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I am very jealous of my friend Annie. She is also in my fiction program and the fiction editor on OxMag. The reason I am jealous of her? Because she had the opportunity to interview a National Book Award winner.
Specifically, Jaimy Gordon, author of Lord of Misrule, the 2010 National Book Award winner.
According to Annie, Gordon is incredibly generous with her time and information which allowed the interview to last two hours during which they discussed everything about the book, Gordon’s life, and a good deal more since it takes a lot to fill that much time with talking.
Gordon also dropped by our workshop, also a very big deal. This is the first time my program (and school) has had a National Book Award winner as a guest and having the chance to meet her and talk to her was a fantastic opportunity.
There was also a reading, which, if you haven’t read or heard of Lord of Misrule, this reading made it clear why the book has been so highly praised. It should come as no surprise that with Gordon’s comfort speaking with people, that her reading would be fantastic. Much of the praise around Lord of Misrule is its ability to “capture the language of the racetrack,” and it only makes sense than it is when read aloud that the book is easiest to connect with. The language felt more lush and the characters came to life in a way that silent reading didn’t quite do the words on the page justice.
Gordon commented on how many people have had this same reaction and added that the book was sold to audio book and that a very talented woman–a former Shakespearean actor–would be doing the recording, and although she hasn’t listened to it yet herself, Gordon said that it had received good reviews. Apparently this woman can do every voice under the sun which is exactly what The Lord of Misrule needs.
And of course, there was also a book signing. Friendly, approachable, entertaining, and again, liberal with her time, Gordon spent a good while talking to each person, including me again (yay!) and it was quite lovely. She asked about my writing and I didn’t even know what to say (because you can’t tell a literary genius that you like to write genre fiction for children…)
But here is where the jealousy comes in, and I mean jealousy in how happy I am for Annie because of her once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Gordon not only knows Annie personally now, but has requested samples of her writing and provided all of her contact information in case Annie would ever need a helping hand.
Annie of course was petrified, saying how she couldn’t possibly contact her….nothing is good enough….too nervous and shy…. Bah! I felt I had to explain it to her and that it merits repeating here:
She seized an opportunity to interview a NBA winner which in itself is amazing. This woman is now the perfect connection. One phone call to an agent or a publisher from her and Annie’s work will see print in under a year.
Connections are everything. And being connected and well-liked by a NBA winner is by far one of the best connections one can have. So anyone that has the opportunity to interview or meet with an author–do it. No hesitation. If they ask for your work, give it to them. The worst that can happen is they don’t like it. The best is that it leads to publications, and isn’t that really what we’re all after in the end?
I haven’t participated officially in NaNoWriMo since 2008, but I was a winner that year and I got the glory of owning this beautiful badge on the left. I will admit, it felt good–really good. That sweet rush of victory was like a breath of fresh air followed immediately by the reality that final exams were in two weeks and I had things to get done that had been on the back burner for the past 30 days. Oops.
I don’t do NaNoWriMo anymore for a few reasons, but I don’t want to discourage anyone from taking the leap because the process comes with some great perks.
1) It makes you write. I mean seriously–all you’re thinking about all day is writing. You HAVE to meet that word count. You can’t sleep until you do because the guilt is so strong. No ideas? Keep writing. Not sure what to name your character? Keep writing and call him Joe, you’ll change it later. The mentality is to just keep writing, no matter what kind of awful writers block you may have. And the truth is, this is the only cure for writer’s block, and it’s a good habit to get into.
2) It teaches you commitment. NaNoWriMo teaches you to do what every creative writing professor tells you to do: write every day. It requires some serious dedication and commitment to the pursuit of 50,000 words so developing this habit is the only way to win.
After the Jump: More Perks to NaNoWriMo