Oct 23, 2007

"ASK ME, UH-HO-HO, ASK ME"

You know what we're overdue in doing? An installation of Guthmantics! And do you know who I rounded up for you today? Do you? Hmmm? You are going to flip! I got The Ms. Laurel Snyder! (Ohhhhs! Ahhhhs!) Not only is she an all-around wonderful human being, but she's also a very talented and dedicated writer. Laurel Snyder is a Baltimore native, a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, a former Michener-Engle Fellow, a commentator for NPR's All Things Considered, the editor of Half/Life: Jew-ish tales from Interfaith Homes (Soft Skull Press, 2006), and the author of Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains (Random House, 2008), Inside the Slidy Diner (Tricycle Press, 2008), (Any Which Wall, Random House, 2009), Daphne & Jim (Burnside Review Press, 2006), and The Myth of the Simple Machines (No Tell Books, 2007). She is also a hyperactive, type-A person, (in case you couldn't tell). She lives in Atlanta with her ridiculously cute sons, Mose and Lewis, and their papa.

Guth:
Tell us what you write, what you have written and how you do it?

Snyder: Oy. I write EVERYTHING. Which is kind of my big problem in life. I'm interested in everything, but I'm also addicted to order, so I'm forever trying to smoosh everything into everything else, in hopes things will begin to make sense. Hence the cover of my book of poems was done by the illustrator of my picture book. And so on... I want things to make sense.

(Guth here-- Um, hi can you see why this woman and I get along so well??)

So yeah, I write poems, and have a chapbook out from Burnside Review Press, as well as this new book with No Tell Books. I write blogs, several of them. I write religion essays and rants. I write commentaries for NPR. And most of all lately, I write weird books for kids. The first one, Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains, will be out next year from Random House.

I really don't have any specific writing rituals-- I'm kind of the anti-Guth in this way (though in all other things I emulate you, dear one). I have two kids under two, and so I write whenever there's a quiet moment, wherever I happen to be. I have a tape recorder in my glove box and a little notebook in my diaper bag. I work in the grocery store parking lot if the kids fall asleep in the car.

Often I rant aimlessly on my blog (because it's quick), and that turns into an essay later. With poems, I sit down and work in fits and starts, and can do it in short stints, but that requires silence and real concentration. And with the kiddie-novels, I work on my laptop, late at night when the house sleeps, or in a coffee shop, while my toddler is in "school" and the little one wiggles on the couch beside me. With long prose I need at least two hours of time to get anything going.

For all but poetry, I like backgound noise, and often leave the TV on when I work. It's always funny when my husband comes in and asks, "Are you watching this?" and it turns out I'm tuned to the Jesus channel, or the View, or Rock of Love (okay, I admit it, I actually watch that one). Usually, I require coffee. Late at night I like to write while I drink. It sounds flaky, but it can lead to interesting things, though also heavy editing.

Guthieroo: Not flaky at all! The booze-n-write is awesome. Ha! I was so hooked on Rock of Love, too! You know what they say: "Ain't no booty like a southside booty"... er, bleh, I mean. Anyway. What grand things are next for you? What would you, we're talking dream gigs and adventures here, love to be next for you?

Snyder: Next for me is a new book of poems called Once Upon, about the tedious and wonderfully insane experience of having kids (I know, I know, it's awful, but I can't help it). And I'm also currently editing a new kid-novel, Any Which Wall. About four children in Iowa and their magical wall, which takes them to like, Pompeii and Camelot (of course-- everyone goes to Camelot). I'm also about to launch an awesome new website, Badly In Love.

What would I like to be next? Oh jeeze, nobody ever admits that stuff, do they?

But if I'm really dreaming? Like, lotto dreaming?

I'd like a major award of course, maybe a National Book Award for a novel, or a Caldecott for my picture book. Of course I'd like a movie option, because that would pay for babysitting. Anyone out there want to make a movie about a snarky milkmaid and her pet prairie dog? I'd looooove if Tim Burton wanted to turn my picture book, Inside the Slidy Diner, into a movie. That'd be the BEST!
I'd also like to write poems that straddle the divide between poets and non-poets. I'd like to write poems that poets can appreciate, but that are readable for non-poets. But sometimes that seems just as far away as a Pulitzer. Sigh...

AG: What Smiths or Morrissey song or lyric sums it up for you right now?

Snyder: Hmmm... it sounds obnoxious to say this, but "Golden Lights". I mean, I never ever expected to have multiple books out at once, and it feels like I'm the luckiest person in the universe. But only the title. Because I really hope I haven't changed. I don't think I have. Have I? I mean, I return all my calls, and I don't even have a brand new jacket...

Guthieroo again. See there? Isn't she great? Yes she is.
Now, folks, you know the drill by now, right? After you've read all of her work, (and I mean all of it, because it all all very, very good and so what if you don't have kids? Children's books are good for your soul, just ask me about Patricia Combs' Dorrie series sometime) go over and add her to your LibraryThing and Shelfari and GoodReads collections. Go on, go on. Then, be a mensch and buy a copy or two or ten for your friends and lovers and BFFs and the next time you hear the fabulous Laurel Snyder is reading near you, go show some love.

Want to be a featured author/writer type for Guthmantics? Well, just send an email to me at amy@guthagogo.com and I'll tell you everything you need to know.

1 comment:

jewgirl said...

What an inspiring and engaging dame. I will definitely buy her books.