Thursday, May 21, 2009

My First Novel

I was twelve and I had finally finished it.  I remember knowing it was done, because I'd reached the magic number of one hundred pages.  It was in my loopy cursive and extra-special, I thought, because it was on the colored notebook paper I'd convinced my mom to buy at the beginning of the school year.  It was more expensive than the regular old white kind with the red line up the side, but my mom was an artist and recognized the importance of such things.  And it had almost no messy erasures either, because I always got hundreds on my spelling test, and more importantly, I was definitely not into revision.

Then I told my friends and family that I was going to get it published.  I believed that with all my heart--so much that I wrote to Judy Blume and told her all about it!  Don't ever throw away your work, she told me.  And I didn''s still in a green binder, and I look at it from time to time.  For a long time, I kept it in the corner of my room where I could see it when I was writing.  Maybe it was to remind myself about how great it felt to sit in that orange plastic chair in Mrs. Rinear's class, tuning out everything around me and getting my words down on paper.

Thank goodness I finally did learn to revise, because this Tuesday, I  get to see ALSO KNOWN AS HARPER on a shelf.  It's not those same one hundred pages from the sixth grade, which is a really good thing for the readers!  The story on the pages is a different one, but my own story hasn't changed.  I'm still someone who tunes out the rest of the world to try to get my words to take shape.   By the way, I'd do anything to have one of those orange plastic chairs for my house!

If you are in the area, I'd love to see everyone at Other Tiger bookstore in Westerly, Rhode Island on Tuesday, May 26 at 6:00.  (Maybe I'll read from the green notebook...) 


Penny said...

I'll see you there! Can't wait!

Tim Haywood said...

I'll never forget...I was just about to leave prison, so I wrote to the warden, thanking him for being such a gracious host. His words have stuck with me all these years: "Never come back to Walla Walla." And I haven't.
I do wish I had that orange jumpsuit still.

Michelle said...

What a great story! It's always fun to hear about the journey writers take to publication.

I haven't read my childhood stories in a long time, but I do still have them, in assorted notebooks and binders, in a plastic crate in the closet.

Cuppa Jolie said...

Ahh! I love this, Ann. How cool that you wrote to Judy (I-bow-to-you) Blume. And how doubley cool that she told you to never throw anything away. Aren't you so glad you have it? I'm so, so thrilled for you. I can't wait for HARPER to take its place on the shelves.

Unknown said...

Just came across your site via Classof2k9. Congrats on the debut. Are you coming out to here to LA for SCBWI conference in August? Just curious. Always like to meet fellow teachers/writers.

Annie said...

Hi Tracy
I will be at SCBWI LA this year. I can't wait! I'll look for you.

Jame said...

Did Judy Blume also say that it IS ok to throw your typewriter off a cliff, though?

Please do read from the notebook. That would be such a treat!!!!