Not a real ruby, but still… Saturday, May 30 2009 

…oh, I loved that red ring, big knuckle-duster costume jewelry that I wore when I read, yes, Dracula, the paperback copy that belonged to my sister, who helped me kid our half-believing cousin on summer vacation (the lake, the starry midnight sky) that, yes, vampires might really be actually real….I’d post the cover if I had it: a Signet paperback thick as a brick, with this gorgeous roaring skull in a kind of corroded black/buried-alive fuchsia; ah, I can’t do it justice.  But it’s so fondly remembered, and never more so than now as I work on my own homage, Planchette.  I don’t have the ring any more, either.  Sigh!


Nobody’s family is going to change Monday, May 25 2009 

Imagine that title today – who’d squawk, I wonder?  Louise Fitzhugh, you are the everlasting goddess of Harriet, but in some ways this one rocks even harder.Nobody'sFamily

A new novel on the way Thursday, May 21 2009 

It has its own blog, too: Under the Poppy, a new (non-YA) novel of mine, will be published next year by Small Beer Press.  I haven’t done one for the grown-ups in awhile, so I’m excited.

Travel broadens the mind Wednesday, May 20 2009 

…or so they used to say.  (Who is “they”?) Back from Brooklyn with, among other things, Baby Farm Animals and Hotel de Dream, which I’ve been enjoying very much, though not simultaneously….Below, the view on Skillman Ave.


To see is to be Wednesday, May 13 2009 

From an interview with Arianna Huffington: “[My mother and I] were living in a one-bedroom apartment in Athens,with absolutely no money, when I saw a picture of Cambridge and said, ‘I want to go there!’ Everyone said I was crazy except my mother…..[I]t’s what we call now visualization; it felt real after I had seen it.  That was the big step that changed my life.”

What do you need to see for real?

Loving the D Tuesday, May 12 2009 

A little love from CNN, of all places.

Why do I love it?  Let me count the ways.  But the first is resilience, a combination of humor and ferocity unique to Detroit.  LePetitZincDCutPuppetArt

Eat a crepe, watch a puppet show, ride or walk the Dequindre Cut from the river to Eastern Market.

Spring is love in the D.

Love like blood Saturday, May 9 2009 

This review from Michele Lee also tags The Blue Mirror‘s obsessive love relationship as implicitly vampiric, which is maybe the nature of all such lopsided and unhealthy pairings.  As I work my way through another idea, also concerned with adolescent girls and power – which is the vampire’s thesis statement, isn’t it? who feeds from who, when, and under what circumstances? – I’m thinking of these questions in a new fictional context. Vampires are about sex in the way that sex is about power, or so it’s always seemed to me.

[Thanks to Killing Joke for the ref.]

DYA Friday, May 1 2009 

Ian Grey wrote a terrific piece about what he calls “a strain of teen fiction that goes further and darker, to greater illuminating effect, to produce what I’ll call ‘dark young adult fiction’: DYA for short.”  Among others, he looks at Robert Cormier’s Tenderness, Francesca Lia Block’s The Hanged Man, M.T. Anderson’s Feed, Blake Nelson’s Paranoid Park, my own Blue Mirror, examining the darkness of the kids’ lives in these stories, the paucity of their options, the bravery and desperation of their decisions large and small. It’s a great walk into the shadows, and it makes me want to run out and get all the books he explores that I haven’t already read.

I wonder, sometimes, if there’s a reluctance – on the part of teachers, media specialists, publishers, writers – in offering a book with a darker worldview, as if this might indicate to a teen reader that yes, kiddo, you’re right: there is No Hope. Myself, I always like to hear the bad news first, so I can better see where the light lies.  And I think there’s a real relief in seeing others coping with fears or demons that, while maybe not exactly like ours, are close enough to show a family resemblance.  Even when the outcome on the page is bleak, our own, in real life, need not be, and a reader might even be strengthened by seeing the darkness up close. At my own lowest moments, the one thing I do not want is someone telling me that Everything is Going to Be OK.  What I need is someone to say, “You’re not alone.”