Monday, April 28, 2008
Posted by Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe at 6:57 AM
Thursday, April 24, 2008
I read to escape inconvenient reality, so of course I picked up Paris: The Secret History by Andrew Hussey. Fabulous book, but talk about thousands of years of blood running through the streets (and you thought it was limited to the French Revolution). Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. "We'll always have Paris" might not be such a good thing, no matter what Bogey said to Bergman in Casablanca.
So, cheer me up---or wallow in the pit of despair with me. What's your favorite funny book guaranteed to make be smile again? Share your good news or your worries about the future. We’re all in this together. Liberté, égalité, fraternité!
Posted by Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe at 5:38 AM
Monday, April 21, 2008
(Did you know when times are tough, people wear longer skirts? I’m not sure I believe that, but that’s what the teacher said. Guess we’ll all be tripping over our hemlines and falling on our faces pretty soon with the way the economy is going.)
Anyway, our library has an outstanding collection of fashions-through-the-decades books, as well as lots of history resources. Nearly every kid turned up their nose at my suggestion to go looking in the 624s and asked for a computer instead.
Now I’m a big fan of computer research. I’m an armchair traveler and Googler extraordinaire. But if I could get my hands on the right book and flip pages, that’s what I’d do first.
I know that to reach young people today, you’ve got to go digital, technological, fast-fast-fast. I blame it on Sesame Street with its bite-size scenes and endless hours of blowing up things in video games. I wonder if romance writers in the future will have to do this:
“Rblla, I luv u. U driv me wld w/pashun. B min 2nite.
So, am I completely archaic--- an old lady who’d rather soak in the bathtub with a book than read it on a screen? Please predict the future of fiction through your crystal ball. Are you a fan of YA literature? I recommend Jennifer Donnelly's A Northern Light.
Posted by Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe at 7:09 AM
Friday, April 18, 2008
Librarians do it by the book.
Library card---better than a credit card.
Librarians have tighter buns.
Librarians do it in the stacks.
Just a little lame library humor. It's National Library Week. I’m not a librarian, but I play one every day. My degree was in English, but for the past three years I’ve worked in a high school library behind the circulation desk, designing all the displays and running the after school library program and girls’ book club. My official title is Educational Technician III, but basically I’m a library clerk who covers books, stamps cards, nags kids, inventories, straightens shelves, clips newspapers, mentors library aides and keeps attendance records. I love my job because I come in contact with hundreds of students and staff daily. I find weird holidays (Bulldog Day, April 28) and make weird signs. Unfortunately I don’t have time to read on the job, but I can override the maximum check-out limit on the computer and take home as many books as I want.
I also patronize our town’s excellent, elegant library, pictured above. Lately, I’ve tried to cut back on book-buying, and while the public library doesn’t always have the latest romances, I still find plenty to read.
What do you like most about your day job? Do you have a great library near you? Were you the kid who stuck the juice box behind the short story collection?
Posted by Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe at 7:25 AM
Thursday, April 10, 2008
The Sea of Faith
Posted by Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe at 5:02 PM
Monday, April 7, 2008
But Wharton became a very much savored taste by the time I was in college. I devoured almost everything she wrote. There is something so deliciously bleak and thwarted in all of Wharton’s work. I don’t know what it says about me that I like her so much.
You may have seen Wharton’s work which was made into popular splashy costume-drama films, The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth. I was surprised to find out that movies and plays were made of her stories in her lifetime, but you can’t find many happy endings.
I’ve been on a non-fiction reading kick, finishing Hermione Lee’s 869 page biography, Edith Wharton. Here’s Edith’s take on writing:
What is writing a novel like?
What “old school” author do you admire? Any good biographies to recommend? What did you hate to read in high school? What gets you through the Gobi desert when you write? I think that's enough questions.
If only we’d stop trying to be happy, we could have a pretty good time. ~ Edith Wharton
I think my grandmother, the baby of her family, is second from the left. A cautionary tale: always label your pictures. One hundred years later, nobody knows who's who.
Posted by Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe at 5:31 AM
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
And so I should, if I could read my notes. I carry a little red notebook in my big red handbag. Here are some examples of what I’ve scribbled, with original punctuation, or lack thereof:
Conflict body betrays guilt.
Christmas holiday crisp, cold.
“She was killed in a robbery and that’s why you became a sheriff. And celibate. That makes you wounded and brooding. Sound good?”
Uh, no. None of it sounds good. And that’s what I’ve written at school when I’m awake. I mean, Hart and the cat during Eden’s bedrest. Where the f was I going with that?
Some years ago my husband and I argued over who was snoring. I admitted to a snort or three, but John denied he made any noise whatsoever. I hung a voice-activated tape recorder on the bedpost and waited until trees were being felled in the bedroom forest by the trusty chainsaw and whispered, “It’s 2 AM and that’s John cutting wood.” Ah, vindication. I need to find that tape recorder.
How do you corral your thoughts for writing? Do you storyboard, outline or otherwise outshine me in organization? Do you go to the grocery store and forget why you're there? Do you have a stash of "Happy Belated Birthday" cards? Or, even worse, have you started your Christmas shopping already?
Posted by Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe at 8:23 AM