Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Don't Shout at Sir Ben Kingsley.

A few weeks ago we were in NYC with three of the kids and saw Sir Ben Kingsley, elegant in a tux, waiting for a car to pull around. I told my kids that I had the instinct to shout out, "The greatest currency of an actor is stillness and silence!" which he once said on INSIDE THE ACTORS STUDIO. 

My 18 year old whispered reverently as if not wanting to scare off a rare bird, "He's doing that ... right ... now." 

And Kingsley was both still and silent. 

We moved on and later in the hotel room, getting into bed, I imagined him getting into bed somewhere in the city and how, if I had said it, he'd be trying to fall asleep, thinking, "Why the hell did that woman shout that at me? I mean, was she schooling me in acting?" And maybe, just as he was drifting off, he might remember that he said it to James Lipton that one time or maybe not.

In any case, one shouldn't shout at others and I didn't.

In a separate incident, my 18 year old was trying to pass in front of a bunch of people clumped in front of a window display at Barney's and just as he was scooting by them, he looked up and saw Sarah Jessica Parker dancing on the other side of the glass. It was disorienting.

[Don't shout at Sir Ben Kingsley but do feel free to buy books and I've got just the one.]

Thursday, June 25, 2015

freebie for a book club

If you're in a BOOK CLUB (of seven or more members), we have a few advance reading copies of HARRIET WOLF'S 7TH BOOK OF WONDERS and would love to send each one to someone who might rec them to their club for discussion. Email wolfonwriting@gmail.com. I'll have someone choose at random early next week.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summer, Kids, and the Importance of Boredom. Some tips...

This morning my 8-year-old is bored. It's ten am on the first day of summer. We have four kids (20, 18, 15, and 8). I should see summer coming but I'm always caught off-guard. I'm at my desk in my office (which is in my bedroom) and she's asking me what to do. 

Out of desperation, I hand her my phone. I say, "Remember in the back of National Geographic Kids, there are those up close pictures of things and you have to guess what they are? Go take ten up-close pictures. Five inside. Five in the yard. Be really really thoughtful. Plan out each picture. Really think. And then come back and I'll guess."

At this point, I'm incredibly proud of myself. My kid is excited and runs off. I start to work and she's back. With ten pictures. None of which I can identify. 

So, I won on the score of getting kids to engage in an artistic and observational endeavor. I lost on the score of having time to work. 

But, honestly, it's a fun exercise. There's some mother of invention in the mix. 

And an element of danger -- handing over a phone like that.

We also set a bunch of summer goals. We started this with the kids and then decided to do it ourselves. On day 1, my daughter marked off "walking on my hands." She got five hand-steps. Her list includes: boat, cooking, farm, hike, tent, look-book (fashion design), photo album (herself as the subject matter), friendship bracelets, lemonade stand, 100 French words, readathon, swim ...

As the daughter of a novelist, she refused to put down write a book or keep a diary, which, to be honest, I admire.  

The 15 year old had to write an actual contract with us. No gaming until he decided what his summer would look like and the appropriate amount of time should be spent gaming as opposed to, say, living in the real world.  He also has to be involved in a book. 

For the younger kid, we set limits on screentime too, but be proactive on what they're watching. My daughter, on her own, googled best kid movies and wrote a list of the ones she wanted to see this summer. (The writing of the list takes time, too ,which is good.)

Here's my tip on getting young kids to clean up. Before and after pictures of their rooms. 

Also good, scavenger hunts. I set these up for holidays and birthdays but the kids can make them too. Great use of brain power. 

When in doubt, paint rocks.

When in serious doubt, crank the music and have a dance party. 

When your kid tells you that they're bored, say, "Good. It's the first step to making, doing, creating, inventing, imagining ... " 

Hope this offers a little help. 

By the way, my phone is now filled with photos of unrecognizable objects.




[Interested in supporting the artist behind what you've just read,
click here for Julianna Baggott's latest novel.]






Goodreads Giveaway!

If you're on Goodreads, my publisher has put together a giveaway of a few copies of my upcoming novel HARRIET WOLF'S 7TH BOOK OF WONDERS (August, 2015). 
Here's the info!

P.S. And go buy a copy of HARRIET WOLF'S 7TH BOOK OF WONDERS, for the love of all things holy.

Kirkus Gives HARRIET WOLF a Glowing Review

I'm so happy to share Kirkus' review of HARRIET WOLF’S 7th BOOK OF WONDERS. Here’s a glimpse of what they have to say, “Moments of heartbreak balance moments of hilarity in Baggott’s ambitious portrait of a family created from equal parts secrecy and love.” 
More wonderful things written here.

P.S. And go buy a copy of HARRIET WOLF'S 7TH BOOK OF WONDERS, for the love of all things holy.