Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Apparently Walter Mosley Knows his Stuff

Okay,okay, so Walter Mosley is on to something with this writing everyday thing so that the "continent of thought below your conscious mind" can work on the story. The book was available earlier than the date I saw on amazon. I ended up buying it a week and half ago and pretty much finished it in one sitting. It is a slim volume but full of sage advice from a writer who works at his craft. I found the third person narrative section especially helpful since that is an element I am curently struggling with. He states that "...we are viewing the world through the prism of the intelligent eye perched on Brent's shoulder, an intelligence without emotional response." That pretty much echoes what my writing group came up with when I read a passage from a short story that swings from a ten-year old girl's thoughts to an objective narrative voice within the same paragraph. They suggested that for it to work in my particular story that when the narrative voice is on, it can't include any of my usual metaphorical language. It's hard for me to do but it makes complete sense. I've been working on my story, even when I don't feel like it and finally it has fallen into some shape that feels right. And once that happened things from the first story fell into place. I'd wake up and think,"Oh, it's Barbie dolls in that scene, not baby dolls. And this scene needs to be moved from the second story to the first." And so on. So I am waking up like he said, further along in my story than when I left it the day before.

He also suggests that there is no vacation from writing. Literally. That you should write on the beach or wherever you happen to be. If you get a tooth pulled then put your character in a dentist's chair. Well... I leave for vacation tomorrow and I can pretty much guarantee you that I will not be writing everyday. Or maybe any day. I'll bring my notebooks and if I write anything that's something since I am giving myself permission to just not write for the next week. Does that make sense? With the pressue off, I am certain I will probably write at some point. Whereas if I demanded that I write everyday, well, that just wouldn't happen and I'd have the guilt on top of it.

I am stunned that Oprah chose "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy. Thrilled but stunned. It is not her usual woman truimphs in the end sort of novel. Not by a long shot. I read this the day it came out practically and pretty much in one sitting. Could not put it down. I even underlined sentences as I read... they are that breathtkaing. Anyway, now that it's out in paperback, everyone should read it. Really, go buy. Read it. It's amazing.

Another book I couldn't put down was "Awake in the Dark" by Shira Nayman. These are short stories and a novella that explore the deeply held secret life of holocaust survivors, what they endured, what they had to do to survive and the toll it took on them and their children as the secrets eventually surface. Highly recommended.

I am currently reading "Moral Disorder" by Margaret Atwood. Will write on it when I finish. So so usual.

My piece is now on There are also interviews with a some great writers- Billy Collins, Sara Gruen.

The Altercations conference in Ann Arbor is open for registration today. I went last year and ended up creating two beautiful collages that are now hanging in my house. This year I am interested in two classes. One in image transfer and the other in painting and mixing colors to get vibrant lush backgrounds.

Just finished a logo and sign for a church out in Arizona. And my sister and I also designed some logo ideas for our other sister in Florida. That was fun.

We are off to Connecticut and Philadelphia tomorrow for spring break. It's not a warm beach but it is family and our daughters seem to prefer that. So, no more posts until the week of April 15. Now I get to go pick my books for the trip. I love that part of packing.

"The reader is always looking for two things in the novel: themsleves and transcendence."
- Walter Mosley


Anonymous said...

I haven't yet bought this book! I'm saving it for right before I start writing my novel. I have this my head. You make me look forward to getting this book. Hope your travels were safe.

Kim Haas said...

Courtney- It's a book definitely worth reading and keeping on the permanent bookshelf to dip into for inspiration/motivation as needed.