Seven Impossible Interviews Before Breakfast #29: What Adrienne Thinks About That
(and a few other things)

h1 June 12th, 2007 by Eisha and Jules

We’re tickled pink (okay, we don’t normally say that, but that’s in honor of the background color of Adrienne’s blog) to be featuring in our blogger interview series Adrienne Furness of one of everyone’s favorite blogs, What Adrienne Thinks About That (WATAT). Adrienne is a freelance writer and Children’s and Family Services Librarian in western New York (here is Adrienne’s column at the website of the Monroe County Library System, and here is the Children’s Series Binder wiki her library created, in which series books for children are listed for use by librarians, teachers, parents, and kids. It’s organized by series title and genre, and the entire wiki is searchable by keyword. Cool, huh?). We at 7-Imp are big fans of her blog, in which she “reviews books, movies, and life in general.”

Would it sound a bit too cheesy to say that Adrienne’s blog is always a joy to read? Well, it’s true. She always keeps things interesting and informative and fun, three must-haves — in our book — for a blog. Recently, she’s kept us up-to-date on her valiant efforts to score in MotherReader’s 48-Hour Book Challenge and her BookExpo experience (from which her photo with Mr. Colbert comes). And she writes about movies as well, occasionally throwing in some personal posts (some intensely personal in an effort to benefit others), adding “I talk about my godson Lucas endlessly, of course, since he’s the coolest person I know.” She regularly features a “quotable” day (“Quotable Mondays” or “Quotable Tuesdays”); “there is my Queen Queen AmidalaAmidala’s Diary series,” she told us, “which has nothing to do with children’s lit at all” (but eisha LOVES this series with a fiery intensity that rivals the surface of the sun); she’ll occasionally check in with what’s-going-on-in-the-kidlitosphere posts; she’s a Poetry Friday regular; she occasionally posts on the quirks of librarianship; and she posts about her interest in homeschooling and libraries as well (more on that below). She has a handy-dandy pull-down menu in the right sidebar of her blog, too, with categories for her posts (Film Reviews, Libraries, Teen Books, Travels, etc.), which makes searching by topic oh-so easy. (Oh, and there’s also the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ten Things She Learned at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art).

You can also read a previous interview with Adrienne here (conducted by A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy’s Liz over at Pop Goes the Library), in which she talks about Discerning Meat Cleaver, “a library {the one for whom Adrienne works} using a blog to communicate with each other; to keep each other up to date on everything from books they like to how sign ups for story times are going to where the craft materials are,” as Liz wrote. Neat, huh?

If you’re a devoted reader of WATAT, you also know that Adrienne is a walking, talking resource on the aforementioned topic of homeschooling and libraries. Adrienne’s other blog, Homeschooling and Libraries, features her thoughts on the two topics — how libraries can best serve the homeschooling community and all kinds of resources on homeschooling (and she covers it all — secular, Christian, Catholic, “eclectic,” and special-needs homeschooling). And she has just completed a book about the subject, entitled Helping Homeschoolers in the Library, which will be published by ALA Editions (which she mentions below in our interview as well). Even if you don’t have children that you homeschool, the blog is a fascinating resource. From posts about resources for Unitarian Universalist Homeschooling to the importance of library orientations for homeschoolers to a five-part interview with the author of Pagan Homeschooling to a post about a Catholic homeschooling mom’s blog and everything else in between, there is information there that will interest and serve not only the parents of homeschoolers, but also the parents of children who attend public or private school and public and school librarians as well. She’s got all your homeschooling topics covered here — your book reviews, films, curricula, Web resources, interviews, news, research, organizations, and much more.

See how hard our kidlitosphere peeps work? What a great resource for others, and then Adrienne’s own blog is just all-around one of the best. Without further ado, here she is, and we thank her for stopping by for a cyber-chat . . .

* * * * * * *

7-Imp: What do you do for a living?

Adrienne: I’m a children’s librarian and freelance writer, although I make a pathetic amount of money writing.

7-Imp: How long have you been blogging?

Adrienne: 2½ years.

7-Imp: Why did you start blogging? Why do you continue to do it?

Adrienne: It’s hard to know where to start that story. My late husband and I met at sixteen and got married at nineteen. When we were 22, Bri was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, which he battled on and off for the next eight years. In May of 2004 (we were 30 at the time), treatment was starting to hurt Bri more than it was helping him, and, after all the kinds of things one does before making this kind of decision, he decided to stop treatment so he could die in peace at home. Through that summer, we spent many long days and nights talking. Blogging was suddenly in the public eye and growing, and so we would talk about how I should start a blog in which to share my random opinions and call it What Adrienne Thinks About That. Bri died on August 31 at home where he belonged. I don’t remember much about the next few months, but I do remember that in November I attended a blogging workshop. As part of the class, I set up a blog on Blogger called… What Adrienne Thinks About That. The blog was the first thing that had managed to hold my interest in what seemed like a very long time, and I enjoyed writing for it tremendously. I had precious few readers at first, but in December, I got a URL and Moveable Type and have been blogging at watat.com ever since.

It’s strange to say, but I think blogging helped me start reconnecting with life. I’ve always blogged about the things that interest me -– books, movies, libraries, life -– and I think it was kind of a surprise to me at first that there were still things that did, indeed, interest me, even in the midst of crushing depression. Given my lack of focus and general weirdness, I’ve been delighted and surprised at the way my readership has grown, and blogging continues to be a way for me to test out ideas, talk about what interests me, and stay connected. I’m particularly interested in how and why people respond to books, movies, and other forms of expression. I enjoy examining relationships and trends. I’ve also found that the daily self-imposed deadline has been good for my writing overall.

That’s a long answer.

7-Imp: Which blog or site would you take to the prom to show off and you love it so much you could marry it?

Cute OverloadAdrienne: Lately Brotherhood 2.0, although I have to admit that it’s rare that a day goes by without me checking Cute Overload. I am all admiration for Little Willow’s overall online presence. She is thoughtful, kind, and does a whole lot of work -– on her own blog and site, of course, but she is also consistently and meaningfully supportive of so many other people and their ideas. I read a lot of blogs, though, and I think I have some growing to do as a person before I can settle down.

7-Imp: What are your other favorite things to do, other than reading and blogging?

Adrienne: I have wonderful friends, and I love spending time just kind of hanging out with them -– eating, drinking some coffee, talking, playing Frisbee, simple stuff. On the flip side, I adore being at home by myself with no schedule, so I can putter around and clean and read and write. I like to be outside walking. I feed the critters in my yard (mostly birds, although I also have rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks). I watch A LOT of movies. I’ve been a little off the wagon finishing my book the last couple months, but normally I go out to the movies at least once a week and get quite a bit of value out of my Netflix account. I travel with some regularity, but, mostly, I’m kind of boring.

7-Imp: What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?

Adrienne: I met my best friend Tammy (whose son, Lucas, and newer son, Max, are frequent subjects on my blog) when I was in fifth grade and she was in sixth. She played Granny Smith in our school’s production of Johnny Appleseed, and I played Child One. (Frequent watat.com commenter Jeffrey played the older Johnny Appleseed, and he’s the only one of us who grew up to work in theatre professionally -– Hi, Jeffrey!). Anyway, back in Kendall, Tammy lived a half-hour away from me and was a long distance call. We fixed that all up some years ago, though, and have been living five minutes away from each other ever since. The length and closeness of our friendship surprises people, but it seems perfectly natural to me.

7-Imp: What’s in heavy rotation on your stereo/iPod lately?

Spring AwakeningAdrienne: When I was in NYC for BookExpo, I saw Spring Awakening on Broadway and “Once” at the movies. I’ve been looping on the soundtracks for both ever since.

7-Imp: If you could have three (living) authors over for coffee or a glass of rich, red wine, whom would you choose?

Adrienne: Meg Cabot, David Sedaris, and Jon Scieszka. They cover the range of age levels, and they’re all really funny. I’m shy when I’m out of my element, but I imagine these three would be sufficiently entertaining that I could sit quietly and sip my beverage and enjoy listening to the conversation.

7-Imp: We’d love for you to tell us about the book you just finished.

Adrienne: I’m planning to send the manuscript to my editor the day this is published. I had hoped to send it earlier, but I have a problem letting my writing go. I like fussing. Anyway, the book’s for ALA Editions and is about homeschooling. It’s in two parts. Part One talks about the homeschooling movement as a whole by examining some of its many parts. I have lots of references and interviews with homeschoolers. Part Two talks about building library services for the homeschooling population. Once she reads the ms, I’m sure my editor will have some things she wants me to revise, and then there’s the whole process of proofing and layout and whatnot that sounds like it takes quite a bit of time. I think we might be looking at a winter publication if all goes well. Writing a book was a lot more work than I thought it would be, and I am reluctant to commit to writing another one ever. That said, I have an idea for another book that I keep making notes about, so I guess we’ll see. I need a summer-long fiction-reading break first, though.

The Pivot Questionnaire:

7-Imp: What is your favorite word?

Adrienne: “Recalcitrant.”

7-Imp: What is your least favorite word?

Adrienne: “Like” – I use it way too much, and I need to stop. Ditto: “pretty.”

7-Imp: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Adrienne: Things that make me think and laugh at the same time. I want to think about life and the world, but I also don’t want to take it or myself too seriously. There are things one can’t laugh about, but I think the path to madness lies in not being able to laugh at the things one can.

7-Imp: What turns you off?

Adrienne: When people try to tell me I can’t do something. Please note my deliberate use of the word “try.”

7-Imp: What is your favorite curse word?

Adrienne: My cursing got so bad a few years ago that I made myself a jar into which I deposited money every time I swore. This helped me develop some self-awareness, but I’m afraid that I enjoy using the whole range of the English language and there’s nothing like a good f-bomb to make a point from time-to-time, by which I mean, “at least once a day.”

7-Imp: What sound or noise do you love?

Adrienne: I’m picking two: laughter and singing.

7-Imp: What sound or noise do you hate?

Adrienne: Metal scraping metal.

7-Imp: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Adrienne: Movie critic.

7-Imp: What profession would you not like to do?

Adrienne: Anything that involves a strict schedule.

7-Imp: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Adrienne: I believe in God and Heaven, and I also believe that if God spoke to me, it would probably just freak me out. I’d like Him to send a band of emissaries instead -– maybe my late husband, paternal grandmother, and Uncle Nick. I’m sure we’d all have plenty to say.

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21 comments to “Seven Impossible Interviews Before Breakfast #29: What Adrienne Thinks About That
(and a few other things)”

  1. This is so charming and dear and readable — almost like reading watat!


  2. …a band of emissaries…how much more kind that would be! Sign me up for the gentle greeting, too.

    And for the record, just saying “What Adrienne Thinks About That” makes me grin.


  3. I just love that Adrienne!Even though she was born refusing to do anything anyone told her to do.So,natch,the best is reverse psychology:) I really must also say, I love this site! I’m not a librarian, but have always loved them.


  4. Thanks and thanks! 🙂

    I was going to write about how I thought that I’d like to maybe run into God at a party or something in Heaven after I’d been there a while and got used to things. Maybe then I could work up the nerve to go talk to Him, maybe ask a few questions.

    In the interest of full disclosure, that third comment is from my mother. Love you too, Mom! 🙂


  5. I took that photo!! Nice interview, too :). And Spring Awakening is amazing. Everyone should go see it.


  6. Wow. I am so impressed with Adrienne. Another great interview.


  7. Great interview, J, E & A.


  8. I like imagining Adrienne and Bri staying up late talking and coming up with the idea and title of her blog. Thank you for finding and sharing the real “once upon a time” beginning of this particular story.


  9. Sweet, sweet Adrienne. Thank you.

    I have never attended a prom. My dress will be purple. We ought to coordinate, yes?

    I don’t know if I’ve shared this with you, but I frequently think of the “Cuz Why?” column from the book The Alison Rules by Catherine Clark when I see the title of your blog. That book is so powerful, and I think it might make you cry, but I also think you’ll ‘get’ why I relate the titles.

    Fabulous interview, ladies.

    P.S. Hurrah for Spring Awakening and their eight Tony Awards.


  10. I’ve never read Adrienne’s blog, but of course now I’m completely hooked on who she is and what she says, so once more your work is done, E & J.

    Adrienne, I saw Once at Sundance and loved it so very much! I ordered the CD the day I got home, and I’ve played “Falling Slowly” two hundred times since then and I’m still not sick of it.


  11. Thank you for posting the links to the Amidala Diaries. They made me laugh. I’ve been in withdrawal ever since the demise of The Very Secret Diaries.

    Great interview. Thanks, 7Imp, and thanks, Adrienne.


  12. Congrats Adrienne! This is just one more reason I want to be just like you when I grow up 🙂


  13. Thanks, everyone!

    Robin, I’m trying not to die of envy that you got to go to Sundance. My big film festival goal of the moment is to try to get the the Toronto Film Festival, but maybe Sundance will be my next goal.

    Once is so all about the soundtrack. I’m still listening to it once a day. It’s an interesting movie. I keep thinking about blogging about it, but I haven’t quite solidified what I’d like to say about it. It made me think.

    Alkelda, I’ll confess that The Very Secret Diaries were some of the inspiration behind The Amidala Diaries, as was Bridget Jones. I think I was also trying to fix the new Star Wars films, since I’m a fan of the old set but found the new ones kind of disappointing.


  14. wow.


  15. I’m late to the party, but I just wanted to chime in and say Adrienne is the greatest!! I’ve worked with her for the Forest and she’s awesome 🙂


  16. Adrienne, I appreciate your efforts, but NOTHING could fix the new Star Wars films.

    And thanks, everyone, for sharing the Adrienne-love.


  17. Thanks for another great interview! I’ve been reading WATAT since I started my blog, but I really enjoyed Adrienne’s story about how the blog got started. I’m glad that Adrienne found the blog, and that we all found her.


  18. Already said it in the interview, but I’ll say it again: I love all the talent goin’ on in the kidlitosphere. Adrienne’s book sounds really great. All that research. All those interesting topics. What a great resource it’ll be for parents and librarians. Go, Adrienne . . .


  19. (belatedly reading)

    I don’t know if I should join in with everyone and thank-you for the interview. It was too interesting and now I have another great blog to fit into the daily rounds 🙂


  20. I should give credit to Jen for connecting me with the entire rest of the kidlitosphere. I feel like I’ve been reading her blog forever, and she was certainly one of the first other bloggers to link to my site. I remember suddenly realizing that there were a whole bunch of other people out there talking about kids’ books and how wonderful it was to suddenly be connected to all of them.

    About a year ago, I just emailed Kelly out of the blue to tell her that I’d written this essay about picture books in which death was a main character and wondering if she might want it for The Edge of the Forest, and, much to my joy, she said YES (as opposed to, you know, “Are you crazy?”). The Edge of the Forest has been a wonderful outlet for those less run-of-the-mill essays about children’s and teen books. I’m always eagerly anticipating the next issue.


  21. I’m a little late to the game, which you know E and J is not like me. But I’ve had a little something going on.

    I was also a little late to the game with Adrienne’s blog, but now I’m a regular. She’s got such a great perspective and a great voice. Thanks for the interview so I could get the back story on this special lady.


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