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Writer, Writer Pants on Fire


The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 01 June 2012 · 155 views

Meet the BBC Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description [url="http://www.crossingthehelix.blogspot.com/"]RC Lewis[/url] and I come up with at any given moment). This is how I edit myself, it is how I edit others. If you think you want to play with me and my hatchet, shoot us an email.


We all know the first line of a query is your "hook." I call the last line the "sinker." You want it to punch them in the face, in a nice, friendly kind of way that makes them unable to forget you after having read the 300 other queries in their inbox. Also, at the end, I'm going to tell you what I think your story is about, based on your query. I know how hard it is to get your ideas across succinctly, and how easy it is for your author's brain to fill in the blanks and not see the gaping holes that the average reader may very well fall into.

Also, for my brave Saturday Slash volunteers I will gladly do follow-up slashes (each more kindly than the next) on your query if you post them on the Query Critique board over on AgentQuery Connect. You'll get advice from me, and also people who are smarter than me. If you do post on AQ, be sure to follow the guidelines and let me know you posted so that I can follow up!

And now for our next brave soul. For clarity, my comments are in [color=yellow]yellow[/color].

Written in the vein of the PENDRAGON series, AMELIA AND THE MANY WORLDS is a middle grade fantasy, complete at 60,000 words. [color=yellow]It's very true that some agents like to see the comp titles, genre, and word count up front. I personally like to see the hook out there, but hey, I'm not an agent.[/color]

Twelve-year old Amelia is able to travel between parallel worlds using a pendant given to her by an alternate version of herself. [color=yellow]See? That's awesome! Throw *that* out there instead of dry facts! But others may disagree. [/color]At first, she is only interested in visiting her dog, who is still alive in the reality of the “Amelia” who provided her with the pendant. [color=yellow]This is definitely a tricky query to write, as you have to be clear which "Amelia" you're talking about all the time, yet the extra wordage is tripping me up - I'd stick with the more succinct phrase "alternate self" here, even though technically it's an echo, it's better than extra verbiage. [/color]Curious, she eventually visits other realms, including one where people live in underground cities to preserve the earth’s surface and another where her middle school’s motto is “all fun all the time.” [color=yellow]I'd make it clear that all these "alternate realities" are taking place in the same time period. "Underground cities" immediately makes me think "future" and I picture a very Sci-Fi type environment, even though *technically* she's in the same time... just a different *now*.[/color] She discovers catastrophic events are killing people [color=yellow]Wait - kill people where? In which alternate universe? And what kind of catastrophic event? That phrase is usually used in conjunction with natural disasters, so why would she "investigate?"[/color] and investigates, knowing if she can’t find the cause of the disasters, the next realm destroyed may be her own. [color=yellow]Oh I like this a LOT - makes me think of "The Nothing" from Neverending Story - but... I need to *what* is happening and why she thinks it's spreading? [/color] But how is she supposed to do that when every time she travels to a parallel world, an alternate “Amelia” takes her place in her home reality, causing problems, getting her grounded, and telling her mom she’ll try out for the cheer team? [color=yellow]Nice, I like it, but I feel like we need more on what alternate Amelia is doing at home, and how it ties in to her saving alternate realities. [/color]Complicating everything is her friendship with Seb, a boy she keeps meeting in the parallel worlds. And maybe has a little bit of a crush on. [color=yellow]And woah! A love interest... yeah you definitely want to give this more than two sentences.[/color]

As is the typical path after receiving a degree in literature, I enlisted in the U.S. Army to learn psychological operations, study Korean, and to jump out of airplanes. Now a school librarian, I am certain most kids are indeed from a parallel world. I am a member of SCBWI. [color=yellow]Like the bio, it's fun, and you include you're a librarian (UNITE!), and that's a foot in the door.[/color]

[color=yellow]My overall thoughts on this is that you need to take your middle para and make it two - one that's dedicated to alternate worlds, and one that talks about what's going on at home, and why that matters at all, or has an impact on her actions in the alternate worlds. [/color]

[color=yellow]So what's the deal with alternate Amelia? Is she a trouble-maker? Sounds that way... so what was her motivation for giving Amelia the pendant in the first place? She just wants to wreck her home life? Or is there more going on here? Expand on alternate Amelia and what her overarching role in the story is.[/color]

[color=yellow]If you can find away to neatly slip Seb into the parallel realities paragraph, do so. And how does he play in to the larger plot? Is he in danger? Does he know alternate Amelia? Can he travel back and forth as well? You don't have to answer those questions specifically, but definitely tell me why he matters, other than as a propped-up love interest.[/color]



Huge Congrats & A Redirect

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 31 May 2012 · 317 views

So, I get to share some incredibly awesome news today.

My crit partner of three years (I think? Maybe more?), RC Lewis, has landed an agent... one helluva agent, and she's got a head-spinning tale of how it went down.

Think of all the fantasies you've had while driving, or mowing, or showering about a slew of agents unable to contain themselves, they're so excited about your book. Your inbox is full, your phone is ringing, your crit partner keeps texting you for an update... (well maybe the last bit isn't in your fantasy).

Ahem... THAT is exactly what happened to RC Lewis. So, for an amazing story of perseverance, hope and long odds (and also listening to your crit parter when she tells you to hang on for one more ms, because the next one WILL be the breakout) go on over to [url="http://www.crossingthehelix.blogspot.com/"]Rachel's blog[/url] and tell her how awesome she is.

I've been doing it for years.



Thursday Thoughts

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 30 May 2012 · 146 views

It's my last Thursday before summer, and so today you get one BIG Thursday Thought. Hopefully I don't come off as kind of a prickly b, but there's something I have to get off my chest.

I've been a school librarian for something like a dozen years now, and every year about this time people start asking me, "So, are you packing up all those books yet?"

Sigh. It's one of those innocent questions asked by people who don't really understand the logistics of the situation, but after twelve years of getting the same question about 10 times in the same month it gets very hard not to say something like -

"Yes, it's very hard work to pack up 11,000 books, ship them to our offshore Cayman Island storage facilities, wait three months, then ship them back into the country, unpack them, and put them all back onto the shelves according to Dewey. Really it's a miracle we manage it every year. It's funny though, you'd think with an entire room full of bookshelves we'd just keep them [i]there [/i]over the summer, right? Where better to store books than bookshelves. Geez, wish I woulda thought of that before now."



Debut Submission Experience with World Traveler Tara Dairman

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 28 May 2012 · 245 views

[url="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-y_dkzuKRoOI/T8LpFN_vwSI/AAAAAAAAAhw/_UpO66m0rSk/s1600/Tara.jpg"][img]http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-y_dkzuKRoOI/T8LpFN_vwSI/AAAAAAAAAhw/_UpO66m0rSk/s1600/Tara.jpg[/img][/url]Today's guest for the SHIT is [url="http://taradairman.com/"]Tara Dairman[/url]. Her debut novel, [url="http://taradairman.com/fiction/"]The Delicious Double Life of Gladys Gatsby[/url], will be published in 2014 by Putnam/Penguin; it’s about the youngest restaurant critic in the history of The New York Times (she’s 11). Tara claims to be slightly older than 11. In 2009, Tara and her husband quit their jobs to take a very long, “around-the-world” honeymoon. Over the next two years, they visited 74 countries on 5 continents and ate more fabulous street food than they ever imagined possible. You can read their blog and see lots of pictures from the whole crazy, wonderful experience at [url="http://AndyandTara.com/"]AndyandTara.com[/url]

[b]BBC: How much did you know about the submission process before you were out on subs yourself?[/b]

TD: I knew the basics: about how many editors you usually subbed to in one round, and not to expect to start hearing back from them for weeks (if not months). I feel like there’s a lot of information out there about querying agents, but fewer people are willing to talk publicly about their submission experience—which is one of the reasons I found the previous SHIT interviews on this blog so helpful! =) But those interviews also showed me that people’s subbing timelines and experiences can vary wildly.

[b]BBC: Did anything about the process surprise you?[/b]

I guess that the big thing that surprised me was that I ended up getting an “R&R” from the house that ultimately bought my book. I had heard of people getting revision requests before being taken on by agents, but I didn’t really know that that was an option at the submissions stage—I kind of thought that publishers either bought the project and then worked on revisions with you, or flat-out rejected it. In my case, there were a few elements of the story that the publisher wanted me to beef up. Luckily, I connected very much with their suggestions, and they liked the changes I made with their guidance, so they ended up making an offer.

[b]BBC: Did you research the editors you knew had your ms? Do you recommend doing that?[/b]

TD: When I got the submission list from my agent, I did a quick Googling out of curiosity, but that was about it. I didn’t feel the need to do the kind of in-depth research I had done on agents I was querying because I trusted my agent’s choices. And really, isn’t that one of the reasons you hire an agent—to worry about that stuff for you? =)

[b]BBC: What was the average amount of time it took to hear back from editors?[/b]

TD: We found out that we had interest from one house the day after we went on submission (which is very fast!), and my agent let the other editors know about the early interest, so I think that sped up the reading process for some of them. We ended up hearing back from about half the editors in the first week, one more editor about three weeks into the process, and the last few about six weeks into the process, after my agent had notified them that we had an offer. So I guess that’s about three weeks on average, though it varied quite a bit.

[b]BBC: What do you think is the best way for an author out on submission to deal with the anxiety?[/b]

TD: For me, working on a new project was key. That was something I hadn’t been able to do while querying agents, but I guess that something about actually having an agent—a partner in crime!—let me relax enough to get back to writing. I also recommend planning a vacation for part of the time that you’re on sub—anything that gets you away from constantly checking your e-mail/phone and reminds you that a whole, interesting world exists outside of your will-I-or-won’t-I-get-published bubble.

[b]BBC: If you had any rejections, how did you deal with that emotionally? How did this kind of rejection compare to query rejections?[/b]

TD: The big difference between editor rejections and query rejections is that editors usually give some sort of concrete reason about why they’re turning your project down. Most of my rejections from editors said nice things about my writing, even as they explained why the book wouldn’t work on their list. Those reasons varied, although a couple of editors already had food-themed MG or YA projects and didn’t think they’d be able to acquire another one.

[b]BBC: If you got feedback on a rejection, how did you process it? How do you compare processing an editor’s feedback as compared to a beta reader’s?[/b]

TD: The feedback I got on rejections wasn’t very consistent—each editor seemed to have her own reason for turning down the book, and it often didn’t seem to have much to do with the concept or the writing. When I shared earlier versions of the manuscript with beta readers, I tried to watch out for commonly-cited problems. If multiple readers pointed out that something was bothering them, then I probably needed to fix it. But I didn’t really get that from the editors (this time).

[b]BBC: When you got your YES! how did that feel? How did you find out – email, telephone, smoke signal?[/b]

TD: I found out by phone, but smoke signal might have been faster! It was the first day of our let’s-distract-Tara-from-being-on-submission road trip, and we were driving through the South Dakota badlands—which, as it turns out, have pretty spotty cell service. We emerged from a dead zone and my phone beeped with a voicemail from my agent, saying she had some news and asking me to call her back. My heart pounded as I called her, and she was barely able to tell me that we had an offer before I lost service again. I called her back again, lost service again, called again, lost again, and finally got the bright idea to ask my husband to pull over. I finally got the rest of the news as we sat on the shoulder of the road.

[b]BBC: Did you have to wait a period of time before sharing your big news, because of details being ironed out? Was that difficult?[/b]

After we got the offer, we still had to hear back from a few other editors, which took a few days, then my agent had to do some negotiating. I accepted the revised offer a week after the first call, and then the day after that the news was up on Publisher’s Marketplace! I was actually expecting to have to sit on the news much longer than that, so I was kind of surprised by the speed.

I was still on vacation at this point and had limited Internet access, but had told my mom on the phone that it was now OK to share the news. I thought that she would just call a few relatives or something, but instead she went and posted about it on Facebook. When I found out about this, I had to scramble to get online and share the news myself so my mom wouldn’t totally be scooping me!



Amy Parrish Is A Genius and I Heart Her

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 27 May 2012 · 197 views

Yeah, so if the title of this post doesn't significantly convey how I felt about my photography shoot on Friday, allow me to go into more detail.

Amy Parrish of Granville, OH is just frickin' grand. Loved her, loved her ideas, loved the fact that one of the first things she said to me when I got out of the car was, "So, how do you feel about climbing?"

Yeah. We got along.

She put up a few of the shots from my session on her blog, [url="http://www.amyparrish.com/parrishthethought/?p=4296"]Parrish the Thought[/url]. Enjoy!




The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 25 May 2012 · 320 views

Meet the BBC Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description RC Lewis and I come up with at any given moment). This is how I edit myself, it is how I edit others. If you think you want to play with me and my hatchet, shoot us an email.


We all know the first line of a query is your "hook." I call the last line the "sinker." You want it to punch them in the face, in a nice, friendly kind of way that makes them unable to forget you after having read the 300 other queries in their inbox. Also, at the end, I'm going to tell you what I think your story is about, based on your query. I know how hard it is to get your ideas across succinctly, and how easy it is for your author's brain to fill in the blanks and not see the gaping holes that the average reader may very well fall into.

Also, for my brave Saturday Slash volunteers I will gladly do follow-up slashes (each more kindly than the next) on your query if you post them on the Query Critique board over on AgentQuery Connect. You'll get advice from me, and also people who are smarter than me. If you do post on AQ, be sure to follow the guidelines and let me know you posted so that I can follow up!

And now for our next brave soul. For clarity, my comments are in [color=yellow]yellow[/color].
Liz has already proven that she is a terrible mother who does not deserve her child. After all, what kind of mother doesn’t even know she’s pregnant? [color=yellow]I get that the "already" means she's proven that she doesn't deserve the child even before it's born, but I almost think this hook would be better if you chopped the "After all," of the second sentence and just used that as your hook. It's short and to the point.[/color]

Twenty-two year old Liz is shocked to discover that she is [color=red]eight months[/color] pregnant. Sure, she’s gained some weight, and sure she’s been feeling a little off lately, but pregnant? She is too young to have a baby. [color=yellow]Is she really? I'd say no, she's not. That might be *her* rationale but it's not really working here as a statement of fact. [/color]She hasn’t spoken to the father in [color=red]months[/color], and certainly doesn’t want to now. [color=yellow]If the father doesn't figure into the story, don't mention him in the query. If he's not mentioned it's assumed he's not in the picture.[/color] It has taken [color=red]eight months[/color] for her to even figure out that she is pregnant. Nonetheless, in a brief six weeks a new baby will be born, and she has a rapid decision to make. Choosing an adoption plan is the only thing she can do, and the only way she can survive it is to carry the detachment her denial provided along the way. [color=yellow]Here's your crux right here - this is what you've been getting to with everything you've said before this. We don't need her rationale for why she's giving it up for adoption - you said so yourself she's already proven she doesn't deserve her child (or at least believes that to be true)[/color] She [color=yellow]Use the proper name here, you've been sticking to the pronoun for a while.[/color] speeds through the process, visiting an agency, speaking to a social worker, and choosing adoptive parents, all the time believing she is simply a surrogate for the deserving parents [color=yellow]Here we are again with this word "deserving" - this is your plot point and you're throwing a lot of distractions out in front of it. [/color]who will adopt this baby. [color=yellow]I've highlighted all the uses of "eight months" and "months" in this first para. Lots of echoes here. Personally I think you can kill all of the rationalization and get down to the point - detachment, deserving - more quickly.[/color]

Now, [color=yellow]Kill the "now" it makes this read like a synopsis instead of a query [/color]a week after signing surrender papers to finalize the adoption, Liz enters therapy hoping she will be able to [color=yellow]you need some re-phrasing for simplicity in this sentence. "Will be able to" can be changed to a simple "can"[/color] put these events behind her and [color=yellow]The last two clauses of this sentence are pretty much saying the same thing. Choose one to not weigh down the query [/color]return to life as normal. [color=yellow]Wait - has the baby been born yet? Is she still pregnant while going through therapy? [/color]After[color=red] eight months [/color]of convincing herself she wasn’t pregnant, she finds no problem distancing herself from the supposed grief her therapist tells her she will feel. But as she tells the story to her therapist, who seems relentlessly insisting she have an emotional breakdown, she finds herself viewing her therapy as a game of chess she must win. [color=yellow]Convoluted sentence here - we can assume she's telling her story to the therapist, I'd slash that and simplify. Accentuate the "chess" idea. [/color]He pushes her to accept her denial, and her emotional detachment as natural coping mechanisms, while she views them as proof that she is unfit to be a parent. [color=yellow]And that right there is the sum-up of what your novel is about, right? Yet it's buried down here in the middle of the second para. [/color]When he invites her to explore her relationships with her family and her best friend, she struggles to maintain they’re denial is irrelevant. [color=yellow]I don't understand what this sentence means - "struggles to maintain [/color][color=red]they are[/color][color=yellow] denial is irrelevant." You probably mean "their denial" but even then... denial of what? Her? Her relationship with them? Her pregnancy? [/color]Why can’t this just be something that happened? The deeper he digs, the harder she works to keep her composure. It takes the work with her therapist to help her realize that her decision is rooted in more than necessity. It is a life-changing event that will live in her heart forever.

At 76,000 words, Detached is a work of literary fiction. It is my debut work, and inspired by the true story of choosing an adoption plan. Thank you for your consideration. [color=yellow]Good to state this here, that you know the system and the emotional intricacies. And I love the title, by the way, but it needs to be either ALL CAPS or[i] italicized[/i].[/color]

[color=yellow]The story sounds quite interesting, and I like the implied complexities of this character, but that's where your meat is and it's kind of floundering along with the little details that aren't relevant to the query that I mention above. Also, as it stands right now my biggest hang up is that I don't know what her relationship with the therapist is - does she resent his digging? Does she get angry with him? Does she look at him as a partner or an opponent? You brought in the "chess game" idea but then you don't take the analogy anywhere. It sounds like a cerebral internal journey read, and I like the way you're approaching it, you need to carefully look at what the main sell is here before you pitch.[/color]



Author Photo Friday!

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 24 May 2012 · 319 views

Well... I've got an appointment today to make my life better. Or something like that.

Today is the day I put on a dress, do my hair, paint my nails, and pack some comfy clothes to get the more casual shots that I'll probably end up using.

In any case, I think everyone is aware of the conundrum that (to me) is an [url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2012/03/my-one-year-blogiversary-my-first-vlog.html"]author photo[/url]. So wish me luck.

And the poor photographer.



Thursday Thoughts

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 23 May 2012 · 185 views

Today we're going to talk about recycling, and other green-type things. Because that's where my mind has been.

1) I love going past these new green communities and seeing their slogans. My goal is to find one that says, "We're so green, we eat our own shit!"

2) I understand that packaging is a big part of the problem. No packaging. Packaging bad. Don't buy things that are over-packaged. But... if it's already packaged, then the damage is done. If nobody buys it, then the product that is packaged is wasted along with the packaging. This is a serious chicken / egg situation, if you ask me.

3) Have any of you ever been near a recycling plant? Wo - ow. Stanky. I know that sometimes you've got power through the bad to get to the good. I'm a country girl - I've smelled some smells, and that smell gets a gold star.



CRAP! A New Interview Series (& Giveaway!) Ushered in by A.G. Howard

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 21 May 2012 · 236 views


I love talking to debut authors. Our experiences are so similar, yet so very different, that every one of us has a new story to share. Everyone says that the moment you get your cover it really hits you - you're an author. The cover is your story - and you - packaged for the world. So the process of the cover reveal can be slightly panic inducing. Does it fit your story? Is it what you hoped? Will it sell? With this in mind I put together the CRAP (Cover Reveal Anxiety Phase) Interview.

Here today to usher in the new interview on Writer, Writer is my fellow debut author A.G. Howard. She's a great gal that I knew back when we were just anonymous screennames bouncing off the same agent entries over on [url="http://www.querytracker.net/"]QueryTracker[/url], so I'm thrilled to be sharing the astounding cover for her book [url="http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12558285-splintered"]SPLINTERED[/url], available from Amulet in January, 2013.
[b]BBC: Did you have any pre-conceived notions about what you wanted your cover to look like? [/b]

[center][url="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-6ugBXjSdNfE/T6v4EjZbiwI/AAAAAAAAAf8/HUjF_k1Y-pg/s1600/image003.png"][img]http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-6ugBXjSdNfE/T6v4EjZbiwI/AAAAAAAAAf8/HUjF_k1Y-pg/s320/image003.png[/img][/url][/center]AGH: I did. I’m very visual and I actually like to “construct” my own book covers for fun sometimes. I always assumed it would be a dark gothic-type cover with Alyssa as the centerpiece and some sort of symbolic details woven in, like maybe the broken toys and the bloody roses. Here’s the mockup I made:

Granted, I was WAY off in the color scheme. But once I saw what they had done, I was thrilled. Choosing vivid colors lent a whimsical feel which is so important, so the reader goes in knowing to expect some strange silliness along with the creepiness. The model is beautiful, but also looks very innocent, like my MC. I also loved the fact that Alyssa’s face is partially covered by her hair (speaking of her hair, the model’s is exactly how I pictured it!!!). One thing both our covers had in common was the actual vision: Alyssa front and center, and plenty of subtle details woven in (the bugs and flowers who talk to her, the snaky vines, the key around her neck, and her wild and haggard expression, because believe me, she goes through some crazy stuff…heh).

[b]BBC: How far in advance from your pub date did you start talking covers with your house? [/b]

AGH: November, so about three months after I signed.

[b]BBC: Did you have any input on your cover? [/b]

AGH: Yes. My agent arranged a “Meaningful Consultation” clause in my contract, which meant I got to watch the entire evolution and actually had back and forths w/my editor along the way. But honestly, their ideas were so amazing, I hardly had anything to say. Although there was a lot of swooning going on. LOL

[b]BBC: How was your cover revealed to you? [/b]

AGH: Since I was involved throughout the process, it was a gradual evolution. My editor would send me mockups along the way to view and comment on.

[b]BBC: Was there an official "cover reveal" date for your art? [/b]

AGH: There was a little bit of confusion there, because I’d told my editor I wanted to do a reveal, so they needed to let me know before it hit the online catalogue and went live. Then I was googling myself one weekend, and there it was, up in the catalogue. I emailed my editor LIKE FAST and she wasn’t even aware they’d already posted it. It had only been up that one day. Evidently, designing and editing are kind of worlds apart even though they’re both in-house. She did some checking around for me (this was on a Saturday, mind, so she really went out of her way there) and got the okay for my reveal. I had been in contact with a very delightful gal named Tami, who runs the lovely [url="http://krazybooklady.blogspot.com/"]Krazy Book Lady[/url] blog. I appreciate her so much because she was so flexible and pushed aside everything so I could post it first thing Monday morning before anyone else got wind of it on the catalogue. I spent all day Sunday making my [url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pN5Y-5hx3DA"]book cover reveal trailer[/url], and then it all went off without a hitch. Whew!

[b]BBC: How far in advance of the reveal date were you aware of what your cover would look like? [/b]

AGH: The day I contacted my editor that the cover was in the catalogue, I actually had to make sure that was the final version because there had still been a little back and forth going on between the designer and the artist. So, two days before the reveal, unless you count watching the evolution.

[b]BBC: Was it hard to keep it to yourself before the official release? [/b]

AGH: Well, I have select group of online pals (my critters/beta readers) that got to watch every step of the progression w/me. That helped me reign in my excitement until I could share w/the world.

[b]BBC: What surprised you most about the process? [/b]

AGH: I didn’t realize it took both a designer and an artist (two separate entities) to make up the cover. I always assumed it was the same person doing both. But instead, the in-house designer looks for a freelance artist who has the qualities in their artwork that would best capture the book’s feel. Really, it’s pretty amazing how many people actually had a hand in it along the way. The model, the artist, the designer, my editor, the publicist. LOTS of involvement in-house and out of house.

[b]BBC: Any advice to other debut authors about how to handle cover art anxiety? [/b]

AGH: Have your agent get a Meaningful Consult clause in your contract. It really does help if you get to have a little input, if for no other reason than you get to see the progression of the cover, and fall in love with it along the way!

Thank you so much for helping me introduce a new interview series here today, Anita. To sweeten the deal, Anita is offering a swag-pack giveaway of a SPLINTERED bookmark, button, and signed bookplate! Comment on the blog below and Anita will pick a winner using random.org

Good luck!



I Don't Care

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 20 May 2012 · 442 views

[url="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-MHK0WMC4Y_Q/T7Z8su-A-CI/AAAAAAAAAhY/1-2tKonnqBQ/s1600/pierre.jpg"][img]http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-MHK0WMC4Y_Q/T7Z8su-A-CI/AAAAAAAAAhY/1-2tKonnqBQ/s1600/pierre.jpg[/img][/url]That was my go-to phrase when I was a kid.

Parent: "Mindy, you didn't clean your room."
BBC: "I don't care."

Parent: "You're grounded you for a week."
BBC: "I don't care."

Parent: "You're making me angry!"
BBC: "I don't care."

As you can see, I learned early on that apathy is the biggest stick you can carry while walking softly. So my parents found the perfect book for me: [url="http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/120715.Pierre"]PIERRE[/url] by Maurice Sendak.

PIERRE is the story of a young boy who uses that same catchphrase to dismiss, irritate and otherwise flaunt his independence to his parents. Tried beyond endurance, Pierre's parents go to the movies one night to get away and a lion marches into the living room and announces he's going to eat Pierre, who boldly claims -

"I don't care."

And is thus eaten.

After this little literary gem had been installed on my bookshelf, my parent's automatic response to my defiant "I don't care" was -

"Okay, Pierre."

Which was a really nice way to say, "Get your shit together or you'll be eaten by a lion."

I hear "I don't care," everyday in my job, and it never slips by without my brain tacking on, "Okay, Pierre." So Maurice Sendak is going to be with me for a long time, haunting my steps and reminding me to care.

Or be eaten.


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