Let's talk about the pleasures and puzzles of the smaller mystery--mystery novels and other fiction--and the bigger one--life.
In my time zone, Saturday is 28 minutes away. Goodbye, Friday, January 11, 2008! We'll never meet again. You've been great. Thanks for the coffee, the chocolate, the blogging, the lunch with my friend Sally. Thanks for everything. I really enjoyed getting to know you and sharing this special time with you. Let's treasure these last few moments together. I wish you only the best, wherever you're going. There's not much time left for us now. . .only 24 minutes. . .hold my hand. . .look in my eyes. . .don't cry, January 11. . .it's all for the best. . .give me one last kiss and a hug. . .bye, bye.
I saw actual frost flowers once. Didn't have my camera with me at the time though, so everyone thinks I'm making them up.
Happy Saturday! Here's hoping that Beth has been enjoying sunny days of smooth sailing.Paul, we get them in our Indiana woods every fall. I have a whole collection of shots of this year's "crop".
Andif, love the photos of the Frost Flowers reunion. Thanks for the link.
Those are always fascinating. Andi, are you sure you don't have ice faeries living in your woods?Up much earlier than I'd prefer, but my back said "enough bed." The Boy had some friends over last night, and three of them are crashed out in the living room. They left me a recliner, so I'm good to go. Mrs. Fetched said a not-so-fond farewell to the chickens night before last, so she's sleeping in.The latest FAR Future is up. I actually wrote this back in mid-September(!) but the timing wasn't right. I've got three more partially completed, so I'm pretty sure I can stick to a weekly schedule for a while now.
"not-so-fond farewell to the chickens" ?? FAR -- what's the story on that.No good mornings until I have some coffee -- I'm sure to leave someone out.
Hey KB. The chickens spend about 7-8 weeks eating and growing (and all too often dying), then they come turn them into Good Chickens (aka Chicken Nuggets). The "catching" is an all-night process, though, and Mrs. Fetched has to be there to keep an eye on stuff.So now she gets a little break for a week or so, then she'll dragoon us all into prepping them for the next batch.
Ah, So it's Farewell to THOSE chickens . . . Not chickens. There might be a poem somewhere in there.I've had a taste of coffee and might be able to pull of a reasonable Good morning.Goodmorning Nancy & Paul & Andif & Ghost & FAR!! It's beautiful here in the Sunny-but-Cold midwest.Ghost, I stopped by Ruby Lane and it seems like a VERY nice site. I wish I'd known about it last year. It might have helped a friend who just dismantled his Antique business. But it doesn't look like a good fit for me. It's beautiful though.
Andi, thanks for the link to the frost flower "reuion," as ghost has so cleverly dubbed it. Now you have photographic proof, paul.far, happy reclining today.Hey, kb. Are we having coffee tomorrow? I'll e you.
Howdy all. Back from my walk. No frost flowers but there were other small things to look at.
Andi, I LOVE those new photos, esp. 1 and 3.
Glad you enjoyed them, Nancy.It was just a great morning for a walk -- crisp and still, bright sunshine diffused by frosted air, faintly-heard calls of the geese leaving the lake.And photo ops everywhere; I took over 60 pictures (all that stopping just irritates the hell out of the Pack).
Andi, The Pack has to understand that sometimes you have to pause to appreciate Art.
shameless promo alert:click the"Dada's blues station" link that ms. nancy has so kindly provided in the sidebar; scroll down to 1.11.08 and listen the latest installment of the bluz, according to downtown, a three hour extemporaneous excursion into a truly american artform…and, imnsho, a pretty good one./shameless promo
Lovely picture from Andi. Hi everyone. Farewell to the Chickens sounds like the name of an album. I've finished all (or most) of my chores and now I'm sitting here shredding with my new shredder I got for Christmas. I lead such an exciting life (yawn).
Thanks, dada. Cool.Lol, Maryb. It does like like the name of an album. Or a blog.I just saw "Atonement." Loved the lead actors, didn't care that much for the movie, though.
Did you like the novel?What didn't you like about the movie?
I haven't read the novel. Spoilers below. And nobody who loves the movie should read my grinchy review! The movie seemed pointless to me. Jealous girl misunderstands some things, lies about others. . .people suffer. . .she feels bad. The End. I thought it was missing a true middle, and that it skipped over her, and she was--to me--by far the most interesting character. Maybe the book doesn't do that. Also, the movie is very long. Or seemed so to me. I suspect the real reason is that I'm too old to get caught up in the romance. Probably if I were younger, I'd have wept and loved it. :)But the acting's wonderful, imo
spoiler alert -- don't read if you don't want to know.Well, I thought the film was well done but I had the same reaction as I had to the novel. He writes beautifully but it just goes on and on and on ... without going anywhere. Then it seems be all wrapped up and then it isn't. At the end of the novel -- I felt betrayed by the author. I don't know if I was supposed to feel betrayed - if so, he was very successful. I felt betrayed that he had made me read all those words and, yes feel emotion in the WWII part, and given me an ending that seemed contrived but OK and then ripped it away from me just to "prove" that fiction is fiction and it isn't non-fiction. I mean - I know that, I don't need a novel to prove it to me. The movie is pretty faithful to the novel except the disclosure at the end is done differently. It's not a TV interview. I have to say I didn't really feel the same sense of betrayal at the end of the movie - but I knew what was coming. And that made it hard to sit through his long slog through France, because it seemed so pointless.
Continued spoiler alert for Atonement, the movieYeah, "the endless slog through France" in which there was no plot. I wanted to roll my eyes at the melodrama a few times. The ending? I was actually glad there was some surprise (since I hadn't read the book.) But, gee, I think he missed a really more interesting plot buried in there somewhere.You have confirmed my suspicious about the book. . .beautiful words going nowhere.
I didn't like the novel either. To make a sort of odd analogy, it reminded me of a school Jim used to teach at. The architect had a concept -- he wanted to expose the "bones" of the building in order to make the normally hidden intersecting geometries a part of people's visual experience. So the school was designed with this concept as the primary consideration -- with the not surprising result that this rather interesting structure is a terrible school building.
Andi - I agree that it was a concept novel. How does a writer take an incident from real life and build an entire novel around it. So the first part was the story of who the writer was when the incident took place. But then it shifts to what the writer wrote (the WWII part - which I actually think was much more powerful in the book because you really worried the entire time he wouldn't make it), then it switches back to the story of the writer and she explains how it was autobiographical but not true. I did think it was humorous that I could feel some anger at an author for telling me a "fake" story when I wanted the "real" story. I mean, it was fiction. It was all "fake".
Wow, from seeing the movie and not reading the book, I didn't get it at ALL that the Long Slog was supposed to be from her book.
I love this discussion of Atonement, I was thinking about seeing it. But, what you've said about it reminds me of some cross between The English Patient (a long slog) and The Bridges of Madison County (Fake Story)I actually READ The Bridges of Madison County and THREW it against a wall when I was done.Although from what you say (and my sister who has been trying to get me to read it) about the novel, the writing is probably better than The Bridges of Madison County (which was shitty)Or am I totally wrong?
The whole story after they leave the country house is the story she wrote. (I guess the first part in the country house is part of the story too - but that's the "true" part of the story. It's somewhat unclear to me if that was meant to be part of her novel or is told to set up the fact that the middle part is fiction.) So once he's taken away it's mostly "fiction" from her point of view. And as I recall it's written in a slightly different style from the first part and the last part is in another somewhat different style again. But you don't figure it out until the end when you realize that you thought everything was "true" but it wasn't. At the end we come back to "truth" when it is disclosed that her novel was autobiographical but not true. I mean, it's an interesting concept. But it just didn't work for me in the novel especially. I actually didn't mind the movie - I'm much harder on books than on movies. I can enjoy almost any movie because it's only 2 hours out of my time. So this movie had good costumes, good acting and good scenery. I didn't hate it but I didn't love it.
kb - I think he writes beautifully. But somehow I get to the end of his novels and think - ok that was interesting but I never want to re-read it. His latest novel "On Chesil Beach" is very depressing. I read "Saturday" and liked it better than Atonement - but again, it goes on and on and you're not really sure when you end up at the end that it was worth it.
I sort of think that crafting beautiful sentences and paragraphs is one of the least valuable skills for writing an enjoyable novel.If you've got the others (great characters & plot with some humor & sex) beautiful writing - The Virgin of Small Plains for example :) - can put you over the top. But If you DON'T have those elements, the beautiful writing just disappears after the book is over -- it doesn't make for a memorable book at all.I say sort of because I've probably forgotten something ....
Katieb, funny you'd mention TBoMC, because I was just thinking about it right before I read your comment. Another case of a male writer doing a romance novel and getting over-praised for it, mostly because the romance has a tragic ending. Boy Doesn't Get Girl. That makes it Art. :)
It ended badly, but STARTED badly too. For a romance, it was thin, thin, thin. But, we've got a couple of guys around here who can write a pretty nice bit of romance: Kelly & FARf. You'd hardly know they were guys.
Not me. I can forgive deficiencies in plot if there are beautiful sentences. Atonement stuck with me. And I've read his other books. Why? Because he strings together words beautifully. Use of language is the most important to me. Next comes character. Then plot. There's not much space between character or plot but that's the order for me.
lol! And I'm pretty sure they'll take that as a compliment, kb, as you mean it to be.
I guess I read poetry if I'm looking for beautiful words. I don't have the attention span to stay focused on a whole novel unless I like the characters or want to find out what happens -- or how it happens.
!! Yes it was a compliment. I just meant that usually men are aren't as graceful as Kelly was in his books and FAR in
I'm just the opposite, Mb, which is probably no surprise. Even in poetry I want more than pretty words. I want a spine and a point. I'm a story and character kinda gal, and if forced to choose will always choose a great story over great line-by-line writing. It's a damned good thing for writers that there are so many readers with different tastes!
Well, lucky for us there are writers like you who can have the craft-skill-talent-genius to give us great characters (look how popular Jenny Cain is nearly 20s after her last appearance) AND great plot. And (this surprises me with every book -- I don't know why) Pretty damn good writing.I just feel cheated when the beautiful words are empty.
I should clarify. When I say beautiful sentences I don't mean pretty words or poetic phrases. I mean that the way the author uses words is a thing of beauty. It can be actual words that are ugly, brutal, violent, etc. But if they are strung together as a work of art - I'm happy.
I see I've missed a bunch of the discussion -- anyway, I wanted to clarify that I think that his concept was very similar to the architect's -- to expose the bones, to keep removing the flesh from the story to get at the bones underneath so the reader would see all those intersections of truth and fiction.
That makes sense, Mb. Sounds like you value writers who have original and "alive" ways of saying things. ((kb))I don't know about the book, Andi, but there weren't even many bones in the movie. After a pretty good start, it was all soft tissue. :) Or, maybe skull bones and feet.This could get gross, lol.
Hmm, Nancy, that sounds like a good start to a short story. ;)
andi, lol. "Hmm," said the Inspector, looking at the skull and foot bones in the old chest. "Our killer can't have been the architect. Not enough bones."
(smile) I LIKE it....
Not bad Nancy ... but you left out the best part, the soft tissue.Oh I almost forgot -- hi kb.
Hi Andi, And when people saw the school did they say, "Ah, Lovely bones"?
After all this high-minded literary talk, I'm going to watch 40 Year Old Virgin now....
Snort! To both of you. :)Okay, I'm off to read a (gasp) book.
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