This morning I had the privilege of being the guest speaker at my local library. They’ve been having monthly “Meet the Author” sessions in honour of the Year of Reading. As I’m a writer, but not yet an author, I didn’t expect anyone to come to listen to me. For a while I sat there alone, in all my glory, with books and magazines spread out in front of me. I waited…waited… The librarian kept peeking around the corner, smiling pityingly at me. (I realise there’s probably no such word as “pityingly” but quite frankly I don’t care.) It was a great relief for us both when a small group finally gathered expectantly around the table.
What books? What magazines? I hear you ask. Be patient; I’ll get to them.
I am grateful to, and humbled by, the people who gave up their time on a Saturday morning, to come and listen to me dribble on. I’m passionate about books and stories and words, but I’m always amazed that there are others who share my passion. You’re all wonderful people and I pray a thousand blessings on you and your households.
The books? Keep your hair on; not long now.
One of the lovely things about this morning, were the myriad of lovely memories that came flooding back. There was my delight when I discovered dwarves were real. The time I earnestly searched for another wardrobe like the one that led into Narnia. The day I read a German folk-tale in a fabulous picture book about three animals that got lost in a forest. It made me realise, at the tender age of 7, that night time shadows can make ordinary things look very scarey and maybe there weren’t monsters in my cupboard after all. There was the time when I was 11 years old and read my father’s copy of Gone With the Wind. It was the first I’d heard of the American Civil War and it sparked a deep, abiding fascination with history. There were many more, but that’s all I’m sharing for now. I only told the little group in the library about the dwarves because that was my earliest memory and the most significant. I was 5 years old and I saw a stage production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Once I realised that dwarves were real, I knew that fairies, giants, ogres, pixies and the rest had to be real as well. Ipso facto. Stories are true.
The books? The magazines? I took along some copies of the magazine I review for: Good Reading Magazine. I thought it’d be nice to let people have something to take home with them, and it really is a great magazine. I also brought, from the reference section of my bookshelves, a small selection of books that I’ve found helpful over the years. It wasn’t dificult to choose which ones. For example, I didn’t take Stevens and Bannon’s Book of Poisons, or Wynn’s The Crime Writer’s Sourcebook, or McCutcheon’s Everyday Life in the 1800s. They’re all a bit too genre-specific. Here’s the list (in no particular order) of the ones I chose.
1)Stephen King: On Writing; 2)Writers’ Digest: Complete Handbook of Novel Writing; 3)Dufresne: The Lie That Tells a Truth; 4)Gardner: The Art of Fiction Writing, and 5)Browne and King: Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. I have a number of other books that are an excellent resource for writers, but these are the ones which I most frequently consult.
I hope I encouraged somebody. I hope I was informative and, perhaps, a little entertaining. I so appreciate those dear people who gathered around that big round table in the library. They could have been out having coffee, or home washing their smalls. Instead they chose to spend an hour or so with a stranger, as she waffled on about her life and her journey with writing. I wish them all the very best with their own forays into the writing world but, (I’m going to be painfully honest) I really hope I get a book published before them. Just saying.