Saturday, March 11, 2017

Spastic and Weepy

Thanks to everyone who entered last week's contest. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing, to ask for your favorite quote or  scene, but it  made for a really wonderful week for me. There was such a range of favorite scenes, and I loved each and every comment. 

As promised, I put all the entries in a hat- - a hat that some of you may recognize from the Sammy Keyes Goodbye party - and the name I drew was...Yusa! So congratulations, Yusa! Send me an e-mail with your snail mail address and I will get your box packed and sent.

Now on to this week - I'd like to invite you to New York! Or, more practically, I'd like to invite those of you in the New York City vicinity to come to the Bank Street College of Education's Children's Book Awards ceremony. I was stunned to learn that it was open to the public, so if you're interested, you can just show up! 

The awards are broken into three categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry.

This year they have 3 winners in the Non-Fiction category - one for younger readers (Ada's Violin) and two for older readers (March and Sachiko).


When Green Becomes Tomatoes won in the Poetry category, and The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones won in Fiction.

Each award recipient will give a short talk (5-10 min). I've been told that, so far, Susan Hood, the author of Ada's Violin and Leigh Walton, the editor of March will be there to accept, as will Julie Fogliano, author of When Green Becomes Tomatoes.

I'll be there, too, for Lincoln Jones!

The wonderful thing about being recognized for you work is...well, that your work has been recognized. It's really nice validation for all the sweat and tears you poured into creating your story.

The unnerving thing about being recognized for your work is...well, that you have to talk about your work. How do you boil down the essence of what took years of your life to create? How do you explain why it's important without sounding, you know, self-important?

Some people are good at this. They're eloquent and at ease. Me? I'm spastic and weepy. Even when I've coached myself into believing it's going to be a breeze - and even if I have to speak for only 5-10 minutes - somehow I turn spastic and weepy.  

I've been told that it would help reduce my level of s tress if I had a few tried-and-true speeches that I could pull out and use. But I'm terrible at delivering speeches from the page. It feels so stiff. I've witnessed lots of other authors deliver do it to great effect, so I don't know what my problem is. I recognize that I'm the creator of my own anxiety, but even if I had some tried-and-true speeches that I could deliver well, it would feel like cheating. Every event is different. Every audience is different. And every time I think about what I want to say - what would be most appropriate for that particular audience - it turns out different.

Anyway, thinking about what I want to say - and convey - in the 5-10 minutes allotted for me to speak at this awards ceremony, I realized that for this book and this audience, I needed to go where I have never gone before. 

Which means I'm starting from scratch.

I'm not going to go into detail here. I'm just going to show you one picture from the slides that I'm putting together. 

Yes, that's me (many years ago). 

Yes, that's a pipe wrench in my hand. 

What does this have to do with The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones?

More than you can possibly imagine.

The rest I'm saving for Bank Street.

If you've read through to this point, you are probably one of my faithful readers. So if you're also someone who lives near New York City and has been wanting to get your collection of books autographed, here's your chance: Following the awards ceremony, BSCE is having a booksale/signing, So come. Bring your stacks. I will make sure they get signed. 

And don't worry - I'll leave the pipe wrench and coveralls at home. 

As always, thanks for stopping by. See you in the comments!


4 comments:

Yusa said...

Congratulations on the win for Lincoln Jones, it is really a great children's book and it deserves this recognition a lot. It must be exciting and scary starting from scratch for this speech and I hope you (and anyone who goes to see you) have fun in New York. I'm sure you'll speak from your heart and it'll be good but good luck anyways. I love the picture. I don't know what it means yet, but its a great picture.

anyways spastic and weepy speeches are my favorite kind, who needs eloquent and structured speakers, i want the emotion and the chaos and the nervousness that make it genuine and unique and real. Tell us how it goes, we'll be rooting for you.

Yusa

P.S. thank the gods of hat drawings for my name being chosen I know this isn't the write use of the phrase Hope in the Mail but to be honest your books were sometimes hope in hard times so I'm waiting for a box of hope .... does that make sense, do i just sound weird???

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Thank you, Yusa! I'm happy you won :-) And no, that doesn't sound weird at all. It means a lot to me that my books gave you hope when you needed it. <3

Kylie said...

Yusa I am so happy for you!! When I saw your name I got so excited!

Wendelin, congrats on the win for Lincoln Jones, it is very well deserved! Today I was volunteering in a third grade class and when we went to the library one of the girls in the class asked me what she should read and I introduced her to Sammy Keyes! It's right at her reading level and she seemed so excited when she read the back cover. I love being able to introduce your books to young readers.

I also very much love the photograph and hope you have fun in New York!

Have a great week everyone!

Kylie

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Thank you, Kylie! And I love that you're passing along the Sammy torch! That makes me very happy!!