David Gilmour – Nobody Should Be Allowed to Write So Perfectly!

Click on the above book cover to be taken to a site about David Gilmour

So…he’s done it again.

Sometimes I feel just like Superman. But only in the way I crash to the ground, weak-kneed and sullen, whenever I get around to reading David Gilmour’s latest novel. Yes, Mr. Gilmour is my kryptonite. I’m never actually Superman, the strong invincible guy who sometimes changes into his tights in phone booths. For those of you from younger generations (and/or unfamiliar with either Dr. Who or Bill & Ted), the following picture contains phone booths…in case you’re wondering what they are.

I found this phone booth graveyard on the island of Lamu, just off the coast of Kenya.

So, yeah. Although I never ever get to be that Superman, I often find myself assuming the guise of the suffering kryptonite weakened Superman.

And David Gilmour is responsible for this. His latest hit to my indefatigability (it’s a word now) is a beautiful little novel called THE PERFECT ORDER OF THINGS. (Click the title to go to Mr. Gilmour’s publisher’s site… Thomas Allen & Sons.) Oh how this book haunts me. I want somebody to bring me the head of David Gilmour on a silver platter. But not in a bad way…really. Don’t decapitate him or anything. I don’t want him dead. I need him to be alive. I need this sweet sweet krptonite pain to occur again…when I get to read his next novel. So, though I don’t want him dead…I do want him in front of me. I just need to slap his face. And just to make sure he is real. Just to get him back for making me the sad pathetic Superman one would find splayed in a gutter with a nugget of kryptonite sitting on his chest, laughing. If kryptonite could laugh, that is.

Dear Mr. Gilmour:

Why should one man get ALL the perfect sentences? Why should one man have Awesome Agent Sam Hiyate & all the perfect sentences? Why are you allowed to have the monopoly on perfectionism in the field of fictional nostalgia? Why, why, why do you write the most beautiful word combinations on the face of the planet!? I have the same 26 letters at my disposal, Mr. Gilmour. The exact same 26 letters…I shit you not. But I assemble them next to yours and mine look like mud patties next to your world champion sandcastles in the sky.

David Gilmour’s Words

Pretty, isn’t it!

My words

Oh well, you have to start somewhere right.

Mr. Gilmour…one doesn’t digest all of your novels without wondering if you google alert yourself. You’ve made no bones about the fact that you’re vain. (-: When you read this mad rant from your maddest of readers, know that I wish you no malice. It’s okay that your novels throw me into a deep depression for a couple of weeks. No biggie. In the end, the mad mad love I have for your perfect (in every damn way) sentences only helps me to strive to be a better writer. So, I guess our relationship is win/win. I win by dying inside with blood curdling screams of envy and love for your words. You win in knowing that if all the earth were to turn against you for some unknown reason, I would still purchase your next book. I would stand in a line of one or one million and one for your next book. You can put that in your pocket. A guaranteed sale. That’s something, isn’t it?

Thank you so much for your words.The Perfect Order of Things is yet another perfect offering. A beautiful read from first word to last. Out of 5 stars, I give it 6. Man, the things you do with words!

Everybody…go out to your closest bookstore. Or go online to your closest ebook store. BUY a David Gilmour novel. Discover what the perfect combination of words looks like. ANY of his novels. Discover the beautiful ache of nostalgia that Gilmour intricately weaves into every story.

I must take a much needed rest. The kryptonite is making me groggy. I must wait for the haze to subside. I’ve been Gilmoured yet again. I must lie down.

Signed,

Your biggest fan and your most hostile and happy reader.

PS: Mr. Gilmour, if EVER you would like to participate in the ONTARIO WRITERS’ CONFERENCE in ANY way, please do give me a contact. You can speak, or teach or just sit there and eat. The offer is OPEN.

 

Define the Dream…

A few days ago I wrote about following your dreams. It’s so important, it bears repeating. Essentially, it’s our purpose. I’m discovering now that there is something else we should do regarding our dreams…

I’ve been so hungry for my dream of writing, I think I kind of steamrolled over the whole spectrum of what writing is. Something else we should attempt to do is rein things in. DEFINE YOUR DREAM. If I were being true to myself, as true as I could be to my dream, I think I would end up narrowing my dream to that of PLAYWRIGHT. It’s where I find the most satisfaction. And, no, I’m not talking about the accolades received from the audience when one of my plays is produced. I’m not talking about positive feedback from actors and/or directors. I’m talking about the actual act itself. There is something about playwriting that is IMMEDIATE for me, something SO electric and alive in the act of putting the dialogue to paper that I crave so much. It’s so much different than novel writing. The reward in writing a play—of anticipating the animation of the corpse (in this case, the actor) and defining characters by their words and mannerisms—it’s just so addictive and satisfying.

I think it’s time for me to define my writing dream. I’ve been a poet, a lyricist, a freelancer, a novelist, a playwright, a memoirist. I’ve had about 10 years now to explore my options. It’s more than time to zone in on a particular writing form and see if I can take it to a higher level. Otherwise, I’ll just continue mucking about without a specific plan of action. And that’s libel to get me nowhere, if I’m not careful.

How about you? Have you asked yourself lately what it is you want to achieve with your writing? In what direction you want to take it?

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with floating about doing this and that and just having fun exploring all the avenues. But I’m beginning to feel a bit dizzy in the head. I’m living my dream…I’m writing. But now I think it’s time to discover what writing avenue speaks the loudest to me. I think it may be the avenue of the playwright. I’m going to try focusing on that for awhile to see where it takes me. Who knows…I could be totally off-base.

END SCENE
EXIT – STAGE RIGHT…

Been Reading Some Outstanding YA!

I’ve been reading such incredible YA lately, it’s even cutting into my writing time! But I can’t help myself. It’s just SO good!

I thought I would share a few titles here. I won’t even get into the latest David Gilmour novel, The Perfect Order of Things! Not a YA, I just finished it and was once again reminded that Gilmour is an outstanding writer…maybe even the best! He blows me away every single time. I have a tendency to forget about him between books, for some reason. Then his next book comes out and I am once again swept off my feet by his words. It’s a love/hate relationship. I’m crazy jealous that he can perfect every sentence he puts to paper…but I swoon with mad-love for those sentences.

Here are a few picks from recent reading:

 

I included two that I am still currently reading. Voiceless by Caroline Wissing and Velveteen by Daniel Marks. Both of these books will be 5-star, unless a dinosaur pops out at the end and eats all the characters, a la deus ex machina. (-:

You can find my reviews at TRY THIS BOOK ON FOR SIZE

I fell in love with each of these 6 books…all are worth checking out. Voiceless was written by a friend and it is incredible. Still devouring it right now! And Velveteen doesn’t hit the shelves until the fall. It’s one you should mark on your calendar…a perfect treat of a YA book. It has humour, horror and intelligence. I’m loving it!

Something worth mentioning: If you read a book and love it enough to recommend it, do the author a favour and review it on Goodreads, Amazon, Shelfari or any of the other review sites on the web. SHARE the love. (-:

Don’t Let Your Playwright Get in the Way of Your Novelist!

Do you ever find yourself blocking your novel? Positioning everything in your scene either upstage right or downstage left or right centre or upstage centre? Do you ever hold your thumbs together to form a block with your hands in which you envision your scene…so that you can ensure it’s visually pleasing and correct as you imagine it?

Do you ever accidentally write in a character leaving the stage? Entering the stage? Stage whispering?

Do you ever write END SCENE at the end of a chapter or SETTING at the beginning of one?

You may be suffering from playwriting fever. A novel is NOT a play and a play is NOT a novel. This advice is more for myself than for anyone else. I tend to work the play of my novel in my head while I’m writing the novel. It makes me consider every single word of my dialogue—which is a great thing—but it also slows me down at times and makes me forget to write the prose between the dialogue.

Stage blocking can help when writing a novel. Truly…it can. You should try it sometime. It allows you to see if the picture you’re creating is going to work, if everything you’re writing is possible/viable. But it can also get in the way. You can’t cross that line where you forget you’re writing a novel. Things get stifled if you actually write your scenes like you’re blocking them. There is no poetry in the act of stage blocking. That’s probably why it’s all parenthetical in a script. In a novel, you have to make sure everything flows…not just your dialogue.

Again, this is advice for myself. I sometimes forget this…as I enjoy playwriting almost more than I enjoy novel writing. Sometimes it’s hard to turn the playwright off.

By all means, position your characters properly within your scenes. But remember not to spell it out. You’re not telling actors where to stand…you’re carrying your characters through an imaginary world which your readers have to reconstruct effortlessly. Readers are not going to read the stage directions. They’re going to float through your novel…see what you tell them to see. The trick is to get it into their heads without them knowing it’s there. Effortless scenes…not—character A is here and character B is here, okay go…read.

This concludes today’s lesson/reminder to self. Next I should tackle – If you’re going to fling your characters off of tall buildings, there is no need to fling yourself from such precipices in order to write the flinging accurately.

Sometimes a Donkey is Just a Donkey – Symbolismistically, That is!

I saw a quote on tumblr this morning that got me thinking of the bullshit-meter-messer-upper that is S-Y-M-B-O-L-I-S-M. As a writer, I love to hear what symbolism is found in the pages of my own work. But I have to be honest with you, unless it is pointed out to me…I don’t see it.

I don’t insert-symbolism-here. I just write my story. Honestly. I’m not deep enough to inject symbolism. I am of the belief that symbolism, like shit, just happens.

Here’s the post from Tumblr that I’m talking about.

(Now, before you get your string in a knot–please note: I am not dissing English Teachers. I think everybody should have one.)

I have often been rendered slack-jawed when listening to people emote the symbolism found in some of the books I’ve read. The truth is, unless we hear it from the horse’s (in this case, the author) mouth, anything we ourselves come up with is simply conjecture. I would love for some people to get off their literary high horse and just accept the words on paper. Discussing the symbolism in a book is a great way to kill the book for others. Sometimes people just DON’T LIKE chicken soup. As readers and interpreters of the written word, we should just accept that shit.

NOTE: I believe the quoted text originated HERE (though it is sometimes hard to pinpoint the original source on Tumblr)

Follow Your Dreams…

When I was six I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to write. To create life where there was none. I wanted to breathe existence into the characters in my mind, so that others could enjoy them as much as I did. I wanted to take people away from tedium, boredom and the mundane. I wanted to lift. To exhilarate. To present diamonds to the world so that they may look into their sparkle and sigh, fulfilled.

Then life happened. It is true that we lose everything in growing up. Every year, every day, puts another layer of grime on top of the shiny diamonds we start out being.

If we’re really lucky, we will find a way to polish the coal that we have become. But only if we’re lucky. If we’re able to let go of the grime that has built up over the ensuing years, we can come back to our childhood dreams one day…try once again to make them happen. But you have to be willing to let go of the baggage. Whatever your dream is (or was), you will never achieve it if you hold on to all that crap that took you away from it. You have to float out above the detritus, try to picture yourself in the future—a future where your dream has already come true. Then you dig your heels in and you take yourself there. Don’t let anybody stop you.

Your dream may not be writing. That doesn’t matter. It’s time to scrub away the baggage and move on. BE THE DIAMOND. Follow your dreams…

 

My Book of Nods – Ode to Jim Carroll

I wrote this the day JIM CARROLL died – September 11, 2009. I think it was one of the last poems I wrote.

Jim Carroll: August 1, 1949 – September 11, 2009 — Punk Rocker, Poet, Seer and Soother

 

My Book of Nods

My book of nods
will neither contain
New York nor California variations.
It will not be
a celebration for the tipping
of a head bent
by the drug induced utopia
in which I loved to live.
Though I do nod often
to those days of gentle nodding.
I do enjoy the rush
of remembrance
they bring to me,
the cool skin and icy head
of falling into space uncharted.
My book of nods
will contain only one
slow and sleek nod,
reaching longingly toward
a single poet
lost in survival,
the struggle
of living and dying.
One nod to denote
the end of my obsession,
a new name etched in ink
that soon will dry
into the solemn book
of people who have died.

RIP JIM.

 

Try out Jim’s posthumous novel, THE PETTING ZOO. Not his poetry, but a treasure for true Carroll fans.

W. Somerset Maugham on Novel Writing

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” ~~W. Somerset Maugham

Read his book, THE SUMMING UP, for some real advice and insights into the writing life.

^ ^ READ THIS BOOK! ^ ^

Maugham reveals much about his life in this great book, but more importantly, for the writer…much about the writing life.

If you liked the way Stephen King weaved his everyday life with his writing life in ON WRITING, you’ll like this book too. We get cherished glimpses of who Maugham was while we are simultaneously getting nuggets of writing advice we’ll keep with us forever.

Pick it up today.

KINDLE EDITION

AMAZON PAPERBACK

BARNES & NOBLE PAPERBACK

Or, you could check out your local library or independent bookstore.

 

Save Bookstores Day – June 16th – Support YOUR Local!

Reminder that Save Bookstores Day is coming up! Which means – BLUE HERON BOOKS 2ND ANNUAL BOOKSWARM!

Thanks again to Kelly Sonnack of Andrea Brown Literary Agency for starting SAVE BOOKSTORES day! Kelly was frustrated with the closing of several historical bookstores and put a call out last year to get people to support their favourite independent bookstores.

Kelly’s 2011 campaign inspired me to hold a BOOK SWARM for my own favourite bookstore, BLUE HERON BOOKS in Uxbridge, Ontario. Last year’s swarm was a great success…and lots of fun, too. It’s always fun hanging out in your favourite bookstore.

This year, we’re having another swarm. On Saturday June 16th, head to Uxbridge for the 2nd Annual Blue Heron BookSwarm! (This is the day before Father’s Day…great time to pick up some books for Dads!) 10AM-1PM—but early or latecomers will also be celebrated!

PLACE: Blue Heron Bookstore – 62 Brock Street W. Uxbridge, Ontario (905) 852-4282

Please come. Please bring friends. Please tell everybody you know about it.

Who: You
What: Buy a book (or 4)
Where: Your local bookstore (or Powell’s ships)
When: June 16th (The Saturday before Father’s Day!)
Why: Because we need to support our storefronts. No more obituary section in publishing news, please!

Click Link to Go to BLUE HERON website.

Don’t forget to support your favourite local independent bookstore year-round! June 16th is the day to CELEBRATE them. (-:

JOIN THE BLUE HERON BOOKSWARM FACEBOOK EVENT!