July 17, 2006

Infernal Inferno Monday

Word of the week: rejuvenile. Are you a rejuvenile? Though it's the new hipster word of the season (kind of like metrosexual, only not), for me, it's not a match. It's simply a matter of never having gotten out of my adolesence in the first place, so there's no "re" before the 'juvenile' for me.

NPR's Talk of the Nation last week featured author Christopher Noxon, who coined the word, and talked about all of the grups in the world nowadays (Oh, come on; don't tell me you don't remember 'grups' from that awful episode of Star Trek? ); the guys who ride skateboards to work, the girls who have kickball teams and get together to watch Sponge Bob, the folks who collect metal lunchboxes, Pez dispensers, and play hacky-sack in the parking lot of the grocery store.

While 'rejuvenile' a sort of fey concept, I think it's only that -- another hipster concept. We're supposed to be getting in touch with our lizard brains in the wake of the attacks in 2001. We're supposed to be sort of backlashing into a state of worry-free bliss and revolting against the 'despotism of facts,' or whatever, but I think it's not really true for the majority of people into kid stuff. To me, the truth is that we're a nation who has fattened on the cult of youth, and we cannot let it go and grow up to save our lives. This is not to say that I ever plan to change my focus from YA fiction to anything else! But it is to say that I realize that time has passed, and I can still enjoy what I enjoy without trying to prolong some artificial childhood cool that I never even had.

Incidentally, I notice it's only the 'cool' kid stuff that's up for grabs. The uncool stuff still belongs to the uncool kids... stuff like books that don't have movies tie-ins! If you're really still more interested in reading young adult fiction than adult fiction, and you take weeks to get through adult novels, even a copy of Julie & Julia, even though it's fairly lightweight and a bestseller that has people talking... well, then your friends think you're just plain weird, and not hip at all. But you know? Así es la vida.

Man, I love it when someone else is ranting!
Today's feel-good rant comes from our friends at Book Buds, going off on the "floozies of the book world." Hee!!! Since I'm not a librarian, I don't quite share BB's angst on the same level, but let me tell you, books that flash and twinkle and glitter to attract readers -- and I mean people who can read, not toddlers who need something crinkly to fixate on while they gum the pages -- they really work my nerves. Why? Because one of the things I've learned in working on getting my novel (two, now are being read by the same editor. Huzzah!) to print is that writers are supposed to come up with all of these little gimcracky ideas as in a 'marketing plan' to help market their books...

Fact: I don't want to market crap to children. I don't believe in encouraging kids to think that they have to have money and spend money and have more stuff. I wish that there could simply be enough school and public and semi-private libraries where any kid or teen could check stuff out and read to their hearts' content. I mean, anyone remember adolescence? That time of life when you are flat broke and have a horrible babysitting job? The world seems to aggressively normalize that Other lifestyle, where every kid has various cool technologies, a cell phone, an iPod and they all know that if they're not Jimmy Choo's, they aren't shoes. When books come with tank tops, backpacks, commuter coffee cups (honestly -- that was Gingerbread -- a cute enough book, but pimping coffee mugs!?), colored rubber bracelets and more, it makes you wonder if someone's trying to cover up the fact that the book's... a dud. Anyway, I agree with BB - less consumerism, more good books!

Spooky YA author Laurie Faria Stolarz, together with Lara M. Zeises (say 'Lara' like 'Sarah') is teaching a very cool sounding online revision course called LEARNING THE LAYERS OF REVISION: A SIX WEEK ONLINE COURSE. Part of their 'Novelist's Toolbox' course, this class is going to end with each person getting an in-depth critique (by the instructors) of the first ten pages of your revised work-in-progress and working synopsis. How cool would it be to work with these award-winning authors? Though I haven't read much of the spooky stuff, I adore Lara M. Zeises' work, and this really sounds worth checking out. The course starts August 30, so you've got that fully back-to-school thing happening as well, and hey, you can get yourself a new lunchbox just so you feel in the mood! Six weeks to learn to actually understand and appreciate revision? Is this a message from the universe because I've been whining about editing? Could be...

Okay, I made a conscious decision not to have AC in my wee house, so that I could not be involved in global warming, blah blah blah. Plus, I live by water. I need AC maybe two days a year. Okay. The two days have just expanded to two weeks. It's so hot I feel guilty even having the computer on so - more anon...

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