So, right now I'm reading Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn. These two have worked collaboratively before, with Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List, and the more well known Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. Now, I've read each of these authors individually and, I am sorry to say, something is simply lacking. There is something completely magical about two authors, each with their own style and process, working together on a novel.
Of course, I have no idea how it really works, but I imagine that someone gets an idea, writes a few pages that will later transform into the first chapter, and then sends it to another writer, generally a good friend. The story bounces a few more times, and voila, an amazing novel is born.
Naturally, this is a gross oversimplification, but the concept exists. These books that are co-authored are not limited to one writer's imagination. The ideas bounce back and forth, stretching and growing beyond the bounds of one singular imagination. By collaborating, authors create journeys that they alone could not travel and we, the readers, are the sole beneficiaries.
Now, rather than just going on about how amazing collaborations are, I thought we could do a bit of an experiment. Call it, "The Levithan Project". I'll write a short passage and I challenge you, my fellow blog posters/readers, to continue the story. Keep it fairly short, between 250 and 1000 words, and email your continuation to [email protected]... Let's see where this story can go!
Don't you think it's interesting how the smallest disagreements, the most minute details seem to have such an overpowering ability to completely ruin our lives? I mean, look at World War I...or was it the second one? I'm not too good at history. The point is, in World War Something, Austria and Serbia were fighting over the Black Glove, or Hand, or whatever, when suddenly Russia got involved, and the next thing you know, Germany had lost and everyone was dead. I mean, how did everyone get involved? How did it get to be such a big mess?
Do you remember when, in elementary school, you would stand in a circle and randomly grab everyone's hands, forming a human knot? Then, when you are attempting to untangle yourselves, that one kid (Tommy, I am talking to you!) always managed to make the entire class trip and fall, ending in one giant pile of seven-year-olds? Well, that's kind of what my life is like right now. Just one stupid little mistake, going over little Jessie's arm instead of under...well it feels like my entire life has collapsed into a heap around me.
Naturally, there is only one thing to do when life gets this complicated. I went to the park, and sat on my favorite bench. I watched the dads trying to teach their toddlers how to be star baseball players, the college kids playing Frisbee. I stared at the sky, bright blue, except to the east, which was colored in with the faintest brown smog. I took a deep breath of the sweet fall air, trying to forget. I retreated into my bubble, and I had almost calmed down--the dust of my disastrous life had almost cleared--when the last person I expected to see sat down beside me...
Well, that's all for me. I Can't wait to see what you guys do with it!
P.S. It's called "The Levithan Project" instead of "The Cohn Project" because a) it sounds cooler and b) David Levithan seems to write more of these collaboration projects. He also worked on Will Grayson, Will Grayson with John Green.
More Levithan Project...
My Mad Hatter picture art style is inspired by the work of Katsura Hoshino, who illustrates the D. Gray-man Series.
Gray-Man is a manga series, a japanese style comic book. The series follows Walker, a born exorcist, fighting the Akuma. Together with his fellow exorcists fighting under the command of the Black Order, Walker leads the battle against the Millenium Earl, the evil "being" out to destroy mankind.
A fading ember
Of a hidden dream;
The shatter of faith
As life crubles before them;
The ache burning in their chests,
The waterfall bound to fall from their eyes-
I want to save them from this,
Terminate the barricade between them and their passions.
That's what I do.
I'd give courage
To help them have a voice
Which was before a mere whisper.
I'd extend compassion to every being-
A mixture of understanding and kindness-
So they can stand strong on their own
And pass on their compassion, too.
I'd make aware
All those who live behind a mask-
I'd remove the veil,
Burn it into a collection of ashes.
I'd spread hope and ideas,
Help others think on their own
And be bold against conforming.
I'd preach ideas of harmony,
A common bond strewn between everyone,
A common compassion,
A common awareness,
A common understanding,
A common balance.
In three words…Who, Are, You?
Smart, Musical, and Isolated.
What’s awesome about the town you live in?
It's really welcoming. You can ask people questions and more often then not they will help you out. It's not like trashed. There are very few parts of it that are scary.
What sucks about it?
I don't feel like there are a lot of younger people in my neighborhood. So, there will be like lots of really old people and then like a couple of families with like six or seven year olds. Nobody who is teen age.
What’s the weirdest thing you can think of to say right now…now?!?
What are you obsessed with and why?
I am obsessed with the violin because I absolutley love playing it. And when I am playing it I feel like I'm in my own little world, and it's just peaceful and it's all music and awesome.
Got anything to say about the library?
The library is an amazing and wonderful place. You can do all sorts of things here. You can find lots of different books whether it be for studying or just reading, or lots of different things. It's awesome.
Each month we are featuring an awesome member of our Teen Advisory Board (TAB). You might be wondering, "What is TAB and how can I become one of these AMAZING people?!?!?" TAB is a group of teens who meet monthly to discuss how the library can best serve teens, to plan events, and most importantly hang out and have a good time. Talk with the Teen Librarian at your location to get involved.
The first annual Lakewood Fandom Contest was a huge success! A big congratulations to our winner, Bailey, who created a Dr. Who inspired clock (with all the characters names included on the back). Stop by the Lakewood Library to check out all the amazing submissions.
For some strange reason, it seems like every little girl's favorite Disney princess is Cinderella. (Okay, for all of you shouting at me, not every little girl. But quite a majority.) Whether it is the classic rags-to-riches story or the lovable mice, there just seems to be something timeless about Disney's Cinderella. And, I am proud to say, I hate it. Wait, wait, hang on! Put down the pitchforks and let me explain why.
First of all, most Disney movies from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves all the way to Frozen, are based off of fairy tales by either the Grimm Brothers or Hans Christian Andersen. Cinderella comes from the Grimm Brothers. Now, most of the original Grimms' fairy tales share rather grotesque elements. For example, in the original "Cinderella," the stepsisters get their eyes pecked out by birds. Naturally, this would never fly in a Disney movie. Nor does Quasimodo's necrophilia in Hunchback of Notre Dame, but that's another story. While most (all) children should not be reading/watching the scene where body parts are forcibly removed by birds, as a teenager, I cannot help but lament the lack of a more severe, more vivid punishment for the stepsisters. So, even if you are a diehard fan of Disney's Cinderella, I would recommend reading some of the original tales, be the Grimms or Hans Christian Andersen.
Now, my biggest, and longest lasting problem with Disney's Cinderella is the characters. Don't get me wrong, the mice are adorable, and I have been known to sing "Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo" on occasion, and Lady Tremaine can give me the shivers. But Cinderella and Prince Charming, you know, the two main characters of the story, are two of the most boring, unappealing characters that I have ever come across. First of all, Prince Charming. He doesn't even have A NAME. He is so uninteresting that they don't even bother giving him a name. He just sits around at the ball, yawning, until Cinderella shows up, and then poof, he's in love, story over. People make fun of Bella Swan (Twilight) for not having a lot of personality, but compared to Disney's Prince Charming, she seems like a delightfully dynamic character. Then there is Cinderella. She has more personality than the prince, I'll give you that. But, what I cannot stand about her is that she will not do anything for herself. She wants to go to the ball, great. But, notice, it is the mice and the birds that band together to make her dress. Then, when her stepsisters ruin her dress, does she take the initiative to find an alternative way to get to the ball? No, she cries in the garden until the Fairy Godmother shows up to make it all better. Then, after the ball, when Cinderella finds herself locked away, she doesn't try to get out herself, rather the mice risk being boiled by hot tea and climb up stairs at least twice their height to get Cinderella the key. It's not that I don't adore the cast of supporting characters. It's that the two leads are extremely lackluster and boring, and don't really take the initiative to do anything in the story.
However, that does not mean that the Cinderella story should be ignored. The original is, of course, fantastic, and there are tons of rewrites that make Cinderella one of my favorite fairy tales. Just not the Disney version. Try reading Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix. Not only does Ella have no fairy godmother, so she completely takes control of her life, but it explores what happens after the happily ever after. If you like science fiction or fantasy, try Cinder by Marissa Meyer. In this one, Cinder is a cyborg mechanic living in a future where there is a race of people on the moon who can control people's thoughts. And finally, though it may be a kid's book, Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine was one of my favorite books growing up.
Auroara is a Belmar Teen who has served on the library's Teen Advisory Board for several years. This is her first Teen Page submission.
Mackenzi knew that she was in for it when she saw the gum in the piano. She also had a bad feeling that Petra would get angry at her, so she had to do something to make Petra look bad.
Petra is a very good piano player, her music sounds like birds chirping, and she’s been playing for eleven years. Petra was at church practicing classical music on the piano when Mackenzi pushed Petra off. Everyone though that Mackenzi put the gum in the piano, but it was really Petra. Petra was pretending that she knew nothing about it.
“I don’t think you are allowed to play on the church piano,’’ Mackenzi said. Then suddenly, Mackenzi's face was turning red. Mackenzi hated Petra, she thought that Petra was a terrible teenager who was selfish. “I hate you, why do you always have to think only about yourself, why can’t you think about other people?"
As a result, Mackenzi started to put gum inside the piano because she thought that Petra played horrible, like someone who digs their nails on a chalkboard. “What are you doing? I have a concert tonight. How am I going to play now?” asked Petra.
“Well you are going to have to deal with it,” Mackenzi said.
A light went on, and Petra said, “if you want to work together I can help you practice for the concert.”
“I would like to help you with the concert. Can we become friends?” Mackenzi asked.
“Yes we may,” Petra said.
They worked together to get the gum out. Mackenzie helped Petra practice for the concert and they became best friends and the concert went very well.
Kenzie is a Belmar teen who is working hard on developing her writing skills by attending Write Club and looking to teen librarians for feedback. This is her second blog submission, and this time around she wanted to explore mystery writing techniques.
*photo by Craig Clough, Rock Island, IL
Moving Away to College to Find Yourself...
As a child my family visited San Francisco, and I can’t remember anything but the Golden Gate Bridge.
It was a foggy day, a misty magical day. Nothing had ever felt so majestic, and I had never felt so sure. I willed myself to return. I listened repeatedly to the song, “I Left my Heart in San Francisco” that squeaked out of an airport snow globe grabbed at the very last minute. I hadn’t quite left my heart there, but a number of my dreams, free to roll about in those thick clouds and burn bright against the day like the red of the wires.
My heart now has a reservation. This fall I’ll be reunited with those dreams, stuffed in the dorm room of a university in the middle of San Francisco. Part of me is ecstatic—I want to scream to myself as a little girl “You did it!!! You made it back!!!” Ever since my campus visit last spring, I’ve pictured myself in a million different ways. I imagine myself running up the 142 steps to get to the hilltop campus, late to class (yes, even this is idealized in my mind). I can’t wait to sleep on the huge green lawn, awakening to foggy skies and a thousand colorful rooftops. I dream of jumping on the bus to the bay and walking slowly in the ocean-licked sand. Located in a historic hippie neighborhood of the city, my friends joke I’ll return to Colorado with waist long hair and far too many bandanas for my own good.
Memories of the city and perceptions of college have always been fantasies, and have created idealistic images of myself, usually as the hippie-adventurer-city dweller-California girl. We all picture ourselves in a different way, in the peak of all we could be in the future. But parts of my upcoming experience are as foggy as my first day on the bridge. There are neighborhoods of reasoning through which I am just now embarking. Maybe my hair will grow longer. No doubt the city will become my home and my footprints will mark the beaches. But I am also preparing to move away from the home I have always known. I must not only give attention to the hellos, but the goodbyes. Not just the beginnings, but the endings. And this is the place, after my hair growing and sleeping on lawns and excursions into my dreams, from which I will launch my life.
Middle school is middle school. High school is high school. They’re pretty much mass delivered. They are the first struggle for identity—to see how well we can fend for ourselves and grow within the confines of sticky classrooms and packed cafeterias amongst people who try to make us forget who we are. So, we emerge from both with slightly shaky legs and wide smiles and the world we have known patting us on the back. Then what? Colleges with clean classrooms and vast campuses and enough room for a million dreams to float in the air. A city of new cuisine and new mentalities that thrive. People that don’t challenge who you are, but ask who you are (and truly want to know). So what I now search for is what to tell them. More than what clothes to bring and what bedspread to choose, more so even than selecting a major and classes, I am packing in my suitcase the memories and in my heart pieces of who I am.
My advice is to remember your dreams as a child, and to believe in yourself as you did then. Find your own San Francisco, the place where the person you become will truly begin life. Find whichever bridge will get you there. Your dreams are more than a song or a snow globe. Maybe it’s already the cheesy hippie in me talking, but your heart reservation is waiting somewhere. Wish me luck in fulfilling mine.
Hannah was the first teen contributor to our Teen Page. She is an amazing library volunteer and TAB member. We wish her much happiness as she moves on to her new adventure!
In three words...Who, Are, You?
geeky, childish, and level-headed
What's awesome about the town you live in?
I really like it, especially the part of town I live in. It's not in what you might call the 'hood'.
What sucks about it?
Ugh...it's just too big, honestly, there are a lot of strangers. You can't just go out and ride your bike or something. And you always have to be watched, especially if you have my mom. (She said with a smile)
What are you obsessed with right now, why?
Minecraft, it's an awesome game. It seems pretty ridiculous, but I love it. (whispers) It's awesome, I'm obsessed with it.
What's the most ridiculous thing you can think of to say right now...now!?!
Pink Toaster Waffles!!!
Got anything to say about the library?
I really like the library. I spend a lot of time here. I like helping it improve, helping out with stuff and volunteering.
Each month we feature an awesome member of our Teen Advisory Board (TAB). You might be wondering, "What is TAB and how can I become one of these AMAZING people?!?!" TAB is a group of teens who meet monthly to discuss how the library can best serve teens, to plan events, and most importantly hang out and have a good time. Talk with the Teen Librarian at your location to get invovlved.
CALLING ALL FANGIRLS and FANBOYS!!
Lakewood Library is holding a Fandom Contest. You have the opportunity to enter stories, poetry, art, cosplay, or video that represents your fandom. What is a fandom? Anything you are obsessed with right now (think things like Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Dr. Who, My Little Pony, and more). Entries will be judged on creativity, originality, actual relation to the original subject, craftsmanship, and quality. Entries will be posted throughout the Lakewood Library. The judging of this event will be August 4th, and the winner will receive a $50 Visa gift card! Who knows, maybe you could get more books or fandom merch with that sweet prize!
To Submit: bring entry to any of the desks at the Lakewood Library between July 20th-July 31.
And without further ado, I wish you good luck!