people have Real Problems and sometimes it helps to remember that and try to put things in perspective. Not that my life is all candy and roses by any means, and of course some things are going to get me down, but there are also many things in my life that I need to remember to be grateful for on a regular basis.

Anyway. I should get up and go do things now, for real. Need to pick up a package at the post office and stop at the bank for laundry and vending machine quarters for school, and pack and pack and transfer files to my laptop and update my iPod and everything else. I doubt I will post anything while I'm away, but if you're interested in getting a glimpse of the goings-on at the residency, VCFA alum Tami Brown will be posting at Through the Tollbooth, and Cynthia Leitich Smith will be tweeting VCFA faculty quotes on her Twitter page.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Dr. Horrible Killed My Bedtime

Nearly 3am, spent 8 hours in the car today on the way back from snowy New Year's fun in Maine, really tired, should have been asleep a long time ago, but stayed up watching and rewatching Joss Whedon's Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Selected scenes are replaying behind me even now. The problem was that I had just rewatched the final episode of Firefly and couldn't go to bed on the sad feelings of no-more-Firefly-ness, and I had Dr. Horrible from Netflix and thought, I'll just take a look. Yes, I know I'm late to the game on this one, but whatever, you're just jealous that you can't go back and experience Dr. Horrible for the first time again like I did tonight.

Oh, Joss Whedon. I wish I had one teeny fraction of your amazingness. You and your crack team of creative types and Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion and all the rest. You make me want to write more things and try really hard to make them awesome.

OK. I have a crazy week ahead before I leave for my second-to-last VCFA residency on Sunday and must try to get to bed so I can get up and get lots and lots of things done tomorrow. Just had to share my Dr. Horrible love before turning in. Oh, man.