Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Breakthroughs

First, a few announcements:

I'll be in New York this Saturday, May 19, doing a YA panel at Books of Wonder with Robin Wasserman, Brian James, Daniel Nayeri, Stacy Kramer, Valerie Thomas, and Hannah Barnaby. (noon - 2 PM)

On Saturday, I'll be signing at the Jenkintown, PA Barnes & Noble from noon - 2 PM, along with Elisa Ludwig and Alissa Grosso.

I was honored to see Try Not to Breathe on the YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults nomination list. There are some awesome books on the list so far, and yes, it is a delight just to be nominated.

P.J. Hoover, author of Solstice and The Emerald Tablet, interviewed me as part of a series on the Alumni of the 2k classes (I was part of the Class of 2k10). Along with talk about how to survive the debut author experience, there's also a gratuitous Cute Cat Photo involved!

And now, for writerly thoughts: I may have mentioned that I've been reading the letters of Jack Kerouac. I've gotten to the point where, IMHO, he finds his voice. Inspired by a long autobiographical letter from Neal Cassady, he begins writing long autobiographical letters of his own (addressed back to Cassady). He writes these letters with a rhythm and flow, a vulnerability and lack of self-consciousness, that set them apart from his earlier work. Shortly after penning (or typing) these letters, he sat down for the marathon rewrite session that produced the famous scroll* of On the Road.

Most writers don't find their voices so suddenly and dramatically (and, to tell the truth, this may only have been the spark that lit the piles of fuel that Kerouac had painstakingly gathered, the hours he had put in on reading and writing before this "sudden inspiration"). Most writers don't have someone serve as their muse quite as concretely as Cassady did for Kerouac.* But it's exciting to witness a writer's breakthrough. We never know when it's going to happen or what's going to trigger it. We plug away at our craft, and then--sometimes--we manage to shift to another level.


*If you don't already know this story: Kerouac fastened sheets of paper together to form one long scroll, so that he would not have to interrupt his writing by taking pages out of the typewriter and putting in new ones. Methinks he would've loved computers, for the ability to type without interruption.

*I believe Cassady also served as a muse for Allen Ginsberg, and probably other Beat writers as well.

2 comments:

  1. Congratulations on the YALSA nomination! That list is really inspiring.

    So interesting about Kerouac's scroll.

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    1. Thanks!

      The original scroll of ON THE ROAD sold (at auction, I think) for a lot of money a while ago. Nice to know it's still around!

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