We spent the weekend about half an hour to the south, in Enfield, in north London. My in-laws live there. I brought along this famous title for “light” reading:
I am trying for the first time since graduate school to work my way once more through (in its entirety) that 1869 published classic. It is actually not as intimidating a read as its terrifying reputation implies. It is merely much longer than most novels and possesses a gigantic story scope and a bewildering number of characters; but grappling with all of that is part of the reading fun too.
You come away from another reading session feeling you are accomplishing something. (I wrote here previously that I consider “Natasha Rostova” one of my favorite women characters of all time: she starts off in 1805 as a young teen and matures over the years.) Reading more of it on Friday evening, I found myself also pausing and reflecting upon both the creating and the reading of fiction generally. Then on Saturday I happened upon this meme that was shared on Instagram:
It was all kinda familiar. I realized also that I hold a slightly different view. In particular, I have another take on the first line:
Yes, I am a writer. After all, I write. However, four finished books and well into writing a fifth, I consider myself now much more of an author.
A writer may write all he/she wants; but without readers that writing is merely a hidden hobby. For no one sees what is written. An author, however, invites in readers.
Preparing again for others to read what I’ve written…
…I was also proofreading yesterday and I thought once more about the fact I am yet again unsure and uncomfortable about some of the things I have written, and I am writing about, in a manuscript. But that is also an aim. We should be unsure and uncomfortable at times in both our writing and in our reading.
As we are often in life.
The premise of fiction is actually, in its way, strange. Tales are invented, and heroes, villains, and those in between, all inhabit them. Even actual history – you get a sense of 1799-1800 there just above – may ground them.
The goal is usually a lesson of some kind. “Fantasy” is employed in order cogently, entertainingly (we hope), and grippingly (we also hope) to address issues that resonate with us as actual people. What is on the surface “strange,” is in reality meant to make us think.
View this post on Instagram
Griffin’s Tavern Taverns are well known for playing a critical role in the American Revolution. As meeting places for discussion, debate and planning, they helped unite the Patriot cause and here in NY, we have many surviving colonial taverns to remind us of this heritage. Some are safely preserved and protected while others are in imminent danger of being lost to development like this one pictured above. Griffin’s Tavern is a site that was frequented by some of the most high ranking officers in the Continental Army. George Washington, the Marquis de Lafayette, Baron von Steuben, and other major figures of the American Revolution spent time here. At this tavern, a Committee of Independence was formed following the Battles of Lexington and Concord, who collectively worked to rally local Patriot support. For centuries, it survived as a reminder of the area’s Revolutionary history, but in 1995 an electrical fire destroyed the building, leaving it in ruins that have continued to collapse and deteriorate. Today, the property is owned by Royal Carting, a garbage pick-up company who, I’ve been told, are seeking to demolish the remaining structure, an area which occupies a very small spot of land, so that they can park their dumpsters on it. Friends of Griffin’s Tavern ( @coljacobgriffin ) are fighting to preserve the site from imminent demolition
No two people or situations are ever precisely the same. Such is also the case with fiction. Obviously no two novels are exactly alike either.
As neither are any two very real flowers.
Have a good Monday, wherever you are in the world. 🙂