Tag Archives: Little Bookstore

Things I Vow Never to do Again

Note to self:

Dear Self –

The next time you are asked to speak as the visiting author at Allandale Mansion in Kingsport (a historic home of castle-esque proportions now reserved for weddings and Junior League flower shows and the Kingsport Women’s Book Club to which I had been invited) do not wear Birkenstocks. Your long flowing skirt and flowered blazer were fine; retro is always somewhat charming in an author and you had the good sense to braid your hair so that it looked like you weren’t trying too hard. This worked in your favor amidst those lovely Spring Pastels and beautiful stylish bobs. But there are limits, and you should not try to find them. Next time, wear ballerina flats.

Dear Self II –

The next time that man who collects cans in the neighborhood asks if he can sit on your porch and drink a beer, say no. It is one thing to be nice to someone life has clearly run over; it is another to watch him spend the next fifteen minutes drinking from a can the size of Texas, spitting over your porch rail, and panhandling customers going out the door. Learn to say no, dear; it is a life skill you must acquire now that you are in your forties.

Dear Self III –

The next time you demand your husband fix something and he heads off with duck tape in hand, follow him. That way you will learn just how he intends for those el cheapo fly screens to last the summer, or the water hose on the washing machine not to flood the garage. And you can save time, and possibly your marriage, by not having to cope with a sudden new water feature in the garage. The sound of water splashing over rocks is lovely–outside. Indoors on concrete, not so much.

Thank you, self.

Best wishes,

Self

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THE HOW I WRITE BLOG TOUR

The Monday book will return next week. My friend Susie Klein http://www.recoveringchurchlady.com/ asked me to participate in an ongoing blog tour called HOW I WRITE. I answer four questions, as she did for the person who asked her, and then I ask two other authors to answer them.

OK, here we go….

1- What am I working on?

A sequel to Little Bookstore.

2- How does my work differ form others of its genre?

Well, most of what I write is either academic work, memoir, or blog. As blogs go, bookstore bloggers are all very different from each other in our senses of humor and senses of purpose, but we tend to revisit similar themes. Save the bookstores. Cherish your local. Shop bricks and mortar. Don’t self-publish with Amazon believing they’re there to help you. Aren’t books great? Aren’t customers cute? Those kinds of things.

In terms of my memoir writing being different, it’s like asking “how is this poem different from that one?” All sonnets have the same strict form, and yet within them you can write about absolutely any subject you want to. So all memoirs are alike in that they’re carved from your perceptions and experiences, and they couldn’t be the same any more than two snowflakes could, because they’re your perceptions and experiences.

3- Why do I write what I do?

Joan Didion and Flannery O’Connor both said more or less that they write to figure out what they think and know. I write because I’d explode if I didn’t. It is the perfect way to order thought, smooth out roughness, reconcile, regroup, even relegate to the dark corners. Once it’s on paper, it’s out, not in, whether anyone ever sees it or not. That’s why I write, but as to writing what I do, well, agents in general and mine in particular are always urging writers to write the story only they can tell. That makes sense to me; we’re all trying to save the world and write something meaningful, but trying to write a story that needs to be told isn’t the same as telling your story. The only story you can tell is yours – fiction, non-fiction, narrative, poem, even photo or mathematics formula. It has to belong to you in some unique way.

4. How does my writing process work?

Despite my best efforts to have a schedule or regimen, I continue to work on whatever laptop is available, in the bookstore, between customers and after hours. We have three laptops available for customers and for special orders, so I try to remember to save the thing on a thumb drive in case I use a different one tomorrow.

I’m tagging two author friends: Dana TrentĀ http://jdanatrent.com/blog/ who wrote The Saffron Cross, and Cami OstmanĀ http://www.camiostman.net/about/ whose first book was Second Wind, and then co-edited Beyond Belief: the secret lives of women in extreme religions.

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