May 3, 2012 § 11 Comments
Considering how much I despised the first five chapters of 50 Shades of Grey, it’s surprising (especially to me) how enraptured I became with the story.
It would be easy to assume that the highly sexual story line is what reeled me in and in all honesty it did add an element that kept me interested, noticeable by my sizeable smile and simultaneous open jaw sitting on the floor.
I knew my view had turned when I went from solely listening in my Yurbuds while heading out to run, to carrying my phone in my bra so that I could push play every time the kids left the room. I became hooked. Desperate to know what was next. Eager for the ride and excited for the journey.
In any language and on any continent this kind of reaction is motivation for a writer. Being so beguiling that the reader can’t put you down is the essence of the job; the goal. No one wants to write a snore.
When I was teaching fourth grade writing, we often spoke about the difference between telling the story and showing the story; the goal was always the showing.
In 50 Shades, so much was told using the same words et nausea that the writing appear labored and simple, even when the words themselves were sophisticated (thesaurus usage can be deadly).
How many times was she going to say his mouth fell in a hard line? How often did we need to be told that she had an inner goddess who hid behind chairs and sofas and under blankets? Yes, I understand he looked at her speculatively and with grey eyes. Biting her bottom lip? Got it. The symbol for the power struggle
But it may have been E.L. James’ master plan. Her brilliance as a writer being kept secret until she was ready to share.
The choice to make Anastasia’s voice so repetitive was in direct opposition to the voice that was exposed when her innocence was being challenged.
This was where the real beauty of the writing came alive and convinced me of Ms. James’ true talent in the authoring department.
Granted, the scenes in the red room of pain, the bondage, the frightened girl who became totally immersed and connected in the moments of her fear revealed deep emotion mixed with gut wrenching descriptiveness highlighting some really glorious writing.
It was enough to make me forgive those wasted first chapters. Maybe they weren’t wasted after all.
Last night I started to read The Help, by Kathryn Stockett.
Four pages in, I have a picture of Aibileen. Through the story showing and Aibileen’s dialogue (shortened sentence structure, double negatives and misplaced use of words) I have an idea of who she is. I like her immediately. Read the first four pages and you’ll like her, too. Kathryn Stockett created a new and interesting character with a voice I want to hear.
I should probably apologize to Ms. James for my initial incertitude toward to her book. I still wish she hadn’t used the C word so much and feel like s.h.i.t would have been just as appropriate. It would have saved me from my personal challenge to count the word in question, pulling me out of the story thirty two times, give or take a few.
I went to be last night working out the first lines (of one of my books) that will be written in it’s own time.
It will go something like this…
I was handed to my mother three days after I was born. Wrapped in a pink blanket she carefully pulled me from the hands of the lawyer, anxious to leave before Loretta had a chance to change her mind. I was bald and pretty, despite the ears that were far too big for my head. My brown eyes looked up at my new mother, whose own brown eyes matched mine exactly.
I couldn’t have known then what I learned all those years later. That my beginning was a gift and that I was saved.
I couldn’t have known the truth. I wouldn’t have believed it had come written in ink and pinned to my clothes.
I was the lucky one.
My older sisters, just two and three, waited in a run down house halfway across town as I was being given away. They knew nothing of me. They knew not of their mothers’ illness. They didn’t have a chance. Weren’t granted even a molecule of a future.
April 15, 2012 § 3 Comments
The final chapters of Mockingjay were my running companions for today’s six miler.
A I made my way to the grassy path along busy Falls of Neuse I listened to the war raging around Katniss, the beautifully written heroine whose inner thoughts are so strikingly real it’s hard to believe she is not.
The story of the war propelled my feet onward. The death of friends being left without goodbye’s, the destruction of human life, the hunt for the way out.
And then without warning came the description of a familiar girl with a long blonde braid rushing in as a medic to help the children who’d been fire bombed by falling parachutes they thought were sent to help.
Who is she? Who could she be?
Before my brain could work it out came the description of her duck tailed shirt, and I knew it was Prim; the sweet and bright younger sister of Katniss.
As happens in the very best novels my heart sped up and I inhaled with surprise.
Since I was running, my pace quickened and my focus on the words and the anticipation of what was to come filled my brain and hung around in there trying to make sense.
I cruised through the Wells Fargo parking lot and around the corner to the safer place to cross the road. I hopped up on the sidewalk next to the gas station when I realized I was crying.
Running and crying is a funny sensation. Your feet keep moving and your heart beats faster, your eyes are misty and had I not been so focused on the narrator I would have probably heard the sighs and deep breathing coming from out of my very own mouth.
I sucked in my breath as I got a hold of myself, mostly out of embarrassment, as I was only feet away from a gas pumping customer who would have definitely deemed me crazy had he been given more time to look me over.
I kept on and climbed up and down the ladder of emotions as the story progressed and neared to its close.
The power that a novelist has to move someone’s soul in this way is as astonishing and inspiring to me as the words themselves.
It is the thing that keeps me reading. It’s the reason I prefer novel’s over most any other kind of written work.
I ended my run feeling re-charged both physically and mentally.
My body feels good and strong and my desire to get moving on my own book is deep.
It’s a scary prospect and not something new to my list of goals. The hope that I can one day wield the same kind of power over a reader is so all encompassing, palpable and surging through my fingers as I sit here to type.
It’s in me to try.
The next step is to find the courage to let it come out.
April 5, 2012 § 3 Comments
Brian forgot that he had scheduled Wednesday to work at home. As difficult as it is to keep the kids quiet and away from him when he’s here during the week, there is a little bitty silver lining; he doesn’t leave and I get to run.
Those kind of surprises are the best. Within minutes of telling me his plans I’d gathered my gear and run out of the door half-dressed. I finished getting ready in the driveway, tying up my shoes and situating my Yurbuds.
I didn’t wear the Garmin, which had been diligently strapped to my arm for all those months of training. Looking down at my wrist I was reminded of how differently it felt to not be consumed with distance or speed or time.
Still, I knew I’d run six miles, since I’d chosen the loop I like the most.
Since the race, the weather in Raleigh has shifted and the cold running gear has been rotated in the closet. The long sleeve Swiftly’s are now folded at the bottom of the tee pile and the shorts and short sleeves are peeking out of theirs (in not so neatly folded stacks).
I chose to wear my old Oiselle Run tee yesterday (that I love so much) despite it’s teeny bleach marks. I learned the hard way not to hold and spray Clorox Clean-Up too closely while still in my running clothes. I must have felt inspired after that run last year and my kitchen cleaning frenzy is forever evident on my very favorite shirt.
I had been worried that I’d lost the love for the run.
I am silly!
It was there, we just needed some time apart. Absence and the heart growing fonder, et al.
At 10:00 today I’m heading out again. I think I’ll wear my other Oiselle that says, “13.1 Half the Distance, Twice the Fun,” with my blurred gray Speed shorts. I will lace up the Newton’s tighter at the ankles than I did my Mizunos (explanation to come with my shoe review), Glide up, grab my phone and glasses and go.
How excited am I?
It’s just barely contained.
February 1, 2012 § 17 Comments
I have been lamenting the fact that I’ve turned into one of those moms who pick their kids up from school in sweat pants, wet hair up in a pony bun, and Ugg boots. It’s tragic actually, much worse than moms in mommy clothes; leggings, flats, and cute tunic sweaters. At least they are put together.
The hours when the children are in the care of their teachers are spent running. Once back home, there’s only time to shower quickly and throw on something before racing out the door again to return to the germ factory known as The Three’s Room.
Maybe it would be better to pick them up in my gear? I do love my gear, but I like being clean much more. Not to mention it’s a health issue, as wet running pants (no matter how wicky) are not good for girlie parts.
Here are some of my recent favorites: