Ooh, after the week I've had with babysitter woes, I have really been looking forward to my Friday post where I get to let my hair down, sit back, and ponder the inane, quirky habits of that ecelectic species, writer.
This week's spotlight gelled for me in a dream last night. I haven't had the best luck with working things out in the subconscious before, but man, last night, the stars must have aligned because when I woke up, what I dreamt actually made sense.
You might be a writer if...you swoon for writers like they were rock stars.
I mean the Leif Garrett/David Cassidy kind of swooning, where your heart gets up to some crazy erratic pace and your head feels so hot, you think you might lift off the ground or explode. Yep, that's what great writing does for writers.
Okay, maybe just a little, but what writer hasn't had that moment when a turn of phrase in a piece stopped them dead in their tracks. Where they sat there, saying it out loud, letting the words roll and bump across their lips as they savored the flavor of great writing.
And then became insanely curious to learn about the person who wrote that. So much so you, say, maybe googled them? Checked out their wikipedia page? Looked for interviews. Driven by the haunting memory of that amazing combination of letters and sounds that became greater than the sum of its parts.
I know. I'm swooning again.
I didn't used to swoon so for writers, not before I became one. I always read a lot, tons, but honestly, I wasn't all that into remembering author names. It was all about book titles, or even more simply, the story itself.
Now that I am a writer, now that I'm constantly working to improve my craft, I've become a closetcase fan of other writers. Then again, it may only be me who thinks my curiosity and interest is secret. I've seen my friends give me that funny look when I start going on and on and on about how I'd love to have Markus Zusak and his family over for a grill party. Kids would be playing on the swing set (I have no idea if he has kids. I do.) Spouses would get along great. And we'd talk about whatever. Not necessarily books, but life. I mean, who wouldn't want to kibbutz a little with the person who wrote:
As it turned out, Ilsa Hermann not only gave Liesel Meminger a book that day. She also gave her a reason to spend time in the basement - her favorite place, first with Papa, then Max. She gave her a reason to write her own words, to see that words had also brought her to life.
"Don't punish yourself," she heard her say again, but there would be punishment and pain, and there would be happiness too. That was writing.
Do you have a lighter lit and are waving it in the air like me? I mean, gees, that's just one line. The whole rest of the book is just as strong.
Zusak is just one example on my ever growing list of authors I'd love to meet and talk with. I don't mean interview talk. I mean Paris, early 20th century, Picasso taking on Modigliani talk. I mean, Hemingway vs. Fitzgerald. You know, arguing and debating, chewing and reforming and rewriting what makes good art in a seedy bar with a good French wine. They argued. They debated. They drank. They lived. They created. They changed the world.
God, what a time that must have been. An unending concert of ideas matching pitch and being reworked into something new and brilliant.
I'm swooning just thinking about it.
*****On a very little side note to rising fame and writer fortune, my book, Dragon Wishes, was an Honorable Mention in the San Francisco Book Festival this week. I feel like a rocker who's finally playing decent venues. Hopefully, one day, it'll be the Met.
Valensteins: Ethan Long
2 days ago