How cool are 11-year-olds? They're pretty cool! I just got a photocopied letter sent to me by the folks at Cricket Magazine, which they forwarded because the very cool eleven-year-old who wrote it cited my Cricket cover as one of her two favorites ever (thanks!!) It was very thoughtful of them to take the time to send it on to me, and what I especially loved about the letter was nothing to do with my cover. It was this:
"When I grow up, I want to be a singer, actress, a writer, a fashion-designer, an animal conservationist & an earth conservationist. I mostly want to be a singer, actress & writer. If you know of any modeling agents, give me a shout-out."
I love that. I remember that. Well, I had no modeling delusions, coming from a family of average height (and width), and I never could sing, but just that huge zest for the future and all its possibilities, as if the future is a whole bunch of balloons you're holding, as many as you can get your hands on, and no one can tell you what you can and can't BE.
Check out why I [heart] the internet so much:
"I believed, at twelve, that I could be a scientist. I read a book a day. I believed I could be a writer, an actress, a professor of English in Rome, an acrobat in a purple spangled outfit. Days opened for me like the pulling apart of curtains at a play you’ve been dying to see.
My life was like a wild, beating thing, exotic, capable of unfolding and enlarging itself, pulling itself higher and higher up like a kite loved by the wind . . . There in front of me, my own for the taking. And then, suddenly, lost.
—Elizabeth Berg, The Pull of the Moon
(I have had bits and pieces of that passage floating in my head since I read The Pull of the Moon years ago, but the book has escaped since then and I never got around to looking it up so I could quote the passage, and now -- just now -- I put "Elizabeth Berg," "acrobat," and "purple" into Google and that came up all over the place. Awesome!!! How did people function ten years ago?)
Anyway: yeah. That's what it was like for me. And I think it was twelve when the magic started to slowly evaporate, when I started to release, one by one, the balloons of possibility. There must be so many balloons up in the sky. How do we keep that from happening? Obviously every kid can't be a model, but how do we keep them going, dreaming, striving, past twelve, to sixteen, to eighteen, to college? How do we make sure their dreams stay safe? Is that as hopeless as trying to make a kid believe in Santa forever? No, no. It can't be. Because dreams are real.
Another cool kid: I just got an email (Umm, how much do I love getting emails from kids who've read my book? Thiiiiiiiiisssssssssss much!) Not sure her age, but she read 29 --TWENTY NINE -- books this summer and Blackbringer was her favorite. Swoon, swoon! Oh, and she wrote about my character Talon for a school assignment, which gives Talon a life beyond the book in a way that is like the time a certain lovely Miriam (and another voracious reader) dressed up as Magpie for Purim! This kind of thing makes fireworks in my head. Thank you, kids, for reading! Thank you, lady at the post office today who asked me when oh when will the sequel be out? (not soon enough). Thank you!
Oh, and then there's this: I've gotten some emails from "kids" that seem a little fishily like grownups pretending to be kids. But I could be wrong. It was just a little weird. I wonder if other writers have had this happen. I would suspect my peculiar best friend of inventing child personnae just for fun, getting whole new email accounts to cover her tracks, but it didn't really read like her um, unique voice. And speaking of Alexandra, she met a very wonderful 8-months-in-the-works goal today. Congratulations!! And, oh yeah, are you ever going to start blogging again?
P.S. Favorite headline of the day: "Nebraska State Senator Sues God."