Monday, February 14, 2011

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? #25

Still having limited ability for sustained reading. The four days previous to today though saw steady improvements with each day a bit better than the day before. My ambition was back yesterday too.

But then today I woke with a headache and the sore throat was back and I started sneezing. Is it a relapse? A new bug? Or just the weird wonderful (not) course of the same one that got it's tentacles into me over three weeks ago?

At any rate, little has changed reading-wise since last Monday. I'm still reading David Allen's Getting Things Done; Bo Caldwell's City of Tranquil Light in a plodding paragraph by paragraph kind of way.

But I added This Year You Write Your Novel by Walter Mosley which I was in queue for at the library since October and finally got my turn and know it won't renew. Thankfully it is very short and easy which is not to say lightweight. It's just over 100 pages and packs a lot of punch being succinct and to the point. I hope to review it for this week's Friday's Forays in Fiction.

The one thing I'm already taking away from it is a reminder of how important it is for a fiction writer to stay involved in her story so as not to loose contact with that dream-like state of consciousness where it lives. Mosley is among those who strongly advise not to miss a day of writing or failing that at least working in some fashion with the story whether editing, re-reading, focused daydreaming, character sketches and so forth.

But then I know this from experience. And yet I've not touched my fiction files since NaNo ended November 30.

So one of the big things going back on my ToDo lists (ala David Allen) is daily work with my storyworld.

Meanwhile I'm watching the library due dates come and go and the books trickle or flood back to the library barely touched after their first week home. More so since I forbade myself to start another novel until I finished my review copy of City of Tranquil Light. So I just renewed that delicious stack of large print books I checked out on my last actual trip to the library three weeks ago today. Which takes me down to six weeks left with six fat novels. Not very auspicious considering I've been a month with City of Tranquil Light this time and am still not past 100 pages.

Truly it is not the story! It is:

  • having been sick
  • having been pushing so hard on the bamboo baby afghan (row work now done btw)
  • and eye strain from the italic font the diary sections are printed in

I just checked and see the library now has LP and audio editions of City of Tranquil Light and I'm seriously considering ordering one or the other to solve this dilemma.

The story, based on the life of Caldwell's own grandparents, is of a young couple who meet and marry as Mennonite missionaries in early 1900 China just before the Mao revolution which they then live through or at least he does. The story is narrated by the old man reminiscing from his retirement home in California in the late 20th century. He intersperses his own memories with excerpts from his wife's journal. She has since passed on but we don't know when. So it could be while they were still in China and still young.

Bo Caldwell is the author of the national bestseller The Distant Land of My Father. Her short fiction has been published in Ploughshares, Story, Epoch, and other literary journals. A former Stegner Fellow in Creative Writing at Stanford University, she lives in Northern California with her husband, novelist Ron Hansen.

Here, let me embed the Google Book preview so you can get the flavor of the prose:

Oh yeah, being able to control the font size helps a lot. I see Google ebook has it for $11.99. Ah, tempting.

0 tell me a story:

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