Fun Storytelling Project I Just Started

I kicked off my Pesach cleaning with a little not-strictly-necessary-for-Pesach file purging on Sunday. Once again, I was astonished by how many stories I have lying around unread after their initial publication. I decided to do something about it.

Opening a Soundcloud account, I chose four of my children’s stories, and read them aloud. Now there is downloadable audio of those stories on my Soundcloud account! You can listen to them in the car, at home, even in a waiting room. No story is longer than 10 minutes.

It’s been nearly 9 years since A Dozen Daisies for Raizy came out, and I’ve written several sequels which were never published or were published in a different form. My favorite of these is set at Passover time. It no longer stars Raizy, but I think young readers will enjoy it just the same. I decided to include this story – now titled “Bella’s Busy Day” – on my Soundcloud. You can listen to that story – for ages 4 to 6 – here.

When it came to choosing the other stories to read aloud, I selected three that have been requested by teachers and therapists in the past. They follow Chaim Mendel, a 14 year old Jewish boy with Asperger’s, and his friends. If you want to listen to Chaim Mendel’s adventures, I recommend you listen to them in the opposite order in which they appear on the Soundcloud page: 1) “The Gift of Giving,” 2) “Not So Far From the Tree,” and 3) “Team Thinking.” Those stories are perfect for kids 9 – 14.

A couple of weeks ago, someone asked me if I’d be willing to do audio for them, and I refused. I’m very self-conscious about my voice. Half the time, I sound like I’m mumbling (thanks to being from Baltimore, home of a very strange accent), and I tend to sound high-pitched when recorded. These recordings didn’t turn out too bad, and I figured it was a low-stress environment in which to share my voice with the public.

I plan to add other stories later – particularly as Sefirah follows Passover, and for some of us, that means we don’t listen to music. If you like the stories, please share the links and so on.

 

More from Gardner’s On Moral Fiction

In my last post about On Moral Fiction, I went over the first couple chapters of the book. If you are lost by what follows, you can go back and read that post to catch up before continuing.

596242When someone hears the words “moral fiction,” or “moral art,” a person might wonder how to define morality. According to John Gardner, “moral” does not equal “not too blatantly immoral.” It can’t be simple, and it can’t be forced upon artists. Continue reading

A Fun Editing Gig, almost Complete!!

(Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know, I missed my Wednesday post. But here I am, making it up to you just one day late.)

I thought I’d share a little bit about one of my editing gigs, which is just about wrapped up now. I’ve been consulting with Ganit and Adir Levy about their upcoming picture book, What Should Danny Do?

The Levys came to me several months back with a rough draft of their picture book. At the initial consultation, I gave them a list of changes to make and issues to address. They had a lot of questions for me, too, and we scheduled a series of meetings where we inched towards that final draft.

What made the Levys such a pleasure to work with was their persistence. So many writers panic when presented with rigorous WORK. They question whether they are good enough, they let a critique get them down, and they give up…or they simply blow off insightful feedback and continue about their merry way while ignoring the advice which would have made all the difference for their book. The Levys took criticism in stride, chose carefully what to accept and what to decline, and then tinkered and tinkered until they were happy with their text.

What Should Danny Do? is nearly ready to go to print, and I couldn’t be more excited. Today, we did one final copy edit. I’ll give you more information when we get closer to the release date.

 

What I’m Reading Right Now: On Moral Fiction

A while back, EriOn Moral Fictionka Dreifus had recommended John Gardner’s On Moral Fiction, a slim volume dedicated to writing and literary criticism from the POV that an artist has a moral responsibility to their audience, and that art criticism should in part address how well the creator of a work of art has met that responsibility. The book dates from 1978, and it’s amazing how well it (thus far in my reading) stands up over time.

I’m only about three chapters in, and what strikes me most Continue reading

The Desire to Write a Sequel vs the Desire to Write a Story

I already posted once this week, so I’ll probably keep this one short, but I wanted to make sure I do my new little Wednesday thang so I don’t lose my groove.

I mentioned in my last post that while reviewing the proofs of my soon-to-be published middle-grade novel, I had an impulse to write a sequel. You know that old tune sung by Marlene Deitrich, “Falling in Love Again?” That’s how I felt about my characters on this weekend’s run-through. Continue reading

Glixman in a Fix on Approach: Got the Cover for My Next Book & Checked the Proofs

glixman31Yesterday, I turned in my comments on the proof for my next book, the novelization of Glixman in a Fix. It’s weird reading something I wrote a couple years ago, already. I think the manuscript is in pretty good shape. We’re IY”H expecting the book to hit stores just before Pesach.

The good news is that I made myself laugh more than once, and I still find the characters charming after all this time. When I read the last page, I contemplated writing a sequel just so I could hang out a little longer with Mendel, Ari, Ilan, and Yehudis.

The bad news is that friends and colleagues are now telling me how they all want to buy my book. This leads to a potentially awkward conversation.

Some of the aforementioned friends and colleagues primarily have read my adult work. They read my essays in Tablet, my fiction in Inyan. I think that many of them expect me to sound the same in this book…but since the initial audience was so different, I sound very different in Glixman. I’m kinda afraid how they will react to it.

Readers out there, have you read something from a favorite author that just didn’t strike your fancy?

And writers, have you written something and then felt the desire to warn your usual readers away from it?