A List of Lists (I am so meta)

Things that will almost always make me pick up a book, even if I know nothing at all about it:
1) autistic narrators
2) freak shows (or carnivals in general)
3) circuses
4) cults of any kind 

Songs I can never listen to again because I associate them with traumatic experiences:

1) “Drops of Jupiter,” Train
2) “Sing,” The Dresden Dolls
3) “Truly, Madly, Deeply,” Savage Garden
4) “Fire and Rain,” James Taylor
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The Editor: a metamorphosis


meta1 The mystical and elusive editorWhen you’re an un-agented writer, The Editor seems like a mythical creature—a phoenix, a unicorn, a Great White Whale. People talk about them all the time—often in excited whispers—so it seems likely that they exist. But you’ve never seen one in its natural habitat, so they remain shrouded in mystery. What’s the best way to catch one? Should you wear virginal white and a crown of flowers and lurk very quietly on the fringes of BEA, waiting for one to emerge and lay its head in your lap? Do you need some sort of special net, woven in the wilds of Siberia while Tuvan throat singers chant prayers for your literary greatness? You wait and watch as your fellow writers go off into the wild and return home triumphant, editors in tow. But the details of those quests are always fuzzy. Eventually, you learn that The Editor reveals itself only to agents. This is a bit of a relief—like most people, you look terrible in virginal white. [Read more…]

In which I happily leave my twenties behind

Well, friends, it’s official—as of this past Saturday, I am no longer a twenty-something. And I have to tell you… it feels awesome.

HagAlison at 30Five-year-old me thought I’d be a vet at age thirty. I intended to have a whole bunch of pet cats, and—bizarrely—a pet lamb. (It’s not like I grew up on a farm, so I’m not sure where this idea came from.) I wanted to be married and have children of my own. I probably assumed I’d live in the house next door to my parents in Evanston, Illinois.

Ten-year-old me thought I’d be writing and illustrating children’s books at age thirty. (Strangely enough, this is the closest I ever came to correctly predicting the course of my life. Well done, fifth grade Alison. If I’d only listened to you, I could have saved myself a great deal of time and anguish.) I still wanted a husband and children. [Read more…]