Progress notes for 4 December 2005:
New Words: still none.
Exercise: Gothercise, 20 min; sun salutes
Books in Progress: The Adams-Jefferson Letters; Park Honan; Shakespeare: A Life
Spam name du jour: "Fencing J. Seraph"
Interesting tidbits: Ted Chiang and Hal Duncan continue the great genre debate. What does it say about me that I can find sympathy for both their arguments?
15 things about me and books:
1. The first grown up book I remember reading all by myself was Watership Down. (I don't mean chapter book, or YA novel, but rather the first book intended for grownups.) It remains one of my favorites, for reasons too complex to enumerate.
2. I started writing in second grade, as nearly as I can recall. Bad juvenile poetry and stories about dinosaurs and race horses. And I stapled it together into little booklets. All now thankfully lost to posterity.
3. The Last Unicorn is the book that made me want to be a writer. Somehow, while reading that book, it clicked that somebody made that, that somebody wrote it with all its bizarre meta and its bittersweet humor and its ability to make me laugh at the top of the page and cry by the bottom. I can't read that book with my contacts in, even now.
And I wanted to do the same thing.
4. It's hard not to hug a new book when the contract copies finally arrive. Oh, what the hell. Go on, hug it; your spouse may think it's cute and life is too short to feign dignity. And no, it never gets old.
5. I don't reread most books. I used to, when I was younger, but not so much any more. But I read them much more carefully the first time through than I used to. Especially with fiction, I usually read it and then give it away, unless it's a Special Book (ie, one I liked enough to be likely to reread) or a Research Book. I still have more bloody books than I know what to do with, even after several cross-country moves.
6. I skip over the pictures.
7. Sometimes, when I'm reading, a sentence will just stop me in my tracks with its chilly perfection. John Bellairs does this to me a lot. He can get a whole oil painting into seven or ten words.
8. I grew up surrounded by books. When I went away to college, I brought crates of books with me, and clothes, and not all that much else. And I'm uncomfortable in houses that don't have their r-value substantially raised by shelves on all the walls of at least some rooms. Storage has always been an issue.
9. I can't read in the bathtub. I'm too busy trying to squinch my neck down under the hot water so it will stop hurting.
10. Books smell good.
11. One of the major drawbacks of writing for a living is how little time I have to read. I'm trying to achieve a better balance, because really, there's no reason I need to continue to write as compulsively as I have been for the last five years.
12. Some books are very tightly linked to other memories in my life. There's a Sesame Street book I had a s a kid that always made me smell chocolate chip cookies when I opened it.
13. Writing books is the best job in the world.
14. My mom used to take me out on payday and buy me a book. Just about every week. It was a Big Deal.
15. I taught myself to read when, as a punishment, I was sent to bed without a bedtime story for a week when I was five or six. Since I'd pretty much memorized the standard bedtime books, I managed to put together the words and the shapes on the page, and after that, I pretty much didn't stop. (I used to skip classes in college to read. I'm such a bad example.)
Progress notes for 4 December 2005: