A Moment of Jen
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Friday, March 11, 2005
posted by Jen at 3/11/2005 04:30:00 PM

I was in Madison, Wisconsin the other night, speaking to a very nice group of students and residents about my work, when somebody asked, “Was it hard to let go of ‘In Her Shoes’ and watch it get turned into a movie?”

What I meant to say was something along the lines of, “No, not really, because movies use a different medium than novels do. They can use visuals, sets, lighting, music, actors, computer-generated special effects and what have you. It wasn’t hard not micromanaging a process about which I know very little.”

What came out of my mouth was, “Well, no, because as a writer, I tell my stories in the language of words, and movies….”

Then I got stuck.

I tell my stories in the language of words.

Honest to God. I leave Philadelphia, I become George Bush.

(The funniest part was how many people asked me to sign their books that way. “This story told in the language of words.” The best part – author Jennifer Chiaverini scored Lucy two personally inscribed copies of Kevin Henkes’ books. As parents reading this will attest, that’s huge.)

Meanwhile, my friend Debbie has invented my new favorite parenting technique. When her son Max, who’s eight days younger than Lucy, does something she doesn’t want him to, she tells him to stop “because the man doesn’t want you to do that.”

“What man?” I asked.

“Oh, just any man. Like, that man,” she said, pointing to a nice-looking middle-aged fellow sitting at a nearby table.

“Why don’t you tell him it’s the man?”


“You know, the man! Like, the man is keeping him down!”

Debbie looked at me like I was crazy. So did Max. So did Lucy. But I don’t care. I’m going to try it. Next time she sweeps her hand across the table and sends dinner onto the floor, I’ll say, “Lucy! The man says no more of that!”

Meanwhile, the witty and distinguished Ron Hogan over at Beatrice asked me to expand upon my musings on Gray Lady Lit. So I did.

And Meg Wolitzer (I can't escape her!) has an essay in Salon about how if you write books about sex you’ll mess up your kids. This could have been pointed out to me much, much earlier.
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