1. I like lists.
2. I like (figurative) trailblazing.
3. Ergo, I shall trailblaze the interwebs with the world’s first… BLIST. (Blog+list=blist. Try it. It is nice.)
(4.) (I like putting things in parentheses, as I’m sure you’ve noticed.) (I suppose I’m just a parenthetical sort.) (Anyway)(…)
5. In 6th grade, I typed my first book. It was called Jurassic Park. (I literally retyped the book Jurassic Park. My brother made fun of me.)
6. My first novel, MOSQUITOLAND, will be published by Viking/Penguin in early 2015. I am excited. I am grateful. I am nervous. (I am hungry. [For chips.]) I am, occasionally, baffled when I look back at how this whole thing went down.
7. How This Whole Thing Went Down…
8. My wife is pretty and nice and I like her so so much.
9. Ergo, we got pregnant on accident.
10. Ergo, we ran around the house like chickens with our entire upper torsos cut off.
11. Ergo, there was nervous laughter and hair-pulling and questioning of the Cosmos and things like that.
12. (In addition to lists, figurative trailblazing, and parentheses, I also like the word “ergo.” It is a favorite of mine.)
13. After our torsos grew back, we reevaluated “normal.” For us, it would look like this: I would stay home with the baby and hopefully get some writing done. My pretty wife would win our bread. (’Twas always thus.)
14. MOSQUITOLAND was not my first go at writing a book. For a couple years, I toiled in middle grade. I love whimsy, see, and while YA allows whimsy, middle grade requires it. And so I lived and wrote in this culture of whimsy.
15. But it was a constant push and pull.
16. The day after we lost our torsos due to surprise pregnancy and the like, I shelved all middle grade projects and turned to face the young adult novel I’d been too afraid to start. (Ideas are like that sometimes, unwieldy and sly. You have to be threatened with something scary before you find the courage to see them through. A bear attack, for example, or the threat of nuclear holocaust; or perhaps the thought of one day being the father of a teenager. Any of those, really. Should do the trick nicely.)
17. I spent two years writing MOSQUITOLAND. Like T.S. Garp (in Irving’s masterpiece, The World According to Garp), I found that the everyday routines of taking care of a baby meshed beautifully with my writing schedule. I wrote while he napped. I wrote while he ate. I wrote while he watched Sesame Street. I wrote when I could because as a new father, my should had shifted. And here’s what I discovered: when writing to your blood, you must write with vicious honesty. I can lie to myself. But I can’t lie to him.
18. Okay-wow, things got kind of serious there, huh? (BLIST #17 has something of a Sean Penn Complex, it would seem. Simmer, man. Simmer.) To lighten the mood, perhaps I shall discuss a few random tidbits about myself.
19. A Few Random Tidbits About Myself…
20. I prefer Middle-earth to actual Earth.
21. I have the words “Raise High the Roof Beam” tattooed on my forearm. This is my favorite book, as well as a personal, permanent objective.
22. I am a staunch advocate of SCBWI, and honestly don’t know where I’d be without that group. (Most likely, page 358 of Jurassic Park.)
23. I currently reside in Nashville, TN (along with my pretty wife and our surprise son). I am originally from Lexington, KY, and will forever love Kentucky basketball. (I also love baseball, but other than those two things, I do not sports.)
24. I have serious passion in my heart for the following: pesto, Elliott Smith, Christmastime, Arcade Fire, indie bookstores, Salinger, Sufjan, good soup, Lost in Translation, Wes Anderson, and all things Sorkin.
25. I have approximately zero tolerance in my heart for the following: olives, liars, wet socks, Tyra Banks.
26. I have no advice to offer other writers except this: find a community; take your time.
27. THE END.
|David Arnold is the author of MOSQUITOLAND (Viking/Penguin, 2015). Previous “jobs” include freelance film composer, stay-at-home dad, and preschool teacher. He is a fierce believer in the power of kindness and community. And chips. He believes fiercely in chips. David is represented by Dan Lazar at Writers House. You can find him at davidarnoldbooks.com and on twitter @roofbeam.|