Sunday, October 31, 2010

All Hallow's Eve

This will be the first year of my life when I've lived in a place at all accessible to trick-or-treaters, and we've loaded up on candy for the purpose, so I hope some will come, or Aaron and I shall be forced to eat it all ourselves.  Ah, the torture!

Costume party at Sporty's last night.  I have to say, crowded bars are not usually my scene.  I mean, I like going out for drinks and fun, but could dispense with the lack of breathing room and the necessity of yelling in order to be heard.  However, the annual Costume Party at Sporty's is my exception.  Sometimes it seems like the whole town comes, and it's always fun to see the costumes everyone chooses.

I prefer, "All Hallow's Eve" to "Halloween", I guess because it has more of an old-world feel to it, and makes me think of bonfires lit on the hills, and warmth, laughter and dancing, earth and air and growing things, and mystery.  "Halloween" makes me think of fake spider's webs and department stores that smell like plastic, and latex, and spandex, and fear.  All Hallow's Eve, All Soul's Night, the night before All Saint's day.  Mystery, not fear.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Convalescent Reading

Yes, fighting off the plague is an irritating bore, but to look at it from a different angle, it's also an opportunity to do some neglected reading.  My reading list has a way of growing faster than I can manage, though that does prevent me from ever running out of reading material.

The latest gem has been on my mental list for a while, and today I finally picked it up.  The Interesting Narrative, by Olaudah Equiano, first published in 1745, is a beautiful, painful autobiography.  He tells his story from his childhood in Africa and his kidnapping at the age of eleven, through his adulthood and his service as the slave of an officer in the British Navy.  He eventually bought his freedom, and spent the rest of his life working for the abolition of the slave trade.  He writes with a lovely clarity and attention to detail, making his descriptions, particularly those of conditions on board slave ships, particularly heartbreaking.  We read it now, when the slave trade is, at least in most places, no more than a shameful blot on our past, but he wrote it at a time when it was accepted and condoned by all but a few.  It is a book that everyone should read once.  I've posted a link to the Amazon page for it below for curious parties.

On a side note, I cut my finger at work this morning, on jam of all things.  How does one cut one's finger on jam?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Recollections on a Rainy Day

This will be a short post, as I spent most of the day crafting query letters to send to literary agents, and my brain is fried to that degree that only a walk in the rain can save it now.

This time of the year always makes me feel close to my childhood.  Chilly autumn days gathering firewood; evenings curled up in the couch-corner reading Lloyd Alexander, Elizabeth Goudge, or Susan Cooper, and imagining myself into far away places...  I was always a fairly contented child.  My mother remembers that I could spend hours by myself playing with bobby pins.  I remember it very well too.  I nearly always pretended they were keys -- magic keys that could open any door.  I would unlock all the doors and go through and have adventures.  We never had many toys growing up, but I can't remember ever really caring, so long as there were books and bobby pins.  The only exception, I remember, is a secret longing I had for a Chia Pet, so that I could cut it's hair off and have it grow again.

Strange how books from childhood stay with you.  For me, at certain times of year, I always feel compelled to re-visit certain favorites -- Elizabeth Marie Pope's The Perilous Gard in the Autumn, Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising in Midwinter... Anthony Hope's The Prisoner of Zenda at any time of year.

I want to be that kind of writer.  The kind people keep coming back to.  George MacDonald said, "I do not write for children, but for the childlike, whether of five or fifty or seventy-five."  The best books are the ones we keep coming back to, no matter how our lives change or how we age or mature.

But now the rain is calling.

Friday, October 22, 2010

I think it just as well to mention that I do actually have a children's book available.  My mother and I self-published it a few years ago -- and learned a number of sticky things about self-publishing in the process.  As far as the book itself goes, I'm still rather fond of it, and my mom's illustrations are fantastic.  Here is the link, for anyone who might be interested:

On a side note, I bought a magazine today in the grocery store on the way home from work, simply for the delightful reason that its recipe section was titled "Ambrosial Fare".

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Foiled Intentions

I had every intention of sitting down today and writing something profound.  Then, every semblance of profundity fled my mind.  Now I am left with the chilly knowledge that all I have to write about is the fact that my Jane Austen action figure has lost her torso.  I imagine she was hacked in half by one of Seth Grahame-Smith's zombies.

The new novel is progressing quite slowly, though I like to think that's because it's still in the developmental, thinking stage at present.  The old (meaning finished in February) novel is still in the peddling stage, and probably will be for some time.  Hoping to get it sent out to a batch of agents sometime in the next couple of weeks.

So, nothing profound at this time, but I'm still getting used to this.  I can't seem to figure out why my words keep getting broken in half at the ends of lines.  In any case, it's a work in progress.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Mandatory First Post

The first post is an odd thing.  Do I introduce myself, assuming there's someone reading this who cares?  Or do I just jump in right in the middle of something?  I think I'd like to start by saying something about Chewelah. After all, it is my hometown, and I have hundreds of  reasons to love it... and sometimes to hate it as well.  I mean, it's great to have people wave at you or stop to say hi in the grocery store, but it's less nice to have them comment on everything in your basket.

"Oohh! Someone likes cheese.  I used to love cheese, but I can't eat it any more because..." The rest will be left to the imagination of the reader.

Chewelah truly is a beautiful place though.  From my study window now, I can see all the autumn colors and look out across the valley to Quartzite on the far side.  And it's quiet and peaceful.  Altogether a wonderful place to live for an aspiring novelist, and my job at Flowery Trail Coffeehouse gives me an endless supply of character ideas.

I've spent too long setting up this blog now.  It's a lovely, bright autumn day and a walk is in order before ballet class tonight.  But first, I'm hungry.  Maybe cheese...