March 04, 2008

The Magic of Writing, and Other Stuff

Although today was the kind of day fraught with flat tires, frustrated husbands, misplaced cell phones (later found underneath the cat) and other time drains, yesterday's writerly ruminating got me thinking about why people go to signings and try to meet with authors, and then that got me thinking about the whole mystique of authors. I'm not talking about that "artist's mystique" that many of us cultivate to a greater or lesser degree in order to head off more and stupider questions about where we get our ideas. I'm thinking about something more fundamental, something that takes me back to my childhood and what reading meant to me when I was young.

The thing is, when I was young, books were quite literally another world. They were magic. The author who could take me out of myself, put me into the head of another character or the lives of imaginary people who somehow seemed entirely real--that writer had worked magic. They'd made me believe. In a way, as a child, I believed all things were possible, all things existed in a way, somewhere--imagination, to me, was nearly as tangible as reality. And so there were books I read over and over because they profoundly affected my life, my way of thinking; they'd become part of my personal canon. And so, for instance, when I went to get a book signed by Madeleine L'Engle, I felt like I was meeting someone larger than life, someone who'd worked magic. It was almost as though I needed to see her to believe she was real, to believe she was human.

I hope that, one day, I have the opportunity and the ability to work that kind of magic on others.

Thanks to a blogging acquaintance, I can now exclaim, "Coraline?? In 3-D next year? WHAAAA?" And, as long as we're on the topic of books-into-movies, on Video Sunday last week Fuse #8 ruminated on the upcoming Where the Wild Things Are movie, which has the names of Dave Eggers and Spike Jonze attached to it, of all people.

I've been thinking lately about how much I loved the Cybils SF/F judging panel's final decisions on winning titles, and then I was super pleased to see a few of those same titles were nominated for the 2007 Andre Norton Award (thanks to Wands & Worlds for the heads-up).

Lastly, don't miss the latest issue of Readergirlz, featuring Sarah Dessen's latest book, which I can't wait to read, and a killer playlist picked by the author (it's got the Clash and the Talking Heads in it--what's not to like?).


TadMack said...

(...under the cat?!)

Thank you - and Sheila - for bringing things back around to the readers, to the people who still believe in the magic. I think I just cringe at my fangirl self, but I doubt I would cringe at it in others. It's part of the connection -- that I'm sure I won't get in the back of the store at B&N!

Ooh, I saw a clip of that Where the Wild Things Are, and it actually got me a little teary. It's... the book. And you know how rarely I say THAT!!!!!!

slayground said...

Hug that caat for me, please!

Thanks for linking to readergirlz.

I hope you like Just Listen!

TadMack said...

Ironically, the Powell's Blog is about signing books today, too.

Kelly Fineman said...

Also? Coraline, in graphic novel form, in June.

a. fortis said...

SQUEEEE! Now I'm really excited. Coraline hits the non-moving pictures!