Sunday, March 25, 2007

Light Bulb

If I had a picture of a light bulb I’d put it here.  Yes, I have an idea.  Or the beginning of an idea.  Actually, that’s not true.  I have the whole idea, but not the middle.  Strange for me but I have the end.  Or what I now think is the end.  I have ideas about my protagonist.  And the title came to me this minute while writing this.  It’s a title I’ve used before.  A long time ago and in another medium.  I always wanted to use it again.

This idea requires research.  Research that might be great fun if it doesn’t eventually drive me insane.  I think it’ll be both hard and easy to write.  I know that’s confusing but I can’t explain or I’d be telling too much.  I never talk about a book I’m thinking of or writing.  I believe if you talk about it you don’t write it.  Talking it away, is what I call it. I may be telling too much now.

  I know that this could all crash and burn.  I’ll be disappointed if that happens, but after putting 200 pages in a drawer this year I think I’ll survive.

How did this come about?  After reading Laura Lippman’s new book it made me want to write.  That’s happened to me before after reading a good novel. This isn’t about competition. It’s the kick in the pants I needed.  That, coupled with all the reading I’ve been doing, relaxing, and not uselessly grasping for an idea.  Suddenly there  it was.  But it wasn’t anymore sudden than noticing your hair’s turned gray. 

Here’s the rub.  I don’t feel like writing.  Or giving myself a start date.  For now it’s enough to think about it….not talk about it.  I know I’ll hit the keys one of these days.

Congratulations are not in order. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Laura Lippman

I’ve never written this kind of post and perhaps will never write one again, but I decided it fit here because it’s really about the growth of a writer.

This is not a book review, but I must say something about  Lippman's new book, WHAT THE DEAD KNOW.

I have not always been a fan of Lippman's writing. I read her first book and I think the second and dismissed her. She will tell you herself that her first five books aren't her best.

I kept reading the raves about her. The winning of all the prizes. I'd see special sections devoted to her in bookstores. I couldn't understand it and I began to hate her. I didn't know her, we'd never met. I hated her because I was jealous.

Then last summer we were on a panel together. I found her charming and bright and funny. I immediately got a copy of NO GOOD DEEDS, which I liked a great deal. It's a good book.

I was looking forward to WHAT THE DEAD KNOW and now I've read it. The novel is wonderful. Thinking back to that first book I'm astonished at how much this writer has grown. We all want to get better as we go on, but not everyone does. Some get worse.

WHAT THE DEAD KNOW is a great accomplishment. I almost felt that I was reading a different writer, but that's because she's written a novel that's taken her eleven books to get to this place. Practice, practice, practice. And I'd guess she's learned a lot from reading.

So, run, don't walk, to your nearest bookstore and get a copy of WHAT THE DEAD KNOW.

If Laura Lippman doesn't get a bunch of prizes for this I'll be astonished. And mad. I'm not jealous anymore. I'm delighted for her.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


“The writer who possesses the creative gift owns something of which he is not always master- something that at time strangely wills and works for itself."

Charlotte Bronte

Friday, March 16, 2007

Building Blocks

I haven’t posted in awhile because I don’t have much to say.  Still, since this is a blog about writing I guess it’s important to say I’m still not writing.

A friend suggested the other night that I have a block.  That would be a writer’s block.  I don’t think that’s what it is.  I’ve had them in my life and they were very different.  They were “I want so much to write but I can’t.”  One time, when I’d sit at my desk I’d feel faint.  This time I simply don’t WANT to write.  Not now.  I hope it’s only for now.  But how long is now?

That’s the only thing that worries me.  How long?  That’s scary. What if it goes on for years?  What if I die before I write my 20th book?  Well, so what?  If I do, I do. In the grander scheme of things it won’t make a bit of difference.

Now and then a half-formed idea squiggles through my brain only to die young.  Maybe I kill it because I don’t WANT to write.

I’m enjoying reading and not being on a schedule.  Still, every time a writer I like publishes I feel a little ping.

But it’s not a block.  I don’t have the desire or the will right now.  And for the moment I feel all right with that.  But how long will a moment last?


Saturday, March 03, 2007


"The human brain is the laziest apparatus in the world. If you start to revise before you’ve reached the end, you’re likely to begin dawdling with the revisions and putting off the difficult task of writing. Unless I find I’ve made some drastic mistake in characterization or basic structure, I never go back until I’ve written the last page."

Pearl S. Buck