20 Things Libba Bray Has to Teach You

~post by Laura

“You could hear talking, but no one was there; suddenly, a fog rose from the floor. Libba Bray and Topher rose from behind the podium, wearing blue capes, and broke out into an epic lightsaber battle, in which Libba took Topher down. She divided her hilarious, inspiring speech into 20 things she has learned through out her life. Let’s get started:
1.) Always make an utterly awesome entrance whenever possible
2.) “Let’s get pizza” is probably the right answer. “The zombie apocalypse has started? Let’s get pizza”
3.) Never give yourself a home perm 2 days before prom. Only one side will actually get permed. You will regret it.
4.) When someone says no offense, the next thing they say will probably be the most offensive thing you have heard. You will want to punch that person in the lungs.
5.) Don’t punch people in the lungs
6.) Testing is bad (she didn’t actually say “bad” but this is a public website that children will see). Intelligence shouldn’t be based on a standardized test because there is no standard person in this world. -You can imagine that most of the teenagers there were very inclined to agree. For you teachers out there, we respect you and adore all you do for your students.
7.) Farts are always funny
8.) It is the human condition to feel awkward and weird. Everyone goes through it. I should write the shortest self help book with an awkward but hopeful panda on the cover giving a thumbs up.
9.) There are no girl books, there are no guy books, there are only books. Books do not have genders! Read all books.
10.) When in doubt, be kind
11.) Challenge you status quo. Get out of your comfort zone.
12.) Writing is revision. Books are about human experiences and putting all the gut wrenching heartache on the page for everyone to read like a psychopath. For me, the right  way to write a book is to write it wrong first. When I was writing the last book in the Gemma Doyle series, I sent the book in to my editor, and she asked me “Are you okay? Were you high when you wrote this?”. That’s okay though, because that’s what writing is about, and with writing comes revision. Revision is like my sassy best friend that will question everything I write and force me to be the best I can be.
13.) Don’t drop acid and go see aliens
14.) There are many things you should do at least once:
  • Dye your hair
  • Get your heart broken
  • Sing in public
  • Boldly declare to someone that you love them
  • Protest
  • Mix every flavor of slurpee and just drink it up
15.) There are many things in life that you should definitely do more than once:
  • Fail and get back up
  • Tell someone how you really feel
  • Travel
  • Redefine everything you thought was real
  • Change your underwear more than once
16.) Pay attention to what is going on around in the world around you and what has happened in history. For example, when I was researching for The Diviners, I found out quite a few things. Back then, they thought that radiation was a good thing; they literally had a drink that contained radium and was supposed to make you feel better and live longer. Another disturbing thing I learned was that the American Eugenics movement was really big at the time. This movement was about a pseudoscience that projected the idea that all things bad about humanity like mental illness, deformities, and allergies could be removed if we breed only the people with wanted traits (which were basically Nordic traits) and created a sort of superhuman race. The worst thing about this though is that it’s basically racism packaged and sold as fact and science.
17.) Serial killers are always interesting. Is there a lull in the story? Just throw in a serial killer. Winnie the Pooh and serial killers; “Piglet, what are you doing with that knife? Nooooo!” And this is why they won’t let me write children’s books.
18.)Don’t be a meanie (once again, she didn’t actually say meanie, but let’s just say it rhymes grass troll)
19.) There may be a time when you feel broken; when you feel as if you’re separated from all the good things in life and all those who are happy and that life isn’t worth living, but that isn’t true. Life will get better. 3 weeks after I graduated high school, I was in an awful accident (my face was crushed and I lost my left eye). When the summer was over, I went to college. While there, I felt more and more despair, until I hit rock bottom. I reached for my bottle of Demerol, but I also grabbed my notebook and I started to write. And I kept writing every day. It was writing that saved my life.
20.) It’s important to pay attention.
Libba Bray is an amazing author who isn’t afraid to talk about the deep stuff but also loves to joke around. I have never laughed so much during a keynote speech in my life and was so glad to be able to meet her. “