Book junkie

I’m moving In a few weeks, and I’ve been busy packing up my life. Altogether too many crafts, every type of drinking glass, too many kitchen implements, and fourteen! boxes of books. I live in an apartment. I’m moving to a smaller one. Those books will ensure the apartment never gets blown over…

So, as I packed the boxes, pitying my movers and worrying about space for the cat, I sorted some out to take to my local used book store, a fantastic kingdom called Doull’s. I’ve written about this place before, but just to remind you, gentle reader, it is a paradise of serendipitous finds filled with staff who can find anything, anywhere. I love this place more than any bookstore I’ve ever entered.

Part of the magic involves the apparently careless piles of books everywhere. I say apparently because I’m onto you, Mr. Doull. I know you are sprinkling bread crumbs to lure your bibliophiles further into the lair, where they will find untold must-have treasures. Tasty titles topple on wobbling towers, begging for rescue.

I find it hard to get down the first hallway without five urgently-needed books in hand unless I close my eyes and plunge dangerously forward. Did I mention there are New Yorker note cards in one corner? They stack very well on top of my seven books (it’s a bit down the hallway).

The wonderful Mr. Doull assessed my cargo, and gave me a value. It wouldn’t have mattered how much he offered, frankly, though he was very fair. In front of me following the transaction lies a glittering trail of books that soon will be mine…once I move, set up my bookshelves and shave the cat.

It’s better than the yellow brick road.

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On anger, depression, Robin Williams, Terry Pratchett, and writing

I read an article yesterday by Neil Gaiman about Terry Pratchett, author of the fantastic, funny, wise, and seriously wonderful Discworld series. Neil was asked about Terry, about how he must be such fun.

Neil told a story of Terry, about how he’d been furious one time and about how he’d told Neil that it was the fury that drove him to write. He was furious about his Alzheimer’s. I felt a surge of recognition.

Though I try to out a good face on it of acceptance and “enjoy each day”, I am completely furious that multiple sclerosis has robbed me of my life. Scrape the surface of my cheer and you’re likely to see tears or rage. I spent years, years, educating my mind. I was moving rapidly forward on my career, heading for a position where I could have significant impact on things. I wanted that, I tasted that, I respected people with a mission. And then MS came and struck my brain. Cognitive assessments tell me I should concentrate on things requiring no more than 20 minutes concentration.
This is very true for complicated tasks, and , alas, my writing. So I’m trying to shift my focus to less verbal/executive/numerical things, to more generalized creativity, but I feel the loss. I feel it every day I get up and am baffled by simple tasks. It breaks my heart, every day.

And so I rage. And like many, I turn that rage inwards, towards depression. Part of the depression is because of the MS brain damage – perhaps the depression associated with Parkinson’s damage was the final push for Robin Williams, poor and wonderful man. Part is because, like Terry and Robin, I share the telescope-turned-backwards view of a progressive, disabling disease that will not just kill me, but will make me a crippled, incompetent, incontinent, dependent thing first.

It’s all about generativity. About the ability to contribute in some meaningful way. For Terry and Robin, perhaps the thought of no longer being able to be brilliant is/was too much. I’m not burdened by assumptions of brilliance – I’m nowhere near these guys on the scale. They bring (still) joy to millions, I might do the same for a few, and I’m content with that, most of the time.

Other times I grieve what I might have been.

And then I give my head a shake and vow to make every minute count while I can still manage those twenty minutes. So I pick up my pen, my creative projects, my advocacy, my friendships, my joy, and surge onwards…

Because it’s the rage that fuels me, too.

http://www.theguardian.com/profile/neil-gaiman<<a

Publishing Is Rotten To The Core

dorothyanneb:

Definitely worth a read…

Originally posted on David Gaughran:

&quot;Rotten apple&quot; by Kulmalukko. CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

“Rotten apple” by Kulmalukko. CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

There is something seriously askew with the supposed values of the publishing business.

The most egregious behavior continually gets overlooked, ignored, and swept under the carpet, in favor of pursuing pet targets.

As always, I’m conscious of whose agenda this serves and why writers allow themselves to be used as pawns in this game.

Exhibit A: Harlequin

Amazon is regularly slated for the way it manages its tax affairs. I have written extensively about this before, but, in short, Amazon is using extremely common methods for minimizing its tax bills that are used by every major tech company (and many other multinational corporations too).

You can argue these loopholes should be closed (and I would agree), but these actions are legal. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the major publishers, and the global media conglomerates which own…

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Transitions

I’m moving again, to a smaller apartment, with adaptations for my disability. It’s pretty swanky and I am looking forward to it, though I have a disturbing feeling of claustrophobia as I pack my fourteenth book box…but I’m not ready to part with those books yet.

Many I have on my to be read list; others are dream books; some are classics. My books encircle me, help define me. Where would I be without Winnie the Pooh, with the original illustrations in colour? Or Ogden Nash’s crazy poetry collection? Or Thomas Merton, Henning Mankell, philosophers, Anne of Green Gables, Hop On Pop, Trevor Cole, Alistair Macleod and Alexander, Bronwyn Wallace, oh so many more friends of books lined up, each of them offering either a new adventure or a familiar visit with friends.

But I feel a bit as if I am in “the garden of forking paths”, as J.L. Borges said, or is that “the forking garden of paths?” In many ways my life seems to be getting smaller, forcing me to work small, think small, focus small.
This is not altogether a bad thing, just unfamiliar to this ‘big picture’ gal. I’m finding small projects in writing and otherwise, and adjusting my expectations.

It’s all part of growing up, I think, and settling into who I am. I’m leaving writing mystery stories and easing into humour and stories for younger folk. I’m playing with new fibre arts, music, and other artistic venues. Every one of them small, so as to fit in my smaller life. I’m not bothering to try to be what people think I should be any more. It’s a good place to be, though the one thing I wish was smaller (me) stays firmly round!

I wonder how long I can bear it before I need to break out and breathe bigger air….or before I fold and change my life again….for right now, all seems cozy and comfortable. It’s all in boxes, tidily tucked away…

The ethereal, synchronous nature of writing, and how it can totally creep a person out

There’s a magical thing that happens when I write. My brain gets into that flow state and I wander along, my thoughts outracing my consciousness. My characters develop their own interests, go off on unplanned adventures, mutter to themselves far too much. They wax rhapsodic about sunsets and hair colour and the flush on their cheeks. They stride and growl, snort and writhe.
In short, they take over and become boorish. They start talking over each other, minor characters drink too much and push the major ones around. But somewhere underneath this rambunctious behaviour, they talk about truth.
Yesterday I met with my writing mentor and discussed my current work in progress, a young adult book that I thought my characters had made up as they played, loosely based on some terrible events in my life. As we talked about how to make the story better, my mentor gradually narrated the story of my life to me.
Totally freaked both of us out. We don’t know each other well at all. We’ve met three times, and it’s always been in an “honourable teacher/humble student” arrangement, at least on my side. And there she was, supposing this, supposing that, based on the story I had made up (which was quite different), telling my life.
And I realized the story was really about something I hadn’t dealt with, about a different event, and my powerlessness in that and my regret that I hadn’t been able to solve the issue, or protect the people involved.
Not the event I thought it was about at all.
So now I’m excited about rewriting, for many reasons. First, there’s a truth there that I think might help others, or at least make a meaningful story. Second, I’m down to the nugget now, have stripped away all the blather my characters were using to conceal their motives from me. It’s going to look better.
All because of a conversation with a surprisingly kindred spirit and excellent mentor. And several strange synchronicities that out both of us in the same place mentally at the same

Oh, Roberta Flack….