Friday stewpot

Not surprisingly, I've been felled by a sinus infection. Seems that burnout compromises our immune system. Go figure.

I've been trying to catch up on some great posts by fellow bloggers. Check these out if you can: On gothic literature, BikeProf and Kate weigh in. Danielle provides her insights on Turn of the Screw. Dorothy W. waxes poetic on Proust and Joyce. And Litlove cannily discusses the uncanny.

I've been experiencing some uncanny-ness myself as of late. I've been getting what I call "signs from the universe." These are the little taps on the shoulder from god or a Higher Power or what-have-you that ask if you are paying attention to your life. It has been my experience that when you ignore the shoulder-taps, they turn into shoves.

The taps have to do with writing and my building my life around this vocation, versus having to build my writing around my life (a perennial concern of mine, which I know other writers share). One big honking tap: A great idea emerged on how to begin my novel, a situation that had been perplexing me for many a moon. Two more taps: Two of my writer friends are taking great strides in their writing lives. And a few more taps: Various and sundry people have been asking me about or reminding me to dust off The Novel.

So, looks like I'll soon, once again, be reinventing my life.

In other literary stewpot news, I'm still in Lite Mode. (Witness my blog entries.) Can't focus on deep reading (another tap--more like an anti-tap, if there is such a thing. A thwack on the forehead from an angel's thumb and forefinger). So, I've been culling my shelves for light mysteries. Thanks to my RIP Challenge reading, I've de-snobbed my literary habits and let some genre reading shine in. Finished Dianne Day's Fire and Fog, an enjoyable mystery about the Great San Francisco earthquake (plus: a strong heroine, minus: a little weak on historical ambience. And she used "myriad of," a pet grammar peeve of mine), and am currently reading Jane Langton's Emily Dickinson is Dead (plus: quotes from the poetess and lots of Amherst references, minus: rife with stereotypes). In between, I wove in Poker Face, an interesting little memoir by Kate Lederer, sister of poker professionals Howard Lederer and Annie Duke. Frustrating as it is to put off Deep Thoughts and Serious Reading, I am learning many literary lessons: Tolerance for the Light Read 101, Fun with Plot, What NOT to do when Writing your own Novel Workshop, and Reading with Burnout for Dummies.

Y'all have a great weekend and, if you haven't Hallween memed yet (see my previous entry), then get to it! I need to add some TBR horror lit and sci-fi/fantasy books to my list!


A Halloween meme

The trees grow bare, the air turns chill. Now is the time to treat yourself to your favorite wool sweater, a cup of hot cider and a Halloween meme. In honor of Carl V., for his wonderful RIP Challenge. Tag, Carl, and other RIP participants!

1. What is your favorite work of horror fiction? Of all the chillers and thrillers, I still return to Irving Washington’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. It’s just a darn good story.

2. What is your favorite work of science fiction/fantasy? I’m not a big sci-fi fan, but I have to say, The Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick’s are amazingly imaginative (if not the best written). Includes The Minority Report and We Can Remember It for You Wholesale (the movie Total Recall is based on this story).

3. Who is your favorite monster? Frankenstein. Sure, he’s a fiend, but he’s got heart.

4. What horror movie gives you the most chills? Tough call. The Exorcist is spooky even on repeated viewings, but for sheer creepy atmosphere, I’m going with Tod Browning’s Freaks.

5. Freddy versus Jason? The silent treatment is always the worst. And a hockey mask is very scary.

6. What is your favorite Halloween treat? Miniature Snickers.

7. Ghosts or goblins? Ghosts. (What is a goblin anyway?)

8. What is your scariest encounter with the paranormal? The closest I’ve come was at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. I had the feeling that there was something – spirits? – watching me from the trees. I didn’t feel scared, but I did feel strange because I didn’t understand what the “something” was.

9. Do you believe in ghosts? Not really. I’m sure there is a scientific explanation (properties of physics and such) to so-called paranormal activity. That doesn't keep me from watching the Travel Channel's Most Haunted or Sci-Fi Channel's Ghost Hunters! (Aren't Jason and Grant cute?)

10. Favorite Halloween costume? I have an idea to go as a Rorschach ink blot. I want to get a black T-shirt and fingerpaint a white abstract image on it. Then, when people ask “What are you?”, I can reply, “What do you think I am?”