28 November 2003
22 November 2003
19 November 2003
18 November 2003
17 November 2003
16 November 2003
I had an utter fanboy moment when a faintly familiar-looking person came over at the end and introduced himself as Philip Pullman, and I just started gushing foolishly, and he was kind enough not to notice.
15 November 2003
14 November 2003
The fairies were only going to play a minor role in this story. It's supposed to be about kids and parents and coping with death. Now I think the Good People are taking over.
13 November 2003
We may speak admiringly of Greek rationality, of the Age of Reason, and of the Enlightenment, yet it is far easier to find great writing -- and even, paradoxically, serious thinking -- that extols unreason, irrationality, and the beauty of "following one's heart" rather than one's head.
Very thought-provoking essay by David P. Barash (link via Frankenstein Journal.)
12 November 2003
Usual English form of Maria, which was the Latin form of the New Testament Greek names Mariam or Maria (the spellings are interchangeable), which were from the Hebrew name Miriam. The meaning is not known for certain, but there are several theories including "sea of bitterness", "rebelliousness", and "wished for child". However it was most likely originally an Egyptian name, perhaps derived in part from mry "beloved" or mr "love". This is the name of several New Testament characters, most importantly Mary the virgin mother of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene. Two queens of England have had this name, as well as a Queen of Scotland, Mary Queen of Scots.
I am no closer to figuring out this odd little occurence (keeping in mind that coincidences rarely happen in writing).
So then I looked up Madeline (it's on the same page as Mary), which is a variant of Madeleine, which is the French form of Magdalene (meaning "of Magdala"), which brings me right back to Mary. How bizarre.
Morag, which was supposed to have been Maddy's name, is the diminutive form of Mór, meaning "great."
11 November 2003
Nobody would attempt to give a piano recital without having first learned to play the piano. People realise they cannot make a satisfactory chest of drawers, or even a serviceable cheeseboard, without having acquired some skill in carpentry. They know they are not competent as dentists or plumbers, if they have not had any experience or training. Yet they think that they can write a novel by some natural gift.
Somebody please tell me if I'm a bad writer, okay?
10 November 2003
09 November 2003
Yesterday it was finding out that the fairies had a perfectly good reason to kidnap Maddy's mother -- I was a little worried about motivation. Fairies, apparently, are always on the lookout for a good wetnurse, and women who've just given birth are very good at that. I knew this, but I'd forgotten. Guess my subconscious remembered. So when I read in The Enchantment of the Trossachs that it is "a wide-spread folk myth, in which a woman who has given birth to a child is spirited away by the fairies in order to nurture a fairy infant," I thought, "Of course. How silly of me to have worried." Even the fairies in my novel know what they're doing, quite without my help.
08 November 2003
It may well be a deep-seated awareness that even matters of Faerie, being less disturbing than those of nuclear physics, tend to provide a modicum of balance and sanity in an age that has already demonstrated, pretty conclusively, its ability to obliterate itself.That's Alisdair Alpin MacGregor, from Land of the Mountain and the Flood (1965), which quote I found in Louis Stott's The Enchantment of the Trossachs ("published for the tercentenary of the spiriting away of Robert Kirk," 1992).
07 November 2003
06 November 2003
Sitting on a stump,
Wants to stop the ocean
From turning to a dump.
What's she gonna do about it?
What's she gonna do?
She'll try to tell the dol-phins
To blame it all on you.
I only used the first two lines of that one in the novel, but it didn't seem right to leave it unfinished.
There was a Sandman story I wanted to write, which would have been a heartbreaker, and would have been about the dreams and hopes of an unborn baby, who was, for whatever reason, never going to be born. I didn't write it because I could imagine it being thrust in front of some pregnant teenager who didn't want to be pregnant to make her change her mind about what she was going to do.
I'm thinking Gaiman knows much about the power of story and the reponsibilty of those who wield that power. (Though I can't help but lament that I'll never get to read what would probably be a very moving story by one of my favourite writers.)
Some of the English have been known to wonder whether they are celebrating Fawkes' execution or honoring his attempt to do away with the government.
I wondered that myself. We were going to have a bonfire tonight to incinerate all the stuff that didn't get lit in our Halloween bonfire, and toast marshmallows (which we forgot to buy for our Halloween bonfire). But nobody seems to be very organized, plus Angel's on, and once again, we forgot to buy marshmallows. So Guy Fawkes won't be burned in effigy at our house.
05 November 2003
Mad, Mad Madeline, talks to leafy trees.
Mad little Maddy’s got grass stains on her knees.
What’ll Maddy do when the men-in-white come
To take her to the mad house like her daddy should have done?
My main character was considered rather odd as a child. She saw fairies and ghosts and things.
There once was a girl dressed in green,
Said she saw things that never were seen,
Said, "That isn’t a tree,
That’s a fine, grand la-dy,
And you just can’t see what I mean."
I'm a lousy poet, pretty much, but these were fun.
04 November 2003
03 November 2003
02 November 2003
The adult world is pretty irrelevant to me. Whether I'm off on my bicycle (or pony) exploring, lost in a good book, or giggling with my best friend, I live in a world apart, one full of adventure and wonder and other stuff adults don't understand.
How Old is Yours? (See how good I am at procrastinating? And still I've almost reached my word count for the day.)
"The folklore book was really hard to read. All academic. I finally ended up skipping the partsthat the author had written, and just reading the stories he quoted. They were neat. Like fantasy stories, only more real because people really believed they happened. The fairy book turned out to be pretty silly. It was all little people with butterfly wings and some totally fake-looking photographs. But it was the only one they had at the library. I found it next to the Sherlock Holmes books."
"That must've been The Coming of the Fairies. Arthur Conan Doyle, who wrote Sherlock Holmes, wrote that one, too. He was a little odd."
"Did Mum have that book?" Maddy set down her fork. She couldn't eat the overcooked green beans, but the lamb and potatoes and rutabaga had been delicious and filling.
Dad looked down at his plate, as if he were trying to decide whether or not to tackle his own beans. He poked at them, then said, "I think she did. She had a lot of books. '‘Plenty of goodness and just as much crap,' she used to say."
It's a bit of conversation between my main character, 14-year-old Madeline Fletcher Macleod (Maddy) and her dad (who doesn't have a name yet), about her mother (Mary Macleod, nee Fletcher), who died giving birth to Maddy. They've just moved back to Scotland, where Maddy was born (they left as soon as she was old enough to travel). Anyway, back to it.
01 November 2003
Writing a novel, unlike cow-tying, is not something you really ever know for sure you can do. It's one of those frighteningly unpredictable activities like lawn darts and breakdancing that people with all their faculties tend to shy away from. Because, as adults, we don't usually gravitate towards endeavors that make us feel like complete idiots.