Archive for the ‘Featured Author’ category
Favorite places: airports where we are all migrants; anywhere on wheels; Indian roads on a rainy day with all the difficulties and its joys; ask me again in a year as I may be in a different place in my head; a tomato garden
What’s the one thing that the book you’re currently reading is missing? I just finished reading Julian Barnes’s Homage to Hemingway. It could have been twice as long.
What are writers for? To put into words, and hence to clarify and preserve a record of, the feelings that we all have but that generally slip through our fingers. To provide a sense of self-recognition. To help us understand ourselves. To expand conscious and possibilities for empathy.
Describe your imagination. Sometimes like a kangaroo, bouncing along in it’s funny kind of way; sometimes like a bulldog, it grabs me and won’t let go; sometimes like a bird with a broken wing, feeling like it should be able to soar but is stuck fluttering on the ground.
Anatomy of the Writer What are writers for? I don’t know about fiction writers, but writers in my arena are putting emerging ideas onto the page so we can all get a good look at them and, hopefully, contribute to important conversations and learning. That said, I hope in the day and age of tweets, […]
It is quite clear to me that the things I write are not me—or more accurately, they are partly me, but partly other stuff that just flew through me. It’s a little like watching your grown children: there’s some familiar DNA there, but then there’s this whole other existence you can only stand back and watch with amazement.
Writing, for me, has always started with a desire to as closely as possible commit to the page a moment/feeling/idea/image just as it is in my head. With that accomplished (or very nearly) I can move forward and explore where the piece is going, though still not in any way I’d necessarily call creative. It’s maybe the reverse. I try to be open but disciplined — I’m in search of a thing that…
Describe your perfect book in the form of a three course meal. A little bit of smokey, steamy haunted soup, fresh from the deepest swamp, followed by pure Carolina pulled pork BBQ (with the vinegar) so you’ve got some meat to hang the ghosts on, ending with a touch of yellow cake with chocolate icing so there’s enough sweetness to pull people through the darkness of the vine-covered trees.
Usually I scribble notes in a notebook (I always have one on me) – ideas for scenes, scraps of dialogue, jokes, then as soon as I get time I sit at the computer and type the ideas out in full. I hardly ever write actual book text by hand, mainly because my writing is so illegible that I’d finish a chapter and then have no idea what I wrote a day earlier.
A really good book needs to have lots of layers – characters that evolve over the pages, plot details that are actually interesting, funny dialogue. Finally, a writer’s sense of honest story-telling is what makes a book perfect. Honesty is an add-on, sort of like desert. A lot of books are completely devoid of it – characters are shallow, their emotions exaggerated – but my perfect book would be true in its description of life’s imperfections.