Mrs. Avery is Haunting Me & Awesome Idea at End of Post

Let’s start with the ridiculous today, shall we? For the last three days I have been suffering from a virulent earworm. (I get a lot of these, but rarely do they linger so long.)

The song?

Sylvia’s Mother by Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show. Please suffer with me:

And who wrote that song? Shel Silverstein. (Isn’t it time for long hair on guys to make a serious come-back?)

I’ve been thinking a lot about Haiti and what I can do to help. The first thought, of course, is to sell everything I own and buy a boat to sail down there so I can just do something, anything, like dig in concrete or pour water or adopt a thousand kids. None of that is realistic, sadly. I am, instead, thinking along the lines of auctioning off a character in my next book and sending the proceeds to a Haiti relief organization. More on that as it develops.

I am very proud to say that The NOLA Tree, an organization that coordinates teens who want to make the world a better place with projects that need their help, is stepping up to the plate. Up until now the focus has been helping to rebuild houses in New Orleans. Phil Bildner just blogged about the possibilities that The NOLA Tree can be of use in Haiti. Please read his post, send suggestions, and donate. (Truth in advertising: I am on The NOLA Tree’s board of advisors – totally volunteer. So is Ellen Hopkins.)

Bookavore, my daughter who runs a bookstore in Brooklyn, gave a presentation last week aimed at booksellers, but applicable to all of us. Her argument was that if we all spend ten percent of our time doing something that we care about that is fun, it more than enhances and enriches the remaining ninety percent. She uses her experience running a basketball league for book nerds as the model.

If you’re having trouble watching Bookavore’s video, you can read what she said on her blog.

I did a couple a super Skype** visits last week, one with a middle school class in Mississippi, and one with a public library in Colorado. I was asked a terrific question:

If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?

I’m not sure I would be a good collaberator with another writer. I am something of a control freak (my dog and husband are rolling on the ground laughing – they claim it is a bit more extreme than that) and so I would probably turn into Ms. Bossy Pants and my co-collaborator would flee the country to escape me. That would defeat the purpose.

I think it would be fun to work with someone in a different artistic field; a musician (looking at you, Tori Amos, please, please, please), the way that Shooter Jennings and Stephen King just worked together. If Tori is too busy, I’d jump at the chance to work with Dave Matthews, Jill Scott, Gretchen Wilson, or Sting. (Sade would be cool, too, but I know she’s real busy because SHE HAS A NEW ALBUM COMING OUT!!!) If you know any of them, feel free to let them know.

I answered another question that was posted on a friend’s blog this week (paraphrasing):

I blog, I read blogs, I have a FaceBook and a Twitter feed, and I read those of many other authors. But the online stuff is beginning to take over my writing time. How much is enough?

I started off my answer to her by waving a magic wand.

I hereby give you (all of you!) permission to turn off the Internet. Reading blogs will not turn you into a published author. Writing blogs won’t either. Writing books will. You have precious little time after your other responsibilities and if the goal is to write a book, well, then… write it.

I have an idea!!!

We had NaNoWriMo in November. December and January have been filled with revisions for many of us, and by many of us, I mean ME. And many of us want to finish up the current project so we can get hopping on the next one. So………..

Let’s make February a blog-free month.

(I heard that gasp. Breathe slowly. Into a paper bag. With your head between your knees.)

Do not panic. February is short! We could call it the new BFF: Blog-Free February.

If you do this, you’ll be at the cutting edge of the next digital trend: the Slow Media Movement. Give everyone a heads-up that you’re stepping away from blogging for a couple of weeks. If you are truly bold (or desperate) make February an Internet-free month, not just blog-free. On March 1st, write a blog (or a letter) evaluating any differences in your productivity during February.

What do you think? Pros? Cons? Shall we turn this into a Thing or let the matter drop because we need our blog reading and writing like we need oxygen?

**If you want to set up a Skype visit with me, email queenlouiseATwriterladyDOTcom.

What do you get when you cross a writer with a computer programmer?

What do you get when you cross a writer with a computer programmer?*

You get a book-loving daughter who manages a bookstore in Brooklyn and writes a column about technology. My oldest, Stephanie, aka Bookavore, has started a regular column on Shelf Awareness dealing with developing technology that can connect booksellers to readers and authors.

Her first article explains Twitter and how fast, easy, and useful it is for all of us living in the bookosphere.

BTW, if you do live in the bookosphere, you ought to sign up for Shelf Awareness. It comes out M-F and contains publishing news, bookselling news, library news and great reviews. It’s the only e-newsletter I get.

Other tabs to close. The Christian Science Monitor has a very nice review of CHAINS.

If your Internet habit is interfering with your writing, you should read Cory Doctorow’s advice.

I still have a handful of questions about writing and publishing to answer. I’ll get started on those tomorrow. Right now? Another chapter!


* I would love to claim credit, but it was Stephanie who came up with this line. Her biological dad, Greg Anderson, is the computer programmer. Which would make me the writer, yeah.