Jul 17, 2009

Sun shining = biking

I have a minor biking habit. It's minor because it's one of those things where I wish I was a really dedicated biker who could bike miles to work and back every day, or ride down really hard mountain trails without killing myself, but in reality my way-too-expensive bike sits in my living room looking cool without me. Sigh.

I do ride it, occasionally. Sometimes, when I've gotten off work early in the day, and I'm not too tired, and the sun is shining but it's not 90 degrees out, and I have no plans until later, and I feel like I s
hould really get some exercise, and my work-out clothes/bike shorts are clean, and I can find my bike shoes, and my water bottle, sometimes when all those things happen at the same time, I take the bike out for a little ride. Usually about an hour, and it's a pretty flat ride, and I come back feeling simultaneously really good about myself and totally judging myself for thinking that was a tough bike ride.

I'm not usually that hard on myself, but there's something about biking culture that's really elitist and isolationist, and in case you didn't get it from those adjectives, really snobby. I've been told there are two kinds of bikers - those who bike for sport (road bike enthusiasts doing 50 miles in a single jaunt, hardcore mountain bikers riding down the Alps off-road, and those who compete in triathlons), and those who bike for transportation where the rusted P.O.S. you put together yourself is a status s
ymbol of your commitment to the eco-lifestyle you're trying hard to live. I ascribe to neither of those two walks of life and therefor am left hanging awkwardly in the middle with my spandex bike shorts and lazy attitude, trying for all the world to find someone else like me so we can casually bike together.

If, like me, you wish you could go into the bike shop and be as cool as those guys/girls in there who actually know about bikes, but recognize no matter how hard you try, you'll still come off as an incompetent wannabe, or if you don't like hipsters, or if you just have a good sense of humor, you'll probably find this craigslist post from a Seattle bike shop amusing. I know I did. Thank you to the co-worker/friend who sent it to me. Owe you one, buddy.

Jul 3, 2009

Introducing...my Meditor!

Look at this, no word for weeks, and suddenly, new posts almost every day! What can I say, I'm just psyched for all the amazing bookstore/writing news coming my way this week.

Breaking news! This just in!

My mentor/editor - hereafter referred to as my Meditor - has officially been announced! Kaylan Adair, come on down!

For those of you wondering, who? huh? what?, take heart. I'll explain.

I haven't spoken much about my Simmons grad program, for various reasons, (top of the list being I'm spending a ton of time actually doing the program instead of writing about it), but this is one of the most exciting aspects. As I'm about to enter into the second, and final, year of the MFA, my cohort of classmates and I have the honor and privilege to work with some of the best editors in today's publishing world. Each semester, we Simmons students will submit a proposal of a current project - about 10-20 pages of work + a synopsis + pseudo-query letter. The Simmons prog
ram directors, in their infinite wisdom, will send out these proposals to prospective editors and will try their hardest to match us up with appropriate editorial choices to act as mentors throughout our work for one semester. The editors get to read over the proposals and decide with whom, and most importantly with whose work, they would like to be working.

Let me tell you, we submitted these proposals for first semester this coming year back in APRIL, and these have been some of the most intense, nail-biting, "Oh god, I'm sure no one's going to want to work with me," "What if my writing is horrible and my kind cohort has been too nice to say anything?" months of my life. Finally, finally, finally, news began to trickle in - a few people had been matched, and then a few more, and still, no word for poor Eddie&Gina (my two main characters of the piece I submitted). What's a girl to do?!

Wait it out, apparently, because when I checked my email today, wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles (btw, 10 life points for naming where "wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles" comes from WITHOUT googling it), there was an email announcing MY Meditor! After bouncing up and down and some Google stalking, here are a couple of links I found to info about my Meditor and her publishing house:

Five Scribes Interview / Candlewick website

Brief Meditor Bio: Kaylan Adair

(taken from the Five Scribes Interview - see above for the complete article)

Kaylan Adair is an Associate Editor at Candlewick Press in Somerville, Massachusetts. Kaylan acquires everything from picture books through upper YA, although she specializes in middle-grade and young-adult fiction. Among the projects she's edited are the YA novels DOWN SAND MOUNTAIN by Steve Watkins and SWIM THE FLY by Don Calame, and the early reader SQUIRREL'S WORLD by Lisa Moser, illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev. She is the American editor of the YA novel THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO by Patrick Ness, winner of the 2008 Guardian children's fiction prize. Previously, she was the American editor of the Maisy books by Lucy Cousins. Kaylan is looking for fresh, original voices and compelling stories. She loves characters with a lot of heart, whether the story itself is humorous, quiet, sad, or gritty. She tends to shy away from poetry, non-fiction, sci-fi, and fantasy.

BTW, LOVED The Knife of Never Letting Go - not only did I pick it up in-store to read and couldn't put it down (it has SUCH a cliff-hanger ending, it drives me insane!), we had to read it for my grad school class, who all also loved it, AND I've recommended it to some customers (actual kids who are the best judges of a work) who loved it as well. I'm astounded that the editor who worked on that book chose to work with me! (Maybe she didn't, maybe they couldn't find me an editor and someone bribed her to do it, but either way, still fills me with awe.)

So that's the news as I have it, folks. You heard it here first, and I'll keep you posted on any exciting new developments!

P.S. Does anyone else think of "Minotaur" from Role Models when I say "Meditor"? Or is it just me? (Annie, I'm talking to you.)

Jul 2, 2009

Book Barge

Oh to live closer to a body of water! Then things like this might be possible:

"Bookstore on Barge is One Hull of an Idea"

Yes! It's exactly what that article title implies - a bookstore on a barge! On an actual river! There are not enough exclamation points in the world to contain my excitement!

I could hardly believe my eyes when I read about it in this morning's Shelf Awareness:

Books ahoy! Although we mention business and book launches routinely here, the word launch is literally appropriate for the Book Barge. The Express & Star reported that the "canal bookstore . . . moored at Barton Marina, Barton-under-Needwood . . . is the brainchild of Sarah Henshaw. She has transformed her 60-foot narrowboat into a haven for book lovers wanting something different from high street chain stores with the help of her trainee carpenter boyfriend." "Opening my own bookshop was a childhood dream but I began to fear it would never come true," she said. "I didn't have the money to rent a high street shop. Then we came across Barton Marina and loved it, it's so pretty. But when I inquired about units there weren't any available." The inspired solution to this dilemma was to take to the water. "I very much want this to become the community bookstore, not just a gimmick, and the locals are being very supportive," she added.

Brilliant, no?! As I gear up my own business plans and drool over locations I'll never be able to afford, I can't help but be awed/jealous by the utter coolness of a bookstore on a riverboat. I want one! Also, now I know where I'm taking my next vacation.

Here's their official website - go check 'em out!