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Saturday, August 25, 2007

30 -- The Night Arthur Levine Came to My Hotel Room

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- Introduction

Rilla: WHAT?
rilla: What…what?
Rilla: What’s with the title …?
rilla: Title...?
Rilla: Uh-huh…the NIGHT ARTHUR LEVINE CAME TO MY HOTEL ROOM? Excuse me…?
rilla: Oh…that…
Rilla: Yes… that…WELL…?
rilla: Will you stop yelling in my ear…you’re giving me a headache.
Rilla: I’LL STOP YELLING IF YOU TELL ME WHY ARTHUR LEVINE WAS IN YOUR HOTEL ROOM…
rilla: OK…it’s a deal.
Rilla: How about if you start… right about… now…
rilla: OK…I was in the illustrators’ portfolio competition show pavilion at the conference…you know the SCBWI Summer Conference and…
Rilla: …and…?
rilla: Will you stop breathing down my neck…it tickles…
Rilla: …and…?
rilla: and Jim…the illustrator…you know Di Bartolo…the one who did those gorgeous illustrations for The Faeries of Dreamdark : Blackbringer…you know…Laini Taylor’s husband…
Rilla: What’s he got to do with this…I don’t want to talk about Laini and Jim…I want to hear about Arthur Levine…
rilla: Why? You have something against Laini and Jim…
Rilla: NO! YOU NITWIT…NUMBSKULL…NINNY…
rilla: Hey…you promised not to yell if I told the story…
Rilla: I’ll stop yelling IF you tell the story…
rilla: OK…all right…well Jim called me over and introduced me to Arthur A. Levine…you know…the editor of the Harry Potter series…
Rilla: I KNOW HE’S THE EDITOR OF THE HARRY POTTER SERIES…
rilla: Well…he’s also going to be the editor of a new illustrated novel by Laini Taylor and Jim Di Bartolo called Goblin Fruit…
Rilla: sniff…sniff…sob…
rilla: Now what…you’re blubbering? You’re upset Laini and Jim wrote an illustrated novel…
Rilla: You …sniff…are just sniff … a SADIST. I can’t take the suspense anymore. Did Arthur Levine come to your hotel room or not?
rilla: Yes… he did.
Rilla: And…?
rilla: You keep interrupting me…I’m telling the story…I’m the tale-spinner… you’ve got to let me tell the story the way I want to… without interruptions…OK?
Rilla: …
rilla: OK?
Rilla: ….
rilla: Well? Do we have an agreement or not?
Rilla: I don’t want to say anything you’ll construe as an interruption…
rilla: Whatever…where was I …?
Rilla: Jim introduced you to Arthur Levine in the illustrators’ pavilion…
rilla: Yes…Where’s your room, asked Mr. Levine…
Rilla: Oooh…where’s your room? Just like that?
rilla: Fifth floor I said…not far…come along…
Rilla: What?
rilla: So we hopped in the elevator…
Rilla: Bet it was packed…everyone staring at Arthur Levine…
rilla: No…no…just the two of us…
Rilla: Did you tell him about your writing…?
rilla: Well…he asked…what do you write…?
Rilla: And…what did you say…?
rilla: Fantasy… expectant look from Mr. Levine...Yes...?
Rilla: Fantasy…?
rilla: When it was clear nothing more was forthcoming...he asked... What kind of fantasy…?
Rilla: And you said?
rilla: Middle grade and YA...another expectant look...but it wore off quicker than the first... turning into one of disbelief, so I quickly interjected...
Rilla: Yeah…yeah…you interjected... you said something brilliant and hooky about Crystal Coffin with Amy the roller-blading, red-haired flute prodigy, and you talked about your YA fantasy with a flavor of India blended with the dreamscape of Australia and … Kalpa… gutsy… stubborn Kalpa and…
rilla: Ummm …I said … blup blup bluppity bluppity*
Rilla: Blup...blup...Wait a minute... are you telling me you had Arthur Levine ask you to talk about what you were writing and all you could say was blup blup…?
rilla: Ummm… we'd gotten to my room by then...
Rilla: Well at least you gave him what he came for…?
rilla: Said he’d left his at home…
Rilla: Oh…
rilla: So I pulled mine out…and he looked at it…and he said…
Rilla: Yeah… ?
rilla: Nope…
Rilla: Nope…?
rilla: Won’t fit.
Rilla: Won’t fit?
rilla: Not the right shape.
Rilla: Not the right shape?

THUNK THUNK

Rilla: Hey…stop knocking on my head.
rilla: Just trying to get rid of the echo in here…
Rilla: What wouldn’t fit?
rilla: The power cord to my laptop wouldn’t fit his…he forgot his own power cord at home.
Rilla: Oh…oh…didn’t he say anything else?
rilla: Yeah…he said, Sorry for disturbing you…to my illustrator roommate
Rilla: Oh…what’s that you’re working on now…?
rilla: I’m writing a query letter…
Rilla: To Arthur Levine?
rilla: The same…I’ve decided to send him my manuscript…
Rilla: There’s one thing you’d better NOT say in that letter…
rilla: What’s that?
Rilla: Blup blup bluppity bluppity…if you do…he’s sure to say it’s NOT A GOOD FIT!
rilla: Nah… I’m going to let the manuscript do the talking for me.



* This is the mermaid's song in Steve's, of my writing group, amazing Mermaid Tale...and I figured a mermaid's song would work... sorry I borrowed it Steve ...I should have known... the mermaid only sings for you...;(



On a more somber note...there were two bomb explosions in my hometown of Hyderabad, India, today. I want to send my thoughts and condolences to all the families who lost loved ones in the continuing mindless violence that we humans insist on perpetrating on one another...
...taken from the New York Times

Terror Bombings Kill Dozens in South India

By
SOMINI SENGUPTA
Published: August 26, 2007
A pair of synchronized explosions tore through two popular spots in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad on Saturday evening, killing at least 30 people and wounding 60 others in what state officials called a terrorist attack.
The blasts occurred just minutes apart. The first hit an open-air auditorium in a public park during a laser show about the history of Hyderabad, and the second was at a popular restaurant called Gokul Chaat.
No one immediately took responsibility for the attacks; the police gave no information about who might have been to blame.
The bombings were the latest in a series of attacks against economic targets in this country. Hyderabad, with a population of about four million, is one India's
prosperous and fast-growing cities, home to many software and biotechnology companies.

19 comments:

John said...

I don't always agree with you, but I see that you are objective in your
postings. Despite the differences I still enjoy reading your posts and I
often learn even when our viewpoints are different. :-)

Rilla said...

Hey John,
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my ramblings...or should I say...our...ramblings... can't afford to tick that Rilla off... she's a bit prone to yelling. Delighted to hear you call me objective...high praise indeed in a time when insult throwing and hate mongering are part of the daily weather forecast. I will try to live up to that standard. Thanks. And keep visiting ;)

LindaBudz said...

rilla, rilla, rilla ... haven't you heard of the "elevator pitch"? You're supposed to be able to describe your ms in a few quick sentences ... this would have been the perfect opportunity to use one!

I, on the other hand, would never have said "Blub, blub, blubbity, blubbity." Confronted with Arthur Levine in an elevator, I'm sure I would have managed to say, "It's, um, well, like, a story. For kids. A mystery, really. With puzzles. Word puzzles, in fact. And a kid who solves them. And the mystery, too, of course. Blib, blib, blibbity, blibbity."

Chin up! Despite your far inferior networking skills, I'm sure your writing WILL speak for itself! Good luck with the submission!!!

Rilla said...

Hey Linda... blib blib sounds a better than blub blub I must say... definitely would have made the cut... sigh... you're right... my elevator pitch needs a lot of practice... got an elevator I can borrow?

Colorado Writer said...

First: My thoughts are with you and your loved ones in your homeland.

AND:

No freaking way! You had a brush with destiny in LA? Good luck with your query.

PS. As you know, I was hob knobbing with Jay Asher, but each time I was around Mr. Levine, Julie Strauss-Gabel and Mark McVeigh I never once said A THING ABOUT MY WORK. NEVER. When I was around Arthur I only smiled. I said something really dumb to Ms. Gabel on the elevator, and Mark invited me to Rodeo Dr. because he had a car and I didn't, and I went to the Golden Kites instead.

Like the goofy dork that I am I missed all opportunity to do the elevator pitching...

(sigh)

Rilla said...

Hey Colorado Writer...
you too huh? You gave up a ride on Rodeo Drive with Mark McVeigh...????

sigh... well, look at me... here I an in an elevator with Arthur Levine thinking 'I sure hope the power cord to my laptop works on his computer...' and the other half is thinking... OMG OMG... and he asks me about my writing... and I'm thinking... no... this is not right... to offer to help him out and then talk about my work?... but then I'm thinking... wait a minute HE ASKED... that's when I go into total meltdown and it sounds like blup blup... and you know the sinking feeling that goes along with that...
OUCH
There's no recovering from blup blup...ever...

Katia said...

Oh Dear ! Fist, I open your blog, and what do I see ? My own self, all wrapped up, sitting on a big brass canon ! You have to send a warning, woman ! It WAS cold, wasn't it ? You know that we'll have to do that several times, now that you're coming. Second, your post reminded me of my own elevator ride with Louise May, last year. I mean, SHE was one of the main reasons I went to LA. I love what they do at Lee and Low, and, no kidding, I was alone with her in that elevator on the very first day. First, I was totally mute. No voice. And when the little bell rang and I saw she was about to leave the elevator, I thought : if I don't say something now, I'm going to kill myself, and I won't do it gently. And so,I sputtered precipitously that an author whose books she has published had asked me to say hello to her - which was true. She was really nice, looked at my tag, and the door had opened already, and she was gone. But you know what, the contact was made. And I used that when I wrote to her - she actually considered Ifeanyi - after the conference. I don't think pitching a book in the elevator is necessarily the best thing to do. What matters is that you have a connection. A. Levine WILL remember riding the elevator with you and your being ready to lend him his power cord. He may even remember that you didn't jump all over him, trying to sell him your book. The quality of your work will do the rest. And at least, it gave you material for a fun post on your blog. Not to mention the adrenaline rush, no doubt :)) Boy, children's writers have to have heart, and a strong one at that, don't they?
On a much sadder note, school was supposed to start today, but the town is under red alert because of the bombings on Saturday night. No school for two days. Big sigh. Whenever I think about all these people going on on a fun family outing, on Saturday night, and finding themselves in the middle of that nightmare, I feel so many conflicting emotions. Sadness, anger, anxiety, fear... What is this world we are living in?

Anonymous said...

Hi Rilla!
I'm very sorry to read about the bombings.

And I'm totally laughing that you got an object lesson in the necessity of having a prepared "elevator talk"!!! And IN an elevator, too!!!

NEXT time, you'll be prepared, I bet!!
-Laini
(PS-thanks for the mention!!)

Anonymous said...

Really cute, Rilla...but I was there and I know the REAL story! (Ha Ha) Loved the photo of Katia, too!
Seriously, my heart goes out to you, and to Katia. How dreadful...right in your own town. Will the madness every stop?

Marge

Katia said...

The real story ? What real story? I thought THIS was the real story. Now, I want the REAL story. OK, I'll wait until you get here. Hi, Marge !

Rilla said...

Hey Katia,
You are so lame...;0 thank goodness for you... I'd feel so pathetic if I weren't in good company with the likes of you and Colorado writer...we specialize in cotton mouth and sleepy brain... and hey... it's who we are... so break out the champagne anyway! OK... so I'm not very coherent.. but would you be if you had blue butt syndrome. Can't wait to see you girl... hope you still have that blue scarf...

Rilla said...

Hey Laini,
that elevator stumps me every time...what are we going to do..?
You still in Flat City? I see from your blog and the DMs blog that you've been skipping out of there as often as possible... ;) Now why would that be?

Rilla said...

Hey Marge...
the REAL story...? I thought we had an agreement..................!

LynNerd said...

Hi Rilla,

I'm so sorry about the terrorist attacks in your hometown. Such a tragedy and we'll never know how many lives it messed up. This gives new meaning to the saying "too close to home." It's so sad. My heart goes out to you and all those affected by the violence.

On a happier note, I sure enjoyed reading about your adventure with Arthur Levine. You should have asked him if he actually ever read that clever letter you sent him a year or so ago. I hope you save a copy of it. You should update it and send it to him again!

I'm just like you, Rilla. I wouldn't have made a pitch. I'm better with the written word than the spoken word. But maybe if you'd had a few more glasses of wine, you could might have come up with the perfect pitch without even thinking about it and charmed him into wanting to see more than the cord to your laptop. Don't let your mind go there. I'm talking about your wonderful ms. Anyways, it would require at least three Bloody Mary's for me to spiel a pitch. I wonder if Mr. Levine would be turned off by a slurred pitch? Yeah, nevermind the bubbly. I agree that the manuscript speaks for itself. So cheers! Good luck with the submissions.

By the way, I love the way you kept us in suspense while telling about the night Arthur Levine came to your hotel room. Good going!

Katia said...

Yep, still have the blue scarf. Waiting for you to get it out. And the way you keep going with these pics, I'd say that you're already half way here. Bubbly in the fridge...

Stephanie Roth said...

Hi Rilla-

Well...that was probably just your first brush with Arthur Levine. The next time you have a great ice breaker, "remember that time when..." You will have rehearsed it so many times that you won't have to stress about what to say- by that time you'll have your revisions done and so much more to show- everything works works out...Plus you CAN say that he was in your hotel room!

Sorry to hear about the madness in your hometown.

XO

Ste[h

Stephanie Roth said...

I'm apparently having typing issues...too much coffee- yes, that's what I'll balme it on- coffee...

Natalie said...

I'm so sorry to hear about the bombings in your hometown, Rilla. So sad.

And I wouldn't worry about being tongue-tied around A.A.--you've made a connection (albeit not of the laptop variety) and he's sure to remember you. Get that manuscript out there!

J said...

Hey Rilla,

Cool as always. I am so sorry about you home. I pray that soon people wil learn to say what they mean instead of such wasteful, violent behavior.

I'm sure you're busy packing and arranging all of the things you need to do before you leave. I pray that you are kept safe throughout your journey and that all goes well with your mother.

Don't forget to take a moment to eat all of the things that you can't find here in the States. And have a blast while you're there.

Come back soon and safely.
J