Confessions of a Children's Author

Friday, August 12, 2005

The Failed Experiment...or, A Trip to the Library

I thought I had a great idea: often my apartment was simply too distracting to provide a haven for prolific writing outputs every day, so why not go to the library? It's quiet there, I can go sit in the Children's department and be inspired by sitting among the very things I am trying to produce myself, and if I get too antsy, I can always find something new on the shelf and simply read. Or so I thought...

First of all, I'd been planning to get there when they opened this morning, especially since I had plans this afternoon to go shopping with my maid-of-honor for her dress (word to the wise: do not--I repeat, not--try to plan a wedding when you are writing a book and have just returned from an SCBWI conference--your head will explode). Well, that didn't work (procrastination--'nuff said), so I arrived at the library an hour later than I'd wanted. Oh well--I immediately went to the Young Adult (or as the great David Levithan calls it, Teen) section to look for some titles that had been suggested by various speakers during the conference. In the lovely (but too-small) YA section of my library, there is a bank of computer monitors against the wall, and on this particular morning, there happened to be several adults there to take some kind of computer class. All fine and good, except that the teacher was not speaking in a "library voice", he was speaking as if he was projecting to an entire classroom. Ah, but it gets worse: he announces that they will begin shortly with the appointed topic of "websites". "Wait," one woman whined, "I thought we were doing email today!" From that point on began a long (and very whiny discussion) on what subject they'd actually be going over. I plucked a few books off the shelf (Guitar Girl by Sarra Manning, Monster by Walter Dean Myers and The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer) and didn't stick around to find out who won.

Then I planted myself at a table in the Children's department, got out my materials, and began to brainstorm--that is, until a guy at a nearby table hacked up some major phlegm (I hate that word in all ways except how it's spelled). I wrote some sentences, crossed some out, and then there began a parade of people approaching the nearby Reference desk asking questions in all levels of volumes. At one point I looked up to glare at a particularly loud person and saw that it was one of the Reference librarians! Shouldn't that be a job requirement? Not just your knowledge of the Dewey Decimal System, but also how loudly you speak and whether or not you can set a good example for other users of the library? I wrote some more, crossed some more out. Attemped to read Coraline by Neil Gaiman as a temporary break. When a homeless-looking man approached the Reference desk and was loudly asking the librarian how to check his email, I decided to pack it in for the day.

Back at home, my kitties welcomed me with open, paws, and I'm back to trying to figure out how to block out distractions in the apartment. Phone's easy, I can turn the ringer off. TV's easy, because it's in the other room. Kitchen's not as easy, because it calls my name every once in a while, just to remind me it's there. Aforementioned (I got in trouble for using that word in a seventh-grade science paper about hippos, because my teacher didn't think a 12-year old could possibly use that word--okay, so maybe my mother helped me a little) kitties think that when mommy's home, that must mean it's time to eat...or play...or eat...or to help her by jumping onto the desk and flopping down between her hands and the keyboard. They must think they're helping, but jaopieu098y90(&N*)^*69nklahkjyyyyyyyyyyyyy is not exactly classic children's literature. Sorry, kitties.

Anyway, at least I got some writing done today (Lisa Yee said reading or writing blogs counts as writing time!!! Thank you, Lisa!). Darling fiance said maybe he'll get me an MP3 player for my birthday so I can go back to the library with my own sounds, not the ones of others. We'll see!


  • At 8:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Very nice and bloggy!

  • At 12:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You're welcome about the blogging/writing tip! (As you can see, I'm "writing" right now.)

    Lisa Yee


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