Rejection

Yeahhhh so one of my homeboys pretty much chewed my face off for not posting more often, and when I started to perform the illest “excuse kung-fu” he crushed me with one sentence.

“Dude,” he said. “People really just want to know what you’re up to. People care.”

Now, I don’t know if that’s true, but it was definitely a sweet sentiment. So much so that I’ve decided to commit to posting three times a week. I know, I know. I’ve said that before, but…so what. I’m saying it again. So, there.

Anyway, one thing that has been on my mind is the notion of rejection. It’s a strange thing. Always. And as wild as it is when it comes to unrequited love (no, this will not be a trip to tiny violin town,) it’s even more bizarre when it comes to something you’ve created — your art. And let me tell you, I have taken a mighty lashing when it comes to rejection. Specifically when it comes to writing childrens books.

For all my folks who are NOT writers, let me tell you, childrens books are HARD. Maybe even the hardest form of book making. You know why? Because you have thirty-two pages to tell a whole story with around thirty-two sentences. It has to have an entire plot AND a lesson, but it cant FEEL like a lesson. It can’t be heavy handed or agenda driven. It has to be the cheese on the broccoli, the chocolate syrup in the milk. It has to be funny and cool and interesting to the PARENTS and the children. Seriously? Seriously.

Wanna know how many I’ve written? Well, over the last ten years…probably thirty. Yes, you read that right. T-H-I-R-T-Y. Have you ever seen a kids book with my name on it in anybody’s store or library? No. No you haven’t. You know why? Because every single one I write gets rejected. Crapped on. Trashed. And every time, I feel terrible about it. But not bad enough to quit. I know I’m not that great at writing them (even though secretly I always feel like I’m knocking them out the park) but deep down, all the way down where the art flame flickers, I know I can do it. I KNOW IT. And I believe in process so I know I’ll get better. So I keep writing them. Over and over and over and over and over again.

Let this serve as inspiration to somebody (who reads this blog anywyay?) as well as documentation, that I’ve been trying for years, so that when it actually happens, when you see some dope kids book face-forward on a bookshelf, EVERYONE can celebrate with me.

What’s been going on…

Sooooo wanna know what I’ve been up to? Sheesh, so much. Too much, actually, to cram into a blog. For those of you who know me in real life, call me and we’ll have coffee and catch up. For everyone else (including those who know me but don’t want to have coffee with me) here’s some awesome highlights.

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1. Tour with Brendan Kiely and (John) Corey Whaley was amazing. We had such a great time bopping around from city to city, talking to young people, middle people, and old people about our books. I have to tell you, it’s always cool to hear what people got from your work. Every time it’s a trip. What I didn’t like was the flying. I mean…I’m just not a good flyer and having to do it over and over again was ROUGH. But worth it. So, so, so worth it.

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2. WHEN I WAS THE GREATEST IS NOW AN AUDIOBOOK! Hahahaha weird! But it’s good!

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3. And lastly, the ARCs (Advanced copies) of THE BOY IN THE BLACK SUIT are in my hand! I’m so excited to share this story with everyone, but in the meantime, check out the cover!

4. And lastly, lastly…lastly forreal, I have a new website! www.jasonwritesbooks.com Some of you may wonder why I have a new website. The answer is simple. Laurie Halse Anderson said that I was a professional now and needed better internet representation. So, I did it. That simple. Turns out I really like it. And yes this blog is part of it. Nothing changes. Check it out!

I SWEAR I’m gonna update this thing more often. Gotta get a rhythm going. Working on it. In the mean time, be patient with me.

Later!

Day 29 of 30

SEASONS

We’ve had enough of teeth that chatter
The bitter sting of winter’s fist
And spring and fall no longer matter
For spring and fall just don’t exist

The coats and hats that help the cause
We clutch in fear of frost’s repeat
And pray to God for winter’s pause
Just to complain about the heat

Day 28 of 30

CHANGING FACE

This morning
I found a new gray
in my mustache

Torn between
the presumptive image
of sophistication

and the inevitable
breakdown of
young cool

I can’t believe
my face is being
gentrified

Day 27 of 30

INSTINCT

From childbirth
we grip instinctively
with as much might as possible
to anything that crosses the
threshold of our palms

to anything that is holdable
to anything that is warm

and as adults
our hands have grown
strong enough to grip
exhaust pipes

and we do

let the smoke blow
in our faces
be burned and dragged by
fishtailing vehicles
prepare for whatever
unaccidental accidents
are coming

because
even exhausted

holding on to
that which is holdable
that which is warm

feels far more natural
than letting go