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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: listening, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 30
1. Conferring Tip: Listening Closely

A wise person once told me, conferring is the heart of the writing workshop. And much has been written about how to go about conferring effectively. Guides and professional books abound, videos, websites… Continue reading

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2. On the Edge of Becoming

Sunday morning sunrise and the world awakens again, the silence broken only by the sound of your pen scratching the surface of the page. It's the same each morning. You don’t know what your voice sounds like until you take the risk of opening your mouth and letting the words tumble out, half-formed, until you let your pen begin moving across the page, to see what

0 Comments on On the Edge of Becoming as of 7/7/2016 8:27:00 AM
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3. The Polite Writer

                                                                        Artwork by Melva Medina
                                                            found on the blog The Education Labyrinth

In the wake of a conversation about, well, just about everything, a son flagged up an article to me called "How to be Polite".  It was excellent and funny and true.  As I read, I thought "Yes!  This is such good advice!" and then also "Yes!  Politeness is the writer's friend!"

Listen, if you will, to this -

My ability to go to a party and speak to anyone about anything, to natter and ask questions, to turn the conversation relentlessly towards the speaker, meant that I was gathering huge amounts of information about other people.

Here’s a polite person’s trick, one that has never failed me. I will share it with you because I like and respect you, and it is clear to me that you’ll know how to apply it wisely: When you are at a party and are thrust into conversation with someone, see how long you can hold off before talking about what they do for a living. And when that painful lull arrives, be the master of it. I have come to revel in that agonizing first pause, because I know that I can push a conversation through. Just ask the other person what they do, and right after they tell you, say: “Wow. That sounds hard.”

Because nearly everyone in the world believes their job to be difficult. I once went to a party and met a very beautiful woman whose job was to help celebrities wear Harry Winston jewelry. I could tell that she was disappointed to be introduced to this rumpled giant in an off-brand shirt, but when I told her that her job sounded difficult to me she brightened and spoke for 30 straight minutes about sapphires and Jessica Simpson. She kept touching me as she talked. I forgave her for that. I didn’t reveal a single detail about myself, including my name. Eventually someone pulled me back into the party. The celebrity jewelry coordinator smiled and grabbed my hand and said, “I like you!” She seemed so relieved to have unburdened herself. I counted it as a great accomplishment. Maybe a hundred times since I’ve said, “wow, that sounds hard” to a stranger, always to great effect. I stay home with my kids and have no life left to me, so take this party trick, my gift to you.

A friend and I came up with a game called Raconteur. You pair up with another Raconteur at a party and talk to everyone you can. You score points by getting people to disclose something about their lives. If you dominate the conversation, you lose a point. 

And you lose a chance.  As a person and as a writer.

The next time you're asked where you get your ideas, try answering, "By being polite."  

P.S.  Please don't jump on me because you think I'm implying politeness is nothing more than a cynical tool for doing your job.  I'm not.  And really, I'd much rather hear about you ...

Joan Lennon's website.
Joan Lennon's blog.


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4. The Art of Listening

Silence. It is the other side of talk. It is the back board of listening. When we are silent it opens up our mind to what is going on around us. It allows… Continue reading

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5. A Dry Heart

Failure to sell your work, and the rejection that accompanies such failure, can eat away at your heart until there’s nothing left but a shell pumping blood but no longer pumping words. A dry heart. It can happen to you if you’re not careful or vigilant enough, if you’re not aware of the words dwindling or the sentences shrinking or the desire drying up. It’s a disease, this dry heart.

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6. Being A Captain is Hard Work: A Captain No Beard Story | Dedicated Review

Ahoy! Captain No Beard and his crew are back. In the latest installment to Carole P. Roman’s award-wining series, Being a Captain is Hard Work, readers learn it’s okay to make mistakes, especially when you learn something from them.

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7. Say it ain't so, Joe.

My husband showed me this for laughs. Joe Cocker speak: What he is really saying.


My husband's band performs his songs.

This has nothing to do with writing or illustration.

Well, it has to do with listening.

0 Comments on Say it ain't so, Joe. as of 10/15/2009 7:31:00 PM
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8. Songs of Girls Who Don’t Want to Get Married (Right Now) + Thanks

I have decided that I love songs about women who don’t want to be married. I decided this while listening to lots of Gillian Welch. Twas the song “Look at Miss Ohio” which triggered this decision. Also my annoyance with certain lines in Beyonce’s “Single Ladies”. “Put a ring on it”? What are we living in the 1950s or something?! Uggh.

Then I realised I couldn’t think of any other songs about women who have priorities in life other than getting married.1 Other than the “I never will marry” song:

I never will marry
I’ll be no man’s bride
I expect to stay single
For the rest of my life ((Lyrics from memory thus could be wrong—too many keystrokes to google.)

But that’s usually sung as a heartbroken miserable song of despair, which is not what I’m talking about.

Can anyone think of cheerful songs of women who are happy to be single, who are not desperate to be married, of women who may want to marry some day but not right now? Please to share in comments if so.

Disclaimer: I have nothing against marriage. I am married myself. Happily even. Nor do I have anyone against women wanting to be married. It’s just that they already have a tonne of songs. I want representation for all the girls who don’t dream of a big wedding and marriage when they grow up.

- – -

Thanks to everyone for all the lovely get well wishes. I is touched. Truly I am on the mend and is not that bad an injury. Trust me, I’ve had worse. But, yes, I will continue to not be online much for the forseeable and, yes, there will be more guest bloggers. Thank you, wonderful guests, and thanks again, faithful readers, for bearing with me.

Have a good weekend everyone!

  1. This probably reflects more on my dreadful memory than anything else.

2 Comments on Songs of Girls Who Don’t Want to Get Married (Right Now) + Thanks, last added: 3/5/2010
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9. Two things: Read and Listen…

Browse the bookstore shelves for books on the craft of writing.

Better yet, run an internet search with the terms “writing advice.”

Go ahead, Google it. There are only 102 million hits, right?

Yeah, lots of “advice” to be found in all corners. (Don’t even get the librarian in me started on ‘evaluating authoritative sources’…) It’s hard to process all the information on the shelves and in the digital ether.

But here’s the thing: so far, the best advice I’ve gleaned can be boiled down to two things: read and listen.

That’s it. Really.

1. Read well.

You can’t write remarkable, satisfying, fearsome, awe-inspiring, gripping, gutwrenching, exceptional fiction or non-fiction unless you read a lot of breathtaking stuff. You can’t tell a good yarn unless you’ve steeped yourself in story.

Anyone who says you can is full of bad gerunds.

2. Listen well.

Listen to other writers. Listen to agents. Listen to editors. Listen to critique partners. Listen, even when you don’t like what they have to say.

And REALLY digest their criticism. Not just praise. Compliments do nothing for you.  But sharp appraisal? That drives you to the edge. It tests your endurance, your persistence, your willingness to learn, and your ability to process feedback. (I’m preaching to myself on this one, kids)

Tough jabs push you to your limits. They make you better.  

If you don’t listen, if you don’t pay attention, you won’t grow. And you won’t get requests and acceptances.

But hey, if you’re too busy to read and too talented to listen, there’s always PublishAmerica.

Hungry for more? Work out your writing frustration and try this recipe for Aggression Cookies. They’re pure buttery oatmeal goodness.


Filed under: Uncategorized, Writing Tagged: aggression cookies, critique, listening, reading, Writing, writing advice 4 Comments on Two things: Read and Listen…, last added: 9/11/2010
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10. Keeping Dialogue REAL

Whoa, that convo would never take place!

Ever read a novel and have that thought come to mind while perusing the dialogue? That situation happened to me this week. Twice, in fact. One incident involved a YA novel. As an educator, I hear enough teen talk to know what's real and what's phony as a $3 bill. The other time I was critiquing a short story. Everything flowed in the piece, except the dialogue. Nothing like stealing that "feel good" feeling from a great piece of literature. (Insert frown here.)

Writers need to keep dialogue real; otherwise, readers will tune out. What are the best ways to pump up the reality volume of what your characters are saying? These tips will help you fine tune your characters' messages:
  • Listen and Learn Unless you isolate yourself from the outside world, conversations that you can learn from take place all the time. Call if eavesdropping, but if you just sit and listen to people talk, you'll learn to pick up speech patterns, key words, phrasing, and rhythm - all which will help you write a realistic scene. For example, I attended a comedy show last night and paid attention to the comedian riff with an audience member. The comedian used timing to his advantage, creating this natural conversation with the guy in the front row. As the dialogue continued, even the audience member seemed to pick up on the established rhythm the comedian employed. It was a perfect example of listening and learning how individuals talk and respond to each other. One of the best methods for improving dialogue technique may require popcorn. Watch a movie and discover how each character treats the dialogue. It's more than words. Dialogue also means you're creating a mood, setting up a reaction, and propelling a character into new situations.

  • Precision Trumps Surplus Once you've mastered listening, put your skills to the test. Dialogue shouldn't provide full disclosure. Instead, writers need to discern which information should be offered through dialogue. Info overload makes dialogue sound stilted. What's the best advice? Precision. Precision. Precision. A character's dialogue should make a point. Otherwise, it sounds fake.

  • The Rule of Three Repetition can be a writer's best tool to drive home a point. When writing stand up comedy, you give two examples and then bam! hit the audience with a twist the third time. It's the same "rule of three" idea with fiction. Writers employ a key word or phrase three times in a row to emphasize a point. Moderation is the key with the rule of three. Too much of a good thing makes dialogue sound phony.

  • Speak Up Once you've completed a scene, read it aloud. Do the words match the intended tone and message? Or does the conversation sound bogus? Sometimes I'll record a scene as a .wav or MP3 file, play it back, and hear where changes are needed. If you're part of a critique group, read snippets of dialogue to group members and use their input to decide whether or not the words flow or if the conversation needs to be rewritten.

Perhaps Alfred Hitchcock summed up realistic dialogue when he said, "Dialogue should simply be a sound among other sounds, just something that comes out of the mouths of people whose eyes tell the story in visual term

1 Comments on Keeping Dialogue REAL, last added: 2/22/2011
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11. Still learning: Do you hear what I hear?

This weekend, Sean played some music for me. As I listened, I cringed at a couple of the notes. “What’s wrong?” he asked. “Can’t you hear that?” I shivered. “That needs some work. The notes aren’t right. They aren’t in harmony.” … Continue reading

10 Comments on Still learning: Do you hear what I hear?, last added: 3/10/2011
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12. Poetry Friday -- Listening

by Jean Valentine

My whole life I was swimming listening
beside the daylight world like a dolphin beside a boat

—no, swallowed up, young, like Jonah,
sitting like Jonah in the red room
behind that curving smile from the other side

but kept, not spat out,
kept, for love,

not for anything I did, or had,
I had nothing but our inside-
outside smile-skin ...
my paper and pen ...

but I was made for this: listening:
“Lightness wouldn't last if it wasn't used up on the lyre.”

*      *      *      *      *

Listen to the poem, or print the poem here, on Jean Valentine's website.
Katie has this week's Poetry Friday round up at Secrets & Sharing Soda

*      *      *      *      *

I'm working hard this year to listen well to my students. I want to be the dolphin beside their boat; I want to be like Jonah, listening from inside.

It takes focus and concentration to listen. It's one of the most important things I can do: really listen to them and really hear them.

As you can see from the photos above, I've captured some of the phrases my students have said so that we can come back to their wise words over and over again throughout the year. This year, the word wall includes their words along with the vocabulary words we're learning throughout the day. We have related their words to some of the read alouds we've shared so far this year -- "Let's just try it!" goes with the spirit of approximation in ISH 14 Comments on Poetry Friday -- Listening, last added: 9/12/2011
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13. Why I Am Ready For A Writing Conference

Spring is almost here, and that sense of spring - rebirth, renewal - has me thinking about making new vows for my writing career. It seems like every time I establish a goal, something unexpected happens and I end up off track.

That's why my first - and perhaps my only - vow is to get thee to a writer's conference ASAP. My only problem: the writer's guild workshop I want to attend is the same weekend as my state's press association convention. Since I'm the managing editor of a weekly newspaper, I feel like that should be the choice I make. Yet, our state's writer's guild is hosting some big name freelance and fiction writers who I have read (translate: adored and devoured every word) for years.

What's a writer to do?

No matter which conference I end up attending, I have three reasons why I am ready:

  1. Expand my horizons. I'm a freelancer by design and enjoy the newspaper and magazine business. Still, I've written two plays and I am intrigued with flash fiction. Attending a conference, especially one with a variety of classes, will let me investigate other types of writing that I may not have considered. 
  2. Practical, hands-on experience. One conference I'm contemplating offers direct instruction instead of roundtable discussions. I like the idea of being given certain elements that I can twist and stretch to create a new piece. I'm considering it an experiment, of sorts, where I can try out the latest, greatest technology and decide if it will streamline my writing process.
  3. Opportunities to listen. One of the main reasons I'm excited about one of these conferences in particular is because several authors are reading their work. There's something intimate about an author sharing his or her creation, hearing the rhythm and intonation they give each word and sentence. It makes me think about phrasing and structure and how they cram so much information and power into a single word or section.
Sure I'm looking forward to networking, meeting new people, and ok, having a weekend getaway, but the selling point, for me, is the opportunity to get excited about writing once more and know that what I write makes a difference.

By LuAnn Schindler

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14. 5 Picture Books to Help Build Depth in Emotional Intelligence and Wellness

When a child experiences big feelings or emotions, it can be confusing, deflating, and sometimes scary for parents and the child. The 5 books listed here can help parents and children talk about and navigate the sometimes windy road of emotions.

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15. Elvis Presley was not a racist

I’ve been an Elvis fan since I was a small child. I can recognise pretty much any Elvis recording within half a bar. I have loved his music longer than I’ve loved anyone else’s. When I’m down the only remedy is “Viva Las Vegas” (or any number of his gazillion other recordings). Today is the thirtieth anniversary of his death. I cried then even though I was only little and I’m a little weepy about it today.

I am not one of those fans who has any illusions about the man. Yes, when he died he was a grotesquely overweight junkie. Yes, there are many other performers who were more talented and innovative than he. Yes, Big Mama Thornton’s version of “Hound Dog” is WAY better than Elvis’s. Yes, he’s example no. 1 of how corrupting fame is. But I do think he was more interesting and complicated than he is popularly portrayed. And I love his voice. I hear it and I melt. If he’d been born into an affluent family he would’ve wound up a famous tenor.

In the New York Times this week Peter Guralnick argues that Elvis Presley was not a racist:

Just how committed [Elvis] was to a view that insisted not just on musical accomplishment but fundamental humanity can be deduced from his reaction to the earliest appearance of an ugly rumor that has persisted in one form or another to this day. Elvis Presley, it was said increasingly within the African-American community, had declared, either at a personal appearance in Boston or on Edward R. Murrow’s “Person to Person” television program, “The only thing Negroes can do for me is buy my records and shine my shoes.”

That he had never appeared in Boston or on Murrow’s program did nothing to abate the rumor, and so in June 1957, long after he had stopped talking to the mainstream press, he addressed the issue—and an audience that scarcely figured in his sales demographic—in an interview for the black weekly Jet.

After citing lots of evidence of Elvis’ not being the racist redneck he’s often portrayed as Guralnick moves on to talk about why Presley is often seen that way:

As Chuck D perceptively observes, what does it mean, within this context [of social inequalty], for Elvis to be hailed as “king,” if Elvis’s enthronement obscures the striving, the aspirations and achievements of so many others who provided him with inspiration?

Elvis would have been the first to agree. When a reporter referred to him as the “king of rock ‘n’ roll” at the press conference following his 1969 Las Vegas opening, he rejected the title, as he always did, calling attention to the presence in the room of his friend Fats Domino, “one of my influences from way back.”

But Guralnick doesn’t talk about other reasons Elvis is seen this way. Like the oodles and oodles of paraphernalia that associates Elvis with the confederate flag. And also because, rightly or wrongly, white southerners are frequently viewed by the rest of the US as racists. Elvis was a white southerner therefore . . . Elvis appropriated black music therefore . . .

I have friends who hate Elvis because he was loved by the good ole boy racist sexist dropkicks they went to school with in the South. Elvis is forever tainted by that good ole boy worship.

Everything I’ve read about Elvis convinces me that for his time and place he was less racist than many of his peers. He understood the origins of the music he played which is more than I can say for many white boy rock ‘n’ rollers over the years. Does that mean he wasn’t racist at all? Unlikely given the systemic racial inequality that prevails in this and every other country and infects all our brains. Does it mean he was a nice guy? Who knows? He certainly wasn’t in his later drug-addicted days. Junkies are hard work. And rich junkies who are worshipped by millions of people world wide? Ugh.

I think it matters whether or not he was overtly racist. People who hold him up as a symbol of the white South and a believer in white supremacy should know he wasn’t a white supremacist.

It’s very hard to separate the symbol from the person. Especially when the person was as big a mess as Elvis was.

Excuse me, I’m going to go have a little cry and play “Long Black Limousine” now.

8 Comments on Elvis Presley was not a racist, last added: 8/16/2007
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16. Favorites: Part OneAndrew Goldberg

Last year to celebrate the holidays we asked our co-workers what their favorite books were. This year we asked some of our favorite people from all around publishing. They were kind enough to take a few minutes in this busy holiday season to share with us. To thank them I am going to make it my goal to read all of their suggestions by next year. Throughout the week we will be sharing favorite books from our favorite people so be sure to check back for updates and let us know what your favorite books are in the comments!

Andrew Goldberg is the Managing Editor of Thesmokinggun.com.

While this has not been a banner year for me when it comes to the quantity of books I have made it through–I have read a few that are entertaining, funny, informative, and moving. (more…)

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17. On Listening and Trust

"Genuine communication," writes Christina Feldman in the Beginner's Guide to Buddhist Meditation (Rodmell Press), "is a two-way process.... We often listen in only a perfunctory way, straining to find the moment when we can interject our own words." She offers this and many other insights--ranging from strategies for calming one's mind to meditative-like thoughts about the simplest acts of daily

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18. Best musical of all time

I went and saw South Pacific this week with the fabulous Delia Sherman and Ellen Kushner. My head’s been stuffed full of those songs ever since. It’s definitely one of my favouritest musicals. I’d only seen the movie before and, well, “good” is not a word you can use to describe it. But the stage production at Lincoln Centre is wondrously good. I’d go see it again in a heartbeat.

I’ve seen so few musicals live. Kiss Me Kate is, I think, the only other one I’ve seen as an adult. Loved it! My resolution for this year is to see many, many more. I’m dying to see Passing Strange. And I’m convinced that getting to see good productions of Anything Goes and West Side Story would make my life complete. The movie version of West Side Story is disfigured by the horrible miscasting of the leads, who can neither sing nor act, without Rita Moreno and Russ Tamblyn that movie would be unwatchable.

I’m also a fan of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, but, again have only seen the movie.

So what are your favourite musicals? Which do you think I should see if I get the chance? I do live in NYC half the year, afterall. I hear they have musicals here.

Be aware though that I cannot stand Les Miserables. I also really hate the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber. I’m not even sure you can call it music. I would rather eat my own eyeballs than sit through Phantom of the Opera.

26 Comments on Best musical of all time, last added: 3/23/2008
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19. Are you listening????


This week, I would like to talk about the sacred art of giving and getting advice. 


We'll look at some of the best advice--advice that just might change the way you approach your work--as well as the general kind.  On Wednesday, we will initiate a new chapter in this blog: Craft Book of the Month.  And we'll also hear from people who not just receive advice, but give it, too.

For today, we'll start with what I think is a pivotal experience in a writer's process.  It is the most personal: the critique--advice you've received after someone has read your work.


Most writers have critique groups and/or friends to read their work critically.  To make suggestions to help us bring our manuscripts to the next level.  

The question is:  are we listening?


Listening is a creative force.  It liberates both the speaker and the listener.  When you listen to someone completely, they will give you more.  It is empowering—being listened to.  And most important, when we listen, we have the ability to learn. 


Listening is the most important component of the critique.  When you allow someone else to read and comment on your work, it is your obligation to listen—to hear what they have to say.  Of course, you don't have to accept every piece of advice.  But sometimes, when we don't listen, we miss important impressions.  And that includes the good stuff.  How many times has someone said they don’t care about the strengths of a manuscript.  “Just tell me what’s wrong.”


First piece of advice:  You have to listen to the good stuff, too.

Listen to what is working.

Hear how your reader responds to what is best in your manuscript.



There are a lot of obstacles to listening:


Being preoccupied with something else.

Being so interested in what you want to say, that you are mainly listening for an opening.

Formulating your own rebuttal while someone else is speaking.

Listening to your own personal beliefs about what is being said.

Evaluating the speaker.

Not asking for clarification.

It takes work to let all that go.  But to learn, you have to listen.


When we listen effectively or actively, we understand what the person is thinking and/or feeling from the other person’s own perspective. It is as if we were standing in the other person’s shoes, seeing through his/her eyes and listening through the person's ears. Our own viewpoint may be different and we may not necessarily agree with the person, but as we listen, we understand from the other's perspective. To listen effectively, we must be actively involved in the communication process, and not just listening passively.


In other words, LISTEN.

Tami Brown reports that the best advice she ever received came from
Tim Wynne Jones.  Tim told her that the solution to all her questions/problems (about plot and character) were already in the manuscript—in the first draft.  There was no need to concoct something new or pull something out of the blue.  Just read what you have.  Trust that the solution is there.  Build on what you know.

That's great advice!


This week, I will discuss more mantras and process-changing advice.  On Friday, I’ll interview author/editor Jill Santopolo.  Check out her first novel for middle grade readers, Alec Flint, Super Sleuth: The Nina, the Pinta, and the Vanishing Treasure, available now! 


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20. Famous

Over the last two years both Scott and me have heard several teenagers respond to the what-do-you-want-to-do-when-you-grow-up question with one word: famous. “I want to be famous.”

Apparently we’re not the only ones noticing this phenomenon. The witty and extremely entertaining Scottish writer, Andrew O’Hagan, talked about it an interview he did as part of this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival. He claims that the majority of the girls he talked to at one London high school said they wanted to be famous and didn’t care how. He imagines them all growing into very disappointed adults and sees their desire for fame as a symptom of moral decay.

I’m not sure.

For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to be a writer, but I had other passing fancies. For a while I wanted to be a film director. But I never did anything about it other than watch lots and lots of movies. I didn’t get my hands on a camera, I didn’t enroll in courses to learn how, I didn’t memorise the movies I watched frame by frame. I just fantasised about making movies, which in my mind was more like writing a novel than having to deal with hundreds of different people—producers, camera people, editors, actors, best boys, digital effects people—and do all the other stuff movie directors have to do. I think I sussed even way back then that directing films was too much hard work. Especially for the likes of me. Directors don’t get to lounge around in their pjs all day.

I suspect that most of the teenagers saying they want to be famous want it the same way I wanted to direct films. Not that much. It’s a shapeless desire. They’re not interested in putting in the hard yakka to achieve it. It’s something to say while they figure out what they really want to do.

Most people don’t know what they want to do till they’re long past high school. For one thing you don’t have that much of a clue about all the professions and ways to make money there are when you’re in high school. My sister had no idea she was going to wind up working in the digital effects industry. I doubt she even knew such an industry existed way back then.

It’s one way in which I’ve always felt lucky. I’ve always known I wanted to write. Most of the people I went to school with had no idea what they wanted to do and stumbled into various different jobs and professions before they found one that suited.

Some people never figure it out. Or get the opportunity to do what they want to do.

Fame is a safe thing to say when you don’t know what you want to do with your life. It doesn’t pin you down to any specific career path. It’s open and nebulous. It’s also something to say to shut the people up who keep asking that annoying question over and over again.1

I’m not convinced there really are that many people who seriously want to be famous and don’t care how. Once most people think it through and see the side effects of fame—serious fame—they change their minds quick smart. Who wants to end up like Michael Jackson or Britney Spears? Your entire life fodder for the tabloid. Complete strangers speculating about just how crazy you are, knowing what you like to eat, and stalking you with cameras wherever you go.

It’s the very opposite of fun.

Which is why I’m not that worried about today’s youth and their apparent incessant fame desire.

Do any of you desperately want to be famous? Do you know anyone who wants to? Have you come across hordes of teenagers saying they want to be famous and don’t care how? Does this desire worry you? Should I be more concerned than I am?

  1. When I was in high school I was always tempted to tell people that I wanted to be a monkey.

3 Comments on Famous, last added: 11/12/2008
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21. Why are vomit stories the funniest stories of all?

Tonight me and Scott hung out with two fabulous writers, Tessa Kum and Rjurik Davidson, and the conversation turned to vomit, as it is so often does when writers gather. We told many awesomely disgusting stories. There was much laughter. I would share the stories with you except that I happen to know of two regular readers of this blog who would kill me if I did so. That is how strong their aversion is to vomit and stories about said substance.1

Which is something they don’t have in common with this one group of students I wound up talking to on tour last year in Ohio.2 But for some reason I was left alone to entertain about forty or fifty seventh or eighth graders. So, naturally, I told vomit stories. And they loved them, which only encouraged me to come up with more stories. In the end they were demanding that I pen a collection of said stories.

I should do it. Truly, market it to that demographic, and every writer I know, and it would be a license to print money. Maybe I should suggest it to my agent?

Maybe I shall ask Simmone Howell for her favourite vomit stories tomorrow at our event at Victoria’s State Library . . .

  1. I don’t get it. Vomit is the funniest stuff in the world. There is nothing better than a good vomit story.
  2. Sadly, my memory can no longer tell me what city it was, let alone what school.

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22. My BEA Schedule

For those what will be attending Book Expo America, where publishing in the US of A is showcased, and there are dancing ladybugs and bears, as well as many free Advanced Readers Copies (ARCs) of upcoming books, here’s where I will be:

Friday, 8:00AM
Me and Scott will be at the YA breakfast. (I’ll be the wide awake one.)

Friday, 6:00PM
Me and Scott will be at the ABC Not-a-Dinner and Silent Auction. This time we better not be gazumped by some last minute annoying bidding person. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.

Saturday, 3:00PM
I’ll be signing free ARCs of Liar in the Autograph Area Signing Table No. 9.

Saturday later
Various cocktail parties. I’ll be the one wearing feathers and gold lame and not drinking any alcohol because YA authors don’t drink. They don’t fuss or cuss or smoke or drink or lie or cheat or step on people’s feet or dance the hoochie-koo either. Just in case you were wondering.

What do you mean those are some of the lyrics from the song “Saved”? I have no idea what you’re talking about.

*cough* *cough*

Here’s Elvis singing “Saved”. It starts at around 5:30.

This version is from the 1968 comeback special1 which, everyone remembers on account of Elvis in sexy black leather,2 but my favourite bits are the campy big production numbers such as the gospel medley. (Apologies for the less than optimal quality. *shakes fist at youtube*)

Forgot to say that YA authors don’t dance the boogie all night long either. How could I forget that one? They’re heinous those all-night boogie dancers.

  1. Best comeback special of all time.
  2. And he does look mighty fine.

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23. Stalker Song + Giveaway

I have been promising for some time that I would write about how most love songs are actually about stalking. However that time is not now on account of I am behind with everything. So far behind that I can’t continue any feuds with other YA writers or—much much worse—follow the Tour de France. Yes, it’s that bad. Again.

In the meantime tell me what your favourite/most appalling stalker song is in the comments below. I will send a signed (by me and Scott) copy of the anthology Love is Hell to the commenter whose stalker song selections most amuses me. Or at random if the busy-ness makes my brain not function enough to decide. You can find the first part of my story in the anthology here.

In the meantime here’s Stalker Song by Charlotte Martin (via Stephanie Leary):

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24. First Chapter of HTDYF, Read Aloud!

I have been remiss in mentioning that the US paperback of How To Ditch Your Fairy also makes its appearance on 29 September.1 That’s right, finally FINALLY, the fabulous new US paperback cover will be out there in the wild, available for all who want it.2 I have waxed lyrical about Danielle Delaney’s design before. It truly is the best cover any book of mine has ever received. It captures the spirit of the book, it’s funny, and I adore the colour scheme. Happiness in my eyes!

To celebrate the new cheaper edition of How To Ditch Your Fairy I’m giving you a preview of yet another edition, the audiobook. Twas produced by Bolinda Audio Australia who even gave me a hand in choosing the narrator, Kate Atkinson, who does a splendid job.

Here is the first chapter:


Credits: 00_How_To_Ditch_Your_Fairy_Chap1

I hope you like it as much as I do.

The good news is that the Australian edition is available right now. You can buy the Australian edition here. And the US edition here.

Audiobooks are a whole new thing for me. I’ve never really listened to any before. How many of you listen to them? And when?

  1. It’s already available in paperback in Australia.
  2. I do know some of you prefer the US hardcover and Oz paperback version. Madness!

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25. Liar and Paperback How To Ditch Your Fairy Release Day!

Yup, it’s finally here. Liar is now officially out in the world in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA! Is it just me or did that take FOREVER?

Also available for the first time today (officially) the audio books of Liar and How To Ditch Your Fairy. As well as the gorgeous US paperback of How To Ditch Your Fairy which as I may have mentioned multiple times is my favourite cover of all time. (Look to your left at the squashed fairy.)

If you can’t afford to buy new books right now, but are desperate to read Liar, I recommend getting your local library to buy a copy (if they haven’t already) or having a friend who owns a copy. That always worked for me.

Happy reading!

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