Saturday, 12 January 2013
Friday, 11 January 2013
Two years in the dream job. It has flown by and crawled past simultaneously Previous to moving to Melbourne and making YA the "career", I was teaching in Adelaide (and Japan) and book blogging in every second of non-working time I had. It still seems incredible to me that blogging opened up so many doors to people, places and organisations that I otherwise would have been a stranger to. I feel incredibly blessed, and proud.
So what have I achieved in the past two years outside of sorely neglecting my blog?
Let's see shall we:
- I moved to Melbourne and started working within 24 hours.
- Worked alongside the lovely Pam, Lili and Cordelia as they all finished up with CYL.
- Launched the redeveloped teen reading and review website insideadog
- Questioned whether I should change my twitter handle to something more professional
- Headed to Sydney to meet all the publishers and lit organisations doing tremendous work
- Was invited to speak at the CBCA-NSW branch's Claytons. My six book choices were all on the notables list with 3 in the shortlist, not bad.
- Met Shaun Tan shortly after his Oscar and Astred Lindgren win
- Gotten familiar (by getting lost) with the State Library of Victoria my home away from home and it's bountiful treasures and beautiful spaces.
- Presented my first "book talk" to an audience.....and then many, many, many more. (Year nine students are the hardest audience by far.)
- I moved again.
- Organised, MCed and loved the 2011 Reading Matters conference. Highlight: chairing a session with Melina Marchetta, Cassandra Clare and Markus Zusak....which was my first panel ever...in front of 400 people. No pressure.
- Undertaken my first Inky awards.
- Spent a week driving Melina Marchetta and Liz Honey on regional tour where they taught writing and watercolour workshops that I (sometimes) got to participate in :)
- Chaired 2011 Melbourne Writers Festival sessions with Maggie Stiefvater, Penny Tangey, Oliver Phommavahn, Sally Rippin and Gabrielle Wang.
- Still worrying about twitter handle.
- Became a Mac person
- Spoke on the Emerging Writers' Festival on the genre of YA alongside Tim Pegler, Fiona Wood and Andrew McDonald. (I also attended my first EWF event to hear Stephanie Laurens speak and then promptly became ridiculously embarrassed when asking her to sign my book.)
- Was joined by the fabulous and oh so very geeky Jordi at CYL!
- Met Margo Lanagan for the first time....fell into a crush.
- Spent what would be my first and last afternoon at Dromkeen.
- Had my team swell in numbers with the addition of the lovely Liz and Nicole.
- I moved again.
- Celebrated the 21st anniversary of the Centre for Youth Literature and met David Levithan for the first time. He was lovely (yes, that word crops up a lot). He also made me a playlist. It's a treasured item.
- Was a bridesmaid at my sister's wedding.
- Saw the first (hopefully not the last) Wordage festival be a raging success with authors Kirsty Eagar, Doug McLeod and Gabrielle Williams. Also our first collaboration with Geelong Regional Libraries.
- Hosted EWF's Fright Night in the Library's Queen's Hall.
- Guested on Midsumma, Bayside Literary Festival and numerous other awesome literary events.
- Became an iPad person
- Attended my first CBCA conference.
- Wrote numerous grant submissions and acquittals.
- Received an email from Judy Blume.
- Chaired a number of sessions for the 2012 Melbourne Writers Festival with Melina Marchetta, Linda Sue Park, Oliver Phommavahn, Julia Lawrinson, Vikki Wakefield and Fiona Scott-Norman.
- Read an ms that I am very excited to see released in 2013.
- Wrote for Bookseller and Publisher, The Age, Newswrite, Off The Shelf and many blogs.
- Started organising the 2013 Reading Matters conference.
- Hit the road with Bernard Caleo and Heath to present on graphic novels to regional students. Had a ball and invented graphic novel speed dating for year fives.
- Read 'Perks of Being a Wallflower' for the first time and was immediately hard on myself for not doing so earlier.
- Said farewell to manager Paula and greeted a new one, Anna.
- Presented at the YA Literature Symposium on Australian YA in the United States. Met David Levithan again...got a hug. Met many lovely people who were so incredible enthused about my country and its amazing YA.
- FINALLY met Capillya. Loved her immediately. Sadly said farewell.
- Attended YALLFest in Charleston and met two authors I was dying to meet - Stephanie Perkins and Siobhan Vivian. Reunited with Gayle Forman (after meeting her in NYC in 2010) and Cassandra Clare (from Reading Matters). Met David Levithan again...another hug (I am probably rubbing it in at this point.)
- Spent the day with the exceedingly generous author Alexa Young seeing the sights on LA.
- Continue to stir many pots.
It has been a bit of a blur but it was great for me to write down everything I can remember. I am pretty positive that I have forgotten something though. Regardless I am very happy to be living in my sleepy seaside suburb of very crap public transport and to be working with such hard working, good humoured and passionate individuals inside of CYL and my division as a whole. It's been amazing.
So if you're wondering why I don't blog it is because I am doing everything that I've listed and more. But I couldn't do any of it without our team and my friends. I am very fortunate.
In celebration of two years at CYL and four years of Persnickety Snark (blogiversary was this week too), the Snark will be getting a facelift. It will look pretty, fresh and help me keep my goal of blogging throughout 2013.
In the meantime you can catch some of my recent bits and piece on these links:
Sunday, 6 January 2013
Melina Marchetta's On the Jellicoe Road has one of the best first kisses...in my humble opinion:
"When I turn around, he cups my face in his hands and he kisses me so deeply that I don't know who is breathing for who, but his mouth and tongue taste like warm honey. I don't know how long it lasts, but when I let go of him, I miss it already."This works because the rest of their relationship is push and pull, hard layers and sharp corners.
I do love Marchetta's depiction of Will and Frankie's first kiss in Saving Francesca too - not often is their romance and there aren't many situations less romantic than a teen party.
"And he's coming closer and closer and the way he's looking at me makes me think that I'm going to have the most romantic night in the history of my life. I open my mouth to say something and he sticks his tongue down my throat.
We're in a corner, pashing, and I don't know what's got me to this point. A look in the corridor? A flirt outside my nonna's house? All I know is that no one exists around us. I don't know whether we're kissing for five minutes or five hours and my mouth feels bruised, but I can't let go."
See? She's darned good. But it works because of everything else that is built around it. A kissing scene or sex scene is just something hollow without significant character work. Frankie's closing line? "Do that sober and I'll be impressed." I adore the chutzpah.
I wrote about a few other favourites from YA back in 2010.
After a brief mention of Everwood via a Parks and Recreation mention on twitter I found myself plummeting down the youtube spiral that is Bright and Hannah. One of the best first kisses and representations of the opposites attract trope. Don't believe me...watch P&R's Chris Pratt and Grey's Anatomy's Sarah Drew...love.
For some reason or another I watched all nine seasons of One Tree Hill. I won't pretend it was good by any stretch of the imagination but I just loved Bethany Joy Lenz who played Haley and thus her relationship with Nathan. Another example of the nerdy girl and jock type...seeing a pattern? The first season did a somewhat good job of establishing this relationship and then ended with them getting married at 16....which led to a baby AT graduation. I wish I were kidding.
I am a huge fan of Teen Wolf because I want to see a 'ship occur that the producer's constantly tease...that of Derek and Stiles. Regardless of whether this happens or not, it's a lot of fun for the cast and the audience.
A huge amount of the previous two 'ships is the anticipation. Not the act itself. Whether it be Logan's epic love story speech in season 2, or Stiles using Derek's hotness to nab a favour...it's tremendously entertaining while also tugging on the heartstrings, or funny bone.
A personal favourite from my personal teen years is the Dawson's Creek Joey/Pacey kiss from season 3 where everyone could say FINALLY! It worked because the writers committed to a whole season worth of friendship lead up that paved the way for the relationship. It wasn't purely based on attraction or chemistry (which there was plenty) but also friendship.
I have never been a huge fan of the love at first sight plot device (in fact I wrote a whole discussion on it) as it's usually lazy, uninspired and mining well established tropes into dust. Like I state in my linked post, it's never about a personal connection that is conveyed, it's always one that is stated over and over again until the audience is swayed (or not) into thinking it's true.
The humour, the earnestness and the scoring (oh my brilliant) of this Felicity and Ben scene is tremendous. After season of Felicity stalking Ben and then becoming friends, there's this moment of Ben's charm-pow.
The sound of the chair scraping back and the speed of his movement is unlike anything I've seen before or since. Adore it...and his lisp.
Who do you think writes great romance (as opposed to lust) in YA or in television featuring young adults?