Sunday, June 16, 2013

Slammin' Sammy!

Hey guys!  Mark here, subbing for Wendelin because she’s, well… slammed.  (Example of the glamorous writing life: As I write this at 11:00 p.m. she’s sitting five feet away from me in the office, going over credit card bills with our younger son, who – along with his older brother – came home from college last night.  Bringing with them the cliché of all college clichés – TONS of dirty laundry.  Which wasn’t done by them last week at college because they, in turn, were slammed with finals.)  And she’s also catching up on all sorts of other tasks – both important and mundane – because she’s been slammed lately with ‘other stuff’.  Namely…

Two nights ago, Wendelin typed the final sentence in the final chapter of the final installment in the Sammy Keyes series, ‘The Kiss Goodbye’.  It's always a good feeling when you finish the first draft of a book.  Sure, there’s the whole re-write/edit/rinse/repeat process, but when you finally get to the end of the initial draft and it ‘works’, it’s a wonderful feeling.  Well, I think for her this is like that, times ten.  Or times eighteen, to be exact.  Made even sweeter (in my opinion) by the poetic way she’s been able to bring this whole saga full circle, yet not circuitous, clearly going forward to whatever life brings Sammy.  (Or more accurately, to whatever Sammy brings life.  Because here’s a little secret: Wendelin didn’t write Sammy as much as Sammy wrote Sammy.  Wendelin happened to be the one with the magic talent to listen closely and get it all down, quick, before it leaves to that place where dreams go when we wake too quickly and don’t take the time to recollect and capture…)

I can remember sitting in the Orange Julius in the mall in ‘Santa Martina’ way back when, talking about this idea she had for a character who was a kick-butt girl, yet real, and vulnerable.  Who lived with her grandmother due to being semi-abandoned by her mother (with no father anywhere in the picture… not even a name or a face… just an old catcher’s mitt).  Yet who, despite her meager existence (or because of it?), was interested enough in justice and fair play to stick her nose where it didn’t belong when she thought someone was getting a raw deal.  But not some sort of pre-canned ‘child genius junior detective’.  (She already had enough issues in her life – she didn’t go looking for trouble as much as it seemed to seek her out and demand attention.)

And speaking of those issues, to me the core of the books wasn’t the mystery at all.  It was the whole ‘fitting in’ thing.  You know, when you’re twelve or thirteen and suddenly you leave the K-thru-6th land of ‘children only’ and you’re thrown into this weird menagerie of half-grown semi adult creatures… of several sub-species.  The spoiled rich kids.  The jocks.  The popular ones.  The nerdy outcasts.  And all of those (all of us?) who don’t fit neatly into one of the above boxes, but are somewhere on the continuum between them, just trying to fit in.  Who just want a good friend or two who understands them and makes them feel like they’re not facing the universe alone.

And wouldn’t it be nice if one of those friends was a scrappy tomboy of a girl who was astute enough to figure out who set the fire… who built the meth lab… who was killing the starlets… And yet, who was young enough and impulsive enough that - when faced with a desperate thief – didn’t run and hide, didn’t call her grams or call 911, didn’t duck and cover, but instead… waved?

That’s a friend I want!

13 comments:

Gabrielle said...

It's so sad that she wrote the last sentence of the SK series. :( But kind of a bitter sweet moment. And I completely understand the whole "fitting in" thing", because that's exactly what I'm going through since I'm like thirteen. And I would love to have Sammy as a friend! It would be so awesome!




Gabrielle

Yusa said...

That post just captured the essence of sammy keyes and why all of us love it so much. It has so much underneath just the surface mystery. Every little thing in those books is specail. I'll always love these books.
#SammyisTimeless
--Yusa

Kylie said...

Mark this captured the essence of Sammy so well. I think all of us would want not only Sammy as a friend but would want to be her. Because she is an amazing person. She is brave, funny, stands up for what she believes in, hardworking, and a great friend. I would love to be more like Sammy. She may have some flaws but don't we all?

Gabrielle is right when he said it is a bittersweet moment about the writing of the last sentence. These books have been a part of so many people lives for so many years. And now that they are coming to a close it is going to be difficult see them go. When I have Kiss Goodbye in my heads I now I will have tears running down my face because Sammy has meant a lot to me these past few years. She was the reason I stood up to this bulking me last year, she was the reason I have tried to become a better friend. She has changed my life, and even though I can't thank her for all she has done, I can thank Wendelin. So thank to Wendelin for writing Sammy Keyes and for letting Sammy write Sammy. Thank You.

Kylie

Yusa said...

Whose blog is this i dont even know but i love it whoever you are its amazing keep up the good work http://keep-calm-and-wear-high-tops.tumblr.com/

Jessica said...

Comment completely unrelated to this blog post because you guys are the only ones who'd understand:

I'm turning into Officer Borsch! I was concentrating on something, and my mouth was suddenly sore, and then I realized I was sucking on my teeth. I never even understood what that really meant in the books, until I realized I was doing it! Hopefully this was a first, and I can stop it before it becomes a habit. I do not want to be Borschlike!

Jessica said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yusa said...

https://twitter.com/YouGottaAskNice looks like someone did it Kylie :)

Kylie said...

Jessica- I still don't understand what exactly sucking a tooth means, sometimes I just sit on my couch and try to figure it out! And it isn't all that bad turning into Borsch, he isn't the worst person you can be. In fact he is one of te best!

Yusa- I love that Tumblr and the person that runs the twitter is the same that runs that Tumblr. I brought the idea of a twitter to her because I thought she would be great at it!

Ky

Bella Honeydew said...

That's definetly a friend I want to! =)
And Jessica that is actually pretty funny ! I'm sure it's hard to describe to. I wonder were Wendelin thought of that! =)

Yusa said...

I hate how everyone is leaving this blog remember when we used to get like almost 200 commnets on one post COME BACK PEOPLE

Gabrielle said...

I know how to do the jingle whistle!!! Well kind of,I'm still working on it. My cousin taught me. And I was pretty excited. She's the only person I know who can do it.




Gabrielle

Isabel said...

Okay, so I finally got the time to read this post, and it CRAZY AWESOME. And unknown-blogger- Awesome work! This week i was mainly reading crazy, and at moments I'd think- can't wait SK and the killer cruise comes out. Then I think, then I'll have only have one other SK book to read, and I'm like- Nooooo! But then, I think- Sammy has taught me ALOT. Basically...yeah I'm speechless.

Isabel said...

Okay, so I finally got the time to read this post, and it CRAZY AWESOME. And unknown-blogger- Awesome work! This week i was mainly reading crazy, and at moments I'd think- can't wait SK and the killer cruise comes out. Then I think, then I'll have only have one other SK book to read, and I'm like- Nooooo! But then, I think- Sammy has taught me ALOT. Basically...yeah I'm speechless.