Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Summer Reading in Sun-Deprived Seattle

I am really ready to start writing another novel. I mean REALLY.

(Photo of edited draft of BreakupBabe by Leslie Duss).

The thing is, since our whale-tastic vacation, I've been dreaming about whales again. Almost nonstop. Big, barnacle-covered, bad boys.

They're both awesome and frightening in my dreams, so close that I'm afraid of falling in the water and getting eaten by one. You know what THIS means. It means there is an idea under there, bubbling around in my self-conscious, that is about to erupt and take over my life.

I have been reading some of our more bestselling authors lately. Jodi Picoult for one, Nicholas Sparks for another. Yes, Nicholas Sparks, OK! Just get over it! Someone gave me The Guardian and though I put it off I ran out of novels and started reading it and now I can't stop!

Though I find myself struggling, at times, with the ludicrousness of the plots (Picoult), the crudity of the writing (Sparks), these are books I'm dying to get back to at night. These writers are skilled storytellers. Sparks, in particular, proves you don't need a fancy plot to make a gripping story.

His writing appears so simple that he makes it seem EASY and you know when something seems easy it's not. Which reminds me of one of my all-time favorite writers, Alexander McCall Smith. Now here is a true master. With his No. #1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, he writes stories that are funny, sad, and uplifting with a structure and voice so seemingly simple you think "I CAN WRITE LIKE THIS!"

And of course you can't. So at first these stories are inspiring and then they are truly depressing - when you sit down to write your own simple, beautiful masterpiece only to produce garbled nothingness, but I digress.

In other news, I have too many effing blogs. I need to rein in my sprawling Web presence.

In other, other news, while we were on our whaletastic whale-watching trip, co-captain Dave channeled Jacques Cousteau to narrate this Academy-Award winning video "The Sea is a Lonely Place." The narration is hard to hear and gets drowned out (no pun intended, ha ha) completely after the first half but you can still see some whalies swimming around.