Monday, January 18, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Earthquake in Haiti
The news from Haiti is horrifying.
A friend of mine from church had been planning to fly there this week to film footage for a ministry that works there. I was hugely relieved to hear that he hadn't left for Haiti yet. He's still safe at home with his loved ones.
Countless Haitians have no home, no safety, no word from their loved ones. God, have mercy.
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Writing is work
Mucking out the office is never fun, but it's done. I moved piles of useless papers into the trash. Books onto bookshelves. (Fancy that!) Notes, articles, and paperwork into files. Old manuscripts into the closet. Current manuscripts into neat stacks on the proper shelves.
As I was digging my way through the bookshelves, I ran across a slender little book that once belonged to my grandmother: "Writing Is Work" by Mary Roberts Rinehart. Published in 1939, it's a collection of practical advice and anecdotes about the business of writing.
Now it's on the shelf next to Gran's ancient L.C. Smith typewriter. Poor Gran! Every time she made a typo, she had to roll the paper up, erase the mistake on the original and the carbon copy, roll the paper down again, and correct the mistake. I have two of her manuscripts that bear the smudges of her corrections.
Thank God for computers, word processors, cut-and-paste, and the backspace key. A typewriter is to a computer as an oxcart is to a Mercedes. Writing will always be work, but it's not nearly as much work as it used to be.
Monday, November 30, 2009
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
I think I've just figured out why I love Advent more than I love Christmas.
Christmas is great, of course, especially when my eyes are on Jesus, not on shopping malls or home decor. It's a joyous celebration.
But then it's over. The tree comes down, the leftovers from Christmas dinner fill the fridge, the truly awful gifts are set aside for next year's white elephant parties. And a sort of melancholy hits me because . . . well, as glorious as it is that Jesus came in the flesh, He also left this earth again.
That's where Advent has it all over Christmas. Advent is about anticipating the coming of Christ, and Advent in the larger sense won't be over until He comes again. There's no let-down. Advent is where I'll live every day until He comes.
By the way, listen carefully to the words of "Joy to the World" this year. When Isaac Watts wrote it, he was writing about the second coming of Christ. Knowing that gives me a whole new appreciation for the words.
One more note: Every year, Boar's Head Tavern opens an Advent blog called "Go to Bethlehem and See." It's a beautiful concoction of links and devotions that come from Christians of various stripes. Find it here: http://advent.wordpress.com/
Friday, November 27, 2009
Dickson and Koontz save Topside Cat
As the weather gets colder, my thermotropic cats get friendlier. At the moment, I have one cat squeezing in beside me in the recliner and the other cat draped over the back of the chair. If I stand up suddenly, the topside cat will go flying, becoming a cat-apult. It happens fairly often and irritates her to no end.
Two new books sit on the table beside me: Your Heart Belongs to Me by Dean Koontz and Lost Mission by Athol Dickson. I don't know which one I'll start with, but Topside Cat is safe for a while.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Rain and books
For six days, we've been holed up in a mountain cabin with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, wishing the rain would stop. For the most part, it hasn't, so the bikes sit forlornly in a puddle while we go jaunting about in a Jeep instead. Or we stay indoors, playing card games and Scrabble. Or reading. I've been reading mostly non-fiction. Work-related books, necessary but boring.
My sister-in-law, the lucky duck, has been reading Suite Française by Irene Nemirovsky who began the novel in France during World War II. Nemirovsky wrote about the war as it was happening, not knowing whether or not she would survive it. She didn't. She died in Auschwitz in 1942 before completing the book. The few pages that I browsed were wonderfully written. Here's a review from the New York Times.
I'm going home with more books than I started with. My sister-in-law returned a couple of books that she'd borrowed from me, one by Charles Martin and one by Dean Koontz. Then we stopped at a used-books store on one of those rainy days and picked up some kids' books for our first grandbaby. So it's an eclectic jumble of books in my backpack.
This morning I found a delightful post written by my daughter's friend Beth. She has listed some of her favorite books, many of which are my favorites, too. I immediately started thinking of books I would have to add to her list. That must mean I should post my own. Soon.
Monday, September 28, 2009
What do lizards have to do with Agnes Sparrow?
Boy, am I bad about blogging. I admit it. I get so wrapped up in novel-writing that I forget my blog for days or weeks. Or months. Not that the world waits with bated breath for my posts, but it's a good way to stay connected with people. If you stay connected, that is.
I just finished reading, or at least skimming, a ridiculous number of novels for the "comparable fiction" section of the book proposal that I'm putting together for my agent. It's work, not fun, to pick up one book after another, read a few pages, and decide this one is too chick-litty to be a good comparison, and that one is too high-falutin' literary, and the one with the cool cover art turns out to be boring, so why would I want to compare my illustrious writing (cough cough) to that? But I found enough good comparisons, I think. Now I'll let that part of the proposal cool while I tweak the rest of it.
I just finished reading The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow by Joyce Magnin, not as part of the book-comparison deal but just for fun. And it was fun. Joyce lured me in with an interesting fat woman who serves her town by praying because there's nothing else she can do, and then unexpected things happened, drawing me into deep theological waters in a most entertaining way. Without preachiness. It would be a great pick for a book group to argue about. Er, I mean, discuss.
Unrelated: We're experiencing a lizard invasion. They're the cute little anole lizards, bright green with a peachy dewlap that they puff up for intimidation or courtship purposes. Somehow, they're sneaking into the sunroom, and yesterday I found one waiting expectantly at the back door in the garage. I think he would have knocked on the door if he could have. I shooed him away, for his own good. Our indoor cats would have seen him as a delightful taste of the great outdoors.
Okay, that's not totally unrelated to Agnes Sparrow, because one of the characters in the story has a cat that's always murdering smaller creatures, and that's related to the behavior of some of the human characters and those big theological questions about sin and free will. See, it's all related. Lizards, cats, fiction, theology.