Monday, September 21, 2009

Return to the blogosphere - here's hoping it sticks.

I'm finding myself micro-blogging on Twitter way more than I expected. A few months ago someone - I think the brilliant, gorgeous, and hysterical Justine Larbalestier - asked tweeters if microblogging was taking away from keeping up with actual blogging.

My answer, as you may have noticed, is a resounding, all-caps YES.

The summer here has been a wash of dramas - both personal and vicarious - so I've thrown myself as much as I can into my writing.

My front-burner work-in-progress, History, is in the final stages of its first draft. My critique partner, Jessica Lee Anderson (no relation - we all know Anderson is my nom de plume, oui?), is a freaking godsend, and the Austin writing community (mostly the SCBWI cult, which I will be joining in the future, if only for their excellent KoolAid) is beyond amazing. If you write YA or MG, move to Austin stat.

I mean, come on, I'm such a nerd for my projects I've even got fake covers for two of them:

Harkness Beach is back burner #1, a story I've been rewriting since I was 16, but which has recently come to light as what it's meant to be - a YA sci-fi detective story exploring secular Hell and reincarnation. Whoa. History is the big project, my real first novel, that I've been assured will find a home if I can just finish the thing. These covers keep me feeling positive that they're real books that will find real places on real shelves one day. I highly recommend making fake covers - it's great for upping your ego-maniacal writerly rights self esteem.

If you'd asked me two years ago if I was going to be a novelist - as a career or as a hobby - I would have told you no. Poetry is all that my attention span allows for and I'm fucking good at it. Why dive into a craft that isn't lucrative if it only means I'll be bleeding from both arms.

Backing up - the infamous Blanche Boyd, Writer in Residence at my Alma Mater, Connecticut College, refused to let me take her fiction writing classes at the same time as taking classes with Charles O. Hartman, my first real teacher in poetic medium (he showed me how much I sucked and, thank the lord, gave me the tools to fix it). I recall a phone call with Blanche in which I did a lot of eyerolling as she said in her delectable Southern accent "Honey taking my class and Charles' at the same time would be like bleeding from both arms. You'd be crying in my office every week and I'd have to put you in counseling."

I was too speechless to tell her that I'm a certifiable crazy person who was already IN weekly counseling. Hey, everyone loves a high-functioning manic-depressive with a sprinkling panic disorder and hypochondria. I never did take her class.

But she was right - having endeavored into novel-writing I've all but abandoned my poetic roots. I can't compose poetry while trying to figure out what my girl Jody is going to do next and whether or not she's a reliable narrator and how on earth to disguise my high school experience as a fictional world. Of course, that doesn't mean I don't want to write as poetically as, say, my newest heroine Randa Jarrar. I swear, this woman is the literary equivalent of the marshmallow-pooping unicorn on that Threadless tee I can't quite get the nerve (or the cash - I'm a starving artist here) to buy. Everything she puts on the page is gold. I won't believe her if she ever tells me she writes crappy first drafts. I just won't. Sorry, Randa.

That said, Twitter has been a great tool in keeping me in touch with other writers, as we encourage eachother to keep cranking out wordage, celebrate each other's successes, and have Twitter Book BDays. (Mitali Perkins is a goddess.)

I'd like to say that I'll pick back up on this blog. Every YA novelist needs a blog these days, and here's mine. It should have words in it on a regular basis. I'm going to try. But I'm such an oversharer! I beg you to bear with me.

In the mean time, the other arm I'm bleeding from is The BookKids Blog, which I write for several times a week for BookPeople, the largest and most awesome bookstore in Texas. (PS, it's an indie.) I post a lot of book reviews and banned books propaganda (oooooh that fire is always in my belly!) and interview whichever authors are willing to put up with me. I love it. I hope you do, too!

Email me any time, y'all. I'm open for questions, comments, and bad jokes.