The holiday rental here on Puerto Rico’s Vieques Island has no television. But there is fantastic internet. I’ve reached the point now where I don’t care much if I ever watch TV – as long as there’s internet.
When I read it yesterday, I almost fell out of my chair. I won’t share any of it here because I don’t have permission, but this is my pathetic impersonation of what I saw opening one chapter. In no way does it do her writing full credit:
Oh, the English language. Of course we use words and phrases today often decidedly differently than our ancestors did. Usage and meanings evolve over time.
Phraseology we almost never use now was once common. If we return to two centuries ago, where as you may know I’ve spent a lot of time in recent months, there are moments when reading what is clearly English can still feel somewhat like reading a “foreign” language. You have to be VERY cautious.
You may recall I had had some “fun” earlier this year as I was first researching Conventions. To help “him” better understand me, I attempted to write a planned character a letter as we in 2016 might write to an American of the late 1700s – in his 230 year old style and vernacular:
How complicated it can become. In 1790, for instance “society” often meant one’s immediate close friends and family: “I was most happy in my society.” That usage is almost unseen today.
As bloggers we try to anticipate our audience, but one never can know for sure what is going to catch “fire.” Every post I write is composed allowing for the possibility the entire world could see it. This is the internet: you never know…
One post back in mid-September was written much like any other. I thought I would touch on a few matters about 18th century fashion that had come up in conversation casually between myself and visiting friends from America a day or so before, and how it related to Conventions (my current manuscript). I figured it might attract a few likes and maybe a comment or two, and that would be that. Next.
I’m taking a few days away from my writing to do some reading and have a mini-break to recharge the batteries. So I wasn’t going to post today at all. But you know me…once my mind starts going as morning gets going…
After posting yesterday about the controversy swirling around out there about a possible “unmasking” of the real person behind the “Elena Ferrante” pseudonym for the huge-selling novelist, I returned once more to my “1794.”
Initially, as I tapped away in Word again, I found myself distracted. The controversy pushed my mind to a related issue: Regardless of whose name is on the cover, “who” is actually inhabiting your fictional pages in the first place? If you write, this question is probably familiar to you.
How much of you is really on those pages, but which no one but you of course truly appreciates? And what are you consciously changing about “yourself”? And what is perhaps subconsciously there that’s “you” despite even your best conscious efforts to alter it?
Writing in the New York Review of Books, an Italian journalist claims he may have uncovered the real-life identity of a pseudonymous huge selling Italian author:
The perpetual “interest” some seem to have in who’s actually “behind the mask” – and in “unmasking” them.
LOTS of “Elena Ferrante’s” readers are apparently ***NOT*** happy about this effort. Social media is full of angry assertions it’s an unwarranted intrusion into the life of someone seeking to remain anonymous and merely write. One fear I’ve also seen voiced is that if it proves accurate it may well mean “she” will never write another book.
A well-regarded children’s author on what “kids need to see” in books:
And who could really take issue with that? It seems reasonable enough. And not being a children’s author I have no opinion about what children’s authors believe “kids need” – kids are their audience after all.
Yet as I thought about it, something about that sentence bothered me. If that declaration may be made so definitively about what “needs” to be in youngsters’ books, one would think something similar may be asserted about books for everyone older than that. Indeed I have here and there seen that “need” raised about books for “oldsters” as well.
One of the troubles with writing is you feel awkward discussing what you did at work today with those humanly closest to you. It is simply too difficult to explain. It just feels more comfortable to take to a keyboard and share it online with social media friends and readers who follow because YOU want to.
Meaning that here on my own writing site I’m not risking making a total “bore” of myself (I hope). 😉
But one of the challenges in sharing what you did at work is if you include any excerpt it also shouldn’t give away too much; inadvertently “spoiling” your own upcoming novel is, frankly, idiotic. However, yesterday’s work, and this morning’s, was full of plot detail and “surprises” that I just don’t want seen yet. That said, having scoured it, I think I can share this:
….I know some of you are really interested in BookTube and similar Instagram accounts, but I want to ask you something. When you think of your favorite book accounts on any social platform, who’s running it? Is it a man or woman.
In my experience I’ve found that girls are far more likely to be running these types of accounts. I’ve also found that they’re far more likely to gain a following through them. Maybe men are expected to be talking about sports or politics or something more manly, but some things I just don’t understand….
….But I’d just like to ask why it’s so odd for a guy to enjoy reading. Should he be reading comics instead? Or should he be in the gym working to improve his overall health? Reading is one of many forms of entertainment (and much more to many) that people enjoy. I don’t know why it needs to be for one sex over another….
The issue of who reads fiction seems a perennial one. Every author craves to know generally who their audience is. Social media has also now allowed us more insights into that question than ever before.
Thinking back, I recall my late mother was a novel reader. A happy memory for Mother’s Day: I remember her with some huge – literally enormous-length – novels. In the late 1980s, for example, she read Karleen Koen’s historical romance of 17th and early 18th centuries’ England and France, Through a Glass Darkly. I remember Koen’s book – Mom had the hardcover – being about 5,000 pages long or something and Mom reading it cover to cover.