Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Am I a hoarder?

In my last post, I wrote an ode to the print book. This post may in fact be proof that I have a problem when it comes to loving print books. /sarcasm.

After a few weeks of not using my ereader, and a few frank conversations, my mother agreed to sell the ereader she bought me and use the money to buy me some bookshelves. They came on Monday and after putting them together, I started to go through and organize all of my books. But not just the ones on the floor. I figured if I had the shelf-space, I might as well arrange all my books in some sort of order again like they used to be (or at least an order that makes sense to me).

I sat down on my floor and started sifting through all of the books. I was particularly proud of myself for setting aside books I want to get rid of (either selling to The Strand or bring to work to throw on the takeshelves). But before I knew it, there were books everywhere. My neat piles had turned into a pit of book-mess. My get-rid-of pile grew to approx. 100+ books and looked like a small mountain. I soon realized that organizing these books would be more stressful than building the bookshelves. I went to bed last night with my office in a shambles.

Here are some before pictures:

These pictures don't even begin to do justice to how much was strewn about.

This is my desk chair. As you can see, it was overflowing.

Even my desk had stacks on it.

After whining to my best friend on the phone about how difficult it was to organize all these books into the perfect sequence, worrying that I still wouldn't have enough shelf-space, and him laughing at me, I finally hung up and powered through. Here is the result:

You can see my collection of orange bears on display at the very top. Also note the big gap where most of my Buffy and Angel DVDs should go. They are currently being loaned out to the aforementioned best friend. He knows what will happen to him if one of them goes missing.

Here are the other two. You can see the rest of my DVD collection, my comics/graphic novels, pictures of my sisters and my other best friend, and my Wizard of Oz nutcrackers (I used to be obsessed with The Wizard of Oz and some of my aunts still send me WoO junk they find at garage sales, despite my protests.)

Afterward, I decided to count my books quickly and see just how many there were. My best friend guessed 400-500. I guessed "I have no freaking clue." Counting the book I'm currently reading and everything on my shelf, and excluding books that are on loan, books that are still in my cubicle at my temp job, comic books, my get-rid-of pile, and a pile of books that are under my desk to reference for the column I'm writing for Lambda Literary*, I have 601 books. That means that combined with everything that was excluded, I own 700+ books. I don't know whether to be extremely proud or really embarrassed. I guess I'm going with proud, since I'm posting this information on a public blog...though I may blame that on shock in the morning.

One of my friends called me a hoarder** though I don't think that's fair, since I'm getting rid of 100+ books and the ones I have are not taking over my living area. Another friend, however, said I was merely "an Enthusiast." I tend to agree with her.

*I am currently writing a monthly column, entitled Booknerds & Queerleaders, for the Lambda Literary Foundation's website.
**Yes, I even have a book about hoarding (or rather, a novel about a girl whose mom is a hoarder) Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu - read it. It's good!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Why I Don't Read E-Books (or, An Ode to Print Books)

For a few months now, my mother has been asking me about e-readers, what kind I would recommend (the Sony or the nook, but I have a personal one-man boycott against Amazon especially with e-books, so I’m biased), what they’re like to use, and more specifically, what brand I would want if she were to get me one. Every time she asked I would tell her the same thing.

“Honestly mom, I don’t really want or need an e-reader. I wouldn’t use it so please don’t waste your money on buying me one. I could use some bookshelves though.”

Well she bought me one anyway (yes I said thank you) and many of the friends that I’ve told seem shocked that I’m not more excited about my new “toy.” They don’t understand why I’m not buying thousands of e-books and taking it everywhere with me. Many of them have told me “just wait…you’ll get used to it and then you’ll be addicted.” But I know I won’t and here’s why.

I love books. I don’t just mean reading. I love physical books. So much of the pleasure I derive from the reading process comes from the actual physical book. Maybe that’s a comfort thing from growing up as a reader, but so be it. Let’s start with the purchase. While it’s nice to be able to order a book offline and have it shipped, there’s no substitute in my mind for going to the brick-and-mortar bookstore and browsing the shelves. Some people find it soothing to shop for clothes, I shop for books. I love scanning the shelves, pulling out books that look interesting, reading the copy, judging books by their covers, and ultimately walking away with at least a few books to buy. If I go looking for a specific book and it’s not there, I will almost always say no when the clerk asks if I’d like to special order it. It gives me an excuse to go to the next closest bookstore and repeat the whole process again.

E-books, being digital, cannot be bought at a bookstore. All you have to do is go online or on your reader and click a few buttons. It sounds easy but to me, that’s boring. And unlike my fashion-loving friends, who can order something and then get to try it on when it arrives, I don’t even get something solid I can hold in my hands.

Once I’ve bought my books, I love to look at the covers and read the copy again. Covers are very important to me. There have been times when a cover will make or break a book for me. In fact, you could probably hand me my favorite book and if it had a horrible cover, I would probably not enjoy the reading experience as much as I would if it had a cover I loved. I could still enjoy the book, but part of the experience would be ruined for me. And unfortunately e-books don’t really come with covers. Even the companies that include their covers in the e-book can’t duplicate some of their most amazing covers on the grayscale e-readers. I downloaded a free sample of Jennifer Brown’s Hate List (which, you’ll recall, was my first acquisition) just to see what it would look like as an e-book, and while the cover was included, even that cover, which was incredibly beautiful, simple and only two-colors (black and gray-blue) just didn’t do it for me on the e-reader.

Then we get to the reading itself. When I read a book, I love feeling the book in my hands; the feel of the cover whether it’s matte or gloss, the bumpiness of embossing, the texture of the interior paper, the weight of the book in my hands. I love to feel the thickness (or thinness) of the book and to see and feel, as I’m reading, how far I’ve gone and how far I still have to go. And I love the smell of the paper and ink and the differences between the smell of a new book and the smell of an older book that’s started to yellow with age. When I’m reading an e-book, I’m always feeling the same weight under my hands, the same texture (my e-reader case). I’m always on the same page, in a sense, because I haven’t been able to experience the sensation of flipping (a rite of passage I enjoy). And of course, there’s no smell, unless you accidentally spill coffee on your reader’s case (not advised).

To be clear, this is not an anti-e-books blog post. Hell, if it weren’t for e-books, I wouldn’t be making a living right now. And I know a lot of people enjoy their e-readers, either because they are tired of their bookshelves exploding or because they enjoy the anonymity while reading an embarrassing book on the subway, or just because they can carry around one e-reader filled with books instead of carrying one heavy hardcover or taking multiple books on vacation in case the first one turns out to be a snooze. I am just not one of those people. As you can see, the act of reading a book is a very sensual (not to be confused with sexual---I don’t love books that much) experience for me. It’s an experience that is very important to me and has been deeply ingrained since childhood when I first read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with its green cover and full-color illustrations.

So for those who wondered why I wasn’t ignoring the world while downloading the entire contents of my to-be-read list, now you know. And for those who are wondering, yes I probably will use my e-reader occasionally. Once I am back in editorial (yes I’m still holding out) I’ll use my reader to review manuscripts. And in the meantime, I promised my mother I’d buy at least one e-book, though it may take me a while to get to it (my TBR pile takes up most of my office floor at the moment, and it continues to grow), and I have been using it to play Sudoku. Ultimately, though, I’m still wishing I had some new bookshelves. I’d really like to see my office floor again.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Blog Review: Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick

Hey everyone. So despite my lack of updates, I somehow found the time to guest blog on a friend's blog. Actually she bullied me into writing it for her. :-P

I was supposed to write reviews for a few different books, but as I procrastinated, the subject of my review continued to change. But when I recently read a book that really spoke to me, I decided it was time to just buckle down and do it.

So check out Reading Between the Lines, run by my lovely friend Danielle of Pocket Books, and my 5-star review of Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A blog about not giving up on your creative dreams

The other day a good friend of mine, an amazingly talented artist, called me up and told me she was thinking about giving up on her dreams of an art career and pursuing nursing instead. I promptly talked her out of that idea; she’s been dreaming of being a professional artist since I met her 13 years ago and she is not the type of person who would be able to do all the things nurses do. But while I was talking her down off the ledge, I realized I had a lot to say on the subject of “pursuing a career in the creative industry” and I thought it was something worth sharing.

I should start by saying that my friend called because she was doubting her abilities. She looked around and saw artists who were “better” than her, she kept hearing how hard it was to make a living being a professional artist, and she saw how miserable her boyfriend, a professional artist, was. As a creative person myself (my medium being the written word) I could really relate to how she was feeling; how a lot of artists (visual, written, etc) must feel while trying to achieve their dreams and work their way to…maybe not even the top, but somewhere safe, comfortable, or stable enough to build a life around. I wanted to put this advice out there for those creative people (to be referred to from here on out under the umbrella term ‘artists’ because that’s what they are, no matter the medium), including my friend, so they have something to think about when they start to doubt themselves. Hell…so that I can have something to think about when I start to doubt myself.

Firstly, there are always going to be artists who are “better” than you. I put better in quotation marks because art is very subjective and one person can love a work of art and another person can hate it just as passionately. The key is to be happy with your own art and be able to find a job or career path that suits your particular brand or style of art. If you work hard enough and you have passion and a willingness to learn and grow, you will have options. And in the meantime, it isn’t going to help you to compare yourself to the competition. Be inspired by them, learn from them, but don’t be intimidated by their presence. Remember that for every artist whose work intimidates you, there may be an artist who is equally intimidated by your work.

I do want to acknowledge that it is hard out there for artists to make a living. That’s a fact and I won’t gloss over that. It takes a lot of persistence, determination, hard work and talent, and (sometimes) a certain amount of luck to become a successful artist. The thing is you can’t just go forward thinking “I want to make a living being an artist.” You have to be smart about it. What are your particular strengths when it comes to your art? If you want to make a living in your art, is there a way to do so without being a starving artist? When I graduated from high school, all I wanted to do was be a writer. I went to college because it was expected of me but I got an English degree (Writing Concentration) because I figured I’d learn for four years and by the time I graduated I’d have a book written, a publishing deal and enough money to live off of. In hindsight and after years of working in publishing, that’s a laughable goal. But when I got to my senior year of undergrad and had nothing worth publishing, I had to think outside the box. Sure I wanted to be a writer but what could I do for a living that was related to my art? At times I just wished I could read for a living. I loved books so much. It was that wish that led me to become an editor. It was a job related to writing, it required me to use my skills as both an avid reader and a writer, and it was something I was passionate about. And the deeper into that career path I got, the more my passion grew. I had found a way to make a living (bupkis at first, sure, but still more than I was making as an unpublished writer) while working with the written word on my terms, even if it wasn’t what I had initially set out to do.

That’s something that happens very often---the path you start off on leads somewhere you never expected it to. But ultimately, the journey is what life is all about, not the destination. I never knew how passionate I would be about editing until I got into it, and I had no idea how passionate I already was about children’s and YA books until I started working on that side of the industry. And ya know? Working in this industry has inspired me in my writing, the original creative venture that led me to becoming an editor. I’m surrounded by book people every day. A lot of my friends, who I met at work or through industry networking, are book lovers. Many of them are writers too. I’m part of two book clubs, I’ve been and am still involved in writing groups, all of which are filled with colleagues from the book business. When I first read a Sara Zarr novel (her debut, Story of a Girl), I was inspired by what she had done; by the artistry of her words and the impact of her story. To then be able to contribute my thoughts while she was revising her next book (my boss was her editor), to see her process and how she worked, was such an honor. It opened doors in my mind that I hadn’t known needed opening. I realized that my love of YA novels extended to my writing and suddenly I was coming up with more YA story ideas than I was adult story ideas. And the ideas meant more to me because of my passion for YA lit.

That's one thing that always bugged me about the musical RENT. As much as I loved that show, I always wanted to strangle the characters and say, "just because you are artists doesn't mean you can't get a job and support yourself! You don't have to abandon your art to make a living!"
Sure, you might not be able to make a living immediately just by creating art, but there are ways to have a career that is related to your art, that will allow you to utilize your artistic talents, and they will inspire you to grow as an artist. And if you are really passionate, you will continue your art on the side, using evenings and weekends and any spare time you can commit. To paraphrase Rainer Maria Rilke, you will create art because you can’t not create art.

And there are always going to be naysayers and people who have a rough time of it. As far as my friend’s boyfriend is concerned, he’s a whiner. I’ve heard countless stories about how he procrastinates, misses his deadlines and has held up production and in general sounds like a real nightmare for any editor who is stuck working with him. He’s obviously not happy doing that type of work, but he signed a contract out of obligation and is now dragging his feet. There are always going to be people like this---self-defeatists who give up and blame other people for their failures, or who blame the industry for how hard they have it when they’re just doing it to themselves. And like I said, any creative industry is going to be hard. The competition is heavy, there are going to be people who try to step on you to get to the top and you will often be told you’re not good enough or not right for the project. But it is possible if you’re smart and you have the right attitude. And ya know, a lot of people are going to give up along the way. They are going to realize this isn’t for them, or they don’t love it enough to stick with it through thick and thin, or maybe they’ll just burn out. But if you love your art enough to be able to hold out longer than everyone else, you’ve won half the battle. Again, being smart and professional is the other half.

I truly believe that if you can’t see yourself anywhere but in the creative industry of your choice, you shouldn’t give up pursuing it. My friend was born to be an artist and would never be happy being a nurse. I was meant to work with books (and hopefully publish some of my own someday) and I would never be happy working for an insurance company (which is what most people do back in my hometown). If you were born to create art, do it. If you can’t support yourself with your art right away, find a way to support yourself while also creating your art on the side. And let your fellow artists inspire you, lift you up and teach you. And most importantly, be open to growth in your art, don’t blame others for your failures, and learn to view mistakes and rejections not as failures but as opportunities for more growth. You can do it…but only if you are willing to put yourself out there and do what it takes. Do you have what it takes? You won’t know until you try.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Why I Didn’t Like the Percy Jackson Movie

Anyone who knows me fairly well knows that I am a huge fan of the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. I’ve often proclaimed that my love for this series is up there with my love for Harry Potter. So needless to say, I was pretty excited to see the movie adaptation of The Lightning Thief, especially since it was directed by the man behind the first two Harry Potter movies, Chris Columbus. I was also nervous---movies adapted from books rarely live up to their source material and barring most (but not all) of the Harry Potter movies, a few Neil Gaiman movies and Spiderwick, I’ve felt let down by recent book-movies. So I went in with a cautious but open heart and found myself completely let down. Here’s a list of reasons why (Caution: this list contains SPOILERS for both the movie and the book series):

*No Ares (the Cabin or the God) – one of the fun parts of the Percy books is that he encounters each and every Olympian god throughout the series and they’re “modernized.” The scenes with Percy and Ares were intense and exciting and it’s one of the first times Percy encounters one of the gods (aside from Mr. D). His absence was greatly noted and replacing him with Persephone (more to come on her) did nothing to improve the story. I was also annoyed that there was no Clarisse or Ares Cabin. While I get that the producers probably thought they were too reminiscent of Draco/Slytherin and wanted to steer clear of HP similarities, if they had thought ahead to the rest of the series, Clarisse and Ares Cabin play an important role later on, and Clarisse’s pride and stubbornness set up one of the most emotional moments (for me) in the final book. I was also annoyed that Annabeth became the stand-in for Clarisse (see my next point).

*Annabeth was all wrong - I know this is a superficial detail, but my first complaint is that Annabeth is BLONDE. It bothers me that (Buffy aside) we rarely get to see the blonde girl kicking ass and taking names. They’re always the pretty ones while the brunettes are the tough ones. That aside, I also didn’t like the changes her character was given. Book-Annabeth would NOT attack Percy that violently (in the name of training) and almost kill him. Setting her up as the violent warrior woman and then having her flip-flop to become his ally for her own selfish purposes did not make me like her as either a romantic foil OR a Hermione-esque “smart, female friend” for Percy. Again, they may have been trying to avoid HP similarities but they went a bit too far. Part of the fun of The Lightning Thief is that it has the HP skeleton (which JK Rowling didn’t invent, by the way) with its own unique and interesting story, mythology, and character development.

*The way race was handled – I had a BIG problem with Rosario Dawson playing Persephone. Not only was I annoyed that her character (a MAJOR deus ex machine) had replaced Ares, but she was clearly supposed to be the exotic, spicy goddess/wife and they didn’t even try to make her seem Greek. At one point my friend Zoraida, a Latina woman, leans over to me and says, “Why is Persephone Puerto Rican?” I have no idea. She’s supposed to be a GREEK goddess. If they wanted to have diversity in the cast, they had a great opportunity with the demi-god camp-dwellers (since they’re half Greek god and half-any race known to the human species). But they missed that opportunity by only focusing on the main demi-gods (another thing that took away from the greatness of the books – I loved all of the briefly mentioned side characters, just as I did in HP). I was actually really glad they cast a black actor to play Grover, since, ya know, he’s a satyr and they’re nature spirits. He could be any race. But I was extremely disappointed that they then went and changed Grover’s character to make him a stereotype of a black teen. Grover is a nervous, awkward, odd little goat-man and instead they turned him into a “playa” who was often distracted by hotties and speaks like he grew up in “the hood.” There was even one scene where the camera watches Percy and Grover walk up some stairs and you can clearly see Percy’s pants at a normal level and Grover’s are sagging, which doesn’t even make sense since Grover’s pants are supposed to conceal his GOAT LEGS! It just made me sad that they felt they had to completely change the character into a black stereotype rather than keeping the integrity of the character and casting him black. I found it insulting to people of all ethnicities.

(Edited to add this one bullet) *The way they handled the female characters - Annabeth was reduced to the cliche love interest who starts off hating (in this case, almost-killing) the main dude, and slowly learns to love him because he's just so awesome. I was also annoyed that she was a brunette, as if blondes can't be strong fighters and are stuck being the pretty/slutty/dainty girls. And don't even get me started on Medusa and ESPECIALLY Persephone (can you tell I hated this character) who both acted like gross pervs around the teenage leads. I half expected Persephone to start humping Grover's leg. It was really gross and didn't add to the story one bit. Meanwhile, if anyone's going to be acting like a horny teenager (aside from the horny teenagers) why isn't it the GODS. They could never keep it in their pants in the legends!

*No Mist or Oracle – The Mist and The Oracle play a big part in the overarching plot of the series. The Mist is a big part in explaining why normal humans (a) don’t know about the gods, demi-gods and mythological creatures prancing around, and (b) how Percy and company can get away with questing and battling all across America and not cause mass chaos. Also, The Oracle is the big motivation behind the quests Percy and his friends go on and is the reason why there aren’t supposed to be any children by the Big Three. It’s also the main motivation behind Luke’s betrayal (since his mother went crazy trying to take on the mantle of The Oracle) and the lack of an Oracle also doesn’t give me much hope for one of my favorite characters, Rachel Elizabeth Dare (the girl who can see through the Mist and who eventually becomes the new Oracle).

*Hades (the place) was WAY too Christian – I’m sorry but fire, brimstone and suffering is the Christian version of Hell. That’s NOT what Hades is supposed to be. Hades is the underworld and the land of the dead, but it is supposed to be dark and chilling not fiery and frightful. And where the heck is Elysium (the paradise where heroes go after death) amidst this inferno? Also, Charon is supposed to ferry people across the river Styx into the underworld, not through the air right to the palace of Hades. And where the heck was Cerberus (a HUGE part of the Hades myth)? Oh, right, of course. Their horrible depiction of Persephone, played by the highly-paid Rosario Dawson, makes the Cerberus storyline moot. So basically Persephone replaced Ares AND Cerberus all for the sake of…what? They show Hades acting very Lucifer-like and then Persephone just steps in and fixes it? What a total dumbing down (and de-funning) of what really happens in the books.

*The gods are really good, caring parents – A big part of the books is that the gods are just as they’ve always been depicted; selfish, careless, and neglectful. They come to earth, have children with mortal men and woman and then abandon their children because they can’t be bothered. Every so often, when they’re proud or forced to, they’ll claim their children. They may love them but they aren’t very good to them. But in the movie, Poseidon is depicted as this compassionate, caring dad who only left Percy and his mother (after 7 months of raising him) because he was becoming human and Zeus made a law to prevent that from happening. Wait WHAT?! How can a god become a human? And are we supposed to believe ALL the gods are raising ALL of their children when they are born? Because there’s an awful lot of children at Camp Half Blood and only 12 Olympian gods (2 of whom don’t have any demi-god children) plus Hades.

*The Greek gods are…British? - Who on EARTH decided that the Greek gods should all have British accents? And why in creation is Melina Kanakaredes, a GREEK-AMERICAN, portraying Athena with such a HORRENDOUS British accent? The one Greek actor they cast as a Greek god and they couldn’t even let her use her normal voice?

*Percy’s powers – I was annoyed at how they handled Percy’s abilities. I was OK with his showy waterbending the few times he did it. That was fine and I can understand how they needed something theatrical and showy for the movie. But I was annoyed when Percy created the water trident (he shouldn’t have that much control – he has barely had any time to master his abilities) and SUPER annoyed when he healed Annabeth with the pool water (Percy doesn’t have healing powers – he is healed by water because he is THE SON OF POSEIDON!).

*Stripping a lot of the magic from the world – Aside from the lack of Mist, they also left out Luke and Annabeth’s backstory, which may mean no Thalia, Daughter of Zeus. They had the kids communicating with the camp via computer whihc eliminated the Iris messages (which would've looked cool and added to the mythology). They didn’t show or even mention any of the other cabins aside from Hermes, which was far too empty for the cabin that claims unclaimed campers. There was no Mr. D (Dionysus) at all. And the camp was something out of Xena, Warrior Princess. One of the great things about Riordan’s books was that it combined the old-timey Greek myths with the modern day. Camp Half Blood didn’t even look like a modern day camp (barring Luke’s out of control video game system) with an outdoorsy feel. And no big brazier? And then making Grover a Protector (with no “protective powers” whatsoever) instead of a Seeker, thus negting the whole Pan storyline. I’m not seeing much of a set-up for Book 2 AT ALL, with the absence of Clarisse and the Pan storyline, and no set-up of Kronos whatsoever).

*A lot of little stuff – There were also a lot of glaring annoyances that stood out for me. Trying to pass off the daughters of Aphrodite as nymphs and only mentioning them as slutty temptations for Grover (nymphs and children of Aphrodite are two different groups, movie-dudes!). And a Lady Gaga montage in the middle of the Lotus Casino? C’mon! And I love the Gaga. Also, why did they age everyone up? That is another thing that doesn’t bode well for sequels. Hell, the girl who plays Annabeth is in her mid-20’s and is also playing the girlfriend of the 32-year old main character in White Collar. The guy who plays Grover is mid-20’s as well.

Ok, so as much as it sounds like I hated it, I didn’t HATE it…but I didn’t like it all that much either. I felt like the film was stripped of everything that gave it flavor in book form and instead of avoiding the Harry Potter similarities, they ended up creating something that was neither unique nor distinctive enough. There were parts I actually liked. It helped that the guy who plays Percy, 18-year old (yes I checked) Logan Lerman, is very easy on the eyes. But here they are, just to show I didn’t leave the theater entirely miserable:

*Grover’s line to Charon about burning money when we’re in a recession. I burst out laughing.

*The casting - Catherine Keener as Percy’s mom – love her! The actor who played Annabeth was pretty awesome, even if I don’t like what they did with her character. I also enjoyed Jake Abel (the third Winchester brother) as Luke and the aforementioned hotness that is Logan Lerman. Uma Thurman as Medusa was amazing as well, as was her snake-hair.

*Turning Smelly Gabe into stone at the end (I’m glad they kept that little tidbit – I was waiting for it the whole movie).

*The animal-hindquarters looked good on both Grover and Chiron. At least there’s that.

*Just being able to see a visual representation of one of my favorite book series made it worth the ridiculously high price of the ticket.

This isn’t something I’ll be excited to see again or own on DVD; though I’ll probably buy it just to support the series and the author (does he get royalties from DVD sales?). Meanwhile, if ticket sales are high enough to warrant a sequel, I’m going to hope they fix some of the errors and omissions that made it hard for me to enjoy this movie entirely. There’s still hope for them to introduce Clarisse, Grover’s mission to find Pan and even The Mist and The Oracle at the beginning of The Sea of Monsters, so let’s hope they’ll go there if there is a Book 2. And if they don’t plan on doing so, I hope this movie series stays dead in the water and doesn’t ruin any chances of someone picking this up again in a few years and doing a much better reboot.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I'm still alive

Hey guys and gals. I know I haven't been the best blogger lately. A big part of my absence is that I'm starting to lose interest in the whole blogging thing. Don't get me wrong - I love writing down my thoughts. I'm a writer at heart and since I haven't had much success squeezing the novels in my head out onto paper, blogging helps me release my inner-writer. But lately I've just been so much more comfortable keeping my thoughts private and updating my older, more heavily filtered blog. Not that my life is very juicy at all, but it's nice to be able to write without having to think about the repurcussions of my words. Which, now that I think about it, makes me realize that is why I have such trouble working on my novel. Color me ridiculous.

Anyway, I just thought I'd pop on and let you all know I'm still alive, I'm doing great if a little bored and that I'm still looking for a new editorial position. I've been interviewing, but so far haven't landed anywhere yet. You can be sure I'll update you all on that front as soon as there is news.

As a consolation, I thought I'd direct you to the blog of a friend, Danielle, who also works in publishing (on the adult side, but she loves kidlit).
Reading Between the Lines is a great blog that touches on a number of great topics and eventually I'll be contributing something if Danielle can ever manage to pry something out of me (I owe her a review of Hunger Games that still hasn't seen the light of day). So check out her blog, especially this great post about 6-word memoirs. Go read the post and then contribute your own 6-word story.

And bear with me through this hiatus. Hopefully there will be more Junior Editor Spotlights (it's really hard to get Jr. Eds to take time out of their busy schedule of editing their own books and assisting their bosses to do a little old blog interview) and eventually I'll have an opinion that I feel like voicing again. In the meantime, I'm at Twitter and I'm sure you probably all follow me over there, but if not, come and find me. I'm TeeEss.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Big News!

Hi everybody. I’ve been avoiding writing this post, mostly because it’s a difficult subject to talk about. But I thought I should say something, just so it’s out there and no one has to wonder or ask around.

As of the end of September, I am no longer with Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Yes, I’m sad about it. Yes, I miss everyone I worked with. Yes, I am now looking for work.

So what happened? Well I won’t go into details, but what I will say is that it can be very hard when you and your boss are both promoted out of your current roles. Your needs change, their needs change, and things can potentially get very difficult. I loved my job, but it was time to part ways, and while I was sad to go, I’m looking forward to the future and where I’ll be next. Right now I’m trying to find a way to pay the bills while holding out for another editorial position in children’s books. That’s what I love and that’s where I want to stay, though I’m keeping my mind open should other opportunities present themselves.

I will say this---my time at Little, Brown was an amazing and memorable experience. I learned a lot from my boss and I had the chance to work with some truly remarkable authors. And the LBYR editorial team was really like a family to me. We worked together so closely and with such little competition that it was an exciting day when any of us got a good submission in, or won an auction, or got promoted. They were truly a wonderful team to work with and LB was such a great place to start my editorial career.

So now on to the next venture. I haven’t landed anywhere yet, so if anyone hears of any leads, don’t hesitate to lob them my way. In the meantime, I’ll be stalking the job boards, temp agencies and potential freelance jobs and will be blazing my way through my TBR pile to try and catch up on books I didn’t have the time to read before.

And for those who are curious---yes, I will still be updating this blog (hopefully more often, now that I’ve gotten this one out of the way, and now that I have more time on my hands). Stay tuned!

ETA: For those looking to reach me via email, I'm at tsferguson1 at gmail.