Ah, the flu. It'll really take you down a few notches what with the fluid loss and the shivering fever. Then there's Tax Time with all it's required calculations and existential cries of, "Why? Why? Why didn't I keep that receipt?" What was it Jerry Jeff Walker sang? "The only sure thing is taxes and dying..." True, true. Anyway, those are my excuses for being a bit light on the blogging lately. I'm back now, though, and ready for another Linklove Friday!
Speaking of tax time, here's an article about writers and taxes that looks pretty interesting. Researching this issue has already been added to my To Do list for 2012. I'm quite familiar with form Schedule C, since I've had the soap company for so many years, but I've hardly mastered it where author-related expenses are concerned.
And speaking of great lyricists like Jerry Jeff, I recently heard this gorgeous song by Alexi Murdoch while watching the movie Real Steel with one of the testosterone-driven members of my household. While futuristic, boxing robots turned out to be - big surprise - not my thing, the movie was saved for me by the presence of Hugh Jackman's rippling EVERYTHING and Alexi Murdoch's moody, atmospheric voice. I have subsequently downloaded a bunch of his songs.
Changing subjects completely, this article on modern slave ownership really made me think, not just because the theme of captivity runs through my current WIP, but because I'm always amazed at how advanced humans sometimes think we are as a species, when reality would occasionally show us as just the opposite.
Finally, be sure to check out the awesome, 2013 YA debut author posts over at The Lucky 13s blog! I'll be posting to the blog this coming Monday, and I'd love it if you'd pop on over for a visit.
TGIF, Everyone, and Happy Spring! Here's a peek at some of the newest arrivals here at mi casa:
Fresh from Spring Break in the SF Bay Area where time with family and friends helped recharge my battery, I figure now is as good a time as any to start a new weekly blog theme I've been thinking about for some time. Welcome to Stages of Writerhood, in which I'll talk about some of the typical (and maybe not-so-typical) stages folks go through during that process of becoming a Writer with a capital 'W.'
So, I can't pinpoint the exact moment I knew I wanted to be a writer. I do remember my Squash poem ("I used to squish my squash/Now I squash my squash") and Whale Love Story from elementary school earning praise from my teachers, and I do remember proudly showing stories to my parents (who always looked appropriately astonished - even when the stories were undoubtedly less-than-astonishing).
I'm pretty sure, though, that it may have been reading great books that made me want to be a writer - even more so than early praise for my own creations. I was a fairly voracious reader right from the start - ever since I read The Little Engine that Could independently. Horse stories were (natch) always favorites, as were most animal-related stories (Charlotte's Web, Where the Red Fern Grows, The Rain-Cloud Pony, The Yearling, etc.). I read Jim Kjelgaard's Big Red in the third or fourth grade, and I was pretty psyched when I discovered that it was published by Holiday House (the oldest children's book publisher in the country, which will be publishing MY book - BRIANNA ON THE BRINK - next year)!
Here's the thing about reading that had such an influence on me: good books tell the truth in a way that the people and television and societal expectations surrounding us as we grow up don't always do. This was just as true when I was a kid as it is today. It's always been true. It's why the classics are classics, even if they were written hundreds or thousands of years ago. Truth is timeless, and books are a way to capture that truth and present it in a way that is relatable for people of all different eras and walks of life.
Reading what I knew to be the truth was a powerful experience for a girl growing up in 1970's and 80's America, where the sexual revolution was still fairly young and accepted female roles were still fairly set in stone. Just as there is for girls today, there was a LOT of pressure to think, look and act a certain way. And while I was lucky to be raised in a solidly middle-class family and with nature's gorgeousness all around, those things didn't protect me from all the pressure and confusion and doubt that are so often a part of adolescence. What did protect me was books - especially books featuring young girls who thought outside the box and lived their lives in ways I hadn't ever considered possible. Amelia Bedelia was an early favorite, as was Emily from the Clifford books.
Of course, it wasn't long before I moved on to Judy Blume's Blubber and Thomas Rockwell's How to Eat Fried Worms among so many other wonderful books for pre-adolescents in that very rich era of children's literature. More than anything, it was those books that planted the seeds, that made me realize those worlds had been created by actual human beings like myself. The books I read as a girl growing up in 1970's and 80's America made me think to myself (quietly at first, and then louder and louder until I was speaking it), "I want to DO this!"
I'd be interested to know from other writers what it was that made you realize you wanted to write, too!
Look for a new "Stages of Writerhood" post every Monday right here! Thanks for stopping by.Follow @nicole_mcinnes
The kids and I have been traveling this week, which means this Linklove Friday may be a bit less book-centric than usual. Since we flew out of Vegas this time, what better way to start things off than with the magnificent Bellagio fountains? I've seen them many times, but it was super special to witness the kids' first viewing.
Of course, the evening wouldn't have been complete without treating ourselves to some divine gelato and pastries at the Jean Philippe Patisserie (which was featured just a few nights later on one of those great cake wars-type shows).
We've had all sorts of fun visiting the San Francisco Bay Area, even though it's been raining almost non-stop since we arrived. A highlight was taking the Golden Gate Ferry into the city, where we hung out in the marketplace (home to the Cowgirl Creamery and Book Passage SF among other great stores and restaurants). We also, visited Ghirardelli Square - for the chocolate and the amazing Salvador Dali and Joan Miro originals on display at the galleries.
I also discovered an amazing store in San Rafael called Liquid, which reminds me of a funky but upscale Haight-Ashbury shop north of the Bridge. Love it!
What are you reading on this #fridayreads? I've been reading the seminal (ironic term for writing that helped found modern feminism) poems and stories of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, including "The Yellow Wallpaper" (click on the link to read the story in its entirety!), which is beautifully rendered and perfectly Poe-esque. Written in 1892 - right around the time my grandfather was born! - the story is shocking in it's modern description of a bright woman's losing battle with what seems clearly to be a major bout of post-partum depression. Not a light read for sure, but definitely well worth it.
Okay, let me just say, "WANT." These prom photos taken by Mary Ellen Marks are a must have for someone like me, who has been spending tons of time lately trying to document some of the rituals of teendom via fiction. I'm going to try to find this in a local bookstore this weekend during my rare hours of down time.
Finally, it was a sad, sad day this week when The Monkees' Davy Jones left us to smack his tambourine with that psychedelic backdrop in the sky behind him. Here he is on the Brady Bunch - in one of the defining t.v. scenes of my childhood. Admittedly, the music producer creeps me out a little, but I personally aspire to the sound guy's mellow vibe. Of course, this is the episode in which, having been platonically kissed by Davy Jones after he escorted her to her junior high prom, Marsha vowed to never to wash her cheek again. Ew? Maybe, but also understandable, considering what an utter little dreamboat he was.
Have a great weekend, Everyone, and keep on daydream believin'!