Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Editor: A Photo Calendar / September

I'm squeaking in on the very last day of September with a photo for my self-assigned project--a visual, somewhat-seasonal look at the work of an editor. I intend this project to be mostly wordless, with images that will (hopefully) speak for themselves. However, I do feel compelled to note, while looking at all these SASEs regretfully returning home, that saying "no" is one of the hardest parts of the job. But those many, many "nos" do make the moments when I get to say "yes" that much more wonderful!

Month 2: September, 1350 Avenue of the Americas

Quick Conference Schedule Alert

Just an FYI, especially for those reading through an RSS reader, that I've updated my "Places We Might Meet" sidebar with my list (to-date), and as many details as I currently have, for the 2009-2010 writers conferences where I'll be on faculty. Click through the links for more details (if available). Here's hoping that I'll see some of you in North Dakota, California, Massachusetts, Eastern NY, or Oregon!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Deep Thoughts (while procrastinating on packing)

I'm in the final throes of office moving this week, and while pulling things down off bulletin boards, I stumbled across a quote that I pinned up awhile back. I quite liked it when I first found it, and I still like it now, having rediscovered it all over again. From Ralph Waldo Emerson, "We become what we think about all day long."

While I dearly hope this does not mean I'm becoming one big pile of paperwork that desperately needs filing (!) I do think there's some truth to it--and to that end, I hope I'm someone whose own story is as rich and compelling as those I seek and surround myself with each day. What about you--what do you think about all day long? What are you becoming?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Poetry Friday: "A Book on a Shelf"

Moving into a smaller office space has meant much packing and purging of books over the last few weeks, some of which, alas, I never did manage to read despite good intentions to do so, so this poem seems terribly appropriate for this week's Poetry Friday!

A Book on a Shelf
by Roger Mitchell

A history of some sort, one that made us,
a war and what the war had meant, or since
meaning eludes war, what it did to the look
of the trees and the sides of the buildings,
most of which survived, only to be torn down
later to widen the street or put up a new
office complex. There it was on the shelf.
I was there only a moment, but still,
I wanted to know what happened to the man
in the photograph wearing a flat cap
standing outside the important building
cheering. He was there. He was part of that
moment, one of the first into the streets
when the turn of events came, the declaration
or pronouncement, words that would change
the look of everything he smiled on, words
that may have cost him his life. Here it is
in a book I found on a shelf. The person
who lives here bought it at a library
stock reduction sale. No one had read it.
It looked interesting thirty years ago.
It was practically new, the back uncracked.
But the person did what those before her had,
put it up on a shelf and never found
a way back to it. The history sits there,
unread, unbelievable, somebody else's.
Even I have only looked at the pictures,
at the man smiling between the cold pages.
Maybe ending the world as he knew it
was ok. Maybe it was the only way.
Maybe the world has to come to an end
in the first place to be the world. And the man?
He has to smile, though he knows so little
of what's coming, even looking right at it.
As we do, who still haven't read the book.

Public Service Announcement

HarperChildren's is moving offices next week. If you're a writer that I've met at a conference who is planning to send me your submission, please wait to do so until after October 5th, and then send to the address of our adult/general books group, which you'll find on the HC website. (If you've sent something recently, don't panic, they'll be forwarding mail for quite some time.)
***Please do note that this is NOT a general call for submissions. HarperCollins remains closed to unsolicited submissions; this is a courtesy update to those writers who I've met and who have received my submission guidelines at a conference in recent months.***

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sorry about the lack of posts

Apologies, friends: the blog is suffering from boring non-update-ness while we're all simultaneously trying to do everyday work AND prep for a quick-approaching office move. In the meanwhile, to distract you, I give you this wee gift. If you are a writer and on Facebook, then it will probably make you laugh very, very hard.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Poetry Friday: "Photograph from September 11"

I believe that good poetry moves us; it reminds us of how human we are because it reminds us of our capacity to feel. And this poem uses its words so well; it makes its readers pause and remember and feel many things--it is powerful and painful and vivid, and the last stanza positively aches. I hope you do not mind my sharing it.

Photograph from September 11

by Wislawa Szymborska

They jumped from the burning floors—
one, two, a few more,
higher, lower.

The photograph halted them in life,
and now keeps them
above the earth toward the earth.

Each is still complete,
with a particular face
and blood well hidden.

There’s enough time
for hair to come loose,
for keys and coins
to fall from pockets.

They’re still within the air’s reach,
within the compass of places
that have just now opened.

I can do only two things for them—
describe this flight
and not add a last line.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

File under: Inspiration (see also: Life List)

Last weekend, I checked the following grand items off of my Life's To-See-And-Do List:

1. Taking my first trip (ever!) to Europe--specifically, to Dublin. (Above, the River Liffey, alive with color and light at nightfall.) I don't quite know what took me so long to get to Europe, but it was oh-so-worth the wait.

2. Visiting the Long Room at the Trinity College's Library, where I soaked in some moments of sheer magnificence. Words pretty much fail to adequately describe the sight-smell-feeling of it all, but suffice it to say that I've never been inside a place that wasn't technically a cathedral but felt so cathedral-like, even still--a place that was so alive and so ancient at the same time. If you're a book lover, I highly suggest that you add this experience to your own life's to-do list. *Photo nabbed from the internet, as photography wasn't allowed.

3. Not quite on the Life List, but delightful just the same--I took pictures of a great many fine establishments bearing a certain very good surname!

4. Inexplicably, I also seem to have quite a few photos on my camera that feature pints of Guiness. Curious, that. :)

So there you have it--four facts from my four days in Dublin. (I know, far too short!! But happily, I can still hear the city's music in my ears.) I'm curious now, though--what things to see and do are on your own Life's list--in either the "Already Accomplished" or "Still Yet to Do" categories?