“The love of learning, the sequestered nooks,
And all the sweet serenity of books.”
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint…. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting.”
~Henry David Thoreau
I didn’t notice that both quotes came from two different men named, “Henry”…my my.
So while at Borders, perusing the aisles with a broad-ended goal of purchase, I was met with a number of fascinations as much as nettling realities. Of the latter, I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that there will perhaps never be another werewolf story of a serious mind that I can enjoy. It’s all hot babes, downplayed transformations, and supernatural cliches. Who needs rounded characters when we have archetypes that will be sure to get your loins burning?
On the other hand, I was browsing the Reference section and skimmed through some interesting books on writing. I probably should’ve been on this sooner, but I haven’t actually put pen-to-paper in terms of mapping out Part 2. Not really. Yesterday was a major accomplishment (for me anyway) as I finally laid down some general plot points to meet. I try to forgive myself the basic story for Part 1, as “Tributaries” was meant to be introductory in nature, and very much character-driven. But for Part 2, I wanted to do something a little less elementary. So I was flipping through these books, and while none jumped out at me and screamed “Buy me!” I took note of a few for later use:
The Writer’s Complete Fantasy Reference by Writers Digest
Plot & Structure: (Techniques And Exercises For Crafting A Plot That Grips Readers From Start To Finish) (Write Great Fiction)
The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers
I’ll admit, I don’t know if any of those titles are any good. As I said, I just breezed through them…and I picked up more than that, but those are the ones I remember. If you’d like a recommendation from me on a good writing book to pick up, then I’d suggest:
Spunk & Bite: A Writer’s Guide to Bold, Contemporary Style by Arthur Plotnik
THIS was something that screamed, “Buy me!” It’s a great book on how to spice up your writing through vocabulary, grammar, and imagery. The entire book serves as one fantastic example of how to achieve pizzazz–and offers lots of other, smaller examples from other established writers. I’ve hopped around, reading it in parts, and I can hardly get through a page before I’m furiously scribbling in a notepad. It’s like Redbull for the mind.
Well after checking out that aisle, I drifted on over to the Gay & Lesbian Fiction area. I’ve come out to some people about my sexuality, but it still feels a bit…ah…bold (?) to go fondling the spines of lesbian lit. In a way, I find it silly. Half the books there don’t deal with sexuality as a conflict…the main characters just so happen to be gay. Today, though, I want to announce that I didn’t duck my head or flinch when I picked up Rita Mae Brown’s Rubyfruit Jungle. I’d like to think it’s because I’m getting more comfortable in my own skin–but I’ll admit, no one walked by me. (ha, gosh I’m terrible.)
Anyway, here’s the book. I’ve only read five pages, but so far it’s rather humorous.
Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown
I’m excited to read this, but it’s occured to me that I’ve developed an alarming habit. In grade school I didn’t start a new book until I finished reading one. Sometimes I’d read two at a time, but I’d make sure I’d finish them before moving on. Somewhere around the end of highschool I started to read books, put them down, and not pick them up again for months, where in the meantime I’d start something else. It got up to the point that I’d start four books, and start reading four more. The number of books unfinished are so many that I can’t remember them all–a horrific situation.
Of the ones I can remember: Dante’s Inferno by Dante Alighieri, Ubik by Philip K. Dick, The Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker, Fall Guy by Carol Lea Benjamin, and Cornel West’s Democracy Matters. (there’s more from Clive Barker, and perhaps some from Stephen King, but I can’t remember the exact titles…)
Right now, I’m re-reading Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by You-Know-Who (oh ho ho!), and Kitty Raises Hell by Carrie Vaughn.
And on loan from my friends are some comic book anthologies: Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight”, Marvel’s complete “Civil War”, and Marvel’s collection of Iron Man “Civil War” related stories.
Don’t even get me started on the books I plan to read…
Since I’m on the topic of books, I just wanted to recommend to you guys this one:
Stray by Sheri Joseph
Thirty-year-old Kent McKutcheon has come to Atlanta with little ambition beyond his earnest desire to grow up and be a good person. But after a year of contented, stable existence with his Mennonite wife, Maggie, a defense attorney with a passion for social justice, Kent cannot quiet his longing for Paul, the lover who abandoned him three years before. When an accidental meeting revives their affair, the infatuation they’ve kept private soon threatens to destroy the public persona each man has created.
In a single night that slips out of control, the volatile mix of emotions leads to murder, and all three characters are suddenly more involved with each other’s lives than they could have foreseen. And none can hope to escape unscathed.
I finished this great book sometime ago, but I’ve got to say…It really did amaze me. I picked it up because a book group I had subscribed to brought it up during discussion. I couldn’t put it down. It really was the first book of its sort that has sucked me in so completely–normally romantic dramas of this sort have me scoffing like it were something Lifetime had conjured up…but that isn’t the case with this book. It felt true to the intimacy of relationships, and none of the characters I could really bring myself to hate, instead I felt for each and everyone of them. In fact, I loved them all so much I wished in a naive, idealistic sort of way that I’d get a fairy-tale ending. Instead, what I got was something that rang true of life, without seeming like an exhausted and typical conclusion to a three-way love triangle. In my opinion it would probably make a great indie drama flick (but of course, much of the magic of this story rests in Joseph’s careful and poetic portrayals of the three main characters, something I don’t think can be easily translated into film.) I guess what I love most is that I feel like I can read this book again, right now, and still love every minute of it. Not many books can make me feel that way.
So there. Go buy that and Spunk and Bite!
Here’s to hoping that my reads will give me lots of inspiration. My motivation is pretty high right now. I’ll try and resume work on Chap 8.3 tomorrow and maybe work in some planning for Part 2.
I’d like a better ending to this post, but I really did take more time than I should’ve. I’ll likely come back and add book cover images. Till then, take care you lovable people you!