“You expect far too much of a first sentence. Think of it as analagous to a good country breakfast: what we want is something simple, but nourishing to the imagination. Hold the philosophy, hold the adjectives, just give us a plain subject and verb and perhaps a wholesome, nonfattening adverb or two.”
Tag Archives: books
“Children should learn that reading is pleasure, not just something that teachers make you do in school.”
“I couldn’t put it down.”
What author doesn’t love to hear that?! Especially about their debut novel!
I had a late lunch/early dinner (I’ll call it “lunner”) at a nearby restaurant. It had been a full, yet satisfying day. On many levels, things are starting to improve for me. I won’t go into dramatic detail, but I felt better Friday than I had in months. The stress of dealing with aging parents and now unemployment in the midst of a global pandemic has beaten my mental and physical health down worse than anything I’ve ever experienced.
So I decided to treat myself for a good meal and a couple of mixed drinks. My favorite server, Kendra*, was staffing the bar, and after providing my first beverage, suddenly told me how much she loved my novel, The Silent Fountain. I have known Kendra for a few years and only through the restaurant where she works – long and hard. It seems every time I visit the place, Kendra is there. I had provided her an autographed copy of the book back in June, shortly after my mother died. Friday was the first time I’d been to the restaurant since then.
I didn’t expect Kendra to bring up The Silent Fountain. Her reaction to it was extraordinary. It’s my nature to be suspicious of people most of the time. I don’t know Kendra that well, but I like her. She has a pleasant and personable demeanor. Still, it took me a little while to accept fully how much she seems to like my book. I thought she might be exaggerating just to make me feel good and because I’m somewhat of a regular who tips very well. So I just let her talk.
And I quickly realized the impact the tale had on her. In fact, it had the effect I hope to achieve with my readers – for this and all of my stories. The characters and the locale meshed with the pastoral imagery to create the universe in Kendra’s mind that I envisioned in my own. A few others who have read it so far have had mostly the same response.
It’s intoxicating to hear all of that, but I have to temper my literary ego with sanity. Writers work hard to compose a world – realistic or fantastic – within their stories. We always want to attain that level of likeability as raconteurs; as someone who can dream up a tale – no matter how outrageous – and still be credible. But then isn’t that what all artists want?
I’ve come to accept that I may never become rich and famous with my writing, and that’s genuinely fine with me. I don’t write stories – and I didn’t start this blog – to become acclaimed and unbelievably wealthy. Admittedly, that would be great and ideal, but it simply isn’t realistic. And no one should engage in any kind of artistic pursuit with that goal in mind. It’s foolish.
But if I don’t achieve any kind of notoriety until after I die, then that would be just as good for me. We are still consuming the writings and other artworks of people who passed away long ago. Kendra is just one person, yet her opinion meant so much to me. She expressed what I hoped someone would feel when they read that book. Again, that’s what every artist wants: to be appreciated.
“Of course it can. All great literature makes us uncomfortable, because it addresses what makes us fully human. That includes our worst traits, like hatred of those who are different from us. So if your goal is to shield kids from discomfort, you’re going to have to censor a lot of really good books.”
– Jonathan Zimmerman, education and history professor at the University of Pennsylvania, on the ubiquitous hypocrisy of liberals who want to ban books using racial slurs from grade and high school curriculums, yet remain silent about the banishment of other books by equally well-known authors with equally controversial subjects and verbiage.
Reading about my family history has always been exhilarating!
My father’s urn
My mother’s official wedding portrait from 1959, along with other old family photos
The box containing my dog’s ashes
My computers, including this 10-year-old desktop
My cell phone
My vast collection of books
My model car collection
My library of National Geographic magazines that stretch back nearly 80 years
Wine and other spirits
My stash of adult DVDs
Who would’ve thought?! At the start of the third decade of the 21st century, this shit would become a coveted item!
How the Chief Is Coping with Isolation and Self-Quarantine Amidst a Near-Apocalyptic Meltdown on the Alter of Toilet Paper
I’m all set for…
“Writing is a form of personal freedom. It frees us from the mass identity we see all around us. In the end, writers will write not to be outlaw heroes of some underculture but mainly to save themselves, to survive as individuals.”
As I gaze at my bibliophilic mass and scour through various references and guides, I’ve come upon a conundrum; a problem that supersedes the complexities of literary and moral universes; a quandary that has amazingly bypassed the slew of great minds that have slaved over hot pens, pencils and keyboards in the centuries before us.
How the hell did the people who composed the very first dictionary know they had it right the first time?!
That’s not a rhetorical question, dear readers! I need an answer! Our verbose lives depend on it!