Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Do you know your own mind?

In a previous post, I talked about racism, and mentioned the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. This book explores how we think without thinking--in the blink of an eye. How our instinct oftentimes take into account our lifetime of experience. He talks about a psychologist who can predict with 95% accuracy if a couple is going to end up together 15 years from now after watching a tape of them interacting for an hour, and 90% accuracy after just 15 minutes. He describes the tennis coach who knows when a player will double fault before the racket hits the ball. And part of the reason why they can do this (they weren't born with this skill) is that they have become experts, with experience and training, their minds have been honed to do this. Although I'm not sure if I can really call myself a children's book expert, I think if I'm an expert in anything, that's it. And in my job, I often know if I'm going to turn down a manuscript after reading one sentence, (Of course I read more than that just in case!), and it comes from reading so many books and manuscripts and knowing what I like and what I don't.

Well, Gladwell also explores when perhaps we shouldn't trust our instincts, and one situation is when racism or preconceptions come into play. He talks about this test, which I had coincidentally taken before reading the book, because a friend had forwarded it to me. It's completely fascinating, so I highly recommend checking this website out and taking a few tests:

This is how the tests are described on the site:
It is well known that people don't always 'speak their minds', and it is suspected that people don't always 'know their minds'. Understanding such divergences is important to scientific psychology.

This web site presents a method that demonstrates the conscious-unconscious divergences much more convincingly than has been possible with previous methods. This new method is called the Implicit Association Test, or IAT for short.

According to Gladwell, over 80% of people taking the Race IAT end up having pro-white associations. Even Gladwell himself showed a "moderate automatic preference for whites"--and he himself is half black! I showed a preference for whites as well after taking the test, and considering I'm a minority myself, I don't consider myself racist (although since I've taken these tests before, I know that everyone is, a little bit...).

Gladwell says, "The disturbing thing about the test is that it shows that our unconscious attitudes may be utterly incompatible with our stated conscious values...of the fifty thousand African Americans who have taken the Race IAT so far, about half of them, like me, have stronger associations with whites than with blacks. How could we not? We live in North America, where we are surrounded every day by cultural messages linking white with good." (p. 85)

But what I found MOST amazing (and please bear with me, I know this is long, but thanks for reading this far!), what I found most affirming and hopeful was this section of one paragraph:

"...believe it or not, if, before you take the IAT, I were to ask you to look over a series of pictures of articles about people like Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela or Colin Powell, your reaction time would change. Suddenly it won't seem so hard to associate positive things with black people. 'I had a student who used to take the IAT every day' Banaji says, 'It was the first thing he did, and his idea was just to let the data gather as he went. Then this one day, he got a positive association with blacks. And he said, 'That's odd. I've never gotten that before,' because we've all tried to change our IAT score and couldn't. But he's a track-and-field guy, and what he realized is that he'd spent the morning watching the Olympics.'"

I found this hopeful and affirming because one of my goals of being in publishing is to make sure that minorities and other unrepresented groups are featured more in children's books, because I know from personal experience that it really troubled me as a child to not see characters that looked like me in the books I was reading (let alone magazines, television, and movies). I was so thirsty for characters that were like me that whenever a character had black hair, I would think hopefully, "Maybe she's Asian!"--I even wanted Snow White to be Asian. And I think this is also partially why I loved the Emily books by L.M. Montgomery more than the Anne books (although of course I loved those, too!)--because Emily had black hair. This is normal--we all know that kids want to see themselves in the books their reading. That's why we buy books like Eloise for little girls named Eloise, and Fancy Nancy for girls named Nancy (alas, not Alvinas in any of the books I was reading, either! Although as an adult I did find a D.H. Lawrence book The Lost Girl with an Alvina in it and of course read it even though it was not very good).

And especially for minority kids growing up in mostly white communities, the positive "examples" of people who look like them are even less. And when white children aren't seeing any kinds of depictions of kids of other ethnicities either, that's problematic as well. I often realized that I was oftentimes the only example of an Asian person that some people ever met, and I certainly don't think I'm a great representative of my ethnicity!

So, to have this confirmation that seeing positive, diverse images in children's books can make a psychological difference, a subconscious difference, to lessen the bias against people of color, well, this was so affirming for me. It is important. It does make a difference.

Take the tests here, see how you do.

Monday, August 28, 2006

I'm a half marathoner!

I ran the half marathon yesterday morning, and actually felt great doing it.

I went to bed early the night before, although I didn't sleep well--kept waking up at every little noise, I think partially because I was excited and nervous. But I still slept enough, woke up at 5 am and had a bagel with peanut butter and honey, and then walked over to the start with my roommate Rose. We ran together most of the way, which was great--we didn't talk much, but just knowing she was there pushed me to run faster (and vice versa, she said, for her). And run fast (for me), I did indeed. I finished with an average of 10 minute 23 second miles--I was hoping for 11-minute miles. It's funny--for running, I tend to set very conservative but realistic goals, I'm not sure why. I think I don't like to put undo pressure on myself, when the main goal is to just finish the damn race.

It was the perfect running temperature--upper 60s and overcast. But it was humid, and the skies threated rain--we felt the stray drop here and there before the race. I thought the humidity was good for me, though--kept my throat hydrated. I felt really good running the first 6 miles, hills and all. I usually run the Park counterclockwise, so it was fun running the opposite way.

Around mile 7 we heard rattling in the leaves, and sure enough, seconds later the downpour started. It was cold, hard rain, and after a few seconds of it I said to Rose, "Well, at least it's an experience." It made me run faster. But I despaired that it would rain the whole rest of the race, and I didn't know if I could bear it. I had to keep my head down because the rain kept getting in my eyes, and I was freezing cold. Thankfully, the rain tapered off about a mile later, soon after we left the park and headed down 7th Avenue. It was awesome running though Times Square, the road was wide open, and then to the West Side highway. I had a 12-minute mile around mile 8, and sped up for the next mile and ran it under 9 minutes, which for me is unheard of. But other than that I was solidly running around 1o minute and 3o second miles. I felt like walking around mile 10, but knew there was only 3 miles left, and I also knew that every step I took was the farthest I'd ever run in my life, and that was exciting.

Took the last 3 miles at a slower but steady rate, and then still had something in me to speed up for the last 800 meters, finishing at almost a sprint. Awesome. And hey, I got a medal! I haven't gotten a medal for anything since the science fair in high school.

The people cheering on the sideline were great and really helped. There were also string quartets and bands along the way, and that was a good distraction. And, of course, NY in general. It was a great route, and I'd love to do it every year.

I'm a little sore and tired today, but overall I'm feeling good. And happy. Bring on the full marathon!!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

In 12 hours...

I'll be in the home stretch of the NYC half marathon (I hope)!

It's just past 9:00 pm and I'm getting ready for bed, hoping to get in over 7 hours of sleep before the race. I feel rested, but otherwise unprepared, so I'm curious to see how I'll do. I haven't run in almost 2 weeks, and I still have a bit of a cough from the bronchitis, but I think I'm healthy enough. I've been feeling butterflies all day--nervous like I feel before presenting a book at our acquisition meeting, or how I used to feel before a test, or before I give a speech, or before going on a first date with someone I think I like. Nervous excited.

I just cooked a huge pasta dinner: whole wheat penne pasta with garlic, tomatoes, corn, white wine, spinach, and turkey meatballs. Loading up on the carbs! Bring on the 13.1 miles!! But first, reading more of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and then sleep. I'll let you all know how it goes.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

rumination on racism

On Tuesday night Sachin and I went out with his friends--played some ping pong, and then went to Art Bar for dinner. And eventually the conversation came around to racism, which was fascinating to talk about in a group of "mixed company"--one was black, one Indian, one Taiwanese, and one half Pakistani, half white. We talked about everything from the difference between Nationality and ethnicity and race, how we hate being asked "Where are you from?" because we hate not knowing whether they're trying to determine our parents' ancestry, or just making small talk about where we grew up. And when it's the former, why do they want to know? And why do they think it odd when we answer "New Jersey" or "California"? And if you're multiracial or biracial, what to you check off when it comes to the census if you're only allowed to check one option? And if you're a quarter or a half black, should you consider yourself just black? I love conversations like this because there's a lot of gray area, and that's fascinating.

And then later that night...Sachin and I went down to catch the L train at Union Square around 11:40, and there were all of these people waiting on the platform, but also a lot of people who were streaming back upstairs. One guy mouthed to me, "There's no train" so we went around the stairwell where these MTA workers were explaining the situation to irate passengers. There was a sign posted that said no L train service after 12:01, and apparently this meant that the last train would arrive at the final station at 12:01, which certainly wasn't clear--the sign should tell you when the last train leaves, not finishes. And why were there no announcements for all the people just sitting on the platform waiting?

So we went upstairs to wait for the yellow line to get to the J train, and as we were waiting a hipster guy around our age and an older women maybe in her 40s with an accent of some kind asked us if the J was running and if this was the right train to take to it. Sachin answered the question, and then the hipster guy went back to reading a book, and the woman started asking all of these additional questions. Where are we going, where do we live, Oh, I live there too and am going to the same place, etc etc. I step a bit away so am not listening to most of their conversation because I'm tired and am also suddenly wary of this woman. I don't know why. I'm generally a pretty trusting person, and she's probably innocuous, but something about her seems off. She seems too eager to latch onto us, and I wonder if we'll have to commute the whole way to Williamsburg with her. All of a sudden, Sachin says, "Hey, there's Sarah" and sure enough we see Sarah on the other side of the platform going up the stairs and I call out to her. "Where are you going?" Sarah lives a block and a half from Sachin. "I'm going to take a cab. My company will pay for it." she says. "Want to come?" so we say sure and head up the stairs, and the woman practically runs after us, "Where are you going?" "We're taking a cab." "Can I come with you? I'll pay!" and then I think, if she's offering to pay for a cab, what does she need us for? Does she just want to be friends with us or something? "Sorry, we're going with a friend of ours." and we leave her behind. We both feel guilty about it later, but I try to justify it--"my gut just told me that she was sketchy." "Was it really that? Or do you think the fact that she was 'foreign' and older had something to do with it? What if she had been a young hipster girl or guy? Would we have let them share a cab with us then?"

I don't know. A while back, right before I started in publishing and while I worked at B&N, I read a book called Why Are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum, PhD. I found it completely fascinating. One of the things it talked about it how racism is more subtle in today's PC climate than in the past. It talked about subtle racism, and specifically how it came to play in terms of interviewing and hiring. People tend to feel more comfortable with people of their own race, so when you're making hiring decisions, subconsciously you oftentimes tend to gravitate towards people who are like yourself (hence why all the black/Asian/Latino/etc kids sit together in the cafeteria). In industries that are male dominated, or white dominated, or middle class dominated, this comes into play. Sometimes excuses are used. "The person was over qualified" or "there was just something I wasn't sure about him/her, I just can't articulate it."

Anyway, this can be a long and complicated discussion that will go around in circles forever, but going back to why I didn't trust the woman in the subway: "My gut told me something wasn't right about her. She was too clingy, too eager. She must have had an ulterior motive." I don't know now. I know that in NYC, we're required to be extra-careful, vigilant. I've had many friends who have been robbed because they were too trusting, so I'm going to excuse my behavior somewhat. But I also want to be honest with myself. Would I have let her share a cab with me if she had been Asian and young? Probably. It reminds me of that Avenue Q song. Everyone is a little bit racist. Maybe in this case I was being ageist, I don't know. We all have our prejudices. We all still have far to go.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Is it me?

I felt like I was contradicting myself during this quiz. What can I say, I'm an enigma. Ha. No, actually, I think I'm in a transition stage. Then again, I'm constantly changing and growing, and I expect and hope I will for the rest of my life. I took one of these at the beginning of college, and I was an introvert, and by the end of college I was an extravert. I wouldn't be surprised if I switched back again someday. Anyway, I'd love to know what you guys are!

You Are An ENFP
The Inspirer
You love being around people, and you are deeply committed to your friends.You are also unconventional, irreverant, and unimpressed by authority and rules.Incredibly perceptive, you can usually sense if someone has hidden motives.You use lots of colorful language and expressions. You're quite the storyteller!
You would make an excellent entrepreneur, politician, or journalist.

I know this is vague...

I don't know where this came from, but I just found this on the Earl Pickens blog. So fricken cool. Check it out!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Snakes! On a plane! and a Lady! In the water!

Yes, I fell for the internet hype and saw Snakes on a Plane yesterday, and dammit, I liked it! Granted, I had low expectations, but I found it entertaining, scary, hilarious, icky, heart-pounding, eyes hiding behind fingers, good. And yeah, some of the acting was bad, but most of it was decent (Juliana Margulies was in this movie, how weird is that?), and it's great for the kind of movie it was. I've realized that it's all about expectations. This happens sometimes while reading manuscripts--after a while of not reading anything I like, I start expecting the worst, and then something comes along that doesn't suck and I enjoy it and then have to remember to compare it with good writing. But no, really, I enjoyed Snakes on a Plane. But yes, I did have very low expectations.

Speaking of low expectations and movies, a few weeks ago I also saw Lady in the Water and liked it. Now, lest you think I just have bad taste in movies...well, that may be the case, but I found the movie to be funny, heart-warming, and overall, unique. One thing you can say about this movie is that it's not like any other movies you've seen, and in a time when so little is truly original, I found that refreshing. I also thought it was a wonderful children's movie--not young children, but I thought it was probably made for that bright-eyed twelve-year old, rather than the jaded, pessimistic adult. And since I think I have more in common with the naive, optimistic kid, I liked it.

Any movie recommendations? I've been wanting to see An Inconvenient Truth and Little Miss Sunshine. If you seen these, let me know how you liked them...although maybe you shouldn't praise them too much, because then I'll be disappointed.

Friday, August 18, 2006

BAD Kirkus, GOOD Booklist, Good Dog!

So, last week I got the good news that Chowder by Peter Brown got a STARRED REVIEW in Booklist: "Everything works here. The tongue-in-cheek humor melds delightfully with Brown's distinctive acrylic-and-pencil artwork...Inventive is the best word to describe the design...But along with the glitz, there's also a real story here, starring a very winsome protagonist."

And at the same time heard that there was a not-so-good review of it in Kirkus. Well, I just read that review now and couldn't help but rant a little about it. This was the last part of the review: "Chowder himself is not a particularly appealing character. He has mean eyes and a scary coutenance, particularly on the cover, where he looks like he'd like to bite an unsuspecting reader."


First of all, mean eyes? You can't even SEE his eyes on the cover! And does he look like he wants to bite someone? His tongue is hanging out, for Pete's sake.

It's all's all's all subjective...

But really. C'mon. "Mean eyes and scary countenance"?!?!?!?

Okay, I'll go back to the STAR. "Everything works here."


Thursday, August 17, 2006

new post and still sick

Okay, not to whine but I actually felt sicker today, so I stayed home even though there was so much going on at work. I managed to take care of at least one thing that needed to get done, in between trips to my bed. I had no energy at all today. I hope TWO days at home in a row will help me feel better by tomorrow! I really hope to make it in to work. Partially because there's lots to do, but mostly because I have the awful feeling that I left a mug with a used tea bag in it on my desk, and if I don't make it in until Monday, I dread what it'll look like. I could ask my assistant to clean it for me tomorrow, but I don't like to ask assistants to do stuff like that.

In the meantime, check out my new post about In the Break by Jack Lopez over at the Blue Rose Girls site.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The curiosities of health

I'm taking a break from working at home, editing a manuscript on my kitchen table. I love these work-at-home days, one of the perks of being an editor. Of course, it's just as well because...

This morning I went to the doctor and apparently I have a slight case of bronchitis, and inflamation of the lymph nodes and other nodes, etc. It's kinda surprising, because all things considered, I don't feel that sick. And, in fact, I ran 10 miles on Sunday and 3.5 miles last night. I did feel like I was coming down with something at the end of last week, but I guess I convinced myself that it was allergies. I am a strong believer in the power of your mind to heal your body. I tend to ignore sicknesses or "fend them off" (I heart Airborne!) and in general I don't get sick very often. And when I do, I try to power through it and try not to complain about it. I used to scoff at my whiney friends who would wallow in their sicknesses.

I also don't usually go to the doctor when I'm sick, but last night I discovered a lump on my neck that was weird (like little marbles under my skin), and Sachin said over and over, Go to the doctor. Go to the doctor. Get it checked out. Go to the doctor. I guess that's one thing good (one of many!) about significant others: they make you do things you should do that you don't really want to do. I've had this kind of thing before, although usually on my throat, not the side of my neck, so although I wasn't too worried, I also knew it was probably the type of thing that would require antibiotics, and I was right.

This made me think back to my CA trip. My mother, as usual, brought me to see a Taiwanese doctor who tested my energy levels and took a blood sample and looked at it under a microscope. Apparently, my health had deteriorated since my last visit, and my blood was unhealthy--all clumped together with microscopic bugs in it. He said my immune system was down and that even though I felt healthy, that he tends to see health issues before they manifest themselves as symptoms. He prescribed some herbal medicine for me, which I have reluctantly been taking. I couldn't help but wonder if he had predicted this sickness, or if the mere suggestion that I wasn't healthy was enough for my brain to allow myself to get sick. And I wondered if stretching myself by running was what aggravated the sickness. And I wondered if the flooding on Thursday night was what caused it--if the water had jarred loose mold and dust from the building that caused my symptoms, first allergies, then cold, then bronchitis. And I wondered if living in the city, in general, was taking a toll on my health.

Who knows. At any rate, I'm supposed to take it easy (lucky for me to have already scheduled a work-at-home day today so I don't really have to leave my apartment), and no running for 5 days or so, which is okay since I should be fine in time for the half marathon on the 27th. She prescribed me an inhaler for when I do run again--cool! I've never used one of those before. I wonder if they're illegal to use for the marathon.

And now back to work again...although I may need to squeeze a nap into my day, too. I haven't slept well, and last night I was so congested that I would let out little moans involuntarily that would wake me up. Weird. My doctor suggested taking Claritin before bed to help me sleep. I'll see how tonight goes.

Stay healthy, people!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Chowder and Friends

My new favorite dog has a great website and a new blog. Check them out! The book is not officially pubbing until September, but I saw books in a bookstore already in MA when I was up there a few weeks ago. I also found Hippo! No, Rhino, so I was happy.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

My weekend, and burnout prevention

I just had one of the best Sundays in a long time--because I had nothing planned. Well, I guess I had three things I wanted to do: laundry, clean the bathroom, and run 10 miles. And I did all three. I also was able to catch up with a Project Runway marathon, preparing for my run by eating leftover pepperoni from Tanya's baby shower.

I had a baby-filled weekend. My book group trip up to Westchester county was so wonderful. A 9-month baby to play with--I love that sturdy baby age, when their head no longer lolls around, when you don't feel like you're going to damage them by holding them. We talked about the book, of course, and our usual publishing gossip, and another thing we talked about was the possibility of burnout in our careers. Many of us were on the brink. The past few weeks have been extremely stressful, but I don't feel like I'm quite there--and I know that Sundays like this help prevent burnout. I overextend myself, I know. I want to go out, have fun, plan wedding showers and baby showers for my friends, read manuscript for all my coworkers, go to conferences, travel to visit friends, entertain friends and family in NY, run marathons, be in multiple book's part of the reason one of my New Year's resolutions was: Take more time for myself, don't over schedule, have at least one free night each week.

I don't know if I've quite fulfilled that resolution, so I should be more vigilant about it. Because unscheduled days like this go a long way in preventing burnout. I need to not think about work, not do any work.

Saturday was the baby shower--the mother-to-be managed to get up all 6 flights of stairs, and it was a lovely time. Antonella had her baby with her--about three-months-old, so not quite at the really sturdy stage, but getting there. So sweet. Great food--too much food. Food of our childhoods. Mini burgers, ants on a log, Flavorice, cupcakes decorated with umbrellas, Pringles, and more. In keeping with the theme, we played "stick the pacifier on the baby." Too bad there wasn't room to play musical chairs. It was a beautiful day, so we chilled on the terrace afterwards. Perfect, perfect, perfect weather.

And then today. I slept in, puttered around, posted the Blue Rose Girls' Question of the Week, and then did all the rest. I wasn't feeling too hot health-wise--have had a scratchy throat since Friday morning and was congested and sneezing all day Saturday, but my Rose told me that even when she's feeling under the weather, she finds that once she starts running she forgets about it, so I decided to run any way, and I'm glad I did.

It's funny--part of my motivation for making the whole 10 miles was that I knew I could write it in my blog. At the conference I talked to a few people about running marathons, and running in general, and one thing we agreed on is the attraction to the sport in that it's uniquely measurable. Nobody can take away the fact that I've run 10 miles. When I started running in college, I had never run even one mile without stopping, and because of this I was so proud at each milestone. On the way back from the track, I would stop in my floormates room and announce how far I'd run. After a few weeks of this, my friend said in an annoyed tone, "Why do you always announce how far you ran?" and I realized that it was a motivating factor for me, I was proud of my progress and wanted to announce it.

So, this blog is good for something, I guess. I RAN 10 MILES TODAY! There. Next week, I plan to run 11 miles, the most I've ever run. And then the half marathon is in two weeks. I'm feeling good about it. But I'm not going to overdo the training--don't want to burn out before November.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

As I was waiting for the bus the rain came down on me

Tonight as I was walking home from work, the sky looked threatening and dark, and it was starting to thunder. Right when I got to 57th Street it started raining and then pouring, and since I didn't have my umbrella I decided to take the bus (and I realized while on the bus that this is one of the only times I've taken public transportation home from work since I moved to this apartment!). The rain didn't look to be letting up, so after I got off the bus I stopped at the grocery store to get stuff for the baby shower, and although I was able to get there without getting too wet, I got soaked running the half block home on my street and almost knocked one of my contacts out. But I didn't really care since I was just going home to my cozy dry apartment anyway. But now...

I open the door to my apartment building, and something isn't right. I hear the sound of rain, and it's loud. It's raining in the lobby! I can hear the rain gushing in the elevator shaft. As I walk up the stairs, I see water raining down on each landing. I remember that my room leaked in the corner above one of my book shelves during a big rain last year, so I worry about what I'll find when I get up there. I open my apartment door...whew, no rain pouring down in the kitchen, although the windows were open and the floor is somewhat wet, but no biggee. I run up to my room, and thankfully the corner where the previous leak is dry. I think I'm home free. But then I hear dripping--where is it coming from? Finally I realize my ceiling is leaking near the wall by my computer. But it isn't bad yet, and I pull my computer out away from the wall. I have some buckets to catch the drips now, but it seems to have slowed down. Guys who live in the apartment have been running up and down the stairs to and from the roof, and I think they've fixed something--something about the drains being blocked.

Hmm. How did you like the present tense?

Seriously, I love my apartment, but it really is falling apart. So sad! The rain seems to have stopped for now. Man, our elevator is probably completely dead...and the baby shower is Saturday! I don't want pregnant Tanya to have to walk up 6 flights of stairs...

Last night was a goodbye party at Loreley for Eveline (who is moving to China), and Mathieu (who is going back to France), and both flew out today--not the best day to fly, both weather-wise and bomb-threat wise.

I was exhausted from my LA trip, but managed to stay out till 11 and have fun doing it, dammit. But the Randoms are now minus 2 key members. I'm sad.

And now this post reminds me of a poem I wrote in 8th grade that was published in the school paper, even though it was bad. Take it out of rhyme, people! But I still have some of it memorized:

As I was waiting for the bus
The rain came down on me.
Without an umbrella, there I was,
It rained so hard I couldn't see.

And then I forget the rest. All for the best.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I want one of those

Just a quick post before doing yet more work--I'm back in NY! I had a fantastic time in LA and at the conference, but I'm totally exhausted, too, and work is bearing down on me, hence why I'm procrastinating. This week (what's left of it) is already totally packed, I'm hosting a baby shower at my apartment on Saturday (yay for Tanya!), and I'm feeling anxious about getting at least a 10 mile run in before the half marathon on the 27th. But I'll try not to think about that right now, and instead will share a quick funny story from the conference (and there are many--including one of Mo and Jarrett sitting on the toilet together on the bus).

Jarrett was showing me this great website made by some of his fans, and as he was scrolling down there was this picture of an adorable kid wearing an adorable My Buddy, Slug T-shirt.

me: "I want one of those!"
Jarrett: "Yeah, me, too--I can't wait to have kids."
me: "Uh, I was talking about the T-shirt."


Okay, more later if I can come up for air. I'm drowning!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I recorded my audio recordings last week (at my company, all editors make audio recordings of our book presentations for each list and make CDs to distribute to our Sales force so they can listen to them in their cars to get more familiar with the books), and used the word "self-deprecating" to describe the writing in one of my YA novels. I ended up having to do this particular recording three times because I kept messing up, and the more I said "self-deprecating" the more I thought I had it wrong. I'm always paranoid about that word because once my friend said "self-defecating" by accident and we endlessly made fun of him. But I've said it jokingly that way so many times that now I'm paranoid that I'll say it at the wrong time. And on a Sales CD would definitely be the wrong time. Then again...I wonder how many people would actually notice?

Greetings from beautiful Diamond Bar, CA. I never thought I'd be coming to Southern CA to escape the heat!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

No Blueberries for Al

So, we didn't go blueberry picking, but I didn't mind--and I had all the fruit I could eat: fresh strawberries, peaches, apples with cinnamon, bananas. The weekend in Boston was chock full of good food (mostly home-cooked, including a 6 hour brunch of fruit and riccota crepes, frittata, fruit, and more fruit), nice walks from Davis Square to Harvard Square, jogging around Jamaica Pond, and children's book talks with my fellow Blue Rose Girls. It was fun to be there with Sachin, too, and I only wish we had more time there.

One business thing that came out of the trip is a new blog that will focus on children's book publishing. We'll try to post something every day, so please visit us here! I'll still be posting my random musings here, too.

And now I'm off to the SCBWI Annual Summer meeting in LA. Two nights at my parents' house in Diamond Bar first, and then off to be surrounded by children's book professionals. Say hi to me if you see me, and come to my workshops!