April 23, 2007

Just so you know...

..."I Aten't Dead", good people, just a tad overwhelmed! I'm editing, avoiding finishing a manuscript despite the May 4 deadline I've been given (!!!!!), and reading like a crazy(ier) person, getting prepared for a series of summer treats that I know everyone will enjoy. (Trust me, you will. I'm enjoying it, and it's not really even started yet!) It's a privilege to read, and to get to talk to the intelligent, creative and thoughtful people who write (and aren't stuck like I am). More to come on this great reading and writing thing!

Speaking of great reading... the Disco Mermaids have once again elevated the Great Art of Lit'triture. You must check out the winning celeb book... many, many hilarious entrants, only one winner. Stay tuned for their next crazy contest!

Via A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy comes the question at of how much we can know about an author based on their books (thanks to Lectitans for a great question). As a writer currently reading other writers and thinking about how they write, I'd have to say... maybe not that much.

I had the very odd experience of hearing comments ( a few years back when I first published) such as "Oh, I know who that was!" and "Oh, you were writing about Bobbi Ann and James, weren't you?" that were frankly ludicrous, and set me wondering "What part of the word fiction don't you understand?" Acquaintances were positive they could find some hidden truths about my real life, and it turned out to be pointless to tell them differently.

In truth, each and every piece of my work reflects some small part of me. Whether it's my love of cooking (or eating, to my everlasting despair), reading, singing or artwork; my borderline incompetence with numbers and following directions, my fascination with minutiae and arcane facts -- any or all of that and more will appear somewhere in my writing. In that fabulous alchemy which occurs between readers and writers, however, whatever someone may take and interpret from my work only brings something bigger to the work itself. But! not even from the writing on my blog can you know more than even a little bit about the essential me. The reason for this, I think, is that many writers are, in equal parts:
a.) thieves
b.) mystics
c.) hermits

We're slippery, live in the gradation between light and dark, and tend to be on the outside of the ring around the campfire, watching, listening, and biding our time to put down the tales we see and hear. What is safe to assume about a writer from their work? Nothing. Writers are mostly observers, and they do observe ... but an impartial, introverted observer doesn't always impart that much of themselves.

(And now that I've made writers sound very magical-mystery and shadowy, I'll go back to my grouchy, sweats-wearing-slouching-before-the-keyboard-mundane self.)

Tick... tick... tick... That sound you hear is the Second Coming of the 48 Hour Reading Challenge! Once again, MotherReader is trying to kill me. My brother graduates from the 8th grade the selfsame weekend of the Reading Challenge, coming June 8–10, 2007, but I had an excuse last year too, and this year: no excuses. (And no reading The Book Thief, either, which is so long it could have counted as four books.) The way things are fixed, you can take the whole weekend and read for a consecutive 48, but start on your time. Head on over to MotherReader's and read the rules and join the game!

Via Bookshelves O' Doom, a fabulous piece by Sara Zarr at AS IF! which reminds me why I read Chris Crutcher when some others who profess a Christian faith avoid him with rabid dismay.

Chasing Ray's existential crisis on reviewing is a tangent of some of my own thoughts these days. In the wake of The Curious Incident with the Reviewer in the Daytime, a lot of us are feeling skittish. I feel like going to our book reviewing site, and removing the word 'review.' To be honest, I don't review books, I ...discuss them. As a writer, my books are simply one person's perspective of the world around them. But now that, in a way, my integrity as a person who discusses books has been challenged, I wonder in what ways, if any, that will or should change how I talk about books. Do I now have to say "I got this book from the library/the bookstore/ the author/ a friend of a friend who works for a publisher? Do I, like some others, trim out personal information about my interactions with said publishers or authors (not that I've got a lot of that, but it's something to consider!)? It bothers me, in a way, that I'm still thinking about this, as if I have to justify my own existence... but I can't stop.

A Word Is Dead
A WORD is dead
When it is said,
Some say.
I say it just
Begins to live
That day.
- Emily Dickinson

1 comment:

Sarah Stevenson said...

I aten't dead either!! Just very, very busy. Very VERY busy. I wish it involved writing or revision, but sadly, it's mostly been essay-grading.

Great links today!

I think writers do end up imparting a lot of what we observe...but they sometimes bubble back out in strange brews we can't even begin to comprehend. And I agree that our odd habits and neuroses and obsessions DO show up, again and again...