I just came to the end of my book. Not one I am reading–the one I am writing. And like so much of this book, it was kind of unexpected.
Ok, I have some rough spots and a couple of places I know I want to rewrite, but I actually came to the end. I was planning on another chapter. Actually, have it started and sort of have an outline for that final chapter. (In my mind, that is, which is where most of my outlines actually live). So, I was working on finishing up this chapter, started adding a bit, then realized as I completed the chapter that I really could end the book here. I’ve long since conceded that it is going to take another book to tell the story I want to tell. Since I have (gasp) 113, 308 words, perhaps it is time to wrap this up. But, I have so much more to say! You think because you’re the author that you’re in control, but, no, not really.
I want to tell the story of Solomon–growing up in the court of King David. What was it like to know you were the chosen prince? When exactly did he know that? What did his brothers (and others) think of that?
So, I started telling the story. And, along the way: Solomon’s brothers are fighting; Solomon wants his father to raise horses to drive chariots; Solomon’s mother seems to be the only one who really thinks he is special; and Solomon and two of his brothers take a trip to Egypt.
So, over 100,00 words and Solomon isn’t even king yet. But, he will be soon. I can’t wait to begin writing that story, but first–I need to work on my platform. Do any of you follow your favorite writers on facebook? Twitter? Why? What do you look for? Or what do you enjoy about what they do? I hope you will all stay with me as I begin to share more of what I’ve written and begin my search for an agent.
“A novel is not an allegory . . . It is the sensual experience of another world. If you don’t enter that world, hold your breath with the characters and become involved in their destiny, you won’t be able to empathize, and empathy is at the heart of the novel.” (p. 111)
From the subtitle: A Memoir in Books, this book would seem to be about someone’s life in books–and it is, but it is more. This is a book about a book club, about a country, a culture, about women, and about civil rights.
Azar Nafisi is a professor of literature and is passionate about teaching and sharing literature with her students. However, being a woman professor in Iran proves difficult when revolution begins in Iran with Islamic fundamentalists taking over the universities and “morality squads” are everywhere looking for anything that might be tainted by the West.
When Nafisi is eventually expelled for refusing to wear the veil on campus and in her classroom, she decides to invite seven young women to come to her home once a week to discuss literature. While recounting the story of the young women and the books they discuss, Nafisi also tells of Iran–its cultural and political upheavals and how these effect the lives of these women and their families.
The events in this book begins in the 70’s and goes through the 90’s. As a young person in the 70’s and 80’s, I had heard of some of these events as one hears the news about people far away. But I only vaguely knew where Iran is located and could not tell you the difference between that country and Iraq. So, for me, this was a history and a geography lesson, as well as a look into the lives of others who love literature.
“Banned Books Week” was recently celebrated? and the events in this book made real to me the idea of books being banned and one’s reading being carefully scrutinized. Sometimes with the “I read banned books” t-shirts, it seems we don’t take this possibility very seriously, but for many people it is very real and not ancient history. There are people in the world who are not free to read the books they might choose, so let’s never take for granted our opportunities to read. Read a book! For fun!
“So faced with a thousand-year old institution, I learned to pick my battles. Rather than resist, for instance, the archaic book-ordering system in the Bodleian Library with technological mortification, I discovered the treasure in embracing its seeming quirkiness. Often, when the wrong book came up from the annals after my order, I found it to be right in some way after Oxford often works such.
After one particulary serendipitous day of research, I asked Robert, the usual morning porter on duty at the Bodleian Library, about the lack of any kind of sophisticated security system, especially in one of the world’s most famous libraries. The Bodleian was not a loaning library, though you were allowed to work freely amid priceless artifacts. Individual college libraries entrusted you to simply sign a book out and then return it when you were done.
‘It’s funny; Americans ask me about that all the time,’ Roberty said as he stirred his tea. ‘But then again, they’re not used to having u in honour,’ he said with a shrug.”
Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber
Harry: “But why she’s got to go to the library?”
“Because that’s what Hermione does,” said Ron, shrugging. “When in doubt, go to the library.”
I received an email a few months ago telling me I had won second place in a contest. Okay, I didn’t win the trip to Italy, but I did win a gift basket with food from Italy, but even better–a signed copy of Susan Meissner’s The Girl in the Glass. Due to an unintentional delay of receiving my prize, I was also sent some extra books. New releases from WaterBrook Press. Special thanks to Amy Haddock & WaterBrook Press!