“Shoot! That’s a Whole ‘Nother Thing to Learn!”

“…A swell blog…” — Jon Carroll.

Check that out. I’m famous!

I’ve been rewriting the new novel, and I’ve learned something: If you can avoid it, don’t learn the bulk of your grammar rules in Jackson, Mississippi.

It seems I’ve been all wrong, completely wrong, crazy wrong on many, many rules. Rules that were taught to me by sweet Mrs. Jones in the fifth grade, a woman whom I trusted to teach me who from whom. Maybe she got that correctly implanted in my head, but here are all the other things I’ve only recently learned from copyeditors and Tara that made me the most ignorant “professional writer” since Ernest Writes A Book:

It isn’t “I handed it to the girl that was waiting over there.” It’s “I handed it to the girl who was waiting over there.”

Most of you are probably going, “Uh, yeah.” But I just saw a couple of you go, “Oh. Really?”

“Woah” is “Whoa.”

The question mark goes after the single quotation mark, but before the double: “Did she say ‘I do’?”

These words: towards, forwards, backwards, upwards — are actually: toward, forward, backward, upward. How many times have I written “backwards and forwards” in my life? A million.

I feel like such a moron.

You can send four hundred books to Oakland, but you can’t make her think good speechin’.

Speaking of books…

Diana writes:

[readermail]I sent “Colored Contradictions: An Anthology of Contemporary African-American Plays” because my library growing up defined contemporary theatre as a fifteen year old copy of “Best Plays of 1965“. I thought I could help keep the library more current then mine was. I’m going to go get a library card at my library and if I can’t find anything I want to read, I’ll get them something I want to read.[/readermail]

I sure do have a lot of Stephanies around here. This one writes:

[readermail]I love your site and have been reading it religously since it came back. And the Gilmore Girls recaps. And when it’s finally published, I’m sure I will also love your book, that I’ve had pre-ordered for a million years.

Anyway, I tried to be strong, but just couldn’t resist donating. I’m sure it will make the people of Oakland happier, and as I’m visiting their/your fine state in Sept (from Ottawa, ON, Canada), I’d like Californians to be as happy as possible. So, I got them The House of the Scorpion as nobody else had, and it sounded pretty cool. I worked in the public library in high school, and was thus able to keep up with all the great young adult books that I was technically too old for even then. So I’m a little sad that I haven’t even heard of this one. I also got them The Da Vinci Code as everybody else had, and now they have all they want. And it also seemed pretty interesting. As I have no website of my own, here’s my charity of choice: www.marmots.org. Marmots need love too! And beware — the site may squeek when opened.[/readermail]

It’s not often that someone warns you of squeaking before checking out a URL. It makes me not want to know what a marmot is. Okay… I’ll go look. For you. So you don’t have to. But it’s Stephanie’s charity of choice, so I feel obligated, but I’m terrified I’m about to be face to face with a ferret. (Another thing Mrs. Jones incorrectly taught me: face to face isn’t hyphenated)

Okay, they’re pretty cute. And they’re endangered. And they’re way up in Canada, so even if you’ve got some kind of vermin phobia, I think you’re safe from this tiny, gopher-like creature. It’s claim to fame? “Canada’s most endangered mammal.”

… too many jokes. Too many.

Laura writes:

[readermail]I think its amazing what you have been able to do for the OPL. Right after I read your donation entry, I read the following articles in my local paper:

here and here.

I was horrified to hear about so many cats in such poor condition, especially right in my hometown. So, in the spirit of your book drive, I’m donating supplies to the Caroline County Humane Society instead, to help them care for the overload of cats. Even though its not helping out with library books, I just wanted to let you know that your generosity has inspired others. Keep up the great work![/readermail]

Community awareness is what it’s all about.

Austinite Monika writes:

[readermail]You finally got me.

Oakland Public Library will now get their first copy of “Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez“, in honor of our Austin hometown hero.

Along the way, while looking for a wish list for the Austin Public Library, I came upon the wish list for the Children’s Hospital of Austin – Terminal Wing. Apparently they set up an 8 page wish list for Christmas for the terminally ill children there to have presents to open, and got all of three donations. So I went ahead and sent them some finger puppets and a Blue’s Clues Bubble and Sand kit.

Thanks for reminding us all to give, somehow, someway.[/readermail]

I couldn’t find that Austin hospital wish list to post here. Any help for Austin makes me proud.

Danielle says “eh,” but thinks her email address gives off her location:

[readermail]A Canadian librarian here (the email addy was probably a tipoff, eh?) writing to thank you for the visibility you’ve given Oakland PL’s book drive. It’s great to see the campaign keep popping up on all kinds of blogs.

And thanks for reminding your readers that their local library could probably use some help too. NY City & state libraries are being hit particularly hard. On that note, please see this newsblurb from Library Journal.

In a nutshell, the state legislature restored funding to public libraries (yay!), but it didn’t happen until many of them had already set their book-buying budgets (boo!). So the Mid-Hudson Library System, among others, could use some help.

Let your New York readers know! And thanks again for getting up on the soapbox about this.[/readermail]

New York readers: you have been notified.

Jadzialove writes:

[readermail]Hey Pamie,

I’m usually not a bandwagon jumper but as I sat reading the last week or so’s entries (tears. at work even!), I was moved to action.

I sent the Montclair Branch “The Sorcerer’s Companion: A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter” by Allan Zola Kronzek and Elizabeth Kronzek and I pre-ordered a copy of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” by J.K. Rowling because I am all about the Potter. Magical realism combined with a mystery is my favorite genre and the earlier books in the series jumped started a renewed interest in reading, which is awesome considering the distractions kids have available to them. The other reason I wanted to give something is that my father was one of those guys who really didn’t know what to do with the daughter’s he had helped produce. You know, he was there but not “there”. Anyway, going to the library was something that my 3 sisters and I could share with him. We are all to this day voracious readers and I’ll always have him to thank for my love of reading and the Cheektowaga Public Library to thank for providing us more than just genes to share.

And thank you Pamie for providing me the opportunity to give something back. I don’t have a lot of money to throw around at the moment however when I get my books out of storage, I’m going to go through them, weed out the ones that don’t get the repeat read and donate those to my childhood library.[/readermail]

Two Parkers in a row. The first one named Austin:

[readermail]First off, I wanted to thank you for providing obscene guffaws during my work day as I read your entries. They make me giggle.

Wait, I didn’t mean obscene like, hey, your writing makes me see the red of a hate-filled rage. More like, I just laugh so hard, I have to breathe into a paper bag.

Okay, so I don’t breathe into a paper bag, but I did order “How I Learned to Snap,” by Kirk Read, for the Piedmont Branch. Though I haven’t read it, the review on its Amazon page made me realize that I identified in many ways with the novel’s central character/author. Well, except for the dad being a military man. Oh, and the mom being a homemaker thing. Oh, and the Bible Belt thing.

Otherwise? Totally identify with it. Plus, Kirk’s last name is Read. Get it? Get it?!

What’s that? Shut up?

Yay Pamie! Thanks for making me feel like I don’t suck today![/readermail]

And the other, a Jennifer:

[readermail]I ordered these books almost a week ago, but I wanted you to know in case you were keeping track of your widening sphere of influence. I donated Talkin’ About Bessie by Nikki Grimes and More Like Wrestling: A Novel by Danyel Smith. I was quite excited to be able to donate a book on Bessie Coleman, who was one of my heroes in grade school when I wanted to be a pilot. Now that flying a plane is one of the furthest things from my mind, it’s nice to be reminded of the days when that’s all I could think about. I don’t have a site to link, so if you can please link this site which contains information about the activism we’ve been doing here in Tallahassee to save the State of Florida Library that Jeb Bush wanted to close. Thanks![/readermail]

Everybody’s so active and busy. It’s nice to see.

“How niiiice.”

Longtime Squishite Wendy sent stuff all the way from the UK:

[readermail]The Forsyte Saga (thought I’d go British since I’m living over here now!)

I feel bad for taking so long, but had to wait till payday!![/readermail]

It’s not too late. Any help is a good thing. You didn’t miss any kind of window to support a library in trouble.

My sister’s best friend Robyn sent over a pile of books:

[readermail]Journey to the River Sea
The Red Wolf
The Polar Bears Are Hungry
Hanging On to Max
My Freight Train
Birthday Zoo
Raymond’s Perfect Present[/readermail]

Jessica writes:

[readermail]I am a long-time (from the days of Squishy) lurker. I finally decided a good deed was worth more than my bank account and sent “Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez” Kathleen Krull (Author), Yuyi Morales (Illustrator) and “The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler” James Cross Giblin. Because they both sound like books I should probably read and never will. I don’t have a website so you can link to http://www.ucr.edu/, which is where I work. Thanks for keeping me entertained while I’m supposed to be working![/readermail]

Talk about one extreme to the other in biographical content, huh?

amberlynne will soon get to meet my mom, the only other person who will be at my Houston book signing:

[readermail]I had to wait a week after your entry about OPL to send them something. Why must pay day only come twice a month?!? Anyway, after going over their wishlist, I chose to send them a CD: Dixie Chicks — Home. I know, it’s not a book, but I figure supporting those free speakin’ southern ladies does a library good. Today people are running over their CD’s, next thing you know, they’ll be burning “Mr. Poopypants” books! Thank you so much for doing this. It is inspiring to see one person making such a big difference!

Btw, I can’t wait until you come to Houston on your book tour! I will be there to get my book signed and see the infamous Pamie in person. Woo![/readermail]

Go, free speech! P.S. — Still not listening to the Dixie Chicks. But yay, free speech.

And last, but never least, our anonymous donor:

[readermail]My Name Is Yoon
Quenton Fenton Herter III
Mrs. McCool and the Giant Cuhullin: An Irish Tale[/readermail]

And thank you, Cody Clark, for this.

Again, see everybody who has donated here.

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