Monday, August 31, 2009

Why is this working?

So speaking of the creative writing teacher in me . . .

I'm finally reading a book that my good friend Kim has recommended for years--THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH by Ken Follett. In fact, I bought it in France and started reading it on the airplane and every flight attendant who walked past me said, "That's my favorite book."

MEMO TO KEN FOLLETT: Dude. The world is full of flight attendants who "heart" you.

Anyway. Follett consistently violates the Numero Uno Rule of Writing: he often TELLS instead of SHOWS. For instance, he'll say stuff like "Agnes was his soulmate" or "Alfred hated Jack." Just boom! There it is. If either of those sentences came across my desk I would be all, "Show us what Alfred-hating- Jack looks like." And then I would make my student rewrite that bit.

But here's the thing. The narrative Follett has going is completely compelling. I'm liking the book a lot--especially the female characters who are extraordinarily vivid. And all the while I keep asking myself, "Why is this working?" because basically the advice to show (not tell!) is sound.

I'm looking forward to consuming a double fudge malt tonight. The thought of it keeps me going.

Friday, August 28, 2009

I'm . . . confused

So THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO by Stieg Larsson is a book that's gotten a LOT of buzz since its translation from Swedish into English. And since I always love me a mystery written by a depressed Scandanavian person, I decided to buy a copy and heft (it's thick) the novel along with me on my trip to oh la la France. Anyway. I read it. And here's my short review: I'm conflicted.

I wanted to love it, but I didn't really. There's a lot of sexual torture in it, and while the novel could have certainly been more graphic, it was graphic enough for me. Also, I kept having these moments where I wanted to go INFORMATION DUMP! Or SHOW DON'T TELL! In other words, the novel caused the creative writing teacher in me to go on full alert.

On the other hand, the lead female character, Lisbeth Salander, is truly compelling. I keep thinking about her, and I want to find out more about her. What's her back story? What's the deal with her mom? Will she stay out of the clutches of her creep social worker? Only I don't want to read the other books (which look to include more sex and torture) to do it. So if you read them, let me know.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Oh la la!

I'm back! From France!

I was lucky enough to spend the past 10 days in France cruising the Seine River with my parents and seriously. A good time was had by all. Especially when it came to eating mussels and frites. Also cheese. Also pastries. Also baguettes. Also little blood orange ice cream cones. Also apricot ice cream cones.

So I made a deliberate decision to leave my computer home, which meant if I wanted to write I did it by hand. Just like I did in the olden days. I had a special little pen and a special little notebook, and whenever the spirit moved me, I worked on a new middle-grade novel.

There was a time when I wrote EVERYTHING by hand, and it was fun to reconnect with that process. There's something so deliciously deliberate (I can't believe I just used the word "deliciously") about spinning out your sentences by hand. It was a pleasure. HOWEVER! I will be using my computer now that I'm home.

And I'll be blogging again regularly.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ice! Cream!

So I made the decision some time ago NOT to go to Costco because a) I always spent at least $100.00 on b) a lot of stuff I ended up throwing away. TIP: a good price for a bag of bell peppers doesn't matter when you only need one bell pepper AND NOT TWENTY.

But my neighbors Kathy and Janet have been raving about hand-dipped ice cream bars which you can buy along with your polish dog at the Costco, so I drove myself down there tonight to buy one. Like everything else you buy at Costco is was waaaaaay bigger than it needed to be. That part cannot be denied. Still. It was very good indeed--especially the toasted almond part.

Yes! Another food find!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Another column that I won't write . . .

. . . mostly because I can't in good conscience write another one about my broken wrist. BUT! Went to physical therapy yesterday and had this experience. The pt looked at my scar and said we needed to loosen it up, so she went, "John! Get me THE EXTRACTOR!"

Doesn't "extractor" sound like a scary word to you?

And suddenly my darling pt looked like Chloris Leachman in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN and John looked like Igor dragging his knuckles across the floor, off to find body parts and extractors.

The extractor was a large syringe used for sucking-up-scar purposes. It hurt. It hurt so much I had to eat a lot of pasta and some garlic bread at Heaps Brick Oven in Provo yesterday to get over it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New column

"Once again, I have called on the help of my fourth son to provide a link to my column, because I have forgotten how to do it."

Okay. My son wrote that. What I want to point out are the comments because everyone is mentioning their favorite bad boy name. I'm guessing a lot of disappointing boyfriends and ex-husbands are getting some play time here.

Monday, August 3, 2009


When I started blogging I figured no one would stop by to read because seriously. Who wants to read about what another person eats? But here you are! And you're always so nice! Which is why I just want to say thank you for visiting.

Now step outside and look at the moon. It couldn't be more beautiful.