Thursday, January 29, 2009

Finding Faith

I just read a blog post on The Longstockings. I love their name, because of Pippi, the idea of wearing long stockings( I am enamored with their warmth and accessorizing opportunity), and the fact that they group blog. But the post today was how to make yourself work when you have no boss. I have that trouble all the time. Sometimes, most times, with process you cannot force yourself to work and expect what comes out to be useful. In these frames of mind, I find that my editing is no good and the writing is even more painful. What I want to do is sit on the couch under a blanket and keep warm. My house gets cold these winter Minnesota days. Look at my writing gloves.

But there is always that delicate balance.

Oh, lord, why do I do this?

Because I have been called to it by some unknown(by me) force. I think of it like a calling and I have pledged myself to it in that way. The thing of it is, that is what faithful people do, they give themselves to one religion or another. But for them, they do it for some moral high ground, right? That is what I cannot find in writing.

There is some good in it. People find pleasure in reading, and I hope someday, in reading my work. Also I try to be real. My characters are many colors, not just black and white, and there is a lot of empathy to be learned from reading a good book with fleshy characters. But isn't it a little self indulgent for me to think that you might want to read what I have to say?

Yes. And I struggle.

And I struggle with the process.

But here's where the faith comes in. Day after day I have to believe that not only will this moment change and become the next, that this story will grow and become more, and that with this next step either I will find solid ground or I will be taught to fly. And sometimes I do soar and often I forget that I did. And I keep on doing the work, for this is my work, not necessarily for the good of my family(some of them would love very much if I did something else), or for my own good(this is a painful process and I find no ease in it), but because I just don't seem to be healthily committed to other things.

As Always (sometimes less, sometimes more),

p.s. I finished Iodine last night. Talk about a woman with faith. I love Haven Kimmel. Expect some love for her in the next few days.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

So sorry.

There's always some reason not to blog.

There are a million awards being announced out there. You should look them up. Lists all over the blogosphere like here. Scroll down and see what there is to be found. I figure you don't need me restating all that. Oh, I have so much to read.

And I found this inspiring commencement speech given by David Foster Wallace via John Green. I want to post it on Facebook, send it to the Heebrids, make copies, commit it to memory. He said it so well, clearly, straight up. And he was an example of how thinking gets to be so difficult.

As always(oh woe),

Friday, January 16, 2009


I finished it last night. I do like books that read at a breakneck speed. This one did. Is it the romance, the action, both? Kristin Cashore created a character that is different than most--she has different wants than other book girls and it makes sense she understands herself as a girl given the power to kill. She takes little pleasure in this skill. Cashore wrote about Katsa's uncertainty with clarity. This book is in third person, yet it says very close to Katya's head. From the get-go Katya doesn't understand all that happens on her insides, but she begins to name her feelings and come to terms with her "real" self through her friendship with Po. I found the first half of the book, where Katsa learns so much of this, the most engaging. But the action keeps going and I couldn't put it down. Thanks, Kristin Cashore!

As Always(reporting my thought bit by bit),

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I changed things.

Don't know yet if it is better. Just different. Expect me to change them some more. And...(drum roll here) decided I don't like Goodread's widgets. You live and learn. That is what it is all about.

As Always (do you hear me now?)


I absolutely LOVE these covers.

As Always(thinking),

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Checked Out

This is what I actually have home from the library. I am going to try to keep that number low and actually read these two in the order that they came home. Which is first Graceling and then Iodine, but only after I finish People of the Book. It is experimental for me to read in such a orderly fashion. The other way I read is by the seat of my pants, letting my passions blow me with the wind. (That sounds dirty) Right now I have assignments. So it's a good time to stick to my library queue. Normally, I have a lot of respect for intuitive reading. If I weren't otherwise committed, I would trust that there were magical creative reasons to follow my reading gut.

As Always(stifling my instincts),

p.s. (this is a edit)It turns out that my book montage(at the top) changes everytime I change my bookshelves at good reads. See you learn something new everyday. Somedays you learn several things.

Good Reads


I have been slow to figure out this Facebook thing. I just added the Good Reads application. See my widget. It's a cool thing. And I like how easy it is. But do I enable feeds to Facebook wall? Now do I dig in there and try to find every book I have ever read and add it on? These are the questions I have to sit with.

As Always (slow),

Friday, January 9, 2009

A productive day.

Here's what it looks like.

I spend the first 20 minutes writing just anything. I'm deep enough into several projects that just anything is usually something but I have to be okay with it being nothing. When I do it without purpose it is almost always more effective then trying to write something. If that makes any sense. I write fast and I don't correct mistakes and push through until the end. I use this.

Sometimes that incites a breakthrough. What constitutes a breakthrough? Often it feels so big and turns out to be so little. Like here's the one that happened the other day. I have been working and working on this thing(novel) and it has been bothering me that the narration changes, in fact it seems to get easier as I go on. This girl that tells the story is loosening up, and I think it's because I am becoming a better novelist(and in fact I am), and this bothers me because I'm going to have to go back and rewrite the whole beginning(did you hear that wail in my voice?). But(here is where the epiphany comes in) she is in fact opening up. It's part of the story! Isn't that brilliant?

I didn't even know it.

I went on to do some revision, maybe a half a chapter(3 pages). A big day.

As Always (sometimes more),

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I finished it

I cried and cried. In the end, for book so completely about the death that Hitler caused, both Jew and other, I guess it is fitting that Death narrates and that his voice is so passive and tired and also accepting. How else would you expect Death to be?

I returned the book to my local branch of the Minneapolis Public Library to learn that there now will be overdue fines on Teen Fiction due to the merger with Hennepin County Library System. Luckily though I checked The Book Thief out in 2008 and I was grandfathered in to the old Minneapolis rules.

As Always (Moving on to People of the Book for Bookclub),

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Depeche Mode

Heard "Everything Counts" on on The Current yesterday (whoever DJs from 11:30 to noon on weekdays has got my number). Who knew that Depeche Mode would ring my bell? I couldn't have before yesterday. I can't stop singing it, writing the lyrics down and looking it up on Youtube. I actually could stop, but I haven't tried. It's been a good day for the book and this song has the book written all over it. Or perhaps the book is written all over this song.

As Always(thanking goodness),


The narrator of The Book Thief. You know how I said he bugs me. He still does. Sometimes because of his word choice. Sometimes because of his incessant foreshadowing. But often because he narrates in the passive voice. When he is doing his thing, that is. I didn't notice it at first. And so this is what I want to tell you about. How I read. This post is not about Death at all it is about me. I am a headlong reader, diving in and letting the story surround me. It is a really fun way to go, but I am blind to a lot. When something slows me down, I just keep trying to head-butt into it. I don't classify it or label it. In fact I rarely can put a word on it at first. I was 500 pages in to the book until I noticed that Death does his thing in the passive voice. I'm a little frustrated with myself (but also with Death).

As Always(slow to pick up),

Monday, January 5, 2009

Here's something

Via Elizabeth Bird at Fuse News. Submission Guidelines. In case I can. Save for later.

Didn't read any more of The Book Thief. I didn't read anything else either. I slept.

As Always (grateful to Elizabeth Bird),

Sunday, January 4, 2009


I read until four in the morning. Finished

Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers

She did a great job with a character who is depressed and anxious. Created some awesome transitions. And kept me up all night (which is no easy feat). I was very interested in what had happened and the unveiling of the incident was slow and satisfying. Well, fast. I guess I read it fast.

I have Graceling home.

Very tempted to start it. But I have to read The People of the Book by Gwendolyn Brooks for my bookclub and, as I said before, someone waits for my copy of The Book Thief.

As Always (on my way to yoga),

Saturday, January 3, 2009

I am now reading

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I am enjoying it. The story is great. Death bugs me. He is the narrator and I cannot tell if he is supposed to bug me. Are his weird use of verbs and his incessent foreshadowing just a quirks of death's character or what? They do pain me. But I love Liesel and Rudy and Rosa and Hans. I already feel as if I know what will happen with them because Death has told me. Of course Death should know this and I sort of like how time weaves around with him. But I feel as if he's toying with me. I will finish it. I have to keep pushing, someone else waits for me to return this book.

As Always (hmm),