Poetry for Office Survival

It’s mid-July. A lot of people are on vacation. Going to work can feel like you’re in a barren wasteland of tumbleweeds. But this Wednesday, you don’t have to battle it out alone with the freezing office AC–it’s Take Your Poet to Work Day! Cut out a picture of your favorite poet, decorate him/her, attach it to a popsicle stick, and take your poet-puppet to work.

My work poet has to be T.S. Eliot:

Whenever I’m shuffling on public transportation with a lot of other commuters, I think about The Waste Land. Particularly:

Unreal City,
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.
Flowed up the hill and down King William Street,
To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours
With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.

If anyone understands how necessary that extra cup of coffee is, it’s Eliot. My suggestions for Take Your Poet to Work Day activities:

  • Write haiku about your favorite office supplies.
  • Print out sonnets and put them in random mailboxes.
  • Instead of listening to streaming radio, crank up your favorite poetry reading recordings.
  • Take meeting notes in iambic pentameter.
  • Have fun with your punctuation, ala e.e. cummings.

Share your ideas for Take Your Poet to Work Day in the comments.

(H/T bookshelves of doom)

Don’t Hate Boo Radley, Hate the Game

In college, my friend a professor whom we all described as the filmmaker version of Shaft. He was a dedicated teacher, a bold and thoughtful filmmaker, and his syllabus included the phrase “Get ya asses to class.” Needless to say, his students loved him.

Thug Notes has a similar approach to the canon of English literature. Sparky Sweets, PhD recaps the plot of classic novels and dives into the major themes of the books. For example, his take on To Kill a Mockingbird:

Even cooler? In the Youtube comments, people are clamoring for Sweets to tackle other works of English literature. Most badass way to get people involved in literature ever.

(via Book Riot)

Much Ado About Gifs

Things I like: Shakespeare. Joss Whedon. Last night I got to see both combined in the latest Much Ado About Nothing movie. It was so much fun! I went with my friend, Hannah, with whom I also saw Joss Whedon in person. (Needless to say, we were both way excited.) Obviously the only way to share our excitement is through a Joss Whedon-based gif movie review.

Spoiler alerts–but seriously, guys, the play is a few hundred years old.

My feelings about the cast:

The set, aka Joss Whedon’s house:

All the banter:

Everyone after the big party:

Don John setting up Hero:

Beatrice asking Benedick to fight Claudio:

What I want to tell Hero:

And of course Nathan Fillion being hilarious:

How I felt after the movie:

In all seriousness, it was really cool being in a movie theater full of people laughing out loud at one of Shakespeare’s plays. It’s a great example of how stories can transcend time and location. Human drama and romance and comedy touch all of us. And if those stories can costar Nathan Fillion, bonus.

Links Galore

Lots of cool links this week:

Let It Stand

Yesterday, fellow 2014 debut author Michelle Schusterman posted some editorial trivia on Twitter:

Screen Shot 2013-05-09 at 5.18.35 PM

So of course I needed to write a stet parody song based on the Beatles’ “Let It Be.” I would sing it for you, but a) I currently have bronchitis and b) I have a terrible singing voice even when I don’t have bronchitis. So for your reading pleasure:

Let It Stand 

When I find my draft in times of trouble, my editor will take my hand,
Speaking words of edits, let it stand.
And in my draft’s revision, she decides against her first demand.
Write down words of edits, let it stand
Let it stand, let it stand, let it stand, let it stand
Write down words of edits, let it stand.

And when the copyedits come in, asking me to please expand
There will be a respite, let it stand.
For though there may be edits, my draft still shows what I had planned.
There it is on paper—let it stand.
Let it stand, let it stand, let it stand, let it stand.
There it is on paper—let it stand.
Let it stand, let it stand, let it stand, yeah, let it stand.
Write down words of edits, let it stand.
Let it stand, let it stand, let it stand, yeah, let it stand.
Write down words of edits, let it stand.

And when my draft is choppy, there is still a phrase that sounds so grand.
Say again in Latin, let it stand.
When I read through my copyedits, there’s a word I understand.
There it is on paper—let it stand.
Let it stand, let it stand, let it stand, yeah let it stand.
There it is on paper—let it stand.
Let it stand, let it stand, let it stand, yeah, let it stand.
Write down words of edits, let it stand.

I know. Paul McCartney is really worried that I’m going to surpass him as a songwriter. (Also, they say “let it be” a LOT in this song.)

NESCBWI: A Gif Interpretation, Part II

NESCBWI has so much conference awesomeness, I needed two posts to get in all the gifs. (If you missed yesterday’s post, check out Part I here.) More gif-ery below!

Going to the bookstore:

Getting your books signed:

The line for the ladies room:

When someone (especially an agent/editor/famous writer) thinks your book sounds cool:

When someone says they think social media is a waste of time:

Hearing about how even really successful writers still deal with lots of rejection:

When you find someone who also likes historical YA/sci-fi MG/picture books about otters:

Trying to find a place for dinner on Saturday night:

Talking to the person who doesn’t know how to stop trying to network:

Getting to vent with people who understand:

What it feels like to be around so many awesome people for the weekend:

What you feel like doing once you go home:

What you feel like on Monday morning:

But then you remember the good conference vibes and:

So are you going to NESCBWI ’14?

See you in Springfield, fellow NESCBWI-ers!

NESCBWI: A Gif Interpretation, Part I

Ways you can tell it’s spring in New England–the trees are in bloom; you’ve sent your wool coat to the back of your closet; and you’re headed to Springfield, MA for the annual NESCBWI conference!

Last year was my first NESCBWI conference, and it went super well. I listened to awesome speeches, took part in cool workshops, and (best of all) met my amazing critique group. I’m excited to go back this year, knowing a bunch more people from real life and the online kidlit universe.

I’ve done some “conference advice” posts before, so instead of rehashing that advice, let’s go through the emotional scope of NESCBWI via my favorite method of communication–the gif.

How you feel as a newbie:

How you also feel as a newbie:

How you feel going your second/third/forty-fifth year:

Trying to figure out which room you need to be in for your first session:

When a totally famous author makes eye contact with you during the keynote:

When someone asks a question that is only related to their very specific experience and benefits no one else:

When someone asks a good, thoughtful question that will benefit everyone:

Getting retweeted by other conference attendees:

Your attitude towards coffee:

During a query/manuscript critique with your dream agent:

Meeting a someone you know from #kidlit/#yalit in person:

When you see an illustrator’s business card:

When someone gives a really moving and inspiring keynote/workshop/panel:

When we all talk about how wonderful and important it is to create books for children and teens:

More conference gif fun continues with Part II tomorrow!