Are you interested in Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch, but not sure whether to plop down 30 bucks for a hard copy, despite its hard-to-resist cover? Would you like to hear the story behind the book? Or are you just one of those who likes literary gossip? I’m not sure if I can deliver on the juicy gossip, but let’s give it all a shot…
“Hale Verbs Well Met,” in January’s issue of The Writer, just went online. I am not posting this profile of me out of hubris or vanity, but rather to tell you how special it is to be in the hands of such intelligent journalists that you can let speak honestly about your life as a writer. And trust that the reporter and editor will craft an article in which every word rings true to the person it’s about. Elfrieda Abbe is an excellent interviewer, and covered ground that rarely gets touched on in articles.
My favorite bit of news came in early January, when I learned that the conversation I had with journalist Paige Williams of Nieman Storyboard was the second most popular post of 2012. Who would have thought that narrative journalists would be so attracted to verbs? Well, um, I would have, but…. Self-congratulations aside, it was neat to think that I was second only to an article about David Grann, my storytelling hero. (And that I beat out a deconstruction of Malcolm Gladwell’s work!)
And: I survived TEDYouth! In November I managed to make 400 teenagers and a few dozen adults laugh about verbs on a Saturday afternoon. The TED folks will surely produce a slick video, but in the meantime, if you want to see two kids act out the verbs in Hamlet, check out my six-minute talk on this livestream. (You have to advance to 1 hour, 22 minutes, and 30 seconds to find me—right after Emily Post’s granddaughter.)
I also put together a lighthearted slideshow for the Huffington Post on my “verb heroes.” Some of the characters are the usual suspects (Shakespeare, Charlotte Bronte, Toni Morrison) and some are a little unusual (Bob Marley). Then there are the “heroes” who are actually subjects of two hilarious and subversive ad campaigns: Viagra and milk.
In other news, I’ll be giving a talk on verbs and joining some panels at the San Francisco Writers Conference.
Finally, I am planning a writers’ retreat for April 7 through 12, 2013, on the beach at Mokule‘ia, where I grew up. Save the date and keep watching the announcements in Writing Classes and Conferences.
The reviews of the book are rolling in. Happily, only one of them—in Kirkus—was cranky. My favorite story wasn’t a review, but rather a Q & A with narrative journalist Paige Williams, of Nieman Storyboard. Here is a selection of the notices:
- Nieman Storyboard review
- Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)
- Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
- ASJA Monthly (newsletter of the American Society of Journalists and Authors)
- Copyediting (Because Language Matters)
- Hartford Courant (Christmas books for language lovers)
As I mentioned, my favorite conversation about the book was with Paige Williams of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. The Q & A was a treat not just because I love chewing the fat with Paige, but because I used to work at the foundation and love the high standards it supports. Also, Paige and I focused on bits of the book that are relevant for narrative journalists.
Several radio hosts—and their callers—showed their love of language and all things literary in interviews. Here are the ones that cut the deepest:
- “Think” with Krys Boyd on KERA/Dallas
- “Veronica Rueckert Show” on Wisconsin Public Radio
- “The Roundtable” with Joe Donahue on WAMC/Northeast Public Radio
- “Strategies for Living” with Dr. David McMillan/Louisiana
Finally, there have been a couple of video interviews about my own writing and editing processes.
- BookBaby founder Brian Felsen talked with me about My 7-Step Writing Process
- Author Solutions has posted several snippets on YouTube 1) Find Your Path as a Freelance Writer; 2) Teaching Great Expression; 3) What Are the Different Levels of Editing?
Feel free to comment, but be nice! And don’t ask me what is up with my hair in the BookBaby interview. I cannot control my curls.