Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Dear K,
I am ashamed. Something in my emotional core yelled duck and cover, and I have. I have never played chicken like this before. I believed I was tougher than any adversary. Words and will power. Friends and good karma. These things would get me through. And they did. You know that. And really, I’m okay, safe and sound and loved. But I can find peace now only in a small space I’ve found for myself. I apologize for this, because it’s wrong not to fight the need to duck and cover–if I’m not in the actual way of harm. But so much I love is. Which makes it even worse I’m not up and fighting, but allow me this, please, for a little. It’s just my turn, and I’m taking it. There are so many people out there speaking up about the world and politics, in wise and passionate ways. I can’t add to that, and I never meant this blog to do that anyway. It was supposed to be about writing and reading. So here: I just read The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. A page-turner. A fascinating story that pulled me into a make-believe world. I need more page-turners. God, remember reading Shogun for the first time? The Stand? If you have any suggestions, let me know. I want a big fat book.

Peace and all good things,
and love, always that,


Diane Vogel Ferri said...

Hi Sarah, just found your blog. The older I get the harder it seems to find a book I LOVE and can't put down. Do you think that after reading hundreds of novels there is nothing new under the sun - or i just can't find it!

sarah willis said...

Hi Diane,

Good to hear from you! And good question. Yes, sometimes I put down a book that seem well-written but feel too familiar. Someone who has just come to reading novels might love it, but I feel as if I already have, even though I know I haven't. This same feeling scares me as I write. Has the story I'm trying to tell been told enough? Can I do it better than anyone else? Is it worth adding to all the books out there already? Big questions.

Maybe, I wonder, I have narrowed my reading too much, to stay in the genre I write--a habit I picked up when I began writing. Maybe it's my problem--and not the problem with new books. I have to look out from the box I've put myself into. I used to read SF, historical fiction, mysteries, medical thrillers, etc. Some were junk--but good reads. Some were great. I miss those books. I'm coming back, I want to tell them. Show me what you've got.


Karen Sandstrom said...

Hi Sarah
Just catching up on blogs. It's been a duck and cover kind of week, in a time when it feels like there's no actual cover.
But here.
I have become the slowest reader in the world, so it may be that I told you weeks ago (cuz it was true even then) that I've fallen into "Edgar Sawtelle," a big, fat novel about all kinds of things, including a mute boy and dog training and a mystery. Did I mention it's big and fat? Did I mention it's as far from the day's events as I can imagine getting?
Oh, and I've been making up a new comic story for my blog, and for fun. It, too, is far away from the real world.
But get "Edgar Sawtelle." I'm taking forever reading it, but that's OK. And you haven't read it before (unless you actually have).
Peace back at you,

sarah willis said...

Hi Karen,

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll ask Ron to bring it home from the library tomorrow!

I read the first page of the new comic story. I'll be waiting for more.


shamanspath said...

Hi, Sarah,

A couple of good. thick books to dive into and disappear:

AMERICAN GODS by Neil Gaiman

A PLAGUE OF ANGELS or BEAUTY, both by Sheri S. Tepper, if you like that kind of think.



sarah willis said...

Hi Neal,

Thanks! I'll give them a try!


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, I don't have a big fat novel to recommend, but I am presently entranced by a non-fiction book: "The Botany of Desire" by Michael Pollan. Four case-studies of plants and the human desires they satisfy. Pollan ranges from genetics to economics to literature and that excites me. In the chapter on the apple (desire: sweetness) he has a wonderful passage on the literary uses of the word "sweet," and observes that its connotation changed from rare to cheap in the 19th century when sugar became widely available. In the chapter on cannabis (desire: intoxication) he points out that the word "intoxication" has the word "toxic" sitting within it in plain sight. The book is full of insights like these.