Tag Archives: Brian Selznick

You Can Stroke People With Words

I commissioned some jewelery to be made for me recently, by a very talented and creative jewelery artist. She took some of my old jewelery (like a gold rope chain from the ’70s!), melted the metal down and made some very cool new things for me. She and I were sitting in her studio, talking about some of the work she was doing, and she pointed out to me what she referred to as her “desk.” It was a very messy, beautiful work bench, filled with all kinds of fancy little tools, jewelery findings, gold dust, special jewelery making gadgets, magnifying lenses and lights. It was pretty cool.

I mentioned to her that I’m a writer and my life is cluttered with the tools of my trade, too. Besides piles and piles of books and other reading material in every single room of my house, I seem to find words everywhere. I collect words like other people collect Hummel figures or tea towels or whatever people collect these days. I explained how I’m terrible at reading picture books, graphic novels or comics because if there are words on a page I just look at those. I can’t even force myself to notice the pictures. (Ok, that’s a lie. I’ve read and loved every picture book  Kevin Henkes has written. But, you’ll notice that Mr. Henkes puts a lot of words in his pictures! And I was wonderstruck reading an ARC of Brian Selznick’s Wonderstruck, too. But he’s smart and doesn’t put words on the pages with the pictures. Love that!) But I digress. As usual.

As a writer, I find that I trip over words; I brush words off my kitchen table; I load words into the trunk of my car; Words grow in my back garden; I buy words in the grocery store; I punch words into my computer and then words spew out of the printer; I tickle my husband with words; My dogs shit words; Words are in my closets and under my bed; The doctor listens to the words in my chest when I cough; and when I blow my nose out come words.

How about you? Do you find your life cluttered with tools of your trade? Do you have a neat desk?

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A Book a Day Keeps the Doldrums Away – Contest Day 1

I spent the weekend on the beach in Fire Island with two of my oldest friends, a much-needed respite from my everyday life, which has recently been rife with sadness. We cooked amazingly delicious food, sat on the beach, talked and talked and talked, read Tarot cards (yes, we did!), got tan, drank quite a bit and read our books.  One friend was in the midst of a novel on her Nook, the other finished one book and started a second on her Nook. I was all old school, and read two whole books that had real pages and paper.

The first was a beautiful advanced reading copy I got at BEA, Wonderstruck, by Brian Selznick. If you don’t already know, Selznick is the author and illustrator of the 2008 Caldecott winning book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Both of his books are gorgeously told with both words and drawings, but don’t make the mistake of dismissing them as mere children’s stories or just picture books. Wonderstruck won’t be in bookstores until September but until then I highly recommend you buy or borrow Hugo Cabret. It is complex, like a wine might be, multi-layered and delicious.

The second book I read was The Forgotton Waltz, by Anne Enright. She won the 2007 Man Booker Prize for her novel The Gathering. I’m still allowing the story in The Forgotten Waltz to percolate. What I can say about it now is that it is a lovely, wry drawing of daily life as well as an exquisite voyage through betrayal and love. It won’t be in bookstores until October but I’m giving away one of the advanced reading copies of The Forgotten Waltz that I got at BEA. It is signed by the author, whom I had the pleasure to hear speak. It is truly brilliant.

On the ferry back to the mainland, squeezed between my two good friends on the windy upper deck, I finished the second book. It was the end of a perfect weekend and I had the experience of all being right in my world, if just for a moment.

What about you? What books have you read recently that have put the icing on your cake?

(Please read the rules on the Contest page for a chance to win The Forgotten Waltz.)

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