The editor from a New York publisher just wanted to go to the bathroom. The author, attending a writer’s conference in Colorado Springs, blocked the way, promising to be brief. And he was straightforward, delivering his pitch, no windup. Having agreed to look at the first 30 pages of the novel, the publisher could take care of business without mishap.
My mother and father have been living in Turkey stuck after the pandemic shut everything down. A Covid vacation, if you will. During my last phone call with my mother, she said, “Well, I’ve read all the books I brought. I might as well write one.”
What is a palimpsest, you ask? It is defined as a manuscript, typically of papyrus or parchment, written on more than once, with the earlier writing incompletely scraped off or erased and often legible.
We all have them. In some sort of order or disarray, a growing pile of TBR. It’s a compulsion. Getting groceries. Pick up a book. Going to the movies. Slip into Barnes and Noble while you wait. At the airport. Oooh, new best seller. Maybe during the pandemic, we’ve slowed down, but have you checked your Kindle list or your Audible queue recently?
We all know someone who recommends a book they just finished.
It was recently May 4th. Don’t mock. An argument could be made that it is a more appropriate holiday than the following day. George Lucas has said that he was inspired by of the earliest Celtic stories of Arthur and the paladins in The Mabinogion and reimagined it as a space odyssey. He emulated the story that caught his attention in childhood and paid homage while creating a different aesthetic.
He used Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with A Thousand Faces. He lifted themes from Akira Kurosawa and Star Trek. And let’s not forget J.R.R. Tolkien who took some of his story plots directly from another heroic source, Beowulf.
There was a French female rugby player who was a shoo-in for the French national rugby team. The Olympics were on the horizon. She even got the five rings tattooed on her forearm. One day she was jogging through the woods, a place she regularly ran, when a tree randomly fell on her. No storm, no wind, no lumberjacks, nothing.
It just fell. As if the hand of God or Mother Nature pushed it on her. Had she started her run a few minutes earlier, or a few seconds later, the tree would have fallen harmlessly across the path.
Having finished two novels and grown tired of rejections, I began to write a third novel. I had a clever idea and a marvelous, operatic ending in mind. 35.000 words in, I realized I’d dead-ended. I stuck my stack of legal pads in a box (this was before home computers walked the earth) and sent the box to the dump.
From February 2020 on our reality has shifted from one hot mess to another. Oh hell, who are we kidding? Dare we trace our slippery slope a bit further back? We all have experienced some struggle. Some more than others, we respect that everyone’s experiences are different.
NCW member and famous author Jim Davidson has graciously agreed to lead a writing retreat this spring in Nepal in conjunction with NCW’s annual conference. Jim’s third book, Jim Davidson’s Adventure Cookbook, will be released on April 20, 2021.
I don’t know why anyone would trust me with hiring practices. Nevertheless, I have been on both sides of the job interview process. When I conducted interviews for positions in a Texas library, I had a canned set of questions I was supposed to ask. Among them was the single-most hated job interview question of all time: Tell me about one of your flaws.