Saturday, May 14, 2011

Quotes and Pictures -

picture from 364 quotes

There is something about a smart little quote and an appropriate picture to got along that just satisfies the heck outta me. I found this blog 364quotes, which gives you a different quote and pic each day of the year except January 1st.It looks like the author of this blog just started to do the images, before she just presented a quote a day.  Check it out if you are a quote/picture-o-phile like me ;-)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Cats are Better for Writing, Dogs are Better for Reading

There's a pretty clear definition between cat and dog people (of course some of you out there are just animal lovers in general), but I fall into the cat fan-hood. I found this picture of Hemingway with a cat that looks like my beloved ol' Maine Coon named Tino who died a few years ago. That cat could do tricks like a dog - he was so darn smart. I just loved him so much and he was so cool, that I had to put him in my work in progress book, Dark Stardust, under the pseudonym of Carl (yes, he is named for Carl Sagan). 

There's Marley and Me (which I haven't read) about a labrador I think - that has to be the most famous animal/human story of recent years...what about cat stories? Are there any? Cat's usually aren't doing the crazy stuff people love dogs for - they kinda just hang out and act cool (or crazy depending on the cat). That doesn't add up to much of a plot, does it? Dogs make better protagonists (or foils for protagonist humans in most cases). The Call of the Wild (which I have read and loved) is a perfect example of great dog lit. 

But what better animal is there to hang out with on a rainy day, typing away at the keyboard? Sorry dog fans, but I'll have to go with Hemingway on that one - a cat and a corked bottle of wine at hand worked for him. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Moveable Feast - Read it First

"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast."

In a previous post I mentioned that I was reading Hemingway's A Moveable Feast while waiting for The Paris Wife from the massive list of people ahead of me at the library. Now there is a waiting list for A Moveable Feast, so I feel quite pleased with myself for getting to it first (ha ha! as the bully from the Simpson's would say).

I finished reading the book a few days ago - it ranks pretty high up there on the interesting scale for me. The writing is strange at times, the book lacks flow and the stories he tells in the book don't have any cohesive plot or anything (and a few parts are totally skip worthy - too much info about horse racing, a la Moby Dick and the sections detailing whale blubber).

Hemingway wrote the book about Paris of the 1920's in the 1950's and it was published after his death. I wondered if it was found unfinished, or still in draft form, but I eventually came to the conclusion that this memoir ebbed and flowed like our memories do.
Paris 1925
We don't remember things in a linear way, one thought leads to another and they don't have to be connected in any otherwise logical way. Reading A Moveable Feast is like floating inside his memory, feeling and seeing and moving in tandem, as a part of Hemingway.

Since I read the book with the story of his wife, Hadley, in mind (the author wrote The Paris Wife after being inspired by their relationship in A Moveable Feast), every mention of her stuck out. The funny thing about it is, there aren't all that many mentions of her. Hadley, and even more so their son Bumby (who he mentions they left with the family cat from time to time as a babysitter), are very peripheral characters in the book.

When he does talk about her it's always lovely, how wonderful their relationship is, pure and right, then he pulls immediately back and says something like "We didn't know this wouldn't be like that forever" but in a more Hemingway kinda way. The very last chapter, almost like an apology or afterthought, he finally comes clean on what happens to their relationship (I won't spoil it, don't worry), but it is so quick and detached and almost too painful for him to even remember. He left it last for a reason.

That too recalls back to the way we remember - the painful things tend to always be looming on the periphery, and when we do have to relive them, it can be hurried and awkward - just brushing the surface of the reality behind the pages and pages of hurt.

Reading the first few chapters of The Paris Wife on my Kindle, I am so glad I read A Moveable Feast first, and recommend anyone interested to follow suit.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Inside the Mind and My Protagonist's Powers

If I could only see inside your brain!
The point of reading a book is to inhabit another person, another world, intimately and more completely than we can ever do in real life. You get to hear people's thoughts, get justification for actions, insight into wishes and dreams - stuff that usually gets kept inside the secret mind space.

The main character in my book, working title Dark Stardust, can't read minds per se, but she can see secrets - things people tuck away for no one else to see or know about. Cat sees and uses that information when she needs to as a defense or to understand another person's true intentions.

As her story gets more complicated, Cat starts to manifest new powers and abilities that she never had before. She struggles with these new abilities, but as they make her more valuable to the people around her, Cat feels uncomfortable with being a part of anything. She has been isolated her whole life and has no idea how to interact in personal relationships.

I bet she wishes a power would manifest to deal with that problem. What kind of powers would you choose if you could have your choice?