Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Authors are People, Too

This morning, Yahoo "News" posted an article about a children's author who was ejected from an airplane for swearing. Click HERE for the article. I clicked it mainly because I was curious whether a beloved children's author had been caught being human. Let's face it--we all make mistakes. Some are just more public than others.

What I found ridiculous is that this article is about a TV producer who happens to have a book coming out later this year and said the F-word (maybe) twice in exhausted frustration. This calls to mind many famous actors who have written a children's book here or there. We don't call them authors. They're still actors. But "children's author swears" has a better ring to it than "TV producer says F-word."

That's it, Yahoo. Go right for the sensationalism. Worry about accuracy later. Sigh.

So, before you start thinking that ALL children's authors routinely drop the F-bomb, I thought I'd tell you a story about one of the good ones. :)

Gail Carson Levine, best known for books like Ella Enchanted, The Fairy's Return, Fairest and Ever is such an author. When I checked out my friend Rebecca's BLOG a couple of weeks ago, it was with the intent to find some clue to lifting her spirits. Fighting cancer is no fun, but it generally has a heavy emphasis on the physical fight. I wanted to make sure she had the emotional well being to balance that out. I still want to. But, anyway, one her blog she lists her "Absolute Favorite Books" and, on that list, is "any Gail Carson Levine book."

This got my wheels turning. I'd met Gail briefly at The King's English Bookstore in SLC last year when she came out to help promote her newest Disney Fairy book. I even have a picture of her posing with my daughter on my phone. Let's put aside the fact that I was too star struck to admit to her that, yes, I am also an author and had a book coming out later that year. But I did listen while she talked, especially where she said she posts author advice on her blog. I've been following her blog ever since.

I thought to myself, wouldn't it be great if Rebecca got a signed Gail Carson Levine book in the mail out of the blue? Wouldn't that help lift her spirits? The answer: absolutely. So I commented on Ms Levine's blog and let her know what I wanted to do. I didn't expect a quick response--she's a busy lady--but I got one anyway. Yes, she'd love to send my friend a book. Which one? In order for this to be a surprise, I couldn't ask Rebecca. I chose The Two Princesses of Bamarre, because, to me, it's the story of finding strength you didn't know you had. And I believe Rebecca is stronger than she may think.

Sunday, when she came to church (the first time since her diagnosis), Rebecca told me, "You have connections." She'd gotten the book. Squeee! I was excited. Ms Levine really delivered. I'm so grateful, I just had to share how fantastic it is of her to take the time and trouble to do this sweet thing for a virtual stranger.

That's pretty cool. And I'm almost certain she did it without swearing. ;)


Laura D. Bastian said...

Thanks for this post. You are so awesome.

Emily R. King said...

Thanks for sharing. I often wonder about the kind of examples we need to be when we're authors. We can't be perfect, but we should try to do our best to be good examples...and apologize quickly if a bad word slips out. : )

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

What a nice insight about such a fine author. ( I'm reviewing one ofher books right now for Sacramento Book Review). And what a good friend you are to think of such a thing.

Cheri Chesley said...

Thanks. I think highly of Gail, and I got to see Rebecca's signed copy. Beautiful. :)

Toyin O. said...

Great post, thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

Great post. We are all human but we must always remember to set an example, too. I say that with a smile. I've made mistakes for sure!