Tuesday, April 30, 2013

All the News (with Additional News)

Good news: the biopsies came back 1) normal and 2) clinically insignificant. So I've still got to watch my skin carefully in the upcoming months and years, but I need no more treatment for the time being. Hooraaaay.

Other news: I read Green Girl, by Kate Zambreno, and didn't like it as much as I expected. A very interesting and confident style, but a bit frustrating in other areas. You might like it more than I did. I'm nearly finished reading Jesmyn Ward's Salvage the Bones, which got a lot of attention when it came out for being the first fiction book that treats Hurricane Katrina in a meaningful, lyrical, compelling way. (At least, that's about how I remember the reviews going.) It won the National Book Award. Really, it's not my usual sort of book at all, but it's absolutely taken my breath away. I feel like I'm reading a new classic, a book that kids will be reading in school for decades to come. I would call it unmissable, in the same way that you've got to read Beloved and To Kill a Mockingbird and at least one Dickens book to consider yourself a citizen of the printed word. An extraordinary piece of work.

In my TBR pile right now are, in order: Austin Grossman's Soon I Will Be Invincible and Joy Harjo's memoir Crazy Brave, both of which are library books with due dates; Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves, which I have long put off reading because I think it will exasperate me, but if I'm going to write my own experimental novel with weird format shifts and whatnot, I really need to sit at the feet of a master; Redshirts; Where'd You Go, Bernadette, which has one of the most appealing and memorable covers I've seen in years

and which I understand is a humorous addition to the wonderful new wave of books about mother/daughter relationships; and a pile of books I bought at the library book sale a week or so ago that aren't really urgent. I even have a TBR list on the library's website. I AM WHO AM READ ALL THINGS, GRAAAARGH.

(Total sidebar: this is probably my favorite book cover of all time.

I don't know why. Something about the movement of her hair added to the word "crow" in the title, her slightly dipped head, the way the words are situated, the extremely simple font. I just adore it, and I think of it so often when I'm trying to decide if a book has a good cover or not. I haven't even read it!)

Other other news: Yet again there seems to be an unmissable theatrical experience happening in New York, and this time I'm not even on the same coast so I don't know how I'm going to not miss it. My hero Ron Rosenbaum published this fascinating story in Slate last week on the Boston bombing, Macbeth, and the nature of evil. Check it out.

I've gotten addicted to the Totally Hip Video Book Review (even though I strongly disagree with his review of Nightfall). Ron Charles's videos demonstrate what the ivory tower sense of humor is like in its finest form. He makes me miss my mom.

Still other news: I'm waiting on the word of a reader for the two weird stories I have in revision - the boy-on-garbage-scow story and a short about stalking. Matt read them and gave me some useful feedback, but I'm waiting to dig in and revise until I hear from this other reader. I wish the feedback process wasn't...the way it is. The garbage scow story has promise, I think, but I'm so damned uncertain about it.

I wrote the story in a pidgin, with "n" in place of "and" and "somethin" instead of "something" and "s'far's" for "so far as" and etc. This is always a risky thing to do, as any reader of Emma Donoghue's Room or Mary Webb's Gone to Earth will tell you, and I fear that, in making aspects of the story clearer - hence making the story longer - I'll extend the patience of the reader too far. And I still worry that the setup is not especially believable, although Matt told me it didn't bother him nearly as much as other things I didn't even think of (predictably). I don't really know what I'll do with it when it is finished, though. The literary markets I particularly want to pursue don't tend to publish period fiction, which is what this is. Iunno. Worry about that when I'm satisfied with the story, I guess.

Today's revision day for the boy-and-mom crisis story, and I've had this feeling all during my mandatory waiting period that it's not good and not salvageable. I hope to be wrong.

My writing muscle really wants for flexing. I want to start on a big project. In the same way I want to be able to build a bookshelf out of lumber and nails, but have no practical knowledge or tools or schematic for doing so.


KP said...

The Way the Crow Flies is one of my favorite books of all time. Love it.

Katharine Coldiron said...

So glad to know it's also a terrific book! :)