Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Kinder, Gentler Wednesday

Due to my No-Cynicism November efforts, I'm putting WTF Wednesday on hold. Rather than focusing on the ways in which humanity makes my brain hurt, I'm going to make Wednesdays a more generally appreciative day. And I'm going to kick it off by finishing my "Fifteen Authors" post.

8) Neil Gaiman. His inventive storytelling and utterly charming mix of quirky British humor and chilling fantasy elements sold me the minute I picked up the first volume of Sandman. I read them straight through as soon as the library got them in, and the minute I finished the last volume I picked up the first one again. When I moved on to his novels, I found them all just as addictive. It takes a prodigious talent to be equally scintillating with poetry, graphic novels, short stories, screenplays, and novels. American Gods is one of my favorite books. He is also notable because it was through him I discovered Dave McKean, who will surely be mentioned if I ever do a "15 Artists" list.

9) Daniel Pinkwater, or D. Manus Pinkwater, as he is sometimes credited. Daniel Pinkwater writes young adult books that are impossible to grow out of. They're really uncategorizable-- just delightfully, refreshingly weird from beginning to end. As I grew older and reread them, I kept noticing little references and asides that I had completely missed all the other times through. The best books improve with each rereading because they show up the way you have grown in the interim not by seeming shallower but by unfolding to greater depth.

10) Thomas Harris. I expected a good thriller with a captivating villain when I first picked up "Silence of the Lambs," and I got it. I did not expect Harris's gorgeous, lyrical prose. After a few times through the series I honestly am not bothered when Hannibal Lecter starts eating people, because even the grisliest scenes are written so beautifully. Lecter is my favorite literary monster precisely because I like him better than most heroes, which elevates him from shocking to truly terrifying.

11) Noam Chomsky. Love him or hate him (and I certainly do a bit of both), as a linguist one defines one's philosophies in reference to his theories. Despite the comparatively little of his actual work I have read, he's definitely influenced me strongly just due to his pull in my field. (My eventual field? I don't know if I can legitimately count myself a linguist.)

12) Pablo Neruda. He writes gorgeous, earthy, aching poetry. It makes me wish I knew Spanish, so I could make my own translations. As you continue in relationship with me, the probability of my eventually sending you Neruda approaches one.

13) Dorothy Parker. I worship her scathing wit. I want to grow up to be her, except without all the suicidal depression. With the gin, though. Definitely with the gin.

14) Jessica Neiweem. She's been published, so yes, she counts. I grew up reading her writing and having her read mine, and we helped each other figure out how to be writers. Reading her poems (particularly her older ones) is like discovering a new room in the house you grew up in, one that you don't remember ever being there before but which is familiar the moment you step in.We collaborate on occasional projects, all of which inspire me to be fired up about writing again no matter how many times I profess to have given it up.

15) Arthur Conan Doyle. I was a ravening Sherlock Holmes fanatic when I was in elementary school. I read the entire Holmes canon before I was twelve. Rereading them thirteen years later, I was struck by two things: the casual racism (which I did not absorb) and how frequently Holmes disregards the law in favor of his own morality, turning in the people he thinks deserve it and being merciful to the people he thinks were justified. That and the superior delight of the unsolved puzzle are what keep me coming back to the series.

Posted by Silent Five @ 11:55 PM

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1) *blush* Stephen King tells writers to imagine their "IR," or "Ideal Reader," to help them craft their story around its ideal audience. You are my IR. You are also a brilliant writer, and a muse beyond compare, and I can't imagine my life without you in it.

2) Have you seen "Sherlock" yet? If not, for the love of all gods, why?! We must watch it. I will be back around Christmas, and there will be us-times, and Benedict Cumberbatch. Because DAMN.

Posted by OpenID olyphant @ 11:27 PM #
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Word of the Week

gymnosophy [jim-NAH-so-fee]

n. Philosophical, amusing, or nonsensical insights realized when naked, as in the shower or in bed. (recent coinage: att. S. Galasso, 2010)

Victoria and Albert enjoyed a spot of postprandial concupiscence culminating in a night of gymnosophy and coffee and crumpets at dawn.

The Silent Top Five: Bacon-Flavored Desserts

1) Bacon cheesecake.
2) Bacon gumballs.
3) Bacon ice cream.
4) Bacon-orange bars.
5) Bacon apple pie.

Standard Disclaimer

This is all in no way meant to incur copyright-infringement-related wrath. I'm harmless. I promise. Oh, and if you're offended by anything I may post herein, I guarantee I didn't mean to do so (unless, of course, you are a humorless prig. In which case, go right on and be offended, with my blessings.)