Saturday, May 10, 2008
Cloudy and warm
I’m back. I lived a lifetime in a few days, and had my hands full with my elderly relatives and their primary care person, who was also under the weather. Unfortunately, I can’t go into details without invading their privacy, much as I would like your opinions on some of the events. Let’s just say it was – and is – complicated.
We had some beautiful days, though. I managed to stop for awhile at one of the Ongonquit beaches. On another day, I drove up to Naples and around Long Lake and Sebago Lake. Just gorgeous.
I stopped at three great restaurants: Amore Breakfast in Ongonquit, The Stone Dog Café in North Windham, and my old favorite, The Egg and I, in Ogonquit. Of course, we stopped at The Stonewall Kitchen to stock up. They have a new Roasted Apple grilling sauce that’s wonderful, and a Mango Lime Salsa. Plus, I needed the Garlic Teriyaki and the Wasabi Ginger sauces.
I continued reading Will in the World, and taking notes for the various projects it feeds. It truly is one of the best biographies I’ve ever read. The author, Shakespearean scholar Stephan Greenblatt, has a play he co-wrote, Cardenio, opening at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge. I’d like to get up there to see it. It’s only running until June 8, and I’m not sure I can get up there within the time frame, but I’d like to.
I was disappointed in two other books I took up with me. Both were by authors I don’t know personally, but whose work I’ve read before, and who I understand from others are lovely people. Both sell very well, and I respect what they’ve achieved in the business. One author’s work I’d read before and liked; the other’s work I’d read before and it exasperated me, due to the lack of research and believability. The attitude that came across to me was, “well, I’m writing fiction, so who cares? I’m supposed to make it up.” I thought maybe I’d been unfair and should give Author #2 another chance with my money and time. Won’t make that mistake again. The ideas were fun, but poorly executed. The work took place overseas, and it was obviously she got her info from the tourist board and something like Wikipedia. There was no sense of anything unique about it – it was advertorial travel babble, not a true sense of place. And, while I thought some of the ideas were clever, the execution was poor. I know this author sells A LOT, but, although some of the ideas are clever and fun, I find the writing sloppy and all the protagonists and antagonists always sound exactly the same, no matter from which country they supposedly originate. There’s no cadence, there’s no individuality in either people or place. And it drives me nuts.
At least there weren’t any typos. That author has a good copyeditor!
The other book, by the author whose work I previously liked, was an even bigger disappointment. Again, some interesting ideas. But I loathed the female protagonist. There was absolutely no reason for me to give a damn whether or not she survived, much less succeeded in her quest. I hated her and wished she’d be killed off. She was weak, stupid, and selfish, and, when she had shown zero growth by the midpoint of the book and zero potential for it, I put the book down.
But no typos.
I did read the last chapter to see if I should go back and read the second half of the book – couldn’t be bothered. Ick. Which is a shame, because I’ve really enjoyed other work by this author. It doesn’t put me off the author, unless the next few books alienate me as well. I think writers should write whatever they want to explore, and not every book is going to please every reader. It is the writer’s right to follow the vision. Once I’ve decided I like a writer, it usually takes several books to alienate me.
I got more writing done than I expected, which is good. Of course, none of it was on what I planned to work. It was an idea I had while in Maine, and Maine is practically a character in it. It means doing some research on the natural history of Maine, but that will be fun.
I also got some ideas for a new Fearless Ink brochure, which I will sketch out and work on this week. I found some places for whom I’d really like to write on this trip, but I need a new brochure, and I think I’m out of business cards.
The mail tampering in this building has gotten out of control. It’s time to bring in the US Postal Inspectors. I had someone stop by to pick up the mail every day I was gone after work – and by the time the person got here, the mail that didn’t fit into the boxes had been tossed. I’ve talked to management over and over and OVER about this, and we have an eyewitness to the perpetrator, who was spoken to about the fact that removing someone’s mail is a felony. His response was to shrug, walk away, and keep doing it. Time to bring in the feds. I put up a poster provided by the post office with the consequences of mail tampering and it was ripped off the wall during the day. Gee, wonder who’s doing it? Three guesses, bet you’ll get it in one. I’m going to keep printing them and keep putting them up. It is my right, as it is my right to have un-tampered mail. I should not have to pay for a post office box because building employees are thieves. I warned building management what the consequences would be of ignoring this situation; now it’s time to show them I’m serious.
Yesterday was a raw, rainy, cold day, so of course I was running around like crazy and got soaked to the skin. I’d had to cancel out of a few things because of complications in Maine and here at the building. But I was still running around enough to be soaked to the skin.
On the up side, I stopped in a bookstore because I wanted something different. I wanted new-to-me authors and something I wasn’t being paid to read.
I picked up two books. One, Summers at Castle Auburn, is by one of my favorite authors, Sharon Shinn. The other is an anthology called Misspelled, edited by a new-to-me author (with an amazing track record) named Julie E. Czerneda. I started reading it on the train, and all I have to say is:
What a great, witty, charming, intelligent, inventive collection of stories! I can’t wait to go to the bookstore and get more by these authors. I sat down and read the whole anthology late last night and into this morning, cover to cover. I liked every single story in it, but my favorites were “Trippingly off the Tongue” by Lesley Livingston, “8 rms, full bsmt” by Kristine Smith, “Chafing the Bogyman” by Kristen Britain,, “A Perfect Circle” by Kent Pollard, and “Crosscut” by S.W. Mayse (every writer should read this one). It was actually hard to pick these, because I liked all the stories so much. The first two mentioned particularly enchanted me. Livingston either just had a novel come out, or one is coming out this summer, and I’ll definitely buy it. I don’t want to tell authors what to write (hating it so much myself), but I hope Kristine Smith does more with her story’s characters. I can’t stand golf and Kristen Britain’s story still captured me. I don’t game or know anything about gaming, but Pollard’s story was so well written it hooked and carried me. All of the stories are worth reading – the inventiveness, the quality of writing, the flashes of humor!
Bookstore, here I come!
What a great way to end the week!
Tons of errands to run this morning, and bills to pay. And then I have to buckle down and have a very productive writing weekend. Deadlines are looming, some new contracts came in, and next month’s bills will be here before I want them.
A new idea sprang fully formed into my head. I’ll make some notes on it, and put it in the queue.