Sunday Morning scribbling and a website question

Had a good working day yesterday and never made it to the grocery store. Mer and Mike went shopping after dinner and came back with some clothes, a Donato’s pizza, and a movie – Dodgeball. They made me stop working and chill with them. Yes, the movie was stupid. But it was a good stupid. A painful, predictable stupid and it was fun to laugh with them. So it was a good night.

Back to work in a few minutes. I’ve been neck-deep in the American Revolution, comparing interpretations of various historians and trying to understand the events that unfolded both in the context of their own time period, and through our modern lens. It makes my head hurt. It also really pisses me off when different books have different dates for the SAME EXACT THING. Argh!

So today is more of the history stuff, then THE SUPERBOWL!!!!!!!! Philly has gone nuts, no other way to describe it. I’ll report on that later.

I do have a question for everyone out there – what is not working about my website? I love it (thank you, thank you theoblack), but I keep getting email from kids doing author reports who want information about me. We have a whole section of the site called About Me, but I guess they aren’t seeing it. Any suggestions?

Official SPEAK movie details

Here’s the deal.

They made a movie out of SPEAK. (They = Showtime Cable) It is a low-budget, independent film and I love it. I have loads of details and some photos on my website if you want to peek. I did not write the screenplay, but I think it is a very good adaptation. (It was cool to listen to lines of dialog in the movie that I wrote.) My daughter Stephanie and I visited the set for a few days and had a blast.

The movie (also called SPEAK) premiered at Sundance in 2004. It has since been shown at film festivals across the country and picked up a couple of awards along the way.

Here is the planned release schedule:

1. They’re supposed to air it on the Showtime cable channel this spring or summer.
2. After that, it’s supposed to go to DVD.

I wish that Showtime would move faster because I know a lot of you are anxious to see it. If there were any way I could get this film released tomorrow, I’d do it. In these situations, the author of the book has less influence than the guy who fetches the director’s coffee. The author’s job is to sit in a corner and shut up.

If you want to talk to other fans about the movie, visit the IMDB page (it has a message board). If you want to be an activist and try to get the darn think released sooner, try contacting Showtime. Unfortunately I have no clue how to do this. I’ve been to their website and they seem to have hidden themselves behind high walls of solid granite.

That’s all I know.

After I take Mer to band practice this morning, I have a thrilling trip to the post office planned. The rest of the day will be spent rewriting my historical non-fiction project and answering mail. Many thanks to Mrs. Benson’s class at Jamison Elementary for test-driving the manuscript yesterday. (They let me read it out loud to them then grill them about it.) Hi Alex!!

Many thanks to everybody in the LJ community for making me feel so welcome.

And I still think the Eagles are going to win.

Fly, Eagles, Fly….

….on the road to victory!

This is the All-Eagles post. The boys in Green play in the Superbowl on Sunday and Philadelphia, my adopted hometown, is busting its buttons. People here live, breathe, eat, sleep, and dream Eagles, even if they don’t like football.

Our current slogan is “one team city dream.” Does Boston have a slogan? I think not.

The competitive possibilities are endless.

There is plenty of room for historians to discuss the contributions made by both cities to the American Revolution (another obsession of mine). Which city truly deserves the moniker “Home of Liberty”? Boston had the Tea Party, an occupation by British troops, a battle or two, and a few riots. Philly had all that except for the tea party, which suits us just fine, thanks. We also had the writing and reading of the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congresses and the Constitutional Convention. No contest!

Who has better food? Philly: cheesesteaks, pretzels, cheesesteaks, Tastykakes, scrapple, and cheesesteaks. Boston: beans.

Mascot? Philly: the majestic, soaring eagle. Boston: a patriot. OK, that one’s a toss-up.

Quarterback? Donovan McNabb, all the way. Not only is he a smart, hard-working, disciplined athlete, he went to Syracuse University and he has a nice mom. Tom who?

Beauty, integrity, and people? Boston is a nice place, no argument there. It is a Hub of the Universe of Enlightenment, transcending expectations for refinement in an urban setting. But Philly is real. Real people. Real jobs. Real arguments. Real problems. Real solutions. This city is a family that wears its heart on our sleeves. Yo, you got a problem with that?

Enough foaming at the mouth for one day. I really am going to write today…

…and dream of victory!

PS – Book/writing stuff tomorrow, I promise.

Moving to LiveJournal

At Theo’s recommendation, I’ve switched to Live Journal.


So here’s what’s up…

More reviews are up for PROM. Fellow author and all-around great Texan Cynthia Leitich Smith also weighed in about the book. (Note – if you are a teacher, writer, or lover of children’s and teens books, spend your lunch hour (or all afternoon) enjoying Cynthia’s incredible website. Cyn is the author who really set the standard for comprehensive author websites, and was the inspiration for the changes on my site. Look at her husband Greg’s site, too! His new book, TOFU AND T. REX is getting rave reviews.)

Mer and I had an ab-fab time in NYC. We LOVED Wicked. Had one of those Twilight Zone moments before the play. We were eating dinner at a Cosi near the theater (go and eat S’Mores there) and we couldn’t help overhearing the conversation two girls were having at the next table. Nobody within a quarter-mile radius could help overhearing them because they were talking VERY LOUDLY so as to draw maximum attention. Anyway, these were brand-new college roommates who, like us, were stoked because they were about to see Wicked. But they were also busy getting to know each. There was a little sparring and lots of nervous laughter. Who was going to be the alpha roommate? Who was going to call the shots? What made this extra-amusing is that the central premise of Wicked is that Glinda the Good Witch (we’re talking Wizard of Oz here) was the college roommate of the Wicked Witch of the West. It was very tempting to ask those girls for their Livejournals so we could follow the state of their relationship over the next five months. But we didn’t have the guts to do it.

We saw the play, bought popcorn on the way back to the hotel, and slept like death. Next morning we went out for real bagels and schmear for breakfast, then we shopped down Fifth Ave., until we got to the train station and came home. If you haven’t been to a Broadway show or spent a couple days in New York City yet, put it on your To-Do list and start saving money right now.

I also had a long meeting with my Simon & Schuster editor, Kevin. Yes, there are photos, but everytime I try to put any photos in this stupid journal, the program yells at me. So imagine we are looking at Kevin and me conferring about book stuff.

I’ll update about the Eagles’ plan to win the Superbowl and conquer the world tomorrow.

Oh, wait. Before I sign off, there is an email I wanted to post. This comes from English teacher Joe Gucci of Johnson City High School, Johnson City, NY.

Mr. Gucci writes: In examining your novel, I have provided the students with an excerpt from Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. In reading this, the students quickly pick up on the fact that the name of the person that raped Ms. Angelou is Mr. Freeman. They (and I) are curious as to whether or not it was a coincidence that a Mr. Freeman also appears in your book. The kids also wonder if that it supposed to be his real name or if Melinda just gave him that name (similar to Mr. Neck and Hairwoman).

I actually borrowed Mr. Freeman’s name from one of my kid’s science teachers. The name, not the personality. My thinking was that the art teacher in the book is the person who helps Melinda free herself from her prison of silence. When I reread Caged Bird I saw the parallel and decided to leave it stand – not sure why, it just felt right. Your students might want to note that Melinda gives nicknames to the people she feels no connection to. She feels safe with her art teacher and knows that he really cares. Hence, Mr. Freeman is his real name.

Mr. Gucci also writes: I have searched far and wide for information regarding the release of the movie version of Speak. Is there any information available regarding a release date or a way to see this movie? My students have been begging me to get them news about the movie because they loved the book so much.

Theo really beefed up the Speak movie pages. We are posting the release update info here.

Melissa writes: Hi im doing a report on laurie hales anderson for school is you could tell me about ur self alitte that would help me alot thanks. ps im reading ur book speak

If you are doing a report about me, you’ll find everything you need on my About Me page.

Note to Heela – Thanks so much for your cool note. It made me smile.