October 3, 2010

Holiday reading & ongoing writing

It was a good holiday in Queensland and Melbourne. Saw some new places - Glass House Mountains, for example - and some important people, such as my son and my friends Judi and Margot.

A Glasshouse Mountain

The kookaburra that appeared in our back yard at Dicky Beach

My holiday reading ranged widely:
Solar, Ian McEwen (for my book group). Like it a lot, laughed out loud a few times, enjoyed the “science.” Such an unattractive protagonist, yet still a great stimulating read.
The Thousand Autumns of Joseph de Zoet, David Mitchell. Love DM’s writing. Learnt a lot about 15th century Japan and Holland from this novel, set in the Dutch-run Island in Nagasaki Harbour that was the only centre for European trade with Japan at the time. Also a love story.
The Danger Game by Kalinda Ashton. Australian novel, family tragedy, interesting relationship between adult sisters.
The Periodic Table by Primo Levi What can I say about this inspiring man and his writings? In this book he uses his knowledge of chemistry to talk about some of his life experiences.
The Glass Room, Simon Mawer. Learnt about Czechoslovakia in the 1930s. A story of a family and their friends over several decades. And a spectacular house that over the years is taken over by Nazis and Soviets and the Czechoslovak State.
Isak Dinesen, Judith Thurman. I am such a fan of Judith Thurman’s writing. She has said herself if she was writing this biography now it would be shorter. There sure is a lot of detail. ID had a fascinating and troubled life.

I think I’ve made progress with the ending of the novel still known as “Ann.” I just might be on the final draft. File name: Ann 15. Here’s my list of abandoned titles:
Ann Goes Into Art
The (he)Art of the Matter
Present Tense
Present Perfect
Perfect Present.
I find titles hard. My favourite title of any of the books I have been associated with is the title for the writing group book, and I didn’t think of that. (Yay, Annabel!) I have to come up with a title for “Ann” myself, but so far it eludes me.

"Ann" has a lot of quotes from a lot of different writers in it and the whole business of permissions to quote will have to be faced up to at the point when I am making decisions about publishing it. As I found with wanting to use a line from Emily Dickinson in Take It Easy, long-dead authors can be tricky. A university holds the copyright on ED and wanted me to pay fifty USD to use that line. I used something else, something I didn’t like as much. All the living authors I contacted were fine for me to quote them at no cost, just with the usual acknowledgment. However, I suspect it will be an even bigger issue with the Ann story, because I have included many more quotes and they are essential to the story. Watch this space.

Out To Lunch is well on the way into production. We are reading final proofs, the fabulous cover is nearing its final version, we have an ISBN number. (There’s nothing like an ISBN number to make a book seem real). A launch is planned for 4pm Saturday 27 November, St Peter’s Hall, Paekakariki, New Zealand.

When I think I have a final version of the Ann story, I’ll go back and look at some of the many short pieces I have. Maybe some of them would fit with the Ann story to make a book. Or not, still thinking about that.

This month has a number of friends’ birthdays in it, so my calligraphy efforts are directed at making individual birthday cards, which is a lot of fun. Thinking about them is a big part of the fun. And talking with my partner, Prue, about possibilities - she had a great idea the other day.

1 comment:

  1. I sympathise with you on both counts - finding a suitable title and getting permissions.

    The title of my novel has swung back and forth and it too is full of literary quotes. So good luck to you