Odds & Ends

Posted on 09 February 2012

First, I finally got the Living Arrangements bookmarks in the mail to the winners of the bookmark giveaway. Those of you in the States should have either already received them or should expect them soon. I also sent a few across the Atlantic…I wonder if those little bookmarks are in the air right now? Let’s just hope they all arrive in one piece.

You probably already know this, but Sugar is revealing herself on Valentine’s Day. If I were in San Francisco, I’d probably attend her coming out party. Of course, I’m pretty sure I figured out who Sugar is months ago, but there’s always the possibility that I’m wrong. (I try to remain aware of my potential wrongness at all times.)

I recently read Prep, which I completely loved and I can’t believe I waited so long to read it. I also found this Salon article where Curtis Sittenfeld interviews Lan Samantha Chang. Their discussion largely revolves around MFA programs, but I really like what Chang had to say here:

And publishing a book is stressful. Very stressful. The book stops being a private thing and becomes a public thing. “All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost” is an example of this. My first two books were about Asian-American immigrants, which I think is pretty much what everyone expected out of me. And then with “All Is Forgotten,” I published a book from the point of view of a man, and it was not about ethnic identity at all. All of a sudden, I found that my work was being scrutinized in a different way and that was a surprise.

And here’s something she said about MFA programs that I think applies to any writer, regardless of whether you ever considered going after those three letters:

You have time to think and to pursue something that you love. That’s pretty basic … But you have more time to think, and you have time to think about your life. And to think about the lives of other human beings. That is a privilege, but it is something that a lot of people need and want. It’s a privilege and a basic human need. Our society pushes us toward productivity in a way that is antithetical to our basic needs.

I had a dream about AWP last night. I think it’s a little early for the stress dreams to start, but so be it. I can’t believe I am going to meet some of you in person. This is a good thing, but it’s also a little strange, isn’t it? I promise to only be exactly as awkward as I would with anyone else and not a drop more. I owe you at least that much.

What are your basic human needs?

Photo: Jason Paluck

16 responses to Odds & Ends

  • Sarah W says:

    Thanks for this, Laura — you’ve made me think about things.

    Beyond food, shelter, etc. and the connections to my family and friends, I think Time is one of my basic needs.

    Time…and I think…being read. Which I guess is another kind of connection?

  • margosita says:

    I’m also sad not to be in SF for the coming-out party, even though I think I’ve known who Sugar is for a while. It woud just be such a fun event!

  • amyg says:

    i’m not sure about all the fans you’ll get to meet face-to-face, but let me just say that i have now officially met a few of our blog circle peeps on two separate occasions and both times felt like i had reconnected with women i have known all my life. we fell right into conversation from the very first hug and had a hard time separating when it was time to say good-bye.

  • Teri says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading PREP — and you know I love author interviews so I’m off to read this one.

    And yes, you’ll be meeting some of your peeps. Rest assured, we are all sufficiently awkward. We’re writers! Hahahaha. But we’re a hell of a lot of fun too. :-)

  • lisahgolden says:

    I’m itching to know who Sugar is and I don’t have a clue who she might be. I’m still so new to this world.

    The AWP is going to great for you, Laura. Friends and fans! And all that other stuff, too. Writers, agents, sessions….

  • Downith says:

    Bookmarks arrived today! (even tho I gave you my old post code) and I love how you addressed the envelope.

    Signed HRH Downith

    • Wow, they got there pretty quickly! When I studied abroad in London in college, I was shocked that the mail came TWICE a day. I would have loved that back when I was a nerdy kid watching for the mail truck to see if I got any new pen pal letters.

  • I’m not foreseeing a bit of awkwardness in our meeting. I see a big hug and nonstop talking on the bus to Chicago. And maybe a Bloody Mary or two. Will that help?

  • Awkwardness rocks. :)

    My basic human needs revolve around typical sustenance items, and also promoting good times with the domestic life and trying to make others laugh.

    I may try too hard at times on that last bit, though. My humor gauge is a bit off, but I think it’s secretly enjoyed by those around me.

    I received the bookmarks, and they will be used to mark books. Thank you so much for those… you are awesome.

  • Lyra says:

    That author photo you linked to is fantastic. And the fact that the camera was balanced on the scratching post…oh, love.

    No worry about awkwardness. You can check with the ladies I’ve met, but they can put anyone at ease. And trust me, I was a nervous wreck to meet them.

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