{yes! exactly like that!}

“You’re not an introvert!” said the media escort in LA accusingly, after the second day of schtick, when I had spoken to approximately three hundred children total. “You say you are, but you’re not!”

I am still vaguely resentful of this, even though it’s been a week. Should I have brought a note from my doctor, or my husband?

I thought about explaining that introverts do public speaking all the time and we can even be quite good at it, it’s just that we have to sleep for a week afterward. I wanted to explain that I really do hope people are glad to see me and I hope they come out because if they don’t, I’ll still be on the book tour being exhausted anyway, except nobody will be there to talk to about books and that’s the only reason this is worthwhile. It is definitely not the room service bagels. I thought about explaining the bit where I will sleep for a week.

Read the rest on Ursula Vernon’s tumblr Squash Tea.

Nobody said this to me at KidLitCon or at my board meetings this past weekend, but I get a lot of those looks that say, “Oh, you’re so funny, of course you love this.

Not that I want to sound ungrateful, but… no. I don’t do the up front stuff because I love it. Honestly? I practice. I stress. I pace. It’s hard, REALLY hard for me. I want to do a good job, I have somewhat intelligent things to say, and so I say them, and afterward, I feel physically as if I’ve been beaten by hundreds of old ladies, wielding the slippers with which they discipline their chihuahuas. It’s tiny smacks, but eventually, it adds up to feeling like I’ve been stuffed into a hollow log and rolled down Mt. Everest backwards. (Is there a direction to rolling? No? Okay.) It’s grueling in a weird way which makes me have to lie down, even if I am on the podium for ten minutes at church. Seriously. It is taxing for me to be around people and not quiet in my house with my books.

It’s not that I don’t like you. It’s just that you are not me. I live in the hamster ball alone.


Click to Embiggen!

I want to accept who I am – and be the best me I can. That means accepting my limitation.

At one point, I declared 2014 the year of “No…” I may need to revise that, seeing as I’ve just managed to find myself on two committees and planning a DIY Messiah for December.

Let’s try this again: 2015 is THE YEAR OF NO. No, seriously.

{“thanks for noticing me.”}

“Good morning, Pooh Bear,” said Eeyore gloomily. “If it is a good morning,” he said. “Which I doubt,” said he.
“Why, what’s the matter?”
“Nothing, Pooh Bear, nothing. We can’t all, and some of us don’t. That’s all there is to it.”
“Can’t all what?” said Pooh, rubbing his nose.
“Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Here we go round the mulberry bush.”
“Oh!” said Pooh. He thought for a long time, and then asked, “What mulberry bush is that?”

– Winnie the Pooh, by A. A. Milne

Poor Eeyore. His conversation with Pooh just illustrates the weird conversations a depressed person can have with those who don’t get us. (Of course, Eeyore is being somewhat cryptic, but still.) Tons of people love Eeyore, though, despite his habit of seeing the absolute worst in everything, from thistles to aggressively sanguine tigers. He’s moody, grumpy, and generally a melancholy downer — yet the pink ribbon on his tail reminds us that he doesn’t see himself as depressed. Sometimes there are within him flashes of joy.

Today, the character of Eeyore is 140 years old – probably feeling creaky-old and somewhat down, but he’s still my favorite character in the Hundred Acre Wood, after the timid and tongued-tied Roo. But the question of why we actually like what is essentially a depressive donkey is explored today on the Guardian Books Blog. Says the author, “But the key thing that makes Eeyore a great character is that essential literary ingredient: conflict. Eeyore is profoundly conflicted. He craves love – indeed, he’s always lamenting his outsider status – but he struggles to give and receive it. When it’s offered to him, he puts out his hoof and waves it away.” Eeyore is all of us — every one of us, trying to keep our balance and our tails, in a wood populated by hyperactive tigers, bears of very little brain, annoyingly smart owls, and hideously callous and impatient rabbits.

My friend Shawn and I used to have amusing conversations about depression. I think it’s almost harder for guys to be depressed – girls are kind of expected to have at least monthly visits into bad moods, but when a guy is suffering from depression, it seems harder for people to understand. But, what is there to understand? A chemical imbalance in the brain throws a switch and says, “There. You’re sad now.” And that’s that. Some types of depression don’t have to be about anything. And those are the most frustrating kinds, when everything that’s actually wrong is magnified by five thousand percent. And at those times, the Eeyore among us really need our compassion and patience – and sometimes just our presence.

Today, in honor of Eeyore’s birthday, eat your thistles, hang onto your tails, and remember there’s room for all of us in the Hundred Acre Woods, even the loners who are depressive and grumpy. Love us anyway.

Rise Up Reading

Rise Up to your Challenges
Rise Up to your Imagination
Rise Up to your Dreams
Rise Up Reading!

Isn’t this a great call to action? Props to Little Willow for sending out the word.

There’s a lot going on in children’s books — including a heads up on the the sequel to Gideon, the Cutpurse, and NPR’s lovely, lovely, LOVELY sci-fi/fantasy recommendations — one of which is the intriguingly titled, Alcatraz and the Evil Librarians, and the Megan Whalen Turner book, The Thief, which is the sequel to The King of Attolia. (EDIT: Yes, it was wistful thinking on my part that switched those two around!) They even include first chapters to whet your appetite! Maybe someone will nominate these novels for the Cybils Awards. (If you haven’t nominated your book selection yet… WHY NOT!?)

I’d like to see a list of what people WISH they had a vote leftover to nominate. Admittedly, I’m still wavering in the poetry section…

Marvel Comics is putting up some of their older strips online. You can’t download them, but you can read the older X-men and Spiderman comics. This is in the hopes that those who are only familiar with the characters from the movies will know that the stories go on.

I recall being horrified last week to post about library books being filled with direct marketing ads. Via Bookshelves O’ Doom, we now know that you can also get ads from the TV while you’re SHOPPING for BOOKS. Because God knows you can’t last a second without some external input on what you should want or need. Good grief.

And more about ads: I’ve been following an interesting conversation at at Ypulse about the commercialization of YA novels. Brand placement is pretty common, and to some people, harmless. I am – in theory, at least – totally against that — not only does it date books, it makes the writer a shill for all manner of products and I can’t stress enough that I think most young adults have enough in their faces with their own peers sort of hinting at what they need to be cool, much less do they need it from adults who are bringing them stories. Anastasia asks, “Is literature more sacred than TV, music, movie or internet content?” What do you YA and children’s lit people think? Drop in, and let the conversation continue.

The fabulously informative blog, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast can now celebrate THIRTY DAYS OF SNOW! I am finding it very hard to believe that the time has flown, and there are just six days until the first auction begins on November 19th. ONE WEEK!!! Have you sent out that email yet? The one that’s to your mother, your writing group, the people who forward you jokes? Have you let them know? It didn’t click with me until recently that yes — THOSE are the people we’re meant to be telling about this. Not just the people who make the rounds on the web: duh, unless we’ve been seriously living under concrete, we all know what’s going on. But people who don’t visit our websites in the actual world need a heads up!!

And those of you who have blogged this and shared this and highlighted this and watched it unfold: we made a difference. We did. Just wait and see. The Jimmy Fund at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute will collect more money this year for cancer research than EVER before. From our mouths to God’s ear… Anyway, you havetohavetohaveto go over to the 7-Imps today and look at the little piece on Yuyi Morales’ snowflake – people, it has a music box. I don’t know why, music boxes make me a little weepy… not only is this snowflake an amazing character from the depths of Yuyi’s amazing imagination, it lights up and plays a song called See Me Shine. *sniff* You know you have to love that, right?

Don’t miss the gorgeous cut-paper art of Cecily Lang at K. Messner’s blog, though my admitted favorite for today is Cynthia Decker’s hosted at The Silver Lining. Peace on Earth, indeed! A beautiful new snowflake and the rest of today’s schedule is at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast.