Quote for the Old Year Monday, Dec 31 2007 

…as read in Anne Lamott’s Plan B:

“Chou En-lai, when asked, ‘What do you think of the French revolution?’ paused for a minute – smoking incessantly – then replied, ‘Too soon to tell.'”

Resolved Saturday, Dec 29 2007 

It’s not that the ’08 days will contain more hours – the standard 24-per is going to have to do. But there’s a stack of books – big books – big, delicious books (several mysteries, Mel Gussow’s Albee biography, the inimitable Jessica Mitford’s Hons and Rebels, not the newest Talleyrand bio – that’s this, but J.F. Bernard’s) waiting to be read, and a queue’s-worth of seriously-must-see movies. And I hear La Rondine calling. And these babes!

Then there’s my new blog, just about to launch….

So truly, I must get more creative with my time-management skills in the New Year. I can’t sleep less, so I must learn to – bilocate? Any suggestions will be gratefully received.

And have a very Happy New one, yourself, however happiness is best defined. A good friend once sent holiday cards with the tagline, “Merry Christmas! Hope you and yours get what you deserve this year!” So there’s that to think about, too. I hope mine has puppets in it.

Refrigerator art Saturday, Dec 22 2007 

Spent yesterday visiting with a good friend and his family, and during the course of the afternoon, his delightful three-year-old son presented me with several pieces of original art: the sun and a rainbow, a smiling flower and birds in the sky. What struck me later, after the gifts were happily offered and as happily received, is how potent a demonstration it was of the necessity of giving in the making of art. Lewis Hyde wrote a very interesting book, The Gift, exploring this topic, the transformative power of both giving and receiving (received by me as a gift from another dear friend years ago).

What the young artist embodied so unself-consciously and so sweetly was, is, the absolute necessity of giving what we create – literally, our offerings – to the wider world, however that world is represented. Donovan gifted me with those pictures; I write books and give them to readers whose names I’ll never know. And both of us, I think, aim by that giving to not only please those who receive what we do, but to demonstrate our selves and the gift we are, and hope to be, to the world. Because what we do is incomplete until it has been given, demonstrated, displayed, before and in the world.

I must myself be pleased by what I write, or I can’t give it: but I am not the final audience for what I do (thankfully!). (And the necessity of commerce muddies the water further, but that’s a whole ‘nother topic.) But no matter how well I may think I’ve done, I can’t be wholly satisfied with my work until I’ve given it, seen it posted, let’s say, on the world’s refrigerator door: Look! See? I made this!

There’s a reason the little artist came joyfully waving his drawings, to put them in my hands: others’ pleasure in our work is potent validation, and encourages us in our further efforts at creation: and that starts with a reception of the gift. No receiver means no gift as surely as no giver. Thank you, Donovan, for the reminder as well as the pictures (that are now, in fact, on my refrigerator door).

When writers talk about writing Friday, Dec 21 2007 

Bruce Black, who invited me to share some thoughts about my writing process on his site, Wordswimmer, sends along this compendium of advice, inspiration, and drill sargeantry (my snippet). We all need the helping hand to kick us in the ass occasionally, to mix a metaphor. Write on.

Love for the Bee Sunday, Dec 16 2007 

An early Christmas present, for sure: Sharyn November puts Kissing the Bee on her shortlist. More very good company – I’m beyond pleased.

But it’s terrible news to hear that The Short-Timers is out of print. Pretty unfathomable, in a world where … well, OK, you can finish that one for yourself. And it’s not unfathomable at all, sadly.

Appropos of nothing Thursday, Dec 13 2007 

…but god, I want one of these.

Wayne State update Tuesday, Dec 11 2007 

The WSU workshop was good fun – which was the theme of my talk: the pleasure we get from our writing ought not be undervalued. Yes, we work hard, we strive to be published, we are professionals, etc. etc., but when all systems are go, MAN is this fun.

Lunch was rockin’, especially the ferocious brownie, and the pleasant surprise of seeing an old friend (hi, Veronica!). No ravens were harmed.

In good company Thursday, Dec 6 2007 

Tamora Pierce has put The Blue Mirror, Buddha Boy, and Kissing the Bee in some pretty fast company, and I’m pretty pleased to be there. And I love to see the shout-out link to the Animal Rescue Site, too.

How is a raven like a writing desk? Sunday, Dec 2 2007 

OK, I couldn’t resist, though that’s one question I won’t be answering when I give the luncheon speech at Wayne State University’s writing workshop
next Saturday, December 8. I hope to meet many of the aspiring writers in the D, as we talk about the business end (often oddly-shaped) of the world of letters, and discuss some of the best ways of putting your words into the hands (and between the ears) of the world. Hope to see you there.