Thursday, October 11, 2012

Banana Peelin' wtih Anne Marie Pace

 Bwah, bwah, bwah.... Zank you very much vor visitng zee blog today. Vee have a very, very special guest whoose book Vampirina Ballerina, iz very, very, cute and perfect vor little vampires and ballerinas alike. Please velcome zee vonderful, Anne Marie Pace.

 How do I slip on a banana peel?  Let me count the ways . . . seriously, you don’t want to know all the mistakes I’ve made over the years in this business.  But I’m happy to share my most embarrassing moment with the Banana Peelin’ audience--now that fifteen years have passed, and only because fifteen years have passed.

In the late 90s, when I was in a dabbling phase of writing for children, before I was really serious or knew what I was doing, I joined a small children’s writing listserv called WRT4KDZ.  Most of the members were published and they were very generous with their time and advice, even to me (the dabbler). Jane Yolen was probably the best-known author on the list, but there were many others: Darcy Pattison, Susanna Reich, Debby Edwardson and more.  I was very grateful (and still am) to be part of this group.

I soaked up everything the folks on WRT4KDZ had to offer like a toddler soaks up language. It was amazing to me--a community where a newbie like me could post a question and Jane Yolen would answer it--whoa!!

That year, the Virginia Festival of the Book was hosting an event featuring Lois Lowry.  WRT4KDZ members often reported on the conferences they attended, so I decided to do the same.  I took detailed notes on Ms. Lowry's presentation to share with the group.  It was a small way to repay all that WRT4KDZ had given me.

 At one point, Ms. Lowry spoke of socializing with writer friends in Cambridge, where she lived, including "Susan Cooper, who is no longer with us." I took this note: "Susan Cooper has died”; and passed it along with my notesl

The reactions of the WRT4KDZ members were, as you’d expect, sorrowful and shocked; but that sorrow quickly turned into doubt.  Why wasn’t Ms. Cooper’s death in the news?  Had she been ill?  Why was Lois Lowry the only one of Ms. Cooper's friends who knew?

 Finally, Jane Yolen called Lois Lowry herself for clarification; and as you've probably guessed by now, Susan Cooper was not dead. She had simply moved away.

 Can we say, oops? Can we say, cringe? Can we say, crawl under my desk and shrivel into a miserable piece of desiccated earwax? I was mortified--completely and totally and utterly mortified. I had made a huge factual error, and one that caused people sadness at that.

Of course, we all know that kidlit people are the kindest and most generous writers in the world, and the WRT4KDZ members didn’t kick me out.  Rather, they consoled me and got me through the embarrassment; and we are still together today. 

What did I learn from this? I learned to double-check my facts before publication.

And I learned that "no longer with us" does not always mean "dead." It can also mean "moved to another town." Who woulda thunk it?

Bwah, bwah, bwah! Zat one cracked me up! Zank you Anne Marie vor sharing your story. And now vor zee goot news...Anne Marie vould like to give avay a book. Zes, zats right. =) Leave a comment below in your best vampire language and you vill be entered. Bwah, bwah, bwah!  

38 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. LOL! Thanks for sharing your, Oops! moment, Anne Marie :~d

    Vould love to add Anne Marie's vonderful book to my vide coolection! Zank you vrom the bottom of my heart :D

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  3. Ah, zis vuz zo amuzing! I am zorry for your embarazment, Anne Marie, but just theenk how heppy Zuzan Cooper iz to be "undead"!

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    1. Yez, undead. Zo great! Bwah, bwah, bwah! =) Tanks Iza.

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  4. LOL! Too funny, and I love what iza said above! ^^^

    I probably would have done the same thing. "No longer with us" means "passed away" in my book, not "moved to Cleveland." Although, I think it's kinda the same thing. (Ouch, sorry Clevelanders!)

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    1. Iza always has good things to say. =) I would've done the SAME thing too! Thanks for your comment Tara!

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  5. I already have a copy of the book so am going to skip the vampire language for today :) Loved reading this story, though...and love Vampirina! Thanks to both of you for making me smile this morning...

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    1. You lucky lady! Great for you that you already have the book. =) Vampiirina is darling! Thanks so much for your comment Kerry!

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  6. Iza, you are tooooo ghoulish. I vould like to join zee undead club vif you und Zuzan.

    Anne Marie, zis vas zee most soocculent blahnana peel moment zo far on zis blahg! You are very lucky to have zis vunderful group of ladies...vif long necks...I mean, vif big hearts. :)

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    1. Bwah, bwah, bwah...zo vitty Renee. "Vif long necks..." Tanks zo much vor your comment. =)

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  7. Great post, Anne Marie! And what a great title for your book!

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    1. Isn't it a great title?! The book is so sweet.

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  8. The banana peels seem to lie in wait for us all! Anne Marie, thank you for sharing that story with us. (I had the experience of sitting in the audience at the high school graduation of what would have been my class had I not moved away, and hearing the guest speaker say "One of the class is no longer with us" -- I thought, "I only moved away, Mr. X, I didn't die!") So I understand that one well!

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    1. Phew! So glad you didn't die Beth! =) Thanks so much for your comment!

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  9. Hilarious! Thanks so much for sharing.

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    1. Wasn't it hilarious? Thanks so much for your comment Carrie!

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  10. Ooooh! Buah ah ah... I am mos zure that I vill vin! I mus vin, beecuss dees book makes my undead art zo happy. Vou too, no? I mus zay, I feel zorrowful vor dear Anne Marie. Dat would zuck, an not in de delicious vay! But, I learn big lesson, and vill check facts.

    (Okay, can't tell if this is vampire-ish or old Russian grandmother-ish! HA! Sorry if it's more the latter. Haven't been around my buddy Dracula in a few hundred years. He still has my Tupperware, too! *Grumble grumble*)

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    1. Bwah, bwah, bwah! "Zat would suck, an not in de delicious vay!" Goot vone Betany. =) (P.S. When thiinking of Vampire language, I tried to remember the accent of my bff's grandmother who was from Romania...Transylvania to be exact. =) She was the best.

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  11. So I tried to take a short cut since I am feeling kinda lazy. I searched for an English to Vampire translator on the Internet. I came up with many hits...as you can imagine and could probably be a vampire by midnight with all I learned. Seriously, it would've been easier to just try to talk Vampire. But I did find and English to Romanian...is that close enough? My results are below in English and Romanian.

    I want to win the book very bad.
    I laughed very hard at your banana peel moment and Iza's comment and those that followed.
    Vampirina Balerina sounds adorable!

    VREAU sa cistige la carte foarte rau. AM râs foarte greu la moment dvs. coji de banane si Grupul Iza, comentariu şi cele care au urmat. Vampirina Balerina sunete adorabil!

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    1. Ok, vat did you zay about me, Penny?

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    2. Hilarious Penny! That is usin' your noggin. You are definitely in for the drawing, of the book not any blood. =) Thanks so much for your comment AND I hope you can use your new found knowledge in a future picture book!

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  12. Oh, that is a funny story, Anne Marie! I'm sorry it happened, but still funny! It makes me think of Ramona and all her misunderstandings - the dawnzer lee light, and how "sitting here for the present" made her think she was getting a gift :) Thanks for sharing!

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    1. It defintely made me chuckle too. =) Maybe because I would have assumed the same thing! Thanks so much for your comment Susanna!

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  13. That was so funny! I don't blame you. "No longer with us" does sound like someone passed away, depending on the mood of the person saying it.

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    1. I know! I would've thoght the SAME thing Romelle! Thanks for your comment!

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  14. Grrrrreat! Maybe Vampire's need UMPIRES when playin' zis BP-game! In case Penny keeps this up I will have to ask for my Romanian-English dictionary back - I had to make room for the Hawaiian-English one, A Dictionary of Geography, and another of Political Thought. I admit my addiction, but I have donated over 100 to the public school system, so I am on the road of recovery! Derailed, but I'll close now with a wish: to win Anne Marie's book!

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    1. Wowza! That's a lot of dictionaries. How many languages do you speak Julie? Or do you collect dictionaries? Languages are fascinating. Having been an International Relations major, I am curious about the dictionary on Political Thought though. Thanks so much for your comment!

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  15. I would have thought death on that one, too, Anne Marie! It's a good lesson in being clear with your language when speaking to a group. (The presenter, not you :)

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    1. Seriously! I wonder how many other people sent the word out that she had passed away? I know I would've assumed the worst as well. =)

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  16. I would have interpreted it the same way Anne Marie. Thanks for you sharing that moment. I would have been so mortified. I have read your book. It is wonderful. Congrats!

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    1. Isn't Vampirina Ballerina wonderful?! The text and illustrations just make it 100% delightful. Thanks for your comment Darshana!

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  17. Vis vas very eenteresteeng. Please enter me in thee giveaway. I vould love to vin another picture book. Vonderful!

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