FaN Notes and Writing Pad Event [Week 2 of 2011]

Hello Dearest!

Before we get into our fantastic week at Fierce and Nerdy, I just wanted to reminded you that I’ll be talking AND signing books TONIGHT at this Writing Pad event, along with Janelle Brown (ALL WE EVER WANTED IS EVERYTHING), Attica Locke (BLACK WATER RISING) and Ron Koertge (STONER AND SPAZ). So do come through if you want some inspiration for starting or finishing your novel this year. Okay, that’s all done, now on to the good stuff.

1. Kelli, I don’t think that the world has become more rude, just more crowded. I’m sure the folks at the first World’s Fair in St. Louis felt just as overwhelmed as you in Ikea. I would, however, argue that folks have gotten more impatient. I remember carts getting left in the middle of aisles when I was a kid. But now it drives me crazy, because I’m in a go-go-go rush. The result being that the world is no ruder than when I was younger (and as a Black American, I would have to argue that it is actually way more polite), but I am sadly more impatient with it. [Fierce in Seattle: Rude!]

Are these hidden animal tea cups creepy or clever? Click on the pic to weigh in!

2. It feels like Amy Brown reads a translated northern European murder mystery like every other day. It made me realize that I need to start reading more translated literature from other countries my own dang self. There’s so much good stuff out there! [Book Simple: In Avoidance of Classics [Last Nite a Murder Mystery Saved My Life]

3. Weirdly enough, I’m almost always in agreement with our resident contrarian. But Joe Rusin and I are very much on the opposite side of the resolution-making fence this week. While he argues that it’s self-serving and gets you the praise of your intention before it’s truly deserved, I would argue that, for me at least, not writing your resolution down or saying it out loud is a cop out. I’ve at least a hundred good resolutions that have died because I haven’t spoken them out loud or written them down. Secret resolutions in my opinion are like novels in dresser drawers. Do they really exist if they have no oxygen to sustain them? Declare your intentions I say, make yourself accountable to yourself and other people. I think folks get upset because they see not completing their resolution for what it actually is, a failure. But failure is a good thing. You can learn from failure, come back from failure, try again with failure — failure sets the stage for all sorts of great things. However, the not declaring, which I put on par with not really trying, is a non-starter. Every great journey starts with the out-loud declaration of “I’m going to go there.” And I often wonder if those who don’t make resolutions are afraid of disappointment/failure, hoping to accidentally succeed when a firm written or declared action plan would serve them better. [On the Contrary: Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions to Yourself]

4. I find Gudrun’s concept of being the foreign girl in the office fascinating. It also makes me feel rather unbrave, because though I’ve traveled widely, I’ve never truly been outside my comfort zone of English. Maybe next lifetime… [Secret Life of an Expat: The Foreign Girl]

5. I suppose it’s my week to be resident contrarian — sorry Joe. Unlike Amy Robinson, I never ever give money to panhandlers. It makes me feel guilty to do so, b/c ┬áin this era of severe budget cuts, that’s probably money better donated to programs that provide services for the homeless, the mentally ill, and drug addicts. Also with food prices going up, food banks need all the help they can get. The dollar I give to a panhandler, so that he can maybe buy food will be used way more efficiently by a food bank non-profit. I only worked at a non-profit (the United Jewish Federation in Pittsburgh) for a year , but I saw what a difference a good one can make, and sadly, non-profits are truly suffering during the recession. [Tall Drink of Nerd: To Err on the Side of Kindness]

What’s really funny is that my husband absolutely refuses to make New Year’s resolutions, gives money to panhandlers with a well-spun story, and often has to be reminded that the person driving super slow in front of him isn’t rude, but probably lost — calm down, honey. So though I disagree, I obviously find something endearing about the folks who think this way.