What? You thought I was kidding? Would be kind of interesting to use that map in a book – 7 characters in the 7 main areas around the country or something like that.
Monthly Archives: April 2009
No, not me. Though I did go for a 4 mile hike first thing this morning. In another piece of synchronicity, I found this piece on close reading. Nice segue to:
Want to feel better? First, turn off the news, then go here.
I vote for football. I concede it was perfect weather for the Festival of Books. Not hot, nice breeze, a little on the cool side. But I hate crowds and it was crowded. The first panel was fine, mostly thanks to David Wroblewski. They each read for a couple of minutes from their books – he also read the best, but I imagine he’s also had the most practice. Here are a few of his nuggets: without an element of artifice, fiction doesn’t feel real; he likes the narrative tool of a good observer; the elementary structure of the novel is a braid. Plot is a tool for taking stories apart, not creating them – if you use it to create it’s like knitting with chainsaws (nice image). A novel = unnaturally long story. And from Joan Silber: plot is about how the writer thinks the world works. Bear in mind, this is a general public event, not one directed at writers.
I seem to recall that this happens regularly: the NFL Draft and the L.A. Festival of Books are on the same weekend. This is a problem for me because I love both books and football. Yes, it’s possible. Anyway, I’m going to the book fest. I have tickets for 4 of the panels. And I’ll settle for the highlights on the NFL network.
Just got my free cone from Ben & Jerry’s in Burbank – barely a line, chocolate fudge brownie ice cream and they were collecting for a charity. How outstanding is that? It gets better…. Have to admit I can’t remember what I donated to (muscular dystrophy?) because the fireman who served my cone was HOT! ;-)
Last Saturday, I went to a wonderful bbq with about a dozen writers and talk turned to books (I know, real shocker). Our post-grad ”to read” pile is growing. Now I have even more to add. The Pulitzers were announced yesterday. Here’s the list and the winner for fiction is Olive Kittridge, a collection of short stories. Plague of Doves was the runner-up.
Shoot, I just got around to last year’s winner!
Have to admit, I’ve not been a big fan of short stories, but that is slowly changing. I still prefer the experience of getting lost in a novel. As I wrote in a recent annotation on Johnston’s Corpus Christi, I find short stories demanding, requiring concentration. They are not a relaxing art form. I have found that once I started reading books to see what authors were doing, the process moved – logically – from unconscious influence to purposeful learning. I no longer had to worry about my writing sounding like someone else’s because I could look at the nuts and bolts of what they were up to and choose to use elements or not.
By the way, I want to start getting a commission on Kindle sales – just showed it off to the doctor who injected my sore shoulder (blessed relief) and he’s getting one for his wife. This is probably the sixth one I’ve sold in the last 10 days. Pony up, Amazon.
Just discovered Martin Levin’s blog. I had the pleasure of meeting him at Book Expo in DC a few years ago. He’s a wonderful and kind man and knows more about the publishing business than just about anyone.
Had a massage this afternoon and it was like receiving a new body. Felt a little weird walking around, as in ‘welcome to planet Earth’ weird. Before that, however, I worked on the new novel and had coffee with an artist. Also working on a new project with another writer and when we’re up and running, I’ll give the details and link, so stay tuned. These are the things that help me after a disappointment.
This is a hard post to write. I did not make the semifinals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards with GROWING CHOCOLATE. I thought I had a solid shot, but either the piece is not strong enough or it’s not the right venue.
I just returned from a much needed break (little did I know how much I’d need it!). Onward and upward. I do have an idea for a scene in the book I’m working on now, so that’s where my focus must stay.
But oh it does sting.