Sunday, October 18, 2009

Midmonth Hello

Miss you, darlings. Some quick points:

  • Hooray for Laini Taylor, whose AALB book Lips Touch: Three Times is a National Book Award finalist!
  • I love Glee with the white-hot heat of a thousand suns. No musical ever dared plot twists like the pregnancy storylines; no high school soap opera was ever this funny; no over-the-top comedy ever had musical numbers that rocked as hard as this or were as gorgeous as this. And sometimes those things jar against each other, sure, or against the odd way the writers seem to think every episode must include a non-parodic moral, but for an hour of pure entertainment, I defy you to show me something better on television.
  • The writer and blogger Caleb Crain recently defined "depth" on his blog as "a sense of the complexity of reality." That's precisely what I mean when I say I'm looking for a novel with literary depth: I want fiction that presents the complexity of reality (which could be a funny or romantic reality as well as a tragic one--indeed, most realities are in more than one mode), and writers who can make those realities tangible and meaningful.
  • Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich of the upcoming Eighth-Grade Superzero had a fascinating interview recently on the Writers Against Racism blog. (Francisco X. Stork was featured in September.) I understand the organizers are looking for more contributions from professionally published writers, illustrators, editors, and educators of all races; if you're interested, e-mail Amy Bowllan here with 350-word-or-less answers to the questions each interviewee has been posed.
  • Harry Potter fans will appreciate the cartoon here.
  • Where the Wild Things Are . . . The beginning and end in the real world felt pitch-perfect to me; the middle I was less sure about, because I'm not sure what the filmmakers intended by making the Wild Things so gabby and querulous. (In the book Max appears to leave more or less as soon as the wild rumpus ends; here he hangs around for forty minutes and discovers the compromises of adulthood, which Sendak spares him.) But a lovely film to look at all the way through.
  • And Bright Star rekindled my long-dormant college crush on Keats. Three lovely quotes:
  1. "Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?"
  2. "I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the truth of the imagination."
  3. "several things dove-tailed in my mind, and at once it struck me what quality went to form a Man of Achievement, especially in Literature, and which Shakespeare possessed so enormously -- I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason -- Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. This pursued through volumes would perhaps take us no further than this, that with a great poet the sense of Beauty overcomes every other consideration, or rather obliterates all consideration."
And with that I return to being the annoying gadfly to great writers and irritably reaching after fact and reason in their novels. Happy October!


  1. Glee - yes, definitely!

    And an excellent definition of literary depth.

  2. I'm not sure where I stand on the middle of Where The Wild Things Are either...and I felt soooo bad for Alexander (the goat-like one). And Yes-Glee rocks! Need to find a copy of Lips Touch!

  3. Thanks for sharing your impressions of Where the Wild Things Are. I have yet to see a pb-gone-movie that I've liked--the added stuff just seems so fake and adult and filler--but the trailer of this one seems promising. Seems people either love this or hate it--but so far, more literary people love it than they did the others, so I think there must be hope!

  4. Thanks so much for sharing W.A.R. and looking forward to more writers to join the movement. :)

  5. We are so excited by the NBA nom! Thanks for shouting our book out Cheryl!

  6. Thanks for the W.A.R.story shout out! Love the definition of depth, and the exquisite Keats #1.

  7. Glee!!

    And hoorah for Lips Touch. I've picked it up this weekend-- expect me to gush come Monday.

  8. I miss reading you! Thanks for the updates :)

  9. I've missed your postings and was excited to see a few news ones today.

    I am a huge Glee fan and was able to turn my husband into a Gleek as well. The lines that come out of Coach Sue's mouth are hysterical. I keep waiting for the writers to pull her into a musical number.

    Thanks for the updates and best of luck with your projects and book.

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