Thursday, December 1, 2016

Poem #18

Thanksgiving weekend, 2016

we were sitting on the hotel porch in the
watery afternoon light just the three of us
bundled up in sweaters our eyes closed our
faces turned towards the warmth of the sun

when it occurred to me that maybe just
maybe it was ok to relax for a minute that
running around in a panic all the time wasn’t
going to help anything that best-case scenario

we were all in this new mess of a world for the
longterm and that ultimately the ability to check
out for a moment to refill our reservoirs of energy
and tenacity was not something to feel guilty about

but rather an essential capacity which
would in the coming months and years
become absolutely necessary were we to
manage to make ourselves of any use at all

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Speaking at the CLA Annual Conference

I find that various things which happened just before the election have tended to get swept under the rug and forgotten about. But here's one worth pulling back out. Earlier this month I had the distinct honor of speaking on a panel about the state of nonfiction with distinguished librarians Vanessa Walden and Jennifer Lawson at the California Library Association's annual conference in Sacramento (full disclosure: Vanessa is also one of my very best pals in the world -- when we were done panel-izing we took our kids to the train museum and it was super fun).

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


If, like me, you are looking for concrete actions to take in this new world we find ourselves living in, here is the very best article I have found on the subject:

Where We Go From Here from the Rumpus

This one is also useful:

What To Do by Lindy West

And, if you want, this site will send you a weekly email of four actions to take:

There's also this page which lists copious other resources. I haven't had a chance to go through them all in detail yet, but from what I've dipped into so far it looks very fruitful:

"Stay outraged" image source is alas unknown, but I'm on the hunt for it, if anyone has any clues please send them along!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Art for Right Now

Here is some of the best, most sanity preserving, art, design, illustration, and photography to come across my radar in the past week.

Above: Lula Hyers

Micah Player

Nook Gallery

Nathaniel Russell

Christopher David Ryan

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Poem #17

April 1990

how I got into theater
in the first place was
by starring in the
eighth grade play

which we wrote ourselves
adapting scenes from old
archie comics I was betty my
brunette friend was veronica

I loved everything about it the
memorizing lines and evening
play practices the backstage
hubbub of putting on makeup

even the singing and dancing
since of course it was a musical
I was hooked and would remain
so for the next half dozen years

image source is here

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Letter from We Need Diverse Books

I reprint in its entirety this letter from Ellen Oh, president of We Need Diverse Books, because it is so excellent:

A Letter From Our President to the WNDB Family

Dear WNDB team members, Advisory Board and liaisons,
Many of us are hurting deeply this morning. Feeling betrayed, lost, hopeless. We have just been told in the most devastating manner that our lives, our communities do not matter. 
Now more than ever We Need Diverse Books. We must stay strong. We must be willing to continue to work hard and fight for all of our rights. There will be immediate dangers for many in our communities, in particular the immigrant, Muslim, and LGBTQ communities. We must support them and stand by their side. And we must continue to do everything we can to diversify children’s literature with own voices. For there is no doubt in my mind that the lack of good representation in children’s books that could be good windows into other lives, is a key reason for the complete lack of empathy in much of the populace. Imagine if these same people had read Last Stop on Market Street or Brown Girl Dreaming or Better Nate than Ever or American Born Chinese. What if they’d read All American Boy? I can’t help but think that some of them might have made a different decision had they only been exposed to diversity at a young age. 
What this proves more than anything is that representation is not only important for marginalized children, but they are equally, if not more important for white, straight, cis-gendered, able bodied kids to read. The lack of diverse books in children’s books has a direct correlation to what we have seen happen this week. And while it is too late to fix what has already happened, we can and must do better for our future generations. We must work harder to diversify the publishing industry. We must work harder to mentor new marginalized voices, we must work harder to promote and distribute diverse books by own voices authors. 
As Jacqueline Woodson said this morning on facebook - “We’ve lived through harder times, y'all. We can do this, too.”
We can do this. But we can also work harder for a better future for our future generations. For as Walter Dean Myers said in his last NYT op ed in March of 2014 “There is work to be done.”
And I believe that we can do it.
All my best,