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bear by san

March 2017

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bear by san

I just caught the tag end of a story on the radio about California executing a man on his birthday. Insult to injury. And I had the coolest idea for a future career ever last night, but I won't tell you what it is yet. So Undertow is cooking along.

One thing I am enjoying about this trip: spending less time grafted to a keyboard. Really must make more of a habit of that. Gym membership. Less time in chat. Anything. Get away from the damned desk.



This is kind of loosely plotted, handled like a Picasso sketch in sweeping arcs that somehow make a whole without ever quite connecting. It's brief--a novella, really, I think--and incredibly beautifully written. I think the ending may be a bit facile and the parrot-POV falters, but that didn't matter. I loved it. Loved the prose and the characterizations, loved the painful agony of it, loved the old man--although he owes more, alas, to the movie Holmes than to Conan Doyle's Holmes. (memo to me: read Mitch Cullen's A Slight Trick of the Mind.)

Such a good book. So very good. It kept me up last night wishing I could write like that.



Reading good books is both good and bad for me. Bad, because they are ego-crushing. Good, because they remind me how much I have left to learn.

I would like to be a heartbreaking genius now, please. Until then, I'll be over in the corner with Salieri.

Comments

What you missed in the NPR story is that he will also be the oldest man ever executed, too...

No, I caught that.
"I would like to be a heartbreaking genius now, please. Until then, I'll be over in the corner with Salieri."

That made me both laugh out loud and wince with recognition. Actually, let's call it a wry smile instead of a wince.
;-)

Wince away. Martin Cruz Smith is up next--that should be equally soul-crushing.
Red Square, if you haven't already gotten one picked out. My husband liked the others, but I've not bothered to read them. I can, however, vouch for Red Square.

I'm glad you're doing this - on screen, I mean. Because I've read some of your work, I have some frame of reference against which to value your opinions, unlike the vast majority of critiquers' reviews available Out There. I'm going to start me a list: Read this for plot, that for characterizations, etc.

And re getting away from the computer more often: chat's loss, but everyone's gain. ;-)
I'm reading Wolves Eat Dogs. It's good. I recommend Gorky Park too.
Reading good books is both good and bad for me. Bad, because they are ego-crushing. Good, because they remind me how much I have left to learn.

I would like to be a heartbreaking genius now, please. Until then, I'll be over in the corner with Salieri.


And now you know how some of us feel after reading your work ;)

*finds a place in the corner*
*plumps the cushions*

*passes the scotch*

Now I'm reading Wolves Eat Dogs. Expect moaning about my plotting skills soon. *g*
"Reading good books is both good and bad for me. Bad, because they are ego-crushing. Good, because they remind me how much I have left to learn."

Welcome to my world. The only reason I need access to immortality is so that I can learn everything I need to know before I die.

Salieri

I would like to be a heartbreaking genius now, please. Until then, I'll be over in the corner with Salieri.

I can't ever think of Salieri anymore without remembering something a professor of mine did in college.

It was a music history class. And during the historically appropriate period, he played us two recordings. (On LP! Tells you how old I am.) One, he said, by Salieri. It was competent but dull. One by Mozart. It was lovely. He asked us for comments.

I knew enough about this particular professor to realize immediately that he'd switched the samples on us. The dull one was Mozart. The good one--Salieri. He wanted to make a particular point, one I probably don't have to explain here.

The myth is very...sticky. Everyone remembers competent but dull Salieri overshadowed by Mozart. But the truth is, Salieri was pretty damn good, and Mozart had his less-than-brilliant moments.

I'd be more than happy to be in Salieri's corner. Not to embrace my mediocrity, as the play/film would have it, but because he was good at what he did, his work was appreciated by people during the time he lived, so he could enjoy that, he lived longer than Mozart...I mean, what's not to like? Hell, I should be half so lucky.

Three cheers for Salieri!
I'm glad you're getting a break away from the office too. Gives one a fresh perspective, doesn't it? Although I'll miss our get-togethers. *mourns*
And here I thought writing books and getting published would vanquish the leering somebody-is-better-than-me-at-my-joy monster. Dammit.

Well, to hell with the monster.

There's always going to be somebody better than each of us at whatever we love. Gives us something to keep growing towards. I mean... there must be part of Lance Armstrong or Olympic Gold Medalists that, in the middle of the night, whispers... "now what?" Now THAT is a scary monster.
memo to me: read Mitch Cullen's A Slight Trick of the Mind.

Jeez, memo to me as well. I can always count on you to point out cool Holmes stuff. (Clearly, I need a Holmes icon.)

As for Chabon's book, I had exactly the same reaction when I read it over Christmas. It was exhilirating and depressing all at once. (Not that *you* really need to feel depressed, 'cause you're pretty darn awesome yourself.)
Hee. Holmes icon! Holmes icon!
How's this? (All your fault.)
*loff*