Monday, May 13, 2013
“The story of two women separated by oceans, generations and war, but connected by something much greater--the gift of wings.”
Over the past two years, there were times when I thought that I
would never be able to render this story the justice it deserved. It is an epic novel spanning oceans, wars and generations, but it is also an intimate novel, a story of one family, splintered, but connected by the power of two girls borns with wings. I had trouble finding that intimate fully-formed narrative amidst the larger world view of a country ravaged by war and occupied for fifty years. But I did it. Insert weird cheer dance here.
All is right with the world. The seeds have sprouted. It's the growing season.
But, you might ask:
Q. When will it be published?
And, I'd tell you in my long-winded way:
A. I don't know, not yet, but I'm all right with that. Maybe next year, I think, but again, I'm not sure, and again, I'm really good with that. You see, when it is published, it will be the book that I always hoped it would be. It will be a novel that you'll want to read. It will be one of those books that you won't want to put down, but near the end, you'll only read a page at a time because you won't want it to be over. Every novelist wants to write a book like that. I think maybe hopefully that I've succeeded at this. We'll see. Fingers crossed.
It feels good to be over the rainbow. There really is a pot of gold down there.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
1. Got a great book giveaway coming @Goodreads within the next couple days. (Two signed first edition hardback copies of The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors.)
2. Took a hiatus from my new book, but now back at work, feeling positive and excited!!
3. My sweet boy is getting all kinds of accolades in school. I am very proud of him.
4. As always, my husband is awesome and supportive. We are enjoying our new digs.
5. Thanks for hanging with me and waiting patiently for the next book. If you want to check out some of my artwork and other shenanigans, peek at my new photo page on FlickR. Oh, yeah, and I dig Pinterest too!
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Rescued from the slush pile by my agent, Michelle Brower, refined and brought to fruition and to publication by my incomparable genius editor, Sarah Knight, this book about Becca Burke and Buckley Pitank is still shining a little light out there in independent bookstores and among the finest book bloggers and reviewers.
Thank you to A. B. Riddle for choosing The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors as one of her TOP PICKS, one of her favorite books. Read more here!
And thank you to everyone who has read and loved the book and spread the good word. Thank you Underground Book Reviews! And thank you to everyone else for the love!
If you know somebody who hasn't read the book yet, loan them your copy or ask them to order a copy from their local bookseller.
I am hard at work on my next novel, tentatively titled FLIGHT, and due out To Be Determined. This "little" book is not so little anymore. It's growing, spreading wings, "taking off" really.
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Sunday, July 1, 2012
Mom called this morning to tell me that there are pots and pans on QVC. She is worried because I only have one pot and nothing matches. I steam vegetables in a colander, and my cookie sheets double as pot lids.
I don't want non-stick pans. I like things sticky, or at least I like Revere ware. Gotta get to the thrift store, buy a pot and a pink dress. Gotta get used to my new digs. Gotta keep writing and painting.
When I was seven, born again in Chester, Virginia, I went house to house looking for friends. I found some.
When I was 34 and my son was born, I was born again, looking for other mothers, trying to figure out how I would protect my darling boy. Again, I went door to door, mommy group to mommy group, in search of friends. And again, I found them.
So "here I am again on my own, going down the only road I've ever known," (How many times am I going to quote that song? God help me!) seeking out friendships, but this time it's not for me. This time, it's for my little boy, who is sitting with his own notebook, writing his own stories, reminding me that alone time is often a good thing. A good time to work things out, to be creative, to find our inner selves. I'm not really "alone" and neither is he. But I'm still going to help him make friends. Here he comes with "Fun Dip." Good times. Fun times.
Monday, June 25, 2012
My birth certificate says Norfolk General Hospital but that ain't it, not in the sense of where my story begins.
I was born in a dank den, sitting at a stained writing desk, a pipe tobacco in the left drawer, red shag carpet underfoot. It was 1978 and I was alone. My parents were at work and my older sister had made friends. I was born buck-toothed and fat with frizzy hair, wearing a T-Shirt that said "Bug Off." Of course, there was a lady bug on the shirt.
I was born writing, imagining, rhyming, making up friends and other worlds to inhabit. I was born without parental supervision. Everybody had to work. I was born baking brownies, measuring sugar, cracking eggs. I didn't know anybody. There was a willow tree in the front yard where I liked to hide and make up adventures. There was a steep hill where I tended to fall down.
I didn't like being alone.
...to be continued
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Monday, November 14, 2011
*I'm making shrinky dink necklaces based on my characters. "Ti-i-i-ime is on my side with you." Have a fabulous Thanksgiving. XO Shel
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Monday, August 8, 2011
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Monday, July 4, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
What does it say about me that I didn’t identify what happened in the Haas family as dysfunction? The first early review, a rave from Publishers Weekly no less, said (among other very nice things) that The Summer We Fell Apart was… “A testament to the resilience of the human spirit” and “an easy-to-relate to dysfunctional family drama.”
My agent and editor and publishing house were thrilled at the positive buzz. Soon, more
reviews came in and most all of them used that word. Target picked up the book for nationwide distribution as a “break-out” pick. Book groups started calling and I spoke with some really lovely people, over seventy groups in all, and all of whom wanted to know if I too had grown up with this level of dysfunction.
Naturally, not wanting to sound as if I needed immediate counseling by denial, I danced around the “D” word. Since the novel spanned fifteen years in the family, I stammered through
explanations about different parenting styles, less hands-on, less hovering. Readers dissected the flawed lives of the characters as evidence of their dysfunctional upbringing. They quoted passages, referred to episodes in their own lives, and shared stories of heartbreak and disappointments and triumphs.
Very soon I realized that what I described in the book was not so easy to explain away. The father was manipulative and often cruel, disappointed by the failure of his own dreams he drank and had affairs and did nothing to shield his wife or family from the drama. His wife, reacting to the failure of her marriage retreated to her room and allowed her children to do what they wished. They floundered amid the chaos with moments of tremendous stupidity and grace. Just like we do in real life.
Finally, I ventured to ask my parents if they thought what I had created in the book was the ultimate dysfunctional family. My father, at 81, looked amused by my question. He touched the cover. “This is life,” he said. “Just life.” He paused. His own mother had died when he was three. His father, a jazz musician, unsure of what to do with a small child and his own grief, passed off my father to his dead wife’s six sisters, all, it is safe to say, at vastly different stages of their lives, all of them unprepared for a smallmother-less boy. My father’s upbringing was a patchwork of homes based upon adult availability; often he slept head-to-toe with cousins, my great-grandfather popping in from time to time between gigs. My father never felt he had a place to call his own until he bought his first house, and even then, we knew, it was hard for him to shake the shadows of the past.
“What is the urge to label everything?” My father asked. “We do what we have to do to survive, we have faith, and in the midst of it all we have each other.”
And that, I realized, is all any of us can do, in life or in fiction.
ROBIN ANTALEK is the author of The Summer We Fell Apart (HarperCollins 2010) chosen as a Target Breakout Book and soon to be published in Turkey by Artemis Yayinlari. A frequent contributor to The Nervous Breakdown (thenervousbreakdown.com), her short fiction has appeared in 52 Stories, Five Chapters, Sun Dog, The Southeast Review and Literary Mama among others. You can visit her site @ www.robinantalek.com or if brave enough, publicly admit to liking her on Facebook
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Happy Father's Day
is about forgiveness and light;
we come from dark places, enclosed spaces
snug and warm, from our mother’s womb
to a marble tomb
and in between is one shot
one poem, one passionate night
one father, one mother
one daughter and another.
Dylan Thomas said “Do not go gentle into that good night,
…Rage, rage against the dying of the light,” and
you and I take it to heart.
From you, I got rage. From you, my mad zest
my unapologetic opinions and voice
The truth that there is beauty in drama and noise.
Discordant. Mad. Cacophonic.
The sound of the five am dumpster.
The click-clack of spoon against #1 Dad
The Cremation of Sam McGee
long division at the dining room table
getting in front of that ball, getting down on one knee.
In On the Road, Jack Kerouac wrote, “The only people for me are the mad ones,
the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’”
That’s you, “centerlight pop,” Awwwwwwwwwww,
and that’s me,
I am desirous, eccentric and grateful for everything.
Every second the sun lights up your face
Every time I hear you laugh.
I love you, dAd!!!!!
micki-moose, Father’s Day, 2011
Thursday, June 9, 2011
My BFF lives in London, England, and I haven't seen her since she had her baby, Noah!
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Saturday, June 4, 2011
I love New York. Today, while I was trying to buy some postcards or something, I got sandwiched by some big dudes, like Chris Kattan, Will Ferrell and Jim Carrey (on SNL) on the corner of 7th and 49th, and they said, "We like your tattoo!" "Are you a Pisces?" "The best sex I ever had was with a Pisces."