Thursday, July 16, 2009

I started the day out well, with a swim, then some reading. I'm re-reading Stephen King's Secret Windows, which is more or less a book of essays about writing. I'm a huge fan of SK for many reasons. I don't like everything he writes and I rarely like the last quarter of any of his novels because he has a terrible habit of showing too much of the monster. He knows better---he said so in regards to Dracula, "In that book, if no other, Stoker grasped the fact that shadows always stand taller than flesh and blood." Despite sputtering over the endings I continue to buy his books and read them because the flavor is right and the truth shines through his spooky/fun filter so we get it without hurting our eyes. That's what he's good at, the truth.
Secret Windows is an excellent book to read before starting a new project or for stirring up the creative juices. I'm about to start work on art for the World Fantasy Convention and I consider this my 'mental yawn and stretch' in preparation.

I started reading it last night. I was a bad, bad girl. While reading I munched on a bowl of tater tots that were forgotten in the oven until they were mere cocoons of greasy, crunchy outside with nothing but air in the middle. Eating while reading is a nasty habit. I broke it years ago but made an exception last night because those tots were too deliciously nasty to ignore and because I trust my brother's advice on such. He told me, "It doesn't matter what you do, this time. What matters is what you do overall, the patterns you develop. If you're going to drink, or break a diet or take a risk or be an asshole, do it consciously. Make your decision, be aware of the consequences, then proceed without guilt and with joyful abandon."

My brother is an extremely intelligent human being. In comparison, I am but a gnat.

But now it's morning, I've had a vigorous swim and healthy breakfast. I'm dressed in my summer uniform--a beach skirt and tank that are interesting together if you're an artist but look sadly mismatched if you're not. My hair is pulled up into a wet knot and outside, I see palm trees swaying in the breeze, hummingbirds flitting in and around the feeders and sunlight sparkling off the water.

I'll pour a cup of coffee, tie on my apron and attempt to make something that scares even me. If I can do that here, I can do that anywhere.


Anonymous said...

"It doesn't matter what you do, this time. What matters is what you do overall, the patterns you develop."

I really like that.

Reading is very good for us, I am glad you managed to exercise the ol' brain a little.

I read in the tub, it prevents senseless eating because tater tots are not good when wet.

kuroshii said...

OMG! i got my BSEE from clemson the same year your brother got his PhD there. the EE standing for electrical engineering (as opposed to elementary education) i was nowhere near any biology classes, so i'm sure our paths never crossed once. but still, this fellow alumni says hi!

dear old clemson, we will triumph...

i have stephen king's "on writing" both in hardcover and on audio CD. it repeatedly speaks to me when i get bogged down in my craft. sounds like i need to acquire secret windows! have a lovely day.

Benton Warren said...

Mmm... Tater tots... Ha! I like that advice! I'm rarely an ass (often to rarely!) But when I am I'm always very conciouse of it...

~V said...

My mother always cautioned us against reading whilst eating because she said we would "eat our words."

This troubled me enough to stop, even though I could never quite picture it.

I'm not sure if this was another Ukrainian "old wive's tale" or familial saying, but I have heard myself utter the same words to my 6-year-old as she sits transfixed reading at the table.

Mini Steampunk poppet snuck into my Live Journal tonight. He has claimed a new home:

Carl V. Anderson said...

What a wonderful post...makes me very excited to track down that book and read it. Doesn't look like my library has it, but Mary's probably does.

I too like SK, although I have not read his fiction for a long time. Whenever I got a chance to snag a friend's copy of EW I always enjoyed reading his articles and his book On Writing was an amazing read.

By the way, I sent you an email and want to make sure it doesn't hit a spam filter. My new email address is poegeek (at) gmail (dot) com.

Syd said...

I heartily second Secret Windows as being an awesome and educational read. That and On Writing are not only entertaining for SK's voice, but for what he conveys with that voice.

And when I dine alone, I always read. I just have to take extra care when eating messy stuff! (I must say, though, that extra-crispy tater-tot nubbins sound supremely yummy.)

Oh, and will you tell us when you whip up the "scares even me" thing(s)? Because scary is sometimes just a really cool doorway...

lisa said...

Kelly: It is good advice, isn't it? It reminds us that occasionally we need to stretch and allows us to do this occasionally without guilt.
btw: the other thing my brother taught me was to read, read, read.

kuroshii: I'll point him to your 'Hi'. You might be interested to know that he founded the Southeastern Science Academy and is currently considering spearheading another environmental project in Chile.

Ben: very rarely is true

V and Syd: I'm all for reading when dining alone. It's elegant and perfectly right in my book. The kind of eating I'm talking about it the reverse---not reading while eating, but eating while reading. there is a great deal of difference

and yes, SK has a wonderful voice, no matter what he's writing about.

Of course I'll share the scary with you. Other than people who happen to live in this house, you always see the new stuff first.

Janet said...

I wonder if Stephen King knows about poppets...they'd be perfect for him! I'm reading Just After Sunset right now...a great collection of short stories!

lisa said...

Hi Janet!
Actually Tabitha has some of the Steampunk Poppets and, last I heard, a statue of "Don't Ask Jack" sits on the Mr. King's desk.