December 30th, 2006

A look back

In 2006, I:
- joined Weight Watchers and managed to end the year weighing about 2 pounds less than I began.
- saw my friend Barbara who survived a second liver transplant.
- started an LJ!
- was in the Pediatric ICU unit with my 5-year-old nephew after he had a 15-minute grand mal seizure. Then the monitors went crazy and nobody came and nobody came, despite the siren whoop and us pressing the call button. I thought he was going to die right there in front of his parents. He didn't. Despite VNS implants, he and his sister still have seizures, but perhaps not as bad.
- managed to completely re-write two books in six weeks, one from first to third and one from third to first.
- wrote my first middle grade book, although it hasn't yet sold.
- had my first YA - Shock Point - come out, and got my first taste of the YA world, where reviews can happen months after the fact.
- pitched a YA review column to the Oregonian, and am now having to live with the fact that I have to do it.
- saw five people leave my department, three of them involuntarily, two of them good friends. And have another reorg to look forward to in 2007.
- watched kid successfully transition from elementary to middle school, and watched kid also clearly become more adult than child.
- pitched an article to The Writer and got the green light five months later.
- tried to believe that I am internationally published author, because even though I now have books published in Dutch, German, French and Japanese, it still feels like I'm a fake or they don't really count.
- learned Shock Point was on the Tayshas list in Texas, which is a big deal.
- spoke to several groups of kids, including three sets of 90 kids each crammed into a tiny library, sitting on the floor, primed to giggle and whisper - and held their attention!
- learned about a very exciting possibility that should bear fruit in 2007.
- pitched to speak at the SCWBI meeting in February, and got turned down.
- had my agent say my next YA is my best ever.
- watched my mom fall in love for the first time at 71 (my mom loved my dad, but never fell in love with him). And watched her survive the guy not loving her in the same way back - and she kept her joy! And stayed friends!
- learned my friend Barbara is back in the hospital waiting for a third liver.



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Doug Coupland

Today is the birthday of Doug Coupland. He looks kind of grizzled - hard to believe he is younger than me. And a lot more influential. He coined the term Generation X.

Writer's Almanac says, "Coupland started off as a sculptor, working with wood and fiberglass, earning his degree in studio sculpture in 1984. He did all kinds of jobs to make money, working as a gas station attendant, making copies of blue prints, and even designing baby cribs. Coupland's writing career began mostly from luck, when an editor at Vancouver magazine read a postcard he had written to a friend. He liked Coupland's style and hired him to write for the magazine. And that was the beginning of his career as a writer."

In 2000, on the way to a reading at my local bookstore, Annie Bloom's Books, Coupland blogged about how his media escort's Volvo wagon died in I-5 rush-hour traffic and she "flipped out, like Annette Bening in American Beauty." Then she tried to use her "Soviet-issue cellphone," with no luck. After hitching a ride to the reading with a passerby in a U-Haul, the writer discovered there was no microphone at the bookstore and proclaimed himself "Mr. Guy with a Projecting Voice." But the bookstore is fairly teeny - no projecting voice truly needed. I kind of felt like he was kicking folks when they were down.



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