Jonny Greenwood & Thom Yorke ~ Arpeggi [debut, multiangle] (Subtitulado/Subtitled)

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>> From the Library of Congress in Washington DC.
>> Kate Julian: Hello and welcome!
My name is Kate Julian and I'm the deputy editor
of the Sunday Outlook section of the Washington Post.
The post is very proud to be a charter sponsor
of this festival again this year.
Before I move onto my remarks I want to remind all of you
that the pavilions presentations are being filmed for the Library
of Congress' website and for their archives.
Please be mindful of this as you enjoy the presentation.
In addition, please do not sit on the camera risers that are located
in the back of the pavilion.
Thank you.
It's my great pleasure to be here today
to introduce Newbery medal award winning author Rebecca Stead.
[ applause ]
>> Kate Julian: Rebecca has been writing since she was a child,
but until relatively recently she worked as a lawyer, not as a writer.
She did some writing on this side but it was always writing for adults
until as she puts it the universe intervened.
One of her sons when he was 3
or 4 accidentally pulled her laptop off the dining room table
with it went all the very serious grown up stories
that she had been working on.
Rebecca said this about what came next,
it was time to write something new, something joyful to cheer me up,
I was pretty grouchy about the loss of stories.
I went to a bookstore, bought an arm load of books that I remember loving
as a kid, I read them, I went back to the store and bought more books.
I read them and then I began to write.
We are so lucky that she did.
Rebecca's first novel, First Light, tells the story of a boy named Peter
who joins his parents on an expedition to Greenland
where they are studying global warming.
While on the ice cap he encounters a 14 year old girl named Thea
who has never seen the sun because she
and her people long ago retreated to a secret world beneath the ice.
First Light was greeted by reviewers as an exciting, engaging,
mix of science fiction, mystery and adventure and as an intriguing look
at how global warming is affecting the Arctic regions,
deftly woven into a coming of age story.
Her second novel When You Reach Me,
the recipient of this year's Newbery medal is that much closer to home,
on the upper west side of Manhattan during the 1970s.
This is the neighborhood in which Stead grew up
and it is the same neighborhood in which she
and her children live today.
When You Reach Me revolves around Miranda,
a 6th grader whose world starts to unravel
when her best friend Sal is punched by a kid
on the street for no obvious reason.
Then starts to shut Miranda out of his life.
Meanwhile the apartment she shares with her mother is broken into
and she starts receiving a mysterious series
of anonymous notes, which correctly predict the future.
When You Reach Me has already attracted a very devoted following
of readers for hailing it as a future classic,
one in the tradition of, tradition
of Madeline L'Engle's, A Wrinkle in Time.
Please join me in welcoming Rebecca Stead.
[ applause ]
>> Rebecca Stead: Hi!
Wow! It is a great, great pleasure to be here.
In the past few months you know I've gotten invited to some bigger things
and this is no doubt the biggest so far.
So I'm going to begin if you can't hear me, can you please wave
and I'll try to project a little bit better
because I really think it's frustrating
to sit and just hear muffle.
So please do wave at me if you can't understand me.
I'm going to start by reading you an excerpt of the instructions
to the authors appearing at the National Book Festival.
Presentation guidelines: We ask for personal thoughts.
These are excerpts, so I'm skipping words.
Not traditional readings.
Another way of looking at it,
we want to feature the author's personal perspective
and personality.
Some authors spend part of their presentation talking about how
and why they became a writer.
Poets may read complete poems, but should not read very long poems.
Okay, I'm not going to read you a very long poem and I,
I was trying to think you know how I could tell you a little bit
about my personality.
It's not that easy, but you know I think a pretty good way
to start might be telling you about a dream I have last night.
So last night there was this swank author's party and it was fabulous
and there were really good cup cakes and it was you know one
of the fancier things I've been invited to and I went back
to my hotel room early so I would be rested for today and fresh for you
and I had you know demented stress dreams.
So here's the dream I had last night.
I dreamed that I was going to be filming a short scene in a movie
and so the next day I was going to have to get up and say some,
I had some lines I had memorized, so I, I, I got to the filming spot
and I, I had my lines perfectly memorized, I like to be in control,
and they said okay great, so we'll take care of that
and then we're going to do the second scene and I,
I had no idea what the second scene was.
So I said what, what, what's the second, what's the story
in the second scene, so the second scene turned
out to be a long wordless story about a dog who falls in love
with another dog and I was to play the dog who falls in love
and I was going to, you know be expected to go around on all fours
and you know fall in love as a dog.
And you know I think these dreams are helpful to us as people
because we wake up and instead of thinking oh boy I have to get
up in front of a lot of people today, you get up
and you think thank god I don't have
to do what my sick brain was just coming up with.
So I do want to tell you a little bit about how I became a writer
and I want to save at least half of our time for questions
because you know what's really special about me here is
that this is an, a blog you know it's not twitter, it's not facebook
where you know and I love those things, I, I like feeling sometimes.
I like being in touch with the people that, that way
but this is something special, I mean we're all here in this time
in place together, we're looking at each other face to face and I,
I would love to answer questions, that's,
that feels like a conversation and it feels natural
and it is what I like best.
So okay here is my brief story about becoming a writer.
I am born not too long after that my parents split up,
so I grew up in New York City as an only child of divorce
and I have really terrific truly wonderful parents
and I had a very happy childhood, which included a lot of time alone.
And I spent a lot of time reading, and when I finally hit
that sweet spot where books could take me places,
where I wasn't working to read,
but I was just sort of writing the story.
I, I, I became really emotionally entangled with books.
I, I felt incredibly strongly about them to the point
where I didn't even really liked talking about,
about books with people because those felt like my, my places
and they were personal to me and if you have been there that's great
for you, but I don't really want to think about it because they felt
like private special worlds.
And Solbelo, who for some young people here is a writer,
said that a writer is a reader who is moved to emulation and I think
for many, many people at least that is true
and it is absolutely true of me.
The only thing is there is a lot of fear mixed in with my desire
to write and you know I don't even know if it's a bad thing,
but that fear stopped from trying to write for a long time.
I started writing in my head, but I wouldn't put things down on paper
and I think the reason was that I was afraid of being disappointed.
I was afraid that what was on the paper wouldn't live
up to my own fantasy really of what my book would be
and you know I've talked to a lot of people who seem to feel
that this is really a major obstacle to, to writing, a lot of people walk
around wanting to write and I have a theory that you know every,
every kid knows ten people or couple of people who write all the time
and who have big stacks of stories and I think for every kid
who is compelled to write and who has stacks of, of you know stuff
to show for it, there's a kid who has a, a, like a burning desire
to write, but who isn't putting down any words at all and I think
that both of those kids can become writers.
It's probably going to take the second one a lot longer
than it's going to take the first one, but they can both get there
and I was that kid who was writing in my head but I never,
I didn't get many things down unless I was specifically assigned
to do so.
Okay, so I, I think I can really describe my childhood
as stepping toward writing and then away from it.
So in high school I worked in the program office of my high school
so that specifically so that I could get myself
into a creative writing class which was taught
by a great writer named Frank McCourt
and everybody wanted yes he's, was wonderful and everybody wanted
to get into this class and you know your chances just weren't
that great, there were a lot of people in my high school class
and you really couldn't take it till you're a senior
and then even then your chances were pretty slim.
And so I decided that I would work in the program office
because this was back in the day where someone just wrote
down your program on your card and I figured that I could just
if I didn't get it I would just change it, which I actually didn't
so I spent you know my lunch period for about three months working
in this office filing so that I would have the opportunity
to do that.
But then with all of that passion and, and need to be in this class,
the way he taught was to encourage us to write and then to have a stand
up and share and read and that was how it worked
and I could never stand up, I mean the entire class went by
and I could never get up on my feet.
And you know that was a lost opportunity
because that's how the class worked.
After college okay there is that, this big moment college I skipped
because I, I mostly studies psychology,
I did take a college write, I did take a creative writing class,
but again I dropped it, it's that stepping away you know
which I think was about fear.
So after college there's that big moment you know you're deciding,
everyone's asking you what you're going to do with your life
and I decided that I would go to law school which is what I did
and the reason I went to law school was
because I had taken a practice LSAT test and done pretty well on it
and I thought oh well here is something I'm,
I'm good at so that's what I should do.
And instead of sort of facing the unknown and some you know writing
which is what I think was the closest subject
to my heart I thought you know what it, it would be easier
to do something that I know I'm going to be pretty good at
and so there are these you know years and years
of tiny steps forward and back and it was during my years as a lawyer
that I finally started moving toward writing in a more serious way
and I think it must have been because I finally got old enough
to see that I really was at the point where I was going to have
to start you know working harder toward my dream.
And you know I have one other, I'm at my point where I really want
to take questions but I want to say one other thing, which is that even
after I decided I'm going to write this is what I'm going to do,
this is what I care about most.
I, I wouldn't, I didn't tell people and again it was that desire
to protect myself from disappointment I think
and then I got an encouraging letter from my editor Wendy Lamb
after I sent her a manuscript from my first novel First Light
and her letter basically said there's something here but it needs
to be honed, it needs to be stronger and tighter
and she helped me create a writing community which is something
that is essential I think to every writer.
We really need each other even though we work alone
and she helped me create a community of writers and even
when I was working with these writers on this book
which I then actually had hopes of getting published,
at this point I was forced to admit to a few you know friends
that I was trying to write
and you know I constantly put down my own work.
I would say I'm working on my stupid book and you know again I,
I was trying to protect myself from disappointment by putting
down my work I think before somebody else could do that for me
and so what I want to tell you is that doesn't work at all.
It doesn't first of all it doesn't feel good to call your work stupid
and I'm assuming that I'm talking to at least a few aspiring writers here
and second it doesn't protect you from the disappointment
because there is no protecting yourself when you're doing something
that is meaningful to you.
So there you have my personality and my path to being a writer
and what I would love to do, I'm really hoping you have questions
if you want to just say them from your seat I can repeat them
or there is also two microphones that anybody can come up to
and ask a question about writing or New York, life, oh I had it,
I could, oh good someone's going to a microphone,
it's going to say could read,
but I for actually one thing Frank McCourt did if nobody would stand
up to read their creative work,
we had this grammar book called Warrener's I don't know
if it's still around, but if nobody stood up he would just sit
on his desk in the front of the room and he would sing Warrener's,
Warrener's, Warrener's, except he sang
in this wonderful Irish [inaudible] so it was great and that was
like the threat you know, either get up and start talking
about your fiction or we're going to do grammar.
So I don't want to resort to that, yes.
>> Okay, in your book When You Reach Me why didn't you start each chapter
with things that [inaudible].
>> Rebecca Stead: Okay, so in When You Reach Me one thing I want
to say is let's avoid spoilers
because When You Reach Me has a big surprise at the end
and if you could form your question and that this,
this is not a spoiler, it's a great question,
but if everyone could form questions that don't reveal the ending
of the book that will be terrific.
So in When You Reach Me, Miranda,
the main character a 12-year-old New Yorker living in the 1970s
with her single mom and her mom has just gotten
on to the $20,000 pyramid right and she's going to compete
and they're finally going to have it made because money is a struggle
and Miranda helps prepare her mom for the game and a lot
of what the game is, is guessing categories and so
as Miranda is trying to untangle a very complex,
weird story in her mind, right, which is sort of a lot
of what the book is, she is stinking in categories
because at the same time she's trying to untangle this mystery
of these anonymous notes she's receiving
and various other mysteries in her life.
She's helping her mom practice and the big money
around in the $20,000 pyramid involves seeing a list of things
and then understanding what unites them,
what is the common denominator.
So she is framing her own story in categories.
>> When You Reach Me was little more dark and serious than First Light,
you know I was wondering the next book you're going to write,
if you're going to write another one will be more
like When You Reach Me or First Light?
>> Rebecca Stead: That's an interesting question,
will the next book be more like When You Reach Me or First Light.
The main characters at this point in my next book is a boy
and First Light is told partly from the point of view of a boy,
there's two characters, one the boy, one the girl and I have
to say it's going to be more like When You Reach Me,
not in terms of the plot but in term, but in its attempt
to acknowledge some of the harder, darker sides of childhood.
>> I have a question about Frank, your class with Frank McCourt.
Didn't he make you stand up and read at some point?
I think you said you never did.
>> Rebecca Stead: No.
He never made us stand up, he didn't force you to stand up.
Frank McCourt did not force you stand up, he didn't call on you
and you know may be he should have, I don't know,
I might have just collapsed on the spot.
>> What inspired you to write When You Reach Me?
>> Rebecca Stead: Ah, the plot was inspired
by a newspaper article I read about a man with amnesia.
It was a story in the times about a guy
in North West part of the country.
He was walking around and he realized he had no idea who he was
or where he's from and he started going up to people
on the street and asking for help.
He eventually, they all ran away from him of course
and he eventually found a police officer who brought him
to a hospital and under hypnosis he remembered things that,
he remembered a terrible accident and when, when they finally figured
out who this guy was, this accident had not yet happened.
So it, this whole story just gave me the idea about people walking
around with memories of their futures and that was the inspiration
for the plot and then a lot of the story was inspired
by my own childhood in New York City, it's set in the time
and the place of my growing up and one the main characters,
the laughing man is someone who, who we called the laughing man who stood
on my corner pretty much all the time and I was afraid of him
and I would run by him, you know at a full sprint everyday on my way
to school and that character became woven into the story and along
with a lot of other memories of childhood.
>> What book do you think you enjoyed more and why?
>> Rebecca Stead: Enjoy writing.
>> No, what, yeah writing.
>> Rebecca Stead: You know I actually think that my first novel,
First Light, was an attempt to create the kind of story
that I loved reading as a kid.
I was a big fantasy and science fiction fan and I loved secrets
and mysteries and secret worlds and I think that a,
I drew a lot of inspiration from my own love of reading and so it kind
of led me toward the kinds of books I loved reading as a kid.
The second book is much, a much more of a delving into the kind
of person I was as a kid and the kind of weird thoughts I had
as a kid and it is a little darker in a way and, and truer probably
to who I am and who I was you know at 11, 12,
13 and they're completely different types of pleasure you know.
I loved writing both of them.
I think the second one was probably a little bit more organic
because I was just pulling stuff
out of my brain and, and out of my memory.
So I, I guess I'm avoiding your question.
I'm sorry, it's so hard to say, but I, I think if I had to lean one way
or the other I would say When You Reach Me had some,
some moments of intense like pleasure,
like I'm finally expressing what I feel about somethings
and what I think about childhood and that was pretty wonderful.
>> I'm a children's librarian and read in the school library journal
that the reason you said the story
in the 60s was having you contemporary was
because in the story as a [inaudible] devices helpful
for Miranda to have more freedom and I know
if my own child we were much less supervised at that time,
which do you think is better for children developmentally
to be given the freedom or freedom or having your more supervision now.
>> Rebecca Stead: Wow!
I'm not an expert.
I do think that kids at age 11 and 12 really benefit from the knowledge
that we see them as capable people and we don't think that they need
to be completely protected.
I mean I like every parent think it's important to protect children
and like every person parent or non-parent,
but at the same time I think it's important for the kids to see
that we trust them and that we know that they're self-possessed
and that they possess judgment and even if they make mistakes,
you know life goes on and you know if I, I would feel terrible
if you know my 12-year-old got into it on the street with somebody,
he would be really, really upset
and he got something taken away from him.
He would be upset by it, but life would, life goes on,
I mean he would also get past it and he would be okay and so I,
I do think it's important to get kids a measure of independence
as long as you know it's ultimately basically safe.
>> In your book it talks about landing
in the Broccoli patch and seeing yourself.
I actually didn't notice that, the first time I read it,
but after I read your book I noticed that line.
Did that in some way inspire you to write the book?
>> Rebecca Stead: That part of A Wrinkle in Time.
You know actually no, I had, Miranda was,
Miranda loves the book A Wrinkle in Time and she's carrying it
around through the book and I wasn't sure
that the book was going to stay in my book.
I thought you know this is sort of a prop to remind me
of the kind of kid Miranda is.
But A Wrinkle in Time you can't just throw it in there,
I mean people have a lot of strong feelings about this book
and it's an important book in a lot of ways to many,
many people of different generations and I decided to re-read the book
as one of the characters in my book.
Now this is getting very you know meta...
I decided you know what since a lot of Miranda came from my own memory,
I'm going to try to read A Wrinkle in Time from the point of view
of Marcus, who's a character who's very unlike Miranda,
right in When You Reach Me and that was
when I saw it for the first time.
When I sort of tried to channel this character or Marcus who's
like a very scientific thinker and that was one when I first noticed it
and then thought ooh this is great, you know this gives me a way
to really start opening up questions about time and reality
and what could happen and so that is when I had the idea to use it.
I mean it was not early at all in the process of writing the book,
it was like a little gift.
>> So, in when You Reach Me there's sort of a circular plot
and every detail comes together in the end.
>> Rebecca Stead: Thank you.
>> Did it just come together that way or did you [inaudible].
>> Rebecca Stead: Ah, did the plot just come together that way,
you know yes and no, I sometimes think
that writing a book is a little bit like one summer in camp,
I built this wooden box and it,
it was sort of loosely assembled it first and then I had to kind
of tighten everything at once so that it would all come out straight
and it's that's kind of like good analogy for, for finishing a book
like this because there're all these rough eng, edges and things
that are slightly unbalanced or off and you, you know I did want it
to be completely straight and I wanted it
to make sense and to really satisfy.
You know that was always my question, does it satisfy
and so what we did was we had fresh readers, my editor
and I asked people who had never read the book before
to read it every time I had a new draft and there were a number
of drafts and we asked them where did you get snagged,
where did you get confused, where do this become predictable,
where and you know because the book requires a certain amount
of tolerance of confusion.
You'll have to be willing to be confused for a while
and you know I don't underestimate the people who are reading my book
and I ask a fair amount of you know a fair amount from the.
I expect them to be working a little when they're reading and so it was
like a long process of refinement.
It, it was not just sort of organic way that came out that way.
I sort of, I had the basic idea, but it needed a lot of little things.
>> Thank you.
>> Rebecca Stead: Thanks.
>> Did you watch the $20,000 pyramid yourself in the 70s.
>> Rebecca Stead: I did watch the $20,000 pyramid in 70s
and actually my mom was a contestant on the $20,000 pyramid.
But she actually a surprising number of people it turns
out have been contestants on that show.
A lot of people have come to me and said my sister was on it
or I was on it, my dad was on it.
My mom didn't win, so this was
like you know important for me to revisit.
We did win consolation prizes including like a crate
of dentine gums that we dutifully chewed for months.
>> How did you react when you got the award for When You Reach Me?
>> Rebecca Stead: Ah, how did I react?
I was stunned and joyful.

>> Okay, I have two things, one my mom was on Jeopardy,
she didn't win either but and...
>> Rebecca Stead: We should talk.
>> Yes and my question, my question is if you could write the book
from either point of view of Sal or Marcus , who would you do?
>> Rebecca Stead: Sal or Marcus.
That would be interesting.
I don't know.
May be Sal.
Which would you most want to read?
>> Probably Marcus.
>> Rebecca Stead: Oh, Marcus then.
Yes. Ah, oh, okay, we're in overtime.
So one more, okay sorry guys.
Oh, I before we're done, done, I just want to say that I'm going
to I, I ran out of time at the reading, I mean at the signing,
and some people who I wanted to meet I didn't get to meet
and I'm really sorry for that because it was a hot long line.
So I, we, we try, we, we added a short second signing,
so and I have instructions, it's going to start at if you want
to come and then 1:30, I going to try to sign for 20
or even 25 minutes, may be and then I'm going to sprint
to somewhere else and it's line 14, so line 14 at 1:30,
I'm going to do a little bit more signing.
>> When You Reach Me got the Newbery,
so did you read the second place winner, the Newbery honor.
>> Rebecca Stead: Wow.
Ah, there were a bunch of second place.
Well I don't want to you know, they're not second place,
I guess that you're, they're honors, right.
I have not read the honor books.
Yeah you know what I have to say
that for a while now I've been reading a,
a lot of what you would call adult books and I find
that when I'm trying to write a new book which I have been trying
to do very much for the last nine months
since before the Newbery was announced.
I've been fiddling with different kinds of gas really you know
like other people's books are kind of like gas in the tank for me
and so, sometimes it's actually more productive for me
to read adult books than it is for me to read children's books
and may be it's because it's so different from what I'm creating.
But so I have been mostly focusing on those, so I have a pile
of books next to my bed which is like up to here, which I'm going
to get to as soon as finish this darn book
that I'm writing right now.
Okay, thank you.
It was a tremendous pleasure to be here.

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