Effing Genius


The wonderful wonderful wonderful Maureen Johnson has a manifesto:

The internet is made of people. People matter. This includes you. Stop trying to sell everything about yourself to everyone. Don’t just hammer away and repeat and talk at people—talk TO people. It’s organic. Make stuff for the internet that matters to you, even if it seems stupid. Do it because it’s good and feels important. Put up more cat pictures. Make more songs. Show your doodles. Give things away and take things that are free. Look at what other people are doing, not to compete, imitate, or compare . . . but because you enjoy looking at the things other people make. Don’t shove yourself into that tiny, airless box called a brand—tiny, airless boxes are for trinkets and dead people.

There's lots of context, which you should go read, but, seriously, YES. YES. YES. YES. If you're arguing, I don't know, read Lewis Hyde's The Gift and see how you feel.

Relatedly: I would also like to ban the word networking–it's called Being Interested In Other People when done in the right spirit. Or, at the very least, should never ever be undertaken in the ungenerous spirit of What Can You Do For Me. Because that is boring and, also, awful.

The Internet *is* a conversation or, rather, many conversations. Like the rest of life. Don't break it.

Feeling the Love

Okay, so even though I am SLAMMED with pre-NYC stuff*, it is amazing to see everyone sharing their agent love for Agent Appreciation Day, and I am feeling especially grateful for my agent, the wonderful Jennifer Laughran at Andrea Brown Literary, this week anyway because she just sent me notes on my new project. (Yay, new project!) Here are five reasons why she's so great:

1. I have never waited more than an hour to hear back from her on any question or query, and usually it's within minutes.

2. I have told her this before, but she gives truly great notes–it's like getting the reaction of the smartest, best reader in the world. Invaluable. She is fiercely dedicated to her clients and is also incredibly timely at reading and responding to manuscripts.

3. She is always honest and direct. I know her enthusiasm is genuine. And she doesn't yell at me for not being very good at describing whatever project I'm working on.

4. In this one, I lump all the things I can't go into detail about here, but which she knows. Yeah, that stuff.

5. She is a great *person*. I thought Jenn was wonderful way before she ever became my agent or even an agent. She has great taste and she's basically a wunderkind dynamo and hilarious to boot.

OH, I could go on, but I will stop by saying that getting to know some of Jenn's other clients has been a real gift this year. May next year rock hard and often for us all.

*Internal Q&A from today:

How do we know so many people in NY? Um, publishing.

Why don't we live there? Because we like it here(?).

There is no way we will get to see everyone, not even close, WAH! So come to the reading, and we will see you there at least.

Free With Purchase

Introducing: Small Beer Press Horizons! Has Gavin got a deal for you!

5. In our super-premium “Booksellers” package—Usually $5 million, Today Only $2 million—we come to your town, open a bookshop, and stock your book. We will throw a launch party and have you do a reading and for a small additional fee we will throw in a couple of bottles of that sparkly Portuguese wine and some cubed cheese (which seem like such a good idea in the grocery store and look so sad on display) in the somewhat forlorn hope that people will come.

And oh so much more. I laughed so hard, I almost threw up. And it was FREE.

I Love That Song

Best early birthday present ever? Dana, aka D.E. Rasso, from the late, lamented Number One Hit Song has a new blog. Raise a glass in celebration if you're a sentient being and go add her to your feed reader (or bookmark, if you're hardcore old school). 

And if you're in NYC, you should also check out her reading this Sunday, July 12, at 8 p.m. at The Slipper Room (167 Orchard at Stanton). She'll be the featured author for the NYC stop of the Dollar Store Super Summer Tour. Be there or be a square.

Bravery & Admin

First, the bravery…

Nicola has an excellent article on tasers and the taser party fad up at the Huffington Post:

Apparently, many women who go to these parties live in constant fear of violent sexual assault. And they believe that having a Taser will protect them. Perhaps they imagine a hooded stranger in their apartment or their parking lot. Perhaps they imagine that they will whip out the Taser, zap the bad guy, and a few minutes later watch as the cops march him off. Bloodless and neat. Her Taser is a "safety blanket," says Dana Shafman, the entrepreneur who started the parties; if she leaves the house without one she goes "into panic mode."

But it’s not safety blankets that protect you.  You do that.

I wish every girl and woman in the wide world would read the whole piece. And the Aud novels.

(This also reminds me that she has another blog, about the writing of her next novel, which sounds AMAZING. AMAZING. Three times AMAZING.)

And now the admin…

I toggled a few new settings on Typepad. Now there’s a Share This thingie under each post, which will let you easily save stuff to your various networking/bookmarky places or e-mail posts. There’s also RSS feeds for the comments on individual posts. And some other stuff you shouldn’t really see if it works right.

I’m sure this is all very unnecessary, but it makes me feel productive.

Me Have Troubles

Things never to do NUMBER ONE: Let your passport expire without noticing until the day before you need to use it.

If anyone has a fairy godmother who does emergency passports, please let me know. We’re working on it, if we can just get to Miami in time, etc.

Updated: We think it’ll work out and we’ll just get there a day and a half or so later. Keep your fingers crossed for understanding airport agents (so far, so good) and passport people. Also, for passport cancellations at the Miami center tomorrow! (I have an appt. but Thursday, but we could go standby tomorrow evening if I managed to get in early.) Oh and HEY, if anyone lives in Miami and I’ve spaced and you want to grab dinner or something (or has a recommendation for a hotel), let me know.


And while Micol and I were attending the conference, the boys visited a nearby Des Plaines gaming store (recommended by a local, natch) that just happened to be holding an elaborate auction. Noah documented the memorable experience on film, and describes it thus: The man, the myth, the passion and the triumph. In a world of demons and demi-gods, one man rose above and succesfully bought a board game….

Possibly my favorite thing that has ever been on YouTube.

Christopher asks that I add: What’s going on at the end is that there were TWO copies of the game available, and that the second one had "box damage" but went for just three bucks less than what I paid for the mint condition one.

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