I haven’t been doing a whole lot of writing lately but I have been doing my fair share of reading. I just finished reading Octavian Nothing Traitor to the Nation by M.T. Anderson. I’m not sure exactly why this book was classified as YA, the vocabulary alone requires a companion dictionary. One thing I really appreciated about this book was that I felt like I learned from it. I love when I read a book and both enjoy and learn from it. This seems to happen less with YA so when I stumble upon a YA book that I enjoy and learn from, it stands out.
In my meager defense, this conversation took place during a study hall while I was probably answering email, grading papers, and planning lessons simultaneously.
Sweet male student age 13: (shyly) Uh, Ms. Kaufman what do you want for Christmas?
Me: (grouchily) I’m Jewish!
Student: Ok, for Hanukah then? (Ok, at this point it should be clear the student is asking because he wants to get me a gift. But I’m so distracted, I think he’s just making holiday conversation)
Me: Oh, I don’t know I told my in-laws maybe a massage or something.
Student: Uh…..do you like coffee?
Me: No, I don’t do caffeine.
Several minutes later I figured out why he was asking and turned beet red and managed to stammer out that I liked tea and books and homemade cards best of all. Clueless, fabulously clueless.
Friends frequently ask me how things are going with my book. I do like to share my writing world with them, but most of the time I don’t have any terribly exciting news to share. Even if I try to make it sound exciting: “Holy shit! I really edited the crap out of chapter 7 yesterday!” I suppose what they’re really asking is “How’s the publishing going?” There’s usually a lot less to share on that front. Last week I turned in a revised version of my ms to my agent for her review. I’m hoping this is the last draft before we submit to editors in the new year. Since then I’ve taken a little break from writing, which has actually felt quite good. I was really pushing to finish the draft by Thanksgiving and it feels nice to have a little break. As much as I love my writing life, I don’t love it as much under a deadline; even a self-imposed one.
I have been really looking forward to going back to my new project. And I will. Hopefully with some renewed energy and excitement. In the mean time, here’s a really good post about separating your writing life and your publishing goals that summarizes a lot of what I was trying to convey above. Enjoy!