Saturday, September 30, 2006

Inspiration in the mail

I just received a wonderful surprise in the mail: this book. (Thank you Abigail!!) I immediatley devoured it, hoping to glean the secrets that make books pour forth from famous writers’ fingertips. Well, I knew I wouldn’t find that, but I did find things to get really excited and inspired by, and things to take great comfort in. (I am still laughing at how Verity said: take comfort in hearing someone didn’t publish their first book until they were 35, 50, 80 -- I DO take comfort in stuff like that!!)

One thing I took comfort in was reading about Lloyd Alexander’s process. Some writers plan and outline, and others plunge boldly forward and figure out the story as they go. Jane Yolen refers to the latter approach beautifully as “flying into the mist.” I, sadly, am not a mist-flyer. As I love to look at maps when I travel and see where things are in relation to each other, so too do I plan out my stories and books, and I take silly comfort in knowing Lloyd Alexander is not a mist-flyer either: “Before I begin writing, I plot my stories out in a series of notes. Writing the notes can take months. It’s the only way that I have any sense of security. My synopsis is like a blueprint. If I don’t have one, the garage is going to end up bigger than the house.” Yes. EXACTLY.

I recall feeling the same kind of validation as an illustrator when I read that Edmund Dulac’s process was very similar to my own painstaking perfectionisty process. Of course, that doesn’t make me Edmund Dulac, any more than I am Lloyd Alexander -- and about that Lloyd Alexander? Here’s a little something for everyone who thinks they don’t have time to write: “Because I had a day job, I had to train myself to keep to a regular schedule. I still get up at three in the morning, seven days a week, go to my work room, and work for three or four hours.” HOLY MOLY. Three o’clock?????? And I am so proud of myself for getting up at SIX!

Anyway, thank you THANK YOU Abigail for the book!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Call me crazy. . .

Talking to my editor today, I learned that he and his wife are going off to a villa on the Amalfi Coast for several weeks. SIGH. The land of Jim’s and my dream villa! And the whole time they are there, sipping limoncello on a terrazzo above the Mediterranean, we will be driving Shiloh across the city every single day to the doggy oncologist. It is probably cheaper to go to Italy for two weeks than to put a dog through radiation treatments.

And though this realization comes at a time when I have been fervently & wishfully bookmarking trekking and kayak tours to Belize, Thailand, and Nepal, I am relatively unphased. What is the value of a year of an animal’s life? A trek in Nepal? Depends on the animal, I guess. Shiloh has been with me most of my adult life -- almost a third of my life! -- I know certain people think I’m crazy (one whose name rhymes with phlegmily), but all I can say is, you might not THINK you would do it, but you don’t know until you have to decide.

Shiloh had a CT scan today in preparation for beginning radiation, and she was bright-eyed and peppy coming out of the anesthesia, which bodes well for 18 consecutive days of anesthesia! The Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging Center was an incredibly posh place that looked like an upscale clinic for people, not pets, and there was only one other person there while I was waiting. I watched while the radiologist came out, x-rays in hand, and led this woman into a consultation room. It could be called a grief room. When he left a while later, he closed the door to give her privacy and I could hear her weeping inside. She had just learned her 9-year-old lab is riddled with cancer. He is the first dog she has ever had in her life, and she said she could never have imagined how hard this would be: to think that very soon the day would come that she would go home from the vet without him. Forever.

My mind isn’t ready to imagine that day yet. My mind DEFLECTS it. Which is why Jim & I will be taking turns driving to Beaverton 18 days in a row. Put like that, it doesn’t sound like such a big deal. 18 days of driving for another year of Shiloh? Feh. No question.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Looking for Enchantment: a tiny story

She was lonely so she built herself a friend of sticks and leaves and sat on the forest floor with it, looking into its attentive acorn eyes and telling it stories. It would either come alive like in a fairy tale, she thought, or it wouldn’t, and then she would know if there was any enchantment in her life. She told it story after story, and the leaf-friend said nothing. It blinked not, and neither did it laugh, and towards evening a breeze stirred and carried it away. She stood and walked slowly out of the forest, sad to discover there was not, after all, any enchantment in her life. She didn’t look back to notice that she was followed by birds. They gathered in the branches at the forest’s edge and watched her go. “How do you suppose that last story ends?” asked one bird, and another bird shrugged and said, “I guess we’ll never know.”

P.S. There is always enchantment.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


The prompt for Sunday Scribblings this week is "Instructions," so I decided to give MYSELF the how-to reminder I most need right now:


1. Daydream. A lot. (required)

2. Get a notebook that’s just right, with good paper that won’t curl and that you can’t see the ink through, but that isn’t so precious you’ll be afraid to “mess it up.” This is for ideas.

3. Think up stories until you’ve got an idea you love, that sets your mind on fire with possibilities.

4. Take that idea and cross-examine the crap out of it. In your notebook, ask it EVERYTHING. WHY and WHO and HOW and WHEN and REALLY, ARE YOU SURE? And again HOW and WHY and HOW and WHY. Think and think and think. Think way past the borders of your idea, so that the world you dream up is like a big huge trampoline you won’t fall off the edge of if you jump too high.

5. Do some research on things that come up in your brainstorming. You’ll find out marvelous marvelous things that will make your story richer, and that can give you a missing puzzle piece that pulls everything together.

6. Write.
7. Write.
8. Write.

9. Learn what you need as a writer and develop your own rhythm and routine. Routine is good. Like a just-right notebook, find a just-right place to write. A haven.

10. Write.
11. Write.
12. Write.

13. When you get to a place where the story halts like a stubborn mule and just won’t go anywhere, resort to daydreaming mode. But not some wishy-washy namby-pamby brainstorming: ferocious, knife-strapped-to-your-thigh brainstorming! List every possible damn thing that might happen, even if it means carrying that mule over your shoulder back several scenes and taking a different turn in the labyrinth. Open your mind. Write down everything, even if it seems stupid, and keep thinking, keep asking yourself questions. Sometimes drastic measures are called for, like erasing a character who isn’t really pulling his weight, and replacing him with somebody who will give your mule just the kick in the ass it needs. Don’t be timid.

14. Keep writing until you’ve got a first draft, then celebrate your deep genius and tell everyone you’ve written a book! Gloat!

15. Wait a while. A few weeks, perhaps. Then read your draft as if it was something you’d picked up at the bookstore. Figure out what you love and what you don’t. Be absolutely honest with yourself about the boring parts, and about the parts where the author is clearly forcing the characters to do things, where motivations don’t ring true, where it rambles. Think how to fix it.

16. Rewrite.
17. Rewrite.
18. Rewrite.

19. Gloat even more with the completion of the second draft. Get people to read it and give your compliments and pour champagne over your head.

20. Repeat steps 15 - 18, as many times as needed.

Yes, I know it’s steps 6 - 8 and 10 - 12 that are the hard part, but the thing is, there’s really nothing else for it but to just do it, even if it’s hard and even if you’re sure it’s horrible as you’re doing it. This is a place where reading how-to books can’t really help you, so don’t take a break from steps 6 - 8 and 10 - 12 to read Bird by Bird AGAIN and drink wine. It’s like with weight loss: whatever advertising might tell you to get you to buy a product, there’s really only one thing that works -- healthy eating and exercise. With writing a book it’s -- sitting down and writing. Keep in mind that people all over the world have been managing to do it for ages. People do it every day, and there’s no reason why you can’t, too!

(Update -- you must read these instructions for writing a novel -- HILARIOUS!)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Canine Nasal Tumors

I gave this post a no-nonsense title in case anyone out there is googling canine nasal tumors, as I have been, and might find their way here.

These are our doggies. The brown one is Leroy, my step-son. The husky is Shiloh, who I've had for about 11 years. Shiloh has cancer. Last I wrote we didn't know for sure. I took her to the internal medicine specialist tuesday morning, and the vet was a young woman about my age, as are my doctor, my dentist, my optometrist, and our regular veterinarian. Yay, young women docs! Anyway, I wasn't sure if I would proceed with any of the expensive diagnostics, like an MRI, but the vet recommended rhinoscopy, the miraculous little camera up the nose. So I left Shiloh there for the day, which is a hard thing to do! I came back for her later and the vet showed me pictures of the mass in her nasal passage. It isn't pretty. There were two main candidates for what kind of tumor it was: lymphoma or carcinoma, with lymphoma being the cancer o' choice in this case. I guess it responds better to treatment, and goes into remission for longer under radiation. But we got the biopsy results today and it's carcinoma. So now we need to decide whether to do radiation treatment.

As I wrote before, I never thought I would consider something like this, especially for an old dog already at the end of her statistical life span. But what can I say? You never know what you'll consider until the choice actually arises. From what I hear and read, dogs react very well to radiation therapy and don't suffer severe side effects. There's no reason why Shiloh shouldn't do well, and the tumor should go into clinical remission for 8 - 18 months. That's a long time for an old dog. Apparently, there has only been a pet radiation oncologist in Portland for 2 years. Before that, we would have been out of luck. So, we will most likely go ahead with that.

I've been fairly blue about the whole thing, but Shiloh is doing fine right now -- though perhaps drooling more than her fair share -- so I'm okay. She's had a long, happy life, so no matter what happens, this is not a tragedy. But if there's a chance she can have a LONGER happy life. . . well, I suppose we'll try that. And thank you for all the good wishes!

Updated March 7, 2007
I notice through my sitemeter that a lot of people are googling canine nasal tumors, and it makes me very sad to think that there are so many dogs out there suffering what Shiloh suffered. I thought I'd better add an addendum here, to say:

  • Shiloh did well with the radiation treatments. Though she was 13 years old, the 18 consecutive days of anaesthesia did not overtax her too much and she didn't have any really obvious discomfort. She continued eating throughout (though she was on prednasone to stimulate her appetite) and going for her daily walks. She did sleep a lot, and she wasn't the happiest dog ever, but she did okay.
  • the symptoms associated with the tumor did go away -- her difficulty breathing, her sneezing and bloody noses. The radiation seemed effective.
  • However, sadly, Shiloh was old for a husky, and this year, age hit her hard. It came on so fast. She started having trouble getting up off the floor -- her hind legs were weakening, and this progressed until we made the very very difficult decision to euthanize her in February. I wrote more about that here. We had the vet do a home visit, which I didn't know until very recently was even an option. It was very peaceful, and now when I look back on photos of Shiloh during her last weeks and days, I know it was time. Sadly, it was past time. I miss her so much, but that's part of having pets: knowing we'll have to say goodbye to them.
  • If I had it to do over again, I think I would still do the radiation. Especially if you are someone with a younger dog. I never knew dogs could get old so fast and there's no way I could have contemplated euthanizing Shiloh back in the fall when she was still pretty spry. Even knowing it now, well, I had those extra months with her. And if she was a younger dog, we might have had a year or several years.

I don't know if this will help anyone who is facing the decision that we faced, but I wish you and your dog well. It is a blessing to have the technology available to do something in this situation, but as our vet told us: just because the option exists, you aren't obliged to do it. It is crazy expensive, and as we learned, it might only buy you a few months. It's a very personal decision and a very difficult one. Best wishes to you as you confront it.

[Update October 2007 -- I'm so sad to see how many people really are out there googling canine nasal tumors. I have been very moved by the stories a few of you have shared in the comments section here; I hope your dogs are doing well, as well as may be. We're dealing with severe arthritis now with our other old dog, and that's a rough one too -- but he's still doing pretty good. The last few weeks I've been hearing a number of stories of folks adopting old dogs from the Humane Society and the stories are so sweet and heart-breaking, I would encourage anyone to consider bringing home an oldster -- they're such wonderful pets!]

[Update March 2008 -- Well, we're going through it again. Leroy, our other old dog, was diagnosed with an oral melanoma. Fricking cancer. We were lucky -- he had a tooth absess for the first time in his life, and while removing his teeth the vet discovered the very small mass on the roof of his mouth and was able to remove it. Most oral melanomas are not discovered early, but only when they start to bleed and distort the snout. Still, surgical removal is not enough, in and of itself, especially considering the location of the mass -- since it was on the roof of his mouth they couldn't get good margins. And, oral melanoma is highly metastatic. So, we talked to the same radiation oncologist who treated Shiloh and we learned that the protocol for irradiating melanoma is very different -- even in humans, I guess, melanoma only responds to very high doses of radiation. So, instead of 18 low doses, the treatment for Leroy has been 6 high doses. He's going in for the sixth today.

[Update September 2008 -- Just wanted to update about a couple of things. First, I'm happy to say that five months after radiation, Leroy (the brown dog above) is nearing 15 years and is doing great. He's peppy, eats well, has a great life, so there's a happier radiation story than Shiloh, who didn't live long after her treatment. The other thing I want to say is that we put Leroy on prednasone during his treatments, and we saw a rapid degeneration in him almost at once, a loss of muscle mass, trembling hind legs, having difficulty (for the first time) getting up -- generally, a decline into weakness that was really alarming. We could see his spine; he really changed. With the vet's supervision (though at our insistence) we weaned him off the prednasone, and as soon as he was off, he started to get better, build his muscle back up, and improve in every way. I can't say scientifically that this was because of the prednasone, but here's the thing that really sucks: Shiloh was on prednasone, and these are the same symptoms she suffered that eventually worsened and led to us euthanizing her, her hind legs weakening so much she could barely walk, would collapse when she squatted to pee, that sort of thing. So, I hate to think the prednasone could have been responsible, and that we could have had more good months with her, but I can't help thinking it might be true. The oncology vet never warned us about such severe side effects, so just be aware: in our experience, it is a nasty drug. Use with caution. Wishing all your dogs the best.]

Monday, September 18, 2006

Wonderful blog gals

So, we blogging gals who have met such amazing women here tend to gush about it a bit, and this is going to be one of those posts. After months of blogging, I'm still dazzled by it -- by the possibility of meeting kindred spirits all around the world, and forming the kinds of real friendships that I wouldn't have thought could happen this way. I mean, I used to think blogging was all like MySpace, and having 973 "friends" or something. But this is so far beyond that! Two things over the past week:

Look at the beautiful flowers that came all the way from England (I know the flowers didn't come all that way, but the thoughtfulness did!) as a congratulations for wrapping up my copyedit. Wow! I was so astonished to receive them -- I had NO IDEA who might be sending me flowers. It wasn't Jim; he was as surprised as me. So who could it be? It was sweet Meg, my first blogging friend and my wonderful Sunday Scribblings co-conspirator. Thank you, Meg! As I already told her in an email, it came in the midst of a not-so-great day full of plumbing difficulties and dog incontinence. In fact, when the flower delivery guy came to the door, we were waiting for the plumber, and it was a funny moment because the small neat Asian man pulling up in a Subaru really did NOT look like a plumber at all! Anyway, that all turned out fine, and Jim ended up installing a new sink and toilet, which he is very proud of since we are not, as a rule, all that handy. He could be if he wanted, but like me, he'd rather be painting or writing than plumbing. And as for the dog incontinence, Shiloh was on a big dose of prednazone to help her breathing, and it really really did, in a kind of miraculous way, but it also made her apparently lose all bladder control. Weird. So the vet scaled back the dose. As for her diagnosis, we are seeing a specialist tomorrow, but I don't think we can find out for certain if she has a nasal tumor without doing really expensive diagnostics like an MRI. I have always thought that, no matter how much I love my dogs, I wouldn't consider spending thousands of dollars on cancer treatments. It's a harder decision when you have to listen to your dog struggling for breath. But. . . we'll see.

In much happier news, I also had the pleasure of meeting some blog gals in person last week! Deirdre and her partner Richard had planned a quick trip to Portland, so those of us living nearby (and not so nearby, Jennifer!), got together for sushi and gelato on NE 23rd St, which is a cute little shopping district at the base of the West Hills.

It was a wonderful evening, and I really, really wish we could ALL get together on a regular basis, those of us who made it last week: Alexandra, Liz, Kim, Jennifer, and Deirdre, and all the other gals whose blogs I love and who live all over the place like fistfuls of flung wildflower seeds.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Sunday Scribblings #25 - Pirate Research

Okay, I confess, the Sunday Scribblings prompt was my idea this week. I can tell many scribblers are groaning about it. Research? Feh! Right? Well, it’s barely research. I mean, it’s just a google search! And the reason I wanted to do this prompt is because I’ve done a lot of google searches on various topics for various writing projects recently and it’s FUN. And EASY. And I hope there aren’t any sometime-scribblers out there who are shirking this week’s prompt because they can’t think of a single subject they’re curious about. C’mon people! The world is FASCINATING.

I chose the subject of piracy in the South China Seas. There’s a slim chance it might come into play in my current novel, so I thought I’d look into it.

Pirates have been terrorizing the South China Seas since the time of the Roman Empire. In the lawlessness that followed the fall of the Han dynasty in 220, an institution of piracy formed that would flourish until 1849 when the British Navy finally cracked down on it in order to better control the opium trade.

The great Kwangtung Pirate Federation was at it height composed of 400 junks (those ships with the distinctive fan-shaped sails) and 70,000 men. Within the federation were formerly rival pirate fleets, acting in cooperation. The life of the pirates was a whole subset of society with its own laws and rules. They worshipped sea gods and had their own dialects. Children were encouraged to fight as play, thus honing their skills for their future profession. Gambling was rife, favorite games were fantan, majiang, and quail fighting. They chewed betel nut as a stimulant, which blackened their teeth, and they drank a blue liquor called “bee-chew,” served in small cups. Among the various specialized jobs the pirates had, it was the duty of one to burn incense. They mostly went barefoot. The raping, beating, or marrying of female captives was a capital offense, the execution-style for which was beheading of the pirate, while the female in question was cast overboard with weights attached to her legs. Interesting justice! Most junks could carry between 300 and 500 tons of plunder. The pirates kept food, fresh water, gun powder, and weapons for themselves. For several years, the pirate federation was ruled by a woman, Cheng I Sao, a former prostitute.

The Gulf of Tonkin remains the most active region in the world for piracy.

Okay, that's what I found in a quickie search. May or may not be accurate, but it's interesting!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Kiss Me!

I am so scattered right now. Yesterday was a scramble to make copyediting changes as my editor emailed them to me 50 pages at a time, followed by a mad dash over to FedEx in time to overnight the manuscript to New York. Whew! It felt kind of like a reality show, say, Project Runway, with a ludicrous deadline where you just feel so sorry for the contestants. Here's a snippet off a conversation [honest-to-god almost verbatim] that shows just how sympathetic my editor was to my plight.

Me: I think you're going to give me a heart attack. If I have a heart attack, I won't be able to FedEx you the manuscript.

Editor: That's okay. I'm sure Jim will FedEx it to me.

Me: What?!? Jim will be busy driving me to the hospital!!!

Editor: There must be a FedEx drop-off on the way to the hospital.

hahaha, I kid you not! But that's all done now. WHEW! And the book is actually up on Amazon! Crazy!

I really really want to just drop out of society now and work on the current book. I even looked into the possibility of an off-season beach house rental, just as a fantasy yesterday. To go to the windy foggy beach for a month with Jim and the weary old hounds and have fires going all day and write and write and write. Ah... heaven! But you know what? Once I got started looking at the actual rental houses in our favorite Oregon beach town, I was discouraged. This relates back to my color post. These rental houses have NO COLOR in them anywhere. They're ugly and depressing inside. I don't know if I could live in one for a month, with ugly wood paneling and brown plaid couches and such, even if it IS a block from the beach! We would consider going away to a little cottage in Mexico or something instead, but we don't want to leave our geriatric dogs. Sigh.This is very sad: Shiloh, my husky who I've had for eleven years and who might even sort of like me by now, she has been sneezing blood. I did not know this but dogs get tumors in their nasal passages. This may not be that, I'm telling myself it's allergies, and meanwhile we're going back to the vet again tomorrow. Unfortunately, there is not a blood test for cancer in pets like there is for humans. But I'm hoping for the best. Her cookie appetite is unimpaired, at any rate.

In other unrelated babblings: saw the movie Half Nelson today. Damn good!

Friday, September 08, 2006


["persnickity" : overly particular about trivial details]

I caught myself yesterday in persnickity writing mode and I had to use all my sneaky arts to drag myself out of it. There IS a time for persnickitiness, and I LOVE that time. I love to futz with sentences and I do so with all the delight of a little old lady trying ribbons on her poodle. I just don’t get tired of it and when I get a paragraph just right I want to pick it up and kiss its little wet nose.

I love to futz. I love to “persnick.”

But as I said, there’s a time for it, and that time is AFTER there’s a story to “persnick” with! Not while the document on my computer is a clean and endless white scroll without a living breathing story on it yet. Not when I’m still trying on ideas like new wigs, keeping an open mind and giving them all a chance, every color, every shape. To be too persnickity at this point would be like spending hours styling one wig only to decide the color’s wrong and toss it out the window. What a waste of time!

Oh God, I can see I’m Metaphor Millie today. I get like that. I’ll try to shake off the poodles and wigs!

The thing is, I’m back into Silksinger, my second novel, after the sidetrack of revisions on Blackbringer (though I’m expecting to receive the copyedits today, so... holding my breath!), and it’s glorious to be following a new story along. I love the way a whole world falls open and ideas swarm out, and there are a million choices to make, and serendipities are born between your fingertips and the computer keys and amazing, unexpected things happen and you let them, you follow them like interesting strangers and see what they’ll do, and after a while, they’re not strangers any more but part of your world. And all the while you know that at any point the story could go in a million other directions. And that can be paralyzing, wondering if you’ve chosen the right direction out of millions -- how can you know?

But the thing is, there isn’t one right direction. A novel isn’t a labyrinth with one way out and a dragon waiting to kill you if you turn the wrong way. It’s like a life in miniature, an organic thing that sasses back and screws up and backtracks and tries again. And again. And again. You’ve just got to keep moving, which doesn’t really happen in persnickity mode.

So, to get out of there and into... er... wig-trying-on mode, I have to be stern with myself, and I have to be tricky. Sometimes it’s as simple as opening a new document called something un-overwhelming like “Silksinger temp doc” and writing there where I can hide it from the characters in my REAL draft so they won’t see how much I suck and start to despise me.

And I force myself to free-write. This is something I never want to do, like going to the gym (which I already did today), or painting the new doors (which I have to do later. ARG!). I groan. I panic, a little. I consider a tantrum. I look up something in the dictionary and end up writing twelve exciting new words down in my notebook. I pet the dog with my foot. I dawdle.

But yesterday, I looked at the little clock in the upper corner of my computer and said, free write for ten minutes on this scene. Go! And I went, even though it was naptime and I could have wrangled my way out of it. And ten minutes flew past, and before I knew it, I had written as much as I had in the previous four hours. The panic was gone, and I had remembered that when I free write like this, I don’t actually have to READ what I’ve written after, but usually some little twist in the story will pop up and I’ll follow it and it will turn out to be the one choice out of the millions that seems right for that moment.

Maybe it’s the one idea in the crowd wearing Christmas lights and jumping up and down, and maybe it’s the one in the back, not raising its hand and not making eye contact because it didn’t do the reading and maybe it doesn’t even speak English but that’s okay, because it can sing, baby, it can sing.

Think about this: as a writer, you’re the team captain and there are a million-trillion ideas you can pick for your team, and there are no limits and no rules. That’s pretty cool.

And the story inches onward.

And tomorrow, you try on another wig. And another.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


I don't understand why there isn't more color in the world around me. I don't understand why so many cars are silver and white, instead of goldenrod and violet and cobalt and teal, or why the favorite house hues in the US seem to be brown, grey, and beige. Would anyone list those as their favorite colors? I don't THINK so. Then why do houses have to be so colorless, inside and out? I hear people express FEAR of color -- is that it? Fear? I don't get that, really. Can anyone explain?

If I was an organizey kind of person I think I would try to start a movement to create a "Burano" neighborhood here in Portland, Oregon. If you're not familiar with Burano, it's the island in the Venetian lagoon where every house is a vibrant purple, pink, green, yellow, whatever. Many of these are pictures of Burano:

(Incidentally, can you pick out the photo that doesn't belong? Look at that dull middle one. WHY? And those that aren't Burano are either Hundertwasser or Gaudi, two wild colorific architects who if I was fabulously rich and a voodoo priestess I would resurrect to build me a house.) But honestly, I want to live in a more colorful world!

And here's another thing: why don't more people read non-mainstream fiction? Why do you have to be a true-blue fantasy nerd to read books involving the fantastic? Why is there such a stigma to "genre fiction" like fantasy, sci fi, and romance? I like all kinds of books. I recently read The Kite Runner, and a few books in a mystery series set in the British Raj era, and a few young adult fantasy novels, and the amazing Amitav Ghosh's The Hungry Tides, and Sarah Dunant's The Birth of Venus. There's mainstream literary fiction, period literary fiction, genre fiction and children's books. I love them all. But why do so many readers shun the "non-real"? To me, that's like being afraid of color, so I am honestly wondering. Why not grab a juicy vampire book now and then, or a great YA title? How about magic realism? Is that okay because it's "literary"?

I'm really not trying to sound reverse-snobby. I LIKE brown and grey. I like every color. Just, brown and grey get way more wallspace than they deserve. How about giving pink a chance, or yellow, or aqua? And how about someone who hasn't picked up a YA or a fantasy in a while bringing home a good one next time from the bookstore? Any takers?

P.S. the top photo is a sneak-peek of the color palette of my writing room, which is all done except it doesn't feel "lived in" yet -- there's barely any art on the walls or books on the shelf.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Sunday Scribblings #23 - Fortune Cookie

Considering how long my "Monster" Sunday Scribbling was, I thought a "tiny story" was in order for this one! Thank you sincerely to everyone who read "Goblin Fruit" -- I didn't expect that many people to take the time! Thank you!

Fortune Cookie: a tiny story

She cracked open her cookie and read her fortune. It said, “I beg you, do not eat me. Plant me and water me and a tree will grow whose branches will reach to the cloud kingdoms, where you will be greeted as a daughter.” And because she was so full of noodles and water chestnuts and tea she didn’t want to eat the cookie anyway. She tucked it into her purse and carried it home and planted it in her garden. She watered it and watched it. All around it day by day dahlias bloomed and tomatoes ripened but no tree grew. The summer nights began to shorten and cool but still, no tree grew. She ordered Chinese food one evening and it was delivered in white cartons and she ate it cross-legged in the grass watching the slow drift of orange leaves over the garden, and at length, she cracked open her fortune cookie. Her fortune read, “Don’t believe everything you read.”

More Sunday Scribblings here.