Links Galore

Lots of links I’ve been saving:

Going to the Dogs: a Lesson from Olly and the Crufts Dog Show

Recently, a friend and I were talking about the phrase “going to the dogs.” Humans’ relationship with dogs have changed in the last few centuries, and how we think of dogs as great companions. How can something “going to the dogs” still be a bad thing?

And if anyone can teach us about how to deal with the bad things, it’s dogs. Example: Olly the Terrier.

Olly didn’t have a great showing at the recent Crufts dog show–major fail right away, face plant right into the ground.

But Olly didn’t care.

He was “all over the place” after that and ran the wrong way through one of the challenges, but, as the announcer said, he was “having a ball.”

Olly knows a thing or two about how to handle failure.

Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Sometimes we don’t have the show we wanted. But that doesn’t mean getting upset or mad at ourselves or quitting. Instead, maybe that means we should find the joy in what we’re doing and go after that. Maybe we’re not going to win the dog show this year, but we’re going to have some fun while we’re there.

Failure is hard. Disappointment is hard. But no one can take that Olly-ish joy away from you when you’re doing something you love.

From now on, if something’s “going to the dogs,” respond like Olly the dog. Find your enthusiasm, find your confidence, and keep at it.

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, guys! How is it that this week’s felt so long and so short all at once? Also it snowed today and all I want to do is wrap myself in a comforter and not leave the house until April. Fortunately, in that scenario I could still read, so let’s get the weekend started with a few book reviews in fifteen words or fewer.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
Great collection of essays about race, sexism, education, media, and Scrabble.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
Wanted more from Oscar as a character, but Díaz’s writing is stellar.

Fish In A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Wish I had a fifth grade class to share this with. Heart-wrenching and heartwarming.

YA Passport at Trident Booksellers with Lauren McLaughlin and Annie Cardi

captureHey there, Boston-area YA fans! This Thursday, I’m going to be at Trident Booksellers & Cafe with fellow YA writer Lauren McLaughlin for a conversation about books, writing, and probably how great the sweet potato fries are at Trident. Lauren’s launching her new book, The Free, and I’m so excited to be part of the festivities.

The details:

YA Passport with Lauren McLaughlin and Annie Cardi
March 2, 2017, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Trident Booksellers & Cafe
338 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02115

Come say hi, get some tasty food/a refreshing beverage, snag a book, and take part in a fantastic YA conversation!

Links Galore

The links I’ve been saving for a snowy day:

Friday Fifteen

Today feels like a good day to share a couple lines of poetry, in slightly more than fifteen words. From “Poetry as Insurgent Art [I am signaling you through the flames]” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

“What are poets for, in such an age?
What is the use of poetry?

The state of the world calls out for poetry to save it.”

Read the whole poem here. Other poems I’ve been reading recently include “A Song on the End of the World” by Czeslaw Milosz and “Good Bones” by Maggie Smith.

Keep writing, keep fighting.

Playing and Discovery

A friend who’s an actor recently shared this interview with Mark Rylance talking about spontaneity and ‘playing’ with other actors as a way to develop character. The part I like starts around 1:40 minutes in:

I don’t do a lot of plotting when I’m drafting a novel, so I can totally relate to to this idea of being in the moment with characters, and the joy of discovery that comes with that. Even though I’m married to a playwright and have a lot of friends in the theater, I never thought about spontaneity and character development in the same way in terms of acting. But it’s really cool to see that artists can have similar methods of exploration, despite working in different artistic spheres.

Do you feel a sense of play and exploration in your writing or other artistic work?

2017 Bookish Resolutions

Yesterday I shared my 2016 reading and writing resolution results, but 2016 is over (woohoo!) so today I’m moving onto my 2017 book-related resolutions.

Reading Resolutions

  1. Finish more book series I’ve started: putting this one back on the list, since I’m still in the middle of some great series.
  2. Read more diversely: because We Need Diverse Books applies to all genres and categories, and because we need to hear these voices now more than ever.
  3. Listen to more audiobooks: after Amy Poehler helped me through an unexpectedly epic road trip, I’ve gotten into audiobooks. I always thought I’d been way too distracted to follow a narrative, but I’ve loved getting to listen to books while cooking or commuting or hanging out.
  4. Explore more picture books: I always say that writing a good picture book is like writing a good poem–seemingly easy but so hard to do well. Even though I don’t have any young readers in my house, that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a good story and some awesome illustration.
  5. Read more poetry: I took poetry classes in college, both writing and literature, and really enjoyed it, but my experience with poetry has seriously dropped off since then. The nice thing about poetry is that it’s easy to work poetry in on a regular basis–you don’t need to read a whole collection at once.

Writing Resolutions

  1. Turn off the internet more: I get a lot done when I go write in coffeeshops without free wi-fi (or at least where I don’t explicitly check for the wifi info).
  2. Write when I think I don’t have enough time: back on the list for 2017, because it’s still true and I still get more done than I think I can.
  3. Revise projects that aren’t finished: I’ve got a couple of complete drafts that still need work. I’d like to get them as far as I can take them.
  4. Stretch my writing muscles: try new genres, new formats, new categories.
  5. Have fun: because this one still matters and is still a challenge. It’s hard to separate the writing itself from all the possible end results, when all the possible end results are out of my control. The writing’s in my control, and it’s the fun part, even when it’s work.

Here’s to a year of expansive reading and joyful writing. Share your 2017 bookish resolutions in the comments!

2016 Book Resolution Recap

Confession: I kinda forgot that I made reading and writing resolutions for 2016, at least in an official way. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t make some progress! Some recaps from 2016 reading and reading

1. Finish book series I’ve started: I did manage to get through a few series that I’d started, including Dairy Queen, the Wolves of Mercy Falls, and Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I still have some series hanging out there, but at least I didn’t start a bunch more series that I couldn’t finish.

2. Read a few books for grown-ups: I did read outside of the YA sphere, but they were all non-fiction. I think that counts.

3. Add some non-fiction to the list: Totally nailed this one! I ended up reading way more non-fiction that I’ve read in years.

4. Pick from books already on my shelves: Well, I think I did that once…

Audio Book 5. Read more, tech less: Oddly enough, I think getting into audiobooks actually helped me reading more while tech-ing.

6. Finish my current WIP: I did get through a revision of this WIP, but it needs some more work before it goes out and is currently on a break. (Sorry, characters, I still love you.)

7. Complete a new first draft: I ended up completing a new first draft! It’s still way early in the revision process, but I really like this one.

8. Write when I think I don’t have enough time: I definitely could have been better at this. It’s so easy to think that a half hour isn’t enough time, when you can do way more than you think you can.Happy Dog

9. Start outlining new projects: I’m not an outliner, but I did start a spreadsheet of potential projects with notes about what they might include.

How did your 2016 reading and writing go? What were your successes, surprises, and challenges? And what’s on tap for 2017?

Be on the lookout for my 2017 resolutions, hopefully tomorrow!