At the summit Saturday, Feb 27 2010 

Next week (March 4, to be exact, from 4 – 7 PM), at Salem High in Canton, MI, I’ll be helping facilitate at the Queer Summit, hosted by the P-CEP GSA.  The stated purpose is to “build relationships among LGBT teens and straight allies, develop a network of GSAs, and more,” and I strongly suspect the “more” will involve intense conversations, good ideas, and a big dose of the Operative Word. If you want more information, or to hurry up and be part of it, you can email Gretchen Miller:  Gretchen.Miller@pccsmail.net

If the idea of a gay-straight alliance is new to you, there’s a wealth of information here that you can learn from. And even if you think you know a lot, there may be a fact or two that will surprise you.  Like, did you know that a straight kid had the idea for the first GSA?  I didn’t, but now I do.

All kids needs the support of their peers and of adults to make the most out of school, not only as a learning environment but as a human environment. Straight kids benefit as much as LGBT kids from a school where all kids are respected.

Under the Poppy from Small Beer Monday, Feb 22 2010 

Very pleased and excited to note that the new Small Beer Press catalog is out, with my own new novel Under the Poppy slated for October 2010 publication.  Note #2: this is not a YA novel, this one is for the grown-ups – though I always feel somewhat uncomfortable making hard-and-fast distinctions.  It’s the same discomfort I feel when someone comes up to me at a bookstore or a library and says, “My daughter is 12.  Which one of your books is right for her?” How in the world would I know?  I don’t know your daughter, or what she likes to read, or what your own parental rules are regarding content, etc. One man’s Harry Potter is another’s witchcraft how-to, and so forth.

That said, what makes Under the Poppy a a novel for adults?  To me, its deepest emotional concerns, the questions at the book’s heart, are those of faithfulness: what it means to be true, to yourself, to the one you love, to your life’s vocation, even in situations where the pressure to let go and walk away – from within and without – is very strong. These questions are not inappropriate for young people so much as they are, perhaps, premature. I remember reading Joyce Carol Oates’ The Assassins in my late teens, and again in my late twenties: there was a change. And desire is a very different landscape at fifteen than at thirty, whether that desire is for a person, a calling, or both.

But the right book for any reader is the book that speaks most eloquently and directly to that reader.  The writer is the last person who should make these kinds of judgments anyway!

Alternatives for Girls Thursday, Feb 18 2010 

Alternatives for girls … if you’re female, think of how you wish the world, your world, could be.  If you’re a girl, a young woman, think of the choices you have before you today, this minute, right now.  If you’re older, remember your own girlhood, what alternatives were open to you.  Did you feel you had all you needed? all you wanted?  Did you feel you were free and able to go, do, be whatever you and your strengths and talents might choose? If you’re male, with a sister, a daughter, a partner, a best female friend, think of her.  And we can all think of our mothers, what their alternatives in life are, could be, could have been.

And when you’re done thinking of all of that, consider Alternatives for Girls, and if you’re in the Detroit metro area, consider what you might do to help out.  One especially rockin’ way might be to check out City of Glass, brought to you by the fashionistas at Lost & Found Vintage and the purely cool folks at Pure Detroit.  Be there for a girl you know, or the girl you want to be.  Or the girl you grew up to be! The alternatives are there for you ….

Shared Worlds, young writers, oh yeah! Wednesday, Feb 10 2010 

Yes, it’s snowing now, but it won’t be in South Carolina in July.  And I’ll be there, sharing the excitement of Shared Worlds.  To wit:

“Shared Worlds takes multidisciplinary learning to a new level. During this two-week-long residential campus learning experience, students will work together with authors and instructors to create entire worlds, complete with history, economy, language and culture. Students will write in those worlds, share those worlds and apply those worlds to fiction, art, and game design.”

And you’ll be doing that, young writer, with me, and Holly Black, and Marly Youmans, and Michael Bishop. This is going to be so much fun. (Operative word!)

Love, love, love those city kids Tuesday, Feb 9 2010 

See here the future of Detroit: Isn’t she fab? and all alive to everything the city’s got to offer. Fly on, city bird!

A trailer for the BEE Saturday, Feb 6 2010 

What a lovely, rockin’ trailer for Kissing the Bee!

Alice and Harriet and Peter Wednesday, Feb 3 2010 

Alice (of Wonderland), Harriet (the Spy), and Peter (the Rabbit): risk-takers, transgressors, trusting in luck, circumstance, the evidence of the eye, to get them into and out of trouble, or at least to the middle of some very interesting gardens, notebooks, glass houses, situations. And while Harriet may have learned something about the nature of humanity, not excluding her own, and Alice may have something to mull over with her tea, and Peter had to get a new jacket – I never thought for a hot second that any of them were soberly bound never to repeat their adventures, or adventures thoroughly different, I never thought any of them “learned their lesson.” Which made me love them more, as a child, as a reader, and makes me love them still.  Crawl under those garden gates, get chased by chess pieces, say in writing exactly what you think.  Whee!  The Operative Word of 2010 is in full operation in each of those books, forever and ever, amen.

Worst year ever? Monday, Feb 1 2010 

As Sharyn noted (hi, Sharyn!), middle school is not necessarily a time of rejoicing for many kids; or most.  I think I hated elementary school more, though, perhaps because of the intense powerlessness of those elementary years.  Think about it: people always telling you things: what to read, where to sit, what to wear, what to eat, when to go to bed.  (Shudders) Perhaps this is why I grew up intractable? They wouldn’t let me blow my money on troll dolls, either, thanks very much.