Highlights of 2004: Part 2

Click here to see 2004 Highlights, part 1

Oct. 23, 2004

High School Book

As we come up on our deadline, we’ve put out a kind of “last call” for submissions. We are actually in pretty good shape right now and if we had to go to press with what we had, I think both Eric and I could happily live with what we have. In the past few weeks, we’ve gotten in a bunch of incredible material from a number of people around the country and have promises for even more. 

After going out to New York to spend an intense weekend working with Eric on the manuscript, we have once again revised our Table of Contents, collapsing six of our chapters into three and dividing one other to address two different topics. It makes for a much better flow and a much tighter product. (When either of us step back to look at what we’ve got, it’s hard to not be pretty impressed, if I do say so myself!)

We also spent quite a bit of time writing (chapter intros, activities, tips, things like that) which, to this point, we haven’t needed to do quite as much. I’m delighted with the process and the product—it’s not always easy to write with another person, and I feel blessed that Eric and I have managed to really sync well on this part of the project.

I’ve done a few phone interviews and have gotten back most of the permission forms from individual contributors. At the moment, I’m concentrating on getting clearance from publishers to use material we’ve quoted from their resources—not my favorite part of the process, but an important piece that needs to be done before we can go to press.

There have been a few minor revisions on the cover, primary of which involved replacing the title font with something that looks more like spray paint.

Big Plans: New Website for New Book

We’ve been talking about it and I’m pretty sure it’s gonna happen: A dedicated website for High School’s Not Forever. A very basic design and architecture is beginning to take shape and obviously I’m not gonna have time to get this project underway until the final manuscript is submitted to the publisher (which, incidentally, is planned for around Thanksgiving).

What we’d like is a place for kids to write in, and a space to include any stories or other material we receive after our deadline, any feedback we get to the book once it comes out, specific links for teens (those included in the book and any we find afterwards), additional tips and ideas, and resources for material that we are including in the book, like “Crisis Cards” or our “Angel Certificates” and “Service Certificates,” which we hope to have redesigned for this market.

Nov. 2, 2004

High School Book

Just talked to Eric last night and we decided that we were going to wait to see if anything else came in but that our days of actively pursuing stories were pretty much winding down. Don’t you know that within 15 minutes, I got a call from a 17-year-old in Arkansas wanting to tell me his story. (It’s very sweet.) Another showed up in my email inbox this morning.

So we’re leaving the door open until around Thanksgiving, when we’ll be finalizing the manuscript and sending it off to the publisher.

Nov. 21, 2004

High School Book

We’re just about ready to turn in the finished manuscript to the publishers. I met with them in Florida last week and saw the first catalogue that includes this title—very exciting. We are definitely on our way, and this project seems to have a lot of support from not only editorial, but sales and marketing as well.

We know of one or two more stories that may be coming in this week, and if something incredible comes in after we’ve submitted, our editor is open to “finding a place for it.” I think Eric and I both feel quite satisfied with what we’ve gotten, especially in the last few weeks, and are no longer seeking stories. (I’ve pulled the request for more stories off my home page. I am instead adding a link for pre-ordering a copy of this book.)

We’re doing a final run-through in the next week or so and have decided to turn the manuscript in on Dec. 6. Although we are essentially done now, this will give us a little more time for some of the permissions to come in, and to pull material for which permissions are not available or anticipated.

By the way, as we gear up to take our first pre-orders for this book, I realized that there may well be people who pay for their copies eight or nine months before the book actually becomes available. We need a place for people to check, if they are so moved, on how this book is doing and where we are in the process. So I’ve moved my last blog entry to this page and will continue to update with reports on what’s happening, not just in editorial, but in sales, marketing, media and promotion. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, I put up a product page for this book in our bookstore. Check it out!

Geek Cruise

Laura Gutman and Jane Bluestein on a Geek VacationWhat do computer Geeks do on their vacation? We find WiFi hotspots!! Here I am with my friend and roomie, Laura Gutman, at an Internet cafe on Tortola with about 80 other MacMania Geek Cruise companions.

It was fantastic! This was my third Geek Cruise and as was the case with the other two, I walked away with a better understanding of software I use (and plan to use) and a number of ideas for things I’d like to do in the coming months.

When we’re not in port doing excursions or relaxing, we have a number of interesting, relevant classes and activities presented by knowledgeable, talented instructors, Laura, above, among them. I have a great deal of affection for many of the people in this community and have always been blown away by the knowledge, generosity of spirit, and helpfulness I see and experience on these trips.

I’m still not quite back yet: I am still on eastern time, miss everyone, and keep having dreams about being on a ship. I’m really looking forward to the next cruise—in June, out of Copenhagen!!

Happy Holidays

’Tis the season, once more. I’m always grateful to make it to the end of another year, though this year my schedule is actually just beginning and it’s hard to anticipate not being home for more than a week or two at a time for the next nine or ten months!

I plan on sending my usual 200+ holiday cards and have realized that this is probably the last year I will do so. Considering the number of years in which I actually made my own cards, back in the days when I actually had time for stuff like stamping, silk screening, and even paper casting (!), this is a really hard call.

But the truth is, for the last couple of years, I’ve been dragging boxes (and stamps and labels and pens and stickers…) on the road with me and mailing my cards from hotels across the country, and frankly, although I love the connection that sending these cards afford me, this starts feeling like WORK, and really isn’t the way I want to stay in touch with the people in my life.

I hope to be able to express my love and best wishes throughout the year, if not in person, then through phone or email contact, and perhaps will convey my holiday wishes somewhere on this site. In the meantime, let me take this moment to wish any visitor to this page a magical holiday season with happiness, health, prosperity, and the fulfillment of all your dreams in the coming year.

Sanity on the Horizon

OK, it’s not gonna be for another year, but I’ve done something I’ve never had the courage to do before: I have cut back on my speaking engagements and have unofficially blocked out two months (mid-November 2005 through mid-January 2006) during which I plan to not do any work-related travel or presentations. I suppose actually putting this intention up on this site makes it a little more official.

I imagine that I’ll end up working on my site, maybe writing or getting back into my studio and getting my hands back into some crafts again. What the hell. I may even end up changing my mind about sending holiday cards next year. But I definitely need to be home a lot more than I’ve been—and will be in the coming year.

I love the work I do and I’d like to keep it that way. I get way too close the insidious edges of severe burnout being gone so much, and I have noticed that I need a little more time to recharge between trips than I’ve allowed myself. I need to know this break is coming.

I’ve also reduced, if only slightly, the number of stay-overs and social visits when I’m on the road and have gotten a little more protective of the energy I need to do the work I do. I want to see you. Really. Come visit me when I’m home.

Dec. 8, 2004

High School Book

It’s IN! We tied up the last few loose ends and sent the manuscript in to our editor, Elisabeth, today. I think we are both looking forward to a break from working on this thing, which for me, like any book I’ve ever done, had completely taken over my life.

My desk is a fright. I’ve got receipts from two months’ worth of trips piled up to sort out and contracts for upcoming engagements waiting for me. I’ve still got half my holiday cards waiting to be sent. (It’s official—I’m really not sending cards after this year!) And I’ve got one more run of programs next week to prepare for. In other words, life as usual.

Once again, check my progress page for how things are going with the book. I’ll keep that up to date as things progress and will be back here to share other news as it unfolds in my life!

Click here to see 2004 Highlights, part 1

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