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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

More on omniscient.

At its best, this is what omni looks like:

The light, full and smooth, lay like a gold rind over the turf, the furze and yew bushes, the few windstunted thorn trees. From the ridge, the light seemed to cover all the slope below, drowsy and still. But down in the grass itself, between the bushes, in the thick forest trodden by the beetle, the spider and the hunting shrew, the moving light was like the wind that danced among them to set them scurrying and weaving. The red rays flickered in and out of the grass stems, flashing minutely on membranous wings, casting long shadows behind the thinnest of filamentary legs, breaking each patch of bare soil into myriad individual grains.

--Richard Adams, Watership Down

Look at that. How it swoops from a hawk's-eye view to an insect's-eye, smoothly, telescoping, with the crispness and precision of detail, texture, and imagery and the confidence and strength of a master.

This is the thing I failed to quite pull off in Whiskey & Water. But I tried, O Lord. I tried.



Oddly, I found the book at age seven or so terrifying and the movie several years later not so. I'm not sure whether it's just the age difference (3 or 4 years) or the different medium (books always scare me more) or just the shock of the first encounter with the Black Rabbit. The fear didn't stop ,me loving the book right from the start.
I so love Watership Down.
I love that book. And I want to write something like that book.

And it scares me. Lo.

Because I can look at the people who accomplish something like that, and here's what I see.

If you get any at all--which most of us never do, strive and crave though we might--if you get any, you get one.

One Watership Down. One A Clockwork Orange. One The Sandman. One Hamlet. One Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. One The Last Unicorn.

And then you live with the fucking thing strung around your neck for the rest of your life.


Is it worth it?

I say yea. But it scares me.
literally one To Kill a Mockingbird. I hear you. If I could ever reach that one, I'd want it to come late rather than early. Like Willa Cather. (as if!) you risk dying before reaching that *one*, but I think it beats knowing you've already peaked & spend the rest of the time sliding back, or reinacting Prometheus.
There's a story re Michael Swanwick, about the book he had published the same year as Neuromancer, and I don't recall what book it is--telling and relevant, that--

He talks about how he set out to writea good SFF book,and Gibson set out to reinvent the genre. And he succeeded in his goal, and Gibson failed.

And Gibson wrote the better book.

oops. I meant Sisyphus (sp?), not Prometheus.
It's been one of my favorite books since childhood - one of my mother's boyfriends gave it to me to read, bless him.

Last year, it was the first book I read aloud to my boyfriend during car trips. It reads aloud wonderfully well... and yes, we'd often sit in the car long after we got where we were going so I could finish a chapter. Or take road trips for no good reason other than to get reading time in.

Love this book.

I need a new copy. Mine's in storage.


It does, indeed. I remember listening to it serialised on the radio probably the year the book came out, missing bits, and having to buy it to fill in the gaps. In fact, since I was seven at the time, my saved up pocket money only ran to half the 25p it cost and so it's officially a shared purchase with my dad who paid the rest--and got to read the book too. I recently bought myself a new copy to reread and still love it. I'm considering reading it to my daughter fairly soon.

Listening to it, I was watching Northumbrian scenery out of the car windows. So nothing like the downs of the book. But the holiday cottage we were staying in looked over a field with a fairly-sizeable warren (quite unusual at the time, as myxomatosis was still rife and horribly-suffering bunnies did still roll into view). Watching rabbits in the sunset has always been a pleasure: evening silflay.


It's an old-fashioned book in a lot of ways with the epigraphs and footnotes and as such a good way into the conventions you hit with "classic" literature. It's certainly grown-up (if I remember correctly, there's both an Penguin and a Puffin edition still: it's always crossed that (mythical?) adult/children's divide)--and great.
That's an intrusive narrator. Which can happen in any POV. *g* It's a whole different thing that can be tacked on over and above point of view.

"And now, dear reader--"
Squee. I *adore* Watership Down ... It's the only book I've read, literally, hundreds of times. When I was in the latter stages of high school, I got the count down to something like 312 times... And I've read it many times since. I'm currently torn between reading that again, re-reading The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe or digging out my Pema Chodron... :-\
Watership Down is probably one of the most beautiful and terrifying books I've ever read.

I wish they'd put it on CD. That'd really spice up the old morning commute! Heh.

And Happy Belated Birfday!


And can you believe the book was rejected 13 times!

Stupid publishers. Heh.
Ee. That's a fearful thing, writers who don't care.

I mean, a novel is, as the man said, a work of fiction longer than a short story, and flawed. But we fight the flaws, I think, or we have no business writing.