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Adrienne Maria Vrettos

You found me! Not like I was hiding. More like hanging out, waiting for you…

 BURNOUT, IS NOW IN PAPERBACK!

Hellooooo!

I’m totally doing a welcome dance. I know you can’t *see* me dance, and for that you should be grateful. It could be embarrassing. For you. You know, because of your jealousy of my moooooves.

Anyway!

I’m really glad you’re here.

I am a sometimes-blogger, but an all-the-time Tweeter. You can see my feed over on the right hand side of the page, and I would love it if you followed me. On Twitter. Not, like, to the bathroom.

Also, I’m always happy to answer emails at AMV [at] adriennemariavrettos dot com

xoxo

AMV

Cliques: Illustrated

Hello, lovelies!

It’s one of those “once in a blue moon AMV decides to blog” kind of days.

LOVED this article on the “standard” cliques at American high schools, and the ways they get their names (my favorite example? the “chicken patties”)

The article reminded me of how much I loved naming the cliques in The Exile of Gigi Lane and, even more than naming the cliques, I loved the artwork my friend David Zacharis created for each one, to be used at my launch event.

I mean, seriously? Years later, these still make me SO happy.

Here are a few of my favorites.

And now I really want to know the cliques at YOUR school were! Flying chicken patties?

xoxo

AMV

 

 

Exploding Pumpkins and Tickling Tom Hardy

Yesterday was one of those days where all of my writing was done in my head, as my hands were busy. Some days are like that, right? Where you need to be satisfied with imagining the details of a room (burgundy shag carpet, trampled flat except for the luscious patch exposed when a bookcase is moved) just so you feel like you’ve had some forward momentum?

 
My hands were busy doing other things I love. I tickled a belly. You may wonder, is this the Tom Hardy part of the post? And the answer would be yes. I totally tickled Tom Hardy’s belly while he filmed a movie in my neighborhood about finding a lost dog. And he was dressed like this, which seemed weird.

Either that, or the belly I tickled was the perfectly round belly belonging to my toddler.

There was a morning playdate and a valiant effort by me to simultaneously get my kid to fall asleep in the stroller and photo-bomb the Bane-Loves-Dog movie. Neither happened.

 
And then the other kid came home and there was another playdate, and the pumpkin we’d been letting decompose as a science experiment was kicked and we discovered a months-old pumpkin totally explodes when kicked. So then our place looked like an unpopular teacher’s house on Halloween.

 

And between the exploded pumpkin and the broken wine glass (it was empty, and I think it just exploded with anticipation), someone came by our place to see if we would be interested in having it be in a Major Television Production.

 

There was some location-scout picture taking (I’m going to pretend I wasn’t mortified by the state of our place, and just hope they don’t call telling us ‘not to change a thing’, because the scene they’re filming takes place in crack den or something).

 

And then there was the DADDY’S HOME!! celebration (I led the cheer and ran out to buy wine).

 

And then there was takeout because of the flood (oh yeah, the flood. I can’t even.)

 

And then the day was done and I hadn’t written a lick.

 

But at least I know the color of the shag carpeting, and I’ll hold the image of it in my mind until I can write it down until I can write it into my ms later today. It’s amazing right, how we get a new day every day?

 

xoxo
AMV

Forever or Never!

A year and a half ago, on my very last day as a Scholastic marketing peep, my friend and Captain of Awesome David Levithan said, “I think you have a middle grader in you”.  So offensive, right? Who is he to call me immature?!

Luckily before I could [stand on a chair and] give him a noogie, I realized he’d really said, “I think you have a middle grade in you” as in, a middle grade book. And then I gasped dramatically, as I’m wont to do, because I really, really wanted to write a middle grade, and I really, really wanted to write it for Scholastic.

And now I am so grateful, because I now have the chance! Here are the deets:

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-book-news/article/56166-rights-report-week-of-february-25-2013.html

Lisa Sandell at Scholastic Press has acquiredForever or Never, a debut middle-grade novel by Adrienne Maria Vrettos. After 11-year-old Hattie witnesses a public defriending in the school cafeteria, she convinces her three best friends to sign a loyalty pact. But when Hattie unwittingly breaks it, the pact’s magic causes her friends to forget who she is. Publication is scheduled for 2014; Tracey Adams at Adams Literary negotiated the deal for world rights.

And did you see who the editor is?? Lisa Sandell!! LISA [obscenity redacted because sometimes my Grandma googles - Hi Grandma!] SANDELL! Holy McYAY!

Oh, and did you see the OTHER Lisa Sandell announcement? The one where she is editing a new series by Jennifer A. Nielsen, of The False Prince awesomeness? How exciting is that?!

As for Forever or Never, writing it has been a total blast*

*this is will be 100% true once I’m done. Right now, in the midst of writing, it’s like maybe 60% total blast and 40% total panic

Come on, 2014!

xoxo

AMV

Childhood Treasures : Tatum’s Favorite Shape by Dorothy Thole, Woodcuts by Whitney Hansen

On our most recent visit, my four-year-old and I spent some happy hours going through boxes of my childhood things in parents’ attic. There’s something about attics, isn’t there, that makes what you find magic?

Here’s one big of magic that we found, my well-loved and duct-taped copy of Tatum’s Favorite Shape by Dorothy Thole, Woodcuts by Whitney Hansen

And here is what the book cover looked like, before it was loved-off:

 

This book made me so happy when I was a kid. It just felt warm and safe and sweet and right. A little boy comes home from school, vowing to never return because he can’t remember his shapes. His mom finds simple ways to help him realize he does indeed know his shapes. And that’s that. A delicious bite-sized cupcake of a story.

And the woodcut illustrations! I wanted to live there, in that little house with the blooming tree and tire swing and picket fence.

 

Reading this now as a mom, I think about Tatum’s mom. Is she happy? Is she filled up? There’s an easel in the background of one of the images, and I find myself hoping that she’s an artist, and that she has enough time to create.

*My insert image skills are are lacking, which is why this image is all wackadoo!

I wonder if she’s always home to greet Tatum after school and if she’s glad for it, or if sometimes she would rather be doing something else. I wonder if she’s in graduate school and stays up after the kids go to bed to study. I wonder what she longs for and what she regrets and what makes her laugh and what fills her joy.

I wonder if she’s always the kind , patient, playful mother she is in the book, or if she ever has days when she is not.

None of this matters, though, when I’m reading. What matters is that she and Tatum and Sissy had a lovely afternoon, and us readers are lucky enough to be there to share it.

I am still searching for bio information for the author, Dorothy Thole, and will update when I do.

I did find a site for Whitney Hansen, though! And I’m so excited to start poking to see where I can see her work.

What books did you love as a kid? What did they make you feel then? What do they make you feel now?

xoxo

AMV

Disjointed Memoir: New Year’s Eve edition

Disjointed Memoir: Stories to be included in the memoir I will most likely never write.  Just the bones, without having to write the tendons to connect them all.

It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m 21 and I’m at my parents house.  They are out.  So is my big brother, who is home from college. The dog’s here.  But he’s asleep.

My right leg is broken in two places.  It’s not in a cast, but in an ace bandage to keep the swelling down.  The little fang-like sets of holes where they took the staples out itch a little.

It’s six weeks since I was hit by a car, and three weeks since my grandmother died.

I know that I am not doing well.

I have graduated from crutches to the duck-head cane my brother gave me for Christmas.  Later, when I get back to school, my best friend Kate will write my soul on a scrap of paper. We will stick it inside the duck’s head.  I will keep that soul forever, so far.

But that winter … I spend too much time lying on my bed, listening to Mazzy Starr and not eating.

My mom has a neighbor come over to make me lunch while she’s at work.  Our pastor comes over, too.

My high school friends, home from college, have taken me out a few times since they came home for the holidays.  I haven’t built my strength back yet.  This means I experience the strangeness of someone my own age gently carrying me across an icy front lawn, up a slick set of steps, and carefully setting me down in someone’s living room.  Like a keg, but greeted with less enthusiasm.

Tonight I opt to stay home.  I’m in pain, and my body feels too unweildly and uncertain to take out.

I wish My So Called Life was on, but it’s not.

The loneliness of this empty house on a Saturday night is too familiar.  I was supposed to have left this place.

Everything I have done since I left home feels imagined.  I don’t believe I will ever have it back.  I am going to be here, unchanging forever.  This winter will not end.  I think about my grandmother.

I can feel myself sinking.

But then the front door opens and my brother comes in.  He brings the wind and the smell of ice and cold.  And life, he brings life.

We sit at the kitchen table and he rings in the New Year with me, singing made-up versions of Jane’s Addiction songs to make me laugh.

Just him, being there, means everything to me.

So Happy New Year to my big brother, and to everyone else who has shared or received a simple kindness that has changed everything.

Soooo close

I am tinkering. And deleting. And writing. A pitch for a new project that I am so excited about I have feel like I’m at the top of a roller coaster. Thrilling and terrifying, in equal measure.

My new favorite word…

Holy Moses!  My youngest kid has started using what has quickly become my new favorite word.

Betend.

As in “Let’s betend we’re kittens.”

I am totally in love with this word, and not just because I totally love my kid.  I love this word because it says everything about what I love and fear about writing.

Here’s what it means to me.

To betend is to let go of yourself and free fall into a story and not know when you will feel the ground beneath your feet or what it will feel like when you get there.  To betend is to let your characters tell their story even if that story includes them telling truths you don’t agree with. Betending is letting yourself have faith that this story came to you for a reason, and that you are the one to tell it, and that it’s okay when you find bits of yourself inside of it.  Your characters will protect your secrets.  And they will speak them for you.  Betending is feeling your characters’ joy and fear and shame and love.  You feel it together and then it’s not so much to bear.

Betending is magic, I’m sure of it.

xoxo

AMV

In which I get cranky about Allie Grant’s talents being wasted

I warn you — I am exhausted and highly caffeinated.  It has made me really cranky about random things.

For example.

 

This is Allie Grant.

You may know her from her work on Weeds, and more recently for her work on Suburgatory.  I think she’s a fantastic young actress.  But I am annoyed.  Really, really annoyed.  Not with Allie Grant, but with whomever is writing for her.

Because on Weeds (and disclaimer, I’ve seen only maybe ten episodes) it seems like the bulk of what her character did was to react to a mom who tortured Allie’s character about her weight.

And now, in Suburgatory, she is … playing a girl who is tortured by a mom about her weight.

The girl’s talent is being totally wasted on another character whose main job is to hate herself.  And that just SUCKS.  Give her something more to work with!  I promise you she’s up to the task.

I think I need to change out of my crankypants into something with an elastic waistband.  All the better to nap in.

AMV

In which I am finally reading Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

I *love* New York for a gazillion different reasons, but one of the random ones is the chunks of time that it seems EVERYONE is reading the same book on the subway.  It’s like an unofficial book group, except no one talks about the books we’re all reading together apart from MAYBE a nod and a “Hm.” Uttered in a tone of voice sure to convey “I don’t really want to have a conversation, I’m just acknowledging the fact we both live in this city and both love this book.  We can now go back to ignoring each other.”

It happened with The Red Tent, the Davinci Code, The Help, The Devil Wears Prada, Harry Potter, and most recently The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

The fact is, even though I love that it seems like everyone in New York reads the same thing at the same time, I’ve always opted out of this particular ‘it takes a village to read a book’ activity.  There is a great possibility it’s because I’m contrary.  Oh yeah, you’re all reading that?  Well I”m going to read THIS instead!

And also I was usually reading stuff for work and couldn’t fit in grown-up reading at the same time.  And, honestly, the manuscripts I was reading for work were so FRICKING GOOD I wasn’t really upset I didn’t have time to read the The Passage with everyone else.

But now that I’m retired and leading a life of leisure, I have time to catch up on community book group.

Starting with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

It’s just okay.

That’s a lie.

I am 100% obsessed.

And 100% paranoid that someone is going to tell me something about it that I don’t know already.  So if you see me wandering the streets of Brooklyn in an astronaut’s helmet, you’ll know why (why not ear plugs, you ask?  they could fall out!  too risky).

Yours in book obsession,

AMV

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