Fun House Mirror

It grows, grows, grows,

The time stops, then flows,

The truth that nobody knows,

Is how it grows, grows, grows.

**

It hurts, hurts, hurts,

Danger no longer flirts,

They’re filled out now – her shirts,

And that hurts, hurts, hurts.

**

It numbs, numbs, numbs,

Endless pages she thumbs,

Only they make the heart drum,

‘Cause it’s numb, numb, numb.

**

It gets better, worse, the same,

While the wild impulses are tamed,

Moods shift as if in a game,

So it gets better, worse, the same.

Perfect Phrases

Part of what I enjoy so much about reading is finding new descriptions and phrases that writers coin. I always tell myself to write them down as I read them, but I never do. Still, some stick with me and are then forever stuck in my mind as a way of thinking about or describing something.

The color of blood at midnight: Jacqueline Carey used this phrase to describe the color of red so dark, it’s nearly black. It’s always sounded beautiful to me.

Dusk, when the world goes soft around the edges: I believe that Sarah Dessen used this in one of her books and that’s where I remember it from, but honestly I’m not entirely sure. It may be from somewhere entirely different. Still, it seems like a perfect description to me of what dusk feels like on certain days.

A thing can be true and not true: This, I believe, is used in Charles de Lint’s stories quite often. As his tales are urban-fantasy, it feels extremely fitting.

These are just a few that I can remember off the top of my head. There have been, at the very least, a few dozen more phrases that I’ve read and loved – but I didn’t write them down, so I’ll just have to reread my books to discover them again!

Anyone else have any favorite phrases that they’ve found in books?

After the Last Page is Read

There is a unique feeling that one gets when finishing a novel. When one closes the back cover of a book, it isn’t quite over yet. If you’d look carefully, you’d see a fine trickle of fairy dust flowing from that last page and right into the reader’s mind – it is the story, refusing to lose its hold on a reader so quickly and to be put back on a shelf as if it doesn’t matter. The story would much rather walk around with the reader for a while, influencing his or her thoughts and ideas.

Stories are living things, full of their own characterizations, personality quirks, stylistic choices and charm. They can cause a reader to think seriously about an issue, to laugh hours later at a funny incident, to remember fondly a particular passage or simply to contemplate the way the story ended and what that means. Stories can play with their readers minds, causing them to jump at sounds in the night if they’re scary, or to sigh over a couple kissing if they’re romantic.

And so, even when a reader puts a just-finished book back on the shelf and leaves it, the story sticks around, replaying images and words in the mind’s eye. It is one of the greatest wonders of words, that they’re able, within a few hundred pages – and what are pages? Such flimsy things – to preoccupy the reader’s thoughts and affect them. Words are powerful, and stories focus their power.

Letter to the Author

I am a great and loyal fan of many writers: Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Tamora Pierce, Jacqueline Carey, Kate Elliot, Libba Bray, Sarah Dessen… the list goes on and on. These are authors who are living and writing and creating today. These are authors whose books I can look forward to, whose careers I can actively follow (what with the wonders of the online community these days). I treat these people with as much reverence as I treat my favorite bands – more so, perhaps, because their fame is often less materially rewarding and their renown is limited to the community who enjoy their particular genre; meaning my respect for them and awe of them grows because of the difficulties they face in pursuing their chosen careers.

I’ve met Neil Gaiman. He was a darling, and managed not to seem the least bit bored during the two signings of his in which I participated. He is an incredible public speaker. He is extremely popular, though, and I have never felt the urge to write to him. So, also, with many other of the authors I love.

I wrote to Jacqueline Carey though. I wrote of my passion for her books and my admiration for both her literary style and her imagination, for her beautifully-wrought characters and her intricate plots. She wrote back. She really did. It was a while after I had written, but she did write back.

Which is why, I suppose, I’ve been struggling for days with trying to find the perfect wording for a second letter – this time to Tamora Pierce. I grew up on her books – I own every single one of them, and there are many, believe me. The smell of the pages of those well-thumbed novels of hers bring back memories from countless instances, and I’ve read and reread her books endlessly. I hope that once I find the words to write to her properly, she’ll respond. I shouldn’t expect it, but I can’t help but hope.

It’s overwhelming, sometimes, to love and admire people with such creative minds and incredible determination. But it’s often inspiring too.