Happy MLK Day everyone. Unfortunately, because of the weather here in Austin, most of the local MLK day activities have been cancelled. So although I can’t actively celebrate on today, I can reflect on the impact that Dr. King had on America. I encourage others to do likewise.
Build the Dream discusses the efforts to build the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial at the National Mall in Washington, DC. (Note – I am a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, one of the major contributors of the memorial project. Dr. King was initiated into the fraternity while a graduate student at Brown University in 1952).
I had the Printz Dream again. The dream where I get a call in January, informing me of my selection as the Printz Award winner. My dream self is confused, because even in my dreams I know that I shouldn’t be winning the award. But my dream self isn’t one to look a gift horse in the mouth, and therefore accepts the award anyway.
In the Printz dream, I give an awe-inspiring speech the ALA summer conference. I thank my parents, who are seating at a table directly in front of me. I thank SCBWI and my critique group. I thank every librarian I have ever known. I even thank Judy Blume and Walter Dean Myers for setting me on the path to reading and writing. And of course, I thank Mrs. V for all of her support.
I know it’s a dream. Even my dream self knows it’s a dream. But when that alarm clock goes off at 5:00 in the morning, sometimes a dream is all I have to get me out of bed.
Here’s to a Happy New Year. I hope all of your dreams, even the impossible ones, come true.
Last year, I posted a poem that I wrote back in 1991. For those of you that remember, it sucked. Well, after reading a recent post by Sara Zarr (who’s book, Story of a Girl, comes out next month), I am inspired yet again to post bad poetry. Here’s another gem from 1991.
7) Varian Johnson lives in Austin, TX with his beautiful wife and two dogs that like to lick on stuff, like each other’s…stuff.
8) Varian Johnson couldn’t do a pull-up if his life depended on it.
Lastly, I’ve finally become a member of the cults known as Live Journal and MySpace. Feel free to check me out there, if you’re more partial to one of those formats. I’ll be cross-posting my ass off for the next few weeks, until I figure out how to best synidate posts.
Currently, I’m hanging out in the great metropolis of Waco, TX. Mrs. V and I were stuck in traffic (there was a horrible accident on IH-35). While making a bathroom break, the car decided to stop on us. Of course, no auto shops are open at 5:00 PM on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, so Mrs. V, the two dogs, and I had to bed down here in Waco. I’m currently at the Ford Dealership. So far, I’m amassed at least $235 in auto costs…and they’re still not done.
I haven’t posted in quite a while, mainly because I’ve been slaving away at the edits on Rhombus. I’m done…almost. I had to do a total rewrite of one chapter; I’m curious what Super Cool Editor Guy will think of it. I’ve still got to tweak the ending (as I said in my last post) but that’s easy compared to the trickle effect caused by the changes to Chapter 19.
I’ve also updated the blog to Blogger Beta. It looks like I still have all of my previous posts, but I’ve lost my old comments.
FYI – If anyone gets stuck at IH-35W exit 337, the only hotel in the area that accepts pets is the Knights Inn. It’s not the most upscale motel in the world, but it’s better than sleeping in a car.
Most YA authors will say that while a YA novel doesn’t have to have a happy ending, it must give the reader a sense of hope. And I almost always agree with that…except in the case of Rhombus.
I got the edits on Rhombus last week, but I knew I had to change the ending before I received them. And I agree with my editor and everyone else that’s read the novel – I tried to tie up too many loose strings at the end of the novel. It isn’t realistic.
I think the reason I want things to end up happily is less about Rhonda (my MC) and more about the person that I want her to forgive. As much as I relate to Rhonda in the novel, there’s someone else I relate to a lot more. And if I were that person, I would give anything to be forgiven in the way that Rhonda currently forgives him in the novel.
I really, really want things to end happily for Rhonda and for everyone else in the novel. And the characters will end up being happy…just not by the time the novel ends.
8) A car once drove into her apartment, while she was in the apartment.
9) She has a bad habit of mistaking non-pregnant woman as actually being pregnant.
10) She loves all types of chocolate, although bribing her with chocolate when sending her a query letter won’t increase your chances of her taking you on as a client. (She would still probably eat the chocolate, however.)
Sara is a great agent, but more importantly, she’s the right agent for me. I think the whole “author-agent vibe” sometimes gets overlooked when authors start looking for representation, but it’s a really important part of the whole relationship. I would imagine, just as I wouldn’t be comfortable working with a lot of other agents, a lot of other agents wouldn’t be comfortable working with me. You have to get your agent, and she has to get you.
Sara gets me. She gets my work. (Of course, it doesn’t hurt that she also did a good job of selling my work, but that’s beside the point.) I’m glad that I got the chance to meet her face-to-face this weekend. I would say that Brian Yansky could give a more in-depth version of the weekend events, but HE DOESN’T HAVE A WEBSITE YET. (Is that a subtle enough hint?)
A number of people have come up to me and said, “I’ve been meaning to read your book, but I just can’t seem to find the time.” Well, thanks to the good folks at Recorded Books, you can now listen to the novel on the way to work.
I’m pleased to announce that A Red Polka Dot In A World Full of Plaid is now available on CD and cassette. And if you’re looking at the price, don’t have a heat attack – the audiobook is slated to be marketed to libraries, not end consumers. I’ll be sure to announce if and when the novel will be available to end consumers for purchase or for rental (1). Or better yet, go to your local library and see if they’ll order the audiobook. Of course, you can also purchase the audiobook yourself. But being that my own mother won’t shell out the bones for the audiobook, it’s probably a little much to ask you guys to do the same.
And as always, thanks to all the readers, writers, friends, family, and fans for all of the support. I wouldn’t have gotten half as far as I have without you guys.