Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Retard



To make slow; delay the development or progress; hinder or impede - that's what retard means. To be "retarded" or have a mental retardation suggests a person's mind works in a way that is slower than the rest of the world. But to quote Einstein, "We are all geniuses, but if you judge a fish on how well it can climb a tree, you'll think it's stupid."

Retard.

When you presume you need to make decisions for the people in your life because you don't want to "put them out" you are implying they are slow, dimwitted, perhaps a bit retarded. You are shaking your head no to my last sentence, but in reality - when you won't give those around you to share their opinions, thoughts or to make their own decisions, you are taking away their right to be them and forcing yourself on them.

Retard.

When you have known someone for an extensive amount of time and you say things that would imply they don't know, remember or understand - you are assuming they are retarded. Too slow to catch on to the actual situation. To impeded by life to possibly grasp it.

Retard.

What you are doing when you "assume" or "imply" is telling everyone else about you.

You assume I don't have time - Chances are you're hard to part with your spare time which you feel you "never have" when in reality you'd much rather go out of your way to watch reruns of old shows then help a friend out.

You think everyone is judging you - Chances are you spend a lot of your free time (the stuff you still never have) talking about people behind their backs.

You speak of situations that you clearly know the other person has been at - Chances are you are feeling left out and you're being passive aggressive, and instead of being open about your emotions you feel the easiest way to get what you want is via a guilt trip.

That's actually retarded - a slow and hindering way to look at life and those around you.


The secret to happiness? Simple.

Take things with a grain of salt - meaning, take them as they come at you and allow them to roll off your back. Never hold a grudge. Never "hate" - hate is a waste of time, extremely selfish, overly stupid and extremely retarded.

Smile. At home alone? Smile. Taking a shower? Smile. Caught in traffic? Smile.

Don't gossip. Don't. Don't call it "venting" when in reality you just HAD to tell someone your neighbor is having an affair - it has nothing to do with you. It's none of your business. Don't pass on gossip, why? Most gossip is litter with lies and now you're a liar.

Dance. Dance at home. Dance at weddings. Dance in the isles of the grocery store. Someone looking? Who the hell cares!

Allow others in your life to have the freedoms you want in yours. Meaning, would you like it if I was making decisions for you? Probably not, so don't make decisions for me. Allow me to say no. Allow me to say yes. Allow us to have a relationship open enough that I feel comfortable coming to you when I need a shoulder or when I need to have a car dance party - and you really can't party with just one person.

Also eat well, exercise and get plenty of sleep. That's it.


  • Don't assume [when that little voice in your head starts nasty conversations with people who annoy you, tell it to shut the hell up.]
  • Don't gossip
  • Don't hate
  • Don't take it personal
  • Realize you're not the only one having a bad day
  • Don't play the victim <- DON'T play the victim. 
  • Smile
  • Dance
  • Be Open


And don't assume I'll stick around if you're going to be like this with me. Save your guilt trips for someone else, I'm too busy dancing to pay attention.




Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Breaking up with Ohio




[please hit play]

Dear Ohio,

I'm sorry that it has had to come to this. I tried to be gracious and speak to you from my heart, but you're only hearing what you want to hear. You see California, you feel I'm making a mistake. You see California, and you're silently building your list of "I told you so" comments to use when I come crawling back to you - but here is the thing, Ohio - I'm not coming back. 

It's over. 

Yes, 35 years is a long time. I know that. I was there. We had some good times, hell we had some GREAT times, but we also had some really terrible times - grew apart - and became incompatible. You can see it, I know you can, but you're refusing to.

The old me would have thought that was sweet, but the new me sees it as a desperate attempt to revive a corpse that's been dead for over 4 months. It's not going to happen. You should have realized that when I up and move. You should have realized it when I chose to celebrate my birthday in Texas, rather than with you. You should have realized when I submitted my change of address forms and got the tags for my car.

How are you not surprised?

It was spoken of for nearly 10 years. There was warning. I gave you time. I gave you space, but here we are - again. So I'm done with the niceties. 

Its not me - it's you.
PLEASE move on. 
PLEASE leave me alone with California. We're happy! We have sunshine and blossoming flowers that smell like the most expensive perfume you can imagine. We have beaches and boardwalks. Surfers and farmers markets as far as the eye can see! We have vegan restaurants - ENTIRE restaurants, not just one side dish that is over cooked, for me to eat. (and in Silver Lake, there is an entire STREET of vegan goodness) I know that California isn't as rich as you are, but money isn't everything. I mean, just look at your school system... Remember when you starting point fingers, at least 3 are pointing back at you. 

The only thing you are showing me right now is how little you have actually ever cared about me, because if you did love me, even a long time ago, you would want me to succeed. You would be happy for me. You would be proud that I stood tall and made a decision, a hard decision, and moved forward with it.

Can't you see that?
Can't you even try to see past yourself to understand that this is me - happy?

This is the last time I'm saying this, Ohio. 

Good bye. 
I wish you luck in all that you do, but you have to do it without me, because I'm not coming back there.

I'm home. 
California is home.

Sincerely, 
Aryn



Monday, February 20, 2012

A Weekly Adventure Interview with Jo Treggiari


Introducing: Jo Treggiari

Jo Treggiari was born in London, England, and raised in Ottawa, Ontario, Roccasinibalda, Italy and California. Her first attempts at writing were when she started revising classic fairy tales at age eight. I met Jo, you guessed it, on Twitter!

After reading her tweets about the process and later, publication of Ashes, Ashes, I picked my own copy up, read it, passed on just how much I enjoyed it, and here we are now! 




Weekly Adventure: What is your genre of choice, and why? 


Jo Treggiari: I don't really have a genre of choice. I've written a middle-grade, boy-centric fantasy, a post-apocalyptic adventure YA. My latest WIPS include a punk rock contemporary, an urban adventure fantasy and a neo-gothic. Those are all YA and I like to think of them as having a common thread of adventure in them but that's the great thing about YA; it's so diverse and all-encompassing.


WA: Can you tell me more about Inkers - neo-gothic horror - and your other works in progress? 


JT: Inkers is personal the same way that Fierce (the punk rock book) is personal to me. I feel that the protagonist shares certain fears and insecurities that I had as teen though she reacts in a more proactive way (which I admire) to stresses in her life. It's also a mix of urban, contemporary with fantasy which I also find very appealing, and I truly got to write some scary shit. I'm hoping that if I don't get an agent with my 2 books on offer (I have a selkie fantasy as well) that I can go back out with Inkers and get someone.



WA: How many books have you published? (self or otherwise)

JT: I have two published books. The Curious Misadventures of Feltus Ovalton which was published by a small, indie press, and Ashes, Ashes which was published by Scholastic Press.


WA: Tell me about Ashes, Ashes.

JT: It's a post-apocalyptic adventure story set in a near-future New York City which has been ravaged by pandemic and global warming, and tells the tale of 16 year old Lucy, the sole survivor of her family who barely ekes out an existence in the wilds of what used to be Central Park until she is forced to join a survivor's settlement where new dangers await her.


WA: You've lived all over, I bet that is a wonderful thing to tap into while writing for both character development and location settings. Do you have any memories from childhood that have inspired events in any of your books?

JT: I think that most of my childhood memories somehow make it back into my writing. Funny how the older I get the harder it is to remember what happened last month but those first memories from childhood are still with me. There are more of them in my first book perhaps but Lucy's memory in Ashes, Ashes of climbing on the Alice statue in Central Park is one of mine. I'm very interested in what constitutes bravery and what makes people afraid and I drew on a lot of my own fears there. Then there are more pleasant scenes like the one where Lucy is picking beans with Grammalie Rose. I used experiences I had as a child with my Nonna in her garden.

I think it wouldn't have been possible to destroy NYC to the extent that I did without loving it so much. I'm glad you enjoyed that aspect of the book, though enjoyed may not be the right word.


WA: Where can I buy copies of your book? 


JT: It's available pretty much everywhere. 


WA: What are you reading right now? 


JT: I'm reading a few books at the same time (and rarely for me, they are not all YA)- The Warrior Queens by Antonia Fraser (non-fiction), Everlost by Neal Shusterman (YA), The Company: Portrait of a Muderer by Arabella Edge (adult) and The Book of Atrix Wolfe by Patricia McKillip (fantasy). 


WA: What keeps you going on those days when writing gets hard? (a favorite quote or a personal motto)  


JT: I am still surprised when I hit those rough bumps. They are inevitable even in a story that has been well-plotted and almost seems to write itself. I just need to remind myself to keep on until I get past it and that for me at least the first draft bears no resemblance to the revised manuscript I let my beta readers read. I put my head down and force my way through to the end and then go back and fix everything. I'm not saying I don't wallow in self-pity some days too but knowing that writing is hard work with the occasional golden day, actually helps me to keep going. Butt in chair is probably my favorite motto.


WA: What advice to you have for other writers out there? 



JT: Read. Persevere. Keep writing. And do it for the love of it.


WA: What cautions do you have? 



JT: Be prepared for everything and anything. Finding an agent, getting published; these are most writers' ultimate goals but once you've achieved them, it doesn't all  necessarily roll out from there in a perfect career path. I've had 2 agents leave the business and leave me stranded. I'm un-agented at the moment and having a hard time connecting with someone new. And my first publisher ended up being very shady; I haven't had a royalty statement from them in over 2 years.


WA: Do you work on more than one project at a time? 


JT: I'd like to and I have tried it in the past but it just doesn't work well for me. I end up with two patchy, half-finished manuscripts rather than being able to focus completely on one.

WA: Do you have a process? (outlining, character creation, location, etc)  


JT: I'm a pretty bad outliner but I do spend a lot of time thinking about my characters' back story and their personalities and making lots of notes. I spend almost as much time figuring out the story's setting. I have specific notebooks for each manuscript and I make sure to always have a pen and paper with me so that I can jot down ideas. I also have a story board near my desk with pictures related to whatever it is I'm working on for inspiration. And I generally know the beginning and ending of the book before I begin. It's the middle which is often only partially plotted. Once I have started writing, I tend to think a chapter or two in advance.

WA: Where do you get your ideas from? What/who inspires you? 

JT: Everything. Life. My past, my dreams, my hopes. Magic.


WA: If you could do it all over, is there anything you would change about finding an agent and finally publishing? 

JT: You know I haven't had an easy time but I wouldn't change a thing (except maybe make the process of finding my 3rd agent a little easier than it is proving to be). I've learned so much from the upheavals and twisty turns of the publishing business. I think to be an author in today's climate you have to be tough and everything I've experienced has toughened me up. That being said, sometimes I wish I could just ignore all of it and merely focus on writing stories.

WA: What has been your toughest criticism? What has been your greatest compliment? 


JT: My skin is much tougher than it used to be. I welcome constructive criticism especially from agents and editors- those are real gifts- but everyone has an opinion and there are some people out there who delight in being as cruel as they can be. I think you have to experience it and let it wound you before you can move on and learn how to let it roll off your back. My greatest compliment and joy has been from other YA authors; I've found it to be such a supportive, nurturing community, and from fans of my books.

WA: Who is your greatest influence(s)?


JT: I have so many. From my mother to my son and daughter and sister. I am continually inspired by other writers and there are many I aspire to someday be half as good as.

WA: Who are your favorite people to follow on Twitter & why? (authors, non-authors) 

JT: You always post great links (@weeklyadventure); also  author Sarah Darer Littman (@SarahDarerLitt), @HarleyMaywrites is freaking hilarious, author @Olegbemisola is wonderful, and authors @cherylrainfield, @dpeterfreund, @stacy_kramer always have something to say about the process of writing; all the book bloggers, and booksellers. Oh and I follow actor Simon "Shaun of the Dead"  Pegg.

WA: I LOVE Simon Pegg, he's one of my favorites to follow too, so is Nick Frost

WA: Do you have any other passions besides writing? 


JT: Hiking, baking, lego, my kids, travel, knitting on and off and I'm learning how to hook rugs, painting, photography, nature, sharks.


WA: When did you know you wanted to write? 



JT: I started writing little stories to entertain my younger sister when I was about 8.

WA: Do you have a day job? 


JT: Yes. I write resumes for people who can't write their own.

WA: Final question, why do you write? 


JT: Because otherwise I would implode. Or explode. Because there is no greater joy for me than finding the right words and getting a story down on paper. 


---


In Jo's Words:



"I was born in London, England but grew up in Canada, Roccasinibalda, Italy and California.
I used to work in the music industry and eventually owned my own indie record label. The first CD we ever put out was by a gangsta rap group. We also did alt rock and punk.
I have trained as a boxer. I could have been a contender. (Not really).
I started writing stories for my little sister when I was about 8. Often I would rework fairytales so that the princesses had a little more grit. Then I would write them out on white paper, roll them up and tie with a red ribbon. Later on in high school I penned personalized naughty limericks by request. I love dogs, crows, and octopi. I blog. And I enjoy baking desserts.
I've just finished a neo-gothic horror YA called Inkers which was the most fun I've ever had writing."

---



You can follow Jo Treggiari on Facebook and Twitter. Copies of Ashes, Ashes are available in hardcover and for the kindle, as is The Curious Misadventures of Feltus Ovalton.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

f it all away


f this mess
this stupid life
this moment of discontent
f the chores
the sickness
the face that won't heal at all
f it all to hell

tell it to get up 
tell it to go away
tell it to leave me the f alone
tell it i'm busy
tell it i can't stay

f it all
f it all

f the seconds of cries
that turns into hours and hours
f the helpless feeling
the doubts
helpless
hapless 
handcuffed jinx

f the allergies
f the restriction
f the asthmas of the world

don't make me beg
don't make me plead
don't make me wonder 
don't

i said don't 

f this mess
f my mess
f your mess too
f it all away

and let me be

with my words
and my books
and my music
and my rhythms
and my sleep
and my dreams
and my pancakes
my boys

f
f
f
f
f it 
f this stupid mess
f it
f it all away

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I think my head exploded...


To say there has been a lot on my mind lately would be putting it very mildly. Between my son being sick, trying to get to the DMV for new plates and a new licence, rewriting the opening of The Hope Saints (for the 5th time), trying to figure out how to write a query and not manage to throw myself off the Hollywood sign in an over dramatic - yet somehow an extreme poetic gesture, added to the normal BS of life that goes to the rhythm of bills, and jobs, and bills - oh my - I am, in fact, extremely tired. (oh, and yoga, how could I forget yoga?)

Seriously, how could I EVER forget yoga these days? From the beginning of 2012 it's been a non stop slew of controversy - which is terribly NON-yogic, but what are you going to do? Honestly, I'm going to be annoyed because if there is one thing I can't stand its drama, and another is people who miss the point of yoga. It's simple - asana (the postures) help you clear out the mind, because when you're not sitting on your butt, obsessing over all the crap in life you can't control - you're life becomes extremely easier and much better. It's that simple. The end. If you decided to become a yoga instructor to do anything other than help people, you missed the point. If you want to be the next big "yoga celebrity," I'm sorry for you because messing with other people lives because of your vanity and need of attention is deplorable.

And since I'm on topics of things that annoy me - PETA. <- they annoy the mother FREAKING hell out of me. Because an extremist, is an extremist, is an extremist, and their latest "If you strip down to nothing and promote yourself like an easy ass hoe." Is not only annoying, it's dumb. Oh ye who have such little faith in humanity that you feel you need to create such ridiculous propaganda...

Remember world! What comes out of OUR mouths is a direct reflection of US, not of the people we are talking TOO or (gulp) GOSSIPING about...

Here's the link to the "My boyfriend turned Vegan and F* me so hard, I needed a neck brace" article and video. Doesn't PETA know that neck brace sex is, like, SO '01?
Seriously, how many articles out there have been written by physicians about the links of diet to ED (erectile dysfunction disorder)? Here's one! Annnnnd... ANOTHER ONE! I could do this all day... but I won't because I have other things to do.

But life doesn't stop for stupid.
Well, life shouldn't stop for stupid - but still, people keep watching The Jersey Shore...

My writing life is... I don't know what my writing life is.
I'm at this point I want to print up a copy of my book, lite it on fire and throw it in the ocean. (But I can't, for environmental reasons... I'll have to purchase a metal trash can for this event and even then I'll have to find a purpose for the ash of the book, thus supporting a green lifestyle.) Forcing everyone I've ever known and loved to sign legal forms that forbid them from mentioning the name, "The Hope Saints" and then opening a small coffee shop that sells, tofu and chickpea salad sandwiches along with the perfect cappuccino. I will read the newspaper (on my tablet because killing trees is so, like, 20th century) and close for an hour in the afternoon when I pick my beautiful child up from school, bring him back to the shop, where he will do his home work before I close at 6pm and then take him to his father so I can go back  and teach a few evening yoga classes to my beautiful clientele. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful indeed.

Can you tell I've thought about this a few times recently?
Wanna see the building I picked out?
I'm not joking...

My husband said, "You maybe be frustrated, but at least you're not giving up!"


And there is the problem with my whole new business of a yoga studio / vegan coffee way of life- I'm not giving up on this STUPID ASS BOOK THAT IS TRYING TO KILL ME!! Kill me... and not softly either - like BLOWING UP BOMBS in my FACE kill me. But I'm not giving up. With an over active imagination like mine, what else can I do but write? Hey Universe - WHAT ELSE CAN I DO BUT WRITE?!!

TALK TO ME GOOSE! TALK TO ME!



This is what happens to me when my sleep levels are at a low and I'm cold and my throat hurts and sickness is covering my house like a shroud of turin - can you see it? My plight? Just hold the shroud up and if  you squint a little... yup! It's right there! Mass hysteria mingled with low self-esteemed sleep deprived paranoia.

I need a brownie.

Sigh... so I'm breathing... breathing... breathing....
In with the goooooooddddddd [inhale]
out with the bbbaaadddddddddd [exhale]

In with the goooooooddddddd [inhale]
out with the bbbaaadddddddddd [exhale]

I hate having a cluttered mind. It messes me up and makes me lose focus of what important in life. I lose site of my goals and can't seem to hear/feel my gut. It's the worse feeling in the world. 



and it makes me post too many photos on my blog...

I suppose I should put a sock in it.
It's time for lunch, and then this afternoon... Well, I need to write. HA!

Will there be no end to this lunacy? Probably not...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

runaway

some times I feel the only thing to do
is to run away because honestly
what the hell am I trying to prove
and who the hell am I trying to prove it to

running away
sounds nice

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Sweet Valentine MeMe



1.Are you single or taken?
I'm married.

2. Chocolate or flowers?
If one would buy me a vegan chocolate rose, that would be divine! 

3. Will you do anything special for Valentines Day?
No. Never do. 

4. Were you dating anyone last Valentines?
Haven't dated in years.

5. Who do you want to spend Valentines with?
Michael from Nikita, but he'd probably have me cancelled, or worse...

6. Have you ever had a secret admirer?
Can't say I have, even though I've openly asked for one. Seems that's not "how it works" whatever that means... but seriously... I'm all for it universe! Flowers! Candies! Love notes that make my husband a wee bit jealous! Is it much to ask for? ...ok... fine... maybe it IS a bit much... but I'd still like the chocolates... 

7. Would you ever write someone a love letter?
I have! I've even written someone a few love novelettes, because I'm a writer. 


8. Do you believe in Cupid?
Do I believe Cupid exists, or am I a friend of Cupid and believe in him and his ability to shoot people with "love" arrows? Because the answer to both is no. 

9. Do you like candy hearts?
I like salty people and heart shaped butts. (not what you meant, is it?)

10. Have you ever been dumped on Valentines?
I've been dumped one time and I don't even count it, but I like to bring it up because the guy who kicked my butt to the curb reads my blog ;) teeheehee... so no. I haven't been dumped on Valentines day or any other holiday (including my birthday and arbor day) because I've the dumper, not the dumpee. GO COMMITMENT ISSUES!! (of yesteryear)

11. How many roses would you want?
4 dozen white roses mixed with a decent amount of white cala lilies. 


Monday, February 6, 2012

A Weekly Adventure Interview with Gae Polisner



Introducing: Gae Polisner


Gae Polisner is a wife, mother and family law attorney/mediator by trade, but a writer by calling and someone I consider a friend. A Twitter buddy that I met through my husband (@ChrisYoungless), Gae Polisner wrote one of my favorite books of 2011, The Pull of Gravity. The story of a young boy dealing with life, love and loss, with the help of a friend named Jaycee and the wisdom of both Steinbeck and Yoda. [The Pull of Gravity book trailer]

Without further adieu, here is my interview with the lovely Gae Polisner. 


Weekly Adventure: What is your genre of choice, and why?

Gae Polisner: I write what I love, namely realistic fiction. I like to relate first-hand to the stories I write and read. Which is not to say that, once in a while, I don’t like to be swept away to some place new and different that is beyond my immediate comprehension, but for me the first thing that keeps me turning pages is the sense that I’m reading about people I might meet or know in an almost voyeuristic way.  That the story has an actual bearing on my real life and might give me new insights or change the way I previously viewed things.  I love to wonder what is true in a story – ripped from real life -- and what is made of whole cloth, rather than knowing it’s all made-up. And I love when people are guessing that about my stories.





WA: When you put it like that I have to ask, were there any parts of TPoG that were pulled from your life? 

GP: Little things here and there, but that's what I love so much about writing my YA books. They're really made up from whole cloth right down to the characters. There's a little bit of each of my boys in Nick, but he's really not either of them. Jaycee is a little "me" from high school, but more who I wish I could have been then who I was brave enough to be. And a few little facts -- like Nick's high fevers with hallucinations. I got those when I was a kid as did my younger son. Little things like that. But that story is wholly fiction. 


WA: How many books have you published? (self or otherwise)

GP: I wrote 2+ other manuscripts (they were women’s fiction that my agent loved) before TPoG, but they never got a taker. TPoG was my third manuscript and my first sale. And, so far, my only sale. As I write this, my next YA book is out on submission. And, no, it’s no less nerve wracking the second time around. Wish I could tell you otherwise.


WA: Would you like to share anything about your second YA book, or is it a surprise?


GP: It seems the biggest surprise is whether it will ever get published. *sigh* It's called Frankie Sky. Here's the write-up from my agent's Newsletter:
"Ever since Francesca Schnell’s brother Simon drowned four years ago, she has played second fiddle – to her best friend Lisette, a blossoming blond bombshell; and worse, to her dead brother’s memory. After Francesca sees her father in the arms of the sultry woman who lives across the street while her mother is busy burying herself at the Drowning Foundation, Francesca tails the woman to the local, exclusive country club, where she meets Frankie Sky, a fearless 3-year-old boy with a hole in his heart. Hired by Frankie’s frazzled mother to keep her little boy in check, Francesca gets caught up in a whirlwind that, for the first time since her brother’s death, lifts her literally and metaphorically from the dark she’s known for too long into the sunlit world of summer. But is Frankie just an ordinary boy, or as she’s beginning to suspect, could he be the reincarnation of her dead brother? And if he’s only the former, who will protect Francesca when stepping out of the shadows carries with it the risk of losing everything that matters to her most? Frankie Sky is Gae Polisner‘s stunning follow-up to her debut The Pull of Gravity, a consideration of the darkest moments of tragedy and how sometimes, if we’re lucky, we can learn to recover and rediscover life’s beautiful potential. Jim McCarthy is the agent on this project."
GP: I think it's a beautiful book. I hope it gets picked up. Like in The Pull of Gravity, in Frankie Sky, the characters are not based on me or anyone I really know. Having said that, as a teen and into college, I always worked as a mother's helper and always for boys, and I loved those boys as if they were my own. The kids I took care of made a big impact on me and I was good at it. It was a rewarding part of my life.

WA: Tell me about The Pull of Gravity and what inspired you to write it?

GP: At the end of 2008, I was in my tenth or so year of writing women’s fiction but had always wanted to write a middle grade or young adult novel. My boys were about 10 and 12 then, and I still read aloud to them every night. We read voraciously, and they really only liked realistic fiction – no sci-fy, no magic, which ruled out typical “boy-friendly” books like Harry Potter. We loved books like, Because of Winn Dixie (or anything by Kate DiCamillo) and Walk Two Moons (Sharon Creech), but the older they got, the more they wanted stories to feature male main characters and those got harder to find outside of genre stories. Of course, we found some gems, like K.L. Going’s The Liberation of Gabriel King, but, more often than not, the MC was a girl. So I decided to write one for them. I wanted it to be character driven, and for them to relate to the main character – for him to be an every boy that any adolescent male could relate to. That’s what set me on the path.

As for what it’s about, the quick elevator pitch for TPoG is “armed with the wisdom of Yoda and a rare, first-edition copy of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, two teens set off on a whirlwind, secret road trip to keep a promise to their dying friend.” But, ultimately, the story is about Nick Gardner, whose life is a mess – if an “ordinary” mess: older brother’s a jerk, parents fighting, school boring. Problems, but relatable ones. Then I added in an extraordinary one – that his best friend was dying of a freak disease. That was what the story would need to Nick out of his comfort zone. To be the impetus for Nick to want to change. That – and the story – ironically came alive with The Scoot. And, of course, what’s reality without a little longing and first-love, so I brought Jaycee Amato into the mix, a quirky, bold and even somewhat mysterious girl who eggs Nick on to be bigger and braver than he normally is. And, voila, The Pull of Gravity. J


WA: Do you have a blog?

GP: I do. I actually have two, because one isn’t tough enough to keep up. *rolls eyes*
The first, my YA-friendly blog, is called That Wee Bit Heap (10 pts if anyone knows the reference – no Googling!) where I post lots of writing and book related stuff, and the second is my women’s fiction blog, Trying to Stay Afloat in a Sea of Words, where I post more musings about my grown up life – whether it be writing, marriage and parenting, or my other love, swimming and anything related to water.


WA: What are you reading right now?

GP: As always, I’m reading three books at once, maybe more. I’m reading my friend Jeff’s short story collection called Voices in the Field (creepy and disturbing but good!), a friend’s manuscript, which is taking me way too long and she probably hates me by now) and I just started an amazing YA called Something Like Hope, by Shawn Goodman.


WA: What keeps you going on those days when writing gets hard? (a favorite quote or a personal motto)

GP: The two things that keep me going the most are (1) the personal connection with readers – especially the teens who are truly affected by my book, e.g. the few who have told me that they never read or at least never liked to read before they picked up TPoG. That inspires me to try to do it again. And, (2)  my boys. I want to leave them stories they can share with their kids and I also want to teach them that you have to fight through the rejection, the lethargy and all the other hard parts.


WA: What advice to you have for other writers out there?

GP: That it takes three things to succeed in this crazy biz and they are all intertwined: skill, perseverance and luck. You have to keep honing your skills and desiring to be better, you have to keep putting your work out there (at the risk of repeated rejection) and you have to get lucky and connect with the reader (agent, editor, reader) who relates to your voice and your story. Sometimes, it takes a lot of tries to get there. And even when you’re published, you will connect with some and move some, and you will not with others. Art is subjective.


WA: Do you work on more than one project at a time?

GP: Not always. Sometimes, I start on new ideas that are swimming in my brain because until I do, they’ll keep tugging at my focus. But once I get grounded in a manuscript, I will eschew the other ones I’m dabbling in for that one.


WA: Do you have a process? (outlining, character creation, location inspiration)

GP: No. How nice would that be, though? ;)


WA: If you could do it all over, is there anything you would change about finding an agent and finally publishing?

GP: Oh, gosh, yes. A thousand things (though NOT my editor. She is one of the best things that ever happened to me). I’m actually on my third agent. Long, boring stories not for here (suffice it to say, agents are like shoes or therapists – sometimes it takes a few tries to find the right fit). I’m really thrilled and honored to be represented by the one I have now.  I have a feeling third time is the charm. J

I also would just handle my publication, and some of the disappointments that came with it, more gracefully and with less angst, I suppose. But isn’t all of life like that? We learn as we go, and we keep trying to do better? I know I am.


WA: What has been your toughest criticism? What has been your greatest compliment?

GP: As for the toughest criticism, you mean besides my older son who told me, ‘how bout I write something interesting like a political thriller or murder mystery like Devil in the White City? (He’s 16 now, and apparently has changed his reading taste).  ;)

I really haven’t had tough criticism, per se.  Of course, there are a few 1-star and 2-star reviews (like the reader who said my book put her to sleep, but, hey, maybe she was exhausted and I did a good deed?), but I’ve mostly had really positive reviews both from readers and from the editorial reviewers.

And, as I’ve told the writers who ask me how I deal with those harsher reviews, it’s almost the case that I like them. Without them, I’d think everyone was just blowing smoke up my a**. But with them, I believe that stranger readers DO feel the ability to be honest, and so it allows me to believe the glowing ones too.

My greatest compliments are probably my Nerdy Award (given by educators), the teachers who have brought the book into their classrooms across the country, and teen male readers who tell me they *had* to read TPoG for school and didn’t want to, then couldn’t put it down. And that still interact with me on twitter or my facebook author page. That is totally rewarding.


WA: Who is your greatest influence(s)

GP: Writing-wise, the one person who probably made me want to write the most is William Goldman. I’d die to be able to weave a story together like he can, pulling character after seemingly-random character in, then tying them all together in startling and surprising ways. The way he draws you into a story. His early fiction was amazing – Boys and Girls Together, The Color of Light. . . but that was early on, and I’ll never achieve what he can do. It’s okay. J Now, I’m inspired by my friends and colleagues who write gorgeous books with strong, unique voices, that I strive to even come close to, from Geoff Herbach (Stupid Fast) and Arlaina Tibensky (And Then Things Fall Apart) to Francisco X. Stork (Marcelo in the Real World). Women’s fiction wise, oh to be able to write like Nicole Krauss (The History of Love).


WA: Do you have any other passions besides writing?

GP: Yes, swimming. In a blog post I recently wrote this about swimming, “my family fills me, my writing sustains me, but my swimming saves me.” If you want to read more about my swimming, check out my Staying Afloat blog.


WA: Do you have a day job?

GP: Not really a day job because it’s part time and often in the evenings or weekends at this point, and I keep my own hours, but, yes, I have a job that pays the bills better than writing does. I’m a divorce attorney, but limited my practice to mediation more than a decade ago. I love the challenge and intimacy of mediation, and the fact that I am able to actually help people get through a bad transition better than they otherwise would if they went the traditional route of litigation.


WA: Final question, why do you write?

GP: I know a lot of people say they write because they have to and I should say that too, but I’m not sure if it’s true.

I write because I love to, because I’ve always wanted to, because it excites me to put words together in a way that moves someone, because I think I’m good at it, and because I want to create something lasting for my kids and to leave the world.

Plus, I guess, now that I think about it, sometimes I have to. ;)


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In Gae's Words:



"I have written since the time I was little -- poems and short stories mostly, through college. Then, I went to law school and, for over a decade, replaced all that creative writing with legal briefs and agreements. But after my sons were born, I decided to return to my first love. I like to think my novels are accessible, lyrical (somewhat literary) fiction – and my young adult stories, an homage to the character-driven fiction I loved as a child and teen (anything by E.L. Konigsburg, Paul Zindel, Judy Blume. . .)The Pull of Gravity has a special “secret” nod to the first novel I couldn’t put down –Don't Take Teddy, by Babbis Friis-Baastad. To this day, I remember the feeling of frantically turning pages to find out if the brothers would be okay. If any of you ever read that book, please send me an email!



As for my personal stuff, I live on Long Island with my two amazing boys, my handsome, smart husband who sings, and two very enthusiastic cockatiels. When I’m not writing, I’m still a practicing family law attorney/mediator, and when I’m not doing that, I’m swimming, either in a pool or, on a nice day May - December, out in the Long Island Sound."

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Besides Gae Polisner's Blogs: 
That Wee Bit Heap & Trying to Stay Afloat in a Sea of Words, you can find her both on Facebook & Twitter.


The Pull of Gravity is available both in Hardcover & for the Kindle (paperback coming soon!)