Welcome to the second guest edition of What Was on Her . . . This time with Maggie Lehrman!
Maggie is a Young Adult writer and also a Senior Editor at Abrams Books. Her first novel, The Cost of All Things, will be released by Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins in 2015, and Maggie’s The Bus is the recent winner in the Young Adult Category of the Katherine Patterson Prize. None of this should come as much of a surprise given Maggie’s credentials. She holds an undergraduate degree in English from Harvard and a master’s degree from Vermont College of Fine Arts—the leading MFA program for writers of children’s and young adult literature.
Here, Maggie gives us an insight into what fascinates her and captures her time, beyond books and writing.
So, now, in Maggie’s own words, What Was on Her . . .
Ironing Board: The dress that I’m sewing.
For context, here is a list of everything I’ve ever sewed prior to this weekend: two curtains, a practice skirt, and a practice dress. So this is my first real item of clothing that’s meant to be worn. On Thursday I went to Mood Fabrics (as seen on Project Runway!) and picked out a fabric and lining. Then I spent the last couple days pinning, cutting, seam ripping, threading needles, and using the sewing machine. I just need to add the sleeves and hem and I’ll have an actual item of clothing. It’s pretty cute, too!
I started sewing because I had just so much free time, I had to find something to fill all the empty hours. Okay, that’s not exactly (or at all) true… I’m not sure what brought on this unexpected burst of craftiness, but I have found that there’s something comforting about following a set of instructions (however inscrutable) that someone else has written and tested out. And then at the end there’s a practical, wearable object.
In my writing life, I’m in the very early stages of a new book, and it would be very helpful if someone would provide a set of instructions in a little envelope that I could unfold and puzzle out. Until that happens, or until I figure out on my own where this book is going, having something to sew is satisfying.
Pinterest Board: Pixie haircuts. I don’t use Pinterest much, but I collected photos of my favorite pixie styles for a few weeks before cutting all my hair off two weeks ago. I love having short hair again—it’s been about ten years of fruitless, frustrating growing out. Also it was a great way for New York to feel like my own tiny village: my dry cleaner, my local coffee shop owners, and my favorite lunch salad guy all noticed I had a new ’do.
Most-Scared-Of List: Space. Alfonso Cuarón’s new movie, Gravity, came out this weekend, and I went with a large group of friends to see it in IMAX, despite the fact that the trailer made me cry from terror. I’m not sure why space is such a deep-seated primal fear, since it’s so unlikely any of us will ever experience it. The movie is stunning: a complicated, breathtaking technical feat. And the characters are a misplaced gesture away from death every single second of the movie. Talk about high stakes. I won’t say what happens to the astronauts, but I managed to make it through the movie. And I left the theater with a renewed appreciation for air. Good old air. Hooray for air!
TV Screen: Breaking Bad, and interviews with creator Vince Gilligan talking about how he and his writing team made decisions about where the story was going. The discussion with Stephen Colbert was particularly fun. (In my heart I believe Jesse Pinkman’s off creating beautiful wood boxes in a peaceful shed somewhere.)
Horizon: Fall 2014 and Spring 2015. Since in publishing we work so far ahead, the books on those lists are the ones I’ve been recently engrossed in. I get to live in the future!
And be sure to stop by again on October 20, when Caroline Carlson, the author of Magic Marks the Spot, will be joining us for the next guest edition of What Was on Her . . .