A POEM FROM HIGH SCHOOL and A REFLECTION FROM 2011
I am here,
And I’m lonely.
I live, eat and talk with you.
You listen while reading the paper.
My tears are shrill, deafening.
Sitting on the toilet seat,
I cry them
into a raggedy towel.
You bang on the locked door and
yell at me to get out.
I attempt to tell you my problems,
I know you have enough of your own
But I can help you too.
Tell me what you’re feeling….
I’ll grow up.
You turn your back to me,
reverting to the work stacked on the desk.
My voice unhinges.
You said you’d listen.
I stop in the middle of reciting my poem;
you’re not listening.
I know you have more important things to do.
You probably think I’m a fool.
(originally published in OPUS at
NEW ROCHELLE HIGHS SCHOOL)
I grew with a single parent, my
father. He raised four kids alone. My mother had a stroke that left her
brain damaged, paralyzed and hospitalized since I was four-and-a-half years
old. When I was in high school I felt particularly desperate. By then, I was responsible for my three younger siblings, in charge
of the housework and meals for my
family. I wrote this poem in 11 grade. My high
school literary magazine, Opus, at
New Rochelle High School published it. This poem, never titled, made me realize that I could
channel my emotions, my raw loneliness, into writing.
All these years later, this poem still resonates for me. How did my father react to it? I don’t think he did.
He didn’t read, or listen to, my poetry. Will
he read my LIE, my debut novel? I can’t say for sure, but now I know, I am not a fool.
I did the dishes, the laundry,
made dinner and wrote. I grew up. Writing shaped and defined me, carried
me through the worst times in my life, and the best. Though, I have
to admit, I hope he reads LIE. After all these years, I still want him to listen, to hear me, to acknowledge me -- why?
Yeah! Thank you Jennifer Barnes at the Malden Public Library in MA!
*BOCK, Caroline. Lie. 212p. St. Martin’s/Griffin. Sept. 2011. pap. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-312-66832-7; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-1-4299-8441-6. LC number unavailable.
Gr 7 Up–Skylar’s life hasn’t been the same since her mother died of cancer. The only bright light has been her relationship with her boyfriend, Jimmy, a Scholar-Athlete of the Year, but now he stands accused of assaulting two Salvadoran immigrants and she is the prime witness. The full story slowly comes into focus through the many different perspectives of people in a Long Island town that has seen its demographics change dramatically in recent years. Meanwhile, 18-year-old Skylar navigates her precarious position. As she puts the pieces together and ponders her own future, can she speak out against her boyfriend? And should she? Bock successfully captures a range of voices in addition to Skylar’s, from teens close to the perpetrator to the victim’s family and community members and richly develops this ripped-from-the-headlines tale. Within the larger picture of tension around illegal immigration is the lesser-known practice of “beaner-hopping,” in which teens attack suspected illegal immigrants as a sick sort of sport. While readers are not given direct insight into Jimmy’s views, he comes to life as a multifaceted person who unfortunately inherited many of his father’s grudge-laden, bigoted opinions. Bock’s debut will grip readers searching for complete realism in their fiction.–Jennifer Barnes, Malden Public Library, MA
Be the first to watch the LIE book trailer!! Go to YouTube http://youtu.be/QZPmG1mrymk
This trailer was produced and directed by an amazing independent filmmaker (and Apple guru) Heather Smith. Thank you so much Heather for all the passion you have for LIE. The novel is in stores everywhere on August 30th!!
Hey... I know it's the middle of the summer.... but it's one month until school starts here in New York (and yes, 21 days until publication of LIE on August 30th!!). Are you a teacher like me: Eager, eager to teach a new novel? Focused on how narratives are constructed? How character drives plot and theme? I wrote with the good folks at St. Martin's Press a TEACHER'S GUIDE TO LIE
. So calling all English teachers
(grades 8 and above): Check out the TEACHER'S GUIDE TO LIE
Wild graffiti our
artifacts, relics, sprayed marks
of a drive-by past.
--haiku by Caroline Bock, 2011
Inspiration day, trip to the Bronx and Queens with amazing artist friend to disappearing sites. Her work can't compare to these quick shots I took for inspiration. See her work at charleneweisler.com
LIE will be published on August 30th by St. Martin's Press!! The Countdown begins.
At the same time, I wrote this short short poem and from it came the idea for a character. This is where it always starts.
MEETING HIM AT THE
BEACH HE SAYS:
I like you --
you’re not pretty.
And so as LIE becomes available to the world -- August 30 -- I start again with a new novel. Am I compulsive or crazy?
No Nice Days
In memory of Raymond Carver
There are no nice days –
there are days
that you write
and days that you don’t.
The first is gravy,
as another writer
once said, and the latter—
you may as well be dead.
Do you think I was having a 'nice day' writing -- when I wrote this? Why in memory of Raymond Carver? He was a groundbreaking short story writer, and a pretty good poet -- he wrote a poem entitled, "Gravy," which has stayed with me all my days. Raymond Carver was also a wonderful teacher -- I was in his creative writing class at Syracuse University. So, have a nice day, and if you are a writer, write.
My dad visited last week. Not a lot of writing done, but lots of note-taking for future works! Read closely any 'dad' character I write, and in part, it is my father-- full of fury and humor and straight forward talk. He raised me and my two brothers and sisters, and is in many ways my idea of a hero. Here is a picture of Pop, age 81, on his way home. Back to writing this week.... Who informs, inspires your writing? Take notes.
Attended one Saturday of Thriller Fest -- a conference for writers and lovers of thrillers - in New York City. Why attend any writers conference? This was the first time for me at this one. I've attended others -- on the very other end of the literary spectrum -- about ten years ago, a week-long writing conference at the University of Iowa who made me believe again that I could write. But if you are a new writer, attend to meet other writers, or in some cases like this the festival had an entire day of agents on panels. Or, attend to find out trends in the industry, or because you have to get out of your own head, or out of your damp cool basement into a over-cooled, windowless, packed hotel ballroom.
Best things about Thriller Fest - Ken Follett (Eye of the Needle and Pillars of the Earth) and Joe McGinniss (Fatal Vision and Blind Faith). One thing each said: Follett, (paraphrasing here), "Stakes need to grow higher for each character as the story evolves" and McGinniss, "True crime novel is dead... killed by cable news. Write it as fiction." For the YA readers in the crowd -- R. L. Stine of Goosebumps fame was there as a key note speaker -- and said when he was starting out he wrote two books a month (and did nothing much of anything else). More at www.thrillerfest.org and www.bigthrill.org
*LIECaroline Bock. St. Martin's Griffin, $9.99 trade
paper (224p)ISBN 978-0-312-66832-7
Bock's (Confessions of a Carb Queen) first YA
novel is a smart, topical story about a racially motivated hate crime, its
far-ranging consequences, and the community determined to keep it under wraps.
Skylar Thompson, a sensitive and complex loner, is deeply reliant on her
boyfriend, Jimmy Seeger, a cocky, clean-cut jock. Shortly before their high
school graduation, Jimmy and his best friend Sean are arrested for the vicious
beating of Arturo Cortez, a young El Salvadoran mason, who subsequently dies of
his injuries. Charismatic but cruel, Jimmy has been leading a gang that goes
"beaner-hopping" on Saturday nights, assaulting Latinos for sick
thrills. Skylar, who witnessed Jimmy's unprovoked attack on Arturo, suffers a
crisis of conscience over whether to cover for her boyfriend; the lies Skylar
and others are pressured to tell cut through the town like the Long Island
Expressway the title plays on. Avoiding preachiness, Bock handles the novel's
multiple viewpoints exceptionally well, rotating among the painfully believable
voices of high school students and adults. Her characters may keep the truth
inside, but their story reads like a confessional. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)Publishersweekly.com