Thursday, October 15, 2009

Still Snoopy dancing (with interruptions)

I don't think I sounded as madly exuberantly happy in my post yesterday as I actually was, and that's because Clementine has a little cold which was making her uncomfortable and I just didn't have any leisurely stretch of time to craft a well-thought-out blog post suitable to the occasion. This is our first experience with a "sick" child -- it's really just a cold, no fever or anything, so I put "sick" in quotes because I cringe to imagine her or any baby being actually sick. We felt so helpless and miserable just over her tiny snuffly nose, it must be so truly truly awful when a baby/child is sick-sick. *shudders*

Anyway, since she was feeling not-so-great, she just wanted to be held all day, which to be honest isn't all that different from a normal day in the life of Clementine Pie :-) She's doing better today -- though still periodically snuffly and is now sleeping in her swing.

So, I can now resume Snoopy dancing!!! Thank you

[ha ha. Insert four-hour *interruption* here. So much for resuming Snoopy dance! I suppose that's life with a two-month-old. (And yes, I am typing this one-handed; Clementine is now asleep on my chest.)]

So. Yesterday and the mind-blowing news! My mind is scattered all over the place -- it's kind of like a butterfly zoo in there, with thoughts and ideas fluttering around and alighting for just a few seconds on this or that flower, then flittering away again. Mostly I keep thinking how this means that a lot more people will read my book, and that is amazing. Isn't that the thing we hope for? The words "National Book Award finalist" keep hitting me with a big WOW! Past years I've read the lists of finalists and blog posts about the awards ceremony and it was as remote to me as the Academy Awards. And now . . . we get to go to New York next month and be in that company and . . .

. . . maybe . . .

. . . just maybe . . .

. . . win the National Book Award.


(I still can't wrap my mind around that.)

A while ago, during that four-hour *interruption* (which was not really an interruption, but was LIFE, complete with beautiful baby in arms), I read Clementine one of my very favorite books, Max Makes a Million, by Maira Kalman. Do you know this book? This is the book that made me fall back in love with children's books as an adult (back in the '90s). It's a wonderful picture book about a dog named Max who is a poet, and who dreams of selling his book and going to live in Paris. Max says,

fat families and
skinny families
around the world
will be reading my poems.
And laughing, and crying.
I feel it in my bones.

I want to say, before anything,
that dreams
are very important."

A perfect book selection for today! I love the scene where Max gets "the call" from his agent.

"Someone was going to print my book.
Someone was going to sell my book.
Someone was going to buy my book."

It is a wonderful thing that we can write stories and that publishers make them available to the world, and that people read them. Thank you, publishers! Thank you, Scholastic Press and Arthur A. Levine Books, specifically Arthur Levine, for going ahead with this book, though short story collections aren't big business, and YA books aren't illustrated, and it wasn't necessarily the easiest sell.

This whole thing is also such a validation of the idea of "the discipline of fun" that I wrote about the other day -- about writing for fun. Lips Touch was written for fun. Unlike my usual process, I didn't do any outlining or planning, but just set out from writing prompts to see what would happen, and what happened was: goblins and demons and kissing, India and cemetery picnics and heartbreak, eye patches and snow and shadows reeled out on kite strings. And a lot of other stuff, all of it fun. When I sit down to write, I make an effort to turn to the mental channel I was on when I wrote this book, because I remember it as being a genuine pleasure. I was writing for myself -- myself at 16, myself now -- telling the kinds of stories that I love -- tales that are juicy and strange, both creepy and romantic, rich with weird details.

Stories that are like fairy tales sneaking out after curfew, dressed all in black.


I still don't know what to say. My laptop is cooking my lap (I've successfully set Clementine down in her boppy without waking her -- I'm typing with two hands now!), and my thoughts continue to flutter around like butterflies. As I started to say earlier before the *interruption*, thank you so much for all your happy wishes, comments, emails, and for reading Lips Touch and this blog.

Here's a smile from my smiley girl:

And an imperative, written in light (literally):


Shari Sherman said...

Such wonderful news! I hope you win, even though you've already won and it's an honor to just be nominated.....are you already thinking about what you will wear?

Hope cutie pie Clementine feels better soon. You will always worry when your child is sick, no matter the age. You will also become adept at handling any illness or ailment, often with only the items found in your handbag. All mommies become like MacGyver. It's the Mommy code. Parenting is an exercise in creativity...actually the ultimate exercise in creativity. Ha! Stay well!

Unknown said...

oh, Laini. I love you. :)

xegbp said...


I have convinced my book club to read Lips Touch as our next book, it actually did not taking an convincing all I had to do was send them the description and they were all in. I will let you know how it goes.

Again Congratulations and fingers crossed!

Amber Lough said...

Isn't being a mommy wonderful? Especially a WRITING mommy! :-) We learn all sorts of things, like typing with one hands.

Nursing a baby with a snotty nose isn't fun. For the babe. :(

Amber Lough said...

Ha. "One hands." Oi.

jama said...

Belated congratulations!! So well deserved. Clementine Pie is exceedingly adorable and seems to get cuter with each new photo you post. How is that possible?!

Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

I've only read the first story in Lips Touch, because I am SAVORING it (can I tell you my heartbreak when I realized Goblin Fruit didn't go on for 300 more pages, even though logically I knew this from the outset?)...but honestly Laini, I can say that you deserve this prize. The language is so lush, the images so unusual and yet perfect (in fact I'd like to borrow some for a class I'm teaching called "Image Building) and the entire story like a primer for a young girl on becoming an authentic woman...Oh my god...I'm raving.

Shveta Thakrar said...

Lovely lady, you bring happiness to so many others, whether through your blog posts, your books, or your art--or just how you've decided to make your life real and full of joy. It is so validating to see you honored now, and I couldn't be happier for you. *huge grin*

Hooray on the trip to New York, and we'll all be crossing our fingers and toes that you win!

And as for more people reading your book--that really is the best prize of all.

Suzanne Young said...

!!!! That smile is enough to make me snoopy dance. :-)

Anonymous said...

You shall win, or there shall be trouble.


lizardek said...

It is so totally awesome! If I were you I'd be literally snoopy dancing all the way to NY!

tone almhjell said...

How amazing! You absolutely deserve it! Big hug!

Shelli (srjohannes) said...


Kim said...

Wow, how wonderful! I'm rooting for you.

Andrea Eames said...

Cheering you on! I have never come across 'Max Makes a Million' (I grew up in Zimbabwe, so missed out on some of the cool overseas books), but I love these lines:

"Someone was going to print my book.
Someone was going to sell my book.
Someone was going to buy my book."

That's just how it feels!

Huge congratulations again.

A xx

Sarah Rees Brennan said...

So many congratulations, whee!

Heather said...

I'm so incredibly happy for you! What a year, eh? Lots of good things in your world!

Elena said...

That is so great! I hope little Clem feels better soon.

Amber said...

I was reading this, thinking, isn't it funny how things work out? That you started this book the way you did? I love it.


Lisa Schroeder said...

I'm reading it right now, and I just love it. I laughed and laughed during the first chapter of the first story. Poor Kizzy. A bloodied hand in her popcorn? hahahaha!

And Jim's art is breathtaking!

So, SO happy for you guys!! And incredibly happy that many more people will read this beautiful book of yours!

The Art of Kim Kincaid said...

Just ordered Lips Touch for myself and informed the local library they needed to update their Laini Taylor inventory with her sequel to Dreamdark and her National Book nominated title. They are getting right on it.
Have only read the first chapter of Silksinger and already I'm invested. How do you do that?

Deb Cushman said...

I'm smiling as big as your smiley girl. I'm just so happy for you! I've got my fingers and toes crossed (and that wasn't easy, let me tell you!)

You deserve it! Your writing deserves it! Enjoy every minute!

Ellen Booraem said...


Just stopped by to say "congratulations" and what did I find but a blog post exactly expressing my own need to recapture the "fun." Thank you for that.

And I can't wait to read "Lips Touch"!

Anonymous said...

Lovely homepage remodel by the way!

Good luck with the book award!!!

Get well soon Clementine!!!


Jake said...

Good luck, I hope you win! I enjoyed Lips Touch very much, it's on my long list of favorite books.

Tinker said...

Hooray again for the results of disciplined fun!!
Looking forward to many more of your "Stories that are like fairy tales sneaking out after curfew, dressed all in black" (loved that line!), and keeping my fingers crossed for that trip to NY - may it be very rewarding!
Glad your sweet little kewpiedoll-cutie-pie is feeling a little better!

anne said...

Congrats on the nomination, I always feel like that's Winning, just being nominated out of the bunches of books that COULD have been nominated!!
You are a winner with all of those who have picked up any of your books, already!!!!

Snoopy dance is a perfect!!!!

Stephanie Perkins said...

My heart is positively bursting with happiness for you and Jim. This is the best news I've heard in months, and so, completely, absolutely deserved. May it be the first of many honors!

Red Fox Literary said...

Goodness sakes! I just learned about this from Erszi Deak, who I saw in Paris a couple of weeks ago. She told me she was trying to get La Martiniere to buy the foreign rights. I said, "They would be FOOLISH not to make an offer on this book. It's brilliant." Then she wrote me a few days later and said, "We both have good taste. The book has been nominated for the NBA." Wow, Laini. I'm so happy for you. The book so deserves it.