Friday, March 23, 2012

The Night of the Mockingjay, originally published August, 2010

On Mockingjay eve, after dinner (the Grey Dog), with our t-shirts. James's t-shirt says Mellark and Sons Bakery: The Boys with the Bread. People liked my t-shirt, but they freaked out when they saw James's. It's a little inside, and when people got it, they flipped out. Including Suzanne Collins. She loved it. She asked her assistant to get a photo of it.

This is the scene at Books of Wonder. It was intense.

This is me waiting for something to happen. This was much less intense.

This is me with my voucher for my book, and my number to see Suzanne Collins.

And this is me with Suzanne Collins. I think she's smiling because I told her I wrote her a fan letter. Which I then gave to her (remember this post? when I said I wanted to meet Suzanne Collins? BAM. consider her told).

This is me with my book. She has some sort of wrist injury, so, no signing. She had a special stamp. It was pretty cool. This is one of those pictures that's not all that flattering, but, I can't help but like because I look so completely happy.

Me waiting for the subway. It was about 2am. Only in New York.

and now:

I have very strong opinions about authors imposing something on a book that's not explicitly stated within the text (i.e. J.K. Rowling and Dumbledore--ugh). It bothers me because, once that book is out there, once it's in my hands, that story doesn't belong to the author any more. It belongs to me. It exists within me, the world has the dimensions I've given it. The characters look like I imagine them, their voices speak in my head, with my sounds. The author has written the words, but it is me, as the reader, that has given them life, and made it real.

Basically, I don't like when authors are all, "oh, yeah, I forgot something..." My reaction is usually, "too late, sister."

Last night, Suzanne Collins explained, before she started reading, that she was going to read a portion from Catching Fire, before she read from Mockingjay, to introduce us to Katniss's voice, I was wary. Very wary.

She explained that Katniss is from the Appalachians (which is stated in the book), and speaks with an accent.

She started to read (to my ears, the Appalachian accent is like a southern accent, without the music), and I thought, no way. Nice try, but Katniss is going to keep the voice she's got in my head (my voice, obviously).  

Then, listening to her slow drawl, I started to get it. I got how this gave Katniss another layer I hadn't considered. How it gave all of District 12 a texture I hadn't even realized I was missing. It makes even more sense how the Capitol and the rest of the districts look down on District 12, and dismiss them and their backward ways. How much it must rankle the president to be undone by this rural girl.

I was leaning against James in the crowded bookstore, and, as she read, I leaned forward. I could hear fine, but, I leaned into her voice. She finished reading, and I drew breath, and thought, I love it.

She read the Capitol people with a regular voice, the diction crisp, and later, I wondered to James why she didn't read the Capitol accent as she describes it in the book. Katniss and Gale, and even Peeta are always making fun of it, and it's described so specifically, but, I can't imagine what it sounds like. And then it occurred to me that the Capitol is in the Rockies, is it possible the capitol accent that sounds so annoying and so affected to isolated District 12, is just regular, standard american?

Ok. Have I nerded out enough? Who's to say what's enough?

**This is Suzanne Collins reading Mockingjay. Listen, really listen before you decide what you think.


  1. I have so much. Here's the thing, I am so impressed with you, but also so jealous of you. So I want to slap you, but also I want to build you a monument. It's a dilemma.

    Also, I HATED Suzanne Collins accent on this. I found it in my stalking of all things Hunger Games months ago. I kind of love that you love it, and it makes me more willing to try to not hate it. I feel like you do about authors adding more stuff. OK. I'll rant this later, but you are the coolest and I'm glad we care about the same 'most' important things.

  2. Amber, that's a tough one. That's a real pickle you're in, feelings-wise.

    The accent is tough, I wonder how I would feel about it if I had just stumbled onto it. But, I don't know, it just worked for me.

    That being said, when I read the books, it's still my voice. Can it ever be anything else?