Mike Jung

4.00

In Uncategorized on October 29, 2014 at 10:30 am

In recent weeks I’ve been struck by my son’s speech development, which appears to be in one of those periods of warp-engine overdrive. He’s expressing opinions, making jokes, displaying stubbornness, asking the big, meaning-of-life questions, and generally blowing my mind with the startling beauty of his unique and constantly changing persona. He’s so beautiful, you know? I don’t say that in the easy, obvious way, with regard to physical appearance – when I talk about his beauty, I mean his generosity of spirit, the unstinting way he shows affection, the essentially sweet and gentle child he’s been from the start. He possesses an internal beauty that knocks me clean off of my feet, every single day.

The other day he was excitedly telling me the plot of an OCTONAUTS book we’d checked out from the library – the Octonauts are his current book series of choice – and during a pause for breath I impulsively said “I love you.” He went rocketing right back into his plot description, but then visibly applied the mental brakes, paused for a beat, said “I love you too” in an only slightly rushed voice, then picked up the Octonauts thread once more. I didn’t hear much of the plot description after that, however. I was too busy feeling love for this kid roar through me like a tropical storm.

Miranda and I worried about our capacity to raise two children, and I can’t say those worries were unfounded, because it’s been a howling rollercoaster of effort and emotion. We feel overmatched much of the time. But this boy. This sweet, kind, loving boy, with his fascination for sharks and trains (holla, Chris Barton!), his fondness for bacon, and his tendency to narrate every kiss and every hug we share with an emphatic “there’s your kiss, and there’s your hug”…I can’t even vaguely remember why I thought life could be complete without this boy, who turns 4.00 years old today.

Stunned. Overwhelmed. So, so proud. #SupportWNDB

In Uncategorized on October 25, 2014 at 3:45 pm

It’s Day 2 of the ‪#‎SupportWNDB‬ IndieGogo campaign, and we’re about to hit 25% of our funding goal. It’s the SECOND DAY. Four $1,000 donations have been made to fund the Walter Dean Myers Award and Grants. Three hundred and twelve funders have driven a stake into the ground and run up the ‪#‎WeNeedDiverseBooks‬ flag. For an extraordinary hour this morning, a fabulous agent who we all know as Literaticat matched every single donation that was made. Mr. Camp Half-Blood himself, Rick Riordan, stepped up to the plate and hit a scorching line drive over the centerfield fence. The generosity and commitment shown by this community has been stunning, overwhelming, and utterly glorious. I have never been prouder to be a member of the children’s literature community than I am today.

Ten Years

In Uncategorized on October 9, 2014 at 10:53 pm

My teens and twenties were not eventful or active in terms of life experience, a fact that has often pushed me into a place of regret, and sometimes into a place of genuine despair. There’s nothing I can do to change that; those years remain mostly empty, and will always remain so. It’s a difficult thing to live with, but all I can do is try to move forward. Thankfully I’ve managed to do so. The past ten years, in fact, can honestly be described as the most engaged, meaningful, complex, and fully lived years of my entire life. Miranda Hoffman and I got married on October 9, 2004, after much deliberation and anxiety, which is probably unsurprising to those of you who know us. It hasn’t been an easy time; there are ways in which these ten years of marriage have been far harder than the years of depression and isolation that preceded them, in fact. They’ve been harder in better ways, however, if that makes any sense.

We’ve had our ups and downs as a couple; we’ve suffered our share of personal and professional setbacks; and we continue to stagger through the unending minefield of childrearing, not always with the most stoicism or grace. But we’ve also had our share of triumphs, our moments of discovery, and bursts of emotional growth that I probably wouldn’t ever have experienced on my own, simply because I lack the capacity to drive myself to the kinds of extremes that are sometimes necessary for such growth.

We’ve worked hard to build a life together, sometimes at the cost of more effort than we thought bearable, but we’re still standing, still moving forward, still living. It’s been ten years of highly intense, endlessly challenging, fully-realized life. Those years of emptiness can’t be erased, but neither can these past ten years of profound fullness, and if the fates are willing, we have more years ahead of us, with experiences and emotions that can’t be foretold. Happy anniversary to my wife Miranda, whose impact on the quality of my life simply can’t be overstated.

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