Tuesday, September 29, 2009

SIBA Panels and Spicy Readings

The Southern Independent Booksellers Association held their annual trade show in my fair town over the weekend. I was lucky enough to be on a panel--South Carolina Writers--with novelists Nicole Seitz [Saving Cicadas, out Dec. 1] and Mary Alice Monroe [Last Night Over Carolina]. That's us pictured here: from left, Mary Alice, Nicole, moi. If we look ecstatic, it's because this was AFTER the panel when we headed downtown for some Caribbean fusion and adult beverages.

And speaking of South Carolina... Last night's Emrys Reading Room series featured authors Sue Lile Inman and Robert Inman [NO relation believe it or not] who read from their works, both poetry and prose, and answered questions from the audience. It was a very satisfying evening,by all accounts.

Bob, who lives in North Carolina, read from his work in progress, a novel called The Governor's Lady. The title elicited snickers of course, and he said he might revise part of it-- setting part of it in Argentina. Several of us in the audience were tempted to yell, "You lie!" but we have impeccable manners, we were raised right, and would never do anything so vulgar.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

On Being and God's Gardners

Can't wait to read Margaret Atwood's newest novel, THE YEAR OF THE FLOOD-- what she calls "speculative fiction," aka literary science fiction. The story includes God's Gardeners "a religion devoted to the melding of science, religion, and nature, which has long predicted a disaster. " Atwood has always been smart about the promotional aspects of novel writing as well. [I hear she invented a kind of pen that allows authors to virtually autograph books.I kid you not.] She is on Twitter and has a stunning website for THE YEAR OF THE FLOOD.
There, you can nominate a "flood saint."

And now on to "Being" in the moment.For those of us who find writing a spiritual practice:

I love this quote from Virginia Woolf [thanks to Dani Shapiro's terrific blog about writing, which features this quote]:
Every day includes much more non-being than being. This is always so. One walks, eats, sees things, deals with what has to be done; the broken vacuum cleaner; ordering dinner; washing; cooking dinner. When it is a bad day the proportion of non-being is much larger.-- Virginia Woolf

Monday, September 14, 2009

Two Good Reads

Book report day. From the towering stack of TBRs on my bedside, two recommendations this week.

Last week I finished reading Alice Hoffman's The Story Sisters. I loved it. Hoffman, as usual, is such a fine storyteller, you'll lose sleep reading just one more page, one more page...

In honor of the late John Updike, I'm reading Rabbit at Rest. It's the last of the Rabbit books, the one I hadn't yet read. I'm reminded what an accomplished writer Updike was-- his prose is elegant, fresh, richly visual; the scenes unwind and flow with ease. Updike is one of those writers who takes his time describing his characters, even minor characters. Example: Rabbit's point of view, taking in his golf partner:
Joe Gold owns a couple of liquor stores in some city in Massachusetts called Framington. He is stocky and sandy and wears glasses so thick they make his eyes look like they're trying to escape from two little fishbowls, jumping from side to side.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Win Something! But Don't be a Deadhead[er]

This is the posting #200 on Novel Thoughts! Yeah! Let's celebrate.

Comment here or email me [but I prefer you comment so we can all, you know, share.] In one week--that's by next Tuesday, Sept. 15--I'll draw a name and mail you something cool...like a galley or a book or some seeds.

Meanwhile, you're not a dead header, right? don't go deadheading your coneflowers. Pleassssse don't. In fact, in the fall garden, you can sit back and enjoy the show-- the birds and butterflies. They'll feast on the seeds-- coneflower, butterfly bush, black-eyed susan, sunflowers, Joe-pye weed...leave 'em. Hands off, hubby. Clippers away, Pedro. It's feasting time for the critters. And a neat garden-- is a hungry, sad place this season. On the other hand, a big ol' seed-filled, rattling pods, undead-headed garden is so fun and generous and filled with critters. Goldfinches galore!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Flower Names for People

I think people with flower names are lucky. They get to be associated with fragrant, beautiful images: Daisy, Rose, Lily, Fern, Iris, Basil, Ivy, Violet.

But no Phlox? Or Sunflower?
No Bloodroot or monkshood or milkweed-- ok, I get that. But how about Magnolia, Cactus, Gardenia, Tulip?

One of the characters in my new work is named Azalea. I think that's a very fine name for a woman.

Here's an eerie aside. A plant name with sort of a morbid but intriguing history: Serviceberry, which blooms in spring, and used to indicate, with its white flowers-- like little surrendering flags-- when the winter was over and the ground thawed enough to bury the dead from the winter. So funeral services could commence.
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