Hey Friends, I’ve been busy working on my second novel which should be out Summer or Fall 2013. But I wanted to take a second to say: Hooray! The paperback of You Are Not Here is out NOW! And don’t forget about the ebook, too.
I’m relinking to one of my favorite posts–a photo essay about the real places that inspired You Are Not Here.
Also click here to listen to me reading a bit from the beginning of You Are Not Here.
Here’s the final batch of submissions. Check back Friday when the winners are announced! Who do you think should win?
Anu B., age 18
Maybe I’m not who you want me to be,
But I’m me. Incorrigibly, irredeemably, painfully
Maybe I’m not where you want me to be.
Maybe my hair is too long for your liking,
Or too short for your delicate sensibilities.
Maybe my pants hang a little too low,
Or I hold my books a little too close.
Maybe my eyes are too sad for you,
Or my hips too wide,
My arms too long, my smile
Maybe it’s just that I’m too tall, too short,
Too skinny, too fat, too strong, too smart,
Too loud, too quiet, too immersed in my thoughts.
Maybe I’m not everything you want me to be,
But I’m me. Incorrigibly, irredeemably, painfully
But, maybe it’s not me.
Maybe you’re too…too.
Maybe you’re heart isn’t big enough,
Maybe your heart only feels its own pain.
My heart will have to be big enough,
I will survive your incorrigible, irredeemable,
Anonomyus, age 22
I try to suppress the grin on my face
As I rush, alone, to my next class.
The campus is graceful in its nature
and colors and I’m alone, not
lonely, thanking the empty sky for
getting me to this place.
I’m in awe of the bag on my
shoulder, heavy with overpriced
books. Proud that my four successive
classes give me some place
acceptable to be.
I take notes and study and wear a genuinely
rehearsed contemplative look. I can’t understand
the groans around me at another assigned chapter
or announcement of an upcoming test.
This is it.
What I’ve been struggling to attain for four
excruciatingly long years.
To sit in a class and learn, to abandon my corner
of safety and pain and thoughts designed to
derail me at every haphazard venturing out.
I spent the better part of my first two adult
years screaming on a locked ward,
but the piercing shrieks have faded,
and I don’t think I have to be so afraid
I don’t think they can control me anymore.
Laura, age 22
Hidden vines are intertwined
Grapes turn into wine
Alcohol vapors rise
And sink my heart into abandonment.
It’s now numb.
Yet it bleeds happiness,
It pounds and echoes long, forgotten beats.
I’ve never felt more alive.
This can’t be erased
Nothing can move me more.
Roots grow deeper and stronger
Leaves aren’t rusted anymore
Pure, green life has just revived
Insects no longer pierce the wood
Winds and storms make the tree stronger
Lightning doesn’t strike it,
Thunder doesn’t bruise it.
The aching, sharp thorn from my wrist
Is now soft and blunt.
It can’t hurt me anymore.
Looking back i smile at my disaster
And i embrace it with content.
The garden has finally blossomed
After a long, rough winter.
Allie Marie Birch, age 15
My Love Came From The Earth
One day I dug my fingertips into the soil of my secrets
Swept by the air, a moist feeling covered the atmosphere
A tear that escaped my heart found it’s way to the barren ground
One after another I let them flow
A pain that swelled deep within finally unveiled
Splitting my memories and tearing them apart
I can see they’re faces of lies
They’re mouth’s move with tales of sorrow
I can almost feel them still…
My hands dig deeper into the dampened Earth
Then a power possess me to scult my dreams
Forming from the dirt I created a man with pieces of myself
Containing everything to make me whole again
Soon I lost track of time and maybe my mind
But then he came to life
Hand in hand, we walked down the shore
Away from all my memories and into what I think, feels like home
I was always afraid to find love
But maybe it will be better this time
I can already see the sun
Isabelle, age 18
Leaves turned to red…
’til the leaves were green.
Jordan Beasley, 18
A homeless man holds a sign saying “I’ll be grateful for anything”.
Do you pass judgment on how he got there or help him find his wings?
A woman with five children comes out of an office labeled “WIC”.
Do you understand her struggle or say that she makes you sick?
An interracial couple walk together in a store.
Do you turn your nose up, or treat them like your couple next door?
A girl with many bruises sits alone with falling tears.
Will you walk right by her or help her with her fears?
A Caucasian female in the “ghetto” struggling to make ends meet.
Would you have ever guessed she spent all her life getting beat?
A female becomes a mother at an age you hate to see.
But I bet she’s the best mom that she knows how to be.
Two females walk hand in hand with a smile on their face.
They’re so in love, they don’t worry with the looks of disgrace
A teenage kid has scars and cuts up and down both of his arms.
Will you be the one who bullies him or stand up to take charge?
The society we live in can be twisted in more ways than one
But being a survivor of rape, abuse and depression I can tell you that I’ve won
If you’re going through it don’t be scared to speak your mind
Because you never know who’s listening, it will get better, you will find.
I didn’t take their judgments but I see them every day
So be the one to stand up and speak, not the one who got away.
Adelana, age 20
Silent SoulThere is nothing divine
in the stir of silence amidst this soul
Pain was left to heal
Scars suddenly trodden with relieve
A drop of Liquid per minute,
rows rumbled with columns
for this bucket is far from half-full
A jagged aura of Venus
hovering with a wondrous grin
farewell, there is no cause to worry,
like the quote of good demons
A world without worry
a world in a lone glory
This wonders of beauty
Growing and puddling with danger
in the mind of solitude
Despicable and deadly volt
safe and secured for it will never get out
A word that was left unspoken
is now a sword cutting through the downtrodden
Last night I was at the B&N in Park Slope, NY with Ned Vizzini. I read a bit from You Are Not Here and I Don’t Want to Be Crazy. Then Ned read from It’s Kind of a Funny Story and a sneak peak from his new book–which will be out around Spring 2012. There was a great turn out, including loads of teens, which made for a really interesting Q&A session after the reading. Since both Ned and I have books that deal with teens and mental illness, most of the questions were on that subject. People wanted to know why we told our stories (his fictionalized and mine a memoir), where we thought we’d be with out the help of therapy, how our parents reacted to our struggles, and so much more!
The signing afterwards was a lot of fun too, especially since I could talk to people one on one for a moment.
Thanks to all who came out! And a big THANK YOU to Peaches Davis, who coordinated the event for B&N.
Here are some of the links I mentioned last night:
My website: http://samanthaschutz.net
PHOTO CONTEST to celebrate the launch of You Are Not Here: http://samanthaschutz.net/site/?p=447
You Make Me Feel Less Alone (this is a blog where YOU can post your experiences with the things that you are struggling with): www.youmakemefeellessalone.blogspot.com
Take a look at Ned’s recent post about the ”brain maps” from It’s Kind of a Funny Story.
If I see a really good DVD, I almost always watch the bonus features. I love hearing the behind the scenes info about art direction, actors talking about their experiences, etc. It often doesn’t faze me to immediately rewatch most of the movie with the director’s commentary on. (If you haven’t seen the Diving Bell and the Butterfly, rent it asap! Then watch the movie with the commentary on. It will blow your mind!)
So, below are a few pictures of the real places that inspired the setting for You Are Not Here. All of these places are in the neighborhood I grew up in: Douglas Manor, NY. It’s right on the border of Queens and Long Island. It’s a beautiful place and I feel very lucky to have grown up there.
(In order the photos are: where Brian and Annaleah first met, where Brian died, where Annaleah watches fireworks with her friends, the cemetery where Brian is buried.)
BREAKING NEWS: My book has been spotted at the B&N in Union Square in NYC!!!
After writing my memoir, I Don’t Want to Be Crazy, I was eager to try fiction. Eager, but totally stumped as how to begin. When I wrote I Don’t Want to Be Crazy, I knew the story, the characters, the setting, the ending. But when I started developing You Are Not Here, all I knew was that there was a teenage girl whose boyfriend died, and that he is buried very close to her house. That was it. That was all I had. At times, it was scary to think that every moment — every word — had to come from somewhere inside my brain. I have some friends who write fiction, and they think that all those possibilities are freeing (and that writing a memoir would be considerably harder), but it was the opposite for me. So I started with what I knew…
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Only 30 days until You Are Not Here launches! To celebrate I’ll be doing several new blog posts about my writing process, inspiration, behind the scenes info, and more. So check back every few days for something new!
People often ask me, “How long does it take to make a book?” I still don’t have a good answer (besides: somewhere between a few weeks and a lifetime). But I can tell you how long it took to write You Are Not Here…and how long it took to get from the manuscript stage to a finished book!
Read the rest of this entry »
To celebrate the 10/1 launch of my first novel, You Are Not Here, I am going to write 10 new blog posts in the next 30 days. Check them out starting 9/1.
Among other things, they’ll be about my writing process, inspiration, and my favorite: behind the scenes photos of the real places the book is based on.
More to come soon!
Wanna hear/see my super-amazing-rockstar editor David Levithan talk about my new book, You Are Not Here?
Check out the video here.
You can skip ahead to 47:37 to hear about my book, or take a listen to the whole thing and hear about all of Scholastic’s big books for Fall 2010! (FYI, what’s shown is not the final cover. The one in my previous post is.)
Preorder You Are Not Here
here from Amazon