The best bits and pieces of stories most often come from the author's own life. It is perhaps a logical extension of the concept "Write what you know.". One thing that is not depicted very frequently is the mental process of someone with allergies going out to eat in a strange city. Every restaurant must be weighed by the old standby of risk and reward. What are the most common ingredients, what are the chances of cross contamination, how badly does the protagonist want to avoid the consequences of the allergy in question? All these questions and more could be presented as either dialogue or internal dialogue. Of course in this author's case, writing what I know, would mainly involve giving up and making a meal at home like usual...
Certain authors missed two days of work due to being sick as a dog. But here are some pretty and inspirational images from Crater Lake National Park.
I finally picked up "The Picture of Dorian Grey" to read. So far I haven't made it past the introduction. Like many good books the words of the author made me stop and think. Oscar Wilde, as represented by the words he chose to adorn his book, claimed that art, or rather a book could not be moral or immoral. Considered as art a book is only ever either poorly or well written.
I cannot agree with this as it seems to me that it is splitting hairs. Morality refers to the thoughts and actions of people of course and cannot be applied to inanimate objects.
Art; but especially books do more than stimulate emotion and sensation, they present an idea and when an idea is presented there is always the potential for a lie to be told. A book never read can of course be said to have no moral or immoral value, but if it can be judged as good or bad literature then it is being read, it is acting upon its audience. Books, in that they are a continuation of their authors' thoughts and deeds can have moral, immoral, or neutral consequences. A book which tells a lie, that glorifies the despicable can inspire the people who read it to immoral acts, it can needlessly darken a spirit, and it can inspire other lies like it.
A leg trap is only steel. Cold metal may not be inherently moral or immoral but if someone set it in a path and let it capture and break a leg of a passer by that would be an immoral act. The fact that the trap itself is an inanimate object does not negate that fact. What gives books and art in general the power that it has is the fact that it can be dangerous, and it is the well written lies that present the greater danger.
So there is a popular list meme around the internet. In fact given the nature of the list I am fairly sure it predates the internet by a good century or two. The base form is
"The x-number of things (name) is not allowed/no longer allowed to do in (situation)." The implication being that these things were attempted/had happened/were shot down when seeking clarification.
The details vary with the situation but one that remains fairly constant is this.
#87 If the thought of something makes me giggle for longer than 15 seconds, I am to assume that I am not allowed to do it.
Well I was giggling for a good five minutes today....
Today's spontaneous writing exercise was to take the tune of "My Favorite Things" and give it words fitting for a terrestrial ecology crew...There is no way I can let this rest now so hopefully I will still be employed next week.
“Wit and puns aren't just decor in the mind; they're essential signs that the mind knows it's on, recognizes its own software, can spot the bugs in its own program.”
― Adam Gopnik
So my coworker and I somehow got on the topic of puns today. I suppose one must have come up in the natural course of the conversation but it was while the rest of my mind was busily chiding itself for leaving my most expensive and difficult to replace piece of equipment on a rock to be noticed and commented on my the trout man. (He has a name I am sure but at the end of the day mostly my hungry stomach remembers that he catches and cooks delicious trout.) Anyhow the topic turned to puns and we began firing back one after another to mutual groaning and laughter. Porpoises, clairvoyant midgets, and Kermit the frog were all up for grabs. But then reality reinserted itself in the form of necessary paperwork and we were pulled back to the real world.
Such is life.
Puns do however provided just a moment where the absolute ridiculousness of the world can be laughed at.
The author had a close encounter of the spotty kind on the way home from the grocer today. A fawn, just a few weeks old at most, paused in the road in front of me and panicked in the most adorable manner. Its mother hovered at the edge of the road eyeing me as if trying to determine if she could take out a station wagon. After a few false starts the fawn darted to its mother's side and hesitated until I managed to get my camera up, then rushed into the brush before I could get a picture.
Ideas can be like that too. They come at the most inopportune times and flee before they can be properly developed. This author compensates by keeping a notepad and pencil handy at all times. Of course sometimes this means I wake up in the morning with a note I only half remember scrabbling down that says "UM remembers link to FT and realizes important fact!!!!Will connect protagonist better. Salmon." Midnight ideas might not always lead to a great story but I won't take the chance of missing one.
While after three decades this author is conversant with most of the modern English language in use there are still those words that surprise and delight me even in my native tongue. Outside of the borders of English however exists worlds of words for things that I didn't even realize needed names until I hears (read) them.
Today's word is tsundoko. This little gem comes to us from the islands of Japan and refers to the state of being of a house or room whose occupant constantly buys books. One who buys them so frequently that their fate is to overflow the shelves and pile up everywhere. How did I exist without this word?
When exactly does a story become a classic? At what point does the energy of a literary conversation shift from the delighted and surprised discovery that you too have read this book to the subtle surprise that you in fact have not. Huckleberry Finn, The Call of the Wild, Old Yeller; it is expected that if you by some freak have not read at least some version of them than you at least know the important bits. A raft on the Mississippi River, the lonely voice of the wild calling to the kin it recognizes in the tame beast, and of course the dog dies.
Now by some fluke of culture and chance whatever mysterious force forges these classics missed on of the best dog stories of all time: Owd Bob: The Grey Dog of Kenmuir . I use the title 'dog story' a bit loosely here. Yes Bob and his counterpart Red Mull are the most central figures and the story follows their growth and accomplishments, but they are like the rough Yorkshire landscape of the late 1800's. Powerful, ever affecting the story, always there, but not quite central. Rather the hearts of man, the quite power wielded by the women of the time, the devotions between lovers, and the terrible heartbreak that can exist between fathers and sons is what the readers take away.
The hardest part of writing? Simply put, the writing. Ideas come or don't come with ones muse. Editing is done in due time and flows dependent on the editor. Marketing follows the timeless tradition of persistence and the fads of the markets. But there comes a time when an author simply has to sit down and, to paraphrase an old screen writer, torture the laptop until is sings like a canary. So I write. Word after word, paragraph after paragraph.
One of the great things about writing is that no matter how badly your toe got twisted when you tripped over a flat surface it won't interfere with your work...your day job however is a different matter. Ouch.
Betty Adams is an up and coming author with a bent for science and Sci-fi.