May 22nd, 2009

Lucy Woodward, happy

Poetry Friday: Roses and Rue by Oscar Wilde

You were always afraid of a shower,
Just like a flower:
I remember you started and ran
When the rain began.

I remember I never could catch you,
For no one could match you,
You had wonderful, luminous, fleet,
Little wings to your feet.

- from Roses and Rue by Oscar Wilde

Read the poem in its entirety.

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Consult the Poetry Friday roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

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Lucy Woodward, happy

Interview: Lauren Myracle

Lauren Myracle cracks me up. Considering the title of her newest book, Peace, Love & Baby Ducks, perhaps I should say she quacks me up. Last year, after we finally met face-to-face, she dubbed me "Li'l Dub." (Note: She is the only person permitted to call me this.) We get along famously - or at least I'd like to think so! - and, due to her writing versatility, I recommend her vast variety of books to various audiences and ages.

Rub a dub dub, three ducks in a tub - rather, two ducks, many books, and a whole lot of questions.

You've said that it took a good ten years from the time you really focused on writing to the time your first novel was published.

Yes, but not by choice. Just sayin'...

What do you know now about the publishing industry that you wish you knew then?

That editors really *are* just people. That they don't always wear black, a la hip and intimidating New Yorkers, but that some of them should break out the pastels more than they do. That wishing and hoping won't make it so, but it's not a bad strategy in terms of keeping yourself focused. That yes, books are products (blech, hate "products"!), but that the fab editors -- meaning the ones I'm lucky enough to work with -- do what they do because books are made not for money, but for love.

What do you know now about your own writing style that you wish you knew then?

That "parents" are easier to write once you become one. That setting still sucks. That my brain has gotten more nimble, which I say that not to be braggy, but as a way of rejoicing in the fact that using the same circuits again and again and firing the same set of neurons again and again does strengthen all of those passage ways. I mean, that's so cool, right? That you do something and do it and do it some more...and you do get better? I guess what I'm saying is that writing, at least for me, is NOT about the gift from the sky of plain raw talent. It's about work. And oddly, that makes me so happy! It's lovely to be a human and to have the potential to GET BETTER at whatever it is you do, that's all.

You have written for various audiences and genres, ranging from elementary and middle school readers to teens, from realistic fiction to horror, from story stories to collaborative novels. What, if anything, do you think all of your stories have in common?

I know exactly what they have in common: a focus on friendship. I didn't set out to have friendship be my thing, but whaddaya know? It is.

Have you experienced any resistance to publication or attempts at censorship when you've dared to have girls kiss girls (Kissing Kate) or talk frankly about their bodies and lives (the Winnie series for kids, the TTYL series for teens) or commit horrible acts (Bliss)?

"Commit horrible acts." Oh, you slay me. (Heh heh heh, little jokey there, eh? You slay me?)

But as for resistance and censorship, that would be a big fat (and often slitty-eyed) YES. In 2007, my ttyl series ranked #7 on the American Library Association's top 10 list of most frequently challenged books. This past year, they jumped to #3. Uh...wh-hoo? I cannot think of one single book I've written that hasn't made some grown-up or other upset/uncomfortable/afraid. It kind of sucks, but I'm not going to let that resistance push me down. The thing is? Really? The characters in my books (well, not counting the ones that, ya know, commit horrible acts) have strong moral compasses; it's just that the situations they put themselves in are "real" and un-prettied-up by fake adult perspective. The girls I write about make bad decisions sometimes, sure, but for the most part, they learn from them.

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You're welcome, and thank you, mighty Myracle!

Visit Lauren's website.
Drop by her blog.
Check out the Peace, Love, & Baby Ducks Ning network.

Related Posts at Bildungsroman:
Book Review: Peace, Love & Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle
Book Reviews: The Winnie Books (Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen) by Lauren Myracle
Book Review: How to Be Bad by Lauren Myracle, E. Lockhart, and Sarah Mlynowski
Author Interview: Lauren Myracle, E. Lockhart, and Sarah Mlynowski

Today's Schedule
Jenny Davidson at Chasing Ray
Rebecca Stead at Fuse #8
Ryan Mecum at Writing and Ruminating
Lauren Myracle at Bildungsroman
Kristin Cashore at HipWriterMama
Rachel Caine at The YA YA YAs

Help get books into the hands of teen boys who really need them. Learn more about the GuysLitWire Book Fair for Boys.

Family: Holly Cupala

I have always thought of family as reaching beyond genetics and including friends. Several years ago, I realized family was even more. My husband and I lost our first daughter at birth, and I have never seen such an outpouring from our families, friends, colleagues, writing community, neighbors, and complete strangers. They called and visited. They sent cards. Meals. Flowers. Books. Every expression of kindness imaginable, to let us know we were not alone. When I think of that time, I think as much of the love as I do of the sadness. Now I know: a family is defined by love.

- Holly Cupala

Follow the series of family posts.