Quote of the Moment:

Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom – poets, visionaries – realists of a larger reality.

--Ursula K. LeGuin, 2014 Medalist for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters

Thursday, March 26, 2015

We Are Hungry

I love food--it's a fact. And I'm picky. It has to be good food. If I don't like it, I don't swallow. No, not that bad, Ratatouille. But it's true my neighbors have become addicted to my hot fudge sauce, to the point where they sneak the jar into the closet and eat it cold with a spoon. And they won't share with their their sisters when there isn't enough to go around on everybody's ice cream. 

Worse, I'm afraid I've turned my children into food snobs. It's sad. And expensive. And a really big problem, because I write novels and I DON'T HAVE TIME TO COOK ALL THE TIME! And nobody at my house will eat frozen burritos. And my garden is still dead.

Missing last year's garden

Especially the tomatoes         

And the fresh basil to put on the tomatoes

I made food yesterday. It was supposed to last for two dinners and several days' lunches at least, but it's already gone and there's nothing to eat again.

People should be snakes and only need to eat every two weeks.

So...if you know any good recipes that only use real ingredients and are full of anti-oxidants and fiber and also taste like something you'd get at a French restaurant in New York City and...only take five minutes to produce...please let me know immediately, because it's dinner time and we might be eating Cheerios again.Without milk, because I didn't have time to buy any. I was writing.

We could starve before I finish this draft of my novel.

Maybe that's why my MC is always hungry.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

For the People Out There Who Equate Fantasy With Drug Abuse

"All advances are [fantasies in origin] until someone makes them into reality. Airplanes have existed in fantasy ever since the story of Daedalus; Arthur C. Clarke invented communication satellites as part of a fantasy; a thermos flask figures in several Celtic tales as one of the miraculous Treasures of Britain. And so on. The ability to fantasize is the most precious one we know. Because it solves problems, it has tremendous survival value. And--fortunately--it is built into us so that, unless mistaken adults inhibit us, we all have to do it.

"Children, of course, do it all the time, but even the most adult of businessmen in the most boring meeting will say "Let's play with a few figures here" or "Let's play around with this idea for a bit"--and this is the right way to talk about it because it helps if your imagination is exercised with a lot of pleasure and in a great deal of hope. Then your "What ifs" go with a verve and you're really likely to get somewhere.When the missing bit is found, it is often accompanied with wonder and enormous delight. Eureka! I always see Archimedes bounding about punching the air like a soccer player who has just scored a goal, and dripping all over the street.

"People probably thought Archimedes was insane, but actually what this element of play and delight is doing is keeping you sane...[fantasy is a way] of keeping your mind cool enough and clear enough to deal with a difficult situation."

--Diana Wynne Jones

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

From William Faulkner

“I would say to get the character in your mind. Once he is in your mind, and he is right, and he’s true, then he does the work himself. All you need to do then is to trot along behind him and put down what he does and what he says. It’s the ingestion and then the gestation. You’ve got to know the character. You’ve got to believe in him. You’ve got to feel that he is alive, and then, of course, you will have to do a certain amount of picking and choosing among the possibilities of his action, so that his actions fit the character which you believe in. After that, the business of putting him down on paper is mechanical.”

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Thanks, Patricia.

I just read this blog post by Patricia Wrede on research and imagination and thought I'd share.

This is something I've been thinking about for awhile, since I often wonder if I'm over-reaching myself. It sometimes seems outrageous to be writing what I'm writing, about a culture that not only isn't mine, but was mistreated by mine. I'm sure I've mentioned this before. Not long ago, a friend whose culture it is (sort of, though you could argue nobody quite knows precisely what culture that is, as the city which inspired my story disintegrated almost 900 years ago and everybody argues over where the descendants went and where the ancestors came from); anyway, this friend warned me that bad things happen to people who over-reach themselves when dealing with such stuff. She casually threw out an ominous warning or two about skin-walkers and other ghostly wreakers of vengeance. And about strange, coincidental accidents.

To those who like to send such curses: I mean my story as a gift. An offering. Please take it as one. Also, as an apology for the evil things my ancestors did to yours.



To Patricia Wrede: Thanks for reassuring me that, no, I don't have to know from personal experience or have been there to write about it, as long as I've done my research and have imagination.

Imagination can make it real. Of course I know that. Does any writer not know it? But your validation gives it authority. So, thank you. Curses are at stake.

Blog Archive