NaNo Day 28: Interview with Patrice Caldwell

Happy Day After Thanksgiving! I’m about to leave on a road trip to my fourth and final Thanksgiving dinner of the year, out in Chicago. And I need to work on my twelve page film history term paper in the car, so today should be fun. (Benefits of finishing NaNo early: Writing my term paper earlier. Downsides of finishing NaNo early: Writing my term paper earlier.)

Like last year, throughout November I’m sharing interviews with other writers competing in NaNoWriMo in order to give a broader perspective of the event. (Also to just let you meet these fantastic humans, because I adore them.) In addition, all of this year’s interviewees are Ch1Con team members!

Today’s interview is with Patrice Caldwell, Ch1Con’s Master of Marketing and all around brilliant human being. Patrice and I met online what feels like ages ago–I think through a group for college writers on WriteOnCon? (You know it’s been a while if I don’t even remember.) Long story short: I’ve been following her blog forever and she is intelligent, and passionate, and hilarious, and you have no idea how grateful I am to have her as part of the Ch1Con team. Take it away, Patrice.

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patrice-caldwell_(1)Q: In one sentence, what is your novel about?

A: One sentence, yikes! *cracks knuckles* Okay.

Set in a land where magic is strictly forbidden HEIRS OF FIRE AND ICE is the story of two young women, Zahra, a trader of items of questionable means (call her a pirate and she’ll have your tongue), and Aaliyah, a princess without a country, who are forced together by unforeseen circumstances and must journey to uncover their mysteriously linked pasts and save their empire.

Vague. I know, but I’m working on it. I will say this it’s set in a land based on medieval African civilizations, and my Pinterest board is to die for… now if only my novel could reach that level :/

Q: What is your favorite part of NaNoWriMo?

A: The accessibility of it. I love how it breaks down the myth that you have to have studied writing for years, yada, yada, yada. NaNoWriMo is all about jumping in and doing a crazy/scary/usually thought of as unrealistic thing. To me it never matters if you’re actually able to reach 50,000 words. Let me be honest, I never have. It’s the fact that you tried, that you started, and for me, NaNo is the burst of energy and support I need to finish the MS by the end of the year since most of my manuscripts/most MSs are longer than 50,000 words anyway.

Q: Do you have any specific writing rituals you follow?

A: Ha! Can Write Anywhere, Anytime type of person…do they actually exist? TEACH ME. No, but seriously. I wish I could do that. Being a college student, I would write so much more if I could write anywhere (of course I have been known to plot stories and figure out entire scenes during class when I should be taking notes). I, however, have some rituals. The main one being that I like to brew me a nice (hot) cup of green tea (I’m a bit of a green tea snob) before I start writing (usually in the morning). I sit at my desk (or stand at my standing desk) near my window with a great view of campus and I write. I also make sure I have one of my yellow legal pads with several multi-color ink pens beside my laptop so I can take notes, etc. if need be. My writing process also involves a lot of pacing and talking aloud (mostly to my stuffed animals, LOL) so I like my room to be clean so I have a clear path.

…See what I mean. I must seem like a (writing) diva.

Q: What’s your secret to juggling life and NaNo at the same time?

No secret. I firmly believe if something’s important enough to you, you MUST make time for it. It’s something I struggle with every day. But, writing is my life. It’s the way I relax, and so when I don’t write I get stressed. It’s crucial to my well being that I make time for writing whether it’s 30 minutes before class, during class (haha), or before I go to bed I always try to make time to “put pen to paper.” It’s hard though but discipline really is the key to success (and happiness).

Q: Any advice for the troops? 

I love the quote do what you love, the rest will follow. And so I like to say write what you love the rest (the story) will follow. Laini Taylor has this great quote where she talks about the importance of “just writing.” Don’t stare at a blank screen. Writing about writing is better than not writing. Eventually you’ll figure out where you got lost or stuck. It’s currently my desktop background so I thought I’d leave it here for you along with a quote by Isabelle Allende:

It’s what helps me. Taking it word by word, and not thinking or stressing about the rest.

Also, I have a collection of resources for writers on my blog. They’re posts, videos, etc. that have helped me get through certain points of the writing process. Hope that helps. Good luck! You’ve got this 😀 Carry on.

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Thanks for letting me interview you, Patrice!

Want to learn more about Patrice? You can find her at the following links.

Goal for today: 3,000.

Overall goal: 50,000.

Current word count: 50,127.

How was your Thanksgiving?

~Julia

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NaNo Day 25: Interview with Aisha Al-Amin

Last day of classes before Thanksgiving! I’m so excited to go home and see my friends and family. And I’m going to Chicago in a couple days to celebrate with some relatives out there, so I’m obviously excited for that too. Now it’s just a matter of getting through these last few hours and assignments so I’ll have enough time to relax over break before I need to kick it into high gear on final projects.

Like last year, throughout November I’m sharing interviews with other writers competing in NaNoWriMo in order to give a broader perspective of the event. (Also to just let you meet these fantastic humans, because I adore them.) In addition, all of this year’s interviewees are Ch1Con team members!

Today’s interview is with Aisha Al-Amin, one of Ch1Con’s new Creative Consultants. She’s hilarious and brilliant and she seems to be the only team member Google+ actually likes during our monthly Ch1Con Chats (so obviously Google agrees that she’s awesome). Take it away, Aisha.

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Q: In one sentence, what is your novel about? 

A: In the year 2050 for the first time in history humans discover another world with intelligent life.

Q: What is your favorite part of Nanowrimo?

A: I would have to say the sense of accomplishment you feel at the end of the month, even if you haven’t won, it’s still amazing.

Q: Do you have any specific writing rituals you follow? 

A: Yes, yes I do! I have to have a cup of my Grandma’s hot chocolate with creamer, and a sweater that goes to my fingers.

Q: What’s your secret to juggling life and Nano at the same time? 

A: I always make sure to write extra when I have the time, because I know some days I just won’t have the energy -so the days that I do have the energy I make sure to put in extra work.

Q: Any advice for the troops?

A: I would say don’t be discouraged because someone else has written more than you! It’s all about you this month and challenging yourself.

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Thanks for letting me interview you, Aisha!

Want to learn more about Aisha? You can find her at the following links.

https://twitter.com/miss_hijabi

http://hijabionhilltop.tumblr.com/

http://nanowrimo.org/participants/aishamonet

Goal for today: 1,000.

Overall goal: 47,000.

Current word count: 47,537.

~Julia

NaNo Day 10: Ch1Con Indiegogo!

Ch1Con Badge 2014 [Matted]It’s live! Help us fund the 2015 Chapter One Young Writers Conference and make teen writers’ dreams come true! (Also mine. Just saying.)

You can find our Indiegogo campaign here.

Ummm. Okay. Let’s see. What else for today?

I’ve got a mound of homework to do. (I ended up falling asleep before I could get started on it last night.)

I’ve got classes to attend. (Yay weekdays.)

And 2K in NaNo to write. (Plus 500 words left over from yesterday’s 1K, because Once Upon a Time was more distracting than expected. By which I mean the special effects were even more terrible than expected. By which I mean: Yay. Once Upon a Time.)

So yeah. That’s what I’ve got on my plate today.

Goal for today: 2,000 + yesterday’s 500 = 2,500.

Overall goal: 19,000.

Current word count: 19,046.

How’s NaNo going for you? Real life getting in the way yet?

~Julia

NaNo Day 6: Julia and the Anti-Boredom Device

TODAY IS ANNOUNCEMENT DAY.

WE ARE OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCING TODAY.

THREE PM EST ON THE CHAPTER ONE YOUNG WRITERS CONFERENCE BLOG.

BE PREPARED.

I was up until around two last night finishing the billion things I had to do yesterday, which primarily involved spending several hours on announcement stuff, finishing my YA lit paper, and and getting my scheduled 2K in for NaNoWriMo. Then I woke up early today to work on more announcement stuff. So I’m exhausted, but also caught up. Yay?

It’s weird how easy this novel’s been to write so far. I mean, I’m not doing GOOD writing by any means, but I wrote my 2K in about an hour and a half last night, and that’s been a pretty average time for it. It’ll be interesting to see how this turns out.

Yesterday one of my roommates asked why I do extra blogging during NaNoWriMo when I’m already, you know, writing fifty thousand words throughout the month. And I said I like to blog every day because rambling on here’s a nice de-stressor. Which is true.

But it’s also that, to be honest, I was scared going into NaNoWriMo last year. Not because it would be difficult in the way NaNo traditionally is, but because I’d already done it, and won, five years in a row. Already once during college. And I was bored.

Getting bored is my Achilles Heel. If I’m bored, I stop trying.

NaNoWriMo means too much to me to let it become something I sign up for, then drop halfway through the month. So I needed to make it new again, somehow.

So: blogging every day. And I’m doing other extra stuff this month too that YOU WILL LEARN ABOUT SOON. (Well, some of it anyway.)

It’s important to always be excited about what you’re doing, I think. Especially if it’s a technically voluntary activity like NaNo (although, come on, it’s my seventh year competing; I have to do it). If you aren’t excited, why are you doing it?

No writing planned for today, because classes and Ch1Con stuff. But maybe I’ll slip in a little just to challenge myself.

Goal for today: 0.

Overall goal: 8,000.

Current word count: 9,143.

Don’t miss the big announcement post at three on the Ch1Con site, and reminder that the November Ch1Con Chat is tonight at eight PM EST! We’ll be discussing NaNoWriMo. Watch the chat here and tweet us questions to answer live with #Ch1Con!

~Julia

NaNo Day 3: Announcements Imminent

So I’m currently listening to 1989 (thank you very much to my amazing roommate Emily for picking it up at Target this weekend), and while it’s not my favorite Taylor Swift album (that will forever and always be Speak Now) and I had a lot of reservations about buying it (Wonderland‘s what sold me), I’m enjoying it now. And it’s making me want to dance. So that’s good. (Realizing as this plays that I actually like basically all the songs but the singles, and those will probably grow on me anyway, so whoooooooo T-Swift does it again.)

Today I scheduled as a non-writing day because I knew my procrastinating butt well enough to realize I wouldn’t have finished my term paper first draft due Tuesday yet. What I didn’t realize was that I also wouldn’t have started it. (Which is to say: I can’t even remember what my topic proposal from a month ago is about. Um.) So, I’m off to rock out to “Bad Blood” and, you know, figure out what I’m writing this paper on.

While I’m off drowning in peer-reviewed film journals and eighty-year-old movies: ANNOUNCEMENTS ARE COMING VERY SOON. Like a couple things possibly probably tomorrow and other things later this week and I am dying from the anticipation, dude. Keep your eyes on the Chapter One Young Writers Conference site and social media.

And a reminder that the November Ch1Con Chat is this Thursday at 8 PM EST and we’ll be discussing NaNoWriMo! Find more info here.

Talk to you tomorrow as everything starts coming together! AHHHH!

Goal for today: 0.

Overall goal: 6,000.

Current word count: 7,140.

~Julia

Giveaway: FALLING INTO PLACE by Amy Zhang!

So I’ve been promising to do a giveaway for approximately forever, but as I’m sure we’ve already established a thousand times, I am the laziest human being alive. Sorry about how long it’s taken to get this up. (I ran out of ways to procrastinate today. It’s a sad life.)

Anyway: Amy Zhang was the keynote speaker at the 2014 Chapter One Young Writers Conference, and we absolutely loved having her! Amy is hilarious and smart and seriously so talented oh my gosh. (I want to be her when I grow up.) Her debut novel, a YA contemporary called Falling into Place, came out from Greenwillow/HarperCollins in September and is just as incredible as you’d expect.

From GoodReads:

On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road.

Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? Amy Zhang’s haunting and universal story will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and Jay Asher.

Sounds great, right? Well, now it’s your chance to win a copy of Falling into Place!

You have two weeks to enter using one or more of the options in the Rafflecopter giveaway linked below. The giveaway will end at midnight Friday, October 17.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER ALL YOU COOL READERS!

Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor!

 

~Julia

Wordy Wednesday: Shoot the (Fictional) Gun

So, a couple things:

First off, the Chapter One Young Writers Conference‘s 2014 keynote speaker Amy Zhang’s YA contemporary debut FALLING INTO PLACE came out yesterday!! (That was such a mouthful, wow.) It’s SO GOOD, and I’m not just saying that because I know Amy. You need to read this book. I couldn’t put it down all day and was basically walking around in a fog whenever classes forced me to.

Find FALLING INTO PLACE on:

Also, make sure to stop by Amy’s website, because she’s giving away some cool FALLING INTO PLACE swag on her blog right now!

Second off, Ch1Con‘s about to kick it into high gear with about a thousand announcements in the next few weeks, so BE PREPARED for the onslaught.

Third off, this week’s Wordy Wednesday is a writing process post. [Trigger warning: I’m talking about triggers today.]

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I woke up this morning to an email from the police that there was a man with a gun in the chemistry building and the campus was going into lockdown. This didn’t affect me much since I was, you know, still in bed and live off campus. And almost instantaneous to me seeing the original Emergency Alert email, they sent out the All Clear, anyway. So everything was fine. Just a fun little disruption to our day. (That’s sarcasm on the “fun” front, my friend.)

It turns out the “gunman” was just a Navy ROTC member with non-weaponized equipment (aka: a gun filled with concrete so it isn’t dangerous), returning said equipment to the ROTC office. In the comment section of an article about the incident, someone groused about everyone needlessly freaking out because someone carried a gun through a class building without their knowing whether it was a working gun or the man had an intention of shooting anyone with it.

I’m not going to go into my stance on whether or not people should be allowed to own guns right now, but this comment really bothered me, because after everything that’s been happening on campuses across the United States, I think the general assumption (and the one that helps keep students safer) is that if someone has a gun with them in a place guns are not meant to be fired, there’s a good chance it’s not good.

After all, the purpose of a gun is not to humbly sit there, bullets within it, not touching the world around it. The purpose of a gun is to shoot things.

And if it’s not shooting something, it’s not fulfilling its purpose.

Thus, by this definition: an unconcealed weapon in the chem building is something we should react to first and ask the carrier questions about second. (Seriously. Who’s going to walk up to a guy with a gun outside a college classroom and be like, “Yo. What’cha got there? You planning on shooting anyone with that today?” NOT ME.)

This inherent (and what I believe to be intelligent) response to seeing someone with a gun (you know–reacting by assuming s/he’s going to shoot it) is also really important in stories.

If someone carries a weapon of some sort into a scene–be it a gun, or a knife, or some really juicy gossip–it can’t just Be There. It has to be there for a purpose. A gun in a scene is a promise that someone is going to shoot it. And if someone doesn’t, that becomes a broken promise to the reader. And when you break promises to the reader, bad things happen. (I’m not going to go into the bad things. The first rule of Reader Club is you do not talk about Reader Club.)

This rule about weapons applies to more in fiction than only things characters can use to hurt each other. It applies to everything. Did your protagonist just comment on a pretty picture? That’s great for the moment, but for it to be great for the story, you need the fact that you’ve drawn attention to the picture to mean something in the long run. Maybe there’s a clue to the mystery hidden in the picture. Or the picture has some sort of symbolic resonance that you come back to during the climax.

What matters is that it matters.

I was thinking about this today, not just because of our non-weaponized “gunman” (poor, poor Navy ROTC member), but because yesterday I had this opposite-of-an-epiphany moment in which, for no apparent reason in the middle of one of my film classes, I realized I have this paragraph in the middle of the climax of the novel I’m revising that makes no sense within the scene.

It’s information I need to share, and it comes out in a realistic way, but it isn’t important to the scene it’s in.

So while that scene is important to that information, that information is not important to that scene. And it can’t work,that way.

It’s a reciprocal relationship. Everything needs to make context in a scene (your reason for bringing a gun) and everything in a scene must be important to the scene (shooting the gun). And all of this, ultimately, needs to be important to the overall story (the results of shooting the gun).

Every word you write is a promise to the reader. Like a real gun, the purpose of your fictional (or metaphorical) gun is to shoot it.

So, shoot the gun.

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Thanks for reading!

 

~Julia

Wordy Wednesday: Lessons from Ch1Con

It’s storming like crazy outside right now. A little bit ago, a mama deer and her two babies went prancing through our backyard and the babies jumped about two feet every time thunder clapped overhead.

Now we’ve progressed to the Thunder Rolling Sinisterly In the Distance segment of the storm, so I feel like it’s safe enough to have my laptop out. (Fingers crossed. I just ate some really greasy cheese and I’m not in the mood for getting deep fat fried the week before I’m supposed to leave for Europe.)

This past weekend (as I’m sure you’re aware, since I haven’t shut up about it in like two months) was the Chapter One Young Writers Conference. The conference was so much fun and I learned a ton from our speakers. So, I figured for this week’s Wordy Wednesday I’d share a few of their lessons.

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1. “There will probably come a time when no shortcuts or tricks will work. You just have to power through it.” –Ariel Kalati

Ariel gave a presentation on how to avoid common procrastination pitfalls. However, the conclusion she came to was this: Sometimes, nothing you do will make things easier. You just have to trust yourself and your love of writing, instead, and “power through.”

2. World-building is about the rules. [Patrice Caldwell]

Patrice gave a presentation on world-building in which she revealed that making a believable world relies on rules. Think about the “rules” of your world. How does the magic system work (if they have magic), what’s their religion like, and how’s their society set up? What foods do the characters eat and what activities do they do in their free time? Know the details and establish rules in order to make a world as real to the reader as this one.

3. “Mr. Rogers thinks everyone has a voice.” –Molly Brennan

Molly gave a presentation that compared journalism and fiction techniques. Somehow out of this we started our own sorta-meme: “Mr. Rogers thinks _____.” The odd yet important lesson that Molly inadvertently taught with this is that someone is always paying attention and someone always believes in you. (She also taught many journalism/fiction lessons, but come on. Why give up the opportunity to use a quote that includes a Mr. Rogers reference.)

4. Random questions can get you the best answers. [Panel with Amy Zhang, Patrice Caldwell, and Kira Budge]

We did an Ask Us Anything panel Saturday afternoon. It began with questions like, “When did you start writing seriously?” and “What are your favorite types of stories?” But then we moved to questions about OTPs and favorite fictional places, and I realized: you learn a lot more about people (and characters) from the random, seemingly pointless questions than the serious, traditional ones.

5. People want lives that resemble fiction and fiction that resembles lives. [Amy Zhang]

Amy gave our keynote address, which was on developing unforgettable characters. The biggest lesson I took from her session was that the key to writing good characters is writing ones who seem like real people, not characters at all. It’s the ones we can imagine walking past us in the halls at school, sitting beside us on the city bus, who stay with us long after we’ve turned the last page.

6. Don’t start at the beginning. [Kira Budge]

Kira gave a workshop on writing opening pages. An important lesson she shared was that it’s cliche, these days, to start at “the beginning.” The first day of school, first day of summer, first day of a new job–overall, beginnings have become overdone. It’s better to start before or after this part. (And you’re also more likely to learn unique, important details about the characters by starting at another point.)

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Interested in attending Ch1Con next year? Help us decide dates!

And now, in case I don’t have a chance to say goodbye before I leave for Europe next week (I’ll be gone before Wednesday), I hope you have a good couple weeks and treat our guest posters well. 🙂 I can’t wait to post from Oxford! Love you!

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~Julia

Dear Twelve Year Old Me

Dear Twelve Year Old Me,

You don’t know it yet, but that writing website you discovered the other day is going to change everything.

You’ll learn so much about the publishing industry, there. Become a better writer. Fall into being a much better person.

And most importantly, you’ll meet some of your best friends.

I know. Crazy. Becoming friends with people on the internet. Didn’t Mom and Dad warn you not to do that? (But it’ll be okay, because that writing website has a wonderful moderator named Bronwen who will keep you from sharing the personal details that could get you kidnapped by a drug cartel/human traffickers.) (You know. Until Fourteen Year Old You and said online friends join NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program, at which you all realize you can now talk without anyone else watching, and you subsequently become completely invested in each other’s lives.)

You don’t know it yet, but a lot of your dreams aren’t going to come true. You won’t be like that girl in that Andrew Clements novel you read over and over again. You won’t be the one juggling schoolwork with book tours and TV appearances.

But that’s okay, that’s more than okay, because you are going to be the one with an AP English essay open in one window and endless novel revisions open in another. You’ll be the one “writing” in notebooks during breaks at theatre rehearsals (because come on, now: we all know that chicken scratch can’t be called writing). You’ll be the one who talks about being scared you’re in the Saggy Middle of your journey to publication as a senior in high school while pacing in a hotel room in New York City, a writing conference in full swing a few floors below.

You’ll be the one who cries a little when you step in the Javits Center for the first time as (Two Weeks Ago) Twenty Year Old You. Because while everybody else in the industry despises it, for someone still so on the outside, that building looks like dreams for the future and rings with those dreams coming true.

Don’t be scared. You’ll still wants it as badly as you do now, Twelve Year Old Me. But you’ll want it differently in seven and a half years. And it’s a long, hard, and beautiful journey to get here.

The other kids on that website you stumbled across are going to be your lifelines through all this. Don’t be mad when they’re better than you; be grateful when they compliment your writing; and always remember how lucky you are to have them in your life.

You don’t deserve them. You still don’t now. But you do have them, and they have you, and that’s what you’re doing here right now.

Because “here” is Arlington Heights, Illinois. And “right now” is 7:21 AM, June 14th, 2014. The morning of the 2014 Chapter One Young Writers Conference. A conference you put together (with a LOT of help from Mom, mind you) so you and your friends and other young writers like you can transcend the boundaries of the internet and distance, at least for a weekend. Because after seven and a half years, you guys deserve that kind of thing.

And now you–or I, I guess, am sitting here on a bath mat across from a hotel toilet, because I don’t want to wake Mom out in the room. And my left shoulder blade is pressed to the wall, legs bent with left flip flop pressed to right thigh, and it’s funny, because in seven and a half years years everything else has changed, but I still sit like I don’t know how to be a functioning human being. (Let’s be honest: I don’t.)

You’re just a snatch of memory held up with velvet rope and spotlights at the back of my mind, now, Twelve Year Old Me: a period in my life I remember probably far too often, because I am scared to forget.

And I love you. Because you won’t know you’re changing everything when you choose to use that website for all the wrong reasons and choose to obsess over it for all the right ones.

Eat your vegetables. Brush your teeth. And don’t watch too much TV; it rots your brain. (But no worries. The doctors fix that in the future by coming up with a drug called “Netflix.” Don’t tell the other kids, but it’s going to be awesome.)

One last word of advice: Thirteen Year Old You will encounter the urge to write a novel titled Pennamed. Much bad will come of this. DON’T GIVE IN. (But actually do, because finishing that first terrible novel is one of the things that sets you down the path to Now. And I love Now.)

I’m off to talk with some of those girls you met the other day. Thanks for introducing me to them. They’re pretty cool.

 

Love,

Twenty Year Old Me

Central Park and Airplanes

Sorry I didn’t get the chance to post yesterday! We didn’t get home until midnight and I had been fighting nodding off the entire way (for some reason a weekend of being touristy in NYC can do that to you), so I just collapsed on my bed the instant I was through the door.

BookCon ended Saturday evening, so Sunday was purely a day for sightseeing. We started with brunch at a French restaurant (peppermint tea and a multi-grain waffle with fresh strawberries and syrup and whipped cream!). Then we were off to Central Park. (Side note: I just yawned and my right ear finally popped after getting off the plane at TEN. THIRTY. last night. Gee thanks, ear.)

We spent the majority of the afternoon walking around Central Park. It was about seventy five out and sunny, which meant the park was packed. The lawns were practically standing room only with so many people spread out to nap or eat or play catch or just take it all in. We trekked to the Obelisk (which was unfortunately under construction, but still pretty cool), the Alice in Wonderland statue (adorable children climbed all over it, paying no mind to the heat), and the Strawberry Fields mosaic (where a guy with a guitar sang “Imagine” and laughing tourists crowded the mosaic for pictures).

After Central Park, it was a whirlwind of making it to our plane on time. We stopped at a street vendor for fresh fruit on our way back to the hotel, then grabbed our luggage and hit the road–at which point all efforts to reach the airport were thwarted by multiple car accidents that completely stopped traffic on our way through Queens to LaGuardia.

Fact: Getting in a car accident in New York City seems to be about one of the worst places to get in a car accident. The firetrucks and ambulances were slow on their way to and from the accidents because so many cars blocked their way to them and these blocking vehicles had nowhere to go. Add in the impatient taxi drivers and angry tourists, and it’s like something out of a disaster movie.

Despite all that, though, we did make it to the airport with plenty of time. We got dinner at one of the LaGuardia food courts, caught a ride with a very bored-looking airport transport vehicle driver dude (thank God, because suitcases full of books are HEAVY), then it was onto the airplane.

Which immediately began to loudly beep. Like it was going to explode.

“It’s just the smoke detector in one of the bathrooms,” a flight attendant assured the guy across the aisle from me. “Although, we can’t seem to find any smoke, so that’s strange.”

I obviously spend far too much time thinking up crazy, violent acts for stories, because my first thought was that someone had rewired the thing to turn it into a bomb and the plane was going to blow up the moment they turned the engines on.

With the help of some maintenance people, they managed to turn the alarm off (which then required closing the bathroom, which then led to massive lines to get into the working one for the duration of the flight–fun times).

Anyway, I spent the flight reading The Lord of the Rings in preparation for Oxford, and mi madre did Sudoku, and Hannah read a Percy Jackson book, and I’m not really sure what Hannah’s mom did because I couldn’t spy on her from my seat. But rest assured, we didn’t blow up and safely made it home and I miss New York already.

But I’m also really glad to finally get some sleep.

Next up in the Summer of Bookish Traveling: Chicago for the Chapter One Young Writers Conference! If I haven’t already driven you crazy with how much I go on about it, you can check out our website at www.chapteroneconference.com. The conference will take place Saturday, June 14 and Sunday, June 15 outside Chicago and it’s for anyone interested in writing, ages 12-22. Registration closes next Wednesday (the 11th), so you should get on that if you might want to come! We’d love to have you. 🙂

Watch out for an in depth, rambling post about BookCon on Saturday (and possibly a review of BookCon as an event, itself) sometime this week!

 

~Julia