Tag Archive for Wake Me In Spring
Thank you, interwebs! And hat tip to my pal, the brilliant Jen Sattler, who tirelessly hunts this stuff down to bring it to the attention-deficit masses.
As it happens, tooth-brushing has figured large in my ouvre.
There’s this, from Wake Me In Spring:
And this, from A Pirate’s Guide to First Grade:
Yikes, I feel a trilogy coming on.
So, yes, obviously, I have some dental issues. Carry on!
I love this illustration by Jamie Smith from one of the Jigsaw Jones books. I mean, the glove looks like it might have been drawn by an Englishman, which it was, but the spirit is right. I am very grateful that Jamie illustrated so many books in the series; he was, I think, exactly right.
And, yes, I’m glad to see my love of baseball creep into another book.
On school visits, readers often as if I am a particular character.
Am I Eric in Bystander? Jude in Before You Go? Am I the great detective Jigsaw Jones? Or the mouse in Wake Me In Spring?
(Okay, no one has ever asked that last question. And the answer is: no, I am not the mouse in Wake Me In Spring! Yes, we both have beady little eyes and whiskers, but beyond that the similarities are purely accidental.)
Back to the Jigsaw question. No, I’m not Jigsaw Jones. It’s rare for any character to fully stand in for the author. But, of course, there are elements of my life and personality — most definitely exhibited in Jigsaw’s sense of humor — in that character. And there are trappings of my childhood in his world.
Like me, Jigsaw is the youngest in the family. Like me at that age, Jigsaw’s grandmother lives with him. And like me, the boy loves baseball.
It was easier to write that way, more natural; I intimately knew those feelings.
But as I’ve grown as a writer, especially from my early days in college, I’ve learned how to distance myself from my characters. The writing, in my case, has become less autobiographical and more fully its own creation. The characters seem to stand and move around on their own two feet, acting according to their own (fictional) inner compasses. I don’t ask what I would do; I ask what they might do. At the same time, parts of my life, my world, leak into everything. How can it be any other way?
Anyway, I didn’t expect to write this muddled post today. I mostly wanted to share my excitement about the coming baseball season. I am coaching again this year, a really nice group of 15-year-old boys. We’ll play a travel season and enter some tournaments. My 10th-grade son, Gavin, will be playing JV baseball. It’s an impressive accomplishment; not so easy to make those teams in our town. And last but not least, my heart is filled with hope about my beloved New York Mets.
Dare I say it? I think they might actually be good this year.
I often sign copies of Six Innings the same way. “Dream big, and swing for the fences!”
Is there any other way to play?
Happy to remind you that this book was published on Tuesday and is now available. This is a story that came directly from suggestions from students on class visits — a basic idea I heard over and over again. Welcome to Nightmareland. Where you’ll meet Aaron, Addy, and Freddy the pizza guy.
I published my first book almost 30 years ago, in 1986. By now, most of them have gone out of print. That’s the way it goes, I guess. Especially with my old publisher, Scholastic, where they recently let every book I’ve done with them go out of print, including beloved titles that sold more than a million copies each, such as WAKE ME IN SPRING, HICCUPS FOR ELEPHANT, and the entire “Jigsaw Jones” series.
Just, poof, gone.
(Note: You can still find the books, for now, but it’s not easy.)
So much for immortality. It’s a tough business, not for the meek or, I’ve learned, the idealistic. It’s hard not to feel discouraged by it all, as I do.
But you keep writing, because that’s all you know, and you keep trying to do the best work possible. Let that be the best revenge. And you hope that maybe it adds up to something the end.
Fortunately, my books with Macmillan are almost all still available (except for Mighty Casey, which never sold).
In addition, I have regained the rights to many of those out-of-print titles, including the entire 40-book Jigsaw Jones series, so I’m holding out the faint hope that another publisher might wish to revive ’em. I would love to write a new Jigsaw Jones book someday.
Though there are days when I feel like guy . . .