Monday, May 25, 2009

Stephen King writes a lot


I just followed a link from Nathan Bransford's blog to a blog called The Book Page, where they have a quick write-up on Stephen King's new book, coming out this fall. You know, I may actually be able to read this one! His books usually scare the beejeebies out of me so much that I can't keep reading them. After checking out the premise of Under the Dome, I think I might brave it.

Reading about his page count reminds me of a review I read once about a Tom Clancy novel, where the reviewer said something along the lines of, "Tom Clancy again gives us a novel that weighs more than a laptop..." Stephen King's The Stand is one of those that's definitely in the heavier-than-a-laptop category, and it'd be fun to see Under the Dome become as well-loved. King is one of those dreaded genre authors, *sniff of disdain,* and he's prolific and beloved and talented and wealthy because of it and I love it. He's been one of the most vocal supporters of "popular fiction" and its value, despite the bad rap it usually gets, and I've appreciated that about him.

I love a good, weighty novel. I love that an author has so much to say. One of my favorite books ever, coincidentally also by Stephen King, On Writing, suggests that if you have a God-given talent to write and you aren't writing, what's your problem? He says something like, "What are you doing, knitting afghans?"

Hmm. It's a good question. I find myself often avoiding the computer. Writing is a hard thing to do. Many's the time I've stared at the screen, at that blasted blinking cursor, and wished someone would come along and tell me what happens next. And as I sat knitting the other night, Mr. King's comments came floating through my brain and I stared guiltily at the knitting needles, feeling like they were the devil.

Well, I've renewed my resolve to live a well-balanced life. There will be time to knit after I've written my word quota for the day. And can I get a massive woot-woot for the fact that school will soon be out and I'll have two teenage slaves at my disposal. Don't tell them, but I plan on putting them to work so I can get some things done.

And maybe, just maybe, before I die I'll be able to string so many words together that I'll produce a thousand-page novel. That'd be so, so cool.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

You running out of ideas?

Lily Furedi's Subway

I had a quick visit with a cousin I don't see very often, and we were catching up on life and such. He asked me how the writing was going, and I said it's kind of slow right now. He misunderstood, and asked if I was having a hard time coming up with ideas.

Well, the idea well is never really dry. In fact, knock on wood, I have enough ideas to last me for, like, seven lifetimes. I'll never get them all written. Ideas are never my problem. Slow sales- that can be a problem.

My only consolation is that sales have been relatively slow across the board. I'm thanking my lucky stars that it's not just me. The only book industry still booming, from what I understand, is the national romance novel sector. I can understand, because I am a die-hard romance fan myself, and I'm always a sucker for the guaranteed happy ending.

Life is cyclical, or so I've been told, and I have high hopes that things will pick up again. I was thinking about these things when I opened my newly-delivered Smithsonian Magazine this afternoon. This current issue is so full of good stuff! I was especially enamored of an article on Depression-era paintings. This is the link to the article, and if you visit it, which I'm sure you will after this, click to see all the pictures they highlight. As the author, Jerry Adler, explains- there's such a sense of optimism in these beautiful paintings. Like people knew the hard times would pass and life would again be pleasant.

I worry about abusing copyright law, and hope that I haven't, but I had to include two of my favorites here. The one above is the "seedy subway crowd," which totally makes me laugh because hello, they look better put-together than most of us today in our Sunday best.

This one is called Tenement Flats, by Millard Sheets. It speaks to me because of its sense of community among women; it makes me think of my friends I love and spend time with up and down my neighborhood streets, and I appreciate the strength I draw from them.

I sometimes think it would be an awful lot of fun to live in such quarters as this, and to be such a part of each others' daily lives in close proximity. (Then we'd probably be all mad at each other for hanging our laundry in someone else's spot or the kids making too much noise, running around inside...but for a while, hey. Total fun).

At any rate, these images give me a reminder that my ancestors on both sides seem to shout from the dust: work is always the answer. Reminds me of my favorite line from Disney's "The Great Mouse Detective." "There's always a chance, Doctor. As long as one can think." I figure if I can keep thinking, I can keep producing.

And truly, there are moments in my day when I am so thankful just to be here for the journey. What a privilege. :-)