Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Writing About Words

First, before the actual post, something of note. This is #100! My 100th post here! Probably a mere drop in the bucket for most bloggers, but I'm pleased by this number.

And now, the actual post:

Writers love book and stories and words. I know, no surprise there. But what this love leads to is something wonderful—they talk about books and stories and words. And in this glorious, distracting time of the internet and blogs, we get plenty of chances to listen in.

I admit it. I love to listen to people talk about the books they love. I especially love it when it’s an author I like talking about books. I remember last September, when I saw Charles de Lint speak at his book signing at Powell’s. He talked about Alice Hoffman and how magical her books are and how much he enjoys them—I wanted to jump up right then and find some!

Today, I ran across a blog post from Jessica Morrell where she talks about how books influenced her as a child. She shares some lovely reminiscences about The Boxcar Children books and others. She also mentions a great idea for writers—she keeps a notebook where, as she’s reading, she writes down words and descriptive phrases and things she likes. I am adopting this immediately!

I also found an essay by Neil Gaiman titled “Some Strangeness in the Proportion: The Exquisite Beauties of Edgar Allan Poe.” (Apparently he wrote this for a Barnes and Noble edition of Poe’s works—must get this!) Gaiman really pinpoints some of why I am a fan of Poe. “Pictures come unbidden as you read the tales; you craft them in your head.” And this: “They [the stories] are powered by what remains untold as much as by what Poe tells us, each of them split and shivered by a crack as deep and as dangerous as the fissure that runs from top to bottom of the gloomy house inhabited by Roderick and Madeline Usher.” So true! I have a sudden desire to pull out my Poe and reread some favorites. (My favorites, in case you’re interested, are “Annabel Lee” from Poe’s poems and for stories—I really can’t seem to choose a favorite right now although I’ve spent much too long rereading several of them this afternoon.)

My head is full of Poe now. This is one of the great things about listening to people talk about books (oh, I know I’m not actually listening to the writing, but it’s the same effect). When the book lover expresses that adoration well, I just have to run off and read whatever they were rhapsodizing about. And then I am left with a brain full of heady words and phrases. All this talk about books is intoxicating. Maybe it’s addictive—I want more and more and more. And even better, I am left with a drive to write something down, anything, in hopes that someday someone will be inspired to tell people about me.

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