pen-and ink-and-watercolor portrait of the book's heroine, Bean Donohue, as Bean's artist boyfriend, Zak.
"What the hell?" said Jean's boss, trying to erase the cartoon with his thumb. "Somebody DREW on this!"
Zak would have been thrilled.
I laughed, hard. And if you don't get the joke, you'll just have to go here, and buy a copy! (And gee--if you have read it, and you haven't reviewed it, I'd be mighty pleased if you went to Amazon and said what you thought!)
Enough shameless self-promotion.
On the the writerly musings of the hour. Big shout-out to my friends over at the world's best little poetry forum, The Waters. There are bigger forums on the 'net, and places the specialize in cut-throat, and/or kindly-phrased criticism. But there's a space on The Waters called 77 Sunset Beach that is specifically for doing a poem a day for...well, you decide how many days. They're always there in April and November for the big marathons. The group of poets who meet there are supportive without being gushy--just what a writer in mid-first-draft needs. I recommend it.
In fact, I recommend the whole marathon-style for writing, and I'm a little surprised to see myself typing those words. But it shouldn't be surprising, really. If you play an instrument, you practice every day. If you make art, you do it every day. Why should poetry--or any writing, really--be different? Spiritual realization of the month: I believe in God, but I don't believe in The Muse. Or maybe that sounds harsh. Maybe I should say that I believe the Muse is best summoned by putting your butt in a chair and telling yourself that what you are about to write is worth writing. Having a community to cheer you on helps--a LOT. (Also, it helps to buy a really good chair for your desk with decent lumbar support.)
So I did 30 poems in 30 days. It wasn't as crazy-making as drafting all of the Bean sequel--In Her Own Time--this past November. But here's the thing I'm doing a praise-a-lulia dance about today: it was a whole lot easier than it ever has been, and I've done the poetry marathon in April for a bunch of years. The reason why was super-clear: I have been writing a WHOLE lot lately. The New England Journal of Duh, as a doctor friend of mine would say. Shattering truth of the hour: writing genre YA can feed your poetry. Your poetry can feed your genre YA. It's not apples and oranges. It's words, friends! I expect that drafting Bean 3, which I'm already thinking about, will be easier yet. Well, maybe not EASY EASY, but you know what I mean, right?
Okay, forgive me: maybe I am a little addled from 30 poems in 30 days, after all. Or maybe not! The other big realization of this past month, and really the almost-year-now since the first Bean book was accepted: don't be afraid to go into the haunted house. And don't let anyone tell you that it's (a) not haunted or (b) not your story to tell. What haunted house, you're saying? THE haunted house. The thing that you think you couldn't bear to tell anyone. The fact that you are indeed responsible for some of the incredibly screwed-up things that happened when you were ten. The fact that you WEREN'T responsible for most of them. And the screwed-up things in general: they are YOUR screwed-up things. You own them. It is all, as Zak would say, BIZARRE. But true.
I'm in the calm between the storms, now. Soon, I'll be doing line edits on the Bean sequel, and okaying cover art. I'll be whipping up attendance for my poetry reading with Hilary Sideris and Rick Mullin at the KGB bar in early June soon, too. Time for me to go pound the treadmill so I can keep this empowered-writer-poet thing going.
Watch this space for more news!