Monday, September 17, 2007

How cool are 11-year-olds?

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."


Anonymous said...

My name is Pelt. I live in Shooshkwa, Minnesota and I also just read your book. I am two and three quarters years old. I most liked the part where Magpie flies through the Taco Bell drive thru with her crows and orders them each ten burritos. That was a very funny, funny, funny scene. Does Magpie like KFC too? I hope so! I love KFC. I have been eating chicken drumsticks since I was in the womb- and biscuits with honey, mmmmmmmm....

Anonymous said...

Hi Laini. I'm McDonald Tomseytootle from Wallfeedy, Saturn. I was so excited when I learned Blackbringer wouldn't only be sold on earth. Wow!!! what a novel.... did you write it through Write by Numbers? How did you ever think up Talon? I am a knitting space alien, btw, and tomorrow is my 487,0000th light year birthday. Today I will be baking a cake out of stars, twilight, atmosphere, and cloud dust. Tasty.

Alexandra S said...

Wow! You have kids on SATURN reading your book Fatty!!!! way to go! Thank you for your congrats on my gigantic accomplishment that permanently and eternally dwarfs ALL of mankind's collective achievements. Too bad you couldn't roll yourself out of your freeaky polka dot studio to be there at NOON when I received my award (you stinky, stinky, stinky BFF, I'm incurably appalled) at the ceremony. You owe me now and I shall get back to you when I have decided on how you may make your amends. (Til then don't contact me, unless its my birthday, half birthday, or quarterly birthday). p.s. Wonderful post, btw!!!! I love your metaphor so much of these balloons of possibility that too often are let go or sadly popped prematurely.)

deirdre said...

I wish that sureness of self we have in childhood could be bottled so we could have huge swigs of it in adolesence and adulthood.

At ten I believed I could sing and dance, happily performing for anyone who'd sit still long enough. Then I found out I sucked and all the fun was gone.

I love the possiblity that lives in kids, that belief that they possess ability.

tinker said...

How cool for the publisher's to forward that letter on to you.

I don't think I've ever read that quote before - and wow, they really captured that feeling well. Isn't the Internet great?

Give my congratulations to Alexandra on meeting her goal. I miss reading her blog - but at least I can still read (and laugh) with her comments here.

Heard that lawsuit newstory last night on the radio - what a wacky world!

Frida said...

Dear Laini,
My name is Frida World, I'm 35 years old. When I grow up I want to be one fiesty girl with her band of fiesty crows fighting the encroaching shadow of evil, looking out for her friends and keeping the soft spotsin her heart open for a little love. I also want to be a wildlife photographer, a deck chair attendant on a beach in Bali, a human rights campaigner in Afghanistan, a guru, a mystic, a writer and a mountaineer. If you know anyone looking for a guru give me a shout out!

Jamie said...

How wonderful! I'm just so filled with joy for you and for all those kids too - and for all those adults whose inner child is writing you emails and for everyone who still believes in dreams and knows that life is a "wild, beating thing" no matter how much we pretend it isn't.


Amber said...

First, I agree...When is Alexandra going to blog again?? *huff*

The idea about kids dreams...*sigh* Yes. This is one of my very FAVORITE things about having kids. Wyatt is at this age where he is thinking and talking all the time about what he wants to be. And I just love it. I love how he believes he can do ANYthing. Or many things. It just tickles me to death. I wish I knew how to make sure that never goes away. But maybe it has to a little, so one can focus. lol


susanna said...

Oh that is so great! It must be so exciting to discover that a story you wrote has inspired a kid to create. Very cool!

PS - I found you through Frida's blog today. :)

Sustenance Scout said...

Laini, your enthusiasm is contagious! Thanks for telling of your recent triumphs. LOVE the Cricket cover, btw!