“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.

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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…” )

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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.

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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.

I love you. Any advice for someone writing three books at the same time in their head, one half-typed up on a computer, the other just beginning in a notebook, and the last one a plan ages ago with half the details forgotten? And again, I love you.

Saturday Wisdom, No. 4: Have you ever noticed that debut novelists seem to have the most advice about novel writing? I was like that once. The more books I’ve written, the less advice I have to give. Each time out has been a unique — and usually, uniquely painful — experience for me. After six books, what I know — what I know for certain — is how little I know about writing, about readers, about the vagaries of the publishing process. So, that is to say, you probably ought to ignore my advice and keep your own counsel. And yet, my deeply flawed opinion is that it is beyond difficult to write more than one book at a time, to be the servant of two masters. You at some point have to choose one idea and pour all of yourself into it. You have to be all in. The question of how to choose is an entirely different matter of course.

P.S. I thank you for the love.