The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente, and A Lament, by Me.
February 8, 2012 § 3 Comments
When I read something of Catherynne M. Valente’s (which I’ve tried to do as often as possible since dying a thousand glorious times over Deathless), I experience two overwhelming reactions.
One: I revel.
Her sentence-level writing, plot development, characters, narrative voice, etc. all thrill me—not only because she’s very good at all of them, but also because she takes every opportunity to surprise and delight and to reach into collective memory and yank on something meaningful while doing it. Valente holds no punches–her character meets her own Death, and sings it a lullabye!–and I worship her for it.
Two: I despair.
There is nothing left to write. Catherynne M. Valente has written all the words–her character meets her own Death, and sings it a lullabye, you guys.
Seriously, why try to write in a wry, self-aware narrative voice (which I spent much of my MFA trying to do, not always successfully)? Catherynne M. Valente does it with more aplomb.
Why even attempt to write knowledgeable folklore retellings? Catherynne M. Valente has, or is in all likelihood about to; I mean, the woman is prolific. Anything I might be thinking of writing right now, she has probably already written, or has in her head to write, oh, sometime this afternoon. Just look at the woman’s list of publications, all within the last seven years.
No really, click on the link. I’ll wait. « Read the rest of this entry »
January 11, 2012 § 6 Comments
A milestone in the young life of my blog is reached: the 13th post. Superstition tells me not to make it a long or arduous one, because as soon as I have it all written, wordpress will find a way to destroy it. That, or turn it into some kind of hidden, haunted gem, findable only by the most specific and evil search terms.
What better to write about in a 13th post than Stephen King?
I’ve just finished the Master of the Macabre’s On Writing, which I got as a Christmas gift from my parents. It was a fitting gift–before traveling up to Maine to visit said parents for the holiday, I had been reading King’s Bag of Bones. The goal was to finish it before the miniseries premiered so I could write here on the blog about the adaptation (you know just love picking apart adaptations) But the miniseries came and went (to little acclaim, I hear), and I resolved to save the book instead for December, and to start a tradition of reading a Stephen King novel every Christmas.
Here’s why: my parents live on an unassuming street in Bangor, Maine. If you walk out their front door, you’ll see a neat little park where two roads come together in a triangle. You’re walking your dog, say. The dog pulls you across your parents’ street into that little park to do her business. From there, at the meeting point of those two intersecting roads, you can look up one block and see a gas station, a row of plain but cozy 19th century houses (one of which is where my parents live), and a florist’s shop. It’s a pretty busy street. If you look up the other road, though, which is a tad more stately, you’ll see at its end a huge red Victorian with white-painted trim and a black iron gate.
Yep, just an odd triangular block away from my parents’ front door is where Stephen and Tabitha King live. « Read the rest of this entry »