Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hey Jerks, I'm back!


First and foremost, I must apologize to CARRIE (pictured left, with me, at a Books of Wonder party), who is the one person who reads my blog like it's a religion, and I may have caused her a crisis of faith. I AM SORRY.

But, seeing as it's about time for the obligatory New Year's post, I'm going to just gutspill here for a mo, if that's cool wit'chya'll.

I had a pretty ups-and-downs-y 2009. Went through the most devastating breakup of my life to date, lost a job that meant the world to me, and am currently working to re-establish my identity as a member of the bookworld, grown-up society, and an independent tough chick. Hey, I always tell myself I've been through worse and can come out on top, but looking for a job is not fun for anyone, especially when your talents are in the arts. Yuck. Of course I have amazing friends, family, and colleagues and I can't stop being thankful for all of them. My BFF Amelia and my awesome new boyfriend, Jorge, are ridiculously awesome. Also, my TX bff crew - Misha, Tim, Ali (pictured right with me and her bday pressie by Micol Ostow), Tony, Clay, Katy, Sarah, James & all y'all.

My grandparents are amazing people and there's really nothing more I can say about them. I love them and owe them more than even they know.

Thanks mucho to the support of (shout-out time) some of the fabbity fab crew of the Austin Kidlit scene. Folks like Cynthia Leitich Smith, Jenny Ziegler, Varian Johnson, K.A. Holt, P.J. Hoover, Liz Garton Scanlon, April Lurie, and countless others who tell me every time they see me how my time is coming and that patience is a virtue and that I am an appreciated and loved member of the community.

Also, the YALITCHAT community, both on twitter and Ning are AMAZING. Georgia McBride really got things rolling there, and it kicks serious butt. It's full or resources for both published and unpublished writers in all stages of their careers, and it's growing every day. VISIT, OKAY!?

Among my other new Twitter/Facebook friends are Lynne and Shelli and Jamie and Jennifer and OtherEmily and Janni (if you haven't read Janni's book Bones of Faerie, you're dead to me until you do) who are supportive and full of information and love. Great internets BFFs if there ever were any. And lets not forget my fellow Mainer Carrie Jones, who writes about pixies in Need and Captivate and you MUST READ THEM, okay? I think she's my secret twin.

And, oh wait, there's the amazing JESSICA LEE ANDERSON who is my one-person starving artist support group. We meet regularly to talk about our writing, obvs, but also about how frustrating it can be to BE a struggling artist (because even tho Jess is getting glowing reviews these days, she assures me that my feelings of despair and insecurity are natural and normal and a part of the process).

I know that the book I wrote this year is important and going somewhere. I'm the good kind of nuts. Nutty about my book, and about getting it into the hands of readers, nutty about changing the world one reader at a time. Goals for my first book? Taking stigmas on certain topics down a notch. Killing high school stereotypes while maintaining the fact that high school is a struggle for even the most "cool" and "together" person you know.

Let it be known that I am writing this blog from a wild state of mind known as SUDDEN INSPIRATION and EARLY IN THE DAY JOIE DE VIVRE.

I have some goals for this year. We all do, right? Call them resolutions if you want, but resolutions just make me feel like the 10-year-old my mom sat down with to make a list. A list with things like "stop picking my nose" and "clean my room every day." LAME.

My one New Year's Resolution is this: LEARN TO PLAY THE UKULELE. I must admit, I was inspired by the fabbity fab Kristin Clark Venuti, who wrote the best middle grade novel I've read in YEARS, Leaving the Bellweathers. When she came to Austin she played a song on her uke about her book. It was hysterical and awesome and I want to DO IT. Who knows...by this time next year I could have my first Ukulele singer/songwriter album out. Or, you know, at least know a few cords.

But I do have GOALS and EXPECTATIONS for this year. I will get an agent. I've gotten some positive and critical feedback from some well-respected agent-types which gives me the confidence to back up my claim that I WILL, yes WILL, get an agent this year. I also believe that I will sell my completed YA manuscript and possibly my picture book ms as well.

I also expect that I will finish my next YA this year. It's a book that I, unintentionally, perhaps, started writing when I was 16 for a competition in high school. I did not win, but the story stuck to me and I've tweaked it to the point that it is unrecognizable as the original story. Anyhoo, it is a story that is important to me and I think it's going to kick serious ass. It takes place in the town where I went to college, New London, Connecticut. I think New Londy is sort of an underdog, and I'm excited to set my book there. I just have to get my crime story brain going, as well as some supernatural elements working overtime. Oh yeah.

My other major GOAL is to submit a full poetry collection and find a publisher for it, or at least get feedback. I have a lot of work under my belt in the field of poetry, and it's freaking time. My work rocks, and it needs to be out there, and I'm not going to self-publish. Heck no.

Some New Years dreams? I think it might be kind of cool to get some of my photographs in a gallery. Unlikely, but it could happen. I'd like to write some short stories for children and submit them to magazines or anthologies - some of my local buds and I have an idea for an anthology to work on, but, who knows where that will go.

And, most importantly, I'd like to spend some time this year reconnecting with friends whom I love but have fallen out of touch with. I suck. I'm sorry. Let's catch up, okay? Email me. We'll chat.


  1. Well if you really want to learn to play the Ukulele and if you live in Austin tx - there is only one person for you to see - Pops Bayless - here is a link to see how he plays - THE BEST!

    Best Uke Regards,

    Kathy Levine

  2. Kinda got scared when I saw my cartoon face up there. There for the shout-out! Rock-in-roll, Ukulele Girl.