Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Books books the musical fruit.

Done with story #2. I'm not completely comfortable posting the whole thing here, considering I just wrapped it up last night (and then drank the remnants of a tequila bottle in celebration - whoo hoo alcoholic writers' syndrome!). In addition, according to Stephen King's On Writing, I have to let it sit for 6 weeks, then revise it twice before showing it to anyone. But when you've just given birth, do you want to wait until your baby's a month and a half before parading her around as the next Madeleine Albright/Madeleine L'Engle/Madeleine Peyroux? I didn't - I ran out the hospital with guts and placenta dripping off of her and wondered where all the reporters were. So, I'm telling myself I must resist the urge to show off my placenta-dripping story.

Yesterday I received a mysterious package in the mail. Not that mysterious, actually, considering there was a return address label, and the sender had just asked me a couple days earlier for my address. But I pretended it was mysterious for the effect. However, despite my theatrics, Quinn really didn't care, and Jim, when realizing it was an internet friend, was suddenly much more interested in the coupon mailer that was tucked in with the rest of the junk. Wow! Discount checks decorated with Bald Eagles carrying American flags in their talons! Jim feigns anti-curiosity with respect to blogging. It's charming, really. But so the package - it was a copy of a new arts journal, unboundpress. So far the cover and the first two pages are real page turners! Mamalujo, thank you. It was very thoughtful, and now that Story #2 is done I'm going to spend a week Read Read Reading, and this is first on my list. (It's also inspiration for submitting. It used to be that whenever I thought about publishing my sphincter lost all control, but I'm slowly warming to the idea. So thanks for that too.)

Which brings me to the Me!Me!, as I was tagged by Mamalujo. This one isn't so me-centric, therefore palatable. It's this:
1. Grab the nearest book to you
2. Open to page 123, look down to the 5th sentence
3. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog
4. Include the title and the author's name
5. Tag 3 people.

You know it's a good book, when...


It's the Stephen King book. I've never read one of his books prior to this, but I kept seeing references to his genius writing analogy: the art of using tools to uncover a skeleton. It's less intimidating to think that a story is already there, intact, and it's just a matter of carefully unearthing it. To approach a fiction project, be it a novel or a short-short, with the entire plot in mind produces a clunky, forced story. I like my stories, both ones I read and write, to be character driven, and I sit down to write with some interesting people in mind, and just watch what the do with/to each other. Anyway, here's the sentences from On Writing:

You can tell without even reading if the book you've chosen is apt to be easy or hard, right? Easy books contain lots of short paragraphs - including dialogue paragraphs which may only be a word or two long - and lots of white space. They're as airy as Dairy Queen ice cream cones.


I'd like to invite you all to participate in this meme, in the comments. That means you, mom, Damon, Carson (little brother just got engaged! Shout out, yo!), Janet, Laura, Madeleine and any other lurkers out there. All y'all. Let's hear what you all are reading these days.

22 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've got "On Writing" too, and love it. There's good advice in there, and good "pep talk" too. In an earlier Meme, I listed Stephen King as one of my favorite authors, and that book alone is why. I also dream of submitting when I hold my own copy of unboundpress in my hands. So, we have that. I haven't read much of mine yet. I learned about this new endeavor, and followed it over the last few months as it got off the ground, simply by stumbling across Amy Burns' and the Taylors' blogs. Look at the Sponsors' page. I hope it turns out to be worthwhile, but hey, reading just about always is.

I love to give my friends presents. Ask Tink!

1/23/2007 1:54 PM  
Blogger spellconjurer said...

I already posted it on paterphilosophy's comments, and it sucked bad enough there! I don't want to put your readers to sleep as well, but HI!!!!!!!! Mignon!

1/23/2007 2:59 PM  
Anonymous mom said...

"The French never consulted with the Native owners before selling; most Native Americans never even knew of the sale. Indeed. France did not really sell Louisana for $15,000,000. France merely sold its claim to the territory."

_Lies My Teacher Told Me_
James W. Loewen

ps Actually the nearest book was a tech manual on PhotoShop, so I cheated.

1/23/2007 3:44 PM  
Anonymous kathie said...

These lines are from Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris:

"I had ordered the steak, which, bowing to the same minimalist fashion, is served without the bone, the thin slices of beef stacked to resemble a funeral pyre."

These aren't my favorite three lines in the book but the story "Big Boy" is the funniest thing I've ever read. I was laughing so hard while reading it that I couldn't read it aloud to my husband. Good post, Mignon. As usual

1/23/2007 6:03 PM  
Blogger meno said...

June got her big patent leather pocketbook, a gift I gived her when us two'd been married ten years, stuffed with pepermints and those heavy paper napkins she likes.
"I got my map of Texas and I got my map of New Mexico and I got my map of Arizona too," June says.
"Billy said be ready at four," I says squinting into the dark.

Getting Mother's Body
Susan-Lori Parks

You asked! :)

1/23/2007 7:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll play!

I simply can't see Sam making gelee out of calves' feet himself. For one thing, as it turns out, making gelee out of calves' feet makes your kitchen smell like a tannery. The gelee also, in my admittedly limited experience, tastes like a tannery.


Julie & Julia
Julie Powell

1/23/2007 8:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Scott Haltzman's "The Secrets of Happily Married Men"

Moreover, it may mean telling your boss that you plan to leave work today on time- the McMillan report can wait until tomorrow morning. Like most of the recommendations in this book, this one works best together with the strategies discussed in other chapters:increasing at-home time gives you more opportunities to apply your work skills at home, to learn more about your wife, and as you'll learn in the following chapter, to better handle inevitable conflicts.

Now you know what's happening in my life.

1/23/2007 10:04 PM  
Anonymous DD said...

The nearest book is a German Dictionary (c'mon… I'm at work). On page 123 I skipped the first 5 entries and then found the following three words and their German counterparts:

flirt (v.) = flirten (curiously the noun form is not listed!)
float (v.i.) = schwimmen, schweben
Flock (n) = (Schäfe gemeinde / sheep or similar) die Herde, (Vögel / birds) der Schwarm, (Leute / people) die Schar

So… now I can add Schar to my vocabulary.

I just finished "You Can Farm". Maybe I'll give p.123 a look and report back later.

Tschüßi

1/23/2007 11:27 PM  
Blogger Tink said...

That's so odd. Before you even said who'd sent you the gift I just KNEW it was Mamalujo. That man is amazing. He sent me chocolate one time and I swear I heard angels singing.

Post the damn story already!

1/24/2007 6:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got tagged for this meme... you reminded me that I must do it as well.

1/24/2007 6:30 AM  
Blogger Feral Mom said...

"Hey, Curtis!" Tim yelled. I jumped. "Which one?" I heard Soda yell back.

S.E. Hinton, The Outsiders

1/24/2007 2:02 PM  
Anonymous Prairie Dawn said...

Cool, promise to do it tonight my time when all is quiet. Enormously flattered to be named and as a lurker no less. Congratulations Carson. Can't believe you're not still 4.

1/24/2007 5:21 PM  
Anonymous LVC said...

Thanks for calling me out of Lurkerville - but do you actually think I have time to read a book with at least 123 pages in it?? I'm way too busy stalking you and your blogger friends.

I recently finished Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs.

"No, no, no, that's not what I mean. It would be a staged suicide attempt. A ruse."

1/24/2007 6:18 PM  
Blogger V-Grrrl said...

I've been reading "the accidental" by Ali Smith for months now. I have become what I never thought I'd be: a person who starts but seldom finishes books. Even really good books like "the accidental," winner of the Whitbread Novel Award, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Prize for fiction.

Page 123 excerpt:

Actually, Amber says, as she helps herself to another slice of bread, it's my fault. I didn't like her carrying it around all the time. So I threw it off a motorway pedestrian bridge.

1/25/2007 7:16 AM  
Blogger Orange said...

Only later was F reassigned to become the unlucky fricative. Here is how it happened: F is our alphabet's sixth letter. In the Phoenician alphabet of 1000 B.C., the sixth letter was called waw.

That's from a book a friend gave me for Christmas, David Sacks' Letter Perfect: The Marvelous History of Our Alphabet From A to Z.

Good thing the meme isn't copying a few sentences from page 123 of every book you have bought in the past few years but haven't read yet. I think it'd take me all day to catalog my unread (but much beloved!) books. (Damn blogosphere, taking up all my reading time!)

1/25/2007 7:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only book in my current vicinity is the Aussie Slang dictionary my sister gave Phil for christmas 2005 (I've no idea what it's doing on MY desk). The fifth line is:

"'Syphon the Python'- to urinate (see also to 'Drain the Dragon')"

Now that's one even I didn't know!

1/25/2007 8:14 AM  
Blogger Jess Riley said...

I'm at work right now and all the books near me have to do with being a better employee (hmm, maybe I should read them?), so I'm going to skip the meme.

But I'm in TOTAL agreement on Mr. King's book. LOVE it. Have you read Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott? It's right next to my computer at home.

Glad to hear the writing is flowing!

1/25/2007 12:45 PM  
Blogger DebbieDoesLife said...

I love that book! One of the best books about writing that I have ever read (and actually read the entire book!)

Let the baby rest a while and then go back with your editor hat on and review.

1/26/2007 4:45 AM  
Anonymous TB said...

I just finished two books on natural childbirth. The passages from either would likely be something about the equisite rush of labor pain, or how it's not a contraction so much as your body doing the most important work of your life.

Which Stephen King book are you reading? They are pretty hit or miss. Some are incredible and others pure garbage. You can tell the ones he wrote when he wanted to finance an addition on his house.

1/26/2007 5:53 AM  
Blogger lildb said...

I'm knee-deep in the saga of the SBA's website on how to get me some money for turning my wee at-home biznass into a real, live, beating-heart biznass.

I don't know how to determine which page/paragraph I'm on.

your project sounds slightly more engrossing. and by slightly, I mean, overwhelmingly.

but you knew that.

1/26/2007 2:02 PM  
Anonymous Ortizzle said...

Right now my reading is entirely dictated by the lit course I'm taking in grad school called "Currents in European and Latin American Thought." The nearest one to hand: Sentimental Education by Flaubert.

Page 123, 5 lines down:
"Then Deslauriers recounted his failure, and gradually told the story of his studies and the life he was leading, speaking of himself with stoic resignation and of other people with bitter rancour. Everything irritated him. There was not a man of position who was not either a fool or a rogue."

Incredible how a random three sentences can stand alone as a fairly solid unit!

1/27/2007 6:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Native Son" by Richard Wright

"What all I got to do today, mam?"
"Just wait on call. Sunday's a dull day. Maybe Mr. Or Mrs. Dalton'll go out."
"Yessum"

1/29/2007 9:22 PM  

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