Posts filed under ‘Writing’
I’m a Municipal Liaison for NaNoWriMo, but I know I don’t have time to novel this year. It sucks. I guess I’m going to have to give it up, and that’s just a very sad thing.
There are some books we read when we are young – transcendent books, books that resonate and reverberate, that hit us as we fly through the outer space of intellectual and emotional growth and forever alter our orbits. Among these books, for millions of people, were Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time and The Wind in the Door. (The others in the storyline were tremendous as well, but for me, it was these two that struck and shifted me.) I think maybe everyone has read Wrinkle, with its pantheon of fantastic characters: the madames Whatsit, Who, and Which; telepathic children; bodiless sadistic brains; tentacled caregivers; Happy Mediums; flying centaurs; and the incomparably brave and human Meg. Wind was less widely-read, but to me even more poignant with its “drive of dragons” (the cherubim), mitochondriae, and Echthroi, and the fight to save Meg’s extraordinary little brother.
L’Engle’s books were brilliant, and she utterly refused to treat her readers like little children who required easy ideas and easy words. She is known for having argued that children’s books are literature far too complicated to be understood by adults – and, especially in her case, she was right. Her books are packed with philosophy and science – we’re talking quantum physics and microbiology here, not sixth grade earth science – theology, existential exploration, good, evil, death, and the kind of characters and relationships that we feel lucky to encounter in adult lit.
A Wrinkle in Time starts with “It was a dark and stormy night,” and upon reading it we feel that it is the quintessential dark and stormy night, the one that started it all, the one that started everything. In Wrinkle, it isn’t cliche – it’s reassuring, and breath-taking, and signals you right from the beginning that now things are going to happen.
I don’t think I could possibly explain how these books impacted me. If you read them when you were a child, then probably you understand without my saying. If you didn’t, I doubt I could ever make it clear.
Madeleine L’Engle, who modeled Meg after herself, passed away this past Thursday at the age of 88.
She started writing at five, won an award in fifth grade and was accused of plaigarism. She conceived of her best work on camping trips. She loved her books, her family, her pets, and her characters. Much of her life was not like mine has been, but these things are so like me that I can’t help but feel a kindred, a connection. It is another layer of my admiration for a woman whose words built and shook worlds.
I pull the following quote – L’Engle’s – from the close of the NY Times eulogy:
“Why does anybody tell a story?” Ms. L’Engle once asked, even though she knew the answer.
“It does indeed have something to do with faith,” she said, “faith that the universe has meaning, that our little human lives are not irrelevant, that what we choose or say or do matters, matters cosmically.”
Thank you, Madeleine, for these gifts.
This gorgeous LED keyboard, made in Korea, will set you back $127 – but it comes with software that lets you customize the light pattern. They’ll stay on all the time, make a pattern, or light up when you hit the key (definitely the route I’d take!). See it in action here.
I will admit that I haven’t read as much Neil Gaiman as I would like. I first read Good Omens in an airport and on the plane between Portland and Boise – do the math to calculate how devour-worthy that book must be – on loan from the friend who would later become a boyfriend who would later become my husband. I keep meaning to read Anansi Boys; the premise, and the reference to Anansi, really fascinate me. At some point in my not-too-distant past, I read and loved Neverwhere – probably while moping that there was no sequel to Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks. Recently I ate up Coraline (disturbingly wonderful) and Stardust (hilariously beautiful).
Nevertheless, I am a thorough Gaimanophile, or as thorough as one can be without having read the entire Gaiman canon (which, to be sure, is on my to-do list). He’s brilliant, hilarious, not at all hungry for fame or power, cute (oh well, he is), and really very much an artist. He likes bees and dogs, has a great kid and one of those accents that Brits take so much for granted, and – perhaps most importantly – he blogs. A lot.
That hilariously beautiful book I mentioned before? Stardust? Well, they’ve made it into a movie. It started out as something akin to a graphic novel, became a novel-novel, and now it’s a movie with Michelle Pfeiffer, Peter O’Toole, Claire Danes, Robert De Niro, Rupert Everett, Ian McKellen, and a bunch of other people who were lucky enough to get cast in what is sure to be a fantastic film. I mean, seriously. That’s a helluva cast, isn’t it?
Stardust comes out in the United States on Friday, August 10, and I hereby make it my solemn duty to encourage, demand, beg, cajole, bribe, etc., you to be there on opening night and/or opening weekend.
This is a charming, funny, smart story. It’s got something for everyone in it: action, comedy, romance, beautiful (sometimes naked) women, dishy men, pirates, witches, magic, adventure, quests, betrayal, death, you name it. It’s PG-13 and isn’t billed as a kid’s movie, although Neil says that he saw 6-year-olds at a screening and they loved it. I’ve heard that the cinematography is fantastic, and there’s buzz going about that this might be this decade’s answer to the film version of The Princess Bride.
Pinched from the movie’s website. Gaiman’s the guy with the poster – and I could be quite wrong, but I think the young lady to his left is his awesome daughter and guest-blogger, Maddy. I don’t think I’m wrong.
August 10 is, coincidentally enough, my last day at my current job before I return to school and begin student teaching. Guess how I plan to celebrate? 🙂
PS: I wonder if this will be one of those films that attract costumed viewers. This would be a fun one to dress up for, but I’ve never quite had the nerve. That’s the sort of thing that’s so much easier in a large, slightly tipsy group, don’t you think? If you plan to dress up you simply have to promise me pictures.
August 1, 2007 at 4:10 pm Enter your password to view comments.
Hopefully, every week from now on you’ll encounter a password-protected post. These will be my Weekly Thingies, which I’m hiding for three reasons:
- Less performance pressure.
- Copyright protection, should I inadvertently create a work of true genius.
- They’re going to suck turnips, and the fewer people who can laugh at me, the better.
Weekly Thingies are going to be first drafts, and generally not fit for human consumption, but I do want people to read them from time to time to give me feedback and encouragement. I’d like to know what has promise, and what should have never been committed to electronic paper. What I screwed up, left unanswered, etc..
If you can figure out what my password is, you can have access to my Weekly Thingies. I’ll give you two clues:
- My big gray kitty cat
- Composer of a Brotherly whistle
The password is in all lower-case letters; it is case-sensitive.
There may be some of you out there who are bosom buddies, but who cannot for whatever reason guess my password. If you think that’s you, drop me a line and we’ll evaluate the situation. 🙂
Anyway – keep an eye out for those protected posts, or ignore them completely.
You may now return to your regularly scheduled bloggery.