{istalk} Things I’ve Noticed about Authors

I am going to lie to everyone today and tell them that I do a lot of people watching.  But the truth is it’s not so much people watching as people stalking. 
I observe a lot of things about a loooot of  children’s authors, and I thought I’d share some of it here for your reading pleasure. {NONE of this is about adult authors because I know nothing about that world.}

Tenderness. {NOT the book}
I’ve noticed a lot of authors are animal lovers. Not counting my mother, of course. I’ve done several interviews and just had regular chats where authors  tell me how much they love chilling with their cats, and sometimes, puppies. 
I’ve also spent time with writers who are just plain nice. I always say, you can tell a TRUE children’s author by the way they look and act. {No, not by their writing. . . hahaha!} 
I’ve only met a couple of big.fat.snob children’s writers, and to me they aren’t really writers. Because MOST authors are tender-hearted and humble. They want to see people succeed. They push other people’s books, talking little of their own. That’s why I love spending time chatting with them. Kindness and humility are great qualities to have.

That must be why I’m not a real writer. . . .hmmmmm.

A lot of the children’s writers I’ve met have had to live through some serious grief. Maybe that’s what makes them such good writers. Tough life=good writing? Who knows? All I’m saying is a lot of you have had it tough.  Maybe having been there gives you a way of knowing what another person feels.


Finally, I fit into a category that 99% of writers are in. We’re all big nerds. Some of us are undercover nerds {Jandy Nelson,  Ann Dee Ellis,  Alane Ferguson} and some of us embrace the geek inside and wear it loud and proud! {Rick Walton,  Carol Lynch Williams, Chris Crowe}
Have you ever sat in a room full of writers and listened to them talk? I think that’s all I have to say about that.

Doesn’t notice the little things

This isn’t ALL writers, but a lot really don’t notice the little things, or maybe they just don’t care. Either way I find it hilarious.
Mom can wear the same shirt five days in a row and not notice.
Me, Cait and Nina just brush it off and pretend like she’s changed clothes. But if someone from the outside world comes over a few days in a row, I can tell they can tell.
Actual quote from Laura: “Mom, you’ve worn that shirt every day this week. Don’t you think that freaks Cait’s boyfriend out?”
And of course my mom responds with something like: “I have? No, I’m sure I changed. Wow, I didn’t even notice! I’ll put something different on tomorrow.” 

This quality isn’t just one my mother has. I KNOW that a lot of you reading this are thinking “Wow, I guess I never noticed how much I don’t notice.”

We took a very very famous writer to lunch in June, and we all drove to the restaurant in our ORANGE MINI VAN. {ORANGE!!!!!! How many orange vans do you see rollin’ around? Not many.} 
After lunch, we start to wander back to the car, we’re all chatting about something. A book maybe? Who knows. When suddenly I realize the famous author is trying to get into a RED 4-runner a couple cars back. I look around for mom to try and tell her that’s the wrong car when I realize MOM is trying to get into that same car.
*Conversation I’ve had with a writer.*
Me: When was the last time you washed your hair?
(Looks at me with a glazed expression)
Writer: What day is it?

Not the most awesome self-esteem.
I don’t know WHY, but all the real writers I know have terrible self-esteems. 
I often hear them chatting with each other about how horrible their current novel is, or how terrible they look, or how everyone hates them. I really don’t get it, because it’s always the GOOD writers who do this! I always seem to hear the not-so-awesome writers bragging about their own awesomeness, and I’m thinking “You need Ann Dee’s self-esteem, because YOU suck and SHE rocks. . .” I’m sorry, Ann Dee, I’m not trying to pick on you, I’m just saying . . .
It’s funny, because you have these people with bad self-esteem in a world where people aren’t so nice. And when they get a bad review they just pretend they don’t. It’s odd, because you’d think they’d take it to heart.


Mom sits in the house for weeks at a time. But she’s not the only loner. Laurie Halse Anderson writes in a very secluded cabin, by herself! How lonely!! And cool.

I don’t mean any of this to be offensive. It’s all good fun and I really hope I haven’t hurt feelings.
Also, I should have the book club group up on Facebook sometime next week. I’ll post a link on here when it’s done.


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25 responses to “{istalk} Things I’ve Noticed about Authors

  1. Woo. No hurt feelings here. You just made my day. I fit all your catagories. I’m going to be a best seller. I can feel it. Kidding. I’ve got such a long way to go, I’ll probably die and THEN my books will be famous.

  2. Carol

    Well, all that hurt my feelings.
    Thanks a lot, Kyra.

    Everyone go to Facebook and see Angelina Jolie holding a copy of my book THE CHOSEN ONE.

  3. How do you know me? Are you looking in my windows right now?

  4. My response to the Kyra Writer Litmus test.

    Animal liker?
    Yes, but I am not eccentric about animals. I like people more.

    Ha ha ha ha ha and also HA! Uh, yes ma’am.

    Geek? Nerd? Weirdie?
    Not so much. Didn’t really read a lot growing up.

    Don’t notice things?
    I don’t know if this is the same thing but I only remember things I want to. Like I do not bother to remember Dr. appointments because I know they’ll call me the day before to remind me.

    Not the most awesome self esteem?
    It depends on the day, or the hour, or the minute.
    Most of the time I realize how freaking awesome I am. 😉

    Am I a loner?
    My 4th grade report card said, “Social Butterfly.”
    But I’ve realized I need alone time.

    Disclaimers offend me.

  5. I loved this post! I think it’s my favorite Throwingupwords post! A cool combination of hilarious and true.
    Now, I’m going to go change my shirt.

  6. I am flattered and offended at the same time. It’s so confusing.

    P.S. I am scared of dogs and all animals almost.
    P.P.S. Me undercover nerd? You a true nerd? I would argue that one, missy.

  7. Someone asked Henry James how to become a great novelist. His answer was something like:

    First make a friend that you would trust with you life.
    Second lock yourselves in a room with no exit.
    Finnally, hang yourself from the rafters and instruct your dear friend to cut you down at the last minute.

    If you live then you will have something to write about.

    So many levels here.

    Writers have intense feelings and make intense decisions, and are brave to write these embarrassing unversal truths.

    Also, a great writer would be able to connect with someone that quickly and do something that dangerous just to get out of a slump.

    Kyra I was also thinking mildly depressed, and unmedicated, with periods of the opposite in the past.

    Writers do not feel neurotypical to me, but maybe the autism finds a place in the writing.

    Temple Grandin is one of my heroes. She invented the hug machine. for the atypical neurological overstimulation that some feel.

    Sometimes as a teen I would crawl between my mattress and boxspring for a long time. Sometimes I would read all night, and sometimes I would write and paint and skateboard for hours. Sometimes I would feel something desperate needed to get out. And when I couldn’t get to it I would slip away. I am back now. I write about this in everything I do.

    And most days I am amazed there are people who may never come back.

    A good story can bring us back in a new way, but slipping away to write it makes sense to me.

  8. Oh yeah, one more thing.

    I like goats. Alot.

    And falcons, horses, chickens, dogs, cats, and the goldfish in my water troughs.

    Sometimes fish get me in ways I can’t explain.

    • Kyra

      Goats? WOW! I didn’t even think to include goats in on this! Those are cute, sometimes. 🙂

      • Compared to Cows, Goats are the world’s milk supply 9 to 1. They are lovley and manageble and reduce green house gasses. If I were president I would promise a goat in every garage. I have seven and they are all unique, and a babbies they are every bit as fun as a puppy.

      • Amy

        Kyra, you should have visited our conference group…serious goat discussions went down.

  9. LOL! There may be hope for me yet!


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