Archive for February, 2012

For Those High School Students who have Suffered from my Laziness…

I’ve been generally remiss about making a study guide for Stupid Fast and I’ve not secretly made my own wikipedia page and I don’t have much biography on this site, all of which has only become problematic in the last few months.

I’m sort of lazy, maybe.  Problems.

Before these recent, troubled and excellent times, several high school students here or there, read Stupid Fast and wrote papers on it and contacted me to ask questions and I liked the questions and had fun answering them.  Right now, there are, apparently, whole classes in several parts of our nation reading Stupid Fast and because I am lazy and haven’t created a reasonable bio and haven’t made any study guide, I’m getting lots and lots of questions from high school students all at once, which I totally love, except these papers they’re writing are time sensitive, and I have to drive up to Minneapolis this afternoon to take my mother out for her birthday, so I can’t help fast enough.

As I was staring at an email from a student in Indiana just now, I received another query from Elizabeth from Mankato (my town) and the questions were so good and comprehensive, I decided it was go time.  Elizabeth, I’ve reserved a few of your questions for just your use, but I otherwise appreciate what you’ve done and I’m going to post this as a general help to others who might share your concern with my scanty bio.  Thank you!

1. Elizabeth, this is what I look like after I eat avocado and also tree nuts (not good).

2.  I was born in Dubuque, Iowa on the day before Halloween a long time ago (1969).  At the time, my father was visiting his mother in New York.  On his flight home, he announced my birth to the man in the seat next to him.  The man responded, “Really?  I lost my London Fog raincoat yesterday.”

3. I met my wife in a creative writing class.  My first response?  “Oh my God.  That woman is seriously tall.”  Later, I found that she is also funny and excellent and a great writer.

4. Steph and I have four kids between us: Leo (14), Mira (10), Christian (11), and Charlie (10 next week).

5. I once had a cat named Gary.  He would hide under the dining room table, leap out when I passed, and bite my hamstring as if he were a lion taking down a water buffalo.  He escaped the house during a blizzard a few years ago and never returned.

6. I’m at Mankato State University because I love teaching.  Love it.  Also, income from writing is really variable and scary.  Plus, the summer before I applied for this job, I worked on a show in New York City, and I missed Steph and my kids so much, I knew I had to stay in Minnesota.  I got extremely lucky to land in Mankato the next spring.

7. My angry music reaches back to the 80s and 90s.  I really love The Pixies and Sonic Youth when I’m driving and getting mad at other drivers.  I guess if I had to name a band I love best, it would be Neutral Milk Hotel.  iTunes tells me I listen to them most, anyway.  If you haven’t listened to In the Aeroplane over the Sea, you should!

8. I did play football in high school. I tried for a moment in college, but my thoughts were already elsewhere by that time.  Really, I always wanted to be a writer or an artist or something.  College football took up too much time.  Also, I grew my hair very big, and it didn’t fit comfortably in a football helmet.

9. I was stuck in a cabin near Lake Superior a few years ago.  The only radio I could get was country.  I did get depressed.  Then I started liking a few of the songs, because they told whole stories.  I like stories.

10. Travel is getting better (it used to make me jumpy). I’ve been around Europe and South America. I really like traveling the U.S.  New Orleans and Austin, Texas are my favorite cities I’ve been to in the last year.

11.  Stupid Fast is part of a three book series.  The next, Nothing Special, is coming out in a couple of months.  Even if it Hurts is set to pop in May of 2013.  That writing takes a lot of time.  I’m also working on a series of writing videos for Figment.com and some other random junk.  Mostly books, though.

12. I’m very proud of my kids.  My son, for instance, plays piano like my old cat Gary on fire (screaming).  Their accomplishments and humor make me very, very happy.

13. My favorite TV show is a tough one, as I tend to go on tears and watch only that show.  I own all of Mad Men.  I love Louie and It’s Always Sunny.  I will watch Seinfeld if its on no matter what (even though I’ve seen every episode 2300 times).

14. The biggest problem facing the world?  Where to start?  Biggest?  I think the root cause of most of the bad stuff is arrogance.  So many think whatever they think is the absolute truth and then they get offended when others think they’re wrong and then they start grabbing for power and fighting to assert their version of the absolute truth and everyone gets more and more miserable as a result.  How’s that for vague?

15. Really the only “real” stuff in Stupid Fast is setting.  It’s Platteville, Wisconsin (except I moved the schools and felt like I didn’t want to call it Platteville).  Also, I drove around and around and around as a teenager.  There is a combination Taco Bell/KFC in Platteville, too.

Thanks, Elizabeth.  I’ll send you your extra questions via email!  I hope this helps others who are suffering due to my laziness.

–Geoff

Thanks for the Valentine’s Cybils Pick @SourcebooksFire

I’m just feeling very good this Valentine’s Day.  Steph is sitting next to me, all Goth Mom and serious about whatever deep, dark emotion she’s experiencing, that she can’t quite express. I’m more like happy Unicorn Dad (I should have some kind of leather strap tied around my head, maybe a feathered clip of some kind).  Steph is here and The Cybils, The Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Awards picked Stupid Fast as their top YA Fiction book of 2011.  That’s a very big deal to me.

1. There are a lot of enormously great YA books out there right now.  Having Stupid Fast mentioned with some of them is seriously validating.

2. I spend a lot of time thinking about how I can make stuff that boys want to read (a lot of time trying to connect with how seriously cool and complicated male teens can be). That an audience broader than very hungry young dudes thinks the book has value gives me a lot of hope.

3. Sourcebooks, my publisher, has put a lot of effort into supporting this weird, rambly book (when other publishers wouldn’t), and this sort of award hopefully validates their choice! Leah, Derry, Kelly, Todd, among others, I’ve sometimes felt a bit… what’s the word… fraudy?  uh, something like that, because you guys are so dang good to me.

4. I’ve been in awe of YA book bloggers. So much energy and care and passion all born of love, not monetary reward.  To have a group of bloggers want to celebrate Stupid Fast feels like a seriously fat, gigantic world hug.  And on Valentine’s Day.

Goth Mom, Steph, works next to me. I’m really like freaking Unicorn Dad, today.  Thanks Cybils.  I’ll remove the leather strap and the feather tomorrow, get back to business.