What Really Matters

All work here in the Forest today will be suspended at noon today. Georgetown is playing SU in the Big East tournament. This is A Big Deal here.

Queen Louise is supporting Syracuse.
I stand faithfully behind my beloved Hoyas.

Bring it!

Update on that update

I am home for a few days and not drowning in the backlog of mail, thanks to the gloriousness that is Queen Louise. Plus, she’ll totally organized the office in my absence!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Yes. I would take a bullet for La Queen.)

The, erm, somewhat frantic news is that I have to repack my suitcase because I leave again THIS FRIDAY, at 6am, for LIMA PERU.


Another country. Another continent.

Right. I should have my head examined. I think Queen Louise is organizing that.

So I am in triage mode, trying to make sure that the things which Absolutely Must Be Done get done by Thursday night. And there are a couple more interviews I have scheduled, not to mention an itty-bitty basketball game tonight.

(Which, btw, I can’t lose. IF UNC wins, I’ll be happy for Sarah Dessen and cheer on her boys. I already lost our bet, so what’s another loss? If Michigan wins, I’ll be even happier.)

If all the critical things can get done, I’ll post a tour recap to the blog, and a couple of fun pictures. This was hands-down the most fun and the busiest tour I’ve ever had. Thanks a million to all who made it such an adventure!!!

And thanks to all for buying WINTERGIRLS – it has been on the New York Times Bestseller List for two weeks in a row!!!! W00T!!!!!!


As part of the 10th Anniversary of SPEAK, I wrote a poem that shares some of the reader reaction I’ve received in the last decade. Below is the video of me reading the poem at NCTE/ALAN last November.

You can find a higher quality version of the video on the “Speak Up About Speak” page that Penguin has created.

If you want to be a part of this effort, Uncle Penguin would love you to contribute your comments about how the book has affected you on that blog.

On a completely unrelated note, this story of compassion and sportsmanship shown by two basketball teams in the Midwest is guaranteed to make you happy.

I’m off to get ready for my trip to New York and, one hopes, write many more pages.


Majoring in Creative Writing and other questions

Readers questions are pouring in!

Many folks are asking about one of my responses to Katrina’s questions earlier in the week about majoring in Creative Writing in college.

I wrote: Don’t major in Creative Writing, but take some of the classes if the professor has a good reputation with the other students.

This made some people – those majoring in Creative Writing – nervous. So I expanded on my opinion:

My concern is that too many colleges give students the impression that a degree in Creative Writing will nearly guarantee them a lifetime of publishing contracts and a life of ease.

It does not work that way.

If you are fortunate enough to have great professors, your chances of developing your writing skills to the point where you could be published are increased, there’s no doubt about that. But there are a lot of terrible creative writing professors out there. Lately, I’ve talked to several 20-somethings who are bitter and disillusioned because the degree has not translated into anything but rejection letters.

So if it makes you happy, go for it. But do so with your eyes open.

I’d like to add something else to all the high school students out there who want to become authors. I think the single most important thing you can do for your writing career is to spend time living in a different country. Take a gap year and volunteer your services abroad. Or just travel and talk to people. And then come home. You need to get away from the world in which you were raised in order to gain some perspective on your experiences there. Your writing will be stronger and more interesting once you gain that perspective. IMHO.

Were any of you Creative Writing majors? What’s your opinion about this?

On MySpace, a reader asks: “Are you sure you didn’t write symbolism and themes into your books? Because My english teacher seemed pretty hung up on the fact that I could read Speak three times in two weeks without finding some deep, hidden meaning. In fact, I had to write Not one, but two essays about it.
Well, I know I really Love your books.
I don’t search for deeper meanings, becase frankly, I like the Message at the very top.
Can I print Out your myspace and Give it to my English I teacher?”

By teaching you about the uses of symbolism in literature, your teacher is giving you a couple of extra tools that can make reading more fun. I think the symbolism that is important is the symbolism a reader finds in the story. It doesn’t matter what the author tried to stick in there. I’m sorry that the essay writing was painful, but I’m glad you liked the book.

K saw the SPEAK movie on Lifetime this weekend and wrote: “All I really have to say is… you’re my freakin hero! Well, not really… but that’s my way of saying I enjoy the small taste of your work that I have sampled. I’ve honestly never heard of you or your books before, but Speak came on the TV just now and is probably about halfway through and I love it.

It’s everything I think but can never say… Because… people just don’t get it. It’s good to know I’m not the only one with a bitter, sarcastic, cynical look at society’s stupid unwritten rules of communication.

So I haven’t read your book, so I don’t know if these quotes are in there, but they are in the movie and are awesome.

“All that crap you hear on TV about communication and expressing feelings… is a lie. No one really cares what you have to say.”

“Why couldn’t he just say what he meant? Would they pin a scarlet letter to his chest? ‘S’ for Straightforward?”

“Once you get through this “life sucks” phase, I’m sure lots of people will wanna be your friend. But for right now, I don’t think we should have lunch together.”

That’s enough, I guess. You wrote the book, you know what you said, you get the point.

You don’t have to answer me back. You’re busy. That’s cool. But I pretty much had to tell you I love Speak.”

I’ve had some great letters about TWISTED recently – I think I’ll share them tomorrow.

In closing, many congratulations and all the respect in the world to the Lady Vols of Tennessee and Coach Pat Summitt (whom I adore) for winning the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship last night.

One more game…

Many condolences to all my Tarheel friends… That was hard to watch, wasn’t it?

Following my decision to support the team that beat the team that beat my team, I only have one thing to say:


No, that’s not right.




Where are my notes? …… Ah.