On Wednesday, it was discovered that my mother, who had recently developed hypothyroidism that was being treated, had something far worse that had gone totally undetected: what appears almost certainly to be cancer, likely lymphoma.
As I’ve noted before, I will always remember, in the immediate aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene ripping through the Catskills in August 2011 – and us, with a generator, so we could actually watch some news and have internet – hearing CNN’s Anderson Cooper actually say, “Prattsville, New York,” several times to a worldwide audience. It was surreal. We always see disasters played out in media “elsewhere,” but it never happens to “us,” right?:
That nearby town had been virtually destroyed when waters from the massively overflowing Schoharie Creek tore through it. Four years on, the scars are still there, yet it has rebuilt wonderfully – there are new stores and refurbished homes. (We venture in there primarily to shop at the well-stocked “Great American” supermarket.) It looks almost like another place now.
Hello! Made it! Woke up in the dark here in the Catskills – still feeling on U.K. time.
Just had a coffee in my favorite mug, which sat in the cupboard waiting all these months….
“I cannot live without books.” That is an actual Thomas Jefferson quote. Yes, a real one.
We flew into Newark airport yesterday afternoon.
Boarding at Heathrow, in our row sat – of all things – a 60ish Australian lawyer who’d been to the Australia dismantlement of England at the Rugby World Cup on Saturday night. He was heading to New York, he’d said, because Australia wasn’t playing again for a while. He had decided to “hop over” to the U.S. for a week before flying back to England for the next match.
The other night Sir Bruce Forsyth was a guest on the BBC’s One Show. He has been best known most recently as host of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing. The U.S. version is Dancing With The Stars.
Within moments, it became clear why he was on the program. He has a book out about his life and career:
His life has been “lived” largely before an audience. He was a performer who grew into a celebrity. In comparison, I suspect most authors instinctively feel uncomfortable with celebrity.
Most being the most important word there. There are always exceptions. Some clearly do revel in being the center of attention:
Check this out. I could have fallen over when I discovered this. I had to share it:
It’s a 1948 British hardcover copy – with a dust jacket! – of Raymond Chandler’s classic The Big Sleep, featuring Philip Marlowe, private eye. (Interesting bit of authoring history: Wiki says Chandler turned to writing detective fiction after losing his job at age 44 in 1932, during the Great Depression. I never knew that.) The 1946 film version had starred Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.
Naturally, more of “the competition” follows:
I screen captured the long page in two sections. It can be intriguing to see where your novels end up “shelved.” Originally I saw them mostly as “general fiction,” but subcategories are inevitable and eventually I found that “romance” had to do as a major one.
Following on from that post the other day on For Such a Time, I’ve read here and there about accusations of “racism,” “privilege,” and “Western cultural arrogance” in “romance” and “young adult” literature. That’s not an easy subject to address in a blog post. However, authoring as I do for adults (and not for children), I just wanted briefly to note my view. (Separately, I’ve already addressed the issue of an author spewing hatred while “hiding” behind his/her characters.)
Naturally, not every novel by every writer is going to be fantastic. Still it is chilling to read anything that even vaguely argues authors should be wary about exploring characters who aren’t much like themselves. That could lead, in itself, to writers becoming fearful of trying to create what could be some truly worthwhile literature.
I got a bit of a shock the other day in the form of an automatic WordPress email informing me an aunt-in-law here in England had followed this blog by email. She already knew about my site. It’s just I’m surprised that – out of the blue – she has subscribed.
I get many interesting “likers” and “followers.” So you know, I do try to have a look at everyone who stops by, but I can’t “follow” everyone back. I’d be overwhelmed by the reading.
You may have seen that I added the “Blogs I Follow” widget near the bottom the sidebar. If you use WordPress too, you may know it. I’ve chosen to display the maximum number allowed: 50 blogs.