Wednesday, August 27, 2014

'And wailing went the weather'

The weather has been miserable lately, I hope you have used it appropriately and curled up with a good book!

Monday, August 11, 2014

For fear of little men or of the Random Poetry Monster?

Dearest Reader,

I am sorry to inform you, but this blog has been hijacked.  Yes, and worse, it is all in the name of fine art.   The Random Poetry Monster has struck, and we are forced to capitulate.  Here then is the requisite random bit of verse:

Up the airy mountains,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren’t go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And white owl’s feather!


~William Allingham, ‘The Fairies’~

Now that the Monster is satisfied, you may return to your regularly scheduled web browsing experience.  Thank you.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

I have found my niche?

"The writing was exceptionally basic. Compare to See Spot Run almost. BUT I truly wish the author well as there is a hint of greater ability. One thing that actually shocked me was how one part towards the end appeared to be a very accurate and well worded description of our falling morals and ethics as they are happening presently."

This was a recent review at Barnes and Noble concerning "The Serpent and the Unicorn: Book I and II", alas all my literary dreams of greatness have been thwarted and anything I have ever written will hereafter be resigned to the second grade reading list; I was certain I had attained at least a sixth grade level…I appreciate a thoughtful review, this one was a little perplexing however.  I recently updated the series, and will agree that my writing style at the time was rather simplistic, not necessarily a bad thing when one is trying primarily to tell a story rather than perform grammatical gymnastics hoping to impress people.  During the revisions, I could have rewritten the entire thing but felt it would destroy what I still think is my best story; best story, not my best writing (my best writing at the time though).  That was my first book and I still enjoy reading it, albeit a rather straightforward read but that was also the point: my words are mere packaging for the ideas and stories, not there to necessarily be admired for their own sake, like fancy clothes.  See my post on George MacDonald for a similar situation (though I dare not compare myself to him!).  It has been seven years and a million words since that first book, I hope my writing has improved somewhat, which any talent, skill, art, or pursuit is certain to do with practice.  Except perhaps my piano playing.  But I am happy with my writing, and content with my progress so I suppose it is not a total loss, at least personally; any person silly enough to actually read my writing is no doubt bored out of their skull, however.

The last sentence is the confusing one to me, as if the writer were amazed that such a monosyllabic, drooling imbecile who writes for mere babes could herself understand history, morals, ethics, modern trends, theology, and the like!  As if a simplistic, straightforward writing style were indicative of a shallow mind with only a vapid comprehension of the world in which we live.  One of my favorite authors of all time writes board books (yes those 5 page, cardboard books meant for those toothless, nonverbal child-creatures).  I think it the hardest thing in the world to write a 20 word book and make it captivating to parent and child alike.  Now the 'Dick and Jane,' books are truly tedious, especially to children, and I hope my writing is not that dull!  I am no Tolkien and never will be, but then I do not aspire to be.  I write fairy tales and hope they are accessible and enjoyable to all ages.  Another of my favorite authors, and arguable one of the best writers of the 20th century, superbly expresses profound ideas in rather simplistic language, and never would I question the wit of C.S. Lewis (again, I merely play T-ball and he is in the Major Leagues!).  I never wonder at what Lewis is trying to say, whereas G.K. Chesterton often puzzles me, he is a witty and clever writer, but sometimes his wit obfuscates his meaning (or perhaps it is obvious to him and I, lacking his brilliance, cannot fully comprehend).  I would love to write like that, but not at the cost of confusing the reader.  What I lack in 'flare' I hope I make up for in substance, or at least in an interesting story.  The "See Spot Run,' books have exactly as much plot as that phrase contains and not a smidgen more, I will give up writing altogether if I am truly such a bore.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Summer Doldrums

It is that sleepy time of year when you are tired of summer and before the craziness of fall begins, better go read something while you can!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Summer Reading Assignment

I've let you laze in the sun too long, if you are utterly in need of something to read, might I recommend 'George MacDonald' by C.S. Lewis?  I thought it would be something like a biography but find it is actually 365 short excerpts, mostly from MacDonald's sermons and some from his fictional works.  It reads far more like 'The Imitation of Christ' or 'The Pensees' than anything else, not light reading but very worthwhile!  Otherwise, the fairy stories by either Lewis or MacDonald are certainly worth the read.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The seventh day?

At last, everything has been updated and revised, now I can get back to life as normal (if there is such a thing).  I have not done anything with Amazon and am not planning to, I haven't even uploaded my newer books there because it is not really worth the effort.  It may be different with their KDP exclusive authors, which I am not, but selling 2 books a year is not worth formatting something for amazonian distribution when doing it once for smashwords gets it everywhere but amazon.  There is also quite a bit more flexibility/user friendliness over at smashwords, so that is where the bulk of my attention will remain.  I have nothing against Amazon, but they just make the whole process inconvenient and are rather indifferent to us foolish non-exclusive people; they also deal in many things besides books, which means it is just another line of merchandise to them and not a passion, as well as a business, like it is elsewhere.  I like rubbing elbows with my fellow obsessees!  Of course I know this bit of independent rebellion won't even register as a flea bite to them, it is not intended to, I just have limited time and have chosen to spend it elsewhere.  It is also ebook month or some such over at smashwords.com, my books as well as countless others are discounted or free, so go read something!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Just a hobby?

"I would not know how to advise a man how to write. It is a matter of talent and interest. I believe he must be strongly moved if he is to become a writer. Writing is like a "lust," or like "scratching when you itch." Writing comes as a result of a very strong impulse, and when it does come, I for one must get it out." ~C.S. Lewis

I came across the above recently and thought it very much to the point (is Lewis ever anything but?).  There seems to be a bit of a fad among the various 'author' type websites I occasionally frequent to have writers answer questions about their own experiences and insights for their fans and aspiring writers, the favorite question seems to be, 'how would you encourage aspiring writers or what advice would you give to budding authors?'  I have to agree with Lewis in this, any one can sit down and write something, but to truly be a writer I think the old greeks were not far wrong in their belief in the muses: it is just a great urge you get and you must put pen to paper and are not satisfied until you do.  Much like Jeremiah who said his bones were afire until he prophesied, whether he wanted to or not.  It is just something you must do, else it is just a hobby.