“Young” by Jonathan Galassi, and Other Miscellany

I tried, and each attempt was a fiasco.
I yearned, but every love of mine was wrong.
I needed, and the shame was overwhelming.
I failed, and so I hated being young.

Read more at the Paris Review, my favorite online destination for poetry. I read this poem perhaps a year ago, and I can’t stop thinking of it. I love its economy — it’s an entire, very good young adult novel in four lines. I am intrigued by the use of the word “but” in the second line, a variation from “and.” (Consider the “but,” my friends who wish to become writers.) I plan to order Galassi’s collection, Left-Handed: Poems.


On other fronts, I finally signed the contracts that cleared the Stephen Dunn poem I’m using for the epigraph of In the Age of Love and Chocolate. Stephen Dunn is one of my favorite poets and so it was a thrill to be able to use one of his poems. You can read that poem here. (I’m only using the last eight lines, the part beginning with “Often a sweetness comes…” )


Finally, a few answers to your questions about In the Age of Love and Chocolate, the third Anya Balanchine book. 1) There won’t be paper ARCs. I wrote the book twice (not just revised —I mean, two entirely different books with two entirely different beginnings, middles, endings, and even titles, as some of you have already noted), and it became too late for my publisher to print ARCs. 2) The correct title is In the Age of Love and Chocolate, and it publishes October 29th, 2013.


Please feel free to ask any other questions you might have about In the Age of Love and Chocolate, as I’m planning to do a longer post about it in the next couple of weeks. For what such distinctions are worth, it is my favorite of the series. I’m getting excited for you to read it. In the meantime, here’s a tiny preview:

“It takes nothing, save a spot of courage, to kiss a pretty teenager at a high school dance. It takes nothing to say you love a person when she is perfect and her mistakes can be dealt with in a ten-minute confession.”

Finally, finally, after three and a half years on tumblr (Does anyone remember the noble failure of the Dear Writer tumblr with Carolyn Mackler? No? That would probably be because we peaked at 200 followers.), I’ve gone back to a blog. The thing I’ve found about myself and social media is that it’s best to be flexible. Try new social networks, if you want. Move onto different ones, as your mood or needs change. At this moment in my life, I’m feeling like anything that slows things down online is good. I used to think that a particular social network might be the key that turned the lock for me and being online. I am no longer invested in finding such a key. I am resigned to the fact that I am a mediocre-to-poor online presence. Please read my books anyway.

So, I’ll still be on tumblr, but if you want to talk to me, the best place to do it is here, in comments.

5 thoughts on ““Young” by Jonathan Galassi, and Other Miscellany

  1. I’m in the lucky position of having read both versions, and I’ve got to say, I’m shocked by how different they are. I read the first more than half a year ago, and read it again just last week. I’ve grown so enamored of it that starting the second version — the pub’d version, which I just received in hardcover — feels a bit like stepping into Bizarro World. My brain can barely handle all the cognitive dissonance.

    If you get a chance, I’d love to hear more about why you undertook such a major revision, especially since I found the old draft so risky, compelling, and heartbreaking (in the best possible way). I almost wish FSG were publishing both of them!

    1. I replied to your other comment below — and I really will write a lengthier response to this in the next month or so. In the meantime, may I say that I’m fascinated and intrigued by your reaction to the two books?

  2. Just read your interview w/ Jen Ryland. Definitely answers a lot of my questions, though I’m curious to hear more. What were your editors and friends’ reactions to your first version? It made so many daring choices! And what was the writing process like for the second version, compared to the first?

    1. Hmm, I believe this requires and deserves a longer response than I would usually post in comments. May I promise you a blog post about the matter, no later than the end of November?

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