“That’s not writing, that’s typing.”
(Truman Capote’s dismissal of Jack Kerouac’s work)

You, too can be an author! At least, you can share in the experience shared by authors well-known and obscure, established and wannabe: the rejection letter.

In the tradition of the preemptive strike, the literary journal Stoneslide Corrective provides a vital public service, the generosity of which cannot be overestimated.  The Rejection Generator Project eliminates the need for you to take the time and energy (and whiskey) to actually pen an emotionally searing short story, witty roman à clef or evocative poem.[1]  Simply type in your email address and a terse and snarky rejection, composed by Certified Rejected Authorial Persons, [2] will be winging your way.

drunkcapote

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Mark those calendars:

Middle Readers Night
May 14, 2013, 7:00 pm
Powell’s at Cedar Hills Crossing, Beaverton, OR

As part of the local marking of Children’s Book Week celebration, Oregon authors Heather Vogel Frederick and moiself will be reading excerpts from and signing copies of our books (The Mighty Quinn, in my case, and Frederick’s Once Upon a Toad).  I am told that attendees will may be able to receive complimentary Children’s Book Week posters and tote bags [3], not to mention the one-of-a-kind opportunity to be misted by the spittle [4] of a Real Life Author ®, should you be in the first row during the reading.

Mickey's pasta emoting (from The Mighty Quinn, chapter 4)

Mickey’s pasta emoting (from The Mighty Quinn, chapter 4)

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This Stupid Week In History…which happens to be this week

 A science project gone awry.

 From the Miami New Times :  16-year-old Kiera Wilmot, known at Bartow High School for being a “model student,” has not only been expelled from school, she faces felony charges for an “experiment” that went wrong. 

Wilmot reportedly mixed toilet bowl cleaner and aluminum foil, causing the top of a plastic bottle to rupture and smoke to emit.  Wilmot says she did it because a friend told her to, believing it would only cause smoke. 

Bartow High School’s assistant principal called police when Wilmot’s science teacher said he wasn’t aware of any experiment. 

Leah Lauderdale, spokeswoman for the school district, calls Wilmot’s actions “grounds for immediate expulsion” because they violate the school’s conduct code.  Section 7.05 of the school’s conduct code, Lauderdale says, mandates expulsion for any “student in possession of a bomb (or) explosive device… while at a school (or) a school-sponsored activity… unless the material or device is being used as part of a legitimate school-related activity or science project conducted under the supervision of an instructor.”

A sixteen year old girl did something most kids do at some point:  mixed up common household products in a plastic bottle because they heard that something amusing might result (how many baking soda and vinegar “volcanoes” did you try to make?). She did this outdoors.  The resulting “explosion” was not even adequate to burst the bottle, but merely popped off the top and generating some smoke.

No one was injured (save for the plastic bottle, which, as of this reporting, is refusing to comment), the principal was quoted stated that Wilmot simply made a “bad choice” and wasn’t trying to hurt anyone, but Wilmot was still expelled because school administrators are spineless fear mongers who have abdicated their responsibility to judge actions in light of context rules are rules.  Wilmot, described by the school principle as “a good kid,” who has “never been in trouble before. Ever,” will now reportedly have to complete her education in an “expulsion program” and may face a criminal conviction.

Mandatory expulsion for being “in possession of a bomb or explosive device?”  There goes every high school biology, chemistry and physics classroom, or certain students’ digestive tracts after burrito day at the cafeteria.

The student in question didn’t seem to be knowingly in possession of or trying to fabricate a WMD.  Rather, she did a dumb thing.  The punishment should fit the “crime” – perhaps a suspension, or a week of after school detention at a plastic bottle recycling facility.

The overreaction of administrators in this story reminds me of something that befell daughter Belle during her sophomore year in high school.  Ah, but when this happens to the child of a writer….  I’ve taken notes for a follow-up book to The Mighty Quinn, which just may include subplot involving false accusations brought against Neally [5] by school staff.  Let me just say that the adults involved in the debacle will not come out smelling like roses – more like a science project gone awry.

Oh yeah, and no plastic bottles will be injured during the making of the book.

"Stand back…" from  webcomic xkcd [6]

“Stand back…” from webcomic xkcd [6]

Have a great weekend, and let the (non-explosive) hijinks ensue.”

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!


[1] works which will probably be rejected anyway, I mean, whom are we kidding, are you that good, huh?

[2] Including yours truly.

[3] Assuming you arrive early enough and snatch them from the hands of children.  It’s a “While supplies last” deal.

[4] Why did I put so many S words in my novel?

[5] The title character’s friend and (unintentional) mentor.

[6]Randall Munroe’s  xkcd is a webcomic of “romance, sarcasm, math, and language.” You’d be way cooler than you already are if you’d it on a regular basis.