Well, I'm set. I've just returned from Whole Foods with three pounds of $1.99/lb cherries. If it weren't for Twitter, I'd have forgotten about the one day cherry sale.
Yet another reason to twitterize. Cherry sales.
At any rate, thanks for a week of thoughtful comments. I appreciate knowing that my writing-as-career post has inspired/booty-kicked so many of you! I also appreciate the dissenting opinions on my not-so-rosy book review. Such a subjective business, this. I'm sticking by my overall label of "clunky," though. Just because it's a fairy tale doesn't mean it needs to be clunky.
One of my all-time favorite picture books is The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski (Walker Books, 1997). The artwork beautifully supports the story, the writing is luscious, and I always cry. Always. (Needless to say, I don't read it often. I leave it on my shelf and stroke its binding as I walk by.)
Here is the opening page:
The village children called him Mr. Gloomy.
But, in fact, his name was Mr. Toomey. Mr. Jonathan Toomey. And though it's not kind to call people names, this one fit quite well. For Jonathan Toomey seldom smiled and never laughed. He went about mumbling and grumbling, muttering and sputtering, grumping and griping. He complained that the church bells rang too often, that the birds sang too shrilly, that the children played too loudly.
And when you find out why Mr. Toomey seldom smiles and never laughs, you will know why I cry when I read it.
Ahh, book love! It's something we all share, regardless of the genres we write. Because if we didn't love books, we wouldn't write them.
What are some of your favorites from childhood? And why? And...how have they shaped you as a writer?
(OOOO, this comment box is going to be AWESOME!)
I credit a delightful librarian with planting a deep love for fantasy in my heart. Her name was Mary Beth and my mom worked with her in our town's tiny public library. When Mary Beth discovered I liked "magical-type" stories, she began putting aside the new YA fantasy offerings for me, presenting me regularly, over the course of one sparkly summer, with books that have stayed with me ever since. I was reading urban fantasy before anyone decided to call it that.
The bright yellow "YA" stickers on the spines made me feel oh-so-special, too. A young "adult" was almost grown up, surely.
Mary Beth is probably the one who got me started on Katherine Kurtz's novels, too (which are decidedly NOT YA). Which led me to Terry Brooks. And Patricia A. McKillip. And Tolkien. (Yes, I grew up without Tolkien. Didn't read Lord of the Rings until college. Clearly my town had a tiny library because it was a literary cesspool.)
Books that have stuck with me from tiny to twenty? And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street. What the Witch Left. The Incredible Shrinking House. Stoneflight. The Sword of Shannara. The Riddlemaster of Hed. The first Deryni trilogy. And the second. And the third. And of course Lord of the Rings.
Then there was a book I LOVED and cannot remember. Not the title, not the author, not even the names of the protagonists. All I know is...it was awesome.
Brother and sister. A foal that turns out to be a baby Pegasus. Something evil in the night, circling the barn where the baby Pegasus is hidden. Flight on the young Pegasus whose wings are barely born. Oh, I groan to know what this book was!
Then again, I may have totally romanticized it. It might...well, suck. Though I doubt it. Mary Beth only chose the best for me.
Thank you, Mary Beth, wherever you are.
Okay, writerly folks: your turn!