30.9.07

What's in a genre?

Still open for discussion: I like fact-tion... but "creative nonfiction" and "autofiction" work ("autobiographical novels" just sounds pretentious).

19.9.07

Where's the uproar?

A few months ago, LM_NET was all a-flutter over the separation of children's books from the main NYTimes bestseller list. I argued that it was (to quote Martha Stewart) a good thing.

So where's the furor over the new mass-market and trade paperback lists?

Lists are essentially meaningless to anyone except booksellers and authors. Unless you're looking for ideas for "what to read next" (or to give as part of BAFAB niceness), why does it matter how many lists there are?

17.9.07

Notable Quotes

"The page of the book is blank. Why is that?"

"To remind us that our lives are made up of blank sheets waiting to be filled," Lillith replied. "The book of life is open whenever we are born and it closes with our death. We write in it continually, but no matter how much we write, what joy or sorrow we experience or what mistakes we have made, we will always turn the page, and tomorrow's page is always blank."

"Some people might find that prospect daunting," said Brian somberly, looking down at the page, so starkly white and empty.

"I find it filled with hope."
Dragons of the Highlord Skies,
Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

10.9.07

Book Buying

Thing Two's sister is writing a book and is now in the "thinking about marketing" phase. By "thinking about", I mean deciding about website presentation and blog linkage and MySpace and Facebook and all that.

One thought was that people like me could talk about and link to the book's site. Here's my query: among all my many readers, how many of you would actually do that? And then stick around that site to comment and link to it from your blogs? My guess is that the younger readers out there might, but that we old fogies won't. I'd also not go to the social networking sites to find out about books, but then that's because I don't go to those sites for anything.

And then there's blurbs. I hate 'em, and my students think they're bad because they're not an abstract (they want to know what the book is about, not read other people's quick take).

Any thoughts?

3.9.07

Notable Quotes

But how do you do that when the whole God thing is in question? If you're Christian, you've got it made. Being Christian, like being white, seems to be the default in this country - it's something you only have to identify if you are other than. Also, you've got the whole holiday thing working in your favor - pretty lights and presents at Christmas, pretty eggs and chocolate at Easter, and any mention of God just complicates things. (How does that go again - Jesus died for my sins and now a bunny brings me candy?)

2.9.07

Meeting Musings

Since the fire, I've had many people send condolences, as if there'd been a death in the family. In a way, there has been. Some of those notes/calls come with the statement that the person is "so glad that you're there to help us rebuild the library so that it's better than ever."

Part of me accepts this on face value, part of me wonders what they'd have said to my predecessor (I suspect the same thing). So there's a little lessening of the ego, rather than a boost.

And then there are those that go through both statements, and (during the course of the conversation) then learn that I'm not - as I apparently appear - in my early 30s, but in my mid 40s. There's a shocked "you're not that old" (or some such comment). And I start to wonder if the "pleasure" of my being the one to lead the rebuilding, the confidence in my has lessened. Perhaps they were so encouraging because I was a Young Turk, and now that it's clear that I'm not...

So, how does this tie into Meeting? As I'm sitting there, in the silence, I realize that it's not about me or them or the school. It's about somehow doing what's right and knowing that it's ok to make mistakes (mistakes anyone, any age could make) and that there is a Friend I can lean on when times get tough and friends I can call on for advice and ideas. To not be so arrogant as to think that I alone have the answers. To know that strength comes from being able to listen to the Silence and hear - or pick out - the best path.

1.9.07

Psychic kicking

The fire at MPOW got me thinking about my life here at home: what if this happened to me? How would I feel if The Collection, Mt. Bookpile and all the other stuff went *poof*?

Clearly, I'd be devastated. I mean, without all those books, who am I? But the rest? There's not so much I'd be that upset about (The Boys, it goes without saying, would just have to be rescued - without them I'm absolutely lost). So then I started to think, what do I really, really need here?

For the past few months, I've done a lot of poking around at various organizing and decluttering websites. In part, it's because I've just bought the townhouse and have an opportunity to Do It Right because I'm not planning to leave for quite some time. In part, it's because of something Terry once said about "living lightly", something he'd been feeling about his life (prior to his psychic kick).

Here's where I've been looking:
So now I'm embarking on a decluttering phase in my life: looking at my clothes, my Stuff, my life. Thinking about what I need, what I can get rid of, and how best to do that. Thing Two would reflexively say "Yard Sale", but that doesn't work when you're considering tossing your calendar from 1975 (yes, I still have that - I was in 7th/8th grade and it's a record/diary of my life then; valuable to me and any biographers, but other than that it's just paper junk of value to any paper-loving insects). Goodwill? Sure, for some things.

Clutter, though, isn't just limited to things. It's also about people. What relationships do I have that are "clutter"? How can (or how should) I manage them? Right now, e-mail works best for me because I'm so drained at work that talking at home seems like too much of an effort. I feel almost as I did when I was going through my MLS program - if you can't understand that right now I'm either "on" at work or I'm turning off at home, and it's not about you it's about preserving me, then it's been real... and it's been fun... etc.. And that's harsh, but it's reality right now. During the 15 months I was in grad school I lost a number of friends. I suspect I'll lose more as the work thing gets more and more difficult. That's ok. Because those people are clutter, and the ones that remain are the true gold in my life.