Every so often a book comes along that makes you want to press pause on the world, just so you can finish it.
A Little Life is that book.
I’m only half-way through this Man Booker Prize Long-listee, but my goodness – what an experience! I will definitely be writing more about this, once I’ve finished. It’s the type of book that made me start this blog – one that I need to shout about to the roof tops.
Needless to say, I’m not reading anything else (book-wise) until I’ve finished this one. That said, I can recommend a couple of blog posts. Did you know there was a prize for Bad Sex in Fiction Writing? No. Neither did I. Luckily, author/academic Jane Messer is all over and wrote a great piece for The Conversation about bad sex writing, which begins – ‘Bad sex. Isn’t it enough to have had it without having to read it as well?’
Author, Holly Lisle, had a slightly brutal but helpful piece about finishing your manuscript with only one re-draft.
At the other end of the spectrum, Lee Koffman offered a beautifully considered and researched perspective engaging opening line. Really worth a read.
I started the week with a movie, American Sniper, which I found both enjoying and frustrating.
Bradley Cooper was quite extraordinary in the role of Chris Kyle, the Texan marksman and Iraq war hero. Is there such a thing of jaw-acting? If so, Cooper has perfected it. During this movie, he set his mouth in such a way that totally transformed his pretty-boy face into something far more gritty, and almost sinister. It was a great performance, let down a little by a rushed ending, a failure to deeply probe the motivations and morality behind the Iraq war, and an audio track that ranged from ear-splitting to barely audible, requiring minute-by-minute adjustment of the volume on my TV. Hate that…
A couple of light-bulb moments this week in terms of plotting my manuscript. Of course these happened when I was farthest away from either pencil or computer. But I figure, if the idea’s really good, it will somehow stick in my brain and emerge when needed.
I’ve also caught up a little on my journal, which I don’t keep daily, but update every week or so, mainly to record things my kids have done or said and how they are generally travelling. However, it’s not solely a mummy journal. I do include non-child related incidences but don’t write so much about my feelings – as re-reading it sounds incredibly trite. I find the most effective entries are the ones that recount very specific incidences or conversations. Much like fiction writing. But I’m interested to know – do you keep a journal or diary? How do you make it work for you?