Tuesday, February 28, 2012

This week I have the privilege of visiting two local schools for Read Across America week.  I spent five hours yesterday at Riverside Elementary, shuttled back and forth between about ten different classrooms talking to the kids about being an author, reading to them, and answering their questions.  I was one tired girl by the end of the day, but it was definitely worth it.  The kids were great, and most of them had plenty of questions, which is what I like the best.  With Q and A, you always know you're talking about things that the kids are really interested in, rather than just rattling on and on in a prepared monologue about things that they may or may not care about.

I did some readings too, some from our alphabet book, some from books they had in the classrooms, and I brought Edward Lear's poem, The Jumblies, as well.  It's always hard for me to choose something to read aloud to a room full of children, because I liked rather odd things as a child, Victorian nonsense poetry being near the top of that list, and can never assume that the liking will transfer.  The language is certainly not that of modern children's books, but I never liked many modern children's books, preferring anything that assumed a certain level of intelligence.  In any case, The Jumblies was a hit overall.  One little boy especially enjoyed it, and told me he didn't want me to leave when I got up to go to the next class.  It was only after I was all done for the day that the principal told me that that particular boy was usually very difficult and always claimed that he couldn't read or didn't like reading.  That was my triumph of the day.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

To Tweet Or Not To Tweet

I know Twitter is old news.  I have become painfully aware of late that for an author peddling their wares to not have a Twitter account is becoming nearly as rare as writing on papyrus.  In exploring online marketing tools for writers I have come across a growing number of sites offering to spread the word about your book or your website.  "Just tweet your info to..."

I don't want to!

Why am I feeling so rebellious on this subject?  It's hard to say exactly.  Partly, I suppose I am just old-fashioned, though there are other reasons.  As it is, there are so many tools available for book promotion that I have to make myself stop, or the next novel would never be written and I would lose myself in web pages and end up stuck in an author's cafe somewhere tangled in karmic chains.  (By the way, karmic chains are wonderful things, but they can get distracting.)  So the first reason is:

1. Time, obviously, and complication.

2. I'm turning into more and more of a hermit.  Oh, I love people, but I also like running away from them.  I like being alone, having time to think, and I find that I'm much nicer in company if I've spent a nice long day on my own ahead of time.  I realize the days of the reclusive writer are over, but this blog and a Facebook page are relatively easy to avoid if avoidance is required for my peace of mind.  But the more connected to the world I become, the more I long sometimes to rid myself of it all and run away somewhere, perhaps the Channel Islands, to scrawl novels with pen and ink, possibly on papyrus.

3. I have a crippling fear of turning into one of those people who tweet uncomfortably personal details of their lives, or stuff that's just plain boring.  Would I, for lack of subject, end up tweeting every time I trim my fingernails or find something spoiled in the back of the refrigerator?  Doubtful, perhaps, but terrifying to contemplate.

4. I'm mulishly stubborn, often about the most pointless things, but I get a considerable amount of satisfaction out of not giving in.  What is the the point of this free will of mine if I don't use it?

These may all be very feeble reasons, but there they are.  Anyone with any arguments for or against please feel free to comment.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Life of Charles Dickens (BBC)

To make up for my brief post from yesterday, here is a delightful cartoon of Dickens' life. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Wishing a very happy 200th birthday today to the one and only Charles Dickens!  Yes, he's been mouldering away under a stone in Westminster Abbey for 142 years, but his works still stand and his characters live forever.

Brief eulogy, yes, but I'm late for class!  Cheers!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Dear People Who Follow My Blog,

I must apologize for my long delay.  That last post kind of took all the blogging energy out of me for a little while.  That, and I've been concentrating on the new novel and the dancing and really neglecting everything else.  We have a show coming up next week, so I've been writing in the mornings and then tearing off to rehearse like mad.  The consequent pile of sweat and bandaids and sore muscle rub which is myself does not feel much like blogging.  But rehearsals have turned the corner from the "it's going to be an epic disaster" phase, and are now on to the euphoric "it's all coming together" phase, and that's splendid!

So last night, a little after midnight, after a long, convoluted dream that seemed to go on forever...I got up to make breakfast.  I don't know why.  I remember looking at the clock, but the numbers didn't register.  My brain just said, "make breakfast" so I did...well, started to anyway.  I'd just embarked on the toasting and the slicing when Aaron walked into the kitchen and asked what I was doing.  I paused, knife in hand, said, "making breakfast" like it was the obvious thing, and then looked at the clock.  I was awake enough at that point to understand what the numbers were trying to tell me, and shamefacedly set down the knife and returned to bed.  And now I know what I would be like as a zombie.  I'd be the zombie you find in your kitchen in the middle of the night frying brains in an iron skillet.

Speaking of zombies, I must offer my congratulations to Victoria Dunn, of the awesomely snarky blog Handmade By Mother (the link should be on the right side of my page) who has recently scored a publishing contract with the Canadian publisher The Workhorsery, for her novel, Alice Hearts Welsh Zombies.  I'm not always up for the zombie craze, but this is a book I will be buying.  After all, it takes place in Wales, and involves bog-snorkling!