The Poetry of Metal

Posted by on Jan 12, 2018 in American History, Press | 0 comments

KGrahamA few days ago, I slipped away from my desk to watch The Post. And loved it. Meryl Streep’s performance was a joy, sensitive and hesitant and powerful all at once; “I am speaking to Mr. Bradlee now” is one of my new favorite lines in film.

One moment stuck with me: watching the printers slot the metal type into place to run that first edition with news of the Pentagon papers. There is something so gorgeous, so solid and precise and elegant, about a page of metal type set to run, glistening with ink, all the letters reversed so that the elegant bars and curves of the font seem fresh to the eye. And then the whole building vibrating with the impact of the press, the reporter’s pencils dancing on their desks. Force of words made manifest.

Now, I love all the convenience of digital everything as much as the next writer; I love the swiftness and ease of editing when sentences and paragraphs are feather light and can be moved from here to there with the tap of a key. But I miss the sturdy beauty of real type and real ink.

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What I’ve Been Reading

Posted by on Jan 9, 2018 in What I've Been Reading | 0 comments

some-writer-coverMelissa Sweet’s exquisite biography of E.B. White, Some Writer! E. B. White would have been proud–not a word or a line out of place. “Gem” is an overused description, but we should have been saving it for this book all along, with its rich colors and tender insights into what it means to love words, and animals, and children.

“Anyone who writes down to children is simply wasting his time. You have to write up, not down. Children are demanding. They are the most attentive, curious, eager, observant, sensitive, quick, and generally congenial readers on earth….Children are game for anything. I throw them hard words, and they backhand them over the net.”

–E.B. White, via Melissa Sweet

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Utopia

Posted by on Jan 5, 2018 in American History | 0 comments

PSM_V63_D081_Helen_keller_and_miss_sullivan

Helen Keller with her teacher and companion, Annie Sullivan.

“Literature is my utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised. No barrier of the sense shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourses of my book friends. They talk to me without embarrassment of awkwardness.”
–Helen Keller

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Curious City Besties Honors Deadly Wish!

Posted by on Dec 13, 2017 in Book: Deadly Wish, Japanese Demons, Ninjas, Reviews | 0 comments

Deadly Wish

Proud to have Deadly Wish honored as a Curious City Bestie! My tale of ninjas, monsters, friendship, and betrayal garnered a spot on the list for “Best Stalking by Giant Deadly House Cat.”

The Curious City Besties are selected by Kirsten Cappy, who knows more about kids’ books than pretty much anyone I know.

Here’s the full list–if you need books for kids on your holiday list or just appreciate a fabulously told story, this is the place to go!

 

Curious City Besties Awards ’17: Best KidLit for Ages 8-18

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Holiday Mingle at Print Bookstore!

Posted by on Dec 7, 2017 in Events, Uncategorized | 0 comments

PRINT Holiday Mingle Image

Don’t miss this chance–signed book for all the people on your gift list, plus chance to support a great local business and chat with Maine authors and illustrators! Merry merry!

Print Bookstore is at 273 Congress Street in Portland. See you there!

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Victory Over Adobe!

Posted by on Nov 29, 2017 in Uncategorized, Writing Process | 0 comments

Child

One of the photos I very nearly paid $142 for.

I needed some good-quality images to use in a presentation, so naturally, Adobe Stock Photos was the place to go. I was irritated to find out that I had to sign up for a monthly membership in order to download ten or fifteen photos–this seems to be more and more of a trend these days, doesn’t it, companies trying to hook you into a long-term relationship when you just want a date? Er, I mean, a single commercial transaction? (I’m looking at you, Microsoft.) But the site said I could cancel at will, so I went ahead and signed up.

Of course, I forgot to cancel. As one does. A thirty-dollar charge showed up on my credit card. Rats. Oh well, lesson learned. I went to the site to cancel my membership.

Only to learn that I’d be charged $142 for cancelling before the end of the year.

Now, I may have missed some fine print, but I swear I didn’t know I was locking myself into a twelve-month membership with significant penalties for opting out. I stared at the screen in dismay. It’s nearly December and I’m a freelancer. December is an expensive month for most people, and even more so if you pay your own health insurance (HSA contribution!) and manage your own retirement funds (Roth IRA!) I’ve got a lot of use for $142. But I figured it was probably my fault. I’d made a mistake, I hadn’t read the information carefully enough, I’d suck it up and pay the fee.

Wait. No I wouldn’t.

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Hipple Collection of Young Adult Literature

Posted by on Nov 21, 2017 in Book: Deadly Flowers, Book: Deadly Wish, Educators & Librarians, Writing Process | 0 comments

DeadlyWishDraft1

A first draft pages from Deadly Wish. Am I the last writer alive to do first drafts longhand?

I was flattered and excited to be asked to donate signed copies and original manuscripts of Deadly Flowers and Deadly Wish to the Ted Hipple Collection of Young Adult Literature at the University of South Florida! My books will live on the shelves beside books by Judy Blume and S.E. Hinton, so you can see they’ll be in very good company.

I must confess I’m a little sad to give up the original first drafts, though. It’s funny–I save all my first drafts, although I don’t know why. I don’t look at them again. They just take up space. I don’t mind throwing away intermediate drafts, but those first, handwritten ones–they feel like part of me. I’m surprised by how much of a wrench it feels to send them away. Like sending a kid off to college, I imagine. You always hoped they’d get there, but they’re not all yours anymore. Time to see what they can offer the world!

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