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This blog is now closed. I'll be closing comments here, at Big A little a, as well as the firstname.lastname@example.org address. You can always reach me at email@example.com.
I had so many things to tell you while I was in Argentina. Turns out I CAN go ten days with no internet, no cell phone, no email, and no day care. What I CANNOT do is stop thinking of things about which to write. But, one of my new year's resolutions is to live in the present, so I'm not going to try to recapture the inspiration. Here's what you missed:
1. If You're Gonna Have Family Drama, There Might As Well Be Actual Wild Monkeys Around
2. The Power of Words: A lengthy discussion of how we trick ourselves into thinking the word we use for thing are somehow infused with the essence of that thing so that someone who does not speak our language at all should somehow understand anyway if we just say the word loudly and expressively enough. Punctuated by examples from Tinkerbell and others and involving a joke about monkey bars.
3. Dear Guaraní People, So Sorry Your New Year's Day Purifying Dip in the Iguazú Falls Was Ruined By the Shrieks of My Son And If You Find the Piece of My Husband's Chin That He Bit Off, That's Okay, You Can Keep It.
4. Dulce de Leche, Nectar of the Gods. Includes references to Proust and the parallels between his experience with the madeleines and my tasting this caramel-like goodness for the first time since childhood. Also: elaborate fantasy involving dulce de leche crepes.
5. Why You Can Never Check Anything Off Your Parental To Do List/The Un-Power of Words. In which I have to explain the concept of death the Destructo for the fourth time in two months because he has heard that "going to find Grandpa's dada's grave" as "going to find Grandpa's dada and bring him home with us." And other deep thoughts on family history, childhood, the random migration of people and families, and Brooklyn.
And, my favorite,
6. What Will Happen If Immigration Thinks You Are Accidentally Smuggling Diseased Horse Poop Into the U.S.
Here is my To Do List for November:
1. Fix old novel.
2. Write new novel.
3. Write some picture books.
4. Revamp website.
5. Re-learn Spanish (long story).
6. Run silent auction for Tink's school PTO (even longer story -- why oh why do I allow myself to get roped into these things?!).
7. Figure out how to get kids vaccinated against H1N1, yellow fever, malaria, and some other stuff (longest story of all).
8. While at pharmacy, research price of one heavy dose of realism.
All of which is to say that blogging will be sparse this month. But we will be back in December, and oh, the fun we will have then.
Are you still here, millions of hungry Jacqui's Room visitors? Real life has stepped in and demanded my attention this week and I'm going to have to answer it. I'll be back next week, I promise, with such excitement that includes the children who were mean to Tink today and lived to tell the tale and perhaps actually discussing writing. AND, starting next Thursday I'll be bringing you all the news, gossip and inspiration from SCBWI-LA.
Cath C. has awarded Jacqui's Room the "One Lovely Blog" award. I'm especially flattered because she tells her readers to come to Jacqui's Room "where everyone is welcome." Something I struggled with starting a blog was how to make sure new people wouldn't feel left out or like something was in process that they couldn't join or shouldn't interrupt. Some blogs, I think, strive to create a community and then end up seeming closed somehow. Or maybe I am just too sensitive.
In any case, I am to tell you seven unknown things about myself. This is difficult because I overshare constantly. But I will try.
1. My second book, TWO OF A KIND, is in stores now!! Look! Here's the cover!
Oh, you knew that? I mentioned it? Ten million times? Oh. Well, did you buy it yet? I've decided to be like NPR's fund-raisers and say that I'll stop blabbing about TWO OF A KIND when I reach my goal...of having every single person in the world own one.
2. I am afraid of dogs. Not individual dogs, but dogs in general. Like, I'm not afraid of Foz, but when I go running, I listen for leashes. Why? Like it's going to help me, what? Outrun any mad pit bull who can't beat a 7:45 mile? It's not rational, but it's true.
3. I am hyper-sensitive to noise. I like loud music and storytelling and the chaos of kids playing, but I can't filter noises well. So at the end of the day, when Thor comes home and puts on loud music to relax and the kids are also talking to me and the cats are meowing and what's that beeping? Who forgot to shut the fridge and why won't my neighbor's poodles stop BARKING?! I go a little nuts.
4. The plus side of this sensory sensitivity is that I have a phenomenal sniffer. Nobody's better at sniffing out spices or yummy smells. Also, I can smell a gas leak a mile away, even ones the gas company swears aren't there and oh look! You got out your little beepy thing to prove I'm crazy and it's going "HEY! GAS LEAK! GET OUT!""
5. I just spent the last twenty minutes thinking of only-slightly-outrageous lies I could put for number five and giggling to myself. Would you have believed me if I told you I once toured with Cirque du Soleil, as co-director of children's special events and occasional clown substitute?
6. I have a tattoo of a dolphin on my hip. I got it when I was 19. When I was 16, I prepared my parents for this eventuality by coming home after a summer away with "I'm a SLAYER woman" tagged graffiti-style in permanent marker across my stomach. I was not a Slayer fan; I just thought it was funny. Dad was not pleased.
7. My sister, Monkey Girl, and I are incredibly, possibly pathologically, close. Why haven't you heard more about her than that she made the make-up lady gasp? I'm not sure. Maybe it's because she's funnier than I am. Maybe it's because to tell you her nickname is Monkey Girl, I'd have to admit mine is Egghead.
I am also to pass the award along, so today, if you haven't already, go check out Murphblog because he always makes me laugh.
And the fog of unmotivated couchpotatoness seems to be lifting; I hope to return to form soon, I promise.
I am new to blogging. It was only a few months ago that I learned what a meme is.
I've been tagged again, this time by Tabitha, and Christy, and Elise. All of whom had interesting and charming answers, and who seem to be interesting and kind people.
Me, I feel neither interesting nor charming on this one. Rather, I am uninspired and dull. I tried and trust me, you'd rather read congressional transcripts.
Is it terribly unbloggy of me to blow off a tag?! Will I be kicked out of the blogosphere? What if I promise to be utterly hilarious on the next one?
I need your advice, Miss B.M.. Please leave it in the comments.
Awkward in Ann Arbor
I is loving the teknologee.
As I write this, I am sitting on my sofa, pretending to converse with the Mighty Thor, dreading both revising and Proust, and wondering why my house smells like banana.
But, by the time you read this, I will be sitting on a beach in Cape Cod,
trying to keep Captain Destructo from eating sand soaking up the sun and reading Us Weekly Inferno.
I is loving the "schedule post" feature on Blogger.
Ooh! A mystery idea. No, not The Wrath of Mama Bear again. A blog mystery* a la Ellen Raskin's The Westing Game.**
In which I disappear. I leave clues as to the whereabouts of my treasure, or my body, releasing them one at a time in pre-scheduled posts to my blog.*** Every day, police must check back for the next clue, and I am so clever that I can post things like:
So, my little police friends. Did you enjoy your wild goose chase to the bakery yesterday? Obviously, that was not the kind of bread to which my last clue referred. By now, you've probably deduced that I was using the colloquial "bread" meaning "money." I am sure you have already checked every local bank vault, to no avail. Sit down, Johnson, I'm getting to the clue soon...
And then I make a very clever "dough" pun which I will think of as soon as I find where Captain Destructo left the banana. Or, can you help me and leave it in the comments?
Have a good weekend, all.
* A "blogstery," if you will.
** Which is absolutely with no doubt on my top ten list of favorite kids' books ever. If you haven't read it, you are missing out. Go read it now. Seriously.
*** Which is, of course, password protected and unhackable.
British psychiatrists are concerned.
Apparently, overuse and even, yes, abuse of the internet is reaching epidemic proportions.
Apparently, people who use the internet excessively suffer from horrid symptoms including forgetting to eat and sleep, isolation from society, and genuine withdrawal when they are deprived of their computers (paraphrased from the Telegraph article).
Apparently, "obsessive internet use" has become such a public health problem that it warrants its own official clinical disorder.
To all of which we here at Jacqui's room say, "What? Did you say something? Oh sorry, lemme just finish reading this thing at this site I found."
Oh, I am so sleepy...
Read the rest of this post
One of the best things about blogging about children's books is that, once in awhile, a writer stops by.
Or, a super hip little creature by the name of Babymouse!* Jennifer L. Holm, of the Newbery honors and the great books (Penny From Heaven, the Babymouse series, Our Only May Amelia), sent babymouse our way along with a the newest Babymouse title, Babymouse: Heartbreaker. Thanks Jenni! And, many thanks to Matt Holm too, who brings the series to life with his humorous illustrations.
In other author news, Anjali Banerjee, whose Looking for Bapu my mother reviewed here, wrote in to say she's working on the websites included in the book. Awesome! Kids really like that type of interactivity.
And writer Liz Wu commented on my mother's review of Rosa Farm. Alice began the review with three questions:
- Was your favorite book as a child Charlotte's Web?
- Are you an animal lover?
- Did you read How the Rooster Stole the Sun
Liz wrote in and answered:
- Yes, Charlotte's Web was one of my favorite books growing up. I also loved all Roald Dahl.
- Yes, I love animals. I don't eat them, though.
- I haven't read How the Rooster Stole the Sun, but now feel like I should!
Thanks for stopping by, everyone. It's great to talk with you.
*Babymouse is so cool, my snarky 11-year-old daughter is pleased as punch to be seen with her.
Fellow bloggers, I have a question for you. In the past two days, certain unsavory blogs have been linking to this wholesome blog about children's literature. They're showing up in technorati. Is there anything I can do about it?
Did you know there's a blog devoted to blog quotes? Well, there is. It's called Blogtations and it's a fascinating endeavor. And, I was quoted today!
The Children's Book Review wiki is chugging along, with new reviews being added daily. Thank you all for contributing and making CBR a great resource for readers. I do want to emphasize that Children's Book Review wiki is a resource for the community and not my project. So any and all suggestions and improvements (and, yes, even complaints) are welcome.
Call for Help: And speaking of Children's Book Reviews...its existence has spawned a new creation called Redux Review. You see, the centralized wiki resource has inspired more than one author to ask me whether or not a print review of their book could be archived as well. So...in order to make this happen, a new blog was born. I've sent letters to journals asking for permission to post published reviews of individual books, and two journals (so far) have agreed! Reviews will only be posted upon request of the author, illustrator, or a reader and only by permission of the publisher.
Here's where I'm looking for help: 1) A co-blogger or co-bloggers: Someone who is willing to throw a review up there once or twice a week; 2) Graphics: I'd love a cool black-and-white header for the blog, ideally with an image of one of those old-fashioned reel-to-reel tape players.
I missed Non-Fiction Monday this week, but you can find all the fabulous entries at Anastasia Suen's place.
In which I learn what a meme is and try to remember 2003.
Most of you know I came to this public blogging business late and hesitant. I still giggle whenever I say "my blog." But this week Vijaya "tagged" me for a "meme" in a comment, which apparently means I have been dragged kicking and screaming into the blogosphere.
A "meme" is an online chain letter, and I must admit I kinda feel about them the way I feel about actual chain letters or email chain letters. They are called "memes" because they are where you write all about me. Okay, I made that up. I have no idea why they're called that. But I'm going to do just this one, because it's my first, and because Vijaya was kind enough to come to Jacqui's Room when she doesn't know me from Adam except online.
So. Here are the rules:
1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read the player's blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you've posted your answer.
But I, of course, am bending the rules. First, I think Vijaya was right that this should be five things in five questions to make a perfect square. So I just did five.
What were you doing five years ago?
Staying home full time with my 9 month old, feeling convinced I was through "the hard part" of parenting. Riding the high of having signed the contract for The New Girl...And Me, and feeling convinced it would come out any day and I'd be famous by fall. Interviewing for teaching positions, and feeling convinced I could bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, be the greatest mom in the world, and write Two of a Kind.
What are five things on your to-do list for today (not in any particular order)?
Read 100 pages of Don Quixote. Clean my house for 100th time this week. Go through whole YA novel and revise for details. Pick up farm share and convince children to eat braised mustard greens. Run.
What are five snacks you enjoy?
Pears & cheese, apples & peanut butter, carrots & hummus, any kind of berry, and candy corn
What five things would you do if you were a billionaire?
Pay off my mortgage and a couple of other people’s, save enough for my children never to have to worry about money, hire a
man servant personal assistant, only drink fresh squeezed organic orange juice, and give the rest away
What are five of your bad habits?
Yammering endlessly, procrastinating, leaving the dishes for tomorrow, obsessing, forgetting sunscreen…
Now I am supposed to tag someone else. So I tag you. Pick a question and answer in the comments. Or let us know where to find your answers.
There. I am a real blogger. Tee hee.