Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Reads: Fire in the Blood


Genre: Literary Fiction

By: Irene Nemirovsky

What's it about?  Rediscovering forgotten youth.  And scandals.

Why did I pick it? I love Irene Nemirovsky with a love that knows no bounds.  If there was any writer, dead or alive, with whom I could have coffee, I'd pick her.  Beyond that, I'm a bit of a Francophile and I love pre-war anything. 

Who will like it?  Nemirovsky writes about rural France in this book, but she's really writing about people and the way they tick in general.  Not in an obvious, preachy way, but in a pretty, blooming, "Oh I get it!" sparks of understanding kind of way.  It's like people-watching.  Quiet. Not much action.  You can guess what's going to happen next.  But if you like people-watching, you'll enjoy watching Nemirovsky's characters.

Judging a book by its cover: Can you for this book?  Aside: I love the lady's hair.  End aside.  It's indicative of the period during which the book takes place.  Beyond that, not really--the cover feels very urban and very feminine, neither of which describe the book's setting (very rural pre-war France) or the narrator (an aging male farmer). 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Thoughts on Revising with an Infant

I'm working on revisions.  This is kind of like delving into a detail-rich logic puzzle in which there are no answers except the ones you make up.

I also have an infant.  This is like having a time bomb that screams at random intervals.

These two things aren't great together.  But we're making it work.  A few thoughts on the process:

1) Work when the baby naps.  Duh.  But this involves the baby napping.  This baby has decided that naps are for wimps.  So, hold your baby and read your book to her.  She will fall asleep from boredom and you will have the bonus of hearing aloud the crappy portions of your writing so you can fix them.

2) If you can't do it all at once, do it a sentence at a time.

3) You can still have coffee while nursing.  Praise the Lord.

4) Same with wine.

5) Cats make crappy babysitters, and they make worse critique partners.  Because they truly do not care about anyone who is not, at this moment, offering a lap for them to sit in.

6) When you can't actually work, you can plan.  And untangle plot knots.  And think of ways to deepen characters and clarify wonky situations and all that jazz.  Take advantage of the times you're pacing the floor with your nap-fighting infant to ponder.

7) When your husband or partner or friend offers to watch the baby, don't give them time to reconsider--get out that door so fast you leave skid marks and take your laptop with you.

So that's my week in a nutshell--how's yours?