Saturday, January 29, 2011

Blog Friends

I really didn't see it coming.  I had no idea when I started down the plum bean path I would find marvellous, sweet, splendid, fun, ingenious and wondrously supportive blog friends.  No body told me.  You know the friends; the witty, brilliant, honest, incisive, funny friends?  The ones who show up, encourage, root, support, communicate, chat, read, write and inspire?  You know who you are and you are wonderful.  Look at what sweet Kate at Kate's Library just did...

And look at what lovely, lovely Whitney from the marvellous She is too Fond of Books did...  

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Audio Book...

The audio book!  I love the art deco feel of the lettering.  Such a great Nell.  Such a great nose.  She is far more imperious and regal and statuesque than the Nell I wrote but she is fabulous just the same.  And this is the cassette version.  Did not know they still made cassette versions...

Eight more days...

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Website!

It is up!  Thank yous.  Huge thank yous are in order.  Thank you to Matt and Joseph and Naomi and Noah.  For the design and construction and video and photos and images and buttons that change color and the greens and the reds and the pinks and the greys and the enormous love, care, patience and work.  Thank you.  

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Name

It is not a terribly uncommon name.  That was a double negative, awful.  It is not even an impossible name to pronounce.  And another double negative.  I apologize--they seem to be getting away from me.  It is not even easy to find me on Facebook.  Through some mystical mechanism, it is nearly impossible to find me on Facebook.  There are pages of Priya Parmars and I am on about the thirty-seventh page.

It is pronounced exactly like it is written.  Well maybe not, the 'y' is a bit tricky and can outfox you but when people meet me they do not know about the 'y' yet.  Now, it sounds like I am talking in code.  I am not.  Still, P-R-I-Y-A--not difficult, right?  But, I know that people have trouble with it and so rather than risk hideous awkwardness, I repeat it to give them a second shot at it, and reassure them that it is a hard name, and forgive anyone who forgets it instantly, and and and...

Still, I get people being occasionally, horribly rude.  I am used to the painful pause when people forget it, but it is an altogether different beast from the puzzled pause when they try to work it out.  This happened today when the man concluded the painful pause with "What are you?"  Ummm.  How do I answer that?

What he meant was, 'what sort of name is that?'.  This man was from Michigan, he was standing in a Waterstone's book store in Gower St.  I understood the nature of the question and I am admittedly a strange half Indian, been living in Hawaii, went to university in the UK, living in the middle of London with blonde hair mix.

I would be totally prepared to overlook the badly worded question if he tone had not been so meanish.  Why mean?  We were standing in a bookstore.  Who gets personal, rude and mean in a book store?  A lovely book store at that, one of my favourites.  The Waterstone's in Gower St. is marvellous.  It has a delicious early twentieth century collection (I have been romping through Forster, Bowen and West) and has about the best poetry collection in London.  Auden, Yeats, Akhmatova, Pasternak, Herbert, Milosz, Cavafy, Walcott?  Humph, one shouldn't get mean in front of Walcott.

Onto better news:

Nell is up for a group read on Goodreads!

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Trapeze Swinger

Have you heard that song?  It is nine minutes of brutal, winding, haunting song.  I love things that fully inhabit themselves.  That is when writing, any writing, feels best.  Not easy to do.  It requires risk and courage and very good balance for the cliffs are steep out there.  But the rewards?  The rewards are huge.

I have been thinking about boldness.  It is not easy to write.  Boldness cannot fling itself onto the page, uncaring of the response.  That would not ring true.  Boldness must be conscious of the dangers and calculate how far the fall and then charge the field.  Without armour, without cavalry, without hope of rescue.

Akhmatova begins her poem "There will be thunder then.  Remember me."  Bold, dangerous.

Du Maurier begins her great novel with "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderly again."  Again?  But this is the first sentence.  She does it without a net.

Dr. Seuss fearlessly writes for children:

"I am the Lorax!  I speak for the trees,
Which you seem to be chopping as fast as you please;
But I also speak for the brown Barbaloots,
Who frolicked and played in their barbaloot suits,
Happily eating Truffula fruits."  Of course.  A Lorax.  I know a Lorax.

That is when we admire the writing.  It cannot be faked.  We would smell artifice immediately.  Every wonder of the literary canon faced a terrifying field.  But even when they fall, an often they do, we admire the attempt.

I love the options my spell check gave me for 'Barbaloots"...


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Letters and News

They are marvellous.  Personal and public and a thing meant to be shared.  You are a different you in a letter.  Quixotic and sharp edged, loving and light; letters froth with vigour.  To write is an active verb.  It is wonderful to be writing a book largely in letters.  I get to take up the personality of the character, live his or her day in my head and then write a letter that has nothing and everything to do with that day.  

They are of a moment: singular, finite, fleeting.  As soon as you seal the envelope you are in a different moment.  You would write a different letter if you had it to do again.  It is that strange alchemy of mind, heart, pen and paper.  You cannot step into the same river twice.

I have been reading letters recently.  The love lit letters of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the gossipy letters of Truman Capote, the stormy letters of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, the chatty, catty letters of Somerset Maugham, the achingly unfinished letters of John Keats and Fanny Brawne.  They all tell small daily stories within larger tangled, messy lives.  They are not neat, tidy stories with clean, rounded arcs.  Pathos does not lead to resolution.  Eros is often a capricious little beastie.  Quite often, nothing is learned and mistakes are remade.  I love that.  I loved the human, flawed aspect to them.  They fascinate.  

Pages written: 6

Also, I was sent the marketing plan today....  It is really happening.

I do not usually go back and tamper with posts, actually that is wrong, quite often I do and I apologize, but I had to mention what lovely June at Writing is a Blessing wrote about Nell yesterday.  Go and see...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Back.  Done with flying, airports, passports, travel size, lost socks, long lines, immigration, contraband liquids, seat belt signs, x ray machines, static electricity, peanuts and things that go beep.

It is wonderful to know I am going to write, go to ballet, go to the library, go to dinner with friends, write, go to sleep and then wake up and do it again tomorrow.

Pages written this week: 0

Pages to write: 20

But on the upside, I did finally finish my albatross of an Author Portal Questionnaire for Simon and Schuster.  Surely I will get better at this...