{Blog Brilliance}

Yat Yee Chong is one of the most careful, meticulous, polished and thoughtful writers I’ve read, and that’s only for her ADULT work. She’s sallying forth into writing MG and YA fiction, and I’m privileged to read along with her as she gets into it. Her blog post today on juxtaposition gets full marks for creatively applying current events to writing. Some smart stuff.

Lots of other great things is going on in the blogosphere – Gregory K. Pincus has reached his Kickstarter goal to raise funds to visit (virtually or in person) 40 schools through next school year, and there’s one week left of his original Kickstarter term. In the next seven days, if he can raise an additional $500, that’s five more schools with a poet-in-the-classroom visit — free. I am always so proud to be involved with the amazing and dedicated people of the kidlitosphere. I really am.

In other utterly brilliant news, Guys Lit Wire is kicking off their Book Fair again! Last year we donated some 772 books – their entire wish list – to Ojo Encino Day School in the Navajo Nation, and Alchesay High School, on the White Mountain Apache Reservation. This year, the focus school is in our nation’s capitol.

You’d think being in D.C. would mean that a school was well-staffed, well built, and primed to turn out America’s finest scholars. Yeah. You’d think that. I was a little shocked at what I saw of Washington D.C. when I went to the ALA Convention last summer. That inner city poverty thing is alive and well. Why is GLW interested in D.C.? Because Ballou Senior High School – a school with over 1,200 students – has 1,150 books in their library. Not even enough books for every student to read one. And you know many of those are dictionaries, reference books, and the like. But, the D.C. district isn’t a state – it has no representative in the House or the Senate, recall. If there’s nobody beating the drum to care about kids and literacy, they’re not getting anything other than the bare minimum. Emphasis on “bare.” Which is the exact description of their library bookshelves.

Fortunately, there’s you. And me. And the Guys Lit Wire Book Fair. As happens every year, the librarian at the school is polite, but slightly skeptical, afraid that nothing WILL happen. Other people have tried to help, given well-meaning stacks of books – in duplicate – without asking what the students readers want and need. Guys Lit Wire is different; we’ve asked. And the list is up.

– from organizer Colleen: “For those of you who have been with us before, the drill is the same. Go to the Powells web site. In the upper right you can click on “wish list”. On the next page you will be asked to enter the email address for the friend’s list you are looking for (you might need to scroll down a wee bit to see this prompt.) Enter our email: guyslitwire@gmail.com”

There are 900 books on that school’s wishlist. Already, people want to give that many, and more. Read the rest of the Fair details, and see the video of the school’s EMPTY SHELVES @ Guys Lit Wire.

There’s an idea floating through the world that very smart people are sometimes very close to the edge of sanity — as if the brighter the light, the faster it burns out. Equally common is the idea that creative people are all a little weird. What if you don’t feel like you’re a little weird, but you kind of hope that you’re creative? Should you become weirder, in order to be creative, or do you maybe just not recognize your own weirdness? This is a thought-provoking little piece I found via Lit Drift.

And speaking of insane and eccentric – it’s National Mental Health month. I made a little logo for it – don’t know what I’m going to use it for (and wp keeps dying every time I upload it; guess I’ll share it later), but I like the concept of the tagline I’ve come up with: Live out loud. Way back in 1949, Congress designated May as Mental Health Month because they felt it was important to get the word out about what mental health is, and how to preserve our health. I think it’s also important to celebrate our mental health, and the strides we’ve taken as a world in not throwing people with mental challenges away – and we have made strides, haven’t we? (At least some?) One in four people in America have a diagnosable, treatable mental illness, and yet there’s still such stigma and shame about the weird chemical things our brains do without our consent. It’s time to stop the shame, and start the education. More on this thought later in the month.

Happy First Monday in May.

3 Replies to “{Blog Brilliance}”

  1. Thanks, Tanita. Something to file under “read when I want to quit.”

    Never occurred to me that becoming a little weirder can be a pathway to become more creative 😆

    Stay sane. Or not.

  2. Yay for Living Out Loud and for the other celebrations you’re posting about. I was happy to see Greg’s Kickstarter project go–can’t wait to see how he manages all that work and writing! Thanks!

  3. As you know, I am a huge fan of Living Out Loud. It amazes me that there is still such a stigma associated with mental illness when I don’t know of a single person who doesn’t battle some form of SOMETHING. Depression, OCD, Bi-polar, addiction, eating disorders… and yet still we judge instead of love. I do think that if more of us dedicated ourselves to living out loud, with both joyous laughter and anguished screams, we can break down some of those barriers. Count me in!

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