Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Tongue-Tied, Conferences, and Quiet



I've been sitting on this news for FIVE years!!! TONGUE-TIED is finally out. Isn't it pretty? I love it. It's my memoir for kids about stuttering. It's part of Heinemann's Fountas & Pinnell series of leveled books for classroom use. 

This book also has my first art (calligraphy). See the writing in Hindi? I wrote one stanza of the poem Jhansi ki Rani, the one I mention in the text. If you want to know the story, check out this movie Manikarnika: Queen of Jhansi. Note, it's violent, so definitely not for kids who aren't at least teenagers.

I am thrilled because I can finally include Tongue-Tied in the memoir workshops that I'm offering this September at Write 2 Ignite Conference (Sept. 20-21) and the Carolinas SCBWI Conference (Sept. 27-29). I would love to see you there, so please prayerfully consider coming to these wonderful conferences for children's writers.  



I've been unusually quiet because as I prepare to begin a new phase in my life without the day-to-day care of kids (yes, even teenagers need it), I've been evaluating how I use my time, and I'm sad to say that half of it is dissipated in the shallows. I've discussed this before when we bought the first cell phone for Max (he was 15). He had to read The Shallows by Nicholas Carr first so that he knew the dangers a smart phone and all that connectivity posed. Last year, I inherited Dagny's cell phone and I've seen how easy it is to spend 30 min scrolling through Facebook. I must admit that when I'm in the backseat of the car, it is the only way I can distract myself from her driving. But she too, is leaving home, so there's no need.

I've been practicing Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport for the past month and I highly recommend it. He lays out the groundwork for how to reorient your life around the things you care deeply about. And because I care deeply about writing books that matter and music that elevates the heart and soul to God, I bought a copy of his Deep Work. It is brilliant. I am, in essence, retraining my brain to work deeply. I am working on my lectures for Sept. and I want to be So Good They Can't Ignore Me (another one of Cal's titles I've amended slightly--isn't it just the best?). I doubt I will continue to use Facebook. I don't like the format even after three years and the benefits are too small compared to the noise it creates in my head. The blog will remain. I enjoy it tremendously. 

I have been reading other good books. Loved Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. Beautiful, powerful writing. A story that will resonate with many teenagers, especially those who are questioning their faith. And I'm getting ready to dive into a couple more good books, and the beach too :)





18 comments:

Jeff Tanyard said...

I like that illustration, Vijaya. Very handsome artwork. Best of luck, and I hope the kids like the book. :)

Barbara Etlin said...

Your book looks wonderful! Wow, keeping such a big secret for five years. You must have been bursting to spill the news. Best wishes and good luck!

Tina Cho said...

Congrats, Vijaya! I have a student who speaks Hindi in my kindergarten classroom this year. How did you come to write for F&P?

Evelyn said...

I'm so happy for you, Vijaya! Just reading the two pages you showed, makes me know it's a book that will touch the hearts of many kids.

Vijaya said...

Thank you Jeff, and I'm praying the book will be a blessing to kids everywhere.

Barb, thank you. It was hard keeping such a big secret, but having an editor and art director to share the excitement with made it easier. And there are always new stories...they help too.

Tina, thank you. Katy Duffield from the Blueboards passed them my name and the rest is history. They've been wonderful to work with. We had so much creative freedom even though it was a WFH project. The idea was to pitch the books you were burning to write. I pitched several other ideas, many that went up the ladder, but were ultimately rejected, so I was very, very pleased that this heart book made it all the way to the top.

Ev, thank you so much. I'm praying my story will be a great blessing to kids.

Faith E. Hough said...

Congratulations! It looks beautiful!!

And I understand that push and pull with technology. DEEP WORK was excellent, and a wake up call to me that the quality of my work would always be more important than staying "connected" with my audience through social media--because if the work isn't good in the first place, what do all the extras matter? Not to say that connecting with people is bad--I think you're right that blogs are good ways to do just that without getting caught in the net of social media. You've inspired me to use a little energy to work on mine! :)

Johnell said...

Wow, what a treasure. Congratulations.

AnneB said...

But...but...there doesn't seem to be a way to read it unless you sign up for a classroom subscription! Do they even sell to non-teachers?

Vijaya said...

Thank you all.

Faith, it's so great you've already read DEEP WORK and always had the right priorities. Kids have a habit of letting you know who's the most important, no? Newport makes such an important point about how the social media erodes our ability to focus and concentrate. Although I'm not a big phone user, the same can happen on the desktop.

Anne, thanks for asking--I'm wrestling with it myself. TT is part of a set of books used in schools so there's no way to buy individual copies. I received TWO comp. copies and have asked my editor about getting more because my family and close friends sure would love to have one. As to selling to non-teachers, I'm sure they don't get too many requests.

Mirka Breen said...

Congratulations, Vijaya! Now we have to figure out how to be able to read it, something I really want to do.

Vijaya said...

Thank you Mirka. And I hope to have a solution soon to this strange problem.

Molly/Cece said...

We should talk more. I love that you have written this book. This is wonderful.

Molly/Cece said...

Maybe the set will be available at the library and I can interlibray borrow it!

janlcoates said...

That's so wonderful! And I'm sure well worth the wait for you to be able to tell your so-personal story for young readers. And that beach photo is perfect!

Vijaya said...

Molly, thank you. I remember our long talks in the parking lot of Borders, then Larry's, the parks too with our kiddos. I don't think these readers are sturdy for library use though--they're thin paperpacks. TT is only 16 pages long.

Jan, you're absolutely correct that it was well worth the wait. Thank you so much.

Christine Kohler said...

Congratulations, Vijaya! I'm sure this book will minister to children who struggle with stuttering or being tongue-tied. Much blessings to you!

Caroline McAlister said...

This looks like a really interesting memoir on an important topic, and thanks for the tip about the book on minimizing tech addiction.

Vijaya said...

Christine, thank you so much. I'm so happy this book will be in schools--kids can be so cruel; my prayer is for this to be a blessing for all the children.

Caroline, thank you. And you will love Cal Newport's books.