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Death and the Writer

I’ve been thinking about killing people. In books. Killing characters, great and small.  First, why kill a character? Is it something as mechanical as “because the plot needed someone to die there?” Why kill a particular character, then? What does it do for the story? For the other characters in the story? Yeah, this is where I get a little woo-woo and fuzzy, because I’m a write-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of girl, and often I don’t know why I kill someone off until I finish the work.

Words and Pictures

There are some illustrations that are so integral to my memory of books I read as a kid that to say the name of a book calls them immediately to mind.  Say “A Little Princess” and I think of Sara Crewe, pale little face framed by a cloud of dark hair, sitting disconsolate in her wretched attic, or a little more optimistically, of Sara, cracked bowl in hand, looking dreamily out over the London rooftops.  Both illustrations are from an edition of A Little Princess I did not own–we had it in my classroom in 4th… Read more Words and Pictures

My Cyber-House

I have become, in what I hope is the nicest possible way, a bit of a martinet about tone and discourse in my living room.  I love good chewy discussions, but I try, regardless of my level of engagement (or frustration or incomprehension or general bogglement) not to name-call or make generalizations. And if I catch myself slipping, I try to reverse the trend.  Because I really, truly do believe (in part from watching my kids, who are passionately political, but really good listeners) that we’re not going to get… Read more My Cyber-House

Publishing Is Not a Monolith

As I have done a lot lately, I spent the past weekend with my aunt and uncle, helping them with some household stuff. My uncle is an emeritus professor of anatomy at UCLA; my aunt ran the Chancellor’s Communication Service. Both have decades of involvement with the university, and both of them are much accomplished and smart cookies. At one point, as we were eating lunch, I was discussing my current search for employment, and a couple of jobs in which I am interested. My uncle seemed puzzled, because most… Read more Publishing Is Not a Monolith

Fight Scenes: Time Dilation

I saw Interstellar last week, a hugely ambitious, very heady film about…oh, kind of everything.  The future of the human race. Striving. Time. Love. Space. Loneliness. Duplicity. Ecology. Parenthood. It’s beautiful to look at (well, Christopher Nolan) and well acted, and curiously soggy in places when Nolan attempts to be genuinely affecting.  And the dialogue is mixed so low in places that I swear I missed some important plot points (when you’re married to a sound engineer you learn to notice these things). Overall I enjoyed it, but I don’t think it… Read more Fight Scenes: Time Dilation