Saturday, December 24, 2011

“my fear is that when boys read books such as this,” he said, “they will assume there is nothing at all wrong...”

That did not last very long at all.

Although my service provider is FedExing me a new, free modem for my DSL, I went out and bought one yesterday after holding out for about 90 minutes, which was how long it took for me to do my morning run.

Now I have material for a third Marbury book: going to a big electronics/gadgets store two days before Christmas.

No, I do not want your "Black Tie" extended service plan. If the thing is a piece of shit, I do not want you to fix it two years from now. I will buy a new one.

And no, I am not writing a third Marbury book about electronics gadgets stores.

I have flown back and forth across the country three times in the past month. I am sorry if it makes me a snob, but I always check my bag. I do not want to carry my bag through the airport.

There are now airlines that will let you board the plane first if you pay them ten extra dollars.

I always sit on the aisle.

You know what you get when you board the plane first?

You get a lot of peoples' asses in your face, that is what you get.

I was thinking last night about a couple books I wrote this year, in 2011.

I realized that I wrote parts of them in reaction to ignorance.

Some people just did not "get" Jack and Conner's relationship in The Marbury Lens. While I would never say that "all boys" are like Conner, or "all boys" are like Jack, an awful lot of us are.

Oh well, you will see when Passenger comes out in ten short months.

I also wrote this new book called Grasshopper Jungle almost as a complete reaction to the Wall Street Journal Op-Ed columnist Meghan Cox Gurdon's attack on me and my novel, The Marbury Lens. So, thank you for that, Meghan. I think it is a very good book.

I even considered dedicating the book to Meghan Cox Gurdon, but only for about five seconds. I assume from reading her that she is a very concrete thinker, and might take the dedication the wrong way.

I have never said anything offensive about Meghan Cox Gurdon, and have nothing cruel to say about her now.


If I could have one gift for 2012, I would like to have an academic debate with Meghan Cox Gurdon about literature and society and history.

The problem with such discussions is that people often resort to emotions like outrage and offense when they have difficulty countering rational academic positions.

That's what happened when I was interviewed on Minnesota NPR. The on-air host wanted me to get all emotional and angry. She was doing a good enough job of that on her own, I thought. I just wanted to talk about literature and society, and shit like that.

By the way, Minnesota NPR: I am still waiting for my invitation back, like you said.

I will bring a big ol' sack of outrage if you want.


Not really.

Speaking of rational academic positions, I have some really fantastic news:

I have been invited to speak at the Booklist Youth Forum at this summer's American Library Association Annual Conference, which, I believe, is in Anaheim this year.

The Booklist Youth Forum  will be held on Friday, June 22, at 8:00 p.m. This year's topic is writing books of particular interest to boys, and will feature authors who have been strong advocates of promoting literacy for guys.

Um. I want to say something about this right now, too. The other day, my agent said something about the number of manuscripts featuring boy protagonists he was receiving. This is a good thing.

But there are lots of different kinds of boys, and what makes them all "boy" is not necessarily sports or trucks or swords or gross stuff or hot chicks.

Just saying.

I think a lot of people still get that totally wrong. That's why some people get confused and uncomfortable with boy characters like Jack or Conner, or now Bosten and Stark, the brothers in Stick. And the other characters you'll be seeing in 2012, 2013, and 2014, too.

Yeah. I have lots of books coming.

Anyway, the forum is going to be moderated by Daniel Kraus, the author of Rotters. Absolutely nothing could be better than that, except maybe digging up the corpses of Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway to take part as well.

Also, Daniel Kraus has read Passenger.

Just saying, too.

And, speaking of Passenger... Um... I think there will be lots and lots going on about this book, coincidentally, at ALA this summer, too.

Maybe you might want to think about heading out to Southern California in June.