WIP update and burglars and challenge news

Thank you to everyone for the amazing song selections for Melinda and SPEAK. Next week I’ll ask about CATALYST, so start thinking! (Note to self: finish note to Theo about website update.)

I have been hammering away on the WIP despite the best attempts of the universe to interfere. My mom wound up with a medical incident early in the week (she’s fine, thanks for asking, all the problems are working out) so I spent a day and a night with her. My father-in-law has also been struggling. (Elderly parents are the replacement stress inducers after your kids go to college.) And then around three this morning, our burglar alarm went off. Have you ever heard one of those suckers? It’s the loudest sound in the entire world. I think it blew over some of the trees in the forest. Woke us up in a hurry. Scared off the bad guys, too, if in fact, it was bad guys and not critters. Lucky for them. I am not nice when woken rudely.

Despite all the craziness, it’s been a decent writing week. Somehow 4000 new words popped up yesterday. I have the first full draft complete, and am now on draft 2. I’m not sure how long the darn thing will be, but the first 60 pages are in really good shape. Stay tuned.

Oh, yay. My high school is in the news again.

Congrats to the National Book Awards winners and finalists!

A standing ovation for the good people at Ridgefield High School in Ridgefield Washington for successfully working through the challenge to SPEAK. The book has been taught there for five years, but an objection was raised a few months ago, which led to it being pulled from the curriculum. The staff and administration worked with community members to go through their evaluation process and earlier this week, the book was reinstated. (I will try and collect more specific information and post it when available.) These challenges are so hard on the teachers involved…. many, many hardy congratulations to them for caring about their students enough to fight for a good book, and for the administrators who backed them up. I hope it was a good experience for the entire community. Go Spudders!!! (Yeah, that really is their mascot. Yes, I love it.)

Speaking of good teachers, I am facing south and waving to everyone in Nashville, TN for the annual NCTE conference. Waving with a very brave face, trying not to pout, wiping away the tear trickling down my cheek, lower lip quivering. I am so bummed I am not at the conference this year. Gah! I am watching a couple of blogs for tidbits about the workshops and parties. Sigh. Deep sigh. Deep, pathetic, damp sigh. Guess I better write another book. Maybe, if I’m a really, really good girl, I’ll get to go next year.

10 Replies to “WIP update and burglars and challenge news”

  1. Hey, I live just outside of Ridgefield! It’s a Vancouver suburb. When I was 16-17, I dated a guy who went to Ridgefield High, and I couldn’t get over the Spudder mascot…I always called it the “Potato King” b/c it’s basically a potato with a crown, scepter and cape.

    Oh, the memories… =)

  2. Nightline just had a story about ‘freak’ dancing last night, too. Can’t say that I’ve ever done any dancing like that, but I’ve definitely seen a bunch of people doing it at proms and such.

    It’s good to hear that your mom is doing okay. Do you think it’d be alright if Lisa and I came out for a visit sometime next week? We’ll both finally be home at the same time for at least a couple of days.

    little quirk

  3. NCTE

    Be happy to be where you are and out of the maze here in Opryland. Wait until next year in New York (though I am told tonight we do not know where we will be–yikes!). While the food has been to-die-for, finding one’s way in Opryland has taxed my navigational skills to the limit and I am ready to….best not said here.

    Missing you,


  4. Laurie–
    wondered what about your thoughts on the hullabaloo caused by the childrens book “And Tango Makes Three” by Justin Richardson

    Its about two male penguins who adopt an orphaned baby penguin.

    Its based on a true story and yet a library in Illinois got into some hot water when a parent complained that the book was about gay penguins.

    The news was on Associate Press news one or two days ago

  5. I feel the same way—-silly….

    Our society right now more then any other time in human recorded history has more information available to all parents who are concerned what they bring into their home.

    Kudos to the parent for being concerned….BUT—-

    Many, many libraries have a computer system in which any parent can surf the web and find out a review for any book within that system.
    (I personally go to amazon.com- they allow for both negative and positive reviews from actual customers on their website for all the thousands of books and films available. And there are dozens of other websites online where one could check out reviews and decide if that book or film is a would be a good thing for their child to read.)

    Of course the child might have brought it home on their own but STILL the parent should remind the child that its the parents job to be sure the book meets their standards.

    AFTER reviewing a few places to see if the book is indeed, ‘safe’ to read….then the child should be allowed to read it.
    But if the parent feels it isnt safe for their particular household then by all means return it where you got it and move on to something you might like and approve.

    This IS still America.
    TV? Dont like it? change the channel
    RADIO? Dont like it? turn it off
    Movies? Dont approve? Dont watch it.

    Parents are the final wall of protection for their children but its up to them to find the TIME to keep an eye on what their children do and dont do.
    Not the library.

  6. And in fact- I just now WENT to amazon.com and checked the reviews out FOR the book…
    And Tango Made Three
    With 35 reviews from accross the country since 1995—the book received an overwhelming 4 to 5 stars!!!

    Many of the reviewers applauded the books theme of acceptance and deversity

    so you can look at the book AS a picture book about acceptance and deversity and allow your child to read it. (in which afterwards you can also discuss the themes within)


    You can look at it as a picture book about two gay penguins who adopt a homeless baby penguin and refuse to allow your child to read it.

    To many millions of parents out there, happy, divorced, single, widowed, etc…there are of course SOME subjects for right or wrong that that particular parent doesnt want their child to read (or even the fact that they personally would find it very tough to discuss WITH their child) and thats fine and thats their right AS a parent.

    But again-

    BEING happy, divorced, single, widowed or otherwise (I feel) does NOT
    excuse that parent from their obligation to check out material that enters their house.
    Theres reviews in local newspapers.
    Theres the three main morning shows
    Theres the internet
    Theres even the option of asking a close frined or neighbor if they had heard about material (we all remember the fire frenzy Da Vinci Code caused not only within households but at office watercoolers all over the place)

    Theres a wealth of printed, electronic, and personal info out there readily available to all.

    As I said- its the JOB of the parent to be sure they raise their child the way they want.

    Not the librarian.

  7. Umm hi.

    Hi there. I’ve wanted to contact you since I first read Speak when I was in 9th grade, which was almost 5 years ago. I read your about me section on your official website. It says you were born in Potsdam. Well then, you must know where Lisbon is. Lisbon is where I’ve spent the last 18 years of my life. And what I really, really wanted to say is THANK YOU. While I wasn’t raped like Melinda was, I suffered a very severe depression that year (9th grade)and Speak is, quite literally, the only thing that saved my life that year. I related to the book in so many ways. My name’s Melanie, and everyone calls me Mel. I was born in Syracuse and my parents lived in Manlius until I was two. Granted, I don’t remember living in the city, but I used to imagine it every single day when I was growing up. Reading a book set a mere two hours away, about a girl with the same nickname, suffering some of the same issues as me was amazing, and oddly enough, uplifting. As I’m sure you know (from growing up in the same area I did) it’s beyond difficult to find a book set so close to this area.

    I’m an aspiring writer myself, and I must admit, it was your books (Speak and Catalyst for the most part) that inspired much of my writing. I imagine you get alot of comments like this, but I’d really, really love to just chat with you, as someone who has made such an awesome career writing (I’m stuck in a dead-end job at Wal-Mart that I hate)and someone who grew up in the same place I did.

    I don’t have a LiveJournal, but I have a MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/melbosworld) and I’d really, really, really, really love to just chat with you sometime…


    Lisbon, NY

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