Léna is also a Regional Manager for Writopia Lab whose mission is to foster joy, literacy, and critical thinking in kids and teens from all backgrounds through creative writing.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Beside Myself

Beside MyselfImage by Danielle Scott via Flickr
Three weeks from tomorrow, peeps. Yes, I know we will remember Pearl Harbor, but it's also the publication date for EDGES. You must be beside yourself with excitement! People say encouragingly. Well, I am certainly beside myself, and excitement is merely one of the ways in which that phenomenon manifests itself.

So what does it mean when I am beside myself? Am I  literally out of my body, not myself anymore?  Or are there two of me, both unable to look in the mirror to see what's what. If I am beside myself, where exactly am I? Who am I?

I am a mother, writer, teacher, wife, friend. I am.

I am. Beside myself with excitement: this is truly a dream come true but it's also very much like being near the end of my first pregnancy, where I wanted my son so very badly and I couldn't wait to meet him, but I am  just so huge and can't sleep and can't walk, and I have heartburn on top of everything else.

I am. Beside myself with marketing: On Friday night I went to a party with a lot of other writers from the kid-lit world, where I heard about a couple of things that are NOT in my overall marketing plan. Evidently, blogs are out and podcasts are in. Facebook is okay, but Twitter reigns supreme. I left a little scared. I mean, I am on the internet PLENTY. Too much already. I was told to send invitations out for EDGES launch party ASAP. This was advice from the experts and I am the new-kid-on-the-block, so yes, you can guess how I spent my weekend, posting invites to Facebook and doing a fancy-pants evite with disco balls and everything.

Side note: If you didn't get an invitation, don't worry, please come if you are in the NYC area. It will be at Books of Wonder on December 9th from 6PM until 8PM. (Food will be involved, but of the cupcake, snack and soda variety, and not heftier fare.)

I am. Beside myself with anxiety: Will people like my book? Is "like" what I'm going for anyway? I want EDGES to spark discussions, and "like" may not even be a factor. Will people judge me as a debut novelist, or have different expectations because of my lineage? And when I'm anxious, I envision "people" out there as one entity, which is ludicrous, because a book is a relationship between it and an individual reader. Sara Zarr writes in her blog about having to read 230 books as a judge for the National Book Award and how daunting that was because of the subjective nature of reading.  She writes:  Richard Rodriguez says that the reader re-creates the book when he reads it. If that’s true, and I think it probably is, that means 100 readers could have 100 different experiences of the same book. Which can be frustrating, but is also kind of magical and also tells you something about what it is to be a person, an individual.

I love that!

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  1. lena,
    time for a good shot in the arm of hope and confidence. remember that "the public" can be an entity and frightening. So break it up into individuals; we all have faces and names. Believe the personal notes and the personal reviews, not the nameless ones. You are more than just the grand-daughter of Madeleine to us, you are Lena.YOU GOT PUBLISHED. The rest of us writers think that you are the coolest of the cool right now.

    I think because many of us feel that we are writers on a genetic level, our work and the commentary about it is bigger and more earth shaking. We get nervous to show it to the people we love the most. The people who actually like us. And then we send it out there into "the public". Let me validate your anxiety. So many of us who follow your blog are writers at the genetic core. We read about you and Edges and think if it can happen to Lena it can happen maybe to us.

    You have 94 followers just on this blog alone. We support you. Blogs are so strange, they make people friends without one party actually knowing the other party personally, but there are more ways of knowing than that. I read your blog every time you post. My friend now reads your blog because I read it. We feel like we know you personally. You have no idea who we are. But we are writers and women and moms and mom wannabes and we live in Utah and love Moab and we love you because you are Lena. I started following your blog because of the posts on your Grandmother's blog and the forwards to her books. You for you, because of your writing. And also you are in my favorite books--a real living breathing character who grew from that cute grand baby into well--into you. You are you because and in spite of your grandmother.

    You are the Writopia lady, the renaissance fair lover, the mommy, but more than that. You are You. Remember that part in "Wind in the Door" where Meg finds out that she is a namer and she and progo get assigned Mr Jenkins?!? The only way to name him was to love him.

    Don't worry Lena, you are named.
    You are loved.


  2. Dear Alisha - I am speechless and teary-eyed! Thank you so much for your generous, loving conviction - and for naming! I feel more than a shot in the arm, it's that tingling sensation of connectedness. And now I know YOUR name! Alisha, Alisha, Alisha!

  3. Alisha rocks! :)
    And I came here from the same source, too.

    Along the lines of readers recreating the story... the blog by Sara Zarr was quoted/discussed on another blog I follow: http://oinks.squeetus.com/2010/11/hone-your-internal-reader-not-your-internal-literary-critic.html
    Which leads me to think that if two people I'm following are reading Sara Zarr, maybe I should, too. Word of mouth is great, huh?!
    If you have any network your message/book will spread no matter if you blogged, FBed or Tweeted it.

    And yes, you are the coolest of the cool right now. ;)

  4. Thank you Carrie - I heart that Shannon Hale for writing that post! Beautiful. And you rock too! xoxo


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