Teen Writers Bloc

A Blog by the New School Writing for Children MFA Class of 2012

Steven’s Writer’s Crush on JK Rowling

Posted by Steven Salvatore Shaw On March - 30 - 2012

J.K. Rowling Steven’s Writer’s Crush on JK RowlingI have a writers crush on JK Rowling. If life was Hogwarts, JK Rowling would be the Cho Chang to my Harry Potter, (circa books 4 & 5), the Hermione to my Ron, the Harry Potter to my obsessed Rita Skeeter, the Fleur Delacuer to, well, every Hogwarts male with a pulse.

Sure, she’s old enough to be my mom, but if it wasn’t for her, I never would have had the incredible pleasure of tasting the intoxicating Butterbeer I had when I was at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure in Florida last month.

Okay, that’s not the only reason why I love JK Rowling. I will go on record, right here and now, and say that JK Rowling is one of the most prolific, skilled contemporary writers of our generation. Her prose is flawless; it has a flow to it that her contemporaries only dream of having in their writing.

Oh, and then there’s the world-building. The wizarding world, Hogwarts, and everything else about the Harry Potter series is so well thought out, so intricate, so tightly woven that it makes me curse the heavens that I wasn’t blessed with the idea (and the talent) to write the Harry Potter series (which means I would’ve been 12-years-old when Sorcerer’s Stone was released had I written it. Whatever, I’d be famous). To think that she is often mentioned in the same breath as Stephenie Meyer and Suzanne Collins is laughable (don’t get me wrong, I also have a writer’s boner for The Hunger Games, but that’s for an entirely different reason). Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight is one of the most poorly written book series I’ve ever had the displeasure of trying to read.

But I won’t be negative. Anymore. Starting … now!

Let’s get back to the world-building. She built that series with such care that each chapter in each book fits into each other, and in the end, it all comes together making sense as a whole piece. I can only dream of constructing such a world, a set of characters, a piece of writing. One of my favorite pieces by her is from The Tales of Beedle the Bard called “The Tale of the Three Brothers,” originally featured in the last book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. JK Rowling was able to construct her own fairytale in the vein of the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Anderson, which is both entertaining and teaches its readers morals like humility and greed. It is prose poetry in the truest, most sincere form; simply breath-taking.

JK Rowling is an unending source of inspiration for me, not only within her actual writing, but as a writer in general. When Harry Potter was rejected by agents and editors (I bet you’re kicking yourselves now, eh?), she never gave up. She pressed on and became one of the best selling authors of all time. She’s a class act, a remarkable woman, and one helluva talented writer.

Since March is Women’s History Month, I wanted to take a moment to honor JK Rowling because, for this man, JK Rowling is a woman to aspire to.

Two Female Authors Who Have Sona Aspiring To Greater Lyricism

Posted by Sona Charaipotra On March - 29 - 2012

290382 Two Female Authors Who Have Sona Aspiring To Greater LyricismOkay, I’ll admit it. For the longest time, I would deny — to anyone who cared enough to ask — that I had a book in me. The idea of writing something so engrossing, so candid, so artful as a novel? Nope, not me. I couldn’t do that. I just didn’t have it in me.

It’s not an inferiority complex. Really, it’s not. But as intelligent as the SATs and GREs might deem me, I’ve always been fluff. That’s long been my thing. Writing about entertainment for a living sort of sealed my fate, in a way. And then, writing scripts, it was never that heavy, pedantic, indie route for me. It was go big or go home. High concept all the way, baby. Or as my husband likes to say, I’m all masala, all the time.

Which is why, two years ago, when he suggested I go to grad school to get my MFA, I scoffed. I wasn’t the MFA-type. I was hardly literary, after all. But I’m thankful I went, and I’m grateful for the astounding variety of books I’ve had the pleasure of reading through this program (including my classmates’ own). Books that are sometimes as deceptively fluffy as my own, and books that sometimes cut to the very bone.

So all of this is my typically long-winded way of saying that there have been countless authors, some male, but mostly female (again — including my classmates!), that have inspired me to — now that I have maybe, kind of accepted that I have a book (or perhaps a dozen) in me — try to temper all that masala with a maybe a small dose of lyricism.

Because the startling beauty of their way with words leaves me a bit breathless, a bit wistful, a bit hopeful that someday, maybe, I could write something that might also make someone stop and ponder, for just a second, something that hits so close to home.

Here are two very different writers who have caused me to just that:

Laurie Halse Anderson: I read Speak for the first time when I was in college, and the book shocked and moved me. It was so understated, you almost missed what happened all together. And yet, every page carried the pain of that life-changing experience on it. It was art, the way LHA wove that tale together, so seemingly effortless yet carefully crafted. And in my first semester at the New School, in David Levithan’s class, we read her latest, Wintergirls. Through that book, I learned how the so-called “problem novel” could be elevated to so much more than that, how one character’s story could illuminate a whole world, how structure and story could meld seamlessly into something that could stick with the reader possibly forever.

Kamila Shamsie: You won’t find Pakistani writer Shamsie’s works at your local Barnes & Noble. Her books, like Salt And Saffron and Kartography, are just too foreign, too literary, too flightful. But it’s definitely worth tracking down, if you can. She creates sprawling family sagas with startling parallels and gorgeous, understated language — all while touching down to the mundane, like that instant crush on a boy you just met, in the most lyrical of ways.

What books have aspired you to make your own writing better?

Photo courtesy Bloomsbury

Riddhi’s Favorite Female Author is Paro Anand

Posted by Riddhi Parekh On March - 28 - 2012

paropic 600x450 Riddhis Favorite Female Author is Paro AnandIt’s always hard picking favorites. But not for me, especially when it comes to women authors. I’ve said it before on this blog and I’ll say it over and over again. I love Paro Anand. She is hands-down my favorite groundbreaking female author writing today.

This doesn’t mean that I haven’t been inspired by other wonderful and talented women authors like Judy Blume, Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie, Jhumpha Lahiri, Alice Walker, Coe Booth, Gertrude Stein, Laurie Halse Anderson and Cornelia Funke. But here’s a few reasons why Paro Anand makes it to the top of my list:

1. Her stories are set in India, but reflect the voices of children who could be from anywhere in the world. She captures the voice of a child beautifully, whether it’s a kid whose parents are going through a messy divorce or someone who is cheating at a test. She’s very versatile in her writing — as boys and girls and even animals and angels, of all ages and sizes. She even has a book called Elephants Don’t Diet, about Gol Matolu, an elephant that thinks she is too fat.

2. She’s funny. That’s a superpower in itself. Her book Wingless, about Chutki, an angel who is banished from heaven because she is born without wings, is my go-to book for whenever I’m feeling down. It always manages to get a laugh out of me. Especially, the line “That perhaps, this was the shape of wings to come.”

3. She’s serious where seriousness is called for. Her books Weed and No Guns At My Son’s Funeral are set in the region of war-torn Kashmir. The protagonists of both of these novels are young boys dealing with terrorism at a dangerously close range. She makes it all very real, the loss of innocence, the threat of militancy, the loss of life, themes such as these are handled sensitively and I would recommend this text to a classroom of students.

4. She literally can’t stop writing. She has authored more than 18 books for children and young adults, including plays, short stories, novellas and novels. She is published in several anthologies and has written extensively on children’s literature in India. She headed the National Centre for Children’s Literature, The National Book Trust, India, the apex body for children’s literature in India. She has been instrumental in setting up libraries and Readers’ Clubs in rural India and conducting training programs on the use of literature. She’s also a World Record Holder, for helping over 3000 children make the World’s Longest Newspaper (850 meters long) in 11 Indian states in 13 languages. The concept behind the project was to give a voice to those children who do not have a platform and to empower young people to create their own literature.

5. Paro still keeps in touch. I had the chance to meet her a few years ago and interviewed her. I bugged her with some questions last night, and guess what? She replied! Here’s what she said:

RP: Are you working on anything at the moment? Written anything new lately?

PA: Yes, I have just started a new novel – also about women, for groan ups and about hitting middle age. It’s in the very early stages write now. Also going to be working side by side on a non-fiction work called Literature in Action that basically covers the kind of work I’ve been doing with young people through stories all these years. My latest offering for YA is a collection of my stories from Penguin called Wild Child.

RP: Do you have a writer’s routine?

PA: I try and write at least two hours a day. It’s a goal I like to fulfill as I just love that time. It does not always work out, but I then try to make up that time on another day. I grab that time any time I can. Whether it’s sitting in the sun, amongst flowers, or sitting in a traffic jam and being driven to my destination.

RP: What are you reading these days?

PA: I’m just finishing Our Lady of Alice Bhatti by Mohammed Hanif and will then start The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. As for YA, I’m looking forward to starting The Truth About Celia Frost by Paula Rawsthrone. Ranjit Lal’s book Faces in the Water was an awesome read, as was Sidhartha Sarma’s Grasshopper’s Run. I also recently read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

RP: Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you have any go-to books that you go to when you’re feeling less inspired?

PA: I love Chimamanda Adichie and Murakami because they are so contemporary but also have a voice that is so much their own and from their roots. I love reading young adult fiction.

RP: What do you do when you feel like you can’t write anything beyond what you have written?

PA: I shudder to think of that possibility, but as you know, you can’t shut me up. I always have a lot to say. I think I find stories in everyday things and not in some mammoth saga, so I think there’s always that. I don’t want to sound grand by saying ‘life is my inspiration,’ but it actually is. There was a time last year which was the longest I wasn’t writing anything at all, and I’d give in to panic. But somewhere, I knew that there was more junk in there to get out.

RP: How do you spend your time when you’re not writing?

PA: I garden. I have a large, loving involving family. I love watching TV (I’m a great couch potato), I travel, I talk on the phone. I mean I am NEVER bored, don’t know what that’s like. I always wish I had more time. And when I want to switch off, I play Spider Solitaire on my laptop.

Photo courtesy Riddhi Parekh


Female Writers from the Past and the Present That Inspire Dhonielle

Posted by Dhonielle Clayton On March - 26 - 2012

womens history collage 1 Female Writers from the Past and the Present That Inspire DhonielleI love the months of February and March because I get to celebrate being brown in February and then celebrate being a woman in March. Two pats on the back in two months is great for me! For Women’s History Month, we at Teen Writers Bloc think it’s important to profile successful and revolutionary female authors of the past and present. Our fellow TWB member Caela Carter pointed out that the publishing market, and more specifically, The New York Times Best Seller list, is overflowing with men. So I love any and all opportunities to give women writers a shout-out!

A throwback lady: Virginia Hamilton

This prolific woman gave me stories as a child that featured people who look like me and had the same cultural sensibilities. As a child reader, I read everything and anything. But when I got a book by Virginia Hamilton, I can remember savoring every detail of it, and re-reading the book over and over again until I went with my dad to the bookstore the next week. Sometimes when I re-read her now as an adult, I can feel a little of the same childhood magic. Particularly, when I read The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales, I feel entranced by the stories as if I’m still the little pig-tailed girl stretched out underneath my grandmother’s dining-room table with the book.

I wish she were still alive and could eventually read my stories. I wish that she could see the influence she’s had on my writing. Alas, we lost a great one!

A lady I’ve got my eye on: Kekla Magoon

I’ve seen Kekla Magoon read at a couple of events, even ran into her at ALA last year. I’ve read two of her novels, The Rock and the River and Camo Girl. I am very impressed with the way she tells a story, the depth of her prose, and the topics of her books. I am excited to see more from her in the future, and to buy her latest title 37 Things I Love (in no particular order). And I believe if Virginia Hamilton were still around to read her books, she’d be proud as well.

Photo Credit: http://wwww.nierocks.areavoices.com

The Bluest Eye 450x600 Womens History Month: Ambers Top Three Female AuthorsI think it’s safe to say that my three favorite female authors writing today are and will probably always be Sarah Dessen, Toni Morrison, and J.K. Rowling. Many of my previous posts discuss Ms. Dessen and her amazing body of work, her ability to create realistic characters and put them seamlessly into relatable conflict during their ‘teen years.’ I’ve also posted about Ms. Morrison before. She is extremely talented and has the ability to write clean and powerful prose while weaving themes and tropes intricately into her novels without being too overbearing, but still drawing the reader into the tale she has crafted. The Bluest Eye had an enormous impact on my life, as did Beloved and Song of Solomon. They are haunting texts for sure, but as an aspiring author I often dove into them curious about how she was able to write such focused, detailed and purposeful narratives.

That said, I probably haven’t mentioned Ms. Rowling before, because most likely I figured there was no need. I think everyone can understand the enormous impact she and those following in her footsteps (Hunger Games, Matched, and other series-laden franchises, anyone?) have had on the literary world. She is probably the most successful author on the planet, except for maybe James Patterson, Stephen King and Toni Morrison, and that’s a big maybe. And the most inspiring thing about her is the fact that she believed in her creation, her characters and their story, despite the fact that few others did at the time. She persevered through tons of rejections, just like most writers do, and it ended up paying off for her many times over.

When I mention that I’m getting my MFA in Creative Writing, a lot of people that I respect are encouraging, but there are still those who say it’s foolish to pursue a writing career and that it’s a career where you don’t make any money and one that is completely impractical — as if I didn’t already know or hadn’t heard all of that before. But the longer I’m in this program, the more I realize that the most important thing is to be committed your craft, despite the naysayers (and there are many), and to go after your passion. There may never be another J.K. Rowling, such a groundbreaking phenomenon may never repeat itself, but that isn’t really the point. The point is that every author has to make a commitment to her craft, block out those who tell her no, and run towards what she wants — just to see if maybe, just maybe, it’s possible to make her ambitions a reality.

Book cover image courtesy of Vintage

Judy Blume Taught Corey Everything She Knows

Posted by Corey Haydu On March - 13 - 2012

6788776 L Judy Blume Taught Corey Everything She Knows

Some girls learn about the desire to kiss a boy after they see a cute one in a movie or a band or a TV show or a magazine. (Am I dating myself if I give a brief shout out to JTT in Tiger Beat?) Some girls ask their parents about their new feelings, or talk to their friends, or discover the particular chest-fluttering rush of knowledge that there is something secret and delicious about a boy’s hands on your hips and face next to yours when they are in Sex Ed or playing Truth or Dare or watching Zack kiss Kelly in one of Saved by the Bell‘s racier episodes.

But for me, it was Judy Blume.

For me, in particular, it was Deenie.

There is a scene in that still sticks with me in the vague and fuzzy way a dream would. I believe Deenie and a boy kiss and touch in the school hallway, and I believe it is at that exact moment that I realized I wanted to kiss a boy. Maybe not that day, but someday soon.

Judy Blume is the definition of a groundbreaking female author. Not only were her books unbelievably popular and long-lasting in their popularity. They were also just great. Lively, honest, fun and wise. Her writing about that moment where a girl turns from a child to an adolescent is unmatched. Those books aren’t just stories, they are reference points for my friends and I, they are bibles, they are instruction manuals, they are self-help books, they are the assurance that what you are feeling is normal, they are the bit of danger that comes from learning something new about your own impending adulthood.

And they are sweet.

Deenie has all the necessary pain and angst and confusion, but with it is Blume’s special knack for loveliness and innocence. Her books promise that discovery, sexuality, and growing up will be confusing and thrilling and dangerous and maddening and heartbreaking. But they also promise that growing up will be beautiful and small and nice. Judy Blume didn’t lie to us. She didn’t tell us it would be perfect. She admitted that sometimes it would suck. But she didn’t want to scare us either. It wouldn’t always be pretty. But sometimes, maybe even often, it would be.

Photo courtesy Bradbury Press, 1973

Jane Austen For Womens History Month, Jess Looks to Authors of the Past and Present for InspirationHurray for women! And especially hurray for women authors!

In honor of March being Women’s History Month, we at TWB are taking a look at our favorite groundbreaking female authors from history and today. My favorite female author from the past came to me immediately, but choosing just one from the present was a hard one for me. But after weighing all the wonderful merits of today’s female authorial world, I finally reached a decision.

Jess’s Favorite Female Author from History:

Jane Austen! Duh. Not only was the woman a total genius, she managed to write six amazing novels (and publish four while she was still alive) while living in a less-than-ideal time for women who wanted to work outside of the home. And on top of that, she managed to use her stories to somehow get away with making thinly-veiled and oftentimes scathing observations of the society in which she lived.

Jane figured out something long ago that many of us writers are just only starting to realize – in fiction, anything can happen. Though she desperately wanted to fall in love and get married, it never happened for her. So she made certain that her characters would get to live the life she always wanted for herself but could never have. Elizabeth, Emma, Elinor and Marianne, Fanny, Catherine, and Anne all live get their “happily ever after” – even if they do face some obstacles along the way.

Jess’s Favorite Female YA Author Today:

Laurie Halse Anderson! The woman is a genius, ‘nough said. One of the main reasons I love Laurie is that she isn’t afraid of the scary issues. Speak, her first young adult novel, is about a 13-year-old girl who becomes mute after being raped. Wintergirls is about eating disorders and self-mutilation. Catalyst is about incest and death. Twisted is about depression and suicide. Yeah, not exactly light reading, but these stories are so, so important and I commend Laurie for tackling them so beautifully and astutely.

Happy Women’s History Month, everyone!

Women’s History Month: Jane’s Favorite Female Authors!

Posted by Jane Moon On March - 7 - 2012

westing game Womens History Month: Janes Favorite Female Authors!I had several favorite female authors when I was growing up. One was Ellen Conford, who usually wrote about pre-teens and teens going through problems that were familiar to most of us, such as first love and being bullied, and the unfamiliar, like finding out you’re the long lost princess of a small country. But no matter what the subject was, Conford’s characters always had confidence and a sense of humor.

I read The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin for our seminar class last spring, but I was already familiar with her works. When I was in the sixth grade, I discovered The Westing Game in my local library and I loved how it was a mystery book just for kids. I searched for more works written by Raskin and found similar books like The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues and The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel). These last two also had mystery themes, which appealed to me.

But out of all the female authors whose books I’ve read, Judy Blume is definitely one of the most well known. Her stories, sometimes viewed as controversial, dealt with the pains of growing up. Comparing her books to some of the ones that are available now, the subject matters seem almost tame.

I can’t say I have a favorite female author now, but there are two that have definitely caught my attention. The first is Laurie Halse Anderson. My first experience with her was reading Wintergirls in David Levithan’s seminar class. Wintergirls was well written and Anderson skillfully caught the pain of her main character who was suffering from an eating disorder. I was inspired to read Speak and Catalyst. In each book, Anderson knew how to express the isolation and confusion her narrators felt without overdoing it.

The other author is Libba Bray, who came to David Levithan’s class as part of an author panel to speak to our class. She had a great sense of humor and I hoped that was apparent in her writing as well. It was. Bray had a knack for picking unusual topics for her stories and giving them a twist. Going Bovine had a 16-year-old male narrator who contracts a life-threatening disease and goes on a quest for a cure with an angel, a video-gaming dwarf and a garden gnome for his companions. I thought Bray did an excellent job writing from the point of view of a teenage boy. Beauty Queens is about a group of teenage beauty pageant contestants whose plane crash lands on a deserted island. Bray uses just enough humor to let the situation still feel serious, yet believable when the contestants find ways to use their various pageant skills to survive.

I’m sure there are so many more excellent female authors that I’ve never read. Any recommendations?

Book cover image courtesy of Penguin Group USA

nyt duckrabbit 300x249 The Mystery of the NY Times Best Sellers List (Warning: Caelas Doing A Lot of Math)March is Women’s History Month and what better way to celebrate the power of women than in recognizing their accomplishments — both fictional and not — in the field of children’s lit?

After all, we have an wide array of women’s superstars in our industry, from Katniss Everdeen and Hazel Grace Lancaster to JK Rowling and Judy Blume.  And this parade of women marches far back behind the page. The majority of literary agents representing children’s’ authors are women; the majority of editors putting kids lit on the shelves are women; the majority of authors and aspiring authors putting words on the page for teens and young people are women.

When people discuss careers dominated by women, they usually mention eduction, nursing, fashion, etc.  It’s a growing list and it’s wonderful to be able to add the very alive world of children’s publishing to it.

But all of this adds to the mystery of the New York Times Best Sellers List.

I first noticed this a few weeks ago (February 12th to be exact) when I was reading the paper with my dad. He was discussing how the adult’s Best Sellers List tends to be the same authors over and over again, and I posited that that was probably true of the children’s list as well. But that’s not what I noticed when I checked that week’s Book Pages. Instead, I noticed that the list of names was as follows: John, Rick, Random, Brian, Jack, Shel, Rick, Brian. Not one woman’s name on the list!

Because my own short time in this industry has been so dominated by women — eleven of our twelve classmates, four of my six professors, my agent, my editor, and all of the other agents and editors I spoke with are women — this seemed strange. But I figured it was just a current trent. Probably just a fluke.

So I crunched the numbers. I listed every author on the Best Sellers List over a year’s time, but I excluded the non-fiction titles (i.e. The Lego Handbook), which don’t seem to belong on this same list as The Fault in Our Stars or The Red Pyramid anyway. Here’s what I found:

*41 weeks of the year, there were more men than women on the list

*8 weeks of the year, there were more women than men on the list

*4 weeks of the year, the list was evenly split between the genders

*6.2 was the average number of men on the list

*2.88 was the average number of women on the list

*4 weeks of the year, the list was topped by a woman

*48 weeks of the year, the list was topped by a man

I have to admit, this shocked me. What’s going on? Obviously, it feels like we should be aiming for a 50/50 split, which we’re far from.  But considering the majority of qualified authors are women to begin with, it seems like the data should swing in the other direction. How is this possible? Why would this be?

I have been trying to fill in the reasons ever since, but I haven’t gotten very far.

Perhaps there is a gender-based reason for this. Perhaps men are simply better at publicizing themselves and pushing their ideas toward the big money. Perhaps men tend to be more focused on reaching a broad audience or perhaps they are more likely to define success through becoming a Best Seller. Perhaps the fact that there are fewer men out there to push means that more people rally behind them.

Or maybe the reasons are more benign. Maybe it’s simply the old lore that girls will read about anyone, but boys prefer to read about boys, so men automatically end up with double the audience. (Although in my time teaching for boys, this proved to be entirely untrue.)

Or maybe it’s even simpler than this. Maybe it’s just that the recent super-stars are Rick Riordan and Brian Selznick, so there are men who often appear on the list multiple times in the same week. And maybe these numbers would look completely different in a year when the rage was Twilight or The Hunger Games. 

But no matter the reason, it seems a mystery worth exploring during Women’s History Month.

Photo Credit: croniclebooks.com

Mary Salutes Anne McCaffrey

Posted by Mary G. Thompson On March - 5 - 2012

AnneMcCaffrey Dragonflight 204x300 Mary Salutes Anne McCaffreyWhen I heard that this month’s assignment was to write about our favorite groundbreaking female author, I knew I had to write about Anne McCaffrey, the fantasy pioneer who paved the way for so many of the rest of us female authors. Unfortunately, she passed away last year on November 21 at the age of 85. I don’t know if McCaffrey really considered herself a YA author, but I first discovered her books in my middle school library, and they immediately drew me in. The first book I read was Dragonflight, which was about a plucky woman who was really good at something. That may not sound all that extraordinary to people now who’ve grown up reading fantasy, especially when the The Hunger Games is about the biggest thing going, but at the time, it seemed like a really awesome twist. A woman who was the star of a fantasy book! And her story was about how she was better than the men at something, not about how she could find a man to love her. I ate up a bunch more of the books in the Dragonriders of Pern Series, and then I moved on to Crystal Singer. That series was about a plucky woman, too, someone who had the courage to travel far away from home and work under dangerous conditions.

There was no room for weak and fragile ninnies in Anne McCaffrey’s world! To me, a physically weak and fragile person who was nevertheless determined not to be a ninny, these books were an important validation of the idea that I could be good at something, and that that could matter more than anything else. I haven’t had a chance to go back and read McCaffrey’s books over again to see if I’d still feel the magic today that I felt when I read them back in middle school, but I’m not sure that I want to. I want to remember how I felt back then when I discovered something that I found wonderfully imaginative and inspiring. McCaffrey’s heroines were often born with amazing abilities, but they always had to work hard to achieve their goals, to do something with what they’d been given. That’s a theme that works great for driving an absorbing novel, but also a theme that I can still keep in mind in the context of my real life. So thanks, Ms. McCaffrey, for being a pioneer, thrashing your way over the same ground we young authors humbly attempt to walk on. I would say “you will be missed,” but since your books will be around forever, there’s no need. Let me say this: Thanks, we owe you.

pixel Mary Salutes Anne McCaffrey

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